The Clean Air Act Inc. is owned by Rodger and Keri, who started the company in April 2000. The Portland heating and cooling technicians at Clean Air Act Inc. are experts in the installation of full systems, including gas furnaces, heat pumps, ductwork and air filtration. They also offer maintenance and repair services to their customers.
If you are in the market for a new air conditioning system this year, why not consider a heat pump? These systems are extremely efficient, effective, and can provide year-round comfort with just the flip of a switch (oops, spoilers!) In fact, we can’t see many reasons why homeowners wouldn’t want this type of system in their homes!
Below, we have listed all of the benefits of making the switch to a heat pump (or at least as many as we could think of!) All you have to do is keep reading to find out more — and of course, remember to contact a professional for your AC installation in Portland, OR.
Okay, now where were we? Oh yeah, that’s right: heat pumps!
So, What is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump works much like a traditional air conditioner, relying on the flow of refrigerant to transfer heat from one place to another. But what sets the heat pump apart from a standard AC is the reversing valve. This is the mechanism used to reverse the flow of refrigerant through the system, allowing for home heating in addition to cooling. Cool, right?!
Heat pumps come in both ducted and ductless models, so depending on the layout and size of your home, you will be able to find the system that best meets your needs! Ducted models operate just like a traditional forced-air system while ductless systems utilize multiple indoor air handlers.
Are There Any Benefits?
There are plenty of benefits of installing a heat pump in your home, including:
Better Efficiency: Perhaps the most important benefit of installing a heat pump is better energy efficiency. Because these systems do not generate their own heat, but rather move it from one place to another, they use much less energy than other HVAC systems. Installing one of these systems is a great way to boost efficiency and cut back on monthly spending. Plus, a system that is energy efficient is going to require fewer repairs than one that is not.
Versatility: No heater or air conditioner has the ability to both cool and heat your home, which is why the heat pump is so unique! With just the flick of a switch, you’ll be able to flip between heating mode and cooling mode, depending on your comfort needs!
Convenience: When you invest in heat pump installation services, you will no longer have to worry about the cost of maintaining two different HVAC systems. As you know, costly repairs and untimely replacement can put a huge dent in your budget. And when you have to multiply that cost by 2, it can be pretty stressful. With a heat pump, though, you will only have to worry about servicing one system!
Professional Installation is a Must
When the time comes to invest in a new system, you want to be sure that you hire a professional for your installation services. Only a professional has the knowledge and experience necessary to match you with the system that is going to best meet your needs. Trust us, when it comes to your comfort, you don’t want to take any risks.
Of course, the last thing you need during a hot summer day is a broken air conditioner. A broken-down air conditioner can spell all sorts of trouble for your comfort and your budget, so it’s probably in your best interest to have your AC repaired as soon as possible if you’ve got a problem on your hands. But, how can you tell if there even is a problem?
There are a number of signs that suggest your air conditioner is in need of repairs, and below, we have listed a few of them for you. All you have to do is keep reading to learn more! And remember to call for professional AC repair in Oregon City, OR if you notice any of the following tell-tale signs.
Be on the Lookout for These Signs
As we already mentioned, there are quite a few signs that suggest it’s time for air conditioning repairs:
1. Low cooling output
Your air conditioner is responsible for keeping you and your family cool and comfortable all summer long, so if your AC is no longer supplying your home with the cool air that you need to stay comfortable, it is definitely time to call for repairs. Low cooling output can the direct result of a number of other issues, but fortunately, your HVAC technician should be able to diagnose the problem and repair it accordingly.
2. Short cycling
Short cycling is a term used to describe when your air conditioner repeatedly turns on and off without ever completing a full cooling cycle. Not only is this extremely inefficient, but it puts a ton of strain on the AC itself. This, in turn, leads to the need for further repair. Therefore, it is important that you call for professional repairs right away if you notice that your AC keeps turning on and off every few minutes.
3. Strange noises
Your air conditioner should not be making any strange noises. Sounds such as clanging, screeching, banging, humming, moaning, and rattling should definitely be a signal for you to call your local HVAC contractor to schedule repair services. The technician that they send will be able to pinpoint the exact source of the sound in order to properly repair it.
4. Higher bills
We always recommend keeping a close eye on your monthly energy bills. If you find that you are paying more and more to keep your home cool, then it is likely that an air conditioner in disrepair is the culprit. Of course, you don’t want to pay more than you should have to for comfort, so it is in your best interest to contact an AC professional as soon as possible.
