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4 Fascinating And Fantastic Facts About Your Furnace...

You may not place much emphasis on your home’s heating and cooling system, but understanding is key to ensuring it is in proper working condition. A well-maintained furnace is not only necessary for your family’s comfort, but also for heating your home in an efficient manner. Unfortunately, you may not be familiar with the working mechanisms of your gas furnace. Using this guide on fascinating and fantastic facts, you will have a better understanding of heating your home with a gas furnace. Furnaces are the Most Common Heating Method Although central furnaces are the most common method for heating homes, you may not understand how the system creates and moves heat into your home. The complete furnace system encompasses a burner, metal heat exchanger, and ductwork. The burner heats air and gas, creating heated air that will flow through the heat exchanger and into the system’s ductwork. Located in the ceilings, walls, attic, and crawlspace of your home, this ductwork is necessary for moving conditioned air to and through your home. Furnaces are Efficient Natural gas furnaces are a more affordable option for heating your home, but determining the exact savings will depend on your system’s AFUE. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE, rating will determine how efficient your system is. A mid-efficiency system has an estimated AFUE of around 80 percent. This rating ensures 80 percent of the gas goes towards heating purposes. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient your system. High-efficiency gas furnaces that utilize two heat exchangers are also options for your home. These units remove water from the gas before moving the gas through the second heat exchanger. This increases the efficiency of the system, resulting in a 90 to 98.5 AFUE. Furnace Design Has Come a Long Way Heating your personal space has always been a necessity, but you may be surprised to learn the origins of today’s heating systems. The first furnace heating system dates back to the 1200s at a city hall in Germany. A three furnace system generated heat through heat chambers connected to rooms. Iron covers were installed over the ducts in the rooms, allowing for temperature regulation. While effective, this early furnace system was not able to heat larger spaces efficiently. Fortunately, a more sensible furnace was designed for heating around 1821. Dr. Paul Meissner stated that removing cool air while moving hot air into a space was important for reusing the cooled air for reheating. This method of heating is the basis of efficient heating systems today. Furnaces Have a Long Lifespan Heating is important for...

3 Spring Maintenance Steps To A Healthy Furnace Each Winter...

Once winter starts to fade, the last thing on your mind is probably your furnace. Yet, you should give some thought to getting it ready for spring. Using a little bit of preventive maintenance now means you likely won’t start next winter with a furnace that won’t work on the first chilly day. You don’t want to have to call a furnace repair person then, as the beginning of winter is their most busy season. You may have quite a wait while you shiver in your freezing house before a repair person has a chance to get out to see you. Here are some things you can do when the snow starts to melt to make sure your furnace is in tip-top shape next winter. 1. Check for Signs of Wear and Tear The winter really puts your furnace to work, and it can start to become worn and less efficient as time goes on. When spring arrives, the time is perfect to give your furnace a thorough inspection. Check the ductwork and casings to make sure there are no holes or areas that are blocked. This could make your furnace less efficient, and even dangerous. Have any damage fixed by a professional furnace repair business. While the technician is there, have them also check for things you can’t, such as the integrity of the electrical connections and the lubrication on moving parts, and fix what is needed. You’ll be glad you did this when winter comes again. 2. Change the Filters and Clean Them Your furnace’s filters are probably nice and dirty after a winter full of hard work keeping you and your family warm. When filters are dirty, it means the furnace takes more energy to do its job. This will increase your utility bills, and isn’t good for the environment. It is ideal to replace worn filters and clean dirty ones every month, but this may not always be possible during the winter. That is why you should do this as soon as the snow melts, and once again before the weather turns cold. This way, you can be sure your furnace will be at peak operating performance as soon as you need it to go back on duty. 3. Turn Off the Humidifier Your furnace has a humidifier switch that is connected to a device called a humidistat. The humidistat lets you control the humidity in your home during the cold months, as long as you keep the water panel filled. Winter air can get pretty dry, after all. You don’t need this part of...

Tips For Troubleshooting Your Central Air’s Uneven Cooling...

