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14 HVAC System Tips for New Homeowners in Portland

family-drinking-orange-juice-in-kitchenAre you a first-time homeowner in the Portland metro area? If so, HVAC systems might be unfamiliar to you. Want to learn HVAC equipment basics and maintenance tips from top experts? Our local HVAC company shares heating and cooling fundamentals below. 

HVAC Tips for Beginners

What is an HVAC system? HVAC stands for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.” As the name suggests, HVAC units are responsible for all your residential heating and air conditioning needs. While HVAC systems are complex machines with many intricate parts, there are nine main components you should be familiar with. Keep in mind not all HVAC units are alike, so consult your professional HVAC contractor with any questions.

9 Basic HVAC Components

1) Furnace

Your furnace is designed to heat air and push it through your duct system to properly warm up your home. Furnaces can run off of electricity or natural gas, come in single-stage or two-stage options, and are often installed in your garage, basement or utility closet. 

2) Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger is not technically part of your furnace, although it is often located inside of your furnace. The furnace is responsible for moving hot air into your ducts, but the heat exchanger converts cold air to warm air via the combustion chamber.

3) Evaporator Coil

Also located inside of your home furnace, the evaporator coil helps to cool your indoor air. Refrigerant circulates through the coil, which allows the evaporator coil to absorb heat from the incoming air. The chilled air then blows through the ducts to help cool your residence.

4) Condensing Unit

The condensing unit serves a similar function as the evaporator coil; however, the condensing unit is typically located outside your home and gives off heat. 

5) Refrigerant Tubes

Refrigerant tubes connect the evaporator coil to the condensing unit. They are usually made of metal, contain refrigerant, and join the indoor and outdoor units. 

6) Thermostat

Thermostats allow you to control the internal temperature of your home. Typically mounted on the walls of a home, they can be located throughout your residence. You can find manual, programmable, and smart options. Programmable thermostats can often help save energy costs.

7) Ductwork

Ductwork allows warm or cool air to be distributed throughout your home via air ducts. Hot or cool air is pulled into your HVAC system, where it is conditioned, then pushed back out to maintain ideal indoor temperatures. Ducts can be located in attics and in the ceiling spaces. 

8) Vents

As conditioned air moves through the ducts, it enters rooms in your home through air vents.

9) Heat Pump

A residential heat pump provides both heating and cooling. During colder months, the heat pump transfers cold air from the inside to the outside. In the warmer months, it does the exact opposite. 

5 HVAC Tips for Portland Homeowners

1) Know Your HVAC System

As an Oregon homeowner, you need to know what type of HVAC system you have. This will help you troubleshoot potential problems and plan your routine maintenance schedule. 

The most common system is known as the central air conditioning system and includes all the components listed above. Some homes, however, could have ductless systems. It’s also a good idea to know if your home uses a gas or electric furnace, or a boiler system. 

2) Don’t Close Your Vents

Keeping air vents open allows for proper air distribution throughout your home. Closed vents force your HVAC system to work harder and less efficiently.

3) Inspect and Clean Your Ductwork

As a new homeowner, it’s important to have your ducts inspected and cleaned by a professional. Dirty and clogged ducts can contribute to poor indoor air quality and increase energy costs. 

4) Replace Your Air Filter

One of the first maintenance steps you can take in your new home is to replace the air filter. Choose one that fits the best needs for your residence. Plan to replace your air filter every three months. 

5) Develop an HVAC Maintenance Schedule

hvac-maintenance-plan-in-portlandUpon moving into your new home, contact your Oregon HVAC contractor and schedule a maintenance visit. Once all issues have been addressed, develop a yearly maintenance plan with your contractor. Taking care of your HVAC system will keep your unit performing its best and can save you on energy costs.

Residential HVAC Services for Your Portland Home

If you are new to HVAC systems and need expert advice, AAA Heating and Cooling is here to help. Whether you are looking to schedule a routine visit or have an issue that requires immediate attention, our trained technicians can get the job done. Contact us today and let us assist you with all your HVAC needs. 

window-with-humidityExcessive humidity levels in your home can make your living conditions uncomfortable. Humidity can also cause damage to walls and flooring, encourage mold and mildew growth, and reduce your overall indoor air quality

If you are living with home humidity, you might be wondering, will your AC unit remove it? Want to know what HVAC services can help you tackle uncomfortable indoor air? Our residential HVAC contractors in Beaverton share AC facts and HVAC humidity control tips. 