Yes, You Need Professional Repairs
When your AC is in need of repairs, it is important that you schedule these services with a professional. Only a professional technician has the proper tools, training, and experience to handle the complex needs of your system, so you definitely don’t want to skip out on these services.
Summer is well on its way, which is certainly exciting! Before you know it, you’ll be going to barbecues, eating plenty of ice cream, and turning on your air conditioner for some cooling relief. But what happens if when you turn on your AC, you notice that it isn’t producing enough cool air?
Obviously, a cooling system that doesn’t actually cool is not much use to you. And of course, when temperatures begin to soar, this can be a big problem! Fortunately, a friendly HVAC technician will be able to determine the root cause of the issue, as there are a number of things that might be causing the issue. Below, we have listed some of the reasons why your AC isn’t producing cool air to give you a bit of a head start.
Here’s What Might Be Going On
There are a number of reasons why your air conditioner might not be producing enough cool air:
Incorrect Thermostat Settings
Though you might think this is too obvious, we frequently find that the reason ACs stop producing cool air is that the settings on the thermostat have been changed. It might be that the thermostat is set either too high or to “fan only” mode. Be sure to double check your thermostat!
Refrigerant is essential to the operation of your air conditioner since it is what allows the system to remove heat from your indoor air to keep your home nice and cool. Refrigerant won’t run out, but it can certainly leak out, which is a big problem! When refrigerant levels drop, your AC can lose its cooling ability, and worse, this places the compressor in danger of overheating and burning out! If you experience a refrigerant leak, a professional HVAC technician will have to “recharge” the system.
The compressor is the heart of your AC–it places refrigerant under pressure to start the cooling cycle. So if the compressor stops working for any reason, your AC won’t be able to produce any cool air. The compressor can experience all sorts of issues, including a burnt-out motor, a failed start capacitor, or dirty components. Therefore, it is important to have a qualified technician repair any issues that may exist with your compressor.
Tripped Circuit Breaker
If the circuit breaker to the indoor unit of an AC trips, the fan won’t turn on at all. But if the breaker for the circuit to the outdoor unit trips, the indoor fan and other components will continue to run, but there won’t be any cooling since the outdoor compressor won’t be running. Check to see if any circuits have tripped in the electrical panel. If so, reset them and see if that resolves the problem.
Call in a Professional
Remember, it is important to contact a qualified HVAC professional for air conditioning repair in Portland, OR, as only a professional has the training, tools, knowledge, and experience to properly handle the complex needs of your cooling system.
With the start of a new cooling season, that means increased use of your air conditioner. Likewise, that means another year of service for your AC. We don’t mean to be pessimistic, but another year means another chance for repair problems to develop.
Below, we’ll go over some common AC repair problems to be on the lookout for. Allowing these problems to go on without resolution can lower your efficiency or even lead to worse issues down the line, so don’t hesitate to contact an air conditioning repair expert in Beaverton, OR if you notice them in your own system.
1. Dirty Air Filter
This one is so simple, it’s not surprising that people forget about it. No one should have to endure the frustration of breaking their AC due to something as simple as the air filter, so please be sure to check it once a month. The air filter’s job is to protect the AC from dirt and dust. The filter blocks any of these contaminants from entering the system, thus protecting the coils and sensitive components from collecting dirt. When full, the filter will no longer be able to transfer clean air.
2. Refrigerant Leak
Refrigerant is the blood of your AC, continually pumping through your system and transferring hot and cold air. And like blood, you’re not supposed to replace it or lose any. Under ideal conditions, your AC will use the same charge of refrigerant for years and years. That’s why a refrigerant leak is so harmful to your system. Pinhole leaks can drain the refrigerant over time, offsetting the balance and forcing your AC to work with less refrigerant.
3. Frozen Evaporator Coils
Your evaporator coils are found in your indoor unit. They’re responsible for lowering the temperature of the refrigerant that runs through your AC. So, naturally, a frosty and icy evaporator coil is a good sign, right? Nope. All that ice will only block the precious cold air from dispersing throughout your home. Frozen evaporator coils can be the result of refrigerant leaks, so don’t hesitate to call and find out.
4. Dirty Condenser Coils
As for the outdoor unit, you have the condenser coils. Simply put, its job is the opposite of the evaporator coil’s, releasing the heat that it gathers from your home. But what if this coil is covered in dirt? The heat won’t be able to properly disperse, keeping the heat trapped inside. If the coil acts in this way for too long, to will lead to an early AC breakdown. It’s not so uncommon for outdoor units to collect more dirt and dust than the indoor unit, so be sure to have it inspected.
