What To Do When Your Heat Pump Refuses To Work?

When your heat pump suddenly stops working, the best thing to do is, of course, to call a repair service. Specifically, a heating repair service, so they can send someone to come in and take a look at the heating system in question.


After all, a heating pump is complex in nature and an untrained person will not be able to spot the source of the problem. Once the contractor has arrived, you will be asked a series of detailed questions so be prepared to take some time out of your day to assist the contractor in their repair services. These are the most commonly documented heat pump malfunctions:


Outdoor Compressor And Fan Have Stopped Working


When the outdoor unit stops working, it is often due to a tripped breaker circuit, problems with the wiring, a blown-out fuse, a bad transformer, or an overloaded compressor. When this happens, you should pray that all you need is a furnace tune up, because the worst-case scenario would be the need for a whole new heat pump.


Humming Heat Pump That Won’t Start


The majority of the time, this is caused by a malfunctioning part, i.e. a bad start capacitor, compressor bearings, or compressor motor. Sometimes the cause will also be electrical problems. Regardless, you will likely need to replace the heat pump, unless the problem is electrical in nature, in which case the contractor may have a chance of saving it.


Outdoor Compressor Won’t Work


So, the compressor doesn’t work but the fan does. This is often due to improper phasing, poor voltage, a grounded compressor motor, or because of a bad capacitor. When it comes to such problems, it will be up to your contractor to determine whether your system needs replacing or if a repair job is sufficient.


Outdoor Pump Or Fan Aren’t Working


When there is an issue with the pump or fan relay, an issue with the timer, or a fault in the motor, then there is no getting around replacing the pump. However, if the issue is electrical, a straight up rewiring may get the job done.


However, don’t try to do it all on your own but call in the AC Repair experts in Philadelphia. They understand all aspects of the pumps and HVAC units and will be able to do what is necessary which will make sure that your unit is working again.


Indoor Fan Has Stopped Working


When there is a malfunction with the motor or transformers, you will not get around purchasing a replacement. However, if the problem is a blown fuse, bad circuit, or an issue electrical in nature, you will be fine with getting a repair job done.

Understanding the Importance Of Attic Ventilation During The Cold Season

If you wish to keep your home warm and protected throughout all of winter, you will need to have an attic in it that is properly ventilated. Lack of attic ventilation can lead to moisture build up which damages the very foundation and structural integrity of your roof and can bring along an urgent need for costly repairs. Additionally, proper ventilation will also allow for quality air flow throughout your home during the cold season. This is important to have fresh air while maintaining comfortable temperatures inside the home.


Benefits Of Attic Ventilation


There is an array of reasons as to why you should ensure proper ventilation of your attic, including the prevention and protection against:

  • the appearance of and spread of wood rot
  • popping roof shingles
  • the buildup of ice dams
  • the growth and spread of mold
  • moisture build up
  • frost build up

  • Since hot air rises while cold air sinks due to the differences in density, your attic will experience an increase in warmth during winter in contrast to the lower floors of your home. However, with the heat also comes moisture, at least it does when your attic space is lacking proper ventilation. And this moisture is then free to be soaked up by your home; it seeps into the materials which make up your roof, it seeps into the framing of your attic, it seeps into the boxes and furniture stored in your attic. In short: it brings mold and rot.


    So how can proper attic ventilation fight this? Well, the installation of a ventilation system will lead to cool and dry air being pumped into your attic from the outside, while also transferring the warm and moist air from indoors to the outside. As a result, temperatures will remain even and moisture doesn’t get to build up. No more hot and cold spots. No more ice dams. Additionally, you will have turned your home into an environment protected against the growth of mold and mildew, as well as an environment unfriendly to rodents and insects. Calling on HVAC service in Philadelphia is important as they understand all aspects of the heating and cooling systems. Most of the companies offering these services have been in business for years and can offer regular maintenance and emergency services as well.


    Understanding the Different Forms Of Attic Ventilation


    It is recommended to have one square foot of ventilated space in contrast to roughly three-hundred cubic feet of regular, unventilated attic space. Additionally, you will also need an equal amount of intake and exhaust vents, in order to ensure functional airflow in and out of your attic.