How Does an Air Conditioner Remove Humidity?

Residential air conditioners cool your home by blowing cold air into your living spaces while removing heat and moisture. The warm air passes over evaporator coils filled with refrigerant, where it is cooled, then reintroduced into your home. 

We all know that air conditioners are designed to cool your home, but does your AC remove humidity? The short answer is yes. The cooling process also draws water vapor from the air, which condenses on the coils, then drains away. As water is removed from the air, via the AC unit, humidity is reduced.

Will Your AC Unit Remove Humidity Efficiently? 

can-ac-remove-humidityWhile home AC systems can help alleviate high humidity levels, dehumidifying the air isn’t their primary job. In order to keep your indoor air at comfortable levels, air conditioning units have to work extra hard. Why? Humidity holds heat so if you have excess levels in your home, the AC is working overtime to cool the air and remove the moisture. 

To make matters potentially worse, if your residence has an abundance of humidity that your AC can’t keep up with, you run the risk of stressing out your compressor, which can lead to failure. To mitigate potential problems, and keep you home free from harmful humidity, it might be time to invest in a whole-home dehumidifier.

Air Conditioning Units vs Whole-Home Dehumidifiers

The main difference between AC units and dehumidifiers is that air conditioners remove humidity by cooling the air and dehumidifiers decrease humidity by drying the air. Which one is the best solution for your Beaverton area home? Our local HVAC contractors weigh the pro and cons of each:

  • Energy Use: To properly control humidity levels, you might find yourself running your AC 24/7. This can increase your overall energy bill. Whole-home dehumidifiers can quickly reduce humidity levels and use less energy than central air conditioning units because they help speed up natural evaporation. 
  • Mold and Mildew: Because dehumidifiers dry out the surrounding air, they are more effective combating fungus and mildew that thrive in damp areas. Since AC units don’t remove moisture, bacteria and mold can grow more easily. If you or someone in your household suffers from asthma or mold allergies, a dehumidifier can help alleviate symptoms. 
  • Cost: Installing a whole-home dehumidifier for the first time can be a costly investment, but can save you in energy costs and take pressure off your AC unit. 
  • Temperature Control: Dehumidifiers cannot cool or heat a room. They are strictly designed to manage moisture levels. Dehumidifiers, however, can be installed to work in conjunction with your residential heating and air conditioning system. 

Making the Right Decision for Your Home

Are you experiencing uncomfortable humidity levels in your home and aren’t sure what to do? If your home feels overly humid, even when the air conditioning unit at its proper cooling temperature, here are some of your options:

  • Try some at home remedies to naturally reduce humidity. For example, check for leaks that could be contributing to humidity, consider placing fans strategically around your home, and change your HVAC filter.
  • Have your AC inspected for any problems. An excess of humidity can be the result of a faulty air conditioning unit.
  • Consider installing a whole-home dehumidifier to work with your central air conditioning unit.
  • If your AC is old or damaged, consider replacing the unit with a system that includes a dehumidifier.

HVAC Humidity Control Contractors in Beaverton

Looking to reduce your home humidity levels? Whether you need your current air conditioning serviced or are in the market for a whole-home dehumidifier upgrade, AAA Heating and Cooling is here to help. We provide service, repair, and installation in Beaverton and Portland. Contact us to schedule your appointment today. 

holding-calculatorBusinesses in Beaverton rely on HVAC systems for employee comfort and air quality. If you are breaking ground on new construction, you want to make sure you install the right HVAC unit for your building before opening your doors. 

Looking for a new system for your commercial property? Need advice on how to estimate the cost of a commercial HVAC system? Our team can help.

How Much Does a Commercial HVAC Unit Cost?

Installing a new commercial heating and air conditioning unit is an investment. A commercial HVAC unit is a complex machine that relies on multiple technologies and parts to function properly. Because of this complexity, costs depend on a variety of factors. To help you determine the variables that can affect HVAC pricing, let’s examine system components for existing buildings and new properties. 

