Archive for December, 2013

Which Size Heat Pump Is Right For My Helotes Home?

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

“Which size heat pump is right for my Helotes home?” If you’re considering a Helotes TX heat pump installation, that’s one of the first questions you need to grapple with. Texas winters are comparatively mild temperature-wise, which makes heat pumps an attractive alternative to traditional gas furnaces and boilers. Proper sizing is very important if you want the heat pump to function as it should. The right size depends on the needs of your home, of course, which means you want to talk to an expert when determining specifics.

You need to size your heat pump right because the wrong sized pump will cost you a great deal in wasted energy. If the pump is too small, it’s going to struggle to adequately heat your home, increasing wear-and-tear and adding to your monthly bill. If the pump is too large, something similar will happen: it will heat your house too quickly, cycling on and off multiple times throughout the day. Heat pumps use a big chunk of energy turning on, which means you want it to run for at least 15-20 minutes anytime it activates to get the most efficiency out of it. If it cycles on and off, it costs you money in higher bills, as well as increasing strain on the heat pump tremendously.

Determining the right size heat pump starts with the square footage of your home. Other home factors get involved as well, such as how much sunlight enters your home from large windows, and how much insulation you have in your attic. (An insulated home tends to retain heat much better and requires less energy from the heat pump as a result). You also have to factor in varying weather conditions, which can be tricky. Helotes averages about 60 degrees in the winter months, with lows dropping into the 40s at night. But we have exceptionally cold days which can get worse than that, and an expert needs to factor them in.

That’s a roundabout way of saying you should consult an expert to determine which size heat pump is right for your Helotes home. The professionals at General Air Conditioning handle Helotes TX heat pump installation, and can provide sound advice on your best options. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

How Do Heat Pumps Heat My Home?

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

If you just went through a prolonged Texas summer, which can stretch far into the fall, then you know the benefit of an effective heat pump working for you. It provides the same level of cool, refreshing air as a quality standalone air conditioner. It’s just what you need to beat the heat.

But now the short winter season is almost here, and you’ll switch your heat pump over to “heating” mode. That seems a bit strange. After all the work the heat pump did providing you with a cooled home, now it will do the exact opposite. How is a heat pump capable of heating a home in addition to cooling it?

We’ll explain the basic operation of the heat pump in heating mode. If your heat pump can’t provide you with heat, however, you may need it repaired. Contact General Air Conditioning: we can assist you with your heat pump in Terrell Hills, TX so it does both the jobs for which it was designed.

A heat pump in heating mode

A heat pump isn’t much different than a standard air conditioner in operation: it moves heat from one location and puts it in another. When in cooling mode, it removes the heat from the indoors and puts it outdoors. But a heap pump contains a reversing valve, a mechanism that can change the direction of the flow of refrigerant through the unit. When the refrigerant’s direction changes, the heat pump switches the direction of the heat exchange as well: now it removes heat from the outdoors and moves it indoors.

Yes, there is enough heat outside, even in cold weather, for a heat pump to extract a sufficient amount to warm up your home. In Texas, heat pumps rarely need to struggle because of our mild winters. People in colder states often have to pair their heat pump with a back-up system for extremely cold weather.

Keep your heat pump working for you

If you don’t keep up regular maintenance on your heat pump, you can lose its great advantages. Make sure you sign up for a regular preventive maintenance program to have a professional give your system a thorough check-up and tune-up each year.

If you purchase the 4-star maintenance agreement from General Air Conditioning, you will receive two maintenance check-ups each year (one for your heater and the other for your air conditioner), and the second visit will be prepaid. We also offer other benefits with the agreement. Contact us today to start taking excellent care of your heat pump in Terrell Hills, TX.

Common Furnace Safety Malfunctions

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Gas-powered furnaces have a bit of an unfortunate and unfair reputation as dangerous heating systems. Furnaces did once present numerous hazards, but that was decades ago. Current furnaces come equipped with numerous safety precautions to make them as benign as possible. As long as you maintain your furnace with yearly professional check-ups and prompt repairs, it should pose little danger to you or your family. However, malfunctions can still occur, and you should be aware of what can go wrong.

General Air Conditioning has put together a list of the more common malfunctions that can occur with a furnace that might make it unsafe. Whether it’s an emergency or not, General Air Conditioning can handle all your needs for heating repair in San Antonio, TX.

  • Thermocouple failure: The thermocouple is a device used to detect if the pilot light of a gas furnace is burning. A simple device made of two different pieces of metal joined at one end that increase in voltage as the heat around them rises. Should the pilot light go out, the voltage in the thermocouple will cease, which in turn will shut off the gas valve. This prevents unburned gas from flooding the combustion chamber and creating an explosive hazard. If a thermocouple fails, an HVAC professional will need to replace it to make sure it’s the right type and that it goes in correctly.
  • Cracked heat exchanger: Heat exchangers are metal chambers where the temperature from the combustion gas transfers to the air that blows from the furnace. If corrosion weakens a heat exchanger, it could cause cracks to appear, which will allow exhaust gas to escape: toxic carbon monoxide. Heat exchanger cracks need repairs immediately before more carbon monoxide can get out of the furnace cabinet.
  • Loose front panel door: You should never operate a furnace without its front-panel door securely in place, as this can allow carbon monoxide leaks. This panel can become loose without you knowing it. Many modern furnaces have a special safety switch that will automatically prevent operation if the panel comes loose. If this switch also malfunctions, or if you have an older furnace without this safety precaution, have repairs done immediately.

It’s a smart idea to have carbon monoxide detectors in your house—the gas is colorless and odorless, so it is difficult for humans to detect—that will inform you if there is a leak coming from the furnace. When this happens, shut off the gas to the house and call in an HVAC technician to see what malfunction in the furnace has caused the problem.

Stay safe with help from professionals; don’t try to investigate or fix furnace safety problems on your own. Call General Air Conditioning when you need experienced technicians who will put your safety first. We take pride in our history of heating repair in San Antonio, TX.