When the summer heat reaches its peak, you might find that you have one room in your home that’s constantly warmer than all the rest despite your air conditioning system. If this is the case for you, you don’t have to settle for uneven and insufficient cooling. In fact, there could be many reasons why your air conditioning isn’t getting enough cool air to that one part of the house. A little bit of basic troubleshooting can help you narrow down the potential cause of the problem. Here’s a look at some of the things you should check before you call your air conditioning technician. Obstructions Check the vents in the room in question to be sure that they aren’t blocked or obstructed by a rug, curtain or furniture. Your air vents need a clear path to the room for the most effective cooling. Also, make sure the vents are open, because closing the lever on the vent prevents any air passage. Air Circulation If the room in question is always a bit stale and lacking in general air circulation, you’ll want to think about installing a ceiling fan. While the ceiling fan may not physically cool the room, the improved air circulation may help the cooler air conditioning distribute through the room more efficiently. Other Vents One of the things that many homeowners don’t realize is that central air conditioning is designed to be at its best with full air volume throughout the house. This means leaving all of the vents open in each room and the doors open to allow air to circulate throughout the house. Ensure that all of the vents and doorways are open to help the cooler air reach the more obscure places and keep things cool. Air Ducts Your air duct system is another key area where problems can lurk. If the air ducts are dirty or clogged with debris, it can hinder air flow and lead to warm spots in the house. The best way to eliminate this as a possibility is to call an air conditioning contractor to inspect and clean your entire air duct system. While you’re at it, have them inspect the ducts for air leaks. If your air ducts are leaking anywhere in the house, that’s a significant cause for concern because you’re likely losing a lot of the cooling benefit of the air from your air conditioner. If the leak is in the section of duct work right before the warm room, that could be why you’re having trouble. There are many ways to deal with leaky...

Shopping For A Better Air Conditioner? 2 New Features You Should Look For...

The day your air conditioner sputters to a halt, you might dread shopping for a new unit. However, replacing your air conditioner might give you the opportunity to take advantage of cutting edge technologies that didn’t exist when your old unit was built. Here are two new air conditioning features you should look for: 1: Antimicrobial Materials Wouldn’t it be nice if your air conditioning unit could clean itself? Although it might sound like a feature of the future, some modern air conditioners have components made from antimicrobial materials like copper. Copper particles actually punch holes in the cell membranes of bacteria, killing the pathogen. Here are a few places you might find antimicrobial materials, and how they could benefit your new air conditioner: Reduce Smells: As your air conditioner runs, it constantly pulls water out of the air. However, as time goes on, this moisture can accumulate on your air handler, wetting nearby insulation and prompting mold growth. To fend off the bad smells that mold can cause, some air conditioners contain insulation treated with antimicrobial materials. This high-tech insulation can also wick water away from your system, so that rust and corrosion don’t have time to destroy your HVAC equipment.   Fend Off Allergens: Some air conditioners even use air filters made with strands of antimicrobial materials, so that they kill germs on contact. As air is brought in from outside and circulated through your home, it can be purified to fend off allergens.    Prevent Blockages: Bad smells and aggravated allergies aren’t the only issues a little mold growth can cause. If mold develops into large chunks, it can get caught in drainage lines, which can make your evaporator coil drip pan overflow and cause water damage. Fortunately, some systems contain copper drip pans, which help to reduce bacteria and mold levels and keep drainage lines flowing. Because air conditioners fitted with antimicrobial components attack mold and blockages before they cause problem, the actual system is much more efficient. In fact, one copper air conditioner prototype made by a Chinese company has been found to be 56% more efficient than other models with the same capacity.   2: Handheld Remote Controls With modern-day luxuries like direct deposit, you don’t have to run to the bank anymore to deposit a check, so why should you run upstairs to adjust your thermostat? Some air conditioners even come  with easy-to-use remote controls, so that you can adjust your thermostat from anywhere in your home. Here are a few reasons this feature might be especially helpful: Impaired Mobility: If you have...

Fighting With A Clogged Drain? Use These Blockage-Busting Tips To Win The Battle!...

