How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

March 4th, 2015

The health and comfort of your family are two of the most important considerations when scheduling services for your home. Often, you seek the help of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) technicians because you wish to upgrade or repair your home heating and AC system for your family’s comfort. But you may also decide to call on the help of technicians when you notice repeated issues with your family’s health.

Do frequent allergy or asthma symptoms affect your family? Does it seem that you’ve made far too many visits to your doctor’s office in the past year? Part of the problem may be that the air in your home isn’t as clean as you’d like. When you decide it’s time to take control over the quality of the air your family breathes, call Command A/C. We install indoor air quality systems and provide professional ductwork services in Long Beach, CA and Orange County, CA.

UV Lights

A UV light purifier is able to kill bacteria and viruses living in the ductwork of your home. These microorganisms thrive in moist and dark conditions, much like the conditions on your air conditioner’s condenser coil. The blower fan may blow bacteria directly into the home, leading to illness. UV lights kill small organisms instantly. These are recommended for people with compromised immune systems, small children, or the elderly.

Air Filters and Purifiers

You should already have an air filter in your home heating and AC system, but if you don’t regularly change it and look for a new filter with a high efficiency rating, you may not get quite the level of air filtration you need. Check the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of your filter, and consider purchasing one with a higher MERV than your previous filter. You might also consider an electronic air purifier, which supplements your HVAC filter for advanced particle elimination.

Duct Sealing

Sealing the ducts can keep particles from entering and distributing into your home. For example, holes in the ducts may allow insulation from the attic to penetrate your home, a substance made of fibers which are usually not safe to inhale.

Call the experts at Command A/C today for ductwork repair or indoor air quality system installation in Long Beach, CA.

When is it Time to Replace Your Commercial HVAC System?

February 25th, 2015

Commercial HVAC systems are similar to home heating systems in many ways. They include a lot of the same parts, they serve the same purpose, and they’re just as annoying to deal with when they break. The only real differences between them are that commercial HVAC systems are quite a bit larger, and they have more of an impact when they break down. Even with the best possible maintenance, however, it will eventually become necessary to replace your system with a new commercial HVAC installation. Let’s examine some of the signs that it’s time to replace your commercial HVAC system.

Escalation in Repairs

Though there will always be the odd repair need that crops up every once in a while, when a commercial heating system gets old enough the frequency of repairs will increase. This is because the various parts of the system will start to wear down from prolonged use. Each part wears out at a slightly different rate, which eventually results in several parts breaking in rapid succession. You can keep replacing these broken parts, but eventually you will have simply replaced the entire system one part at a time. As this is much more expensive than simply installing a new system, it’s usually a good idea to replace your old commercial unit when it starts breaking down more often.

Increase in Operating Cost

The same wear and tear that eventually causes cascading part breakage also contributes to decreasing the system’s efficiency. As the parts wear down, they slowly lose the ability to provide the same output that they did when they were new. This leads to the system working longer and longer to achieve the same results, which results in higher operating costs. Again, you could try to keep replacing parts until the efficiency improves, but it will never get back to the level it was at when the system was younger.

If you think that your commercial HVAC system is reaching the end of its life, call Command A/C. We provide commercial HVAC installation service throughout the Fullerton, CA area.

 

How an Electronic Air Purifier Cleans Your Air

February 16th, 2015

The filter in your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system helps to eliminate some of the particles in the air that may aggravate allergies and irritate the sinuses. Most home HVAC filters can eliminate some of the most common contaminants such as pollen, dust mites, and various fibers. These filters trap particles to improve the health of those in your home and to help protect the heating and air conditioning system as well.

However, sometimes air filters aren’t enough to remove smaller particles from the air. As it turns out, air filters were designed to eliminate large particles that could clog the furnace or air conditioning system and cause it to struggle. If debris were to become lodged in the indoor blower fan, then the motor could stall and require replacement. Since filters were designed for this basic purpose rather than for air filtration, some of the standard filters don’t actually eliminate many of the worst contaminants from the air.