    A Guide To Charging Heat Pumps During The Cold Season

    Refrigerant is a substance (or mixture) that is used to move heat back and forth between the in- and outdoors. However, since refrigerant is transferred through pipes, these lines may be damaged, which will lead to leaks, and thus a loss of refrigerant. As a result, the heat pump requires a recharge in order to restore the desired performance level.


    The Complexity Of Charging Your Heat Pump During Winter


    If you wish to, or need to, charge your heat pump in the depths of winter (or generally low temperatures), you will need to make use of what is called the “superheat method”.


    This method can only be performed by HVAC Repair technicians in Philadelphia who have undergone the required training. “Superheat” is a term which is used when talking about the differences in temperature between refrigerant vapor in its actual state and refrigerant vapor’s temperature during saturation.


    If you wish to keep your home warm and cozy, your auxiliary heating system needs to be up and running during the repair process of your heat pump. This is because the heat pump needs to be offline while the necessary repairs are made.


    The charging process of a heat pump is significantly more difficult during the cold season due to the latent heat load being so minuscule around the evaporator.


    Additionally, and as a result of this, the refrigerant charge of your heat pump cannot be perfect, but it will still be more than enough to restore efficiency to your system.

    Charging Process In Low Temperatures

    • In order to keep the air inside the system from escaping, the condenser will be covered by a sheet of plastic.
    • Using the 4-way reversing valve, the heat pump’s mode is switched to cooling. To achieve this, its low voltage wire will need to be removed. This is because the thermostat will still be asking for heat which it will now be able to obtain through the auxiliary heating system. Once this set up is complete, your home will remain heated, even while the heat pump is down.
    • The refrigerant vapor in the refrigerant lines needs to be retrieved by bleeding air from the lines.
    • In order to capture this refrigerant, a refrigerant cylinder will be fastened to the gauge lines and switched upside down. Once this set up is established, the manifold valve can be opened and refrigerant liquid can be retrieved.

     

    It is important that you discuss the details with a reliable and licensed contractor that has years of experience in handling varied sizes of HVAC systems. Usually, such services offer standard maintenance plans on a regular basis.

    Winter and 6 of the Most Common Heating Problems

    Winter is coming…and it has nothing to do with Jon Snow or a Game of Thrones episode! In fact, winter is officially here. It has a way of sneaking up on you, particularly if you are unprepared for it.

    When cold weather sets in, you want to be able to rely on your furnace to keep your home and family warm. There are many reasons why your heating system may need repair. Mechanical household systems will break down periodically like any other and some are just a matter of age and daily wear and tear on the system. But there are some very common things that tend to break down with heating systems, some of which don’t need to happen with proper periodic system maintenance.

    Lack of Maintenance

    Your Philadelphia HVAC system is a huge investment and should be kept in proper working order, just like you keep your car maintained. Unfortunately, many homeowners neglect this maintenance and end up with unexpected breakdowns in the middle of winter. Don’t let this be you!

    Clogged Air Filters

    The simplest and most important thing you can do as a homeowner is changing your air filter. A clogged air filter will cut down on your system’s ability to do its job and can put unnecessary strain on the system leading to costly breakdowns. Manufacturers suggest that you change your air filters every three months but during the height of winter usage, you may want to do this more often.

    Air Flow Problems

    Other airflow problems can make your system work inefficiently and cause an eventual breakdown. Damaged ducts and large leaks can lead to a reduction in airflow that can cause wear and tear on the system.

    Mechanical Breakdowns

    There are hundreds of mechanical parts that are essential to the operation of your heating system. And like any other mechanism, these parts can wear and break down. Wear and tear on a mechanical system can cause problems with performance and cause inconvenient breakdowns. Fortunately, components can be easily replaced as part of a repair service call.

    Ignition Control and Pilot Problems

    Ignition problems can cause a system to malfunction and require a Philadelphia PA furnace repair call.

    Thermostat Problems

    A thermostat that is malfunctioning can create comfort issues and can result in no heat getting to your home. This can be quickly diagnosed and repaired by your Philadelphia HVAC repair specialist.

    The Best Way to Avert Furnace Breakdowns

    The best way a homeowner can keep Philadelphia furnace repairs to a minimum is to have the system inspected and maintained annually before winter sets it. Scheduling an annual maintenance visit can save money and frustration and reduce costly breakdowns when you need your heating system the most.

