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Monthly Archives: June 2017

  • Optional Heat Strips for Gas Split Systems: Preparing for Unusually Cold Temperatures

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    If you are thinking about installing a heat pump system in your home or business, you might be considering a gas split system -- the most common type of heat pump system on the market today. A gas split system consists of an outdoor heat pump condenser and an indoor handler that is usually stored in your basement or attic. While there are a variety of decisions you will have to make when choosing a gas split system, one important question is whether or not you want to include optional heat strips in your system.

    How Heat Strips Work

    Heat strips provide supplemental heat during unexpectedly cold periods, when your regular heat pump system cannot adequately warm your home or office. To understand how heat strips work, it can be helpful to know how the heat pump operates under normal conditions. The heat pump pulls in air from the surroundings, and the liquid refrigerant captures the heat in the air. This causes the refrigerant to be converted into a warm vapor, making it possible for the heat to be dispersed throughout the building.

    However, when the outside temperature drops below 40 degrees, there is very little heat for your heat pump to use, and the heat pump system is unable to draw in enough warm air to sufficiently heat the building. That’s where heat strips come in. Heat strips are strips of electric heating coils, consisting of wire elements that can be heated using electricity. When air flows over the heat strips, it is warmed before being distributed throughout your home or business.

    Choosing a Gas Split System with Heat Strips

    When choosing a gas split system, you will have to decide whether you want to buy a traditional system or a complete system that includes supplemental heating via heat strips. It might be a good idea to choose a gas split system that includes heat strips if you live in a location that is prone to low temperatures and sudden cold snaps in the winter.

    Some buyers shy away from heat strips because the heat pump system operates less efficiently when they are in use. You might worry that heat strips will start working when supplemental heat isn’t actually needed, unnecessarily driving up your energy bill. However, there are certain things you can do to prevent this from happening -- like keeping your thermostat set at a constant temperature, gradually increasing the temperature on your thermostat when it does need to be raised, and avoiding the emergency heat setting. If you follow those procedures, you can avoid unnecessary energy expense, but still have optional heat strips available to provide supplemental heat when you need it.

    National Air Warehouse offers a wide variety of gas split systems, including our featured Rheem Gas Split Systems, some of which include optional supplemental heating via heat strips. Contact us today for more help choosing the gas split system that is best for you!

  • Choosing Between Programmable and Non-Programmable Thermostats

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    When you look for a new thermostat for your home or business, you are often faced with a dizzying array of choices. The many thermostats on the market today have a wide range of capabilities, so it can be challenging to figure out which one best meets your needs. The first decision that you need to make in the thermostat purchasing process is whether you want a programmable thermostat or a non-programmable thermostat.

    Programmable Thermostats

    Programmable thermostats are becoming increasingly popular for controlling the heating and cooling systems in homes and businesses. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature in advance. That way, you can coordinate your heating and cooling needs with your schedule. For instance, if you work a 9-to-5 job in the summer , you might set the thermostat so that the air conditioner doesn’t waste energy running all day long, but it turns on just soon enough that you come home to a cool kitchen. Similarly, in a small business, you can set your heating and cooling system so that it ensures a comfortable environment during working hours, but doesn’t cut into your budget by running at night.

    A programmable thermostat can be especially helpful if you live in a place where there is a large temperature swing at night. You don’t want your air conditioner running when the temperature drops to 55 degrees in the early morning, but if you know that it will be 85 degrees by 3pm, you can set the thermostat to keep the building cool in the afternoon.

    In fact, according to Energy Star, you shouldn't set your thermostat to one temperature and just leave it there. By setting your thermostat to different temperatures according to the time of day or season, you will maintain home comfort, save energy, and also save on air conditioning and heating costs. The infographic below shows different programmable thermostat settings you should definitely know.

    Thank you actionac.net for sharing this infographic. Please include attribution to actionac.net with this graphic if you would like to use it on your site.

    10-Ideal-Thermostat-Settings-You-Should-Know-Infographic

    Non-programmable Thermostats

    Non-programmable thermostats, sometimes called manual thermostats, provide a more traditional way to control the heating and cooling system in your home or business. You’re probably familiar with these thermostats, which allow you to manually choose the temperature of the building at any given time. Some people prefer non-programmable thermostats because they make it easier to change the climate of your home in response to changing weather conditions -- with programmable thermostats, it can be harder to alter the program when a heat wave or a cold front comes in unexpectedly. In addition, manual thermostats usually cost less upfront.

    If you are retired, work at home, or spend all day in the house caring for kids, you might always be around to change the thermostat, so a non-programmable thermostat may be just as good as programmable one. Also, if you live in a place where the outside temperature doesn’t vary much, leaving a non-programmable thermostat at a single temperature level can ensure that your building maintains a consistent temperature too.

