Why It’s Important to Schedule Heating Maintenance in Fall

October 3rd, 2014

We all know that tense moment when we first turn on our heating system: will it start up? One of the best ways ensure that this moment isn’t so tense is to schedule heating maintenance in Seattle, WA. There are multiple benefits to scheduling heating maintenance, and doing it in the fall season helps get you and your system ready for the cold winter weather that’s coming. It’s best to hire trained and certified professionals for all heating work, so if you are ready for fall maintenance, call the people you can count on: the NATE-certified technicians of S&L Mechanical.

What Happens During a Heating Maintenance Appointment?

Here is a general overview of what happens during a routine heating maintenance appointment: 

  • Check thermostat settings
  • Tighten all electrical connections; measure voltage and current on motors
  • Lubricate all moving parts
  • Inspect the condensate drain in your furnace or heat pump
  • Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation
  • Check all fuel connections, the burner assembly and heat exchanger
  • Conduct safety checks
  • Test system’s performance

What Are the Benefits of Scheduling Maintenance?

There are several benefits you can gain from scheduling fall maintenance for your heating system:

  • Prevents premature aging – a system that operates for long periods of time without maintenance usually operates under pressure. Why? The components are dirty and worn, and as such, cannot operate optimally.
  • Increases energy efficiency – when your components are not clean and have a level of wear and tear from usage, it can be hard for your system to operate as efficiently as it should. The cleaning, adjusting and lubrication that these components receive during routine maintenance allows them to run optimally, so your system can, too.
  • Reduces repairs – during maintenance, your system is thoroughly inspected by the technician. This inspection allows the technician to detect any problems that may have developed. Early detection helps you get ahead of repairs that can become large and costly.

Maintenance helps prepare your heating system for the winter. To schedule your fall heating maintenance in Seattle, call S&L Mechanical today!

 

3 Benefits of Going Ductless

September 26th, 2014

If your home does not have any ducts installed, you could call a contractor to add ductwork onto the home before installing your new heating and air conditioning system. However, this can be quite a hassle, taking up too much of your time and disrupting the daily activities around the house.

One alternative that is gaining popularity these days is a ductless mini split system. These systems use the same type of outdoor compressor unit as other central air conditioners, but without requiring a forced air system. Instead, air is distributed to the home via indoor air handlers that blow air directly into the rooms.

Learn more about the benefits of these high-performance systems below.

No Ducts!

While this point seems obvious, there are many benefits of going ductless that you may be unaware of. Ducted heating and air conditioning systems may be inefficient because air can easily escape through some areas of the ducts. In fact, duct losses are responsible for up to 30% of energy loss in some homes, which means you’re not getting as much heating or cooling as you need, resulting in poor performance and inefficiency.

Comfort for the Whole Family

Sometimes, a member of your family has special temperature needs that requires keeping a certain room cool at all times. Or, someone in the household wants to keep their own room warmer than the rest of the house. Ductless air conditioners come with built-in zone control because there are multiple units around the home. Each indoor air handler has its own thermostat, so you can choose the temperature in individual areas of the house.

Energy Savings

Finally, the money you save will likely be worth the initial investment. Zone control systems are generally cost effective because they allow you to choose to shut off the air conditioning in unoccupied areas of the home, so you won’t pay to cool a space that goes largely unused at certain times. Besides, most ductless units have high efficiency ratings, and many have a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) that is well above the average for AC units today.

To get ductless air conditioning in Seattle, WA, call the cooling experts at S&L Mechanical today!

Ways to Minimize Air Conditioning Repairs

September 19th, 2014

As the owner of an air conditioning system in Seattle, WA, it is very likely that, at some point, you will need to schedule an appointment for repair. While there is no way to completely avoid ever having to make a repair to your air conditioner, there are some preventative measures you can take to help reduce the amount of problems you experience. It is important, though, to have a company you rely on for those times when you need repairs, and the trained technicians at S&L Mechanical are available to help you 24/7.

