Indications that You Need Furnace Repair

March 30th, 2015

Furnace issues, like many home heating issues, are largely progressive in nature. The longer they are left alone, the worse they are likely to get.

This means that the sooner you catch furnace problems, the more damage you can prevent to your system. If you own a furnace, it pays to be able to recognize when it needs repairs. Let’s take a look at some of the indications that you need furnace repair, so that you’ll be able to react to them as quickly as possible.

Odd Noises

Furnaces naturally make a decent bit of noise during operation. However, it doesn’t take long to recognize which noises are part of natural operation and which are indicators of a problem. Grinding noises are an indication that the bearings in your air handler motor are wearing out. If they aren’t replaced as soon as possible, the motor will burn out and require replacement. Booming could be the result of delayed ignition of your burner assembly. Carbon particles commonly collect on the burner assembly and prevent it from igniting when it should. When the burner finally does ignite, it burns through the excess gas all at once. If the assembly isn’t cleaned, the carbon buildup could eventually prevent it from igniting at all.

Short-Cycling

If your furnace keeps turning itself on and off every few minutes, that means it’s short-cycling. Short-cycling is caused by the system overheating, which activates a safety measure that turns it off to protect it. When the system restarts, it overheats again and gets shut down again. This continues as long as the source of the overheating problem remains unaddressed. Short-cycling is a very big problem, as it can increase the chance of a breakdown and shorten the lifespan of the furnace. If you notice your furnace doing this, you should call a professional immediately.

These aren’t the only symptoms that could indicate that your furnace has a problem. If you suspect that your furnace needs repairs, even if you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to give us a call. Magic Touch offers heating services throughout the Mesa area.

How Does a Heat Pump Actually Work?

March 24th, 2015

Heat pumps are gaining more and more popularity among homeowners looking for an energy efficient and environmentally friendly home heating system. That’s all well and good; heat pumps are certainly high quality heating systems.

However, many homeowners are completely unaware of how a heat pump actually works. The more you know about your heating system, the better prepared you’ll be to evaluate the benefits it provides. You’ll also be better able to recognize problems when they occur, and have them repaired. With that in mind, let’s examine how a heat pump actually operates.

Parts of a Heat Pump

A heat pump is comprised of two units, with one installed inside the house and the other installed outside. The two are connected by power and refrigerant lines, allowing them to operate as once system. Inside each unit is a coil, which is connected to the refrigerant line that they both share. Also connected to the refrigerant line is a 4-way valve called a “reversing valve,” which controls the flow of refrigerant through the system.

Heat Pump Operation

When the heat pump is turned on, one of the units begins evaporating refrigerant inside its coil. The refrigerant becomes a heat sink when it transitions into gas, absorbing thermal energy from the air around it. Then, the refrigerant gas is sent down the refrigerant line to the other unit. The other unit then uses its coil to condense the refrigerant back into a liquid. This releases the thermal energy into the air.

One of the biggest advantages of a heat pump is that it can alternate between being a heating and cooling system. This is accomplished by the reversing valve, which reverses the flow of refrigerant through the system depending on the mode the heat pump is in. This determines which unit is the evaporator, and which is the condenser.

Heat pumps are great home heating systems, but you should still consult with a professional before installing one in your home. If you’d like to know more about how a heat pump can benefit you, call Magic Touch. We provide heat pumps throughout Gilbert, AZ.

Ways That a Humidifier Can Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

March 18th, 2015

Low humidity can be just as much a problem as excessive humidity, as many of our Magic Touch clients have seen. One of the best ways to battle low humidity in your home is to use a whole-home humidifier, which can be integrated seamlessly with your existing HVAC system.

As part of your HVAC system, a whole-home dehumidifier works automatically to add the correct amount of moisture to your home’s air; you won’t have to manage the dispersal yourself, and the humidistat on your thermostat ensures that the humidifier maintains your set humidity level around the clock.

Why install a whole-home humidifier in your Tempe home?