Fixing drain clogs can be a frustrating process. Often, you have to try multiple approaches to see what eventually works. If you’re at a loss for how to fix a stopped-up sink or tub, here are a few tips that might be able to get things flowing smoothly again. A Simple Plunger Works Wonders It’s already common knowledge that a plunger can help you unclog a stopped-up toilet, but did you know it can be used for other drain clogs too? Any time you have a solid clog and you can create a good vacuum seal, a plunger should be able to at least move the clog, if not pull it all the way out. If the stopped-up drain is in a bathroom tub, you’ll need to cover up the overflow hole with a wet rag before you start plunging. This hole leads to the same pipe as the drain does, so as long as it’s allowed to take in air, you won’t be able to get a good seal on the drain. Next, fill the tub part of the way with water, and use the plunger just like you would with a toilet. Keep in mind, because this works best with solid clogs, a plunger may not be able to pull out common hair clogs. In a kitchen sink, the principle is much the same. If your sink has two drains, be sure to plug up the one that isn’t clogged so you can get better suction. Then, just like with a tub, fill it up part of the way with water and give it a good plunging. If the clog is close to the drain, this should pull it out. If not, hopefully the movement will help break it up. You Don’t Have To Buy Chemical Cleaners For very stubborn clogs it can be tempting to use a chemical drain cleaner. However, if these fail to pass through your system quickly enough, their acids can eat away at your pipes. Instead, consider using gentler remedies that won’t harm your pipes if they have to sit for longer periods. If you know the clog isn’t a hair clog, the first solution you try should be plain old boiling water. While this seems like an underwhelming solution, boiling water is actually excellent at dissolving solidified gunk. For kitchen clogs, boiling water is especially good at liquefying pesky grease clogs. When boiling water doesn’t work, your next step is to use the one-two punch of baking soda and vinegar. The weak acids in the vinegar will help to dissolve clogs...

4 Reasons To Consider A Ceiling Mounted Air Conditioning System...

Ceiling mounted air conditioning systems, also called mini splits, are a ductless, space saving alternatives to central, window and portable units. Although popularity of mini splits continues to grow, the majority of people are just not aware that technicians can install and optimize these air conditioners in residential dwellings. Furthermore, air conditioning owners may not even fully understand the benefits of making the switch to these highly effective cooling devices. Here are four reasons to start using ceiling mounted air conditioning systems today. Incredible Heat Pump Efficiency Mini split air conditioning systems use a heat pump to turn hot air pulled from the home into cool, refreshing airflow. Hot air circulates through modern homes starting at the ground floor and pooling in the attic. Since home insulation slows, not fully prevents, heat flow, the attic also tends to rise in temperature as sunlight beams down from above.   By placing the air conditioner in the attic, the heat pump can continually pull the hot air out of the home to keep temperatures from rising. In addition to negating the high attic temperature levels, the system sends frigid air flowing through the living space to maintain the set temperature range. Air conditioners positioned on the floor, in the windows or outdoors cannot reduce hot air flowing through the home in a meaningful way, like ceiling mounted units can. Easy Unit Upsizing Ceiling mounted air conditioning systems easily upgrade to accommodate changes in personal needs. For example, as families grow, homeowners may decide to expand their home size by having an addition built. The addition increases demand on all HVAC systems throughout the home, including the air conditioning unit. By using a ductless air conditioning option, it is possible to quickly and easily increase the size of the main unit to improve cooling efficiency throughout the house. The vent size will often remain the same, no matter the size of the air conditioning system mounted above the ceiling surface. Frees Up Useable Window Space Although portable and window mounted units also offer easy upgrade options, their need to dominate the windows in the home can feel like quite a bother. Moving these air conditioner units often takes incredible effort due to their mounting hardware and heavy weight. Furthermore, homeowners must find somewhere to store the unit when it’s not in use. By having the mini splits installed, homeowners never need to think about moving or storing the air conditioner system. The ceiling mounted design simply stays out of sight whether it’s used daily or not at all. Homeowners retain instant, easy...

