Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog:
Archive for October, 2014

How Does Solar Heating Work?

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Do you want to experience solar power as an alternative energy source for your home? You can harness the energy of the sun right here in L.A. with a solar heating system. Many people are making the switch to solar energy as an inexpensive, environmentally conscious alternative to their utility companies. However, a lot of homeowners cannot afford to convert their entire home to solar energy at once, or they may simply choose to use solar energy in only one area of the home instead. We’ll take a look at how you can harness the energy of the sun for multiple heating needs in this week’s guide.

To get solar heating in your home in Los Angeles, call the solar experts at Kilowatt today!

How it Works

For the record, there are many different ways that solar heating can employ solar collectors in order to utilize the sun’s power in heating a structure. In this post, we’re going to look at one of the ways this is accomplished: using a solar-powered water heater to create radiant heat in the home.

Many solar heaters work in conjunction with a solar-powered water heater to circulate hot water through the home and through your pipes. There are a several different ways solar water heating is achieved, all of which are categorized as either active or passive systems. Active water heaters have pumps and controls to circulate water while a passive heating system does not. With a passive system, water preheats in the solar collector and is stored for later use in a storage tank which usually contains a backup heating source as well. Hot water then flows from the tank whenever you turn on a hot water tap.

In order for hot water to heat your home, it requires a terminal point such as a radiator or baseboard or even a piping system underneath the floorboards. Water pumps from either the storage tank or the solar collector and throughout your home to provide radiant heating. Many homeowners prefer radiant heating to forced air heating because heat distributes evenly throughout the home for increased comfort.

Installing a solar heating system is a great way to utilize the sun’s energy for heating up your water supply and your entire home. Call Kilowatt today to find out if choosing solar heating in Los Angeles is right for you.

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Why Do Furnaces Need an Exhaust Flue?

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Furnaces generate a great deal of heat, but part of producing this heat involves the creation of noxious fumes. These fumes need to be vented safely from your home, and the way to do this is via an exhaust flue. An exhaust flue that is improperly installed can be very dangerous, which is why it’s important to hire professionals for any kind of heating work you may need. Kilowatt has been serving the Los Angeles area for over 20 years, and our trained technicians can handle any heating issue you may have, so call us today.

Removing the Noxious Gases

The component responsible for the warm air that blows into your home is the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is a metal tube that is open at both ends. Air is heated, and during this process, noxious gasses such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, are created and trapped in the inner part of the tube. These gasses are vented directly out of the tube into the flue, where they can be safely expelled from your home.

Common Problems with Exhaust Flues

As with any other component of your heating system, your exhaust flue can develop some problems:

  • Backdrafting – this is one of the more serious problems that can develop with your flue. Backdrafting refers to a situation in which the exhaust fumes are sucked back into your furnace, where they can be blown into your living spaces. The main causes for backdrafting are negative indoor air pressure or problems with the exhaust fan.
  • Cracking – not only does the flue vent noxious fumes, it also removes small amounts of soot, and acidic water vapor can develop as the heated air cools. These things can lead to corrosion of the metal, which can cause the metal to crack.
  • Leaking between joints – the flue pipe has sections, and the area where the sections are joined is known as a joint. Joints can leak, which allows gasses to escape.

Your flue is an important part of your heating. If you suspect you may have a problem with it, call Kilowatt and schedule heating service in Los Angeles with one of our technicians.

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How Does a Mini-Split Offer Both Heating and Cooling?

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Ductless mini-splits can be a great option for many homeowners in Los Angeles, but there can be some confusion about how the systems provide both heating and cooling. We’ll explain more about that below, as well as discuss other benefits ductless systems can offer. A professional mini-split installation is a necessity, so if you are ready to install a new HVAC system, call the people you can count on: Kilowatt.

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The Importance of Air Conditioning Maintenance

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Scheduling air conditioning maintenance at least once a year is the easiest way to keep your air conditioner working exactly as it is supposed to. Most experts recommend maintenance at least yearly, as this may keep your unit free of repairs throughout the cooling season. Learn more about maintenance in this helpful guide, and be sure to contact the friendly technicians at Kilowatt for air conditioning maintenance in Los Angeles.

The Steps of Maintenance

The standard steps of maintenance are as follows:

  • Inspection
  • Cleaning
  • Adjustments

A complete system inspection allows a technician to determine whether there is a part of your air conditioner that needs repairs right away. A technician will check every component of your indoor and outdoor unit to find any problems that could worsen over time but may not be visually apparent to homeowners. Cleaning the condenser coil and other important components can greatly improve performance. The technician may also tighten electrical connections and make any other adjustments needed for some components to function properly.

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Some Benefits to You

These are some of the benefits of AC maintenance:

  • Better Performance: Maintenance can make your air conditioner run more smoothly than it did before. If components of your indoor or outdoor unit are too worn down, your unit may not run exactly as it should, and you may need repairs very soon. However, a maintenance visit can reduce and prevent wear and tear, leaving you more comfortable, and with a much smaller risk for sudden breakdowns.
  • Increased Efficiency: Maintenance can also restore some energy efficiency to your unit. For example, if the coils are dirty, the heat exchange process cannot occur, and your air conditioner will have to work harder to cool your home. Air conditioners already use quite a bit of electricity to run, and dirty parts or components that need repair may significantly raise your energy bills.
  • Longer Lifespan: Finally, air conditioners that receive regular maintenance may last months or even years longer than those that do not.