5. Broken Blowers
Your unit has two blowers, one for the outdoor unit and one for the indoor unit. They both perform a similar function: blowing away the air that collects at the coils. The outdoor unit blows hot air outside to prevent overheating. Your indoor fan blows cool air into your home. When either of these fans breaks, the air around those coils will cause overheating or freezing.
Summer isn’t exactly around the corner, but when it comes to your HVAC system, it’ll be here before you know it. One month you’re weaning off of your heater, and a few months later, you’ll be gradually turning on that air conditioner more and more.
In between this time period is the perfect chance for some air conditioning services. They’ll keep your system running right, save you money, and even make your air better to breathe. Here are three HVAC services that you should schedule appointments for sooner rather than later if you want to get the most back on your investment:
Boost Efficiency With Duct Cleaning
Air duct cleaning in Portland, OR is the service of, well, cleaning out your duct systems. The ducts will gradually accumulate dust and dirt over the years, so there’s nothing quite like a thorough cleaning to eliminate some of the dust and contaminants that might be floating through your air space.
However, what many don’t realize is that duct cleaning also includes a thorough cleaning of the air conditioning and heating systems themselves. After all, dust can just as easily build up on top of the sensitive components, such as the evaporator and condenser coils, the gas burners, and more.
Too much dust can severely reduce the effectiveness of these components. In other words, you’ll be paying more just to achieve the usual level of cooling in the home. A nice cleaning will give you a nice efficiency boost, especially if you’ve never had it performed before.
Maintenance As a Benchmark
To run your air conditioner efficiently, you need to keep tabs on its performance. No amount of maintenance and upgrades will do you any good if you’re not evaluating how much money you spend on a monthly basis.
When you get maintenance, a big plus is that it will help restore most of your system’s efficiency. Another plus, however, is the fact that it gives you a “fresh start” for the season.
Getting your AC tuned up and running at its best will give you a benchmark for the rest of the season. If there are any strange increases in the bill after that, you’ll know there’s something wrong, whether it’s a repair issue or simply your own cooling habits.
Of course, if you really want to keep tabs on your efficiency and performance goals, you’d do well to invest in a smart thermostat. You can certainly run an efficient system with a basic programmable thermostat as well, but it’s the capabilities of the smart thermostat that can really make the difference.
A smart thermostat learns from your cooling habits and builds a schedule around it. That way you can spend less time fidgeting with the dial and instead simply let it do the work for you. It can do this with your efficiency goals in mind, so all you have to do is trust the system.
Spring has barely just begun, but before you know it, summer will be right around the corner.
Before that time comes, we urge you to check in on your air conditioner and to see if everything is still working alright. Half a year without activity can cause an AC to develop some issues that you won’t want to worsen by forcing it to operate. For that, you can get a quick tune-up from an AC expert.
While you’re inspecting your AC, you’ll also want to consider if this year is finally the year that you’ll replace your air conditioner. After all, that maintenance check won’t do much good if your AC is already in the decline.
We’ll give you the complete rundown on AC replacement, including when it’s needed, how to find a better system, and what to expect from installation.
1. Determine If Your AC Needs Replacement
With all this talk of replacement, we first want you to ensure that your AC even needs it in the first place. If your AC is experiencing more than one of these signs, then it’s enough to consider discussing options with your preferred air conditioning contractor in Portland, OR.
The unit is over ten years old.
Your cooling bills are getting higher and higher.
The need for repairs has been occurring more frequently.
It’s simply not cooling like it used to.
2. Consider Features and Systems
If your AC is indeed up for replacement, you’ll want to consider what kind of AC you want.
Many homeowners tend to opt for whatever system they’ve already been using. After all, why change what’s already working? However, other systems offer a range of benefits that might suit your needs better. Some things to consider include:
Do you want to keep using your duct system?
Do you want to consolidate heating and cooling into one system, or are you fine with them being separate?
Will you be moving out of this home soon? You might not want to install something too expensive.
3. SEER Ratings
After finding your ideal system, it then comes down to quality of the system. When we talk about quality, one part of that conversation is about brands, manufacturers, and warranties. The other half of that conversation, however, is about the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating.
Essentially, a higher SEER rating means a more efficient system, which means you’ll be paying a lower monthly cooling bill. Investing in an expensive system upfront might save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
4. Sizing and Installation
The last steps are sizing the air conditioner for your home and finally installing it.
When we say “sizing,” we don’t mean fitting it into your home physically. Rather, we’re referring to its output capabilities. The AC’s output must match your home so that it is neither too powerful nor too weak. An improperly sized AC will only bring efficiency issues and might even require replacing the system again.
