We are blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest known for it’s beautiful outdoors and generally moderate climate. Despite our moderate Pacific Northwest seasons, there are still weather and environmental factors that can negatively impact your heating and air conditioning system. Your HVAC system is a durable piece of equipment, but there are steps you can take to further protect your system and hopefully save yourself a repair call. Read our top tips for Pacific Northwest weather patterns below:
1. Rain & Flooding
The Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR areas experience a lot of rain during the Fall, Winter and Spring Pacific Northwest seasons. Rain only becomes harmful to your heating and cooling system when it leads to flooding. If the water around your outdoor unit is under 15 inches, then it probably will not harm your system. Water can damage your outdoor unit, especially it’s electrical parts, if it’s more than 15 inches around your outdoor unit.
If the water exceeds 15 inches, immediately turn off your entire HVAC system and do not turn it back on until after the flooding has ended. A trained HVAC professional will need to assess your system before you can safely turn your HVAC system back on. Miller’s Heating & Air have 24/7 emergency service and 8 service technicians ready to help you with your HVAC needs.
2. Wind Storms
From time to time Clark County and Multnomah County can experience wind storms though this is more common in the Columbia River Gorge and it’s surrounding cities. Towns that can often experience high winds include, but are not limited to Stevenson, Washougal, Camas and Fairview. The number one issue with wind storms is debris.
Heavier debris such as tree branches can damage the outside metal of your outdoor unit. Smaller debris such as leaves can blown into smaller places within your outdoor unit blocking air flow. If high winds are on the forecast move outdoor furniture inside. In addition, we recommend routinely trimming trees and bushes nearby the outdoor unit; this will help to protect your HVAC unit both doing wind storms as well as during the Fall. After a wind storm, inspect your outdoor unit for any damage. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact us.
3. Snow Storms
Some winters we get more snow than others, but it’s always good to be prepared with winter tips. The best months to service heating system is in the Fall before the cold weather hits. Ensure that your outdoor unit is not covered with snow as this will block airflow. We recommend shoveling snow from around your outdoor unit so that 3-5 feet around the unit is clear. This will help your system run efficiently as the airflow won’t be blocked. Make sure that your gutters aren’t blocked with snow, ice and/or debris. The overflow from blocked gutters can fall into your outdoor unit. Icicles that fall into your outdoor unit can cause significant damage. Snow that falls into your outdoor unit cause corrosion and rust within the unit itself. During the coldest days in Vancouver during winter , we recommend covering your pipes.
4. Heat Waves
During some Pacific Northwest seasons, we can experience heat waves. Heat waves can cause your HVAC system to work much harder than normal often leading to breakdowns and/or your AC blowing warm air. The most important thing you can do to prepare for a heat wave is to have a yearly residential AC service . The best months to do service on AC is in the spring before the warm weather hits. During a residential AC service , your technician will clean your system and tune it up so that it is running as efficiently as possible heading into the warm summer months. He will also recommend any other changes to your system that may be needed such as duct sealing, duct cleaning, air scrubber, etc.
Miller’s Heating & Air is your local residential AC service expert and heating service expert. Have any questions about your HVAC system during our Pacific Northwest seasons? Feel free to reach out to us online or call us at 360-524-2880.
If your AC is blowing warm air instead of cold air possible reasons why could include:
The easiest thing to check when your AC is not cooling, but instead blowing warm air is whether your thermostat is set correctly. Look to see if your thermostat is set to heat, auto or on. If it’s on heat mode then warm air will definitely be blowing out of your vents. “On” mode means that the system is always blowing air through the ductwork and out through your vents whether the air conditioning is actively cooling or not. During the summer, we recommend putting your thermostat to auto mode so that you are using your system most efficiently. It may be a good idea to change your batteries so that your thermostat doesn’t run out of power during the summer.