    At Affordable Fixes LLC, our Philadelphia HVAC repair technicians will conduct a complete inspection and cleaning of your heating and cooling system to ensure that it is working efficiently to the manufacturer’s specifications. Don’t get caught with a furnace breakdown in the middle of winter! Call us today to schedule your inspection before a costly breakdown happens to your system.

    9 Simple Ways to Save on Your Heating Bills This Winter

    You’ve no doubt noticed that winter has come in full force in Philadelphia. And that always means those high heating costs. So how can you reduce those heating bills without breaking the bank? Here are some tips from your Philadelphia HVAC experts at Affordable Fixes LLC.

    Lower the Thermostat Setting

    This may be a “duh” answer, but most people don’t appreciate how much they can save with just a small thermostat adjustment. In fact, for each degree you lower your setting over a 24-hour period, you can save up to 3 percent during that time period. Consider especially lowering your setting while you are asleep.

    Use Your Ceiling Fan

    You heard right, use those fans on a low setting in order to circulate the air that gets trapped at the ceiling. Hot air rises. Getting it to circulate brings it down where it is needed and allows it to feel warmer.

    Keep Vents Clear

    Make sure your vents or radiators are free from obstructions and not blocked by furniture of floor coverings. You want warm air to be able to circulate freely around the room. You will also want to keep your vents and radiators clean and dust free. Not only does dust and dirt clog circulation but it can be a big allergen in the home.

    Seal Your Windows

    Your home can lose 10 to 25 percent of its heat due to windows. Make sure to seal around windows and doors and any leaks around your home. Open shades on the south side of the home facing any sun during the daylight hours to allow the natural warmth into your home. Make sure windows are covered especially at night when the temperatures dip. Other common places for air leaks are where wires and cables come into the home and around electrical outlets.

    Add Insulation

    Having adequate insulation is important to keep warmed air inside and cold air outside and can also be a tax-deductible home improvement. Don’t forget to insulate the basement as well.

    Close the Flue

    Make sure to close your chimney flue when your fireplace isn’t in use, otherwise, you are allowing warm air to escape.

    Change Your Air Filters

    In order for your furnace to work efficiently, it needs good circulation. A clogged filter is a sure-fire way to reduce the efficiency of your system. This should be done periodically for both furnace and air conditioning systems.

    Invest in a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

    Thermostats that can adjust your temperature at certain times, even when you aren’t home, can offer substantial savings on your energy bills.

    Make Sure to Get Your System Maintained

    Making sure your HVAC system is working properly should be something you do each year. Call the Philadelphia HVAC repair pros at Affordable Fixes LLC to see how having an annual maintenance program can ensure that your heating and cooling system is working properly when you need it most.

    How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing While You Are Away

    With holidays upcoming, many of us travel to visit friends and family. But how do you keep your home safe while you are away?

    Today, water damage is one of the most common insurance claims and frozen pipes can lead to an incredible amount of water damage in your home. When you are on vacation during the cold winter months, you can come back to some severe damage. Today, an average claim for water damage can exceed $6,000. That is a headache you don’t need. Before you go away for the holidays, here are some ways you can ensure that your pipes won’t freeze while you are gone.

    Check for Leaks

    Do a preliminary leak check before you go away. Small leaks can lead to large ones when you least expect it. Look for any small leaks and corroded areas that may need attention. Look for any areas that may appear wet or rusted and call a Philadelphia plumber to check out the area.

    Check Appliance Hoses

    Your household appliance hoses may not be areas that you consider on a daily basis but this is exactly why you need to make this an area of inspection. Any of these hoses are subject to freezing and could burst. Check for any leaky fittings or loose connections.

    Shut Off Your Water Main

    The best way to ensure that your home doesn’t experience a flood when you are gone is by completely shutting off the main valve to your home’s water. This may be outside near your water meter or in your basement. You should test this once a year just to make sure the valve is easily operable.

    Drain Your Lines

    If you have shut off your main valve, you will want to drain each interior line so water is not sitting inside the line. Open the taps inside the home as well as any outdoors and let any remaining water drain out.

    Shut Off Individual Lines

    If shutting off the main valve is inconvenient or impossible, you can shut off each individual line to each plumbing fixture. Sinks, faucets, and toilets have dedicated shutoff valves. Remember to shut off any water supplies to your washer and refrigerator.