Ways to Help Minimize AC Repairs

While we don’t recommend performing your own air conditioning repair work, there are a few steps you can take to help minimize the amount and impact of repairs:

  • Change the filter regularly – a clogged air filter can cause a number of problems with your air conditioning system, including restricted air flow, strain to your system and potential breakdown. It’s recommended that your air filter be changed every 3 months to ensure continued effectiveness and to avoid problems.
  • Make needed repairs – are you ignoring the signs or sounds of problems in your air conditioning system? Operational issues usually don’t go away on their own, and typically get worse with time. Making needed repairs as they occur not only takes care of that particular problem, but helps reduce the chances of a secondary problem developing.
  • Schedule bi-annual maintenance – maintenance is one of the best ways to keep your air conditioning system running optimally while also preventing repair. During a maintenance appointment, your system is thoroughly inspected, adjusted, lubricated and repaired as necessary. Maintenance allows the technician to detect problems and fix them, rather than having these issues develop into potentially large and costly repairs.

Having to repair your air conditioner is part of ownership, but following the suggestions above can help you reduce the amount of repairs your system may need. Experiencing problems now? Call S&L Mechanical today and schedule air conditioning repairs in Seattle.

Why It’s Important to Hire Professionals for Air Conditioning Service

September 12th, 2014

Some household tasks are great to do yourself, like yard work or indoor cleaning. But there are other household tasks that aren’t good to take on, such as repairs or other services needed for your air conditioner. Air conditioners are complex systems that require extensive working knowledge of both electrical and mechanical components and systems. Unless you have this knowledge, it’s best to hire professionals for all your air conditioning service needs. S&L Mechanical technicians are NATE-certified and available 24/7 to help you with all your AC needs.

Reasons to Hire a Professional

There are several reasons why it’s important to hire professionals for all of your air conditioning work:

  • Mistakes can cost money – one of the main attractions of working on anything in your home yourself is that you can save money. However, if you do not have the experience you need to work on your air conditioning system, it is very likely that you will make mistakes – and mistakes can cost you money.
  • Speed – no one wants to sweat it out on a hot day, especially when there’s a whole-home air conditioner in the property. Certified professionals conduct AC repair work every day; this makes them both efficient and fast. Will you be able to make repairs as quickly?
  • Safety – air conditioners are connected to your home’s electricity; additionally, they use refrigerant, for which you have to be certified. Both of these items can make working on an air conditioner very unsafe if you don’t know exactly what you are doing.
  • Specialized tools – your AC technician will have all the tools he/she needs at the ready – do you have all the correct tools, or do you need to purchase them?
  • You may find other problems – it is not unusual for a technician to begin work on your air conditioning system and find that there are other existing problems. Are you prepared for this possibility and can you make those repairs yourself on a timely basis?

There is household work that is perfect to do yourself, but repairing your air conditioning system is not a good choice. S&L Mechanical has the trained and certified technicians you need for any air conditioning service in Seattle. Call us today and schedule an appointment.

What Are My Options for Air Conditioning Installation?

September 5th, 2014

Replacing or installing a new air conditioner is an excellent idea for the fall. As you start to use your old AC less, you’ll have a good window of opportunity to upgrade to a fresh unit with superior efficiency and many years of trouble-free service ahead of it.

You have more choices for ACs than you may think: home comfort technology continues to evolve at a rapid rate. We’ve listed below some of the available options for your new air conditioning system. If the choices feel a bit bewildering, don’t let it concern you too much; you should contact professionals and let them help you make the decision. Afterwards, rely on them for the skilled installation that will take care of the job quickly and accurately.

For quality air conditioner service in Seattle, WA, you can trust to S&L Mechanical. Our technicians are available around the clock in case of emergencies.

High Velocity Air Conditioners

A high velocity AC is an excellent choice for homes that lack sufficient room for large ducts, and they also supply cooling that’s extremely energy-efficient and effective. These systems use small ducts and high-pressure airflow that distributes cooling rapidly throughout a room.

Heat Pumps

The standard heat pump that hooks up to a ventilation system is a great option for replacing an old air conditioner because it solves two problems at once: it delivers cooling and heating using the same process. Heat pumps use less energy in heating mode than most electric and gas furnaces and boilers, and they provide a great way to lower your bills while keeping a home comfortable throughout the year.

