This blog has always and forever been devoted to HVAC issues and I have only deviated once and promised myself I would never do it again, but here I go again. Yes, this blog post will have absolutely nothing to do with heating, cooling, or repair of heating or cooling systems. One more time, I will be leaving infrared thermal imaging in the dust.
In the good old USA and especially in Jackson, TN we live financially prosperous lives for the most part. Still, many of us go on day to day, just existing and wondering what we're missing and why life is so empty. I hope it's ok but I would really appreciate the opportunity to share what I've found to be the most important thing ever, yes, a personal relationship with God through Jesus. Please give me just a second before you scream hypocrite and close this page. I have always cringed when business people that have a product or service to sell use Jesus to sell what they're peddling. This isn't the case here. My wife and I use this as a litmus test to decide who we DON'T want to do business with. It seems that anytime people want to sell anything they put on their "Jesus" pin and tell you what good Christians they are while they're picking your pocket. Please understand, I claim to be nothing apart from him but a lowly and unworthy person, not worth the effort it would take to spit on me. I have, however, found forgiveness, acceptance, real love, meaning in life, and a reason to get up in the morning when everything seems to be falling apart. If you don't get anything else, please get this. I claim to be nothing short of a weak and rebellious person who has found grace and mercy from an all powerful God and Savior. It's because of the mercy I have received I feel a need to share this through every avenue possible. This is what I've learned.
The God that created everything that exists loves you. The Bible says "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son...." (John 3:16).
The good news is that God offers hope, joy, and real meaning in life. Jesus said "I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
God doesn't just love you. He loves you more than you could ever imagine and wants a real and personal relationship with you. That said, thre's a problem, but you probably already know that. The problem is sin. Sin is anything that falls short of complete reverence to God and total obedience. You also probably know this, but the Bible says that we are all sinners and fall short of of obedience and reverence to God. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God" (Romans 3:23). The Bible goes on to say we don't seek after God, we don't even fear God. Many people think they are pretty clean before God and really won't have much to answer for. The Bible says that's just not so. Have you ever stolen anything? Even a pencil or a piece of candy? What does that make you? A thief. Have you ever lusted or coveted something that wasn't rightfully yours. Jesus said "Anyone that looks after a woman lustfully has already commited adultery with her in his heart." What does that make you? An adulterer. Is there anything in your life that has taken God's rightful place in your life as the most important thing? If so, you are an idolator. Do you worship money, respect, admiration, status, leisure, or power? Whatever takes God's rightful place in your life is your god. You see we not only sin by our outward actions, but in our thoughts and our attitudes. The sad fact is that sin is so much a part of our being that the Bible says it's in our very nature. The Bible goes on to say that we are "slaves" to sin. If you read the third chapter of the Book of Romans, you'll find that the Bible says that we are completely saturated by our sin so much that it's a part of who we are. Pretty condemning huh? Unfortunately, this means you as well as me and everyone. We may laugh at our sin, but be assured, God takes it very seriously and does not laugh about our sin. We all stand guilty before the Holy God and judge of the universe and our souls.
Sin creates a real problem. The Bible says that God is Holy, righteous, and just. Not like we think of just. God is perfectly just and the judge of the whole world. God has given us the ten commandments and rules to live by. He's also given us the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong. That's that "little voice" that tells you you're about to do something very wrong. God has given us that ability and we have chosen sin over God, rebellion over obedience, evil over good. It's scary but very simple. God has offered us a choice, him or sin and we've chosen sin and rebellion. God as the righteous judge must and will punish all sin. The Bible says "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 3:23). Death is separation from life and the source of life, God. Apart from a miracle of God, we are separated from him. If we die in that state, Hell and eternal torment is our only and permanent fate. The Bible says "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who supress the truth by their wickedness" (Romans 1:18). The word "godless" means anything that falls short of complete reverence and respect for God. Apart from Jesus, we have a real problem; the wrath of God. By the way, the word wrath indicates God's vengeance. We have wronged and offended God by our sin. This sin must and will be judged and punished.
