What Is a Pellet Stove and What Are Its Advantages?

October 22nd, 2014

Adding a supplemental heat source to your home, such as a fireplace or wood stove, can go a long way toward lowering your heating bills during the winter. Pellet stoves, relatively new to the residential market, have become very popular over the last few years. Using compressed pellets made of recycled wood materials, pellet stoves can help heat a room or a whole floor, depending on their size; it also isn’t necessary to have a fireplace in Springfield to install one. If you are looking for a way to significantly supplement your heating, you may want to consider the installation of a pellet stove by a specialist from Design Air, Inc.

How Does a Pellet Stove Work?

Pellet stoves heat via convection. Convection heat describes the way heat moves through gases, including air. Pellets stoves heat this way because they blow the hot air generated in the stove into your living space. Here are the main components in a pellet stove:

  • Hopper – space that holds the pellets
  • Auger – large turning device that looks like a screw
  • Burn pot – where the pellets land, ignite and burn
  • Ash pan – pan where the ash drops
  • Heat exchanger – metal tubes that conduct the heat energy from the flame; the insides of the tubes hold the toxic fumes that are exhausted outside
  • Combustion fan – draws in the cool air from your living space that helps ignite the pellets in the burn pot
  • Convection fan – blows the warm air into your living space from the heat exchanger

The cycle starts when the pellet stove is turned on either by its thermostat or via a button on the back of the stove; pellet stoves require a small amount of electricity to operate. The auger feeds a small amount of pellets into the burn pot while the combustion fan draws air into the stove to help with ignition. A small, hot electrical igniter warms the bottom of the pot until the pellets light. The auger continues to feed pellets into the burn pot until the flame reaches the correct temperature, as assessed by a small sensor that is attached to the rim of the burn pot. The heat exchanger warms with the rising temperature of the burn pot, and once the correct temperature is reached, the convection fan will blow the warm air into your home as the toxic fumes are exhausted from the system through your chimney.

Benefits of a Pellet Stove

  • Convenience – managing the bags of pellets can be easier for many people, and the average burning time for one bag is 8-10 hours. This means you only have to load the hopper twice a day.
  • No smoke – pellet stoves do not produce smoke, so you don’t have to deal with smoky rooms or a smoky smell.
  • Low ash – the ash content of a pellet stove is significantly lower than a wood stove, and can be easily cleaned with a vacuum.
  • Outside doesn’t get hot – unlike a wood stove, pellet stoves are insulated all the way around, making the stove itself (not the glass) safe to touch during operation.

If you have been looking for a supplemental heat source that is convenient and easy to use, a pellet stove for your fireplace in Spring Valley may be just what you need. Call Design Air, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Is a Heat Pump Sufficient for My Home Comfort This Year?

October 15th, 2014

Heat pumps can be great systems for both heating and cooling, but there can be some concern that a heat pump may not be able to effectively heat or cool a home. The best way to ascertain whether or not a heat pump is sufficient for your heating and cooling needs is to understand how a heat pump works. The technicians at Design Air, Inc., have put together a description below to help you understand how a heat pump both heats and cools, and if it can provide you with the heating and cooling you need in Nanuet, NY.

How a Heat Pump Works

Heat pumps use refrigerant to facilitate the transfer of heat from one area to another. Heat pumps do not use fossil fuels to create cooling or heating; they only use a small amount of electricity to operate the pump. During the summer, the heat inside your home is absorbed by the heat pump and transferred outside; in the winter, the heat pump absorbs the heat from the outdoors, concentrates it in the heat exchanger, and then transfers it to your home.

Types of Heat Pumps

There are several types of heat pumps. Below are the types Design Air, Inc., carries:

  • Air-source heat pump – this is the most common kind of heat pump. Air-source heat pumps transfer heat between your home and the outside air. Because of this, air-source heat pumps are best used in climates in which the temperature does not drop below 32 degrees.
  • Ductless heating (and cooling) – ductless heating and cooling offers homes without ductwork the ability to cool as well as heat. In addition, the indoor blowers operate individually, allowing you to have customized heating and cooling.
  • Geothermal/ground-source heat pumps – ground-source heat pumps are part of a geothermal system. With geothermal systems, the heating for your home comes from harnessing the steady temperature of the Earth just below the frost line. Using a ground loop, heat is transferred in during the winter to the heat pump, which is inside your home. The heat is concentrated, then delivered to your living spaces. During the summer, the heat from the indoors is transferred into the ground via the ground loop.

