Are Geothermal Systems Prone to Leaking?

January 22nd, 2015

Geothermal systems are the most efficient heating and cooling systems available and because they have few moving parts, are not prone to a lot of repair. However, one major concern regarding repairs to geothermal system is leaking from the ground loop. The good news is that geothermal systems are not prone to leaking; secondly, should a leak develop with your geothermal ground loop, there is a way technicians can detect it fairly easily.

Durable Tubing

The first reason geothermal systems aren’t prone to developing leaks is that the tubing is very durable: it is made of a high density polyethylene material that is extremely durable but also allows heat to transfer easily. The average lifespan of a ground loop is 25-50 years, so it’s safe to say that ground loops are made to withstand the elements. Additionally, all joints are fused, strengthening the loop throughout.

Leak Detection

In the case of a geothermal loop leak, the entire loop doesn’t have to be extracted from your yard. The process for detecting a leak in a geothermal loop is quite simple: a technician will inject dye into the loop and wait for it to circulate; once the dye reaches the leak, the solution from the loop, with the dye, bubbles to the surface of your yard. A couple of days after injecting the dye, the technician will inspect your yard for the dye so he/she knows where to dig. Once the dye is found, he/she will dig down, seal the leak, and re-cover the loop.

If you have concerns about your geothermal loop leaking, it’s good to be aware of the signs that can indicate a leak has developed:

  • Soggy/wet spots in your yard where loop is buried
  • Noticeable decrease in performance
  • Problems with the heat pump

Geothermal repairs require expertise; as such, any kind of repair to your geothermal system should always be handled by a professional with training and experience. For professional geothermal system services in Anderson, call RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment with us.

How to Tell You Need New Heat Pump Installation

January 14th, 2015

Finding out that your heat pump is failing may not be an ideal situation, but it’s better to know now than to find out after it has broken down. When a heat pump reaches a certain age, the parts can deteriorate to the point that they no longer function properly. And when your heat pump is not in peak shape, there is always a chance that it can break down entirely without the possibility of repair. Replacing a heat pump as it nears the end of its life can save you money overall. Even if it seems like the initial cost is high, the satisfaction of saving money from month to month with one of the most efficient systems for heating and AC is worth it.

Contact the friendly technicians at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning to discuss the state of your unit and decide whether a new heat pump is your best option for saving money and achieving noticeably improved heating and cooling results in your home.

  • Frequent Repairs: When you seem to be making repairs at least once every year, your unit may be giving out. The cost of replacing a coil here and sealing a leak there can really add up, and you would save more money replacing the entire system at once than by repairing each component piece-by-piece.
  • Old Age: At a certain point, your heat pump simply becomes too old to operate as effectively as it once did. You may notice parts beginning to fail or it may be that you just don’t get the same level of heating and cooling power as before. Generally, if your heat pump is over 15 years old, it’s time to give some serious consideration to a new one.
  • High Energy Bills: Energy bills can skyrocket if the parts of your system begin to break down. Your system becomes overworked and all of the parts need more energy to run, which is especially troublesome as heat pumps are some of the most efficient HVAC systems out there. High utilities are most likely a warning sign that your older unit is struggling too much.

Call RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning and speak with one of our trained professionals to help you decide whether it’s time to install a new heat pump in Cincinnati.

Duct Tape: It Isn’t for Duct Sealing!

January 7th, 2015

You must contact HVAC professionals to have sealing done whenever your ductwork develops air leaks. Without proper sealing, the ducts of a ventilation system will permit air pressure to drop, which will result in poor comfort throughout your home and an inefficient heating and cooling system that will drive up your bills—often by 30%. In addition to these problems, leaking ducts will also permit dust, dirt, and other contaminants to infiltrate the ventilation system, lowering your indoor air quality.

However, homeowners sometimes believe that professionals are unnecessary for duct sealing jobs. The reason: duct tape! Duct tape is readily available in stores, and most homes will have at least one roll of it lying around. Why not use the duct tape on the ducts? It makes sense, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, the name “duct tape” is inaccurate and responsible for this misunderstanding. Any ductwork professional will tell you that you should never use duct tape on actual ducts. Call for the indoor air quality experts at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning when you need duct sealing in Anderson, OH, and we will handle the skilled work necessary to restore your ventilation system.

