If you are cold or hot or are just ready for a quieter, more efficient furnace or air conditioner
Call A Polar Bear Air At: (815) 544-5424

Located between Belvidere, Cherry Valley and Kirkland to
Quickly and Conveniently Serve the Northern Illinois towns and country of:

Belvidere, Rockford, Cherry Valley, Caledonia, Garden Prairie, New Milford, Poplar Grove,
Herbert, Irene, Fairdale, Monroe Center, Davis Junction, Kirkland, Kingston and Genoa

For ECONAR Geothermal Systems
Serving All Central Northern Illinois
Belvidere Cherry Valley Rockford New Milford Poplar Grove Herbert Irene Fairdale Monroe Center Davis Junction Caledonia Garden Prairie Kirkland Kingston Genoa Caledon Freeport Winnebago Seward Pecatonica Hunter Harvard Woodstock Marengo Union Huntley Hampshire New Lebanon Burlington Sycamore Dekalb Cortland Maple Park Rochelle Stillman Valley Byron Peru Ottawa Mendota Dixon Durand Rockton Loves Park Machesney Park Malta Clare Waterman Shabbona Holcomb Lindenwood Esmond Cortland Roscoe Mc Henry Somonauk Paw Paw Mt Morris Boone county Illinois Dekalb county Illinois Kane county Illinois Winnebago county Illinois McHenry county Illinois Ogle county Illinois Lee county Illinois Stephenson county Illinois
If you don't see your exact town in all of this small print don't worry. This is just to help the web find us.

Why a Polar Bear?

I personally developed this web site when I started the business. Every year or two I update it. It is not from some web development company so it is not fancy and flashy. But it is very informative and has a lot of my heart and soul in it. Spend some time reading it over. I think you will feel confident we can help you out with your heating and air needs. Please excuse the grammar on this site. Writing is not my strong point.

ECONAR Geothermal Heating and Cooling: I have dedicated a whole web section on geothermal. I am very excited about it. It is great for the enviroment and it can save you a lot of money on your heating bills. Please click on Geothermal to learn more.

Serving all the Rockford area: I have lived in this area most of my life. I grew up on a farm outside of Genoa. I love the country and small towns of the area. I know that it is hard to get good service (and sometimes any service) in the country and small towns. That is why we are dedicated to give you the best service possible. You will be are valued customer if you live in Rockford, in the small surrounding towns or in the country.

A Polar Bear Air Van

Respect for Your Clean Home: When we come to your home we understand this is your special place. You don't want dirt tracked in, garbage left on the floor or anything different than before we were there (except of course your furnace or air conditioner working properly). We are very conscious of that and will show the utmost respect for your property.

Servicing most makes and brands: We repair just about every type of furnaces and air conditioner out there. From the ancient to the new high efficient condensing furnaces. From the small mobile home to the multi unit home units. Give us a call I am sure we will be able to get your furnace or air conditioner going again.

