Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Heat Pumps’

Advantages of Installing a Heat Pump for Winter

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

With winter right around the corner, now is a pretty good time to make sure that your home’s heating situation is in order. If you’re one of the many people looking for a new home heating system, you should consider installing a heat pump. Heat pumps offer a unique range of advantages for those who install them. Let’s take a look at some of those advantages now.

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The Advantages of Ductless Air Conditioning

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Central air conditioning has much to recommend it, and remains the most popular method for keeping homes cool across the country. However, it is not the only method for staying cool during the summer. Ductless air conditioning is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to central air conditioning. Read on to find out more about ductless air conditioning, and the unique benefits that it can provide.

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Why Heat Pumps Make Sense in Trabuco Canyon

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Here in Trabuco Canyon, heat pump technology is an effective alternative to both gas furnaces and traditional air conditioning systems. They combine the features of both heating and air conditioning: circulating refrigerant throughout their system and using it to warm or cool the air around them.  During the heating portion of cycle, coils revert the gas to a liquid state, bleeding the heat into the nearby air. During the cooling part of the cycle, the liquid enters an evaporator, cooling the surrounding air as it reverts back into a gas. That air can then be blown into your household. With heat pumps, the process can fulfill either function, with an indoor coil and an outdoor coil to “switch roles” depending on what you need. How does that system benefit us here? Here’s why heat pumps make sense in Trabuco Canyon.

For starters, it’s an extremely efficient system. Heat pumps use less energy than traditional gas furnaces, which means you can save a great deal on your monthly bills if you have them installed. Many types of heat pumps also use ductless systems, which means planting multiple units throughout your home. Each unit can tailor the nearby temperature individually, allowing you to set one temperature in a given room and a separate temperature in another room.  (You can even turn off the heat in parts of the home you aren’t using, saving you further money.)

All of those are fairly universal benefits to heat pumps. What makes them especially suited to Trabuco Canyon is the fact that they are at their most efficient in warm weather. When temperatures drop to freezing levels, so too does the heat pump’s efficiency drop off. But here in sunny Southern California, things rarely get that cold, meaning that your heat pump will function at its best all year.

For more on why heat pumps make sense in Trabuco Canyon, the experts at Saddleback Plumbing are here to help. We can perform installation and repair functions with equal efficiency. If you’re having problems with your system or want to see about installing a new one, give us a call today!

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Common Heat Pump Repairs

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Heat pump technology in Irvine makes a lot of sense. It combines the functions of a heater and an air conditioner into a single unit, running refrigerant gas through a closed cycle that can alternately heat or cool your home depending on the season. Heat pumps struggle when temperatures drop to the freezing point, but here in sunny So Cal, that almost never happens. More importantly, they are very efficient forms of technology, allowing you to save a great deal of money on your monthly energy bills. They’re dependable forms of technology too, but like any appliance, they sometimes need servicing.

Here’s a brief list of some common heat pump repairs in Irvine.

  • Ice coils. Ice on the coils is usually created when the refrigerant gas leaks out of the system. Like A/C units, heat pumps are designed to be used with a specific amount of refrigerant. When that leaks, it creates ice on the coils which both wastes energy and insulates the gas from the very air it’s supposed to be cooling. You can’t just scrape the ice off – it will quickly reform – but a service technician can seal the leak and recharge the refrigerant.
  • Fan problems. The fan blows the cool air (or warm air in the winter) from the heat pump into your home. It’s usually powered by its own motor, and if that motor overloads, it can affect the performance of the fan. The fan can also have a bent or a broken blade, or the fan belt could be damaged, lowering the flow of air.
  • Incorrect settings. A heat pump with a problematic thermostat or similar equipment might not turn on when it’s supposed to, or it might cycle on and off without regard for the proper temperature. The faulty component will need to be replaced before it will work again.

If you’re experiencing common heat pump problems in Irvine, call on Saddleback Plumbing for help. We handle calls from communities all around Irvine, heat pump technology is well known to us, and we won’t rest until the problem has been located and corrected. You can also schedule an appointment online!

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Laguna Hills CA Air Conditioning FAQ: What Does SEER Mean, and Why is it Important?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Are you looking for a new air conditioner? Call the Laguna Hills air conditioning experts at Saddleback Plumbing. We can help you understand efficiency ratings and choose the model that suits your needs. When buying an air conditioner, always look for a model with higher efficiency ratings, which for air conditioners are measured by the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER).

The SEER rating indicates how efficiently the AC system can turn a relative amount of energy into actual cooling for your home. If you have an older system, it probably has a SEER rating of 6 or less, but the minimum SEER allowed for today’s models is 13. Another easy way to know that you are getting a model with a high SEER rating is to look for Energy Star-rated models, because they will have even higher SEER ratings.

Keep in mind that heat pumps are also measured by the HSPF (heating season performance factor), and it is important to note that there will be other features to look for in terms of heat pump efficiency. Some of those features include variable fan blowers, which run at lower speeds and for longer periods taking the strain off of the compressor, and other features include advanced coil design, copper tubing, and many other small yet important energy-saving features.

The SEER doesn’t account for other factors, such as the condition of your air ducts, the location of the outdoor unit, which can be affected by high winds, and how well your home is insulated and sealed. We can help you decide if your home is ready for a high-efficiency AC system before you make your final decision about an upgrade or replacement.

Call Saddleback for all of your Laguna Hills, CA air conditioning needs.

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When to Call for Heat Pump Service?