The Bible says that God came to earth as a man (Jesus!), lived a perfect, sinless life, and was sacrificed for our sins, and in our place. He took the punishment that was rightfully ours and rose again on the third day (Romans 5:8, Hebrews 10:1-15). Yes, God sacrificed his own son, Jesus, so that we could go free and have true life a relationship with him. Jesus, God in the flesh, took our punishment on himself.
Here’s the really good news! Eternal life, a personal relationship with the eternal God, is absolutely free. It can’t be bought or worked for. Our sin and filth has made that impossible anyway. Jesus has paid the penalty for our sin. It’s done. No amount of money given to the church, orphans adopted, food given to the hungry, or standing on our head can earn this sacrifice put on our “account”. Nor can it “undo” our sin. If we can’t earn God’s favor, then how can we be restored?
John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. The word “believeth” in this scripture is clear but has a lot of implications, very important implications. This isn’t simply an intellectual assent to a group of facts, like you believe that George Washington existed. The word “believe” is kind of a word picture. It’s the picture of falling into someone’s arms, trusting that they will catch you and you know if they don’t, you will splat! You come to realize that Jesus is your ONLY hope. You are throwing yourself on Jesus, realizing who he is and what he’s done. Jesus is God in the flesh (John 1:1). He is Lord. The word lord means master. He is savior as he was sacrificed for our sin. We literally trust in Jesus as God, master, and savior as we turn away from our sin and turn to Jesus, our Lord. The Bible calls this turning away from our sin “Repentance”. Repentance is when we change our minds about our sin. Our sin is no longer acceptable to us. The evil things we once desired we now find unacceptable. The Bible says that when we put our trust (faith) in Jesus, we are a new creation in him. Old things are passed away and everything is new! (II Corinthians 5:17). This means EVERYTHING; our needs, our desires, our likes and dislikes, and our future! The things that we once found attractive (all kinds of sin), we no longer desire, but are appalled by. The things that we once found not interesting and non-issues (spiritual Godly things) we now love. We are really a new creation of God. We are made clean through Jesus. No more guilt from our sin. No more slavery to our sin. We are free to live for the God that loves us and gave himself for us! What an awesome life to live for the one that loves us so much!
You can go to God now. Confess and turn away from your sin, your rebellion, and failures. Trust in Jesus for who he is and trust in his ultimate sacrifice for your sins. Jesus said “All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37). There is no other way to God, none! Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). This means that all your “good” deeds, good intentions, Buddha, Mohammad, New Age, church membership, pastoral ordination, or any other way will be insufficient to get to God; only Jesus. If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to give me a call. 731-434-9224. I’m James and I’ll be happy to talk and to pray with you and for you.
Air Cleaner – A device that removes allergens, pollutants, and other undesirable contaminants from the air being heated or cooled.
Air Handler – An air handler is the air moving device in a heating or cooling system that does NOT use gas-fired heating. It is usually comprised of controls, a blower, and an evaporator coil. Electric heat strips are added as needed.
Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) – This is a measure of the efficiency of a furnace. The higher the number, the more efficient the furnace.
British Thermal Unit (BTU) – This is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. It takes approximately 12,000 BTU to make a ton of refrigeration. BTU is usually expressed as BTU/HR, but is just abbreviated to BTU.
Compressor – The part of the system responsible for pumping refrigerant. Compressors are rated in either BTU or HP.
Condenser Coil – This is generally the coil found on the outside and is responsible for cooling and condensing hot refrigerant vapor from the compressor discharge. Problems in the condenser coil are most commonly dirt, debris, and bent fins.
Controls – The low voltage component responsible for controlling the higher voltage devices. Examples of controls are thermostats, control transformers, and control boards.
Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)- This is a measure of air flow. You will sometimes hear “CFM”. Most residential and commercial comfort cooling systems are designed at approximately 400 CFM per ton of refrigeration. This is a very generalized “rule of thumb” and will not hold true for systems operating in “humidity control” mode.
Damper – A device used to control air flow.
Ducts – The pipes or rectangular carriers of air. Ducts can be made of steel, flexible pipe, or insulated fiber board.
