Causes of a Leaking Air Conditioning System

April 18th, 2014

If you listen to your air conditioner operate, you may hear the occasional drip of liquid inside the cabinet. This is a normal part of the AC’s cooling cycle, and you shouldn’t see any water actually drip out of the cabinet…

…most of the time.

Air conditioner leaking does sometimes occur, and should you spot liquid coming from your AC, or stains around the cabinet or anything near it, call for professional repair technicians right away. A number of causes could lay behind this problem, and the experts will be able to determine what’s wrong and how to fix it.

For the necessary skilled technicians to repair your air conditioning in Pomona, NY when leaks happen, call on Design Air Inc. We won’t leave your AC until you are 100% satisfied with our repair work.

Reasons for a leaking AC

First, you should know that liquid leaking from your AC could be either water or the refrigerant that runs through the system. You don’t want either to leak, although they have different effects.

  • Clogged condensate drain: This is the most common cause for leaking. The water that condenses along the evaporator coil of the inside unit drips down into a shallow condensate pan, and then out a drain line. The drain can develop clogs during the summer from mold growth, and when this happens the pan will quickly overflow and leak water. This can damage your walls, carpets, and furnishings. If the AC sits over your furnace, the water will can cause the furnace to start to rust. A repair technician can remove the condensate pan and clear or replace the drain to stop the overflow.
  • Broken condensate pump: This is the pump that removes water from the condensate pan. If it breaks, the water will not drain properly, and as in the example above, the pan will overflow.
  • Air leaks: Air can get inside the cabinet if the seals around the cabinet are loose. This will cause excess moisture inside the AC as the warmer outside air collides with the cooled air. Repair technicians will need to seal the unit.
  • Formicary corrosion: You may think of the refrigerant line in your AC as corrosion-proof, but it isn’t. A specific type of corrosion, formicary corrosion, that develops from household chemicals and building material can weaken the refrigerant line and cause it to leak. Leaking refrigerant will harm the cooling ability of the AC and damage the compressor.

Whatever the cause of the leak, it will likely grow worse if you do not take steps to remedy it. The first step is the easiest: call Design Air Inc and talk to one of our AC repair specialists. We have 24-hour emergency service, so don’t wait when you discover that leak… call us now.

Risks You Take if You Don’t Schedule Regular Air Conditioning Maintenance

April 10th, 2014

A maintenance visit from a professional to check on your home’s central air conditioner is something to schedule every year, preferably during the spring before the system takes on its heaviest workload. This isn’t a “suggestion” however: it’s something you need to have done if you want your air conditioning system to work its best for as long as it can. If you neglect to have annual maintenance, the consequences for your AC, and therefore your comfort and budget, will be high.

Here are a few of the risks you’ll take if you neglect to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Suffern, NY this spring. Call Design Air Inc today and talk to our maintenance specialists about setting up an appointment to keep these problems from affecting your air conditioner:

Reduction of the system’s lifespan

Studies have shown that an air conditioner that goes without regular maintenance might only reach half its expected lifespan… and probably the low end of that spectrum.  Remember: no repair for an air conditioner costs more than needing to replace it.

Increases in repairs

Without maintenance to clean an air conditioner’s components and make the necessary adjustments and replacements, the system will start to work harder. This stress increases wear and tear and makes repairs a more frequent hassle: burning out motors, failing capacitors, debris-damaged fans, dirty coils. Your repair bills will continue to climb as long as the AC misses maintenance appointments, eventually leading to a costly breakdown.

Lowered energy-efficiency

Another result of an air conditioner with additional stress from lack of maintenance is that the system will drain more power in order to maintain its expected level of performance. You’ll see this reflected on your electrical bills: an AC costs 20% more to run on average if it goes for a year without an inspection and tune-up. The costs will mount the longer maintenance is neglected.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to arrange for regular air conditioning maintenance in Suffern, NY. If you sign up for one of the Maintenance and Service Agreements from Design Air Inc, we’ll take care of all the work and worry for you. Our agreements include your heating system as well. We offer tiered plans to fit with your budget. Call us today to get started.

Your Home’s Heat Load and How It Is Calculated

April 3rd, 2014

A crucial part of the process of installing a new heating system in a home is determining the home’s heat load. A heat load is the amount of heat per a unit of time that a building (in this case, a private home) needs to maintain a specified temperature (in this case, the residents’ comfort level).