Monday, October 29th, 2012

If you’ve invested in a heat pump, you probably did it for the energy savings that they can potentially provide. Heat pumps are wonderful additions to your home because they provide efficient heating and cooling your house. But if you don’t keep up on regular maintenance and repair services, they might start to become costly and inefficient. But how do you know when you need heat pump services at your home in Irvine? We’ve put together a handy list of some of the common problems that heat pumps experience.

No Heat

This is a common experience with heat pumps that we get called to deal with. There are a few common things that can cause your heat pump to fail to produce heat. The first is no power or a broken igniter. The first thing to do is make sure the heat pump is plugged in and that the igniter light is on. Another common culprit of no heat is your thermostat. You should test your thermostat to see if it is actually working correctly. Beyond these things, you should probably call for the services of a Irvine heating technician.

Not Enough Heating or Cooling

Your heat pump uses a series of coils that are filled with a refrigerant to move heat from one place to another. In heating mode, your heat pump collects heat from the outdoors and moves it into your house. In cooling mode, it does the opposite. The refrigerant is what carries the heat from one place to another. If you have too little or too much refrigerant, it can prevent the heat pump from providing enough heating or cooling. You should check the pressure gauge on the heat pump to see if you have enough or too much refrigerant. Low heating and cooling may also be caused by a broken compressor or a dirty filter. All work on the refrigerant, compressor or filters should be done by a trained professional.

Frost on the Heat Pump

There are a few different things that can cause frost to appear on your heat pump. This can sometimes have to do with a defective fan or dirt build up in the evaporator coils. It can also be from a broken compressor. All of these repairs should only be attempted by a certified professional. If you attempt to do this yourself you could risk damaging your system permanently.

If you need heat pump repair services at your home in Irvine, then call Saddleback immediately. We are proud to offer complete heat pump repair services in Irvine and can get your system working correctly quickly.

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Common Questions about Heat Pumps

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Even if you installed a heat pump in your Trabuco Canyon home years ago, you may still have questions about the normal operation of your indoor and outdoor units. Here are answers to a few of the more common questions about heat pumps.

Do I need to schedule a heat pump maintenance visit before each season, or just once a year?

Scheduling a yearly maintenance visit is necessary to the proper upkeep and safe operation of your heat pump. This also extends the life of the system and helps it run more efficiently. However, scheduling a visit before the heating and cooling seasons isn’t necessary, unless you’ve had any concerns or issues with your heat pump.

Should I be concerned about the steam coming from my outdoor unit?

All heat pumps have a defrost cycle that melts the frost off of the outdoor coils in the winter. The steam rising from the outdoor unit results from the defrost cycle. If you notice that the defrost cycle lasts longer than ten to fifteen minutes, or if it cycles on and off frequently, you should call a service technician to look at your heat pump. There could be an issue with airflow that is affecting the compressor.

I just installed a heat pump. Why is my furnace running?

Many heat pump systems use the furnace fan blower to help distribute the heat throughout the house. Unless you’ve installed a geothermal heat pump, your furnace is most likely your backup heater, so it will kick on when the outside temperature drops below 20° F.

Is it really that important to clean my outdoor unit? It’s impossible to keep it clean all the time.

Yes, cleaning the outdoor unit is an especially important maintenance task. Not only does a routine cleaning of all the outdoor components maintain your heat pump’s efficiency and performance levels, it also prevents safety hazards. When you schedule a yearly maintenance visit with one of our technicians, cleaning the coils and outdoor unit is part of the service; however, if you want to clean the coils yourself, have one of our Trabuco Canyon technicians show you how to do this before you attempt it on your own. You could suffer from electric shock if you are not familiar with the proper cleaning procedure. You can also help by making sure that the debris is cleared from around the outdoor unit.

If you have any questions about the heat pump in your Trabuco Canyon home, or if you’d like to schedule a maintenance appointment, give Saddleback Plumbing a call any time.

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Heat Pump Filter Care

Monday, March 21st, 2011

On the whole, heat pumps are efficient, durable and effective. They are built to run all year round without needing any more maintenance than your average furnace or air conditioning system and they have an average lifespan comparable to those other types of home comfort systems as well.

That’s not to say that there aren’t things you can do to keep your heat pump in good working order, however. Keeping up with the professional maintenance visits is an important step to take along these lines to be sure, but there are also some other things you can do on your own as well to help ensure the continued efficiency and health of your heat pump system.

Proper filter care is an important part of keeping your heat pump working the way it should. If you don’t have a heat pump yet but are thinking of getting one, make sure you have the installation technician show you where the filter is located and how to replace it.

If your system’s already been in place for some time, you can still find out how to care for the filter from your annual maintenance technician or you can probably even find it on your own by taking a close look at your heat pump. The filters are meant to be removed on a regular basis so they’re typically not hard to get to. However, you should always be sure that all of the power to your heat pump is turned off before you open it up to try and find, replace or clean the filter.

Most heat pump filters are meant to be changed or cleaned about once every 90 days or so. However, the specific requirements for each system can vary considerably, so you should be sure to find out what is recommended for the model of heat pump that you have.

Also, you’ll want to know what type of filter you have so that you can purchase the appropriate replacement. The model number for each filter should be clearly printed on it, so simply slide your current filter out and make note of the number so that you can purchase the correct type as a replacement.

Most heat pumps have replaceable filters, but some still do have permanent filters that are meant to be cleaned and then returned to service. If you have one of these types of filters, be sure to read the instructions for cleaning carefully before proceeding.

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