Why should you check your heat exchanger for cracks?

Did you know that a cracked heat exchanger could be a very serious issue that could cause significant health issues? When we inspect furnaces, we sometimes find cracked heat exchangers or exchangers with holes in them. If this is the case, they need to be fixed right away.

What is a heat exchanger?
This is one of the most important parts of your furnace system. Simply put, the heat exchanger is the part that will heat the air. It consists of tubes and coils that are looped around. It uses fuel to combust the inside of it and creates heat to get very hot. Then, the fan/blower motor will blow the air over the heat exchanger and into your ductwork so it can be distributed around your home or office building.

If the heat exchanger is damaged – either with cracks or holes – heat exchangers could allow exhaust gas from the furnace to contaminate the air inside with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is also known as a silent killer, because it doesn’t have an odor or anything else noticeable, until it’s too late and people inside start noticing that they feel sick.

Heat exchangers are subjected to extreme temperatures as they cool and heat up the air, so the metal will expand and contract. Over time, this could cause strain on the exchanger and make it prone to cracking. It’s very important to have a furnace inspection and the beginning of autumn is a great time to get it done!  Our senior Service Technicians at Specialty Heating and Cooling will inspect all parts of your furnace, then we will use a special tool called the Inspector™ Camera to look at the heat exchanger specifically. This is the only product on the market today that uses a high definition camera and monitor to spot small cracks, rust, corrosion, or holes in furnace heat exchangers.

Contact us today to make sure your furnace is in good working order just in time for the upcoming cooler months of fall and winter.

Is your indoor air quality helping or hurting your health?

August has been an unusually hot month in the Pacific Northwest and air quality advisories for smoke and smog have been issued regularly. This type of air is harmful to breathe and over time, it could damage the lungs. But did you know that the air inside your home could be just as bad or worse than the outside air? When pollen, smoke, and other allergens are at a high in the air, you can still work to improve air quality inside. Here are some helpful tips on how to make sure your indoor air is helping your health, not hurting it.

Tip #1: Keep your system maintained.
Your HVAC system will accumulate dust and debris over time, simply by being used on a regular basis. This can definitely affect the air that is circulated throughout your home or office space. It can also impact how efficient your system is working. You should have regular professional maintenance checks done on your system. Autumn is coming soon and it’s a great time to get this done.

Tip #2: Clean and replace filters on a regular basis.
Your filters are exactly that – a filter! They filter out debris, dust, and other harmful pollutants and allergens that try to make their way into the air you breathe. Regular cleaning and/or changing the filters means you’ll notice a big difference in the air quality, especially if you live with chronic allergies or asthma.

Tip #3: Install an indoor air purifier and clean your ductwork.
If you want clean air, air purification systems and clean ductwork will help immensely.  Duct sealing with Aeroseal is one highly effective way to reduce the flow of toxins into the air you’re breathing. In addition to this, installing a quality air purifier will help improve air quality inside, too. We carry a variety of air purification systems including:

Infinity® Air Purifier: This is a top-of-the-line system that will clean the air in your entire home. It features the Capture and Kills ™ technology which catches up to 99% of airborne germs, mold, bacteria, and airborne viruses using an electrical charge to kill them. This system can kill 13 common pathogens that are known to cause sickness including the common cold, strep, and the flu.

Reflective Electro Magnetic Energy (REME) uses a state of the art electro-magentic energy cell that creates Ionized-Hydro-Peroxides™, a friendly oxidizer plasma made from oxygen and humidity. The product works 24/7, even if the fan blower is off.

If your indoor air quality is poor and you’re looking to learn more about how to improve it, we can provide you the information you need to get a new HVAC system or a new purification system in place. Our team of experienced professionals will help you find something that not only fits your home, but your budget, as well!

Tips to beat the heat

The United States National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning this week because temperatures are going to soar into the 100s! Some news stations are reporting that temperatures could reach 106 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday, and some apps are showing that it might even get hotter than that. On hot days like this, it’s very important to take care of yourself and stay cool. If you don’t, it could be very hazardous to your health. Here are some tips to beat the heat and stay cool this week and for the rest of the summer.