Dirty Evaporator Coil and Filters
Have you been changing your filters regularly? If not your dirty filter may be causing problems with your AC. Filters should be changed monthly to yearly depending on the filter type and conditions within your home (pets, smokers, etc). A dirty air filter blocks the air circulation in your system and doesn’t filter the rest of the system effectively. This can lead to a dirty evaporator coil. A dirty evaporator coil can also be caused by lack of maintenance on your AC. You should schedule an AC service in Vancouver yearly. When an evaporator coil in your AC is dirty, it will not cool properly and can result your AC’s compressor freezing up. The frozen coils constricts the air flow even more making it harder for the system to move refrigerant and keep your home cool. If the compressor freezes up, it’s time to schedule an AC repair in Vancouver.
Ductwork could also be a culprit of your AC not cooling. If a portion of the ductwork isn’t sealed and connected properly it can let hot air into the ductwork. Ductwork can be knocked out of place and become disconnected over time. A professional will be able to access whether your ducts need to be sealed and/or replaced.
Running your AC system takes a lot of electricity. Check your circuit breaker to make sure that a fuse hasn’t been blown and that electricity is powering your system normally.
Low on Refrigerant/Freon
Your AC system cools your home by moving refrigerant. If you lose refrigerant through a leak then your AC will blow warm air instead of cool air. Another tell tale sign that your AC system is low on refrigerant is when you can see ice on either the indoor or outdoor units. Seeing ice on your system is never a good sign!
Miller’s Heating & Air is your local air conditioning repair experts with over 70 years experience! We have certified technicians ready to help with any of your AC service in Vancouver and AC repair in Vancouver needs. We offer 24/7 emergency AC repair in Vancouver if your AC is not cooling. Call us today at 360-524-2880 if you need to schedule an appointment and/or have questions about your AC not cooling.
Have you been hearing the term indoor air quality Vancouver or IAQ used more lately? The reason it’s a hot topic is because of how negatively poor indoor air quality can effect the health of your family. It is estimated that indoor air can be up to 70 times more polluted than outdoor air. With poor indoor air quality in your home, your family may experience exacerbated health problems such as allergies, respiratory issues and sinus issues. According to the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, negative health effects may show up later with continual exposure. It is important to take the quality of your indoor air seriously before your family experiences negative health effects.
So what constitutes good indoor air quality Vancouver? According to the United States Department of Labor, “The qualities of good IAQ should include comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air, and control of pollutants from inside and outside of the building.” In this article we will discuss ways to improve the indoor air quality Vancouver and over all comfort of your home.
The easiest way to improve your indoor air quality Vancouver is to change your air filters regularly. Your air filters should be changed every month to once a year depending on the filter type and how much dirt and dust the filter is collecting. To read more about filter sizes and types click here.
The Protector, an air purifier, reduces mold, viruses and other contaminates in your home by 99% using NASA based technology. It also greatly reduces excessive smells in your home due to pets and/or smoking. After installing The Protector, these health issues may improve:
- Chest Tightness
- Sinus Issues
- Eye/Nose/Throat Irritation
Dust, dirt, mold and other contaminants build up within the ductwork of your heating and cooling system over time. These contaminants are then cycled through your home throughout the day, which can make existing health problems worse. We recommend getting your ductwork cleaned every 7 years by a professional. We use the Rod-Whip method for our professional duct cleanings. This method thoroughly your entire duct work and leaves your home with hospital grade clean air.
Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat
Thermostats are becoming more advanced than ever. The new Wi-Fi smart thermostats, such as Lennox’s iComforS30, help to alleviate your allergies indoors and improve indoor air quality through pollen monitoring. When the pollen count is high outdoors, it automatically kicks on the fan on your HVAC system. In addition, these thermostats are programmable so you can set the thermostat to different temperatures throughout the day for your increased comfort. Often people will have it a different temperature when they are sleeping compared to during the day when they are active in the home.
With over 70 years experience, Miller’s Heating & Air is your local indoor air quality expert. Have questions about IAQ or want to schedule an appointment? Call us today at 360-524-2800. Our office hours are 8am-4pm Monday through Friday, but we always have a technician on call to help with any emergencies that may arise.
It can be difficult to know when to replace AC, especially when handed an air conditioning repair Vancouver bill. You don’t want to invest money into a new system when your current system will last longer. Luckily there are five basic things to consider before deciding when to replace AC.