Here are some reasons to consider:

Better Health

When the air inside your home becomes too dry, your skin and mucous membranes can also dry out. The result of this can be itchy, dehydrated skin, nose bleeds and dry eyes. You may also be more prone to sickness for two reasons: first, dry air can help bacteria and viruses thrive, and second, dry mucous membranes can’t help your body defeat these contagions as well as they should. The excessive dryness can also exacerbate chronic respiratory problems such as asthma. However, when your humidity is balanced, you can avoid many of these issues.

Better Comfort

Humidity holds heat, and in order to feel comfortable, you need a certain amount of humidity in the air. When you don’t, the temperature of your warm and cool air can feel inadequate, i.e., not warm or cool enough.

Reduces Damage to Wood Products

Wood needs a certain amount of moisture to maintain its state; without it, wood will dry and splinter. This means that your furniture, flooring, molding and other wood items can become damaged or even ruined because of too little humidity.

Because a whole-home humidifier becomes part of your entire HVAC system, it’s critical to hire an expert to install, repair, replace or maintain it. The trained professionals at Magic Touch can help you with all your humidifier needs in Tempe, so give us a call today!

How Duct Cleaning can Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

March 9th, 2015

As you may or may not know, the air inside your home is full of pollutants. Microscopic particles like dust, pollen, germs, and mold spores are constantly circulating through your indoor air. They are responsible for causing hay fever, sinus inflammation, cold and flu symptoms, and all sorts of other nasty health effects.

There are several ways to deal with these contaminants and improve your indoor air quality. Air purifiers are capable of removing some pollutants from your air over time, for example. However, the best way to remove the threat of airborne contaminants is to have your ducts cleaned. Read on to find out how duct cleaning can improve your indoor air quality.

Ducts and Contaminants

So, if you’re inhaling all of these contaminants with every breath you take why are you not sneezing and coughing all the time? Well, a lot of that has to do with your allergy sensitivity. However, part of it is also that the levels in the air you breathe are not consistently high. Lower concentrations of these contaminants can be beaten by your body’s natural defenses. There is a pretty easy way for pollutants to get around these defenses, though.

The ducts in your home are naturally dark, and often left untouched by house cleaning efforts. Those two factors make them a prime place for these contaminants to build up. Over time, a sizeable number of these contaminants will accumulate in the ducts. Then, when you turn on your heater or air conditioner, all of those pollutants are blown out into your house at once. This sudden, high dosage makes it much more likely that you will experience a negative effect from the contaminants.

Duct Cleaning

Duct cleaning removes the risk of suddenly being exposed to a large amount of airborne pollutants by removing them from your ducts entirely. As long as you have your ducts cleaned every couple of years, your indoor air quality will improve dramatically and your health might do the same.

If you haven’t had your ducts cleaned in a while call Magic Touch. We provide indoor air quality services throughout the Phoenix area.

When Should I Install a New Thermostat?

February 27th, 2015

Your air conditioning and heating system contains several pieces of equipment that work together in order to get your home to the proper temperature. Compressors, heat exchangers, refrigerant, coils, and burners may all participate in heat production or heat exchange, and as long as all of the parts are in top shape, your AC equipment should remain efficient. But none of these parts can operate correctly without a functioning thermostat.

Choosing An Efficient Thermostat

Thermostat Installation, Phoenix

The thermostat is most likely the part of your AC and heating system that you are most familiar with. What you may not know about your thermostat, however, is that it might not help your air conditioner or heater to run as efficiently as possible. When this is true of your thermostat, call on the friendly technicians at Magic Touch to get a thermostat that better suits your needs.

You may find yourself in need of a new thermostat if your old one isn’t functioning quite as well as it could. The thermostat is supposed to communicate to your unit that it is time for it to switch on. If your heating and AC unit does not turn on at all. Alternatively, poor thermostat wiring may force the unit to turn on and off repeatedly, shutting down before the heating or cooling cycle is complete, an issue known as short cycling. Both of these problems may be indicative of other system troubles, so consult a technician before assuming a new thermostat is the best fix.