Tip #1: Make sure your air conditioning is serviced and in good working order.
When hot weather hits, you need your air conditioning to be reliable. When you go to turn it on, imagine how frustrated you’ll be if it doesn’t work properly! Avoid system breakdowns by keeping your air conditioning system serviced. Annual tune-ups will help make sure that all of the inside components are working well. In addition, we’ll change the filters and make sure to point out any problem spots that could end up causing an issue later in the season. We’ll offer solutions and get things ready to go so you can stay cool.

Tip #2: Keep your windows opened in the morning.
When the mornings are cool, open the windows and doors to allow for the cool breeze to permeate. As long as the weather is cool, keep the windows open. When things start to heat up, close everything up and keep the shades closed for the rest of the day. This will help keep things cool and comfortable for the rest of the day.

Tip #3: Don’t forget to drink water.
Hot days require lots of cold water! Staying hydrated is important because it allows your body the ability to cool itself and your organs will be working as they should. Even if you drink plenty of water every day, when the temperatures hit the 100s, drink even more water. Your body will be working harder to keep you cool, so replenish regularly.

Tip #4: Don’t forget your pets.
Your pets can have a hard time in the heat. Be sure that they are taken care of by keeping them out of the heat. Leave them plenty of cool water throughout the day and provide them a cool place to rest. A bed in front of the air conditioner is a nice place for your dog or cat to rest during the day!

Extreme temperatures can cause dangerous heat-related illnesses, so make sure you do what you can to stay cool.Start by contacting us today to get your air conditioning servicing appointment scheduled. This will allow you to avoid any breakdowns for the remainder of the summer, when the heat is intense! If you don’t have a reliable cooling system in place, now is the time to get something installed! Contact us today on what cooling systems could work for your budget and your home and we’ll help get you an appointment scheduled that is convenient for you!  In the meantime, stay cool!



What’s the difference between a heat pump and air conditioning?

Pacific Northwest weather gives us a little bit of everything! Some months have more rain and cold than others, but during the summer, we definitely get some hot weather that can get uncomfortable. Many homeowners have furnaces that are used during the winter, but when it comes to the summertime, they’re left with old, inefficient window air conditioners. If you’ve ever wondered what the differences are between air conditioning systems and a heat pump, and if a heat pump is right for you, we can help!

The differences between a heat pump and an air conditioner:
Both systems use indoor and outdoor coils that will transfer refrigerant. Air conditioning systems will absorb heat that passes over the indoor coil within the system, which means that during the summer, cool air is transferred to the ductwork of your home and hot air is moved out. However, heat pumps will take outside heat to warm your home and will cool it by taking the heat out in the winter and in the summer, it will remove hot air and bring cold air in – all in one system. No matter what time of year it is, a heat pump will provide the comfort you need.

Heat pumps and an air conditioner are both great choices when it comes to the wide range of options between the two for cooling your home.  Upgrading to a heat pump can be beneficial since it heats and cools the home and can save significant money on your utility bill year around, which means that the cost of the unit will likely pay for itself over time quicker than an air conditioner.

Which system is right for your home?
A new heating and cooling system for your home is an investment, but it is something that you won’t regret, because it will add value to your home and provide you and your family with a better quality of life! There are a variety of great systems that can work for your home. Here are some of our top recommendations:

Carrier 18vs Heat Pump:
This energy efficient heat pump stands out! It offers variable-speed compression that can change to as many as 5 stages. The ability to run at lower speeds means that it will be quieter and better at removing humidity from the air. It leaves temperatures even throughout the home, which allows users to get the most out of the unit’s efficiency levels. It’s also small, light, durable, and comes with a 10 year limited warranty, so you can rely on it for years to come.

Hybrid Heat:
Hybrid systems offer users the comfort of gas heat furnace with the efficiency of a heat pump. Hybrid heating systems, such as the Carrier Infinity 96 gas furnace and the Carrier Infinity 20 heat pump with Greenspeed Intelligence, are dual systems that can provide cool air and heat, making it a product you can use year round. You’ll use your gas furnace about 15% of the time during the winter months and for the rest of the time, the heat pump will keep you cool and it will cost less to operate in the long term.

Carrier Infinity 20 Heat Pump:
This unit is as quiet as a whisper and provides Greenspeed Intelligence. It comes with the highest rating for efficiency.  The variable-speed compressor allows it to adapt to the unique needs of the home and can adjust between 40 and 100% capacity.