Ductless Mini Splits

This is another choice that works well for homes that lack room for ducts. But they are also excellent for remodeling, new home construction, or if you have concerns about indoor air quality. Instead of using standard ducts, ductless mini splits use individual blowers distributed throughout a home to send cooled air directly into rooms. You receive the power of a central AC with the point-cooling ability of window units. They can also be installed as heat pumps.

Geothermal Cooling

People sometimes think that geothermal power is only useful for heating. It’s not true! A geothermal heat pump can also supply a home with cooling at a level even more effective and efficient than a standard air conditioner. Geothermal systems also have immense longevity—and they aren’t as arduous to install as you may imagine.

Not every system is ideal for every house. Call in HVAC experts to look over your home and property so they can tell you what systems rank among your best options. You can count on S&L Mechanical to give you the answers you need… followed by the installation service that will take good care of your home and everyone in it. Look to us for air conditioner service in Seattle, WA.

The Very First Labor Day Celebration

August 29th, 2014

Labor Day as a federal holiday, held on the first Monday of September, has been with us now for 120 years. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. Ever since then, the three-day weekend has provided people in the U.S. with the opportunity for vacations, time with their families, shopping trips, and a general celebration of the conclusion of summer and the beginning of fall.

However, there were twelve years of Labor Day observations in the U.S. before it became an official holiday. The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City on September 5. According to the accounts from the time, it had a rough start and almost didn’t happen.

The main event planned for that first Labor Day was a parade along Broadway that was to start at City Hall. However, the parade ran into a bit of a snag early on. The marchers started to line up for the procession around 9 a.m., with a police escort to make sure the event went peacefully. However, the problem of the day wasn’t rowdy members of the parade—it was that nobody had remembered to bring a band!

With people ready to march, but no music to march to, it started to look like no parade would happen at all, and the first Labor Day would have ended up a failure. But just in time, Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union—one of the two men who first proposed the celebration—ran across the City Hall lawn to the Grand Marshal of the parade, William McCabe, to inform him that 200 men from the Jeweler’s Union of Newark were crossing the ferry to Manhattan… and they had a band!

At 10 a.m., only an hour late, the band from Newark walked down Broadway playing a number from a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They passed McCabe and the other 700 marchers, who then fell in line behind them. Soon, the spectators joined in, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people marched through Lower Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

The parade concluded two hours later when the marchers reached Reservoir Park. But the party was only getting started. Until 9 p.m., some 25,000 people celebrated with picnics and speeches and beer kegs. It was an enormous success, and all thanks to the speedy arrival of jewelers carrying band instruments.

If those musicians from Newark hadn’t shown up, perhaps we wouldn’t have the holiday opportunity that we now have every year. However you celebrate your Labor Day, our family at S&L Mechanical wishes your family a happy end of summer.

How Does AC Maintenance Help With Repairs?

August 22nd, 2014

Even if you own a top-of-the-line air conditioner, your system is not safe from repair needs. Air conditioners work hard over the summer, which means it may become damaged over time. But if your air conditioner breaks down suddenly, you may be without air conditioning when you need it the most. Air conditioning maintenance is a service that can help decrease your cooling costs and prevent sudden problems from occurring.

Let’s take a look at some of the steps of this important service and how it may help prevent repairs in the future.

Cleaning

During maintenance, a technician cleans various parts of your system including the indoor and outdoor coils. This is partly because dirty parts can decrease the efficiency of your air conditioner, but they can also cause damage to your system that may lead to the need for repairs. If dirt or debris infiltrates a motor, for example, it may overheat and break down. The cost of a maintenance visit may be offset by the money you’ll save on such repairs.

Adjustments

A technician will also make minor adjustments or repairs that may be completed quickly at no extra cost, including bent condenser fins or loose parts. Minor problems may end up damaging large components of your air conditioner. A loose fan blade, for example, may inhibit airflow to the evaporator. Low airflow can cause the evaporator coil to freeze.

Inspection

At the end of the maintenance visit, the technician will inform you of any problems found in your system during inspection so that you can schedule repairs. It’s important to catch issues early on, because a failing part may affect other components of your system, leading to a whole-system breakdown. If the technician notices a problem early on, you can reduce wear and tear to your system by scheduling an appointment right away.

