Choosing The Right Water Heater

Choosing the right water heater is not simply a matter of the best brand or having the bigger, the better. With the cost of energy rising, our first consideration will be what is enough for your household? Considering usage, what type of water heater will be best? A household spends between 14-20% a year of the utility bills on water heating. Know the different types, heat source, size, and costs before you decide.

Types of Water Heaters

Conventional Storage Tank Water Heaters

This is the most common type of water heater.  Water is heated in the tank either by gas or electricity and stored until needed. Natural gas types of storage tank heaters cost less than the electric type, though the natural gas water heaters have a higher initial out-of-the-pocket cost. They generally cost less than other water heaters. Still, in general, this wastes energy as water in the tank is kept heated.

Storage water tank heaters last about 10-15 years.

Fuel sources: Electricity, propane, natural gas, fuel oil

Tankless or On-Demand Water Heater

A tankless water heater provides heat only when you turn on the faucet or shower, and as such is more energy efficient. However, with multiple simultaneous users, it becomes less efficient in heating water consistently. To solve this you might need another tankless water heater if hot water usage is high. This is more costly than a storage water tank heater.

The good note is that tankless water heaters last longer, about 20 years or more.

Fuel sources:  Electricity, propane, natural gas

Heat Pump Water Heater

Heat Pumps work by pulling heat from the air and then transferring it to to the tank to heat the water. They are more energy efficient than conventional storage tank heaters, but they cost more to install. Furthermore, this type of heater doesn’t work well in cold places, and they need to be installed in places that maintain heat between 40-90 degrees. Heat pump water heaters also need more space of clearance around it to be able to capture enough heat from the air, plus a drain for the resulting condensate.

Heat Pump water heaters last about the same as the storage tank type, 10-15 years.

Fuel sources:  Electricity, propane, natural gas

Solar Water Heater

As the name suggests, solar panels installed on the roof absorb the sun’s heat and transfer the heat into the storage tank. Though this is earth-friendly as it uses nature’s own heat, this may not be enough on cloudy days or when demand is high, or where there is not too much sun. You will still need a backup heater just in case. They are also relatively expensive to install.

Solar water heaters last about 20 years.

Fuel source: Solar heat

Tankless Coil or Indirect Water Heaters

A tankless coil water heater works by water flowing through a heating coil in the main furnace or boiler. They may not be efficient all the time. Indirect water heaters, on the other hand, are more efficient. They work by using the boiler or main furnace to heat fluid through a heat exchanger in the storage tank.

The lifespan of tankless and indirect water heaters: 10 years.

Fuel sources: Electricity, propane, natural gas, fuel oil.

Aside from choosing the right water heater and the availability of fuel source in your area, you also need to consider the size/capacity. Contact us for a more efficient estimate and to get your best options in choosing the right water heater.

The Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are becoming the product of choice over the traditional hot water heaters.  Consider the several advantages of a tankless water heater.

Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

Energy Efficient

tankless water heatersTankless heaters use up less energy as it heats up water only when you turn the faucet or shower on. This means more savings for your household, aside from the fact that you are helping the environment in conserving energy. Imagine needlessly keeping about 50 gallons of water hot in a storage tank versus using heat only as needed. This translates to earth-friendly efficiency. Energy savings will be about 30-50% more.  You also enjoy a steady hot water supply as needed.

Space Saving

Tankless water heaters take up significantly less space than units with tanks, thus you can be more flexible with the installation.  You can install a small water heater in a closet or under a cabinet, nearer to area of usage.

Cleaner, Safer Water

When you use water from a tank, you are using stored water with a possible build-up of scale and rust. This does not have to be the case with a tankless water heater.

Reliable and Durable

Tankless water heaters last much longer by 5-10 years, even more.

As for the disadvantages of a tankless water heater, the main concern is the initial, out-of-the-pocket cost. The tankless types can cost up to three times more. There might also be additional installation costs, like adding a natural gas line for gas heaters or possibly installing additional circuit for electric models.

