AZ Air Conditioning and Heating Blog : Archive for January, 2015

How Does an Electric Water Heater Work?

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Tank waters heaters use two main fuel types to heat water: natural gas (or propane) and electricity.

Each can effectively heat the water, but because of the nature of the fuel types, each does so differently. Today we’re going to take a look at how electric water heaters generate the warm water needed for your home. This information is good for homeowners to have, but doesn’t supersede the need to call for an expert when your water heater in Burbank needs repair.

The experts at AZ Air Conditioning and Heating have been helping customers with water heater repair since 1984, so if you are having problems with your water heater, call us today.

Water In, Water Out

How Does an Electric Water Heater Work?Electric water heaters use electricity to heat your water, but there is a process to it. First, the inside of the tank is divided into two areas known as the upper element and lower element. Those zones are not physically divided, but they are each designated by the presence of a thermostat, one being the upper thermostat and one being the lower thermostat.

When you open a hot water tap anywhere in your home, the hottest water, which resides at the top of the tank, flows from the hot water outlet and into your piping. At the same time, the cold water inlet valve opens and adds more water to the tank via the dip tube.

The dip tube is a long, narrow plastic tube that directs all the incoming cold water to the bottom of tank, where it will stay until it is heated and rises. During the standby times, which is when hot water isn’t flowing, the upper thermostat turns on and heats the water in the upper part of the tank until it reaches the pre-set temperature that has been set.

The lower element is programmed to turn on hourly to heat the cold water at the bottom to a specific temperature, but won’t turn on at the same time as the upper thermostat or when the hot water is flowing.

Hot water is a necessity for your home, so if you are experiencing any problems with your water heater, call AZ Air Conditioning and Heating today and schedule an appointment for water heater repair in your Burbank home.

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Which Is Better for Repiping: Copper or PEX?

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Unfortunately, the pipes inside and outside of a home cannot last forever, and at some point, replacing older pipes becomes necessary.

Usually, a plumber won’t recommend re-piping unless there is rusting and corrosion present or if you have older galvanized steel pipes that are at risk of corroding in the near future. Today, galvanized steel pipes are replaced with one of two options: copper or PEX (crosslinked polyethylene). Which is better for your home will depend on the circumstances, which is why we’ve detailed each type of pipe to help you learn more.

Call AZ Air Conditioning and Heating for quality piping services in Los Angeles. We can figure out the best type of piping to use in your home so you won’t have to do the extra work.

PEX

PEX pipes are less expensive and installation goes much more quickly than with copper pipes. This is because the material is far more flexible, lighter, and far easier for your technician to work with. The pipes can bent to a certain degree in order to move around corners and other obstructions, so you don’t have to worry about buying a variety of joints and connectors. PEX is resistant to corrosion and is unlikely to burst. PEX pipes can be used for hot or cold water (and it’s commonly used for radiant floor heating) and can even resist freezing temperatures (which is not an issue in Los Angeles, but it’s good to know nonetheless).

Copper Pipes

One of the problems with PEX pipes is that we don’t know exactly how long they last since there have been few studies around long enough to tell. It’s estimated that most PEX pipes will last over 50 years, but copper pipes last 70-100 years. Unlike PEX, you can install copper pipes outdoors. Copper pipes are quite durable and generally resist corrosion, although pinhole leaks still develop in some cases.

Both copper and PEX piping installation are best performed by a professional if you want the pipes to remain durable and efficient for years to come. Call AZ Air Conditioning and Heating for professional piping services in Los Angeles.

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Common Furnace Blower Problems

Friday, January 16th, 2015

There are multiple components in your furnace, but there are three that have the majority of the work when it comes to heating your home: the burner, the heat exchanger and the blower. Today we’re going to talk about common blower problems as any issue with your blower can affect the quantity and quality of the warm air that gets blown into your home.

What Is a Blower?

The job of the blower is to push the warm air generated by the burner and heat exchanger (or heating element, in the case of an electric furnace) into your home. A special device called a limit switch keeps track of the temperature of the air around the heat exchanger so that the blower only turns on when the air is warm enough; otherwise, you would have cool air blowing through your vents. The blower has several components itself: a motor, a belt and fan blades. Each has its own job and when something is wrong with any of these components, it can affect the operation of the blower.

