Heating Tips (8)
The main difference between a furnace and a heat pump is that a heat pump can be reversed to either heat or cool a home. A heat pump consists of two parts: an indoor unit called an air handler and an outdoor unit that is similar to a central air conditioner – called a heat pump. A compressor circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units.
Depending on the season a heat pump exchanges the cool air with warm air, or the other way around. Even air that's seems cold can have heat energy. When it's cold outside the heat pump extracts the heat and transfers into the home. When it’s hot outside, it reverses the flow to work like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home.
When considering a heat pump it's important to understand that, unlike a gas furnace which creates heat, a heat pump can only exchange heat, and will be unable to deliver a high level of warm air that is required to heat homes in colder climates like Colorado.
Have home heating questions? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating. We're here to help.
Fall Heating Maintenance TipsEarly November before the cold weather sets in and the snow begins to fall, is a good time to ensure your home's HVAC system is ready for the long Colorado winter ahead. The experts at Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating recommend that homeowners perform some simple fall heating and air conditioning maintenance tasks.
Replace Furnace Air Filters
One of the simplest ways to keep your furnace running at peak efficiency is to ensure that you change your air filter regularly. Your furnace will breathe easier, and so will you!
Check Your Thermostat Settings
If you have a programmable thermostat, check the timer function to ensure it's set to turn on and off at the proper time. A properly set thermostat will keep you comfortable and
Cleaning Your Furnace
Clean around your furnace and check that there is nothing obstructing the vents around the blower compartment.
Check your home's supply and return air vents to ensure there are no obstructions and that the air is flowing freely.
Consider adding more insulation to your attic in order to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Weather stripping is another relatively inexpensive way to keep the cold weather at bay this winter.
Hot Room, Cold Room - Tips For Achieving Even Temperatures In Your HomeIn a typical house it's not unusual to have temperature differences of several degrees from room to room. Attics, basements and additions usually have the greatest air temperature differences. When one room is uncomfortably hot or cold there are several factors to consider.
Ensure You Have Enough Insulation
In a cold climate like Colorado, proper insulation is essential. The recommended R-value for attics is 43, and an R-value of 21 for walls
Seal Air Leaks Around Windows and Doors
Proper weather sealing will eliminate drafts and heat loss. It will also help your furnace and air conditioner work more efficiently.
Check Your Air Delivery System
One of the most common problems we see in home heating and cooling systems that are not working well are air ducts that are not properly sized to move air throughout the home. To check for potential problems Grand Lake Plumbing can perform an air delivery analysis to determine if air is reaching all areas of your home.
Seal Air Duct Leaks
Sealing the gaps and joints in your air ducts will allow your furnace and air conditioner to work more efficiently and ensure all the air reaches all areas of your home
Should You Repair Or Replace Your Older Furnace?It inevitably happens with every old furnace, you wake up on a freezing Colorado winter morning and your bedroom is ice cold. You turn the thermostat up, but there's nothing but silence. Your furnace has stopped working. If you're lucky, it's a simple, inexpensive fix. But if the furnace is getting up in years and needs extensive repairs, how do you decide if the advantages of installing a new furnace is a better solution than repairing the old unit and hoping it lasts through another long winter?
How long will a gas furnace last?
A 2007 study by the National Association of Home Builders found that gas furnaces last an average of 15 to 20 years. So consider the age of the unit when deciding whether to repair or replace. When a furnace is installed most technicians will write the year the equipment was installed right on the unit. You can also look for a metal identification plate, usually on the inside of chamber door (be sure the unit is off and cool before checking inside). Record the model and serial number, then call the manufacturer’s customer service number to obtain the date of manufacture
How Much Is Your Old Furnace Costing You?
If the furnace is beyond three-quarters of its life expectancy and repairing it would cost a 1/3 or more of the amount of a new furnace, it may be more economical to replace the unit.
Comparing Energy Savings With A New Furnace
In these days of high fuel costs, it's important to consider is the efficiency of the old furnace versus a newer unit. A standard measure of fuel efficiency is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency number (AFUE). AFUE measures the percentage of the fuel that’s converted to heat rather than being lost through inefficiency.
If the furnace is 20 or more years old, its AFUE is probably about 70. New furnaces will have an AFUE of at least 80%, which means you’ll burn 10% less fuel, that's 10% savings of your heating bill. High efficiency furnaces go as high a 95% AFUE , which could save you 25% on your heating bill.