These steps made it seem easy, but that’s only because we’re speaking as professionals. Contact a professional in air conditioning services to ensure that your AC replacement goes just as smoothly.
There’s a lot that differentiates a heat pump from a central air conditioner or furnace. When it comes to maintenance, however, there’s one key difference that is most important for homeowners to understand:
They technically need twice as much maintenance.
Now, maintenance twice a year isn’t anything unusual. Even your typical central AC and furnace setup requires a separate annual tune-up for each system. Rather, we want to talk about the fact that your heat pump is doing the work of two systems. These systems are rated to last up to 20 years, but only when they’re taken care of by an expert of cooling and heating repair in Portland, OR.
Getting heat pump maintenance before the season is essential for preventing problems caused by things like:
Like with any machine, too much dirt and grime can prevent things from running efficiently. It’s no different in the case of a heat pump.
The most common problem caused by excessive dirt and dust is a general loss of airflow. In turn, that means reduced heating and cooling power. It also means additional stress placed on the system, since the heat pump will be working harder to operate at standard efficiency.
The usual culprits include dirty air filters, coils, and fans. Changing the air filter regularly—about every three months—can help prevent dust and dirt from ever becoming an issue in the first place. If you haven’t been so diligent about that, however, then you can benefit from a thorough maintenance tune-up. The technician will be able to get deep inside the system to clean off the sensitive parts that might be ruining your efficiency.
Leaking or Insufficient Refrigerant
Refrigerant is as important for your heat pump as blood is for our bodies! This analogy also helps illustrate the point that you should never have to “replace” or “top off” your refrigerant under normal circumstances, which is a common misconception.
The only time your heat pump would be lacking refrigerant is if it was never properly charged in the first place or if it develops a leak. Fortunately, a maintenance check is something that can clear out either of these issues.
Leaks aren’t super common, but they’re not exactly uncommon either. Loose fittings around the refrigerant line or the right combination of chemical contaminants in your airspace can create corrosion, leading to pinhole leaks, which will only get bigger as time goes on.
Reversing Valve Malfunction
The heat pump is able to switch between cooling and heating modes thanks to a reversing valve. It’s also what allows you to switch the device from one mode to the other.
A broken reversing valve isn’t going to cost you a fortune, but it can force your heat pump to be stuck in one position. Depending on which season you’re in, you can understand how that can become a big problem!
Fortunately, this is something that can be looked at during a tune-up. It might simply be stuck and will need to be manually opened and reset.
There are many different ways that a furnace can malfunction. But a furnace that fails to start is probably the easiest to understand.
A furnace that turns on but doesn’t deliver hot air is something that’s hard to test and diagnose. Meanwhile, a furnace that turns off and on without thoroughly heating the home is another set of potential problems on its own.
If your furnace doesn’t turn on at all, there’s a good chance that it can easily be fixed by restoring some connections or having a quick maintenance check performed. Allow us to explain…
Before you go opening up your furnace cabinet and trying to diagnose the problem (which we highly do not recommend you do, by the way), consider that the issue might actually be with the thermostat. After all, the thermostat is the main control center for the furnace; any failure in the thermostat will translate into a malfunction for the rest of the HVAC system.
There are many times we’ve provided our furnace services in Portland, OR, just to find that it was due to a simple thermostat issue. Make sure that the thermostat is connected properly and programmed properly.
Has your furnace blown a fuse? Try checking the electrical panel and any secondary panels connected to the furnace. The circuit may have tripped and will need to be switched off and back on. Newer electrical systems don’t use fuses, but if your home has some, check to make sure there aren’t any that need to be replaced.
Another common electrical issue—one that sounds too simple to be true—is that the furnace’s power switch is off. Depending on how it was installed, the furnace’s power switch might look like an ordinary wall switch; someone may have turned it off by mistake.
It’s also possible that the furnace’s front panel wasn’t put back in place properly. As a safety measure, the furnace won’t operate unless the panel is securely locked in place.
Pilot Light Troubles
If you’re using a modern furnace, you shouldn’t have a pilot light at all. However, furnaces are built to last, so it’s very possible you still have one of these models.
That all being said, startup issues might be caused by a pilot light that has gone out. You simply need to relight the pilot light to get it running again. But, if your pilot light keeps going out and you have to relight it, it’s time to call for repairs. There might be too much dirt in the components that are causing it to malfunction.