The end of the cooling season is near, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to protect your air conditioner from breakdowns for the rest of the summer. Call the experts at S&L Mechanical for repairs or maintenance for your air conditioner in Seattle.

3 Signs of Low Refrigerant

August 15th, 2014

Air conditioners are often a necessity in the warm summer months and many homeowners will do anything they can to prevent their systems from breaking down. One of the most common problems with air conditioners is low refrigerant. Refrigerant levels may be low if the technician did not add the proper amount upon installation or if your system is leaking. Leaks may form from corrosion or loose connections along the refrigerant line. Insufficient levels may lead to a variety of problems, such as limited cooling, frozen coils, or compressor damage, so it’s important to call for air conditioning repair when you notice any of the following signs of low refrigerant.

Hissing Sounds

If your refrigerant is leaking, you likely won’t be able to see any signs, but you may be able to hear it. A leaking refrigerant line sometimes makes a hissing noise as liquid or gas leaks from a small hole or tear. Whenever you hear unusual noises from your AC, you should call a technician right away.

Reduced Cooling

The air conditioning process needs refrigerant in order to cool a home. Without the right levels of refrigerant, the AC may be unable to remove heat from the home, and you may not feel any cool air at all. Your air conditioner will continue to attempt to cool your home, however, which means it will use a lot of energy to run, costing you money every month.

Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On

Some air conditioners are designed to shut off when the refrigerant gets too low. However, don’t assume a breakdown is an easy fix. If your air conditioner stops running, it may also be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a broken compressor.

You should keep in mind that simply recharging the refrigerant does not address the source of the problem. Refrigerant leaks can lead to major damages in your system. If you believe you have low refrigerant or any other problem with your air conditioning system, call S&L Mechanical for air conditioning repair service in Seattle. Our experts will fix leaks and add the proper level of refrigerant to prevent further repair needs and keep your AC running smoothly.

Why Does Size Matter with Air Conditioning Installation?

August 8th, 2014

When it comes to home projects, a lot of things are left to the “rule of thumb”. But many times, these simple “rules” can be inaccurate. This is no different when it comes to sizing your air conditioner. Many times, the rule of thumb for a new air conditioning installation is “bigger is better”. The truth is that many factors go into calculating what size of AC you’ll need in order to properly cool your home. This is why it’s important to work with a trained expert, like the ones at S&L Mechanical, who know and understand how to properly calculate cooling loads.

Why Size Matters

A wrongly-sized air conditioner is either going to be too big or too small. Each situation brings its own set of problems, but both will make your indoors uncomfortable.

When your AC is too small, it can’t cool your home adequately. This can result in constant cycling as the air conditioner tries to achieve the cooling you need. Constant cycling can wear down your components, cause motors to overheat and lead to possible breakdown.

An air conditioner that is too big presents a somewhat different problem. Part of the cooling process is the removal of humidity in the air, but when an over-sized air conditioner is installed, it cools the air so quickly that it doesn’t have the chance to dehumidify your home; this is known as short cycling, because the cycles are too short. Short cycling can wear down your system prematurely and leave you feeling cool and clammy instead of cool and dry.

Calculating Properly

The way to ensure you install an air conditioner that fits your home is to determine the cooling load you need. A cooling load is the amount of cooling you will need to comfortably cool your home. Multiple factors are considered when calculating, such as:

  • Orientation of your home
  • Insulation levels
  • Daytime heat gain
  • Windows – types and how many
  • Floor plan
  • Number of rooms
  • Number of occupants
  • Square footage

The calculation for cooling load can be complex, which is why it’s important to work with a trained professional.

Install with an Expert

No one wants to install a new air conditioning system only to find that it’s too big or too small. By working with a trained professional from the beginning, you can ensure your air conditioning installation goes smoothly. S&L Mechanical has helped many customers with their AC installation, and we can help you, too. Call us today and schedule an air conditioning installation in Seattle with one of our experts.

Check Out Our Blog for the Latest in HVAC Technology

August 28th, 2013

Be sure to bookmark the S&L Mechanical Heating and Cooling blog for updates on the latest advances in HVAC technology.

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Call S&L Mechanical Heating and Cooling for all your Heating, Air Conditioning, Indoor Air Quality, Water Heaters, New Construction HVAC, and Commercial Services needs.