Keeping Your Cool Without The Headache: How To Quiet Your Central Air Conditioning...

A common complaint from homeowners with central air is that the compressor makes a lot of noise. Depending on where you’ve placed the compressor outside the house, you might find that the compressor noise even disrupts your sleep at night or bothers your neighbors. If you’re looking for ways to quiet your compressor, you’re in luck. Here are some ideas for evaluating the noise level and adding some sound-blocking buffers around the unit. Assessing the Compressor Noise Just like most noises, air compressor noises are measured in decibels. Some air conditioning systems can have a decibel rating of 50 or more. It’s important to consider the decibel rating of your compressor when you’re thinking about sound buffers. The quieter the compressor, the better since prolonged exposure to loud noises can be damaging to your hearing. Quieting the Noise Luckily, you don’t have to go out and buy a whole new compressor just because your central air makes a lot of noise. Here are a few options for building a noise barrier and quieting the racket: Acoustic Wrap: Acoustic wraps are a quick and easy solution for quieting noisy compressors. Also called a sound blanket, you can wrap them directly around the compressor to reduce vibration and noise. Most acoustic wraps are created from a Teflon material, but they aren’t airtight. The air flow through the wrap ensures that the compressor doesn’t overheat. If you’re thinking about investing in a wrap like this, talk with a local HVAC contractor to find out what your options are. You’ll even want to consider professional installation since you have to open the cabinet and place the wrap directly over the compressor itself. When you’re looking for a quick and easy solution, this may be the option for you. Noise Barrier: In addition to the acoustic wrap, you may also find that you want to set up an external noise barrier. There are several different ways to do this depending on what works in your yard. Fence – One of the most effective ways to create an external sound barrier is to build a thick fence as an enclosure around your compressor and central air cabinet. A fence crafted from solid wood with soundproofing foam on the inside will help keep the noise from transferring beyond the space. Greenery – Shrubs, bushes and trees make natural sound barriers around many things, including your air conditioning compressor. Install a thick row of trees or ornamental shrubs around the air conditioning structure. Put them just beyond the boundary of the concrete pad so that you don’t...

3 Steps To Take When Your Central Air Conditioner Freezes Up...

Few things are as frustrating as a central air conditioner that freezes up in the middle of a heat wave. If you are like many homeowners, you may be living with an air conditioner that freezes repeatedly after normal use, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are a few simple steps you can take when your air conditioner freezes that can help it run better in the future. Inspect the Evaporator Coils As soon as you notice that your air conditioner is not producing cool air like it should, you should turn it off at the thermostat. The longer your air conditioner runs after it has frozen, the more ice will accumulate and the longer it will take to thaw. After you have shut off the air, remove the furnace cover so that you can inspect the evaporator coils above the furnace. The evaporator coils are installed in an A-frame configuration above your furnace, with a drain pan beneath them. When your central air is freezing up, you will see a thick accumulation of ice on the evaporator coils. You should not attempt to scrape the ice off the coils manually, as this can damage them. Run Your System Without the Condenser You can help the evaporator coils thaw faster by running your central air system without the condenser. To do this, you will need to locate and shut off the double breaker that sends power to the condenser. The double breaker is typically installed near the condenser unit, inside a metal box on the outside of your home. After you have shut off the double breaker, set the thermostat to the fan only setting. This will allow the blower motor in your furnace to blow ambient temperature air over the coils to defrost them. If there is significant ice buildup on the coils, you will need to check the drain pan regularly for overflow. If the drain pan is getting close to overflowing, use a heavy towel to soak up some of the water to prevent water damage to the surrounding area. Check for Airflow Restrictions Airflow restriction is one of the most common causes of a freezing central air conditioner. The coils need adequate airflow from the warm air inside your home to keep them from reaching freezing temperature. Without warm airflow, the condensation on the coils freezes before it can reach the drain pan. The easiest way you can improve airflow to your evaporator coils is to clean or replace the furnace filter. The furnace draws the most warm air into the system...