HVAC Options & Costs for New Commercial Construction 

If you are buying a commercial property in Beaverton, or starting construction on a new building, it’s a good idea to evaluate your HVAC options and costs. The cost of a new HVAC unit and installation vary according to the system you are purchasing. Here are a few pricing factors to consider:

  • Heat Pumps, Central Air, and Furnaces
    Heat pumps tend to be more expensive upfront, but they can save on long-term costs. Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling, are considered a more environmentally friendly option, and are available ductless. Central air offers only cooling options, while furnaces only provide heating. Both typically require ductwork to be installed.
  • Temperature Controls
    Depending on the size of your business, your HVAC system might need a simple, single thermostat or a more involved setup of multiple devices. Costs vary based on the complexity of your needs. 
  • Energy Efficiency Ratings
    HVAC systems have a variety of ratings designed to let the consumer know the energy efficiency of the unit. SEER and EER energy ratings can affect the price of HVAC units. Those with higher efficiency ratings are more expensive, but have fewer negative impacts on the environment and are more energy efficient. This can save you money down the road.

Pricing Factors for HVAC Replacement in Your Existing Building

Is it time to replace your HVAC system? Here’s what you need to know before you work with your HVAC installer to determine the best unit for your needs. Keep in mind, now might be a good time to do a complete system upgrade. 

  • Commercial Heating and Air Conditioning Equipment
    commercial-hvac-systems
    Commercial HVAC systems come in two categories: air-cooled and water-cooled. Water-cooled HVAC units are more cost-effective options upfront. Air-cooled systems tend to cost more initially, but they are known to run more efficiently, which can save you money on energy costs. Equipment costs vary based on overall quality, heating and cooling capacity, and technical functions. 
  • HVAC Ductwork
    If you are replacing your HVAC unit you might have to consider installing new ductwork at the same time. Faulty or worn out ducts can impede the function of your new HVAC system, causing your unit to work harder and cost more to run. Consult with your HVAC contractor and see if your ducts need a thorough cleaning, or complete replacement. Installing new ducts will increase the cost of your HVAC installation, but will help with indoor air quality and energy efficiency.
  • Commercial HVAC Controls
    HVAC control systems offer a range of controller types, from programmable thermostats to Smart thermostats. As a result, costs can vary widely. As a rule of thumb, the more technologically advanced the controller, the higher the initial investment. While the costs could be more upfront, programmable controllers are highly efficient and can reduce your building energy costs considerably. 

Commercial HVAC Services for Your Beaverton Business

Whether you are looking to upgrade an existing HVAC system or need advice on the best solution for your new building, AAA Heating and Cooling is here to help. 

HVAC System Testing

Testing is a crucial component to any new HVAC installation. Whether your commercial building is brand new, or you have just upgraded a system in your existing building, an initial inspection and test run should be performed by your Beaverton HVAC contractor. Because HVAC systems are intricate machines, there will likely be some adjustments that need to be made before the entire system is fully functional.  

Warranties and Maintenance

Warranty consideration should be a main factor in your HVAC selection. A solid warranty will help prevent costly expenses in the future. Make sure to read over warranty offers closely, paying close attention to the length of terms, what parts are covered, and if an extended warranty is available. 

To ensure the longevity of your HVAC investment, you will need to schedule routine maintenance. Work with your HVAC installers to develop a yearly maintenance plan. 

Our expert HVAC contractors can recommend a suitable HVAC unit for your needs and budget. We proudly serve the Beaverton and Portland metro areas. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment. 

commercial-space-ductsWe all look forward to spring and summer. The days are longer, the sun is shining, and flowers are in bloom. For those with allergies, however, pollen can be a nuisance. While we associate allergies mostly with the outdoors, your Portland business’s indoor air quality can affect those with allergies as well. 

What’s worse? Mold, mildew, dust, and other debris could be circulating throughout your commercial property, exacerbating allergies. Did you know that your HVAC system plays a large role in helping to mitigate allergens? Our local HVAC contractors share tips on how to improve your air quality. 

Is Your Commercial HVAC System Making Allergies Worse?

Indoor air pollution comes from a variety of sources and can trigger allergic responses. The most common allergens found inside of commercial business in the Portland area include pet dander, mold and mildew, pollen, and dust mites. 

With Oregon leading the nation in the top five worst cities for allergy sufferers, it’s crucial to maintain good indoor air quality

4 Common Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality in Commercial Spaces

1) Mold and Mildew

poor-air-quality-in-businessesOur rainy seasons make for a perfect mold and mildew breeding ground. Mildew and mold quickly accumulate in damp, moist environments. As the spores travel through the air, they can aggravate allergies and even trigger asthma attacks. An improperly maintained HVAC system could be harboring harmful condensation and humidity. Turning on your commercial heating and air conditioning unit under these conditions could inadvertently expose people in your building to mold and mildew. 