What’s Wrong With Duct Tape? It Works for Everything Else

Duct tape is a near-universal adhesive tape that can take care of multiple jobs. However, work on ducts is not one of them. It was during the 1950s that the name “duct tape” became misapplied to this cloth-backed adhesive that was once called “duck tape” (possibly because it was made of duck cloth, or perhaps because its water-resistant properties are similar to those of duck feathers). Actual “duct tape”—the kind that repair professionals use—is metallic and can hold up to the temperature changes within ductwork, something store-bought duct tape cannot. Heat quickly degrades the glue on the tape, causing it to fall off after only a short time.

A recent laboratory test at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has borne out how ineffectual duct tape is at fixing its namesake. Only one duct tape product out of the 19 tested survived for longer than three months when used on ducts with standard heat levels inside them; 11 of those duct tapes failed within only days. Those aren’t good odds!

The short version of this: if you want to have duct sealing done right, don’t do it yourself. RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning is here to take care of the job for you with our team of professionals equipped with the best tools. Call us today to arrange for duct sealing service in Anderson, OH and throughout the greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

January 1st, 2015

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning hope you have a great start to the year and a, uhm, fruitful 2015.

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.”

This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!

Furnace Noises and What They Can Tell You

December 17th, 2014

It’s never a good sign to be confronted with strange noises when you turn on your furnace. What do they mean? Does your furnace need to be repaired, or should you just dismiss the noises as a quirk of the system. Well, the severity of the issue is different for each noise, but you definitely shouldn’t ignore it. Better to be safe than sorry, after all. Let’s take a look at what some of these noises mean, and when you should call a professional for help.

Squealing

If you hear a squealing noise coming from your furnace when you turn it on, it’s a good sign that the fan belt is worn out. The fan belt is a rubber loop that connects the motor to the fan in the air handler. When the furnace is turned on, the motor turns the fan belt, which turns the fan. Over years of use, however, the fan belt stretches and wears out under the strain. As it gets near the end of its life, it will produce a squealing sound that is quite unmistakable. If you hear this noise coming from your furnace, you should have it looked at as soon as you can. Otherwise, the fan belt might break and render your air handler useless.

Grinding

Grinding noises coming from your furnace are usually caused by the bearings on your motor running out of lubrication. Your air handler’s motor bearings are designed to reduce friction on the motor, helping it to keep the fan running as smoothly as possible. Older bearings can gradually lose the lubrication that makes it possible for them to reduce friction, however. This will force the motor to fight against more and more friction until it eventually burns itself out. This is definitely something you want to address as soon as possible. If you hear grinding coming from your furnace, turn it off and call a professional to look at it.

If you’d like to know more about what kinds of noises indicate a need for repair, call the professionals at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning today. We provide heating repair services in the Cincinnati area.

Which Is Better for a Boiler Installation: Oil or Natural Gas?

December 10th, 2014

These days, homeowners don’t have a choice just in the type of heating system they install into their homes, they also have choices in fuels. If you have chosen to install a boiler for your home, you can choose to power your new boiler via natural gas, oil, propane or even solid fuels. Today we’re going to take a look at natural gas and oil as possible fuels for your heating installation in Anderson.

Natural Gas

When you choose to use natural gas for your home’s heating system, you do so knowing that you’ll be tapping into a main natural gas line that typically runs underground and feeds multiple homes in your neighborhood. This can be incredibly convenient for many as it provides a constant, continual flow of fuel that you don’t have to schedule for deliver. And once you connect your home to the natural gas line, you can use it for other appliances, including dryers and hot water heaters. Natural gas also burns the cleanest of the fossil fuels, so it is the most environmentally-friendly fossil fuel available. However, not all homes have access to a natural gas line, so it simply may not be a choice for certain homeowners. Additionally, the price of a natural gas boiler may be more costly than an oil one.

Oil

Oil has long been used to fuel heating systems, but with the advent of other types of systems, use of oil has decreased. Oil systems provide more heat per BTU than other types of heating systems; additionally, if you do not have close proximity to a natural gas line, you may not be able to choose natural gas. Delivery companies can service your oil boiler, making it easy to maintain; this is a good option since oil burns less cleanly than gas. Oil boilers can have a lower initial installation price, but oil is a commodity that can change pricing season to season, making it difficult to budget.

