Spring Is Here! Let’s Get Your AC Inspected and Tuned-Up

April 5th, 2021
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Springtime! If you’re a dog (and I’m assuming you’re not), this is one of the best times of the year: not too hot, not too cold, and people are always looking for an excuse to take you outside so they can enjoy the warmer weather as well. I’ll admit that I’m still biased a bit toward fall because I like to leap into piles of dried leaves, but spring is still a pretty big deal for me.

And it’s a big deal for all of us here at Russell & Abbott, because spring is when we provide one of our most important services: air conditioning maintenance. Routine HVAC maintenance is the most important service we offer, and AC maintenance is one half of that.

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Final Round! Vote for Us in Daily Times’ Reader’s Choice Poll

April 2nd, 2021
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Hey folks, got some great news and an update about the Daily Times’ Reader’s Choice Poll.

Thanks to all of our wonderful customers who voted for us in the first round of the poll, we’ve once again been nominated for Best Heating and Air Company. You’re the best community we could ever hope to serve, and it’s a thrill knowing that you love what we do. 

But the action doesn’t stop yet! Now it’s time for the final vote

You can log into the poll and vote for us from April 1 to April 30. Just scroll down to the Heating and A/C Company, where you’ll see a nice picture of yours truly. And yes, you can vote every day, and please do. We’ve won this poll three years running now, and it would be amazing to make it four!

Russell & Abbott serves Maryville, Knoxville, and surrounding areas.

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Time for the Annual Furnace Performance Overview!

March 22nd, 2021
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When winter comes to an end, it’s time to think about how your furnace managed over the season. This will help you know if you need any important furnace service in Knoxville, TN (such as repairs or a full replacement) during the coming stretch of the year when you won’t need to rely on your heater daily.

This is when I get out my pen and help you go through a checklist “performance overview.” I’d love it if I could tuck the pen behind my ears, but I don’t have stand-up ears like German Shepherds, so I’ll just have to grip the pen in my mouth when not using it. Anyway, let’s get into this informal overview. 

Please note: This casual exercise is not a substitute for annual heating maintenance in fall. When you need actual heating work done, you’ll want our pros to be there to do it!

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Just What Is a Condensing Furnace?

March 8th, 2021
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Part of my job is keeping track of developments in comfort technology. Most dogs are interested in only one type of heating technology, which is their fur. I love my fur, but I also love knowing about furnaces and the ways they keep making it easier for humans to stay cozy in winter.

So today I want to talk about one of the best developments in furnace technology, the condensing furnace. Sort of a funny name, but it’ll make sense when I explain it. If you are considering getting a new furnace in Louisville, TN, a condensing furnace might be on your list if it suits your home and current needs.

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The Daily Times’ Reader’s Choice Poll Is Back: Vote for Russell & Abbott!

February 24th, 2021
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This is one of my favorite posts to write each year! It’s when the Daily Times runs its annual Readers’ Choice poll for the best local businesses. For the last three years, Russell & Abbott was voted the Best Heating and Air Conditioning Company in the poll. I’d like to think that my diligent work getting out the vote is responsible—but the truth is that it’s you, our great customers, who have made us #1 year after year. And I’m hoping you’ll make us #1 again for 2021. 

Here’s what you have to do… 

Phase 1 starts on March 1st, and only the top five nominees from this phase will move forward to Phase 2. From those five nominees, one will be chosen as the winner. During Phase 1, go to the Readers’ Choice 2021 page and nominate a “Best” Business in the “Business & Professional Service” category. Complete the name, address, and phone number fields, then nominate “Russell & Abbott Heating and Cooling” as the Best Heating and Air Company. Do this every day until Phase 1 ends on March 31st. Please don’t let us get bumped out during round one!

You can help me out by asking your friends, family, and buddies on social media to also nominate Russell & Abbott daily as the Best Heating and Air Company. 

Get us into Phase 2 and I’ll be back here in April with instructions on how to push us to #1 again!

Who’s the best when it comes to local HVAC? You already know the answer! Call Russell & Abbott for all your heating and cooling needs.

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Combustion Analysis—It’s Important, But Not Everyone Does It!

February 22nd, 2021
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If I wanted to go on the road as the World’s First and Best Psychic Dog, I know just the trick to pull to amaze my viewers: my assistant would ask someone in the audience to stand up, and I would announce (through special barking code) that they use a gas furnace to heat their home. And I’d be right … most of the time. (If I’m wrong, I’ll just tell them they may have a gas furnace in the future.) 

So I’m guessing you have a gas furnace. And if you do, you’ll need occasional combustion analysis for it to help make sure it’s keeping your family safe. Our team is great at combustion analysis, and we’re proud of that because far too many other HVAC contractors don’t do it at all!