The Fix:

To assess the health of your HVAC unit, schedule an appointment with your Portland HVAC contractor. They can address any problems and ensure that your system is functioning properly. You can also set up a routine maintenance schedule to keep your unit performing at its best. If you have a serious problem with humidity, consider installing a dehumidifier for your business. 

2) Dirty Ducts

Duct systems distribute hot and cool air throughout your commercial property. Over time, and without proper maintenance, air ducts can become clogged with dust, dirt, and other allergy causing debris. As the dirty air ducts circulate air through your building, the contaminants get circled as well.

The Fix:

To improve your overall air quality, have a professional perform a complete cleaning of your duct system. If your ducts are damaged from neglect, or simply past their prime, you might want to think about a replacement.

3) Clogged Air Filter

HVAC air filters are designed to trap dirt, pollen, and other pollutants and prevent them from circulating back into your commercial building. Dirty and clogged air filters can fail to function, causing pesky allergens to redistribute back into the air. 

The Fix:

Check and change your air filter frequently. Our Portland HVAC company recommends checking your air filters monthly and replacing them every three months. For a high-efficiency filter, consider upgrading to a filter with a high MERV rating

4) Stagnant Air

To help with energy efficiency, many commercial buildings are heavily insulated and air tight. While great from an energy standpoint, if indoor air doesn’t have a chance to escape you could be trapping allergens inside. 

The Fix:

Even if the temperature inside seems comfortable, it’s ok to run your air conditioning unit for 20 minutes to periodically circulate the air. AC units help remove stale air and draw fresh air inside. Work with a NATE certified HVAC professional to conduct a proper inspection of your HVAC unit and make sure your air conditioner is functioning properly. This is also a good time to check your AC energy efficiency and think about an upgrade if needed. 

HVAC Solutions for Commercial Buildings in Oregon

Help keep allergies at bay in your commercial building with professional HVAC services from AAA Heating and Cooling. Our skilled technicians provide professional service, expert installation, and quality repair. 

Want to ready your commercial property for the allergy season and beyond? Contact us today! 

suburban-homeIf you are a Beaverton resident you have likely heard about the new Cooper Mountain development expansion. In just a few years new homes will be built in this up-and-coming area of Beaverton. What will this growth look like? What effect will it have on current residents? 

Whether you are planning to purchase a new Cooper Mountain home or just want to keep abreast of the plans, we’ve got the details.

Your Beaverton HVAC Contractors Share Expansion Details

Beaverton has been growing rapidly in past years. Around 50 years ago Beaverton began its transformation from a quaint Tualatin Valley farming town into a vibrant Oregon city. Now the sixth largest city in the state, we are seeing more and more people move in to take advantage of all the amenities Beaverton has to offer. From our family-friendly atmosphere, to gourmet food scene, to dynamic Farmer’s Market and wealth of wineries, people from all over are wanting to call Beaverton home. With this influx of residents and growing families continuing their roots, leaders are looking to expand the Cooper Mountain area. 

What is Considered the Cooper Mountain Area?

The Cooper Mountain are is comprised of three distinct sectors:

  • North Cooper Mountain: a 510-acre area, which is inside the urban growth boundary and in unincorporated Washington County 
  • Cooper Mountain Urban Reserve: the 1,242-acre zone located between the North and South areas
  • South Cooper Mountain: a 544 acre area that was annexed by the city of Beaverton in 2012. 

The current development plan aims to maintain our distinctive landscape, while finding room for our growing population. The north and south regions will see the most expansion. The urban reserve area will keep the Cooper Mountain Nature Park untouched and preserve the majority of the natural areas. It’s estimated that only 600 acres of the 1,242 urban reserve area are developable. This development across all areas could provide around 3,700 new housing units as early as 2023 or 2024. 

What the Cooper Mountain Expansion Means for Prospective Homeowners

With the addition of new homes, there will be opportunities for residents in Beaverton and beyond to find their new dream home. Planning to take the plunge as an owner of one of these upcoming properties? It’s important to think about logistics like heating and cooling, energy efficiency, and air quality before signing on the dotted line. With brand new homes comes the advantage of a brand new residential HVAC system. 