Air Filter Needs Replacing
If an air filter is full of dust and dirt and hasn’t been changed, it can wreak all sorts of havoc on your HVAC system. If the filter gets dirty enough, it can actually prevent the furnace from starting or from staying on for more than a few minutes. The air filter should be replaced every one to three months—the exact number of months can differ, so we suggest checking it once a month at the least.
If you’ve had your HVAC system for a few years already, you understand that the only thing better than a working heater is an efficient heater. Getting comfort at the lowest possible monthly price can become a game in itself, as you try to instill the best heating habits and arrange for maintenance checks at the right time.
However, aside from getting maintenance and changing the air filter on your heater, there are few things you can do to make a serious impact on your efficiency. At that point, what you’d need is a more efficient heating system.
A geothermal heating system is essentially a heat pump. But unlike a heat pump, this system transfers warmth from the ground rather than from the air.
The components of the heater that are found inside the home are similar to that of your standard heat pump. However, these systems also have a large set of metal loops that are buried several feet under the ground. This can make their installation a bit more complex but worthwhile for the right homeowner.
Most of this system’s efficiency is derived from the fact that it’s a heat pump.
A typical heater, such as a furnace, uses combustion or electrical resistance to turn fuel into heated air. These processes require far more energy since they’re forced to create heat.
But as for a heat pump, the important thing to know about them is that they transfer or “recycle” warmth rather than generating it. Using a set of coils and the chemical refrigerant, the heat pump is able to facilitate heat transference in two directions. In summer, it can remove heat from your home, leaving you with cool air. In winter, it can take heat from the outdoors and put it into your home.
The Air Source vs. Ground Source Difference
But even within heat pumps are two categories: air source and ground source.
Air source heat pumps take warmth from the air. Even in cold weather, there are still enough warm particles in the air to heat your home. However, if temperatures drop too low, some brands of heat pump will have to kick into “auxiliary heating mode” to make up for the difference. This can actually become more expensive in the long run.
As for a ground source heat pump—such as a geothermal heating system—this won’t ever be a problem. The metal loops absorb warmth from under the soil, where temperatures remain consistent all year-round. The temperature is perfect for heat pump operation, so you’ll never have to worry about inefficiency.
Geothermal heat pumps are certainly one of the most efficient heating systems on the market. However, you’ll need to keep some things in mind:
These systems use ducts, and ducts require occasional maintenance to ensure they’re free of leaks and dirt.
Geothermal heat pumps are rated to last for decades. If you’re not 100% committed to your current residence, you should hold off on installing this system.
While these systems will more than pay off themselves over time, installation is a considerable investment.
The air filter is one of the simplest, least-technical parts of your entire heating system. Yet, it can be the one that causes the most problems. It’s often the simplest functions that can be the most important, after all.
Whether you’re using a furnace or a heat pump, you can expect to find an air filter in any forced-air heating system. Their purpose is to prevent dust and dirt from damaging sensitive components inside the machine, and they’ll need to be switched out every few months. Here’s what can happen if you wait too long to replace it.
While a clogged air filter in an air conditioner is nothing to scoff at either, heaters come with the danger of overheating. When things get too hot, it can cause the heater to malfunction, or it might even start a fire (luckily, there are many modern-day fail-safes to help prevent this).
Furnaces require a steady stream of oxygen to combust gas and to move heat through the system. A clogged air filter can be enough to slow that down, resulting in too much hot air lingering in the furnace. A limit switch is in place to turn off the furnace in such an event, so if your furnace seems to resist staying on, check the air filter. If that doesn’t work, try calling in for furnace repair in Portland, OR.
Oxygen is required for the furnace to combust natural gas into heated air. A clogged air filter can prevent enough oxygen getting through, and that can result in “flame rollout.” It’s about as scary as it sounds, as flames will “roll out” from the furnace cabinet to suck up more oxygen. Running the furnace in this state can be dangerous, as it might catch fire to nearby objects.
Heat pumps operate thanks to refrigerant flowing back and forth between two sets of coils. The phase changes that take place between these coils is what helps the heat pump remove warm air from your home in summer and bring warm air in during winter. A clogged air filter can cause the evaporator coil to become too cold, resulting in ice and frost. This can cause the heat pump to stop functioning, and it might even be enough to damage its compressor.
Whether you’re using a furnace or a heat pump, another big threat of a dirty air filter is short cycling. Now, all heaters are going to go through heating cycles—the difference is when those cycles occur rapidly and within minutes.
A common cause of short cycling can be from a heater that is too powerful for the home. Typically, that means having to get it replaced. So before you let anyone talk you into installing a brand new heater, check the air filter and try running it again—it just might be what you need to fix the problem.