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Olive Explains the Reversing Valve, A Heat Pump’s Secret Trick!

February 8th, 2021
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One of the topics I enjoy writing about the most is heat pumps. This is because heat pumps can pull a nifty trick: provide both heating and cooling to a home. And, like the best magic tricks (such as pulling a poodle out of a hat), once you know the secret behind it, it feels both obvious and sorta genius that you have to admire the folks who came up with it. I’d love to take credit, but that would be dishonest and even counting in dog years I can’t stretch my lifetime back that far to the late 1940s. (The actual inventor was Robert C. Webber. Yep, I know that much about HVAC.)

I could go on for a long time about the workings of heat pumps, but I want to look at one special part that makes all the difference—the part that is essential in allowing a heat pump to work as an air conditioner and a forced-air heater. It’s called the reversing valve.

The Reversing Valve Basics

A reversing valve is a metal component that looks like a copper bar with multiple copper tubes intersecting it. In technical terms, this device is an electro-magnetic four-way valve that guides the direction of the refrigerant that comes out of the compressor in the outdoor cabinet of the heat pump. 

Inside the valve is a slider; when it shifts position, it changes the direction of the incoming refrigerant to either move it first toward the indoor coil (which would put it in heating mode) or first to the outdoor coil (which would put it in cooling mode). The slider is moved by connecting electricity to the valve, energizing it. When the valve is de-energized, the slider returns to its first position. In most heat pumps, energized is cooling mode and de-energized is heating mode. 

When you manipulate the thermostat to adjust the heat pump, the thermostat will either send an electrical signal to the reversing valve or de-energize it, which determines which mode it will be in. 

Reversing Valve Troubles

There are plenty more details about the operation of the reversing valve, but I’m not going to go full “Electro-Engineer Olive” on you. What’s important for you to know is what can go wrong with the reversing valve that can lead to heat pump trouble. 

For one, the slider can become stuck, which is what you might expect from any mechanical device with enough wear. It can get stuck either in heating mode or cooling mode.

The other common trouble is when the thermostat loses its connection to the reversing valve. If the thermostat cannot energize the reversing valve, the heat pump will remain in its default de-energeized mode, which in most cases means a heat pump that’s stuck in cooling mode.

Fixing problems with a reversing valve is a standard repair for our great team. Sometimes we can repair the thermostat connection, and other times we’ll need to remove the reversing valve and replace it. No matter what type of heat pump repair in Maryville, TN you need to stay warm/stay cool, you can trust us to do the job.

Stay warm,

Olive

Russell & Abbott serves Blount, Knox, and Loudon Counties and surrounding areas. Just whistle and we’ll come running!

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Olive Explains: Why Your Furnace’s Burners Aren’t Lighting

January 25th, 2021
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Here’s an irritating problem: you set your thermostat for something comfy during winter. I recommend 68°F, even though my nice fur coat lets me set it lower than you would. It’s a cold day, so that means setting the thermostat to that temperature will cause the furnace to come on. But it doesn’t. The fan might turn on, but not warm air. When you go to the furnace, you discover that the customary blue glow from the burners isn’t there—they haven’t ignited. What’s going on?

Well, I can list a few possibilities…

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A Few Things to Know Running Your Heat Pump in Winter

January 11th, 2021
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Did you welcome a new addition to your house during the last year—a heat pump? Congratulations! We’re all fans of heat pumps around here, especially the Onyx models we install, which are ideally suited for the winters in East Tennessee. 

But if this is your first winter with a heat pump, there are a couple of things I’d like you to know. If you’ve already run it during the summer, you noticed it didn’t act any different than an AC. That’s just as it should be! But as you change the heat pump over to heating mode for winter, there are a few differences to get used to. After all, a heat pump isn’t a furnace and doesn’t provide heat the same way. Here’s “Olive’s List of Useful Things to Know” about your heat pump in winter.

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Can a Heat Pump Possibly Match a Furnace’s Performance?

December 28th, 2020
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Let me first make an important statement about comparing a heat pump to a furnace: Home heating is not a race. When you’re searching for a heating system for home comfort, the goal isn’t to get the “swifter, faster, stronger” unit, the world-record holder, Earth’s Mightiest Heating System, the One Heating System to Rule Them All. No, you’re looking for … here it comes … the heating system that makes your family comfortable without wasting energy. Or, put even simpler, you’re looking for the heater that is the right match for your house

The question of a heat pump vs. furnace comes down to whether a correctly sized and installed heat pump can provide your house with energy-efficient comfort that would match a correctly sized and installed furnace. 

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