Carrier 19 Air Conditioner:
This air conditioning model has extremely high energy efficiency and is very quiet, with sound levels as low as 56 decibels. It has superior humidity control, variable speed operation for premium comfort, and uses non-ozone depleting Puron® refrigerant. It also comes with a 10 year limited parts warranty, which offers users peace of mind in case something goes wrong.

Did you know that there are incentives and rebates available through the Energy Trust of Oregon, Portland General Electric and the State of Oregon?  With the State of Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit ending in 2017 it means now is a great time to replace your heating and cooling system!

Contact us for details on which system might be right for you and how you can benefit from the incentives that are currently active! We’ll help you figure out the details!

Why You Should Check for Air Leaks During the Summer

Summer is here! The warm temperatures are here to stay for a while and your air conditioner will be put to the test, working hard to keep you comfortable and cool each day. Did you know that the ductwork connected to your cooling system can accumulate dust and dirt, and even develop small cracks over time that leak air? This translates to air that isn’t as clean and a lot of wasted energy if it’s not discovered quickly. In addition, this makes your system work harder and it can negatively impact the efficiency of your system and could cause unnecessary breakdowns.

Here’s why you should check for air leaks this summer:

The ductwork in your home plays a big role in the overall comfort and temperature inside. When leaky ducts are present, air can’t reach the rooms in your home quickly and your system has to work harder to reach the designated temperature. Unsealed ductwork can also cost you money. An HVAC system that’s working hard makes the operating components worn down. This means it costs more to run and has to run for longer periods of time.

Your ductwork usually runs through the dustiest and dirtiest parts of your home, including the crawlspace. When there are leaks in the ducts, dirty air particles that are full of dust, harmful debris, or bacteria can get inside of your home and that means you and your family are breathing contaminated air that could be damaging to your airway and health.

We’re proud to be a licensed contractor that offers Aeroseal duct sealing. Aeroseal is a patented solution that has a 98% success rate for homeowners, making it an affordable way to fix leaks from the inside out. Aeroseal technology blows microscopic particles of sealant into the ductwork of your home and they form bonds into the holes and cracks of the ductwork. It’s an instant fix and you’ll notice a difference immediately in the even cooling of your home. In addition, you’ll likely see a difference in your utility bills because less energy is being wasted!

Don’t delay on having your home’s ductwork checked for leaks and holes. Contact us today to find out more information about our experience helping customers around Oregon with Aeroseal duct cleaning. Need to replace or repair an HVAC system for your home or office space? We can help with that too, so contact us today!

How to Improve Air Conditioning Efficiency

 Summer has officially arrived and that means your air conditioner will be put to good use. Did you know that heating and cooling bills make up at least half of your total utility expenses each month? Here are some helpful ways to improve air conditioning efficiency in your home this summer.

Tip #1: Keep blinds and curtains closed during the day.
When the sun is at its hottest, it will permeate into the windows of your home, heating up each room. To keep your air conditioner from working less, keep the blinds and curtains in your home closed during the heat of the day.

Tip #2: Keep the outdoor unit clean.
If you have a lot of debris, leaves, grass, or other buildup around the outside unit of your air conditioning system, this could cause debris to build up on the inside and clog the inner workings of the machine. Not only will this mean that the system has to work harder to keep you cool, but it could cause an unnecessary breakdown. Next time you’re out doing yardwork, make sure you make time to clear away any debris around the outside area of your air conditioning system.

Tip #3: Keep lamps and other heat producers away from your thermostat.
Lamps and other appliances produce heat, and if they are located near a thermostat, your thermostat will mistakenly tell the air conditioning unit that your home needs to be cooled more. This could cause unnecessary extra work for the air conditioner, so make sure you keep heat producing items clear of any thermostats.

Tip #4: Keep your filters cleaned.
The primary job of your air conditioning filters is to keep everything running at peak efficiency. In addition, keeping your filters cleaned means that you’ll be breathing cleaner air. Make sure you clean or replace your filters on a regular basis.