New Furnace or Air Conditioner Installation: Buying a furnace or air conditioner is different than other large purchases! When I plan on making a large purchase for something, such as a TV, I go about it in a very logical and systematic way. I first decide the exact features I want. From those features I decide on a brand and model. Then it is easy, I price shop for that one specific item. Things like return policies and availability may factor in but it is mostly finding the best price. In this case it is easy to compare apples to apples. Unfortunately this approach doesn't work when buying a furnace or air conditioner. The reason it doesn't work is because there is a wild card in the decision and it is at least 70 percent of what should be considered when making your decision. Do you know what; it is almost totally over looked most of the time. What I am talking about is the installation itself. That is the fitting or connecting the furnace or air conditioner to your house. When I started this business I wanted to sell and install the best furnace and air conditioner on the market. I did a lot of research and I found that the experts emphasize getting the right contractor is much more important than the brand of equipment you buy. After being in this business 10 years and seeing thousands of furnaces and air conditioners installed in homes I absolutely agree. There are far more problems associated with the installation then there are associated with a given brand. I worked in manufacturing for about 20 years with much of that as an engineer. I do not know this as a fact but my guess would be there are more man hours in installing an air conditioner or furnace then there are in manufacturing it. The reason I think this, is because when this equipment is made it goes down a manufacturing line were the same unit is made over and over again in a controlled environment and process. This leads to a great efficiency in building the equipment with very good quality in the final product. This is true for every manufacturer; otherwise they would not be in business. In contrast, installing the equipment is in an uncontrolled environment where every installation is different. Most installations of ether a furnace or air conditioner take me a full day to complete. I doubt there are 7 to 12 man hours in manufacturing a furnace or an air conditioner. I am not saying it is rocket science to install a furnace or air conditioner. But like most things it is the small details that make something work correctly or incorrectly. Off the top of my head some of these details are:
For a furnace:
1) The filter rack. Can you get the furnace air filter quickly and easily in and out? This is such a simple thing but you wouldn't believe how many furnaces I have worked on were this is not the case. Many times I have been called to repair a furnace and the cause was a dirty filter (the furnace was over heating). In my opinion the fault didn't lie on the home owner it lies on the installer of the furnace for making it so difficult to install the filter. In my mind that installer has some sort of mean streak in them for putting the home owner through this unnecessary hardship once a month for as long as they have the furnace. But most of the time it is probably laziness, incompetence or just doing a quick cheap job. Doing it right can be a little more work than you would think. There has been furnace installations were I spent an hour or two making the filter rack right.
2) The flue. Size, slope, location and termination. I have had repair calls were this was the cause of the problem. Even after the furnace has ran for years.
3) Combustion air. Or lack of it. A fire needs air to burn. In some cases a house doesn't have enough combustion are for all the gas appliances in the house. It can be tricky to make it right. I just replaced a furnace were this was the case. It ran for years, but it was dangerous and lack of combustion air eventually caused the furnace to fail.
4) Size of the furnace and the duct work. This is very important for the long life of the furnace. I can confidently say that most furnaces are oversized for the house they need to heat and many of those furnaces are constantly overheating. I have replaced furnaces for failed heat exchangers do to the furnace overheating.
5) Proper gas line capacity. If the gas line is under capacity when the furnace is running the gas pressure will drop below the pressure design specification of the furnace. This can shorten the life of the furnace and even be dangerous.
6) Clean the evaporator coil. When the old furnace is removed is when it is the easiest time to clean the air conditioner evaporator coil that is above the furnace. A good installer will do that.
7) Did the furnace work correctly from day one? The vast majority of furnace installing contractors don't check the furnace once it is installed. They see if it fires and there is warm air coming out, but that is it. There should be three things done to make sure the furnace is running correctly. The manifold pressure should be checked (the gas pressure to the burner orifices). A heat rise test should be done (the difference of the air temperature going into the furnace to the air temperature going out). A combustion test should be performed. Out of the thousands of furnaces I have worked on I can count on one hand how many of them had a combustion test done (other than from myself). I have worked on many furnaces I think were not right the day they were installed. But there is no way of telling since they were not tested when they were installed!
8) Quality of the work. With most furnaces I see the workmanship of the installation is ok. I usually see something I would have done better though. There are some that were absolutely terrible. A lot of tape on the duct work is a good sign of someone hiding sloppy sheet metal work.
For an air conditioner:
1) The evaporator coil. Is it accessible? Most are not. This is the perfect example of an air conditioner installer who has never had to work on or repair an air conditioner. The evaporator is the coil on top of your furnace. It is the part of the air conditioner that gets cold and in turn cools the homes air. If it gets dirty or clogged your air conditioner will be inefficient or may not work at all. Most of the time this coil is permanently sheet metaled in so it can't be cleaned. It has to be cut out to clean it. This is a very common problem and is the last thing a technician wants to do when repairing an air conditioner (if it is hard to do it will not get done). I bet you could light a city with the electricity wasted from dirty evaporator coils. You know were the blame is? The guy who installed the air conditioner. The home owner is the one who pays for an installer's lack of planning and indifference.
2) The lineset. The pipes going to and from the air conditioner. Are they sized correctly? Put in without kinks? Replaced or flushed when going from R22 to 410A refrigerant.