Age of Equipment
If your in home AC is 12 years or older, it may be time to consider replacement. According to the National Association of Home Builders / Bank of America Home Equity’s Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components , you should anticipate that your air conditioner will last anywhere from 10-15 years. Miller’s Heating & Air offers free in home estimates on new equipment.
Air conditioning repair Vancouver can be costly and stressful. If the cost of the air conditioning repair Vancouver exceeds 50% of the cost of a new AC then it makes more financial sense to replace. An AC replacement can cost anywhere from $4,000-$7,000 depending on brand, sizing and efficiency. Miller’s Heating & Air offers financing options on new AC systems. Learn more about your financing options by click here.
Are you noticing that your utility bills for cooling are noticeably higher or creepy up slowly? It may be time to replace your air conditioner with a more efficient newer system. As in home AC systems age, they become more inefficient due to dirt, lack of maintenance and normal wear and tear. When you upgrade, make sure to look for an Energy Star rating on the equipment in order to get the most return on your investment. According to Energy Star, upgrading to one of their approved ACs can save you up to 20% on your cooling utility bills.
Heat pumps Vancouver are outdoor units similar to air conditioners except that they can heat and cool the home. They are energy efficient and last longer than air conditioners. On average a heat pump Vancouver last around 16 years while air conditioners last 10-15 years. Even if you decided to replace with a AC rather than a heat pump Vancouver, the newer AC models have advanced technology. This technology is more energy efficient and will increase your comfort in your home. Miller’s Heating & Air is your local AC and heat pump Vancouver expert with over 70 years experience!
The Environmental Protection Agency, known as the EPA, is phasing out substances and chemicals that negatively affect the ozone. One of these substances currently being phased out of use is R-22 refrigerant. R-22 is one of the most common refrigerants used to run ACs. By 2020 there will no longer be any production or import of R-22 refrigerant. Newer ACs are designed to run on a more environmentally friendly refrigerant called R-410A. It’s not a bad idea to consider replacing your old in home AC for one that runs on R-410A before the phase out is complete.
Saves You Money
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling systems can lose more than 30% of their heated and/or air conditioned air due to leaky duct work. With a ductless mini-split system, there is no chance of this type of energy loss; each indoor head delivers heating and air conditioning to the room it’s located in without having to circulate air through a duct system. Ductless mini-split systems are up to 40% more efficient than traditional heating and cooling systems, which results in lower utility bills. In addition, ductless mini-split systems are inherently a zoned HVAC system. You can heat and/or cool the rooms you use while saving money on the rooms you don’t use.
Because ductless mini-split systems are so efficient, local utility companies offer rebates as incentives for their customers to make the switch. In Vancouver, WA, the Clark County PUD offers up to $1,000 in rebates and in Portland, OR the Energy Trust of OR offers up to $800 in rebates. Also, make sure to check to see if there are any manufacturer rebates and promos offered at the time of purchase.
Ductless mini-split systems are an environmentally friendly heating and cooling system. They are designed to meet Energy Star standards. Also, ductless systems use a type of refrigerant called R410A. This refrigerant is known for being environmentally friendly because it does not negatively impact the ozone. If you are wanting to “green up” the heating and cooling in your home then installing a ductless mini-split is a great investment.
Ductless mini-splits are a zoned HVAC system, which can be designed to be set up from 1 to 8 zones. You have the freedom to chose where you want the indoor heads and “zones” to be located before the install takes place. Each indoor head comes with a thermostat and controller, which makes changing the temperature in each zone easy and increases your families comfort at home. It’s a system that is tailored made to you!
Easy to Install
The installation process for ductless mini-splits is relatively easy. Without having to add duct work to your home, it decreases the length of time for the install since the installers don’t have to do any major cuts into your walls. In fact, installers on average only have to make a three inch hole into your walls for the ductless outdoor and indoor units. A quick, easy and clean install means you will have a running system quickly so you and your family can be comfortable.