Considering these costs may be overwhelming, but consider the long-term benefits.  With a traditional storage tank heater, you might have to replace it again in approximately 10 years. This plus the monthly cost add-on to your energy bill by 40% more. Tankless water heaters give significantly more years of use.

If you are considering a tankless water heater, contact us now.

Home Maintenance & Efficient AC Performance for Air Conditioner Columbus, Ohio

Your Home Air Conditioner Maintenance

Home air conditioner maintenance will not only help in lowering your energy bill, but will also extend the life of your AC unit. It will also save you from costly repairs with just more diligent care of your AC. Before doing any preventive maintenance, remember to shut off electrical supply to your unit. This will ensure safety when working around the air conditioner’s moving parts.

Air Conditioner Filters

Filters Home Air Conditioner MaintenanceYou should change filters, or clean reusable filters, at least twice a year.  Ideally, this should be once before the cooling season begins and then before the heating season as well. Having dirty filters make your AC unit work harder since this reduces air flow and thus lower its efficiency.  If your location is in a dusty, populated area, you may need to change or clean your filter more often. A regular, monthly inspection of your AC’s filters will give you an idea whether you need cleaning or replacement twice a year or every two months. See a related article in preventative maintenance.

Condenser and Evaporator Coils

The filters help prevent dust, dirt, and debris from getting into your AC unit.  However, your AC’s condenser and evaporator coils will still gather dust over months and years of service.  The outdoor condenser unit collects dust and debris because a central fan sucks air from around it. This pulls dust all sorts of debris such as dead grass, dead leaves, and those floating “cotton” from dandelions and cottonwood trees.

With all these blocking the air flow into your unit, it lowers your AC’s cooling efficiency.  You can further help your unit by cleaning debris around the condenser and cutting foliage by at least 2 feet to allow enough air circulation around the condenser. Keeping the coils clean will help in the cooling efficiency and years of service of your AC.

Coil Fins

The coil fins are the fine metallic blades on the coils. These are fragile and can bend easily, and thus block air flow.  In such a case, there is a tool easily available in hardware stores called the “fin comb” which will straighten them back to nearly original condition.

Regular Check Up of Your AC Professional

Other than the ones mentioned above, there are some tasks that only your AC professional can do. Checking the refrigerant level is one.  Regular home air conditioner maintenance by your licensed AC technician will help in maintaining the efficiency and prolonging the years of service of your unit.

 

 

Plumbing Problems: Knowing When To Call Your Plumber

We all associate a plumber for common plumbing problems like water leaks under the sink and drainage problems, but there are telltale signs when you need to call your emergency plumber.

Symptoms of Plumbing Problems

Water Bills Become Higher Than Usual

A higher water bill suggests burst water pipes or your toilet’s flush not working properly, causing toilet running all the time. Aside from burst water pipes that will obviously cause some puddles in your basement, floor, or seeping through the walls of your home, or a toilet running all the time.

Slow Draining Toilets

This is a symptom that necessitates an emergency plumber.  This strongly suggests there is a clog along the lines. This might soon get to the point that your toilet gets fully clogged. Do not wait till your toilet gets totally clogged and not working.

Water Heater Problems

If your water heater is not working, this is also an issue of concern especially for safety that needs the attention of your emergency plumber.

Gas Leaks

Aside from usual plumbing problems, your plumber also takes care of your copper pipes and furnace connections. This is one of the most serious plumbing problems that require immediate attention.  This can pose health hazards when there is gas/carbon monoxide leak. Another gas line that needs checking for leaks is when you have built-in barbecues. This is a danger that might not be too obvious since it is in open air and leaks dissipate quickly. Hence, whether you smell a gas leak or not, have your plumber inspect this regularly.

Frozen Pipes

Extreme cold temperatures can cause water to stop running into your home due to frozen pipes.  This needs an emergency plumber to defrost the pipe as well as ensure that the frozen pipes do not crack or burst which causes an even bigger problem.

Need an Emergency Plumber?

Contact American Air to check your plumbing system and thus avoid situations at home that can be anywhere from a minor discomfort to a serious problem.