3) Air conditioner sized to your house correctly. Like furnaces most air conditioner are oversized. This is because it is the safest and easiest thing for a contractor to do. A customer is usually not going to complain if an air conditioner is oversized. But this is another hidden installation failure that you will pay for during the life of the air conditioner. The problem is that your air conditioner not only cools the air it also dehumidifies the air. Actually at least half of its job is to take the humidity out of the air. People don't really realize this because what we are after is to be cool. The thing is the low humidity is part of what makes us cool. If an air conditioner is over sized it short cycles and doesn't take the humidity out of the air very well. It is more efficient and effective for a smaller air conditioner to constantly run rather than a larger one to run in short burst.
4) Refrigerant circuit cleanliness. This is probably the most important factor in installing an air conditioner. Last summer I worked on an air conditioner that someone had installed the year before. It had never worked right. The home owner was just about to replace it. Do you know what caused all that grief and almost cost him a new air conditioner (@$2000)? A speck of dirt, it was actually the size of a grain of sand, in the refrigerant circuit. It doesn't actually have to be dirt. A small amount of moister or air in the refrigerant circuit can make the air conditioner not run efficiently or dramatically reduce its life. Most of the time people will blame the equipment and the manufacturer for a compressor prematurely dying. But it was probably the fault of the original installer. The right way to avoid this is to purge the system with nitrogen and put it in a deep vacuum (like deep space) before charging it with refrigerant.
5) Final test and adjustments. Most air conditioners are over charged. When I see this I know the air conditioner was not adjusted and tested after it was installed. Again I think a city can be lit with the electricity wasted from over charged air conditioners. It is not only inefficient it is also very hard on the compressor. It can cause it to prematurely fail. After an air conditioner is installed it should be fully tested with accurate pressure and temperature instruments.
One thing that is true for both a furnace and an air conditioner installation is: Will the contractor support you for warranty work and other things that come up. A Polar Bear Air gives a one year warranty on labor and will be there afterwards to help you with any problems. Actually for the past two years I have been including a 10 year labor warranty on all Coleman standard home installations. The cost of their extended warranty has been reasonable enough I have been including it with the installation. One thing we do, that I don't think most overs do, is that we register the equipment for you. Coleman gives a 10 year warranty on parts and a life time warranty on the heat exchanger, put only if it is registered. Customers don't seem to get this done themselves most of the time so we do it for you. The other thing is there are credits and rebates that come up from time to time for high efficiency heating and air equipment. I will do my best to get you any money back that is available. Currently (until May 31, 2015) Nicor has a $250 rebate for an installation of a 95% efficient furnace. If it is time to replace both your furnace and air conditioner you can get a total of $550 back from Nicor and ComEd. We can find you a Coleman system that will meet the efficiency requirements of the rebate program without costing you a fortune! Factoring in the rebate you can get a high efficient system for the cost of a standard efficiency system. We fill out most of the rebate forms for you so it goes through without problems. Last year at tax time I found out there was a tax credit approved for the year before. It was a last minute government change so it was not known about in 2012. I looked up everyone I sold this type of equipment to that year and sent a letter to them so they could claim this tax credit. My accountant told me he thought few other contractors would go out of their way to do this.
The above are just some of the things a good installation should include. I mentioned that the installation should be at least 70% of your decision criteria. What is the other 30%? I think 10% of the decision should be in consideration of the brand itself. For over a year I have been installing Coleman furnaces and air conditioners. Before that I mostly installed Goodman equipment. Coleman is manufactured by Johnson Controls who also makes York equipment. Both Coleman and Goodman are good units but I made the switch for the reasons below.
What I like about Coleman is:
1) Reparability: Many manufacturers of furnaces and air conditioner seem to put very little thought into designing their equipment so they can be repaired easily. Coleman actually encourages feedback from us repair technicians on this so they can improve their designs. So they are nice to work on. This translates to less time in doing a repair and the repair being done right which is less cost for you when a repair is needed.
2) Parts availability: There is a very good Coleman distributor in Rockford. They almost always have the parts I need on hand. With some of the other brands it can be hard to get OEM parts quickly.
3) Warranty: Coleman has some of the best warranties in the industry. Their extended labor warranty cost is reasonable enough were I have been including it with all their equipment I have installed. So for the past two years my customers are totally covered for 10 years (parts and labor).
4) Price: Coleman equipment is very reasonably priced.
5) Functionality: A furnace must heat and an air conditioner must cool and dehumidify efficiently and keep you comfortable. Most of the brands do that and they must meet independent stands so they have to do it. As a technician and installer I notice some of the smaller details. One that comes to mind is how clean the furnace burns. As I have mentioned I always do a combustion test after I work or install a furnace. The Flue CO reading is the most important part of this test. Some of the brands are not very consistent and somewhat on the high end for the CO amount. All of the Coleman furnaces I have installed have had low CO reading and are very consistent (@20 ppm range). This is important because if there is a problem with the heat exchanger it can be identified early on. To read more about Coleman check out their web site at:
www.colemanac.com/aboutus/aboutus.asp ,
I would still like to make the point that most of the brands are very good. The above are small differences that make me lean toward Coleman. But we also install Goodman, Heil and Tempstar. Well there is still 20% of your decision criteria left. I would consider the remaining 20% of the criteria to be price. I only make it this high because it seems like our society values are: get what you can rather than what something is worth. So you should look around. I think if you keep in mind that the installation is the most important factor and ask the right questions you will find that A Polar Bear Air will give you the best "VALUE". Getting the best value, not necessarily the lowest price, is getting the best deal.

