ServiceMax Blog: Archive for January, 2015

Is It Time to Repair Your Generator?

Friday, January 30th, 2015

The main reason to own a whole-home generator is to be able to power your home should a power outage occur; if this help isn’t available from your generator when you need it, there isn’t much point in having a generator. Unfortunately, because generators aren’t used constantly, it may not be clear whether or not a problem exists with your generator until you need to use it. However, there are some steps you can take to determine whether or not you may need generator repair for your home in Wilmette.

Common Generator Repairs

Here are some of the more common problems that can develop with your whole-home generator:

  • Loss of lubrication – all the moving parts on your generator need adequate lubrication to operate correctly; without proper lubrication, these parts will grind and can eventually break.
  • Electrical problems – wiring and spark plugs inside the generator can corrode over time, which will affect the operation of the generator.
  • Blown generator fuses – your generator has its own fuse box that helps it to run; blown fuses will hamper its operation and require replacement in order for the generator to be operational.
  • Problems with the fuel line – the fuel line is integral to your generator’s operation. If it is bent or kinked, or has developed an air bubble, the fuel feed may be impeded.

Signs of Problems

So how can you know about some of these problems? Here are a few tips:

  • Leaking – if you see any kind of leaking or puddling around your generator, there is a good chance is has sprung a leak.
  • Visible wear on electrical components – some corrosion of the electrical components may be visible, so if you see frayed wiring or rust around terminals, call for an expert.
  • Burning smell – if you smell a burning odor while testing your generator (or using it), shut it off immediately and schedule an appointment with a repair person.

Test on Your Own

One of the best ways to assess whether or not a problem has developed is to test your generator every 3 months. Simply turn it on and let it run for 10-15; while it’s running, inspect the outside and stay aware of any strange noises or odors.

And if you’re in need of professional generator service in the Wilmette area, give Malek Heating & Cooling a call today.

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Repairs That Your Heat Pump May Need

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Heat pumps have a unique construction and operation that sets them apart from other heating systems. This also happens to make their repair needs unique. Though you should always call a professional HVAC technician to address any issues with your heating system, it pays to know a bit more about how your heating system works. With that in mind, take a look at these repairs that your heat pump may need.

Broken Reversing Valve

The reversing valve is a 4-way junction in the refrigerant line between the indoor and outdoor units of the heat pump. This valve determines which way the refrigerant flows through the system, depending on the position it’s in. This is what makes the heat pump capable of both heating and cooling functions. The valve is comprised of a chamber that contains a slide. This slide has two positions, one for each refrigerant direction. Attached to the slide is an electromagnet called a “solenoid.” When the solenoid is charged, it pulls the slide to one side of the chamber. When the solenoid is not charged, the slide drops to the default position.

A reversing valve can break in two primary ways. The first way is that the slide becomes stuck in the chamber, preventing it from directing the refrigerant flow. The second way is that the solenoid loses its magnetism, rendering it unable to pull the slide from one side of the valve to the other. If the slide is stuck, a technician simply has to open the valve and free it. If the solenoid loses its magnetism, however, it will have to be replaced.

Broken Defrost Cycle

During cold days, the outdoor unit of the heat pump can have ice buildup on the outside of the casing. If the ice manages to cover most or all of the unit, it will cut off the unit’s ability to siphon heat. Normally, the heat pump uses a defrost cycle to melt the ice off of the unit. If you notice that your outdoor unit is mostly or entirely covered in ice, however, that means the defrost cycle isn’t working. You’ll need to call a professional to fix it.

If your heat pump is having issues, call Malek Heating & Cooling to schedule a service appointment. We provide professional heating repair in Evanston, IL.

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Some of Your Choices for Heating Installation in Winnetka, IL

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

If you need new heating installation in Winnetka, IL, you’re in luck. There are many options available for you to choose from, so you can have the level of comfort you need, as well as added features like zone control and energy if desired. While the prospect of a new heating system that fits your needs may be exciting, picking a system can seem overwhelming.

At Malek Heating & Cooling, we offer professional heating installation in Winnetka, IL for any of the following units. If you need professional advice and quality service, put your trust in our skilled team.

  • Radiant Heating: A radiant heating system requires a large tank, called a boiler, to heat water. The common name for the system is deceptive; the hot water travels through a set of pipes under the floor or to an endpoint like a baseboard heater and gives off convective and conductive heat. Many people describe this heat as more comfortable than forced-air heating systems because it fills a room with warmth.
  • Furnaces: However, furnaces are more common with heating installation in the U.S., partly because of the lower cost and partly because it’s much easier and takes less time to install if you already have a working set of ducts. Furnaces use combustion to generate heat and send it to a heat exchanger. A blower fan brings cool air into the furnace and moves the warm air back into the house through the duct system.
  • Heat Pumps: Heat pumps actually work just like air conditioners, except that they have the ability to both heat and cool. Refrigerant travels through the system, absorbing and removing heat either from the indoors to the outdoors in the summer, or from the inside to the outside in the cooler months. It’s important to note, however, that you may need an alternate heat source when temperatures drop below freezing.
  • Ductless Heating: A ductless unit is essentially a heat pump that doesn’t need ducts. These systems have individual air handlers dispersed throughout the home that blow air directly into any room or zone.