Tip #5: Keep your furnace maintained.
Don’t neglect scheduling an annual service appointment. If you don’t take care of your HVAC system over the long haul, it won’t last as long as it normally would and could break down, right when you need it most. What will the appointment include? We’ll do some simple preventative maintenance on it, which could include checking the inside components, cleaning/replacement of the air filters, and we will also double check that there are no repairs to be made or parts to be replaced.

Tip #6: Keep your ducts clean.
Dirty and dusty ductwork is known to restrict airflow. So, if your ducts are clogged with dust, debris, and other contaminants, your system is probably working harder than it needs to. This means you’re using more energy than you really need to and you’ll likely see an increase in your utility bill. The ductwork in your home plays a big role in home comfort. Here’s how we can help: we’re proud to be a licensed contractor that offers Aeroseal duct sealing. Aeroseal is a patented solution that has a 98% success rate. This is an affordable solution that can fix leaks from the inside out and the best part is: you will notice a difference right away!

When your system works hard, it can be tough on the machine and all of its parts, therefore shortening the overall lifespan of the unit. So, understanding how to keep your air conditioning running at its peak is one key to keeping it running efficiently for many years to come. We have a long stretch of heat coming to Oregon in the next week, so make sure you get your appointment scheduled soon so you can stay cool for the rest of the summer with no problems!

Product of the Month: Flood Buzz Pro

Water leaks or floods: nobody wants to have one! If you’ve ever had a water leak, you know the damage they can cause. They’re expensive and time consuming, and can also cause significant damage in your home or commercial building. Our new product of the month, the Flood Buzz Pro, can help alert you of a water leak before damage is caused. Here’s how it works.

The Flood Buzz Pro is an alarm that serves as an important tool that can alert people of water leaks so they can get it repaired before a large amount of damage is done. As soon as the prongs sense a possible water leak, it will sound immediately with a loud 110 decibel alarm. We are proud to carry the Flood Buzz FBP-O1, which prongs to the ground and can be used in a variety of applications. Simply apply it near a potential water leak source, such as: toilets, water heaters, sink cabinets, sump pumps, laundry rooms, hydronic heating, and window/door ledges. Once it’s installed, it will last for three years.  It’s the lowest cost water leak alarm currently on the market today!

Here are some other benefits of the Flood Buzz Pro:

-Low price & reusable
-Can help prevent dry rot
-Works in apartment buildings, homes, commercial buildings, or warehouses
-Can help prevent mold problems before they start

We are proud to be an authorized sales representative for this product! It’s a perfect addition to any home, apartment, or commercial building and could potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run.  Learn more about the Flood Buzz here:

Contact us today for information on getting one installed!

HVAC Maintenance To-Dos For June

June has arrived and the amazing weather will be here to stay for a while. The heat will become a regular part of each day and that means your HVAC system needs to be up for the challenge of keeping you and your family cool throughout the season. Here are some important to-do items for June that should be put on your checklist.

  • Check air filters: During the months that you’re using your cooling system a lot, your filter should be checked and cleaned regularly. Your filter helps keep contaminants and other harmful toxins out of the air you breathe, so it’s important to keep it clean and/or replaced regularly for optimal efficiency. In addition, filters will help protect the system and keep it working for optimal home comfort. Unless you have an advanced filtration system in place, the main function of the filter is to protect the system.
  • Inspect air registers and vents: Blocking vents and air registers inside your home can cause your system to work harder than it needs to, and it can also block air flow and circulation, causing uneven temperatures throughout your home.
  • Keep debris away from the outside unit: Spring is a great time to get outside and clean up your yard. While you’re out there, be sure to remove any debris, branches, or other shrubbery that could interfere with the outside air conditioning unit or heat pump. Over time, debris, leaves, and dirt can get inside the system and clog it, causing unnecessary problems.
  • Keep your thermostat at the desired temperature: Don’t allow your home to get too hot. Keep your thermostat set at the temperature that you feel most comfortable all day and night. If you don’t, the air conditioner will have to work harder to cool your house down and that translates to increased energy use in addition to putting strain on your machine.
  • Schedule your annual service appointment: If you don’t take care of your HVAC system over the long haul, it won’t last as long as it normally would and could break down, right when you need it most. To ensure that your system operates well all year long, it’s very important to schedule annual service appointments with our team. We’ll do some simple preventative maintenance on it, which could include checking the inside components, cleaning/replacement of air filters, and double check that there are no repairs to be made or parts to be replaced.