Types of Thermostats

You may decide to install a new thermostat simply because your current model is outdated. Today, there are many different types of thermostats you may choose between, including standard digital models, wireless thermostats, and smart thermostats. Wireless thermostats may perform more efficiently than other models, and smart thermostats allow you the ability to control your HVAC system from anywhere via an application on your smart phone.

In short, you should install a new thermostat when you decide you want greater performance and better efficiency from your heater and AC. A new thermostat may have advanced programming settings, so you can make sure your system saves energy and remains at the most efficient temperature at all times.

Thermostats are more likely to perform at their best when trained technicians put them into place and make sure they’re properly calibrated. Call the friendly technicians at Magic Touch today for professional thermostat installation in Phoenix.

How an Air Purifier can Improve Your Health

February 20th, 2015
  • Are you an allergy sufferer?
  • Do you find yourself getting sick with the flu or the common cold often?
  • Does it seem like it’s easier for you to breathe when you’re outside your home than when you’re inside?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you should be concerned about the quality of your indoor air. Let’s take a look at why your indoor air quality is probably lower than you think, and how an air purifier can help improve it.

Airborne Contaminants

The air in your home is actually infested with millions upon millions of microscopic contaminants, most of which have an adverse effect on your health if inhaled. Dust, dust mites, insect dander, pet dander, mold spores, bacteria, and viruses are all very commonly found in the air of the average home. Most of them are lung irritants, often causing allergy attacks in people whom are susceptible to such things. The rest are biological contaminants, causing illnesses ranging from mild colds to more serious afflictions.

Air Purifiers

There are quite a few different kinds of air purifiers on the market today, each designed to remove a different set of contaminants from the air in your home. One of the most important kinds of air purifiers is the UV germicidal light. Many of the more dangerous airborne contaminants in your home, like germs and mold spores, are extremely phobic of ultraviolet light. That’s part of why they tend to thrive in indoor environments, which are more sheltered from the sun. Too much exposure to certain kinds of ultraviolet light can sterilize or even completely destroy these organisms. The UV air purifier does exactly that, by exposing the surrounding area to ultraviolet radiation. While harmless to humans, this radiation destroys most of the biological contaminants in the air.

So, if you find yourself feeling under the weather often, consider installing an air purifier. Chances are good that you’ll notice an increase in your health after utilizing one. If you’d like to know more, call Magic Touch. We provide indoor air quality services throughout Phoenix, AZ.

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 ones a Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Does Insulation Matter in a Hot Place Like Mesa?

February 9th, 2015

Talk of insulation may seem more suited to the cold weather and areas of our country because using insulation is perceived as the way to stay warm. The truth is that insulation is important for year-round comfort, including very hot-weather places, because of what it does: slows the transfer of heat. So how does insulation help your home in Mesa, AZ? Let’s take a look.

The Movement of Heat

Heat moves in three ways: radiant heat, which is direct from the sun as it heats surfaces and objects in its path; convection heat, which moves through gases (including air) and liquids; and conduction, which is how heat moves from one object to another, such as how a metal spoon in a hot cup of tea gains heat. The reason it is important to understand how heat moves is because insulation slows all heat movement; without insulation, or without proper insulation, heat will make its way into your home.

Two Simple Laws of Thermodynamics

Why does heat so stubbornly try to invade your home? It has to do with two laws of thermodynamics: the first states that heat will always move toward cooler air; the second states that heat rises. When considering the first law in terms of cooling, heat that enters your home from your roof, attic space and exterior walls will naturally try to move toward the cooler air inside. Having the correct amount of insulation blocks heat from moving into your home. The second law comes into play in the cooler months as you try to keep the warmer air in your home: you want to slow the movement of the heat into the cooler places of your home, like the attic space. As you can see, insulation isn’t just about keeping warm; it’s also about keeping cool.

Do I Have Enough Insulation?