You could purchase a filter with a higher efficiency rating by choosing a filter with a higher rating on the MERV scale (minimum efficiency reporting value). Your home heating and AC system likely has a filter with a MERV of less than 6 even though the scale goes up to 16. However, if the MERV rating of a home filter is too high, the size of the filter may block airflow to the unit, hindering performance and perhaps leading to repairs. It may be a better idea instead to install an additional filtration system.

Electronic air purifiers work with your home HVAC system to eliminate more of the particles that pass through your ducts or throughout your home. Electronic air filters give the particles in your air a charge so that they become attracted to a surface with an opposite charge.

There are two types of electronic air filters: ion generators and electrostatic precipitators. An electrostatic precipitator contains an ionization chamber and two large metal plates. After particles are given a charge, they become attracted to these plates, which need to be cleaned about every few months. With an ion generator, these ions are sent throughout the room, charging particles in the air so they cling to surfaces in the home like the drapes or furniture, so that people in your home are less likely to inhale them.

Calling Command A/C gives you the choice between several different types of air purifiers in Newport Beach, CA, so that we can help you to select the unit that’s best for your family’s health and comfort. Contact our team of indoor air quality experts today for quality air purifier service.

Lupercalia: The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Many people may think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday essentially created by card and gift companies, but the truth is that the holiday has long-standing roots going back to the Roman Empire. The name “Lupercalia” has its origins in the word “lupus”, which means wolf, and the reason for this is that according to Roman pagan religion, the she-wolf Lupa nursed the two orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

 

The Festival

The Festival of Lupercalia spanned two days each February, from February 13th to 15th. The festival was about fertility and was led by Luperci priests, known as “brothers of the wolf”. The festival was serious with intention (fertility) but was executed as quite a romp for both the priests and citizens of Rome. The process was this: two male goats and a dog were sacrificed at the beginning of the festival by the priests; two young Luperci were then anointed with the blood from the animals, and the hides of the animals were cut into straps. As food and drink flowed, the male priests would run around the city wearing nothing but thongs made from the animal skins, and they also carried a strap from one of the sacrificed animals. The strap was used to strike the palms of Roman women waiting for the priests in the city, as it was believed that being hit with the strap could help with infertility issues and a safe, healthy labor for women who were pregnant.

 

The Transition to St. Valentine’s Day

The Christian influence of the holiday came around the 5th century. The Roman Empire was still strong, but Christianity was rapidly taking hold throughout the world. It is believed that to try and remove the paganism from the holiday, the deaths of two men, supposedly both named Valentine, were added into the mix. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, a law created by Claudius II forbade young men eligible for military service to marry, because Rome wanted a strong army. The two men named Valentine were priests, and married young couples in secret. Both were found out and executed on February 14th, although in separate years. The Church made Valentine a saint (they chose one), and Lupercalia became St. Valentine’s Day.

 

Here’s wishing you and your loved one a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Reasons to Install a Heat Pump for Home Heating

February 5th, 2015

Heat pumps are a fairly new, and very effective, method for home heating. Though they are still not well known among many homeowners, they are gaining more and more popularity across the country due to the unique advantages they offer. If you have never heard of heat pumps, read on to find out why they’re such a great choice for home heating.

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a heating system that does not use combustion of any kind. That is, it doesn’t burn fuel to create the heat that it uses. Instead, it takes preexisting heat from the surrounding environment and transfers it into the home. It is actually very similar to an air conditioner, the difference being that air conditioners transfer heat out of your home while heat pumps transfer heat into it.

A heat pump has two main parts, an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The two units are installed inside and outside the house, respectively, and connected by refrigerant and power lines. When the heat is turned on, the outdoor unit evaporates refrigerant in a coil to draw thermal energy out of the air. The refrigerant gas then travels down the refrigerant line with the thermal energy, and into the indoor unit. The indoor unit condenses the refrigerant gas back into a liquid, releasing the thermal energy into the home.