There are many different types of HVAC units and levels of performance, so how do you know if you are getting the best heating and cooling for your new residence? When in doubt, consult your Beaverton HVAC installer and ask the important questions:

  • Is the HVAC unit the correct size for your home? Too large of a system will heat or cool your house quickly, but could create excessive humidity. If the unit is too small, it will struggle to effectively cool or heat your home.
  • What is the Energy Star rating of your HVAC system? Energy efficient units will save you on utility bills over time. 
  • Has the ductwork been properly installed? Ductwork that has gaps in the seams or loose connections will reduce air quality and energy efficiency.
  • Was the HVAC unit installed by a NATE certified technician?

If all signs point to a high-quality HVAC system, plan a routine maintenance schedule with your HVAC contractor. This will keep your system healthy and functioning for years to come. 

Residential HVAC Service for Your New Beaverton Home

HVAC systems are intricate machines that require the best technical expertise to keep them at peak performance. At AAA Heating and Cooling, we provide quality repair, expert installation, and professional advice. Want to ensure the health and longevity of your HVAC unit? Let one of our dedicated HVAC professionals in Beaverton assist you. Contact us today!

Click to View or Download Our Checklist

12-HVAC-Questions-To-Ask-Your-New-Home-Builder

man-drawing-blueprint2020 is an exciting time for commercial development in Beaverton. New hotels, the much anticipated Center for the Arts, and a wealth of new buildings will be breaking ground this year and beyond. 

Curious to know what new commercial properties will be popping up? What does this mean for potential business owners? Our commercial HVAC contractors give you the lowdown on all aspects of the progress.

Commercial Projects in the Works

From retail establishments, to restaurants, to arts and entertainment, our business sector is going through dynamic changes. Here’s a brief list of current and forthcoming business calling Beaverton home:

  • Two new hotels started construction at the beginning of 2019, and there are plans for more accommodations in 2020. 
  • More than 60 restaurants, including a wine bar and brew pub, have opened their doors nearby our Beaverton Central MAX station. 
  • The long awaited Center for the Arts broke ground November 13, 2019 and is expected to have its Grand Opening in the fall of 2021. 
  • Cedar Hills Shopping Center could see a major redevelopment with the addition of 500 apartments and new retail shops.

The ongoing projects are expected to bring in more jobs, increase tourism, and strengthen  our already vibrant downtown.

Does Your Commercial Property Need an HVAC System? 

Is your new business about to break ground? Have you thought about your unique commercial heating and air conditioning needs? 

maximize-your-HVAC-savingsWhether you are still in the planning stages or close to completion, keep these money-saving facts in mind when installing your HVAC system:

  • HVAC systems with higher SEER, EER, and HSPF ratings will increase your energy efficiency and save you money in utility bills over time. Maximize your savings by installing an Energy Star certified unit. 
  • New ductwork, that is properly installed and sealed by your HVAC contractor, improves air quality and helps maintain ideal indoor temperatures. With healthy air quality and regulated temperatures, you can avoid potential health complications like allergies and asthma. 
  • New HVAC systems require less maintenance upfront. Older systems can show signs of deterioration, struggle to work, or fail to function. While new HVAC units don’t require immediate care, don’t forget routine check-ups to help avoid costly repairs in the future.

At AAA Heating and Cooling, we provide expert repair, maintenance, and installation. Let one of our dedicated HVAC professionals assist you with your commercial heating and cooling needs. Contact us today!

family-cooking-in-kitchenThe condition of your ductwork is crucial to the effectiveness of your commercial or residential HVAC system. Problems with your air ducts can hinder the overall function of your HVAC system, causing the unit to work harder than needed. This can result in lower energy efficiency and poor air quality. 

While ductwork needs maintenance to ensure proper output, can HVAC ductwork go bad? Your local HVAC contractor answers this important question and provides details how ductworks function.

Ductwork Details from Your Portland & Beaverton HVAC Installers 

Our Beaverton and Portland HVAC company is often asked if ductwork can go bad. What does this mean? How long does residential and commercial ductwork last? What are steps you can take to ensure a healthy HVAC system? To address these concerns, it’s necessary to learn more about the function of ducts

Ductwork 101

Ductwork is engineered to distribute airflow from your HVAC system to your entire residential or commercial building. In simple terms, hot or cool air is extracted from your entire building into the HVAC unit where it then gets heated or cooled and recycled into your property via the ducts. Your HVAC goes through this cycle continuously to ensure ideal internal temperatures.