Ductulator – A duct sizing calculator used to properly size ductwork.
Dual Fuel System – Used to describe a heating and air conditioning system capable of switching from heat pump to gas-fired furnace for heat.
Electronic air cleaner – A device that uses electrically charged particles to add charge to dust particles, then use a reversed polarity to attract the dust particles to a charged plate or wire. The advantages to this kind of air cleaner are efficiency and a lower pressure drop that results in better air flow.
Evaporator Coil – This is the cooling coil and is named for its action evaporating, or boiling off refrigerant in the tubes to absorb heat from the air.
Furnace – A gas fired device used to heat air flowing across a heat exchanger. Usually fired with either natural gas or LP.
Heat Pump – A heat pump provides both heating and cooling by reversing the flow of refrigerant.
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) – A measure of efficiency for heat pumps. The higher the number, the higher the efficiency.
HVAC or HVACR – Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning. R is added for refrigeration.
Hybrid System – See Dual Fuel System.
Indoor Coil – Can be used as an evaporator coil (see evaporator coil) or as a heating coil in heat pump mode.
MERV Rating – Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This is used to rate the efficiency of air filters. The higher the number, the higher the efficiency. Please exercise caution when purchasing “high efficiency” filters for your home air conditioning system. Higher efficiency filters can restrict air flow and sometimes cause refrigeration system issues, so select with moderation in mind.
Outdoor Coil – Can operate as a condenser coil (see condenser coil) or as an evaporator coil in heating mode.
Outdoor Unit – Used to designate the compressor bearing half of a heat pump system.
Packaged Unit – Used to describe a heating and air conditioning system with all components in a common case with the ductwork on one end. Packaged units can be either conventional or heat pump systems.
Refrigerant – The substance responsible for heat transfer (heating and cooling) in a system. The current standard for residential systems is R410A. There have been discussions within the EPA of phasing out R410A but no viable replacement has been decided.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) – A rating system designed by the federal government to rate the efficiency of residential cooling systems. Theoretically, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient a system is.
Split System – A heating and air conditioning system with the air moving components inside the home or building and the compressor units on the outside, with refrigerant piping connecting the two.
Ton – See BTU
Variable Speed Motor – A motor that drives a fan or blower, usually a blower motor that is electronically controlled. These motors vary but are designed for greater energy efficiency and quieter operation.
There are few things more frustrating on a hot day than to suddenly notice that your air conditioning system has suddenly quit cooling. We've all experienced it. You look at your compressor and notice that it's covered in ice. Let's discuss a few posssible culprits and see if we can help you get this thing cooling again!
First, all air conditioning systems are technically refrigeration, kind of like your refrigerator. If something goes wrong, "freeze ups" sometimes happen. The three primary causes are a lack of refrigerant, restricted air flow, or a restriction in the refrigeration circuit. Let's tackle them one at a time.
Lack of Refrigerant. This isn't as common as it was in the old days when all air conditioners used fixed refrigerant metering devices,but there are still a lot of them in use and here's what happens when your system develops a leak. In a closed system, like a refrigeration system, pressure and temperature correlate. In other words, as the pressure is reduced, the temperature will show a corresponding reduction. There's a lot longer explanation, but for our purposes here, as refrigerant leaks out, the pressure in the system is reduced, and this causes a drop in the temperature. Once the refrigerant temperature drops a few degrees below freezing, the evaporator coil begins to freeze. As ice develops on the coil, it blocks air flow, which causes a further drop in temperature, which in turn causes more ice, which in turn causes a further reduction in air flow, and we're off to the races in this circle of events that never turns out good. Unfortunately, the only fix for this one is to call out a professional service contractor, have the leak located and repaired, and the system properly brought back to the correct refrigerant charge.
Restricted Air Flow. There are several things that can cause restricted air flow but this is why a restriction in air flow can cause icing up. If a sufficient quantity of warm air is not allowed to flow across the evaporator (cooling) coil, enough heat can not be added to the coil or removed from the air. This allows the coil to get colder and colder until it eventually freezes. Once it freezes, the ice further blocks air flow, causing even more air flow restriction. The cycle continues until your AC unit looks like a large square snow ball. Here are a few things that can cause restricted air flow.