Benefits of Installing a Heat Pump

The number one reason that people install heat pumps in their homes is because they are energy efficient. By using preexisting heat instead of burning fuel, a heat pump has to expend far less energy to accomplish the same amount of heat output. A heat pump will quickly pay for itself through saving money on your heating bills.

Heat pumps are also safer than combustion systems, which produce toxic combustion gases by burning fuel. A heat pump only uses electricity to operate, so there is no need to worry about things like carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you’d like to know more about heat pumps, call Command A/C to speak with one of our specialists today. We provide heat pump repair and installation services throughout Anaheim.

What to Check if Your Furnace Isn’t Lighting

January 30th, 2015

Usually, your heating system is rather reliable, so it can be frustrating when your furnace suddenly stops working. If you get no heat at all from your furnace, it usually means that the burners aren’t lighting up in the first place. Repairs are usually a job for professionals, and most experts don’t recommend that you attempt to check inside the unit on your own for your safety and because there are so many parts that it can be difficult for a homeowner to understand what exactly has gone wrong. But there are a couple of things you can check before calling for furnace repair.

The Thermostat and the Circuit Breaker

The one part you should always check first is the thermostat. This may seem obvious, but professionals often arrive to a home only to find that a child has changed the programming or that the thermostat has accidentally been switched into cooling mode. Try turning the temperature a bit to determine if the heater is working at all. But keep in mind that if you have to set the thermostat to a very high temperature before it finally clicks on, you’re not in the clear. Something is causing your unit to run incorrectly and it must be addressed before the parts become too worn down.

You can also try checking your fuse box or circuit breaker. Modern gas furnaces still rely on electricity to start up, and you may only need to reset a tripped breaker or replace a blown fuse.

Call for Repairs and Schedule Regular Maintenance

When an examination of the thermostat and the circuit breaker doesn’t yield any success, calling a technician is your best bet. It may turn out that a small part like the flame sensor needs replacement or cleaning, or that a larger problem requires you to replace your unit. But it’s better to know about the problem now than attempt to fiddle with the system on your own only to have it fail again soon.

Scheduling regular maintenance is also recommended to keep your furnace running as it’s supposed to and prevent burner problems from occurring. With furnace maintenance, a technician will clean the burner, the flame sensor, and any other part that could cause the unit to stay turned off or to run inefficiently. The professional will also inspect the unit and make any necessary adjustment.

Call Command A/C today to schedule a standard maintenance visit or to see an expert for more information regarding our furnace repair service in Anaheim.

What to Look for in a Heating Services Company

January 23rd, 2015

Even here in sunny Orange County, we require the services of a heating professional from time to time. Whether you need to see a technician for annual heating system maintenance, a sudden repair need, or a replacement unit, the continued performance of your heating system is vital for those days when the chill of winter catches you off guard. Feel confident that you’ve found a quality contractor for heating services in Orange County by looking for the following features.

Positive Reviews

These days, you don’t have to look far to find reviews of nearly any company with which you plan to conduct business. Popular social review sites throughout the web contain search engines that make it easy to discover the qualities of a contractor that past or returning customers found most helpful or most unappealing. Some heating contractors also link to or post reviews directly onto their own websites.

Variety of Services

You should also search for a heating contractor who provides a variety of services from which to choose. If you’re in the market for a new heating system, for example, you would probably prefer a technician presented you with several options instead of continuously pushing a single type, model, or brand of system. You’ll want to choose a technician with experience working with your particular type of heating system for repairs as well. And you may even decide to look for a contractor that offers additional upgrades like zone control systems and thermostat upgrades. Look through your contractor’s website to see what services they offer and to make sure they’re someone you can return to again and again.

An Annual Maintenance Program

One of the most important services to schedule year after year, regardless of the outside temperature, is heating maintenance. Your heating system goes unused much of the year, which means parts can become dirty or can fall into poor condition without giving you much warning. If you schedule maintenance before each heating and cooling season, the parts of your HVAC system are cleaned and adjusted so that everything can keep running as new. And when your contractor offers a maintenance program, you’ll often get special offers and discounts on top of your twice yearly visits.