Finding the accurate heat load requires trained technicians to perform a heat load calculation; this involves collecting a large amount of data about different aspects of the house, many of which you probably haven’t even considered. We’ll examine how heating and cooling professionals assess the heat load of your home so they can recommend the right size and type of heating in New City, NY to make you comfortable.

Call Design Air Inc, where we have load calculation experts who take their work above and beyond customer expectations.

The elements of a heat load calculation

  • House size: Determining the space that the new heater must warm up involves more than basic square footage. The heat load calculation takes into account the volume of the rooms as well.
  • Insulation: How well the insulation in the walls and the attic traps heat is critical to knowing how much heating a house requires. Technicians pay special attention to the attic, since heat rises and escapes speediest through a home’s attic if it lacks sufficient thermal barriers.
  • Heat gain from appliances: Any heat-generating appliance in a home—refrigerator, dishwasher, laundry facilities, computers, televisions—will raise the temperature, as will lights. These will factor into the heat load, usually lowering it.
  • Number of residents: People give off heat as well, and the number of residents inside a house contributes to the heat present.
  • Windows and their placement: Windows bring radiant heat into a home when the sun strikes them. A heat load calculation considers not only the number of windows but also the directions they face so the technicians can tell how much sunlight enters the house.
  • Other areas of heat loss: Aside from checking the insulation, heat load calculations locate spots in a home where heat can escape, such as cracks around outside doors, poorly caulked windows, chimneys with bad dampers, and leaky roofs.
  • Climate conditions: Finally, how much heat a homeowner needs will depend on the typical seasonal temperature lows.

There are even more considerations than these, but this will provide you with an idea of how heat load calculations are carried out. Professionals like our experienced technicians at Design Air Inc can do this job thoroughly and accurately so you’ll end up with the heating in New City, NY that will keep you warm any time of the year.

Reasons to Consider a Standard Wood-Burning Fireplace

March 28th, 2014

Today you have many options for installing a fireplace or freestanding stove in your home. Gas logs inserts, electric fireplaces, and high-efficiency wood-pellet burning stoves are attractive alternatives to the old-fashioned hearth with wood logs stacked on it.

However, you shouldn’t count out the grand old wood fireplace entirely. The invention of the electric guitar didn’t mean the acoustic guitar vanished, and the same is true for the wood-burning fireplace. If you are considering installing a fireplace in your home, keep the traditional model in mind—it may end up as your best choice.

To find out about all your options for fireplaces in Suffern, NY, call Design Air Inc today. We have a Master Hearth Professional on staff to answer all your questions about fireplace installation.

The Advantages of a Wood-Burning Fireplace

Gas furnaces are convenient and easy to maintain, but there are some places where wood fireplaces come out ahead:

  • Fuel expense: Although natural gas costs less than electricity, oil, or propane, wood is generally less expensive. You also won’t need to rely on utility companies for power, and this is great in case of emergency losses of service during storms.
  • Carbon neutral energy:  Burning wood is better for the environment: it releases the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the tree absorbed itself during growth. Wood is also a renewable resource, unlike fossil fuels, and you’ll help support local industries.
  • Aesthetics: This is a more subjective advantage, of course, but when most people think of cozying up in front of a roaring fire, they’re thinking about a wood fire, not a gas one. Gas fires lack the crack and snap that comes from burning wood logs, and they do not generate the rustic aroma of wood. If you plan to have a fireplace as a major part of your life during winter, it’s perhaps better to bypass the simple “switch it on” ease of a gas fire and opt instead for the original model.

There’s no doubt that a wood-burning fireplace requires extra work on the homeowner’s part compared to the convenience of a gas fire, and they are less efficient at providing heat. Before you decide that you want the beauty of a classic wood hearth in your home, speak to a fireplace specialist to learn about all your available options.

Design Air Inc has many years of experience installing, maintaining, and repairing all types of fireplaces in Suffern, NY. Call us today to find out more.

Will My Furnace Still Run If the Power Goes Out?

March 19th, 2014

It’s an important question: will my furnace still run if the power goes out? Sadly, the answer is often no. There are many different types of furnaces you can use to heat your home in Nyack, NY, but unless you’re relying on a plain old-fashioned fireplace, your furnace still needs at least a little electricity in order to do its job. That means when the power goes out, your furnace will most likely cease to function.

Why is this? Simply put, some parts of the furnace still run on electricity. For example, forced air furnaces use gas to power the heat, but the ignition switch is usually electrical (unless you have an older model with a pilot light) and in almost every model, you need electricity to run the fan motor to blow the heated air into your home. The same principle exists with radiant and geothermal systems, which need electricity to run their pumps.