For air conditioning maintenance in Los Angeles, call one of the experienced technicians at Kilowatt today!

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Why You Need Licensed Professional Electricians for Your Wiring Services

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

The impulse toward “do-it-yourself” home repairs is very powerful today. Homeowners not only want to save money, but they often find DIY work its own reward as a hobby. For many home repairs, such as fixing table legs or restoring bannisters and other furnishings, DIY is a good option for those who have the time, patience, and desire.

However, home electrical services are not one of these areas of repair you should attempt on your own. For the reasons listed below (and others) you must always call on licensed electricians for electrical wiring services, or any other electrical repair and installation work. There are always skilled professionals ready to help you: call Kilowatt to arrange for whatever electrical work you need done.

Reasons You Must Rely On Professional Electricians

  • Safety: If there were no other reason to hire professionals for wiring services, this one alone would be sufficient. Handling electrical wiring presents major safety hazards for anyone who does not have the experience and equipment to perform the work. This doesn’t just apply to the actual wiring job itself, but to what happens with the wiring afterwards. Faulty work done on electrical circuits is one of the primary reasons for electrical fires starting in homes; thousands of house fires start each year due to shoddy electrical wiring work, all of which could have been avoided with experienced professionals. Safety is the #1 priority for trained electricians.
  • Stay up to code: The “code” refers to the National Electric Code (NEC), a set of guidelines for electrical wiring safety that local jurisdictions can choose to adopt and adapt. Each jurisdiction has its own implementation of the code, and it is the job of professional electricians to know how the code applies and how to keep homes current with it.
  • Speed: Your time is valuable, and you shouldn’t spend it trying to work out how to wire your home for new construction, home additions, replacement wiring, etc.—especially when there’s a good chance the wiring won’t work properly and you may cause injury to yourself or others. Professionals will get the job done fast and right the first time.
  • Savings: DIY works aims to save money, but in the case of electrical wiring, you will save much more money if you turn to professionals. The combination of speed, safety, and effective work that won’t immediately need repairs means you will spend much less on hiring licensed professionals than if you attempted the work on your own.

Whatever your needs for electrical services, the professional electricians at Kilowatt are ready to help you. Call us for electrical wiring in Los Angeles, as well as other electrical installation and repair services.

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The Most Common Air Conditioner Problems

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Air Conditioning System Not Cooling Properly

There are several common problems that could cause an air conditioning system in Los Angeles not to cool properly:

Refrigerant

Oftentimes air conditioning problems are a matter of low refrigerant charge, which means the AC unit could be leaking. The solution would be to find the leak, repair it, and recharge the system.

Thermostat Issues

Check your thermostat to make sure it’s properly set and that it is reading the correct temperature.

Drainage Problems

Sometimes the air conditioner’s condensate drain gets clogged and needs to be flushed out. Things that cause air conditioning condensate drainage lines to clog up are pet fur, dust, or something coming into the drain from the outside such as plants or dirt.

Dirty Filter

Many heating and cooling problems in Los Angeles can be solved by changing a dirty filter. Our Kilowatt main office is right at the interchange of the 405 and the 101 freeways in Sherman Oaks so we know how dirty the air in our city can be.  The air closer to freeways has been shown to carry more particulates. That makes sense, but it may surprise you to learn that indoor air is 30-40% dirtier than outdoor air! So HVAC filters in Los Angeles get clogged more frequently. A clogged filter restricts airflow through the AC system, decreasing it’s efficiency and reducing its ability to effectively cool the air.

photo 4AC Unit Not Turning On

If your air conditioner is not responding at all, there are a couple of issues that may be the cause:

Thermostat

If your thermostat is not working it may need new batteries, it could have a loose wire, or it may need to be replaced entirely.

Electronic Control Failure

Sometimes the electronic controls for the fan or the compressor wear out. The frequent turning on and off the the equipment can cause that tiny part to fail and need to be replaced.

Not Enough Air Flow

Sometimes the air conditioning is running and cooling but the flow of air coming out of the vents is weak and ineffective. Causes could be:

Problem with the Ducting

We have seen leaky ducts that have been crushed or broken by other workmen, rodents, or storage boxes pushed into an attic and accidentally into duct-work. Sometimes ducting becomes clogged or constricted.

Clogged Filter

Problems stemming from a dirty filter are so common we have to say it twice. A filter is usually placed inside the return air grill which is bigger than the other grills in your home. Sometimes a filter is near the blower motor of the furnace. All heating and air conditioning systems should have a filter to, at the very least, keep the interior components of the equipment from getting dirty. when filters get dirty they restrict the airflow and cause several different issues. Weak air flow is one of those issues.

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