Improved Indoor Air Quality
Having a heating and cooling system with duct work requires cleaning and maintenance. Up to forty pounds of dirt is created in a six bedroom home annually. This dirt is circulated around your home in a ducted HVAC system five to seven times a day. With a ductless system, you don’t have to worry about duct cleanings or how your duct work is negatively impacting your health. A ductless system does not circulate mold, viruses, etc. like dirty ducted systems do. If you are experiencing allergies, sinus problems, and/or increased dust in your home it may be due to your existing dirty duct work. A ductless system is a great solution to this problem.
You have heard the horror story. It’s in the middle of the worst heat wave of the summer and your AC won’t work. You’ve called multiple HVAC companies who are all swamped. They will come out to you as soon as possible, but your family will have to suffer in the heat until they can arrive. Don’t let this happen to you! There are preventative actions you can take before summer to help prevent your AC from breaking down and keep your family comfortably cool. Otherwise, you will likely end up with an air conditioning repair bill from your AC repair Vancouver company.
Over 90% of AC mechanical breakdowns are due to the build up of dirt in your system. During an annual maintenance, a service technician will remove any dirt build up in your system, thoroughly check your AC for faulty parts and do a safety check. It is recommended that you do a maintenance once a year to prevent breakdowns, keep your system running efficiently and to meet the standard warranty requirements.
Filters that aren’t changed regularly have built up of dirt and dust, which blocks the air flow of your AC system. This results in your system working harder than it needs to and can lead to a necessary air conditioning repair over time. Filters need to be changed every 1 month up to 1 year depending on the filter type.
Program Your Thermostat
To avoid your AC system from working harder than it needs to, program your thermostat while you are away and when you are sleeping. Energy Star recommends that you set your thermostat to be 10 degrees higher than normal when you are not home and when you are sleeping. Not only does it give your system a break, but it saves you money on your utility bills.
Check to see if there is any debris around your AC outdoor unit. If anything is too close and/or blocking it, move it so the area around the AC outdoor unit is clear. This will help ensure that the AC will run efficiently.
Keep Your Vents Open
Do not close any of the air vents in your home! You may think that you are saving money, but in reality you are causing your system to work harder, which will increase your utility bills.
Take Care of Issues Right Away
Have you noticed that your system isn’t working right? Make sure to not procrastinate, but schedule an air conditioning service before the problem becomes worse. At Miller’s Heating & Air, your local AC repair Vancouver experts, our highly trained service technicians will diagnose and fix the issue quickly before summer arrives.
Miller’s Heating & Air is your AC repair Vancouver experts. Give us a call to schedule a service and/or if you have any questions. Our phone number is 360-695-6500. When the office is closed, we have on call technicians able to help with your air conditioning service and air conditioning repair needs.
Replace Your System
If your AC system has been having problems and/or is an older, it may be time for it to be replaced. It’s been to replace your system before you spend lots of money on air conditioning repair. Plus, the newer AC systems are more energy efficient and will lower your utility bills.
Did you know that the air in your home circulates through your HVAC system 5-7 times a day? If your duct work is filled with mold, fungi, dust and/or other contaminants, then all that dirt, grime and bacteria is also circulated through your home 5-7 times a day. In fact studies have shown that indoor air can be up to 70 times more pollutant than outdoor air.
Dirt, mold and other contaminants in your HVAC system can exasperate existing health conditions of your family living in the house. Respiratory problems such as asthma attacks can be induced by contaminants in duct work such as mold, dust, etc. that you are breathing in. These same culprits can cause inflammation in your nasal passages when you breath them in leading to continually sinus problems. Lastly, dirty duct work and vents can cause allergic reactions such as sneezing when dust, pollen and other contaminants are present; this might be especially noticeable during the Spring season.
Duct Cleaning Services
A vent cleaning and air duct cleaning can help alleviate airborne illnesses as well as reduce mold growth, and remove unwanted odors from your heating and cooling system. On average, we recommend that you get your duct work cleaned every 5-7 years. However, if you meet any criteria below you should consider scheduling an air duct cleaning more often if you:
- Have done a renovation/remodel in your home
- Have pets in the home.