One potential solution is the installation of a whole-house generator, which will run not only your furnace, but most of your other appliances as well. A professional expert can help you select a whole-house generator that fits your needs. If you’re in a situation where you can’t afford to lose heating at any time, then a generator makes the best kind of insurance against the worst.

If you need Nyack, NY furnace repair service or generator installation, call the professionals at Design Air, Inc. We understand that Mother Nature doesn’t always play nice with your power system, and can set your house up to survive the inconvenience that a strong storm or lightning strike can cause. Call us today to set up an appointment, and let us show you what we can do!


The Temperature in Your Boiler and the Dangers of Overheating

March 12th, 2014

Something that often surprises homeowners about their boilers is that they don’t actually “boil.” The energy applied to the water in the tank raises it to high levels, but not to the point that it converts the water into steam. Boilers originally did use steam heat to provide warmth—it was how they earned their name—and people still expect to see boilers in movies explode with geysers of steam when bullets puncture them. Steam boilers still exist, but they are usually found only in industrial buildings and the occasional home that has special high heating requirements.

Your boiler shouldn’t get near to boiling temperature. We’ll take a look at actual boiler water temperature and why overheating will lead to repairs on your boiler in Pomona, NY. For more information about boiler maintenance and repairs, contact out specialists at Design Air Inc.

Temperature expectations for your boiler

The average setting for a gas-powered hot water boiler is 180°F. This provides the appropriate level needed for most cold weather temperatures. If you can raise the temperature manually, do not set it any higher than 210°F (which is often the limit), and try to remain down at 190°F if you need the extra heat. Once a boiler starts to go over 212°F, you can face serious problems.

Watch out for overheating

If you notice that your boiler’s temperature is going higher than the above settings, you have a major problem. If a boiler has reached 220°F, a sudden drop in pressure could cause the tank to burst.

Overheating also is the main cause of leaking. When the water temperature in the boiler becomes too high, it increases the water pressure throughout the system. This will cause breaks to begin occurring at valves and connectors. If your boiler has any issues with rust or corrosion that you haven’t remedied yet, the problem will become worse and could cause leaks to start along the tank itself.

There are different reasons for an increase in temperature in your boiler: excess sediment inside the tank, limescale developing along the tank interior from hard water, a broken fill-valve, or an aquastat malfunction. You need repair technicians to find out the cause and fix it before the problem grows worse.

Do not hesitate to call for repairs when your boiler begins to overheat. Design Air Inc has technicians standing by 24/7 to help repair your boiler in Pomona, NY should this occur. We also offer a 100% money-back guarantee. Call us today for service — don’t wait.

A Guide to What Furnace Noises Could Mean

March 3rd, 2014

Strange noises usually accompany failures in a mechanical system. Often, they are our first warning that something has gone amiss that needs attention. Furnaces are no different in this way: when you hear an odd noise coming from your furnace cabinet or the vents, it often means you should call for repairs right away, before you lose your heat or the furnace develops safety issues.

For expert work on your furnace in Pearl River, NY, contact Design Air Inc and our trained staff of heating repair technicians. If you aren’t sure what that strange noise from your furnace means, we’ll send over one of our specialists to find out what’s wrong and how we can repair it.

Some common furnace warning noises:

  • Rattling: The simplest reason for this noise is loose bolts on the furnace cabinet, which you can screw down yourself. But it could come from a cracked blower fan belt or one that has started to come loose, which will need repairs before the belt breaks, stopping the fan and possibly damaging other components in the furnace. If the fan belt does come lose, you’ll hear a loud clanking, striking noise. Shut the furnace off and call for repairs.
  • Screeching: This probably means the bearings on one of the motors are failing, which can occur because of dirt or age. The failing motor will need a repair technician to replace it.
  • Rumbling, booming: If you hear these sounds from deep inside the cabinet, it probably indicates that the burners are having trouble igniting. It could be because of grime across the burner, or rust flakes inside it. The burner will need cleaning, which requires the work of a professional first to detach the burner.
  • Clicking: This could indicate fraying along the blower motor fan belt. However, if you hear this noise occurring right before the blower motor comes on, it could warn that the heat exchanger has a crack in it. This can be serious, because a cracked heat exchanger often leads to carbon monoxide leaking. Shut off the gas power to the furnace and call for repairs right away.