Direct / Up Front / Informed Pricing: We don't keep pricing a secret. For repairs our service call price is $83. This includes a tune up of the furnace or air conditioner, diagnostics of the unit and the repair of the unit if it is under an hour and there are no parts needed. Most common repairs are completed in the first hour. A lot of the time the tune-up takes longer than the repair. So even if it is a simple repair you are getting your moneys worth. We insist on including the tune-up with the service call because even if your furnace or air conditioner is functioning it may not be running correctly. It may visually look ok but still could be dangerous. I sleep better doing a full tune-up on everything we work on. I think I am one of the only heating and air companies that includes a complete tune-up with the repair service call. We also believe in charging for what the job is worth. If the repair takes unusually long we will discount the rate. For longer duration jobs, such as a new installation, we discount our hourly rate. If you are thinking of a new furnace or air conditioner, give us a call. We will give you a free estimate you will be happy with. We will also be happy to help you with a home environment problem such as: a cold room, a hot room, too low of humidity, too high of humidity, stale air or dusty contaminated air (allergy causing).

Respect for "You" and Your Time (There when I Say): I have been astonished by stories of people taking off work to meet a service man at their home and that service man being hours late or not showing up at all! You are the paying customer and You deserve better than that. We will not overbook appointments and we will do our very best to be on time. This business is somewhat unpredictable though. A job we predict to be an hour may turn into three hours. If we get hung up we will give you a call before or on the time of our appointment and let you know what's happening. We will not leave you hanging! But if we are not there at the appointed time please give us a call right away. Rarely but sometimes when it gets busy I will misplace an appointment.

Family owned and operated by Bob Dorn: When you call 'A Polar Bear Air' you get the owner of the business. I also do most of the repairs. I personally take a lot of pride in this business so it is not "just a job" for me. I grew up in this area on a farm near Genoa. I attended school at Genoa-Kingston and college at Kishwaukee. Currently I live and run the business near Irene (between Belvidere, Cherry Valley and Kirkland). I started the business in 2003. For twenty years before that I worked in the manufacturing industry. First as an electronics technician, then in electrical maintenance, and then in engineering. To make sure that I was competent in the HVAC business I earned a 'Basic Vocational Specialist in Heating AC & Refrigeration Level 1 and Level 2' from Elgin Community College.