A dirty air filter. Check and replace your air filter often. Many times a service call can be avoided by this simple step. Don't assume that your filter is clean just because it was just replaced last week. Check it anyway just to be sure.
A dirty evaporator coil. This can sometimes be a little harder to check but it's worth the time to check it. The evaporator coil is the "cold" coil. It may take a few minutes to get to it, but it's worth checking.
A Dirty Blower Wheel. Air is moved in the spaces between the blades on the blower wheel. If the spaces are caked with dirt and "gunk", it will result in reduced air flow that can cause freezing.
Closed Supply Air Grilles. This is another one that happens all too often. Check ALL of your supply air grilles. If you find one closed, open it back up. Proper air flow depends on having all of your supply air grilles open. Most of the duct systems in our area are undersized and cause some restriction any way. Closed grille dampers just make it worse.
Furniture or Rugs on Top of Supply Air Grilles. Check to make sure nothing is sitting on top of your supply air grilles.
Supply Air Blower not running at full speed. This is less common, but possible. Check the blower when it's running. If it is visibly not running as fast as it should, it's probably not. This may be another time to call in a contractor.
A Restriction In The Refrigerant Circuit.This isn't extremely common, but there are times that this is more likely than others. They are:
An Older System
You have had a compressor replaced recently
Your system is making an unusual noise.
You see frost developing next immediately past the filter drier or the metering device.
The bottom line is this. If your AC system (heating or air conditioning) is malfunctioning, check the simple things first, and maintenance items immediately. Most problems can be traced back to dirt, dust, or just something in your system that doesn't belong. I hope this has been a help. Please feel free to contact us if I can be of any assistance.
If you're reading this you are most likely experiencing one of the most irritating things about owning a heating and cooling system. You're in your home minding your own business when all fo the sudden your heating and cooling system starts up. First you think it's an earthquake. Then you realize it's just your heating and air conditioning system. Next to find out WHY it's making that noise. Here are a few fairly easy steps to find and fix the problem.
First, start your system and listen to get a good feel as to where the noise is coming from. Most likely, the blower motor. The blower motor will usually be in the bottom of an upflow furnace or at the same end as the filter. Good! You have most likely found the source of the noise. Assuming the noise is coming from the blower motor we can begin troubleshooting.
Remove the cover from the blower compartment. Most furnaces either require no tools or at most a 5/16" nut driver. Once the cover is removed look for something obvious. Many times there will be a broken motor bracket. If not, check the blower wheel itself. Sometimes the inner hub will break loose from the wheel itself. Also, check the wheel for dirt and debris. A dirty blower wheel can throw the blower out of balance and really make the furnace shake. You will most likely need to remove the blower and motor assembly. It's really not hard and should only take a few minutes. Here's how.
TO REMOVE THE BLOWER AND MOTOR ASSEMBLY
The blower and motor assembly for your furnace OR air handler will be removed in a single assembly to make it easy. The blower assembly will usually slide out kind of like a drawer or a slide. Look at the assembly and find the part that it will slide on. This will usually be on the end of the assembly OPPOSITE the side where the filter will go or toward the evaporator coil and the heater section. There will also usually be two screws with 5/16" heads holding the assembly in place. Remove these two screws. Good! We're almost there. Now mark the wires and where they go and remove them. Sometimes it's easier to just cut the wires and reattach them with wire nuts when you reassemble the unit. Either way, it's good. Now we're ready to remove the blower.
The entire blower wheel and motor assembly will now slide out just like a drawer. Gently pull the assembly back being careful not to pinch one of the wires. You may have to wiggle it from side to side if it's a little stuck but that's fine. Pull the entire assembly out onto the floor. Now you can move it to a more convenient location to work on it.