Don’t try to diagnose the problem yourself

We supplied the above list to help you understand when your furnace is encountering trouble so you can call for assistance from a trained professional. You should not open your furnace cabinet and try to figure out what ails the system on your own. You need a professional to make the proper diagnosis and apply the correct remedy.

Design Air Inc has our Pearl River, NY furnace specialists ready 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help when you think you need repairs. We won’t leave you with your furnace until you’re 100% satisfied.

How Do Freestanding Stoves Vent?

February 24th, 2014

If you thought that the pleasant warmth of a fireplace in your home were out of reach because you don’t have a chimney or the room to build one, allow us to introduce you to the freestanding stove. A freestanding stove, burning either wood, high-efficiency wood pellets, or gas, allows you to enjoy the comfort of a roaring hearth without needing a masonry chimney. Stoves are also excellent additions to your heating system, since the heated metal of their casings transfers high levels of BTUs to wherever they are installed, producing the same warmth as a furnace.

A common question people have about freestanding stoves is ventilation. How does ventilation work without a fireplace, and how and where should the stove be installed? We’ll answer that in this post. For more information about freestanding stoves, call Design Air Inc and talk to our experts on fireplaces in Spring Valley, NY.

The Workings of a Freestanding Stove

The modern freestanding stove is a marvelous merger of old world concepts with contemporary heating and ventilation technology. A freestanding stove (in other words, one that isn’t an insert put into a fireplace hearth) stands either on legs or a pedestal a few inches from the floor and away from the walls. The smoke from inside the stove is sent into stovepipe that either comes out the top or the back the unit.

This stovepipe then goes through the nearest wall and into a ventilation chimney. “But I don’t have chimney!” you say. That’s fine: we’re not referring to a large masonry chimney (although if you do have one, it will certainly suffice), but to a factory-built chimney made up of sections that can be installed out of sight within the wall. This then vents the smoke up through the roof.

You may have seen freestanding stoves available at large retail stores for low prices. Be cautious: these devices rarely meet EPA standards and do not provide either the heat level or the beauty you want from a substitute for a fireplace.

Instead of going with a non-regulation off-the-shelf stove, contact a professional stove installation company with a wide range of options. The staff can help you pick the right stove for your needs, and then place it in your house and vent it safely.

If you are interested in putting in a freestanding wood, pellet, or gas stove for you house, you’ll find all you need at Design Air Inc. We have specialists in fireplaces in Spring Valley, NY who can answer your questions and steer you to the right stove.

Furnace 101: The Blower

February 17th, 2014

Furnaces work off a simple principle: they burn a fuel source to create heat, and then transfer that heat to the air, which then moves through ductwork and out vents. An essential component of today’s furnaces is the blower, which does the job of moving air into and out of the furnace. Without the blower, the heated air would go nowhere, and the furnace would not be able to do its job of keeping your house warm.

To make sure the blower on your furnace in Nyack, NY works properly, rely on Design Air Inc and our trained technicians for repairs and maintenance.

The basics of a furnace blower

Blowers work the same way whether you have a gas, electric, or propane furnace. The blower is housed in the blower assembly and contains a motor and a large fan.

Once the heat exchangers or electric heating elements in the furnace cabinet have reached the target temperature, a relay in the circuit board turns on the blower. The blower forces air across the heat exchanger or the heating elements, where the heat to transfers to the air. This air then is sent out through the ventilation system. Most modern blowers also draw in colder air from a separate vent to reheat it.

What can go wrong with a blower

Since the blower is one of the major mechanical components of a furnace, it can suffer from wear and damage that will reduce its effectiveness or even cause it to shut down. The main danger to the blower is dirt and dust that can get into the ventilation system and through the filter. A dust build-up over the blower unit can cause its motors to burn out or restrict its movements so it begins to drain extra power. The blower assembly must be kept clean for effective operation and to avoid repairs. During regular maintenance visits, technicians will look over the blower assembly to locate any issues that could impair it, and will then clean it so it will continue to work effectively at its important job.

Keep your furnace’s blower working

If your blower stops working, you won’t have any hot air coming from your vents. To prevent this from happening, make sure you schedule prompt repairs for your furnace if you begin to hear loud noises from the furnace whenever the blower comes on. Make sure to schedule regular maintenance as well.

Design Air Inc has 24-hour emergency service to keep your furnace in Nyack, NY working. Sign up today for our Planned Maintenance program to help prevent those emergencies.

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Design Air, Inc.  hope you have a wonderful February 14th!