Furnace repair

Debug the Problem with instruments (no parts swapping): From my experience as an electronics technician and engineer I have found that blindly swapping parts and hoping to find the problem ends up being time consuming and costly. Also by disturbing the machine, a marginal defect may actually look like it is fixed but will not be. Later the same problem will show up again. The best way to make a repair is to debug the problem in a logical manner without disturbing or changing anything until the problem is known. Since the problem can't usually be seen, the only way to do this is through the use of instruments such as: a DVM, Electronic combustion flue gas analyzer, pressure gages, temperature sensors and fuel gas sensors and gages. Once the problem is found only the faulty component is replaced. The advantage for you is that you don't pay for replacing parts that were OK and the actual problem gets fixed. Also, in an air conditioning system blindly adding refrigerant can damage the compressor (the heart and most expensive part of the system). It is very important to know the pressures and temperatures of the system and charge it based on superheat or subcooling temperatures.

Complete competent repair (No short cuts or sloppy work): ): Once we have completed a repair you shouldn't be able to tell that we have been there. Craftsmanship seems to be a dying attitude. When I work on a piece of equipment I can usually tell if it had been repaired by someone else in the past. Loose hanging wires, crooked valves or missing screws are just a few sloppy jobs I have seen. I actually get a little upset when I see this.

Safety First: The majority of furnaces in this area are Natural gas or LP gas. This is usually a very safe and efficient means of heating. But if the furnace is not functioning correctly or was carelessly setup or repaired it can be dangerous or unhealthy for the people in the house. When Natural or LP gas is allowed to completely combust it burns very cleanly. There will be almost no carbon monoxide produced. But if the flame is impinging on something or the combustion air is not correct carbon monoxide will be produced. Under these conditions if the flue or heat exchanger is leaking this carbon monoxide will enter your living area. I do not want to cause undo concerns here or use scare tactics. As you can see several things have to be wrong to be dangerous. The point I am making is that a properly working gas furnace is safe and clean burning but it should be checked regularly and respected for what it is. I suggest your furnace be checked professionally once every year. It should also be visually checked by you every month of the heating season. Your monthly check should consist of a visual check of the burner flame, a conscious check for any natural gas or LP gas odors, also listen for any odd noises while the furnace is running. One of the most important things the homeowner can do themselves is to check and replace the air filter monthly. This is not so much for safety (it will improve the air quality of your home) but to prolong the life of your furnace and to keep it running efficiently. This will also keep your air conditioner evaporator coil (on the top part of the furnace) clean so you don't have problems with your air conditioning in the summer. Everyone should have a carbon monoxide detector in their home. Like a smoke detector this is for a warrning just in case the unthinkable happens. Carbon monoxide alarms are very reasonably priced (usally less than $30).

Furnace Tune up: As mentioned above, your furnace should be professionally checked every year. Most heating and air contractors offer a "Clean and check" service. We go beyond that. We call our service a "furnace Tune up". We do all of the standard checks and if needed we clean the burners and the bottom of the heat exchanger. But we also do a computerized combustion gas check. The flue gases Oxygen, Carbon monoxide, Carbon dioxide, temperature and pressure is monitored. Also the pre combustion air temperature is measured. From this the instruments computer determines the combustion efficiency, excess air, carbon dioxide and the CO air free. These checks can not be done visually. An instrument must be used to determine if the furnace is running properly. From the results of this check such things as a cracked heat exchanger, improper combustion and blocked flue can be determined. The actual efficiency of the furnace is also determined. This tells you if you are using more gas (money) than you should be for the heat you are getting from the furnace. We also check the manifold gas pressure and adjust it to the furnace's specifications if needed. Your furnace is designed to operate with a specific gas pressure to function correctly. With the invoice, you get a print out of all of these results. We also keep them on record in a data base. Over the years this is valuable information at each furnace tune-up to see if the furnace's performance is changing. When I first started doing this I was surprised on the number of potentially dangerous problems I found. In about 1 out of 20 tune-ups I will find a major problem, such as a cracked heat exchanger. A lot of these would not be noticed visually. This service cost only $83.