    Add Insulation to Your Plumbing Pipes

    Insulation sleeves are easy to find at any hardware store or home improvement center. Insulating your plumbing pipes is further precaution against pipes freezing in your home while you are away. For those hard-to-reach areas, you may want to call a Philadelphia plumber for assistance.

    Check Your Sump Pump

    If there is a leak in your home, the water will flow to the lowest place which will be your basement or crawlspace. May sure that your sump pump is working properly in order to keep water damage to a minimum.

    Keep the Heat On

    It doesn’t have to be kept as high as you would normally set it, but keeping it set above 50 degrees Fahrenheit is a good way to ensure against pipes freezing while you are gone.

    Keep Interior Doors Open

    Keep all interior doors open including cabinet doors. This allows the warmer air to freely circulate throughout the home.

    Install a Smart Thermostat

    With a smart thermostat, if you see that the weather will be particularly frigid, you can set the thermostat accordingly with a touch of your app on your smartphone.

    Need a professional plumber in Philadelphia? Call the experts at Affordable Fixes LLC for any of your plumbing needs.

    Stay Ahead of Winter Plumbing Emergencies With These 9 Tips

    The winter season holds promise for many things: holidays, cozy nights, friends and family…and plumbing issues. Although the first few are what most people come to enjoy during the cold winter months, we are pretty sure that plumbing emergencies are NOT on your list of winter’s favorite things. At Affordable Fixes LLC, our Philadelphia plumbers suggest you stay ahead of winter with these handy plumbing maintenance tips!

    Water Heater Drain and Replace

    This is just good regular plumbing maintenance, but it is especially helpful before winter. Drain and replace the water in your hot water heater. Any sediment that has built up will be flushed out before it can cause potential rust, cracks, or leaks.

    Your Water Heater Temperature

    While you’re attending to your hot water heater, make sure that you have set it appropriately to make sure that it works efficiently throughout the winter and isn’t using too much energy needlessly. The optimal setting for a hot water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Insulate Those Pipes

    If you have ever had your plumbing pipes freeze, you know what a mess and cost it can be. One of the best ways of preventing this is by adding insulation to your home’s plumbing. Insulating tape and foam padding sleeves are very low-cost ways to solve a high-cost potential problem.

    Check Your Sump Pump

    If you have an indoor sump pump, you will want to make sure that it is clean and working properly. Remove the lid from the sump pump and slowly pour in water. Make sure that the sump pump turns on and that the water is completely pumped outside. Test this a few times to make sure the pump is working and pumping the water away from your home.

    Clean Up Yard Debris

    Any yard debris such as leaves and branches may inhibit drainage. Make sure to clean out your gutters and downspouts to ensure that melting snow has proper drainage that is carried away from your home.

    Locate Your Home’s Water Main Valve

    It’s important to know where your water main is in the event of a leak in your home. This is typically somewhere near the water meter. You should open and close it several times at least once a year just to make sure that it works freely just in case of an emergency.

    Know How to Deal With a Frozen Pipe

    This is something good to know in case of a frozen pipe in your home. Make sure to turn off the water at the water main immediately. If you can, locate the area of the cracked pipe and call a plumber in Philadelphia to replace and properly insulate your broken section.

    Leave Some Faucets Dripping

    You may have heard this before, but leaving faucets dripping does take the pressure off the pipes and helps prevent freezing. Letting faucets drip during times of extreme frigid weather can help prevent pipes from bursting.

    Be Diligent About Clog Prevention

    Having a backup is never a fun thing but it is particularly miserable during the winter months. Paying special attention to what you put down your drains helps to ward off a messy plumbing backup.

    Need an expert for your emergency? Call the professionals at Affordable Fixes LLC for any of your Philadelphia plumbing needs.

    Is a Smart Thermostat a Smart Choice For You?

    Smart technology is all the rage. And smart thermostats are one of the ways that smart technology has made its way into our homes. Could your family benefit from a smart thermostat? Let’s take a look.

    What is a Smart Thermostat?

    A thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature in your home. Many homes already have programmable thermostats that allow you to set your thermostat to allow that temperature to adjust for given times of the day or days of the week. Smart thermostats are now one of the leading smart home applications today and Philadelphia AC repair technicians are installing more of them than ever before. So, what can a smart thermostat offer that your basic programmable thermostat can’t?

    What is the Difference?