The Air Conditioner: A Modern Luxury?

Air conditioners have been around for ages since it was invented by Willis Carrier in 1902.  Since then, the use and improvement of air conditioners have come a long way, and its usage has become increasingly popular. So is the air conditioner a modern luxury or a necessity?air conditioner modern luxury

Come to think of it, our great grandparents have lived without it. So, what makes it so much a seemingly necessary appliance?

The Importance of  the Air Conditioner in Our Life

As the population grew, and modernization continued its momentum, more and more uses of the air conditioner have evolved.

More than the comfort of a cooler air, the air conditioner has made a lot of things possible since its invention.  For one, having air conditioning has made architectural structures with more compact designs possible. This makes for a more efficient use of space particularly of offices in an ever-growing population. It also makes possible the large gathering of people in a compact area. Air conditioning also provides comfort for office workers which of course results to greater productivity and over-all well-being. Laboratories and hospitals (at least in the critical areas such as operating rooms) cannot exist without air conditioning.

Summers are also getting warmer, and from a luxury, an air conditioner has become a necessity if we are to preserve our well-being, overall disposition, and health.

The Downside

The big question is the growing over dependence on air conditioners, which of course, has a downside.

In the US alone, cooling America’s architectural structures and vehicles means an additional half a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the air annually.

This is becoming a global concern, and we can all do our part by minimizing our overuse of our AC units. Even turning the thermostat a degree or two up will have a good impact on the environment.  Proper maintenance of our AC units also helps. Air conditioners have also evolved in such a way that AC units have continued to improve.  They have become more energy efficient and thus, beneficial to the environment.

The bottom line is, while an air conditioner has gone from a luxury to a necessity, we need to do our part. Conscientious use and maintenance of our air conditioner will collectively benefit us all, from lower bills to a better environment.

The Most Common HVAC Repairs Columbus, Ohio

HVAC units are built sturdy enough to last for many years, but a diligent maintenance will keep them at optimum performance. Knowing the most common problems and HVAC repairs will help you understand how to keep your HVAC operating more efficiently longer.HVAC Repairs

The Common HVAC Repairs

Blown Fuses

The fuse is what keeps the unit’s compressor or motor from overheating. When the unit stops working, the technician checks this first.

Filters

Filters actually need to be replaced or cleaned about every 2 months if your want your unit to be operating smoothly. A dirty filter reduces air flow which causes the unit to freeze.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant keeps the air cool, and hence, when there are leaks, the unit will not keep a comfortably cool temperature. This also will lead to another problem, the compressor.

Compressor

The compressor is regarded as the heart of the unit, and if the refrigerant levels are low, the compressor will eventually stop working.

Drain Lines

A drain line removes the condensation building up in the condenser coil. If the drain line collects dirt, there will be a water build up in the drain pan and can cause water damage to the unit.

Condenser and Evaporator Coils

Coils remove heat from the air. Check the coils and keep it clean.  Dirty coils reduce the cooling power of your air conditioning system causing your AC unit to work harder. If the unit is off, you can clean it with a water hose.  If you are uncomfortable spraying out the coils then it is best to let an HVAC technician clean it for you.

Capacitors

A capacitor jumpstarts your HVAC’s motor and keeps it running smoothly and at a consistent speed. This, however, can burn up and hence, will not start the motor of the unit. When this happens, only an HVAC professional should tackle this due to the high risk of electrocution.

Knowing these common HVAC repairs will help you in maintaining your unit better to last longer. Read a related post on preventive maintenance of your unit.

 

 

 

 

 

Air Conditioning Problems: Columbus AC Repair

air conditioning problems and common ac repairsAre you experiencing some air conditioning warning signs like your air conditioner not blowing cold air, or your bills running unusually high? Here are the common signs that may require an ac repair:

1) Your room isn’t cooling / your air conditioner is not blowing cold air.
2) Your bills have become unusually high even if you have been using your unit the same duration as before.
3) There are strange noises upon turning AC on and during operation.
4) Air conditioner turns on and off frequently.
5) The fan is not working.
6) Water is leaking.