All heat pumps are very energy efficient and provide very comfortable heating and cooling. If you think a heat pump is a good fit for you, call Design Air, Inc., today and schedule a heating installation for your home in Nanuet with one of our installation experts.

What Does Hydronic Radiant Heating Involve?

October 8th, 2014

Hydronic radiant heating is a great way not only to heat your home, but to do so efficiently. It is not a new technology, but recent improvements to the system have resulted in an increase in popularity across the country. Read on to discover the processes involved with radiant heating, as well as some of the system’s advantages.

Installation

The first step to installing a radiant heating system is choosing a good boiler. Once the boiler is in place, small watertight pipes are installed between the floor and subfloor of each room you want heated. These pipes all lead back to the boiler. It is important to note that installing hydronic radiant heating often involves temporarily tearing up the floor. The exception is if you have access to the subfloor from below, like a basement or large crawl space. If you are having a house built, this obviously won’t be a problem.

Operation

Once everything is installed properly, you’re ready to begin using your radiant heating system. When the system is turned on, the boiler heats water to be circulated. The hot water is then pumped through the pipes in the floor of each room. Heat radiates from these pipes, up through the floor and into the room.

Advantages

There are a number of distinct advantages to hydronic radiant heating. Water is a much better medium for transporting heat than air is. As a result, radiant heating can deliver more heat to each room than a forced air system can. The special watertight pipes used are also far more resistant to leaks than ductwork is, making them a more efficient delivery system. Finally, radiant heating more evenly heats a room than forced air does.

Forced air systems blow warm air into a room, which rises to the ceiling instead of sinking to the level that people can benefit from it. This means that the room requires more heat before people actually feel the effects. Radiant heating distributes thermal energy directly through the floor. The heat doesn’t immediately rise out of reach, and has the added benefit of transferring heat to things like furniture. This makes the room more comfortable for a longer period of time.

If you are thinking about installing a hydronic radiant heating system, call Design Air Inc to schedule service. We provide professional radiant heating installation throughout the Suffern area.

Does My Furnace Need Maintenance Every Year?

October 1st, 2014

It’s getting chilly out there, and you may have recently turned your heating on for the first time since the spring. While you may not need your heating system full-time yet, winter is coming. The better prepared you are, the better off you’ll be. One of the best ways to prepare for the winter cold is to schedule maintenance for your furnace in Pomona, NY. Our Design Air Inc technicians are frequently asked if it’s really necessary to perform annual maintenance on a heating system. The answer is that scheduling maintenance is not an absolute, but it is highly recommended by manufacturers for a number of reasons that we’ll list below.

Why Schedule Annual Heating Maintenance?

There are several important reasons to schedule annual maintenance for your heating system:

  • Maintain energy efficiency – your furnace was built to achieve a certain level of energy efficiency as it operates. When it is dirty and worn out, this ability is compromised, and your system needs to use more energy to achieve the set temperature. During a maintenance appointment, your furnace is cleaned and adjusted, which allows the system to work optimally.
  • Prevent repairs – during routine maintenance, your system is thoroughly inspected. This allows the technician to detect any existing or developing problems.
  • Safety – furnaces are combustible systems; as such, they produce noxious gases that need to be properly vented. Cracks can develop in a furnace system, particularly one that is aging. During a routine maintenance appointment, your system will be inspected for any cracks and tested for gas and other types of leaks to help ensure your safety.
  • Extends life of equipment – a system that operates under stress for a long period of time stands a greater chance of prematurely aging. Maintenance keeps your system in good working order, which can help extend the life of the equipment.

Scheduling annual maintenance for your furnace in Pomona, NY isn’t required, but it is strongly recommended. Maintenance helps your heating system operate better in every way, so if it’s been longer than 12 months since your last maintenance appointment, call Design Air Inc today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Does Rust on My Boiler Mean It Must Be Replaced?