- Mold is visible in your duct work.
- Someone in the home smokes.
- Someone in the home suffers from airborne illnesses.
- You notice more dust, pet hair, dirt and other contaminants in your home
In addition to improving your health, vent cleaning and air duct cleaning can have other very important benefits to your system and your wallet. By cleaning out the dust and debris in your duct work, the air in your system will flow more freely, which improves your system efficiency. A more efficient system means lower utility bills and more money that stays in your wallet. Less wear and tear on your system also gives it a longer equipment lifespan.
Your Local Air Duct Cleaning Experts
Miler’s Heating & Air is your local vent cleaning and air duct cleaning experts in Vancouver, WA and north Portland. Call us today to get a free quote over the phone for duct cleaning services or schedule online. All you need to tell us is the square footage of your home. Our office phone number is 360-695-6500 and our office hours are Monday through Friday 8am-4pm.
Lack of AC service and maintenance
The most important thing you can do to protect your cooling system is schedule an AC service known as an annual maintenance. Over 90% of all mechanical breakdowns are due to dirt. Dirty coils cannot transfer the same amount of heat as clean coils. With a dirty coil, your AC will run harder and longer causing unnecessary wear and tear on your system. This extra strain on your system may even result in your compressor and/or fan failing. During an annual maintenance, your trained HVAC service technician will clean the coils and perform an important safety inspection. Not only does an annual maintenance and AC service protect your system from needing an air conditioning repair service, but it also gives you peace of mind. Learn more about our Club Membership, which a free annual maintenance as well as discounts on service and repairs.
An easy way to protect your AC from needing local AC repair is to change your filters frequently. Your filters should be changed every 1 month to 1 year depending on the filter type. Dirty filters block the airflow of your system, which decreases efficiency and can cause higher utility bills. They can also add to dirt and buildup of other important components of your system including the evaporator coil. According to the Department of Energy, you can save between 5%-15% of your AC energy usage just by changing out a dirty filter. Avoid added strain and breakdowns of your system by keeping your filters clean so it can circulate air without blockages.
Filters can be purchased from our office location at 6109 NE Hwy 99 Vancouver, WA 98665. Our office is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm.
Refrigerant is what we call the substance used to transfer heat in refrigeration process. The amount of refrigerant shouldn’t change within your system unless there is a problem. If a leak develops in your AC’s refrigeration system, you will experience decreased efficiency and increased wear on the system. Your system’s compressor feels the most strain and may fail over time. If you are noticing that your system has trouble cooling, your utility bills are higher and/or there are hissing noises coming from your HVAC system, your AC may have a refrigerant leak and need an local AC repair.
Through the refrigeration process, heat is removed from the home and transferred to the outside. In this process, condensation is formed. One quality of air conditioning is that it dehumidifies your home causing the home to feel more comfortable on the hottest days. Condensation created by your HVAC system must be drained properly. If the condensation removal system has not been properly maintained, it can result in system damage, home damage and/or health issues if not handled quickly with an AC repair. Water can ruin your insulation, ceiling, and walls. In addition, the presence of water within your duct work can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, which will be circulating throughout your home via your HVAC system. During an annual maintenance, technicians clear condensation systems to ensure proper operation and reduce possibility damage caused by your system.
Weak electrical components
Weak electrical components can cause the unit to work harder resulting in more serious failures and breakdowns. During an annual maintenance with your AC company in Vancouver, your service technician will evaluate and replace with your approval, any weak electrical components. Having a set of trained eyes evaluate your system before the height of hot weather is a fantastic preventive measure. You don’t want to be stuck in a heat wave needing AC repair. Local AC repair companies are busiest during these heat waves and it can be difficult to schedule an air conditioning repair service.
AC Company in Vancouver
Miller’s Heating & Air is your local expert AC company in Vancouver, WA. We have been around since 1947 and can answer any questions you have regarding air conditioning repair service.
Use your blinds and curtains
During the day, lower your blinds and/or pull your curtains. It is best to use blinds and curtains that are lighter in color. This will limit the amount of outdoor heat that will enter your home due to sun rays. The cooler the house without AC than the less energy you will need to use to condition the air.