    Basically, a smart thermostat connects to your WiFi and can be controlled by your smartphone app. But not only can you control your home’s thermostat anywhere and at any time, but some smart thermostats learn your patterns and behaviors. It can also let you see your home’s energy consumption and can even adjust things like the humidity in your home. Some models even have Alexa service built into the unit. Having your thermostat order groceries takes the “smart” even one step further.

    Real Time Information

    Most smart thermostats enable you to see how long it will take to make the temperature change you’ve requested and allows you to understand how effective your system really is. It will also discourage those family members who may always adjust the thermostat excessively whenever they are feeling particularly hot or cold. The ease of controlling your temperature remotely is very convenient when on vacation and need to adjust the temperature for your return.

    For the average consumer, smart thermostats can offer:

    • Energy savings
    • Peace of mind
    • Convenience

    Energy Savings

    Having a smart thermostat can save energy. Recent tests show that smart thermostats can realize a savings of about $50 annually or more.

    Peace of Mind

    With your ability to monitor the energy usage in your home, you will have an idea of what is going on at all times. This can be a great tool for parents and frequent travelers.

    Convenience

    The ability to control your home’s temperature at any time from your smartphone enables you to come home to comfort no matter when that is.

    Installation

    Some thermostats are designed for the DIY enthusiast including all the necessary tools and access to installation videos, but research indicates that those who try to install a smart thermostat themselves usually end up calling a Philadelphia HVAC contractor.

    If you are interested in having a smart thermostat installed, call the experts at Affordable Fixes LLC to ensure that it is done right. Old or new technology, we are the choice of most Philadelphia homeowners when it come to their HVAC.

    The Perfect Time for Furnace Maintenance is NOW

    Before you tuck that furnace away for the summer, you may want to be proactive and schedule a maintenance inspection with a local furnace repair center in Philadelphia PA. We know you are looking forward to warm weather but come next winter, you’ll be glad you took the time to do a maintenance tune-up on your heating system. In fact, this is a perfect time to set up a recurring annual maintenance plan for your whole HVAC system.

    You Maintain Your Car, Right?

    So why is maintenance important? Most homeowners take a set-it-and-forget-it approach when it comes to their heating and cooling systems. But when you consider that these household systems work nearly nonstop to keep your family comfortable, they deserve at least the same kind of care you would give your car.

    Here’s What You Get

    When you call a Philadelphia HVAC contractor for a seasonal maintenance visit, what you get is a thorough cleaning and inspection of your system. This inspection can often detect problems before they even have a need for repair. With today’s advanced technologies, you may want to leave this to a professional instead of a DIY project. This can ensure that come next winter, your furnace will be running at its optimal performance.

    What do you get with a furnace maintenance visit? We’re glad you asked!

    • The igniter will be checked to make sure it falls within the parameters that indicate the proper ignition. If not, it should be replaced
    • The flame sensor will be checked to make sure the readings are correct.
    • The burners will be cleaned. Some of the most common furnace problems are due to dirty, rusted, or misaligned burners. These can also cause a carbon monoxide issue inside your home.
    • The heat exchanger will be inspected for cracks, holes, and rust. We don’t just eyeball it but use advanced tools and inspection systems to make sure that there are no indications of any holes or cracks.
    • Any condensate lines will be blown out for debris removal. This is a common issue with some furnaces.
    • The system static pressure will be checked.
    • A combustion analysis will be done to measure CO levels.

    Your Philadelphia PA furnace repair technician should also check any venting or drafting on the chimney, inspect any PVC piping, check any wiring or connections, check your thermostat, duct system, humidifier, and ductwork. As a homeowner, you should get a clean bill of health and written confirmation that the system is safe and clean.

    Don’t Be Left Out in the Cold

    Conducting a proactive cleaning and inspection on your furnace at the end of the winter season means you won’t be left out in the cold next winter when you go to turn it on.

    Call your professional Philadelphia HVAC contractors at Affordable Fixes for your end of winter furnace inspection and you will be smiling next season when you know your furnace is working at its peak performance.

    Signs That Your Water Heater May Be Failing

    There is nothing more inconvenient than having your water heater malfunction. Few mechanical devices are as crucial to your daily life as the hot water heater. Before it suffers a breakdown in the middle of a busy day, knowing the signs to look for may mean you need a water heater repair. (more…)