Common Causes of Air Conditioning Problems

Low refrigerant level – the refrigerant is a chemical responsible for cooling the air in your air conditioning system. Hence when this air is not cold enough, the most common problem is a low refrigerant level. This most common reason is a leak. The possible leak needs to be traced and repaired, then recharged with the refrigerant.

Utility bill has gone unusually high in spite of same duration or level of use – this problem suggests an inefficient operation of your unit. It could be a dirty air conditioning filter or air conditioning coils. This will overwork the compressor and fans and will likely wear them out.

Strange noises during operation of the unit – A possible cause of this can be anything from a loose screw or a problem with the blower motor or the fan blades.

Air conditioner turns on and off frequently – this could be a sign of electronic failure. This could be due to the corrosion of wire or terminals which need to be checked immediately as it can wear out the compressor and fan controls, causing bigger problems. As this may be caused by faulty wiring, this needs an immediate air conditioning repair.

Water is leaking – during normal use, moisture forms as a condensate collects in a pan and flows out from the drain. If this is clogged and not draining properly, water accumulates and this can be solved by cleaning the blockage, replacing the tube, or a replacement of certain parts that help the proper drainage.

These common AC problems can be anything from a minor discomfort to a serious safety hazard. Call an American Air specialist for a Columbus ac repair,  your unit check-up and air conditioning repair needs.

Circuit Breaker Basics

Circuit Breaker Basics

Circuit Breaker Definition

To understand the importance of a circuit breaker, we need to understand what it is and what it exactly does.  A circuit breaker is an automatically operated electrical switch which serves to protect an electrical circuit from damage. This can be due to excess heat flowing through, or in other words, an electrical overload, or a short circuit.  Hence its basic function is to detect a fault condition and automatically disconnect the electrical equipment from the voltage source. Below are some circuit breaker basics.

Electrical Overloads

When there are too many devices that are operating, this can exceed the circuit limit, and this can be dangerous. With a circuit breaker, it prevents any serious damage by automatically shutting off the circuit at the main electrical panel.

Short Circuits

A short circuit occurs when two bare conductors, e.g. positive and negative terminals of a current touch on a low resistance conductor.  With the low resistance in connection, excessive current is produced in such a short time, and possibly destroy the power source or even actually explode.  Circuit breakers thus prevent this from happening. This can happen with alternating current (AC) or what we commonly know as electrical or direct current (DC) from a battery.

Short circuits can happen when high levels of heat cause the insulation to break or flake off, exposing the conductors and thus causing a short circuit.

Which of the Circuit Breaker Types to install?

With practically everything in homes or offices uses electricity, circuit breakers are a must to prevent damage to your electrically-operated devices and possibly cause electrical fires.

Knowing these circuit breaker basics, your next question is what type to install. There are however several types of circuit breakers depending on the needs of your home or office. This being an important safety feature of the home or office, check with your licensed electrical professional. They can best determine which is best according to your needs.

 

Safety Precautions Your Electrician Wants You To Know

Among home accidents, one of the most dangerous is about electrical wirings — it can be deadly! Here are some safety precautions your electrician wants you to know.

The Safety Precautions

  1. Unless you have had training in electricals, never attempt to fix things yourself. The current running through the wires is enough to cause serious damage or even death.
  2. If you have to do anything at home that puts you in close contact with your home’s wirings, like the ceiling/roof, remember to turn off the main switchboard.
  3. Never use an appliance when in contact with water. Water conducts electricity and using an appliance near water can cause serious or even fatal damage.
  4. Do not overload adapters with several appliances. This electrical overload can lead to fires.
  5. Use safety devices that will protect children from touching outlets.
  6. Periodically check your appliances’ wirings for any damage to the cords/cables.
  7. Have your wirings inspected by a licensed electrician.  After a few years, the wiring system might no longer be adequate for the electricity you need. There might also be tears or damage that need replacement.

safety precautions from an electricianKnowing these safety precautions will prevent serious home accidents. Remember to contact your licensed electrician for electrical inspection, repair, or replacement.