The best way to determine whether or not your home has enough insulation is to work with a specialist who can physically measure and gauge the level of insulation currently in your home. If you need more insulation, or the technician has found damaged insulation that should be replaced, you’ll be alerted and able to move forward with the improvements.

The experts at Magic Touch bring years of experience to each job, so if you have questions about your home’s insulation, call us today!

Does My Heat Pump Need Repair?

February 2nd, 2015

Heat pumps are pretty unique as far as heating systems go, which means that it can be hard to tell if one needs repairs or not.

They have no pilot lights to check, no burner assembly, no other familiar parts that can be easily examined to tell if there’s a problem. Fortunately, you can still identify repair needs pretty easily if you know where to look. Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems with heat pumps, and how you can identify them.

Refrigerant Leaks

Heat pumps are able to heat a space by moving heat from one area to another. In the case of home heating, this heat is siphoned from the outside air and into the home. The medium for transporting this thermal energy is refrigerant, which travels between the inside and outside units.

Refrigerant is not used up by the heat pump, and is instead simply transferred between a liquid and gaseous state during operation. This makes leaks in the refrigerant line extremely dangerous, as they rob the heat pump of its refrigerant charge. Without refrigerant, the heat pump will be unable to move thermal energy to heat the home.

Refrigerant leaks are commonly indicated through gurgling noises or pooling liquid around the heat pump. If you notice either of those things, or a steady drop in heating ability, call a professional to inspect your heat pump.

Stuck in One Mode

Heat pumps are capable of both heating and cooling modes, which is a big reason for their popularity. This ability is possible through reversing the direction that refrigerant flows through the system, thus changing which unit siphons heat in and which expels it. The part that enables this ability is called the reversing valve, which sits at a 4-way junction in the heat pump’s refrigerant line.

Inside the reversing valve is a slide, which determines the mode that the heat pump is in by its position. If the slide becomes stuck, as can sometimes happen, the heat pump will become stuck in heating or cooling mode. If your heat pump is stuck in heating or cooling mode, you’ll need to have a professional examine your reversing valve.

If you’re having problems with your heat pump, call Magic Touch. We provide heating repair services throughout Phoenix, AZ.

Benefits of Fireplace Cleaning

January 26th, 2015

Any heating system requires regular maintenance in order to run safely and efficiently, and your fireplace is no exception.

In fact, cleaning a fireplace from time to time is vital for your family’s safety at home, and can help to prevent chimney fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and poor heating capacity.

Cleaning a fireplace properly can be difficult for the average homeowner, however, as it can be difficult to differentiate between what is a normal sign of wear and tear and what types of damage indicate an area that requires additional attention.

When you call a professional for chimney cleaning, you can rest easy knowing that an expert in the field has taken the time to not only make sure the firebox area is clean, but also to inspect for anything that may turn into a larger problem later on. Read about the benefits of regular fireplace cleaning in Gilbert in this guide.

Prevent Chimney Fires

Chimney fires are one of the leading causes of home fires in the United States, and preventing this from occurring begins with professional fireplace cleaning. The biggest risk to your safety is if creosote has built up in the flue, which makes it highly combustible. Sometimes, a chimney fire can do major damage to a home, while in other cases it can be small and nearly undetected. But even a small fire can have a lasting effect on your fireplace, causing it to run inefficiently and allowing the potential for carbon monoxide leaks.

Find Out about Potential Trouble with the Fireplace

During fireplace cleaning, a professional should also perform a thorough inspection, during which you may learn about any potential signs of trouble such as a carbon monoxide leak or any damage to the firebox (the area in which the fire burns), flue, or fireplace inserts,

Improve Efficiency

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, even a seemingly small amount of soot can reduce a fireplace’s ability to transfer heat by up to 50%. With a thorough fireplace cleaning, your fireplace will perform better and run more efficiently, allowing more heat to radiate into the room.

Calling the experts at Magic Touch helps to prevent fires and improve heating performance when you schedule fireplace cleaning in Gilbert. Contact our skilled team today.