    To meet the specific needs of your home or business, National Air Warehouse carries both programmable and non-programmable thermostats. Contact us today to find out more about what we offer!

  • The Importance of Changing Out Copper Refrigerant Lines

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    Copper refrigerant lines play an essential role in air conditioning systems: They are responsible for carrying the refrigerant between the condensing unit and the evaporator coil. There are two copper lines that run between the condenser and the evaporator coil. The larger line is known as the suction line, return line, or vapor line. It carries cool gas, so it must be insulated with tubing. The second copper line is small and bare, and it is commonly known as the liquid line. Because the liquid line carries warm liquid, no insulation is needed.

    When to Change Out Copper Refrigerant Lines

    As you might expect, copper refrigerant lines need to be changed out whenever you are replacing an air conditioning or installing a new one. However, it is also important to note that copper refrigerant lines are also recommended to be changed out when upgrading your air conditioning system. It can be tempting to reuse old copper refrigerant lines after a system upgrade, but it is never a good idea. In order for a copper line to work properly, it needs to be fully dehydrated. An old copper refrigerant line may not be adequately sealed from moisture. As a result, any moisture in the line will combine with the refrigerant to form an acid, which can damage the compressor motor.

    You might also need to replace your copper refrigerant line in case of leaking. A sure sign of a refrigerant line leak is an oil stain, because oil travels through the air conditioning system alongside the refrigerant, and it remains visible even after the refrigerant has boiled off. Some of the most common causes of leaks include:

     

    • Mechanical damage. When outdoor copper refrigerant lines get bumped by lawnmowers, exposed to harsh weather, or stepped on by kids or workers, it can cause a leak.
    • Corrosion. If the copper refrigerant line is exposed to contaminants, it can lead to corrosion and subsequent leaks. This could occur through direct contact with ductwork or other dissimilar metals, or it could result from exposure to a corrosive atmosphere from chemical storage or furniture refinishing
    • Settlement. When the building or the condenser settles, it puts stress on the copper refrigerant lines, making leaks more likely.

    Ultimately, a leaky line can reduce the quality of the performance of your air conditioning system, so it is critical to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

    Changing Out Your Copper Refrigerant Lines

    When changing out copper refrigerant lines, you need to make sure that the length and the diameter of the new line fit with your air conditioning system. National Air Warehouse offers a wide variety of copper refrigerant line options, and we can help you figure out which one is right for your project. Contact us today for help!

  • Furnace Airflow Options: What Home Builders and Remodelers Need to Know

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    For home builders and remodelers, summer is a peak time for business. With good weather and lots of light, you can really make progress on major construction projects. At this time of year, most people aren’t worried about indoor heating, but for all of your home building projects, you need to think about the best way to make sure the house stays warm during the cold, dark days of winter. That means choosing the ideal furnace for the building.

    One of the factors to consider when choosing between furnaces is indoor airflow -- that is, the way that warm air flows out of the furnace. You can choose between an upflow furnace (with top discharge), a downflow furnace (with bottom discharge), and a horizontal furnace (with side discharge). As a home builder or remodeler, there are important things you need to know about each time of system in order to find the best one for your project and install it in an appropriate location.

    Upflow Furnace (Top Discharge)

    An upflow furnace draws air in from the bottom of the unit. The air is warmed in the heat exchanger, and then it is discharged from the top of the furnace into the ductwork of the house. Because heat rises, it is best to place an upflow furnace in a basement or crawlspace. If the building you are working on has a basement with a low ceiling, you need to make sure that the furnace fits in the space. That often means choosing a “lowboy” furnace (which is typically about 4 feet in height), rather than a “highboy” furnace (which is usually about 6 feet in height).

    Downflow Furnace (Bottom Discharge)

    Just as you would assume, the air travels through a downflow furnace in the opposite direction as it does through an upflow furnace. The air enters at the top, is warmed in the exchanger, and then is released from the bottom of the furnace into the ductwork of the home. Often, a downflow furnace is placed in the attic, but it can also be installed in the garage or some other location on the main level. A downflow furnace can be a good choice for a home that does not have a basement or a crawl space.

    Horizontal Furnace (Side Discharge)

    A horizontal furnace takes air in from one side, warms it in the exchanger, and then pushes it out into the ductwork from the opposite side. Horizontal furnaces, like “lowboy” upflow furnaces, usually have a relatively low vertical clearance, so they can be installed in basements and crawlspaces. When choosing between different horizontal furnaces for a home with highly specific space constraints, you may want to check to see if the furnace discharges the air to the left or to the right, in order to ensure that it will work for your project.

     

    National Air Warehouse offers a wide range of upflow furnaces, downflow furnaces, and horizontal furnaces. If you are building or remodeling a home this summer and need help finding the right one for your project, contact us today!

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