Think of ducts as air conduits that allow air a pathway to and from your HVAC unit. With that in mind, the straighter and shorter the track of the duct is, the better the air flow. In addition, any twists, blockages, and debris in your ductwork will impede optimum air flow. Therefore, it is important to make sure your ducts are properly cleaned and professionally installed for maximum performance. 

So, Can Your Home or Business’s Ductwork Go Bad?

common-ductwork-problemsWhile you can think of ductwork as pathways that air travels through, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are passive elements in the air conditioning and heating cycle. As air moves through the ducts, they can shift, expand, and contract. Winter heating causes the ducts to expand and summer cooling makes them contract.  

These movements put internal stress on the metal of the ductwork. While they don’t cause the system to go bad, per se, they will cause duct deterioration over time. What effect does this have on your ductwork? Seams can pull apart and ductwork can become detached, which impedes proper heating and cooling. This also opens the door to debris and water condensation, which can lead to rust. 

Common Signs for Ductwork Problems

Now that you know the importance of having healthy ductwork, how can you tell if your ducts are experiencing problems? 

  • Old ducts: If your residential or commercial ductwork is over 15 years old, and you haven’t performed routine maintenance, you might have deterioration in your ducts. 
  • Increased utility bills: If your utility bills are higher than expected, it could be a result of leaky or obstructed ducts. 
  • Poor indoor air quality: Gaps in your ducts can let irritants like pollen and dust into your residential or commercial property. This can not only aggravate allergies or asthma, but it can cause damage to your HVAC unit.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, let your HVAC contractor know right away to prevent any further damage. 

How Long Does Ductwork Last Before It Needs Replacing?

Even well-maintained ducts might eventually need to be replaced. How much life can you get out of your HVAC system before installing a new one? The good news is most ductwork lasts approximately 10 to 15 years.

If your ducts are older than 15 years, you might consider a complete replacement, or you might be able to just replace some of the components. An HVAC professional can perform an examination and determine the best solution. 

Your HVAC Ductwork Specialists in Beaverton and Portland

AAA Heating and Cooling serves the Beaverton and Portland areas. We perform routine maintenance to keep your ducts in top shape. We also provide HVAC repair and complete installation. Contact us today for all your ductwork and HVAC needs.

mother-and-child-by-windowLet’s face it, we can all use some help reducing our heating and cooling costs. We all want to save money on energy bills and get the most out of our HVAC systems. The more efficient our heating and cooling systems are, then less impact they have on our wallet and the environment. 

Our HVAC company in Beaverton is here to help you keep your residential HVAC system running smoothly and help you save on utility costs.

Home Heating and Cooling Cost Savings

Are your utility costs higher than you’d like? Before you invest in a new HVAC system, there are a few tips to help increase energy efficiency and lower your bills. From routine maintenance to ENERGY STAR equipment upgrades, AAA Heating and Cooling has the best solutions to managing your residential energy costs.

5 HVAC Tips to Save Money on Your Energy Bills

1. Check and Change Your Air Filter Frequently

Dirty air filters can impede airflow and cause HVAC units to work harder to maintain your ideal indoor temperature. This added stress on your unit can result in wasted energy and higher utility bills.

To avoid clogged and dirty air filters, our HVAC installers recommend checking your air filters every other month. If you notice any dirt or debris, change the filter right away. Otherwise, plan to install a new air filter every three months. Sticking to this schedule will help prevent dust and dirt from accumulating in the system. 

2. Install a Programmable Thermostat

smart-thermostatInvesting in a programmable thermostat can help save you on energy costs. In the average household, nearly half of the yearly energy bill goes towards heating and cooling. Controlling your temperature settings allows you to save more while still maintaining a comfortable air climate. 

You can always shut off your unit while you are away, but this can cause other potential problems. For example, turning off your AC unit in the summer might increase humidity levels. Programmable thermostats allow you to set your ideal temperatures while at home and away, reducing energy waste. 