When it comes to choosing a fuel type, a lot will depend on what types of fuels are available in your home’s area; additionally, you’ll want to use a fuel that bests serves your needs and the needs of your home.

If you are having trouble deciding on what fuel type of best for your heating installation in Anderson, call RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our heating experts.

When is a Boiler My Best Heating Installation Choice?

December 3rd, 2014

Boilers and furnaces are the two most common heating systems in the country, and homeowners are always asking which one would serve their needs the best. Boilers have a number of advantages over furnaces. They’re more energy efficient, heat the house more evenly, and solve a lot of the specific issues that furnace-based systems run into. However, boiler-based systems have their own set of issues that must be considered before installing them. Read on for an explanation of when a boiler is your best heating installation choice.

When You’re Installing New Flooring

The most common form of boiler heating is called “radiant heating,” and relies on installing hot water pipes in the walls or subfloor of each room you want heated. This kind of system heats the room much more evenly, as mentioned above. It also avoids the massive heat loss that many furnaces experience by relying on ductwork. However, installing this kind of system can be very involved if you weren’t already planning on tearing up the floor of the rom. If you’re building a house, of course, this is a much easier system to install.

If You’re Trying to Save Money

Despite the increased upfront investment for installation, boiler systems are often extremely energy efficient compared to furnaces. This stems primarily from the issue of ductwork. As mentioned above, furnaces lose a great deal of their heat to leaks in the ductwork of a home. The US Department of Energy estimates that as much as 30% of a system’s heat on average is lost this way.

Radiant systems utilize their own network of pipes for delivery, which are obviously designed to be completely watertight. Add to that the fact that water is a much better thermal conductor than air is, and you end up with a great deal more heat being delivered to the rooms of the house instead of being lost in transit.

Boiler-based systems are a great choice for home heating, just as long as you know what you are getting into when you install one. If you’d like to know more, call RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule an appointment today. We provide quality heating installation service throughout the Anderson area.

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2014

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

What Furnace Repairs Can I Do on My Own?

November 19th, 2014

We live a world that emphasizes people take the “Do It Yourself” path for many tasks in their home. Entire websites and online forums are dedicated to assisting homeowners with repairs and improvements their can do on their own. Although there is nothing wrong with DIY in principle, it should not apply to everything in a home. There are repairs for your home’s appliances and systems that you should never undertake unless you have professional training and high-end equipment. Work on a furnace is one of them. Amateur repairs for a furnace risk damaging the system and are potentially highly hazardous—and in many jurisdictions, illegal.

The best advice we can provide if you are thinking of trying DIY repairs for the furnace in your home, no matter its type, is: don’t. Save yourself time, money, and serious injury and instead call RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning for repairs for your furnace in Cincinnati. Our technicians are standing by 24/7.

Some Steps You Can Take With a Broken Furnace (That Are Not Repairs)

Although you should never try to repair a malfunctioning furnace on your own, you can take a few steps to check on it when it starts to act up. However, if you think that your natural gas furnace is leaking carbon monoxide (you should have CO detectors installed to warn you), don’t wait to call for help: shut off the gas to the furnace and get on the phone to summon professionals.

If your furnace is experiencing problems with turning on and off at the wrong times, you should investigate the settings on the central thermostat. Sometimes, user error results in mistakes on the thermostat that can cause the furnace to behave erratically. You might also find the thermostat is broken, which will help you narrow down the work the technicians need to do when they arrive. If you have a zone control system, one or more of the individual thermostats controlling the dampers may be mis-set.

If your furnace won’t come on at all, check on the circuit breakers at the central electrical panel to see if any have tripped. (Keep in mind that gas furnaces still require electricity to run the igniters and fan motors.) Reset the breakers; if they trip again when the furnace comes on, call for repairs to see what the problem might be.

In the case of low air flow from the furnace, check on the air filter for the unit to see if it is clogged and needs to be cleaned (if it uses a permanent filter) or replaced (if it uses a temporary filter). You should clean/change the filter once a month whenever the furnace runs on a regular basis.

For all other situations, leave your furnace alone and make the call to professionals repair technicians. RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning has the skills necessary to keep your furnace running safely and effectively, and you can reach us any time of the day or night. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.