Common Problems

Here are some of the more common problems our technicians see with furnace blowers:

  • Bent/loose fan blades – the fan blades of the blower can become loose, and sometimes if they become loose enough, they can hit other parts surrounding them, and become damaged. While a loose or bent fan blade doesn’t necessarily affect the operation of your fan, a single loose blade can cause damage to items around it.
  • Worn belts – the fan belt in your blower can become cracked, stretched and worn out over time, which will affect the rotation of the fan.
  • Dry ball bearings – there are a number of ball bearings on the blower that help it turn, and they need to stay lubricated; if they don’t, they can grind and cause problems with friction.
  • Motor issues – the motor of the blower is responsible for powering the rotation of the fan, so any problems with the blower will directly affect the operation of the fan.

It may be tempting to repair your blower, but this is never a good idea. Your furnace repairs in Glendale should always be handled by trained and certified experts, so call the ones you can trust: AZ Air Conditioning and Heating.

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Common Problems with the Reversing Valve

Friday, January 9th, 2015

For those homeowners who use a heat pump to heat their home, the reversing valve is one of the most vital parts of their heating system. Though it’s well-known that heat pumps are capable of both heating and cooling functions, many heat pump owners are completely unaware of how they accomplish it. Let’s take a look at what the reversing valve is, what it does, and how it can develop issues that cripple the heat pump.

What is it?

A heat pump works by evaporating and condensing refrigerant in its indoor and outdoor units. One unit will evaporate refrigerant to collect thermal energy, while the other will condense it back into a liquid to release that thermal energy. The role of each unit is determined by which way the refrigerant flows between them. If the refrigerant flows one way, the heat pump will pump heat out of the house. If the refrigerant flows the other way, the heat pump will pump heat into the house. The direction of the refrigerant is determined by the reversing valve.

The valve is a four-way junction in the refrigerant line of the heat pump. It is comprised of a chamber at the intersection of the refrigerant lines between the two units and the central pump. Inside the chamber is a slide that can redirect the flow of refrigerant to one unit or another. The slide is connected to an electromagnet, called a solenoid, which is located outside of the chamber. When the solenoid is charged, it pulls the slide to one side of the chamber to change the refrigerant flow. When the heat pump is in default mode, the solenoid is inert and the slide moves back to its default position.

Problems

There are two main problems that can occur with the reversing valve. The first problem is that the slide simply gets stuck inside the chamber, making it unable to move between positions to reverse the refrigerant. This is often solved by opening the chamber and freeing the slide. The other problem is that the solenoid loses its magnetism, making it unable to move the slide. If this happens, the solenoid often needs to be replaced. Both problems result in the heat pump becoming stuck in one mode.

If your heat pump is stuck in heating or cooling mode, call AZ Air Conditioning and Heating. We provide heating service throughout Los Angeles.

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When New Year’s Day Was Not on January 1st

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Some holidays fall on shifting calendar days for every year, such as Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November) and Easter (the first Sunday after the first full moon to occur on or after March 21). Other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween, are fixed. No holiday has a more solid calendar date attached to it than New Year’s Day. It has to fall on January 1st because it celebrates the first day of a new year. That only makes sense…

…except that, like most things that at first appear obvious, there is a bit more to the story. The beginning of the year was not always on the first of January. As with an enormous numbers of traditions in the Western World, the establishment of January 1st as the inaugural day of a new year goes back to the ancient Romans.

The modern solar calendar is derived from the Roman model, but the earliest Roman calendars did not have 365 days in a year spread over 12 months. Instead, there were 304 days spread over 10 months. The Romans believed this calendar originated with the mythical founder of the city, Romulus. If Romulus were a real person, we can credit him with a poor understanding of the seasons, as this abbreviated calendar soon got out of sync with Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Numa, one of the Kings of Rome (probably also fictional) receives credit for creating a longer year with two added months, Ianuarius and Februarius, bringing the number of days in the year to 355. The new month of Ianuarius, named after Ianus (Janus in contemporary spelling), the god of beginnings, would eventually be known in English as January. But when this new calendar was instituted, January was not the first month. March, named after the god of war, remained the first month, and March 1st was New Year’s Day.

This extended calendar still did not keep in synch with the seasons. In 45 BCE, Julius Caesar instituted reforms to align the calendar correctly according to calculations of astronomers, with an additional 10 days distributed across the year. January also became set as the first month, and offerings to the god Janus on this day started the tradition we now know as New Year’s. The date still fluctuated during the ensuing centuries, with a number of Western European holy days treated as the beginning of the year instead. It wasn’t until the next calendar reform in 1582, the Gregorian Calendar, that the date of the New Year was fixed at January 1st.

However you choose to celebrate the beginning of the current calendar, everyone here at AZ Air Conditioning and Heating hopes you have a wonderful 2015!

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