Whether you live in a newly built home or an older home, our service technicians are experienced in servicing a variety of systems and brands. Contact us today to make sure you have your service appointment scheduled in time for the June weather!

National Heat Awareness Day Is Coming!

Springtime is here and before you know it, summer in the Pacific Northwest will be in full swing. Summer weather brings people out of their homes and into the warmth of the sun. While it’s a wonderful time of year to get outside and experience the great outdoors, the heat can also lead to a lot of weather related deaths and illnesses. Every year on the last Friday of May, National Heat Awareness Day is observed, which means we take time to stop and remind people to take care of themselves during the spring and summer heat. This year, National Heat Awareness Day is May 26.

When the Pacific Northwest experiences high heat or humidity, the National Weather Service may issue some advisories:

-Excessive heat watch
-Excessive heat warning/advisory
-Excessive heat outlook

When the heat starts to crank up, take precautions to stay cool by avoiding drinking alcohol, reducing your intake of sugar and caffeine, and avoid physical exertion. Find a place to cool off and increase how much water you’re drinking on those hot days. Babies and elderly individuals should all be especially careful, as their bodies cannot adjust to temperature fluctuations as well. Here are some other tips on how to avoid health problems related to heat.

-Keep your air conditioning tuned up regularly so it’s ready to turn on when the weather gets hot
-Use fans in areas where air conditioning isn’t an option
-Wear hats and sunblock to avoid direct sun exposure
-Wear loose, light clothing
-Increase your intake of cold water
-Stay in the shade as much as you can
-Talk to your doctor about illnesses that can increase your risk of heat-induced reactions or illnesses

In addition, don’t forget to take care of your pets when the heat strikes. Keep them indoors and as cool as possible. Keep fresh, cold water available for them at all times and if they do need to be outside, provide a cool place of shelter where they can get out of the heat.

Is your cooling system ready to keep you cool for the rest of the spring and summer? If not, contact us today for a tune-up or to talk about your options on what air conditioning system is right for your home. Perhaps you simply just need a new programmable thermostat that will help you better regular the function of your home’s cooling system. Act now, because there are a variety of rebates and incentives available on select systems that can help you save money and help you stay comfortable for years down the road.

Why you should service your commercial HVAC system in the spring

Spring is here and so far, it’s been a great mix of sun and rain.  Springtime brings lots of “spring cleaning” and other opportunities to catch up on de-cluttering or servicing parts in your office or commercial space. Maintenance of your commercial HVAC system is just as important as maintaining other equipment in your office. In addition, proper maintenance will save on energy bills and will help you avoid expensive repairs when you need your HVAC system the most.

Reason #1: Peak efficiency.
Commercial buildings use a lot of energy and that means you’re likely paying a significant amount of money on your company’s utility bill. If you want to cut costs, service your HVAC system and make sure everything is in good working order. If your system is old and out of date, the equipment is less efficient and may have hidden costs in the long run.

Reason #2: Enhanced comfort.
If your system has not been properly taken care of, chances are it’s working harder than it needs to and you may have hot or cold spots throughout your commercial space.   And because spring brings warmer weather, you’ll likely be looking for ways to keep you and your employees and customers comfortable with consistent temperatures, great indoor air quality, and humidity control.

Reason #3: The condenser needs to be cleared.
Over the winter, debris, dirt, and leaves can build up around the unit. Head outside and clear any debris off that you see and make sure nothing as built up inside the condenser area. If dirt or debris build up accumulates over time, it could cause damage to the inner components of the machine and could mean you’ll have to come up with money for an unexpected costly repair.

Reason #4: Changing filters will help prolong the life of the system.
You should change your commercial HVAC system filter on a regular basis. This will help extend the life of your HVAC unit and will also help it operate at peak efficiency. If you’re not sure how to change the filter, ask one of our HVAC professionals during your preventative service appointment to show you.

There’s no better time to make an appointment for your preventative maintenance service appointment with our experienced team of professionals. Spring is a busy time and appointment times are filling up fast, so call and get on the books today. If you’re interested in upgrading your heating and cooling system so it’s ready to tackle the heat of the Pacific Northwest summer, we can help with that, too. Call us today for more information.