The professionals at Command A/C offer a full maintenance program which includes a 20% discount on services as well as other valuable perks. Call us today for any air conditioning or heating services in Orange County.

Common Problems with Electronic Ignition

January 14th, 2015

Advances in the heating industry have benefited just about every aspect of heating, including the ignition process. The former standard of ignition was the standing pilot light; standing pilot lights require a constant flow of natural gas, which can be quite wasteful. The advent of electronic ignition eliminated the standing pilot, so while there are many furnaces with standing pilots, furnaces are no longer manufactured with them. Electronic ignition is easier and less wasteful, but these components can develop problems just as any other can. Ignition problems should always be handled by trained and certified experts, so if you are experiencing ignition problems, call Command A/C today and have your furnace repaired by professional in Orange County.

Two Types of Electronic Ignition

There are two types of electronic ignition: intermittent pilot and hot surface ignition. With an intermittent pilot ignition, a small, dedicated pilot gas line opens when your thermostat calls for heat. An electronic device creates a spark that lights the gas, ignition the pilot light. One of the more common problems with an intermittent pilot is electronic problems: if the device can’t create a spark, the gas can’t be lit. A secondary problem occurs when there is dirt or dust in the nozzle. A dirty nozzle can inhibit the flow of gas, which can result in a shutdown of the ignition process.

Hot surface igniters work a little differently. Hot surface igniters are probes that heat to a very hot temperature using electricity. When the surface of the igniter reaches the right temperature, the main gas valve opens and ignites the burner. One of the most common problems that develops with a hot surface igniter is cracking. Because the probe is constantly expanding and contracting due to the temperatures to which it’s exposed, the casing is prone to cracking. A second common problem has to do with positioning. If the igniter isn’t close enough to the gas, it won’t be able to light it.

Think you may have a problem with your furnace’s electronic ignition? Schedule an appointment for our professional furnace repair service in Orange County today!

3 Common Air Handler Problems

January 5th, 2015

It’s safe to say that most homeowners don’t really think about the inner workings of their heating systems. This is unfortunate, as the more knowledge a homeowner has about his or her heating system, the better he or she will be able to take care of that system. In an effort to help you increase your heating system’s lifespan, we’re going to discuss 3 common air handler problems that homeowners run into. The more you know about these issues, the better prepared you’ll be to identify potential problems before they occur.

Broken Fan Belt

The fan belt is what makes it possible for the motor to turn the fan in the air handler. It is a long loop, often made of rubber, which connects the motor to the fan itself. When the motor turns on, it rotates the fan belt which rotates the fan. Over time, the fan belt will stretch and begin to develop cracks. When this happens, it creates a kind of squealing sound that can be heard from outside the furnace. If not replaced, the fan belt will eventually snap and render the air handler useless. If you hear a squealing noise coming from your furnace, get it checked by a professional right away.

Burned Out Motor

The motor inside the air handler is equipped with several parts called “bearings.” These bearings are designed to reduce the friction that the motor encounters while it’s running, allowing it to work more efficiently and live longer. The bearings accomplish this by using oil to lubricate the parts of the motor. Eventually, however, the bearings can run out of lubrication. This steadily increases the amount of friction the motor encounters. The resistance keeps climbing until the motor burns itself out. If you hear a grinding noise coming from your furnace, it’s probably the motor bearings failing. Call a professional immediately.

Clogged Air Filter

The air filter is a part designed to keep dust and debris from entering the furnace and causing damage. If it goes more than 3 months without being replaced, however, it can become so clogged with debris that it stifles the air flow into the furnace. This can cause the furnace to overheat and create a fire risk, among other issues. Be sure to clean or replace your air filter at least once every 3 months.

If you’d like to know more, call Command A/C. We provide heating services throughout Cypress.

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

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 Command A/C hopes you have a wonderful 2015!