REMOVING THE MOTOR FROM THE BLOWER ASSEMBLY
Now that the assembly is out, you can remove the motor. This will have to be done if there is damage to the motor, the blower wheel, or the brackets. Turn the blower housing so that the shaft end of the motor is turned up toward the ceiling. you will see one or two set screws, usually with a square head. Remove the screw. Spray a little penetrating oil in the hole where the set screw was and around the place where the shaft and the hub meet. Now to remove the wheel. First just try to see if it will come off easily. Sometimes they will. If not, don't sweat it. You will need a pair of pliers large enough to grab the blower wheel hub and an adjustable wrench. Place the adjustable wrench on the shaft of the motor and tighten it until it will keep the shaft from moving. Next take the pliers and twist the hub on the shaft to loosen it. Twist it back and forth several times if necessary. It should break loose and slide off the motor. If not, spray it again. Technicians have a tool for this. These instructions are here just in case you don't have it. If all else fails, you may have to hold the hub and tap the shaft with a hammer. Before doing this, make sure you have a piece of scrap wood on the end of the shaft. NEVER hit the shaft directly as it will "Mushroom" out and cause more trouble. This will almost always get it loose. Go ahead and slide the motor off the blower wheel and remove the motor. Don't forget to remove the motor brackets first. Now you have the motor and blower wheel disassembled and can make any needed repairs.
If you are unable to see any obvious problems, roll the blower wheel across a level and flat floor. If it is badly out of balance it will not track a straight line.
When the repairs are made, just reassemble everything in reverse order. Be sure to check the blower wheel after it's back in the blower housing by rolling it over a few times to make sure nothing rubs.
I hope this has helped. If you still have problems and we can help, please don't hesitate to Contact US.
Have you ever seen this or something that looked like this? It's not a pretty sight, especially if you have ruined flooring or a ruined ceiling. If you've owned your home for long, you may have seen water coming from your furnace or air handler. This is a common sight for homeowners and servicing contractors this time of year. It's ugly, but probably not a big deal to fix. In this article, I'll tell you what is causing it and how you can probably fix it yourself.
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Do you have one of these in your attic? Looks scary doesn't it? Unfortunately, the giant squid duct configuration is much too common. People have always told me I have a big mouth. I even worked for a contractor years ago that told one of the employees " I never know what's he's going to say next!". Well, I like to tell industry secrets. Here's a good one. Contractors don't make enough money doing ductwork to be profitable. Unfortunately, it's part of the job. Can you guess what the typical contractor does when ductwork becomes necessary. Yep, you guessed it. The normal practice is to run the ductwork as cheaply, as small, and as fast as humanly possible and get on to the real business, SELLING "BOXES"! Yep, lots of boxes; Trane boxes, Carrier boxes, York boxes, heck anybody's boxes, as long as we're selling boxes! That's where the money is; a lot of money in equipment and not much in labor. That's the way contractors make money, selling equipment, not making equipment work properly! The truth is
This article is published courtesy of our friends at Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating, and Air, Palo Alto, CA. Please visit them at paloaltoplumbing.net.
There are a variety of factor that go into selecting the right HVAC system. You’ll want to consider the efficiency rating, the installation method and your desired features. Once those have been established, you can select the appropriate size heat pump, whether it be a ground source, water source or air source heat pump.
Using the Manual J Method
The Air Conditioning Contractors of America have established a standard sizing practice that the HVAC industry follows throughout the country. This methodology, called the Manual J Method, requires the contractor to follow certain steps in selecting the right size heat pump.
The Manual J Method requires taking eight factors into consideration:
The local climate, and the variation in degrees for heating and cooling in the region.
The home’s design, including the shape of the home and the overall square footage.
The home’s insulation and whether it meets the needed efficiency rating for the particular region.
The number and location of all windows.
The occurrence of air infiltration.
How many individuals live in the home.
The residents’ preferences for indoor temperature, and how they use the home.
Other appliances and lighting that generate heat in the home.
The contractor should consider all these factors in order to appropriately follow the Manual J Method.