3. Schedule Routine HVAC Maintenance

HVAC systems are complex machines that require routine tune-ups to keep them functioning at peak performance. Even if you’re not experiencing any problems with your residential HVAC unit, it’s a good idea to have your systems checked annually

Your HVAC contractors will thoroughly check and tune-up all components of your unit including:

  • Thermostat settings
  • System controls
  • Electrical connections
  • Gas connections, pressure, burner combustion, and heat exchangers
  • Air conditioning coils and refrigerant

Performing annual maintenance will help ensure maximum efficiency and improve the longevity of your unit.

4. Inspect and Seal Your Heating and Cooling Ducts

Ducts that transfer air to-and-from heat pumps, central air conditioners, and forced air furnaces can waste energy if not properly sealed. To help maintain energy efficiency, have your local HVAC installer seal the seams and connections of your duct system. Once your ducts are properly sealed, schedule professional duct cleaning every three to five years.

For even more energy-saving, consider investing in ductless heating and cooling. An alternative to forced air systems, ductless cooling and heating can save you on overall energy costs over time. 

5. Choose ENERGY STAR rated HVAC Equipment

energy-star-equipmentIf your HVAC system isn’t performing at its best, has low-efficiency ratings, or is more than 10 years old, it might be time to consider investing in a new system.

Choosing ENERGY STAR certified equipment can have a big impact on your overall energy costs and home comfort. What’s more? It has a better positive environmental impact.  

Contact Our Beaverton HVAC Company for Your Heating & Cooling Needs

From recommendations on certified ENERGY STAR equipment to performing routine maintenance, our HVAC installers are dedicated to helping you achieve energy efficiency. We proudly serve the Beaverton and Portland metro area, with two locations for all your service needs.

 

Click to View or Download Our Checklist

hvac-inspection-checklist-for-homeowners

family-in-poolWith summer right around the corner, many Pacific Northwest residents are starting to think about how best to stay cool as our days begin to warm up. If you are considering purchasing a portable unit for your home or apartment it’s important to know the options available to you. 

What AC units are better for your needs? Need to learn the difference between portable AC and ventless air conditioning units? Our Beaverton HVAC contractors provide details and answers below.

Types of Residential Air Conditioning Systems

You may not be aware that there are two types of portable air conditioning options for your home: portable AC and ventless AC. Both have unique cooling options with their own set of pros and cons. To help you make an informed decision on which one is right for you, check out the facts below:

The Difference Between Portable and Ventless Air Conditioners 

To ensure you purchase the right air conditioner for your home, it’s first necessary to understand the difference between portable and ventless AC units.

portable-ac-unitPortable AC units are outfitted with a hose that allows the system to transfer hot air from inside a room to outside. Due to their design, they must be installed next to a window in order for the hose to vent warm air outdoors. Once the exhaust is set up, all you have to do is plug in your portable air conditioning unit and turn it on. 

Ventless air conditioners, also known as evaporative air coolers,  do not use a hose or vent warm air outside. Instead, these units rely on a tank of water, the process of evaporation, and a fan to circulate the cool air throughout the room.  

Choosing Your Air Conditioning Unit

Now that you know the differences between each unit, which is the best solution for you? Let’s examine some pro and cons of each:

1. Portability: While the name, “portable air conditioner,” implies maximum portability, they are actually less moveable than ventless AC systems. Because ventless units don’t come with a hose that requires venting, they can easily be moved from room to room and plugged in. If you are looking to cool down multiple rooms with the ease of one unit, an evaporative air cooler might be right for you.

2. Efficiency: One factor to consider in choosing a portable cooling unit is its energy efficiency. Ventless AC units are more cost-effective upfront, yet they might cost you more in energy costs down the line.

cold-airPortable air conditioners are able to remove warm air from your room and dispel it outdoors, via their venting hose. Ventless units cool the surrounding air, but don’t have the ability to transfer any remaining hot air outside. This can result in you having to run your unit longer to achieve ideal cooling temperatures. 

3. Cooling Ability: When selecting an air conditioning unit, you want one that cools effectively, while being energy efficient. How effectively an AC unit cools your room can ultimately depend on the humidity levels in your area.

Portable air conditioning units are best for humid climates because they remove moisture from the air and vent it out. Ventless units are ideal for drier climates because they introduce moisture into the air as part of the cooling process. 

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we can experience a range of temperatures and humidity levels. That’s why it’s important to work with your HVAC contractor to determine the best air conditioning unit for your home.