Comparing some of your options can be difficult. While any of these systems allows you the option of zone control, it generally only comes standard with some radiant systems and ductless units. Boilers may save quite a bit of energy, but heat pumps are also considered some of the most efficient heating systems. If you’re still on the fence, call Malek Heating & Cooling today for professional service and to talk about your needs for heating installation in Winnetka.

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How to Decide Between Electric and Gas Furnaces

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

It’s a good thing to have options, especially when it comes to whole-home systems, but sometimes the choices can be confusing, overwhelming or both. When it comes to choosing a furnace in Skokie, IL, homeowners have two main choices: electric or natural gas. Each can heat your home sufficiently, but choosing one will depend on your needs, the available resources of your home and your preferences. One of the best ways to ensure that you choose the right heating system for your home is to work with an expert. The trained and certified specialists at Malek Heating & Cooling can help you with any furnace installation from start to finish. If you are ready for a new heater, call us today!

Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces have come a long way over the years. While they were once considered to be inefficient, they have since become some of the most efficient furnaces available. Additionally, they have a slightly longer lifespan than combustion furnaces.

Electric furnaces work by generating heat from a component called a heating element. This component has a number of tightly-wound metal coils that, when electrified, become red-hot and generate heat. Once the air around the heating element has reached the right temperature, the furnace’s fan turns on and blows air over the heating element and pushes the warmed air into your home via ductwork.

One of the biggest benefits of an electric furnace is that it doesn’t require any kind of fossil fuel for operation. Not all homes have access to a natural gas line, so this can be an important factor to consider.

Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are some of the most common heating systems around, making them very easy to repair and replace as parts are readily available. Additionally, the convenience of fueling via a gas line means you’ll have a constant flow of fuel for your heating system. Gas furnaces provide heat for your home via combustion; an element known as the burner heats another element known as the heat exchanger. As with an electric furnace, once the air around the heat exchanger reaches the right temperature, the warm air is blown into your home. Gas is the cleanest-burning of all the fossil fuels, making them the most environmentally friendly.

Which Is Best for You?

First, you need to see if you have the availability of a gas line in close proximity to your home; if not, you may have to consider an electric furnace. Second, you’ll want to consider your preferences: some people prefer the quick, efficient heating of a gas furnace while others may want to stay away from fossil fuels. Your furnace will be with you a long time, so if you need help in choosing a new furnace for your home, make an appointment with the experts you can count on: Malek Heating & Cooling.

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The History of “Auld Lang Syne”

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

There are numerous different traditional songs associated with Christmas—but there is only one song that comes to mind immediately when people think of New Year’s Eve: “Auld Lang Syne.” It is hard to find a New Year’s Eve party where people won’t leap into singing “Should old acquaintance be forgot…” as the first stroke of midnight sounds. This tradition encompasses the globe, with almost every culture that celebrates New Year’s on January 1st breaking into song with the same set of lyrics.

Where did this song come from? And what do the words “auld lang syne” actually mean? The best place to ask these questions is Scotland. The Official Gateway to Scotland website calls the song “one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbor’s hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take us into the future.”

The melody of the piece originates from Lowland Scots folk song tradition. It was legendary Scottish Romantic poet Robert Burns (1759–1796) who created the words we know today, however. During the later years of his life, Burns dedicated much of his work to collecting Scottish folk tunes and giving them new life. The first mention Burns makes of “Auld Lang Syne” is in 1788, when he calls the song “a glorious fragment.” Burns wrote new lyrics to the old melody, and used the words “auld lang syne,” which is Scottish for “old long since,” and which can be translated into standard English as “long, long ago” or “days gone by.” The phrase was already known in earlier Scottish poems and folk songs, and appears to be the equivalent of “Once upon a time…” for Scots fairy tales.

Soon after Burns introduced the song to the public, it spread across Scotland as a New Year’s custom, and then to the rest of Great Britain. Scottish immigrants took the song with them as they moved across the globe, and by the middle of the 19th century it was a holiday tradition throughout the English-speaking world. By the close of the 20th century, it was a global phenomenon to ring in the New Year.

We imagine that you’ll end up singing or hearing “Auld Lang Syne” at some point this New Year’s (maybe you’ve already heard it while watching It’s a Wonderful Life). All of us at Malek Heating & Cooling would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy coming year in the tradition of the song.

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