Why the Size of the Heat Pump Matters
Getting the right size heat pump saves you money on energy costs and helps maintain the longevity of your HVAC system. There are a number of problems that can occur when a system is too big or too small, including:
Increased on-and-off cycling, which places stress on the blower motor
Drastic and uncomfortable differences in temperature inside the home
Ineffective control of humidity indoors
Higher energy costs
When you hire a contractor to give you an estimate on an HVAC system, make sure he or she uses the Manual J Method to calculate what size heat pump you need. The contractor should input figures into the software program, as well as ask you questions about your preferences and physically look over your home’s setup. Selecting the right size heat pump will help ensure that your system is being used effectively, which saves you money.
Follow us for additional information on heating, cooling and more.
Heat Load Calculations For A Perfect Indoor Environment
I've often talked to homeowners that told me "This house has NEVER been comfortable....not for 20 years!" They have tried replacing equipment, replacing ductwork, replacing parts, contractors, the whole works, but nothing works. We were recently called to a home in the Jackson area to offer recommendations for a new home heating and cooling system. When I arrived I found that the system they were using was only 8 years old. "What's the problem?" I asked. The homeowners told me that the home had never been comfortable in spite of this being the third system in their home. They were visibly disgusted. The home was using a good quality 4 ton system. My first "aha" came when I checked the ductwork and found it severely undersized and poorly sealed. I took measurements of the home and left to left to run a Manual J residential load calculation. The calculation revealed that the ACTUAL heat gain for this home was 4.2 tons. The undersized equipment coupled with undersized ductwork explained the entire issue. My job was to make them comfortable at home.
After the heat load calculation, we met again and I explained just why they had never been comfortable. Do you think they met my evaluation and recommendation with open arms and no reservations? These poor people had suffered for years at the hands of unscrupulous and/or unqualified contractors and had spend thousands in the process. Now, here I come telling them the solution will run them another $11,000 or so. They were reluctant but agreed that my story sounded at least reasonable and agreed to proceed with replacing all of the ductwork and increasing the size of the system to a 16 SEER 5 ton system. A few days later and the whole project was completed. I could see the doubt in their eyes. I knew how hard it had been for them to trust me and I knew this better work. A couple of weeks later we had our first really hot day. I was confident but still a little scared. That evening my phone rang. It was my customer! "Oh no!" I thought! something has gone wrong. I answered the phone and it was him! "James, he said". Yes sir, i replied. "i just wanted to tell you how pleased we are with your work. This house has never been this comfortable."
While I like to pat myself on the back for my part, I have to realize that without a simple heat load calculation, I would have most likely done what the previous 3 contractors had done; just relace the equipment with the same size and capacity. A heat load calculation doesn't take a long time, but can make a world of difference in your comfort level and your energy costs for years to come.
If we can help, please don't hesitate to give me a call.
Why Your Home Air Conditioner Will Not Cool Properly
Every year about this time we're flooded with calls from home and business owners whose air conditioning systems are not cooling properly or adequately. Inevitably a lack of preventive maintenance is most often the culprit. The picture above is dirt that was washed off of a condenser coil at a local business. The building owner complained that the occupants and patrons were miserably hot. Why is preventive maintenance such a big deal? Why is a little dirt on the condenser coils such an issue?
It starts with the basic funcioning of a cooling system. The condenser coils are there to reject heat that has been "collected" from the inside of your home or business. The heat is rejected by moving air across the coils. If that air flow is blocked, the heat can't be rejected and is simply returned back to the inside to be recycled. Estimates range from 15% to 25% losses JUST FROM A DIRTY COIL! Couple those estimates with the fact that around half your monthly electric bill comes directly from your cooling system, and you have a very big issue. Assume your monthly cooling bill is $200 (just to have a starting place), and assume that half of that ($100) is what it is costing you to cool your home. A dirty condenser coil is probably costing you conservatively $20 every month. With a six month cooling season, which is pretty typical in Jackson, TN, that's $120 savings just for squirting a little water! Obviously, it's not that simple, but I'm sure you get the idea. Dirty condenser coils prevent your home from staying cool and cost you big!
Air and Energy Solutions offers several preventive maintenance plans for homes, businesses, and manufacturing facilities. If we can help, please feel free to give us a call at 731-434-9224 or CONTACT US, here.