September 24th, 2014

Seeing any rust on your boiler isn’t a good thing, but it doesn’t necessarily dictate the need for replacement, either. Your boiler is made to be durable and has been built with safeguards to greatly reduce the development of rust. The biggest question to answer when it comes to rust on your boiler in Spring Valley is: where is the rust located? This is because some rusted components can be repaired and/or replaced, and others cannot. However, if you should see rust anywhere on your boiler, it is important to have a professional look at it as soon as possible to assess exactly what is happening. Design Air Inc, is here to help you with all of your heating repair needs, so if you see rust on your boiler in your Spring Valley home, call us today.

Problems That Can Be Caused by Rust

There are a couple of problems that can be caused by rust on your boiler:

  • Development of leaks – we’ve all seen rust turn metal into oxidized crumbs, and this can happen to your boiler once rust takes hold. Like mold or mildew, once rust starts, it doesn’t stop until the rusted area is repaired or replaced. Weakened areas in your boiler cabinet can lead to leaks, which can affect the operation of your heating system and may possibly be dangerous. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to call for a technician as soon as you detect any rust on your boiler.
  • Poor performance – rust can also develop on individual components, like the mounting plates. Many of these items can be replaced, but until they are, your heating system may perform poorly.

Do I Have to Replace My Boiler?

Now that you know how rust affects your boiler, here are some other items to consider before replacing:

  • Age of your system – the average lifespan of a well-maintained boiler is 15-20 years. If your boiler is that age or older, and has significant rust, you may want to consider replacement.
  • Number of repairs – have you had to make multiple repairs to your boiler, or are you facing multiple repairs? At some point, your money may be better spent on a replacement.
  • Energy efficiency – how energy efficient is your current boiler? Today’s boilers are very energy efficient, so it may be worth reviewing how much a new one can save you in monthly energy costs versus your rusty one.

Rust on your boiler in Spring Valley isn’t necessarily a death sentence for your boiler, but at the least, it does call for professional care. If you have detected rust on your boiler, call Design Air Inc, and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Repairs that Gas Log Fireplaces May Need

September 17th, 2014

Your gas log fireplace has a fairly simple construction, so it may be surprising when your fireplace needs repair. But when your fireplace won’t turn on, or if you notice any other problems, it’s time for immediate repairs. Fireplaces should last a long time, and generally don’t require many repairs, but here are a few of the most common repair needs for gas log fireplaces.

  • Gas Line Problems: A gas log fireplace must have a working gas line in order for it to work properly. Gas line problems could stop your fireplace from working altogether, or the worst case scenario is carbon monoxide leaking into your home. A carbon monoxide detector may catch such leaks, or you may smell a strange odor due to a substance that may be added upon installation to make leaks easier to detect. You may also discover that you need repairs if you hear strange noises or if your fireplace will not turn on. Fixing a gas line without the proper training is dangerous, so be sure to leave this job to the professionals.
  • Clogged Burner: If the burner will not turn on or struggles to light, there may be another cause. This may mean problems with the ignition system, or it may indicate a clogged burner. Burner jets may become dirty due to soot, dirt, or other debris, which will interfere with normal operation. A technician can clear dirt and debris and check for any indications of damage. You should call for maintenance once a year to check for both dirt and a faulty gas line.
  • Cracked Logs: Finally, you may choose to repair your gas log fireplace if the logs become cracked or otherwise damaged. Gas log fireplaces were mainly designed for aesthetic purposes because the appearance is more pleasant than a typical gas fireplace and imitates the look of real logs. You take pride in your gas log fireplace, so it’s perfectly understandable that you may want to replace the logs from time to time.

Your fireplace is an important part of your home comfort and design, so you should look out for these problems and others. For repairs, maintenance, installation, and questions about gas log fireplaces in Suffern, call the experts with over 25 years of experience at Design Air Inc today.

How Photovoltaic (PV) Panels Work

September 10th, 2014

Advances in technology have made it far easier for the average homeowner to utilize solar energy for his/her home. Additionally, grants and tax rebates for residential solar panel installation and use has also made it financially feasible for many more homeowners to take advantage of this alternative energy. However, it can still be confusing how solar energy in Pomona works. Design Air, Inc. has installed hundreds of solar panels over the years, and we can help you become greener and save energy with solar panels for your home.