Contact Our Beaverton Air Conditioning Installation & Maintenance Professionals

Looking for more guidance on the best air conditioning solution for your needs? AAA Heating and Cooling offers expert advice, installation, and repair for all your HVAC needs. Contact us today to schedule an inspection, or to discuss an upgrade, of your residential AC unit. 

Some heating and cooling issues might be able to wait a few days before being inspected. Other HVAC problems require immediate attention.  What constitutes an HVAC emergency? When should you contact a local HVAC contractor? 

How to Identify an HVAC Emergency

hvac-emergency-signsPressing HVAC troubles can not only be a nuisance, but they can present serious problems to your commercial and residential properties. Luckily an HVAC maintenance pro can help diagnose and remedy the problems. Not sure if you should call in the professionals? Our HVAC contractors share some signs of HVAC emergencies and when to take action. 

Assess the Situation:

HVAC emergencies can present in the following ways:

  • Diminished or absent heating power 
  • Lack of electrical power to your heater or other appliances
  • A noticeable water leak
  • Unusual odors, like rotten eggs or burning smells
  • Unusual sounds coming from furnace or air vents

The first step if any of the above problems present themselves is to stop the damage from getting worse. Shutting down the power and turning off the heater or water main can allow you time to assess the situation. 

Call an HVAC contractor if the problem you are experiencing in your residential or commercial property:

  • Continues after shutting off power, water, or heat
  • Presents any immediate danger (such as smoke or sparks)
  • Affects your ability to go about your daily personal or professional activities

5 Common HVAC System Emergencies

1. Clogged Condensate Line

A majority of HVAC service calls are about air conditioning leaks. The most common cause of leaks is due to a clogged condensate line. The condensate line collects excess moisture and moves it outside to prevent damage to your HVAC system. This line can become clogged with dirt, algae, and rust. When this occurs water can’t evacuate the system properly, leading to leaks. While the leaks generally start off small, they can cause serious water damage if not taken care of early on. 

To ensure your condensate line is functioning at its most efficient, it’s important to schedule routine maintenance before any major leaks occur. 

2. Frozen Outdoor Unit in the Winter

 It’s common to have trace amounts of frost on your outdoor unit during the colder, winter months. If your unit is covered in ice for an extended period of time, it can cause long-lasting damage. 

When there is ice build-up, either internally or externally, this can be indicative of a poorly functioning defrost cycle on your machine. There are several causes for this, like a bad fan motor or low refrigerant charge. If you notice an iced-over unit it’s best to call your local HVAC contractor.

3. Frozen Coils in the Summer

Frozen coils during the summer occur when the refrigerant temperature is below freezing. This results in the surrounding air to condense and freeze. There are several factors that cause the refrigerant temperature to become so low including:

  • Running the A/C when it’s below 60 degrees outside
  • Running the A/C too low

To avoid an unexpected HVAC emergency, your residential HVAC installers recommend that homeowners set their A/C at or above 70 degrees. If the issues above aren’t the cause of your frozen A/C unit, then other common factors, like blocked airflow or refrigerant leaks.

4. Blown Fuses and Tripped Breakers

An overworked blower in your HVAC system can cause blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers. If the airflow is blocked due to a dirty air filter this can put stress on your blower. This blockage can cause your blower to overuse energy, which results in tripped breakers. 

Schedule an appointment with your HVAC installer to perform a routine air filter checkup. They might recommend replacing the air filter before resetting the circuit breaker.  

5. Malfunctioning Furnace

Furnace problems can be the result of a variety of factors. A malfunctioning thermostat, controller issues, cracked heat exchangers, and dirty filters can all cause your furnace to function poorly. 

If you notice a scraping sound, or other atypical noises emanating from your furnace, the ball bearings or belts might be failing. A yellow flickering pilot-light could indicate excess carbon monoxide. If you are experiencing any furnace-related issues, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a technician as soon as possible.

To prevent minor problems from turning into major emergencies, have your furnace regularly serviced by an HVAC professional. Scheduling preventive maintenance keeps your furnace running in tip-top shape, saving on costly repairs down the line.

Commercial and Residential Emergency HVAC Repair in Portland and Beaverton

If you think you are experiencing an HVAC emergency, call one of our trusted HVAC professionals. We offer 24-hour emergency service and repair for your urgent situations.

Looking to schedule routine maintenance to keep your system running smoothly? Stop by one of our two locations in Portland or  Beaverton to meet with one of our HVAC contractors.