AC repair

Air Conditioner Tune-up: When I first studied refrigeration I was very surprised of its complexity. An Air conditioner's function is to move heat. This is done by moving a refrigerant (Freon is a term commonly used, this is a trade name of one type of refrigerant) from inside the home to the outside of the home. The refrigerant is changed from a liquid to a vapor in the evaporator (the coil on top of your furnace) and back into a liquid in the condenser (the outside coil). This 'change of states' of the matter from a liquid to a vapor and vise versa is what moves the heat to the outside of the house and makes your home cooler. This is accomplished by a fine balancing act of pressures and temperatures on the refrigerant. It is extremely important to have the correct amount of refrigerant in the air conditioning system. Too much refrigerant (charge) will have the effect of not allowing the refrigerant to change fully to a vapor before it enters the compressor (pump). This is called slugging the compressor. Since the compressor is designed only for vapor this will eventually cause it to fail. On the other hand too little refrigerant in the system will not move the heat correctly and not cool your house efficiently. The refrigerant will change to a vapor in only a small portion of the evaporator and not move as much heat as the system is designed to do. The reason I mention this is because there is a lot more to it than just 'adding some Freon'. There are two methods of charging a system: The first one is to accurately weigh the refrigerant and put the specified designed amount in the system. The second, and most practical approach, is to measure the temperature of the refrigerant lines going into the compressor and measure the pressure of the refrigerant in these lines. From this the superheat or subcooling of the refrigerant (which one is used depends on the type of system) can be determined. Refrigerant can be added or removed to adjust this to the design limits. I have read up to 70% of refrigeration units are not charged correctly. We use a very accurate digital instrument to adjust your air conditioner so it runs at its optimal performance. The instrument measures the indoor temperature and humidity, the outdoor temperature, the ingoing and outgoing refrigerant temperatures and pressures. From these measurements it determines the superheat and subcooling of the system and where it should be. We then make changes and adjustments to put it in its optimal operating state. Most other technicians use inaccurate mechanical gages to do this. There are some inapt technicians that don't measure anything at all. One other point is also worth mentioning. To do anything with a refrigeration system a technician must be EPA licensed. This is because CFC and HCFC refrigerants have been found to harm the atmosphere. A good technician will take great care to release a minimal amount of refrigerant to the atmosphere. There is special equipment needed to reclaim refrigerant. There are fees and even the possibility of imprisonment for purposefully releasing refrigerant to the atmosphere. A refrigeration system also has to be kept completely free of contaminants. Just a drop of water will cause acid to form in the system and cause premature failure. During a tune-up we will also check the condensate lines and clean the condenser if needed. Our price for this complete service is $83. If there is refrigerant needed or the condenser is extremely dirty there is an added charge.

Me duct cleaning Air Duct Work Cleaning: I have dedicated a whole web section on air duct work cleaning. In many cases it is well worth doing and necessary. Please click on Air Duct Cleaning to learn more.

Billing: What's in a bill? Lots. You should be able to look at your receipt and know what you paid for! I am usually amazed and disappointed at the bills I have received for a service. The only thing you can easily decipher is the bottom line cost. When we do a service for you (work for you!) you will know what you paid for. Your invoice will be a record of what was done and any suggestions for future improvements. If a furnace's combustion gas efficiency check was performed all of the readings from it will be on the invoice. With an air conditioner tune up a full report with all the measurements will be on the invoice. If refrigerant was added to the air conditioning system, the amount will be indicated on the invoice.

Work is Guaranteed: Any parts replaced during a repair and labor to perform the repair is guaranteed for that season (winter or summer). Some components may have a longer warranty through the manufacture. But please be reasonable. Just because I touched your furnace or air conditioner doesn't mean a totally unrelated problem can't occur. If this happens I do give you a break on the service charge. Since I don't have to do the tune-up (once a season is fine) I only charge $50 for the service call.

Licensed and Insured: I am EPA certified to work on all types of refrigeration systems I am also licensed for forced air heating and air conditioning in Rockford. For your piece of mind I am fully insured for liability.

Thank You: We appreciate you considering A Polar Bear Air. If you have any questions please give us a call at (815)544-5424



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