What Does “Photovoltaic” Mean?

Photovoltaics (PV) is the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity at the atomic level (atoms).

How Does PV Work?

All photovoltaic energy begins with a single mechanical cell called a solar cell. The top and bottom of the cell are treated with materials that make one side of the cell positively charged (the bottom) and the other negatively charged (the top). The top and bottom are connected by electrical conductors, and the opposite charges create an electrical field that is necessary for the solar cell to create electricity from sunlight.

How Is Electricity Generated?

When sunlight hits the solar cell, electrons are knocked loose from the atoms in the top and bottom of the solar cell. They are then captured as electrical current in the conductors that are attached to the solar cell. Metal conductive plates on the sides of the cell collect the electrons (electrical current) and transfer them to wires. At that point, the electrons (electrical current) flow like any other source of electricity.

Solar Array

Obviously a single solar cell isn’t going to power your home, but this is where the solar array, also known as a panel, comes in. Solar panels are made of multiple solar cell modules that are wired together to provide enough electricity to power your home or large systems, like your air conditioning system. PV panels produce direct current (DC) electricity and can be connected in either series or parallel electrical arrangements to produce any required voltage and current combination. The solar panels can be wired right into your home’s electrical box.

Solar energy can make your home very energy efficient and significantly lower your carbon footprint. If you are interested in seeing what solar energy in Pomona can do for you and your home, call Design Air, Inc., today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

September 1st, 2014

You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at Design Air Inc hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

Generator Season is Almost Upon Us!

August 28th, 2014

Each year between August and November we seem to get at least one storm bringing high winds, thunder and lightning, and a lot of rain. Often times it is these types of storms that cause power outages and other damage to the local electric infrastructure. Here at Design Air we want you to be prepared for those moments, if the electricity gets knocked out for a week we don’t want you to have live without it, that’s why we strongly suggest looking into purchasing a whole house generator for your home. This will ensure you always have power, even when the neighbors don’t.

Whole house generators are offered in both automatic and manual options, the automatic version will actually detect a disruption in the power supply to your home and turn on when needed. Manual versions often cost less but don’t have this feature, so you have to be home at the time of the outage in order to turn it on. Whole house generators ensure you have electricity even during the most difficult weather conditions and can help maintain the quality of day to day life during both brief and longer outages.

Take a look at your home, what would you want to have power during a disruption in power supply? These necessities will help you determine a generator that is best for you and can handle your power needs when in use. Call us today to review the options we have for various generator solutions in the New City and surrounding areas in New York at 845-357-3580.

Are the Repairs for Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners Different?

August 27th, 2014

Heat pumps and air conditioners are very similar in the way they operate, except for a couple of key differences. In fact, a heat pump is a type of air conditioner when it’s in cooling mode. When it comes to comparing repairs between the two systems, certain components are the same and therefore have similar repairs. It is the components that are different, such as the reversing valve, where the repairs will be different. No matter which system you use for your home, Design Air, Inc., specializes in both types of air conditioning repair, so if you are experiencing issues with either your heat pump or AC cooling, call us.

Commonalities Between the Systems

Heat pumps and air conditioning systems both use refrigerant, have compressors, condensers and evaporators, and operate on a refrigeration cycle. This means that repairs with these components are basically the same with both systems.

Differences Between the Systems

The biggest difference between heat pumps and air conditioning systems is that heat pumps are dual-action systems: they can both heat and cool. This is due to the reversing valve on a heat pump that allows the pump to switch between heating and cooling. Common valve problems are:

  • Valves getting “stuck” in a certain position
  • The solenoid malfunctions
  • Refrigerant leak develops in the valve

A second difference between the two systems is that you may experience more repairs with a heat pump simply because it runs year-round. However, scheduling annual maintenance for your heat pump can prevent repair needs and increase the longevity of the system, which is important for a year-round appliance.

Heat pumps are great options for those living in climates with long, hot summers and moderately cold winters; for those living in areas that have cold winters – below 32 degrees – a heat pump will have to be supplemented with another heat source.

Since 1986, Design Air, Inc., has helped Spring Valley customers with central AC and heat pump repair. Whether you have a heat pump or central air conditioning system, call us for all your air conditioning repair needs in Spring Valley. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.