Use a ceiling fan
Though using a fan doesn’t air condition the air, it does create a wind-chill effect, which results in you feeling around 6 or 7 degrees cooler. With the wind chill effect, you can set your thermostat higher than normal and still feel comfortable.
Re-evaluate thermostat placement
Is your thermostat hung in a location that gets direct sunlight? Is your thermostat near major electronics such as a TV or a lamp? If so, consider moving your thermostat to a location that won’t get direct sunlight or heat from electronics. This way your thermostat will get a more accurate reading of the temperature in your home and will only run the AC when necessary.
Program your thermostat
To save money on your utility bills, set your thermostat as high as you can while still being comfortable. When you leave your house, make sure to set your thermostat 7-8 degrees higher than you have it set when you are at home. Resist the urge to set your thermostat temperature lower than normal. This only results in higher utility bills and doesn’t lower the temperature of your home any faster.
Replace your AC
If your current AC or Heat Pump is 12-15 years old, it may be time to consider replacement. New systems are more energy efficient and will most likely save you money on your utility bills. Plus, you are less likely to have to worry about breakdowns during the warm summer months and costly repairs. Check to see what rebates are available in your area.
Maintain your AC
Maintaining your AC is key to saving money on your utility bills during the hot summer months. Schedule a tune up for your HVAC system once a year. The tune up will need to be done by a professional HVAC service technician. This will help to prevent breakdowns as well as addition wear and tear on your system caused by dirt. Our Club Members receive discounts on their annual maintenance as well as any other service and repair on their HVAC system.
Make sure to change your filters regularly. Typically filters need to be changed every 1-6 months or when dirt is present in the filter. Changing your filters regularly will also help keep your system working as efficiently as possibly.
Lastly, make sure your ducts are cleaned and sealed can greatly improve your system efficiency. On average, homes lose 20-40% of it’s air conditioned air through leaky ductwork. A simple duct sealing can resolve this issue keeping your air conditioned air circulating with your home.
A zoned HVAC system allows you to set different rooms in your home to different temperatures. With a ducted system, you can zone your home by using dampers within your duct work and individual thermostats in each of the rooms and/or areas that you zone. Ductless systems are inherently zoned. Instead of duct work distributing heating and air throughout the home, indoor heads in each room perform this function and are controlled by their own thermostat and remote. In fact, some can even be controlled from your smart phone. Here are the top five benefits of installing a zoned HVAC system:
Think of your heating and air conditioning system like you do the lights and electricity in your house. You don’t leave them on all the time do you? When you leave one room, you probably turn them off. You also probably turn them off when you leave the house. It’s more energy efficient to do so. It works the same with your HVAC system. Why would you want to heat rooms that you aren’t using? Using a zoned HVAC system allows you to save energy since you have the choice to heat the rooms you use instead of the whole house. If your home has any of these features, you will save the most money by switching to a zoned HVAC system:
- Vaulted ceilings
- Room above your garage
- Many windows, especially large bay windows
- More than one story
- Basement, attic, sunroom and/or loft
Since zoned HVAC systems are so energy efficient, they can save you up to 30% of your utility bills relating to heating and cooling. This type of savings is especially noticeable during the peak season for your utility bills. No one likes paying a mountain of utility bills just to stay comfortable in your own home.
Longer System Life
When you zone your HVAC system, you end up using it less than you would otherwise. Not heating and/or cooling your entire home at the same temperature all the time extends the life of your system. Less overall use equals a longer system life on average.
Do you like having your bedroom a different temperature than your living room and/or kitchen? With a zoned system this isn’t an issue. You can decided what temperature you would like each zone in your home to be. This type of room to room personalization is the ultimate home comfort. In addition, a zoned HVAC system enables a more stable overall temperature in each of the zoned areas as well as eliminates hot and cold spots.
Zoned systems are convenient as each zones comes with it’s own thermostat and remote. No longer do you have to go down a flight of stairs to change the temperature. Now you can do so from the comfort of your own couch.