Turning On Your Gas FurnaceTypically, a gas furnace is operated through the same thermostat as the air conditioner. This means that when the weather turns cold, you can simply turn your thermostat to the ‘warm’ or ‘heat’ setting and then adjust the temperature to your liking.
Inspecting and Replacing Your Furnace Filter
Before beginning, it's important to turn the power off to the unit. Many furnaces have electrical components near the filter. Open the cover of the unit and then remove the filter. You can use a vacuum to clean the surface dust from a plastic filter, then simply wash it and dry it before replacing it. Always operate the furnace with a filter in place. You will need to replace a cardboard filter every few months, or as recommended by the filter manufacturer.
Testing AirflowCheck every room in your home by feeling for the airflow that comes from the vents. If airflow is insufficient to areas of your home, you should have a Air Specialties check your ducts to ensure they are properly sized for air delivery throughout your home.
If Your Gas Furnace Will Not IgniteAn inoperable pilot light is one of the main reasons that a gas furnace will fail to ignite. To ignite the pilot, turn the gas cock off and then push the pilot reset button while turning the cock to ‘pilot’. Get a match and light it, then hold it near the furnace pilot to relight it.
Furnace Troubleshooting ChecklistCleaning the system every couple of years helps the unit to run more efficiently and last longer. During an annual heating system inspection your technician will lubricate the furnace ports and bearings, reducing the amount of energy the unit needs to operate. Your technician will also clean the furnace burners if they appear dirty.
Vent BlockagesCleaning the vents and ducts will remove blockages that can interfere with heat flow in the home. In the winter, ice can block the outdoor vents. Make sure to turn off the unit before you attempt to remove the ice.
Sealing Air Leaks To Prevent Heat LossIf you notice air leaks emanating from your system, use caulk to seal off any gaps. In addition, placing weather stripping around doors and windows will keep your home from losing heat, which makes your furnace run more often.
What To Do If You Smell GasIf you ever smell gas coming from the furnace, leave the area and call your gas company right away. Avoid lighting matches or using any electrical appliances until you are safely away from the area.
In addition to biological allergens like bacteria, pollen, mold, and animal dander, modern homes are contaminated with chemical pollutants emitted from synthetic materials like carpeting, upholstery, solvents and paint. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air in the average American home is typically many times more polluted than the air outside.
Whole-Home Indoor Air Quality SolutionsWhole-house air filtration system is an ideal way to maintain healthy indoor air year round. Whole-home systems are box-like filtration units that work with your heating and cooling system to filter out particles in conditioned air before it is distributed throughout your home.
The Bottom Line: Healthier AirThe Infinity Line of Air Purifiers use the same kind of filtration methods that hospitals rely on to keep the air healthy for patients. They don't just filter the air, but kill airborne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and mold. If you or a family suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, you can expect to notice an improvement in the air that you breathe. Whole-house air filtration systems limit the harmful effects that prolonged exposure to indoor pollutants poses to otherwise healthy people too.
Air filtration is an important for a number of reasons. We usually only think about our furnace filter when we're dusting around the house or sneezing from the airborne particles that appear when the furnace turns on in the winter.
How Often Should I Replace My Air Filter?Filter replacement frequency varies by filter type, by the size of your home and the overall air quality. A furnace in a larger home will move more air and clog the filter faster. If you have pets you’ll probably need to change your filter twice as often. Not only are pet dander and hair a leading cause of allergens, they also clog air filters quickly! Start with every two months for a pleated 1” filter and double the frequency if you have a large home or if you have pets.
Costlier filters may claim to last 90 days, but, in our experience, these filters are so restrictive that they should be changed monthly. Your furnace and air conditioner will breathe easier and so will you!
Choosing An Air FilterIf you’re really interested in cleaning the air in your home, we can install a whole-house air cleaner in place of your furnace filter. These filters clean the air better that any of the standard filters and they often only need changed annually. Buy your air filters by the case (usually 6 to 12) and keep them near your furnace. This will lessen the tendency to procrastinate about your air filter change. Buying by the case can also reduce the cost of each filter change.
Never run your system with an incorrectly sized filter. An poor-fitting furnace filter will allow dust and other contaminates to sneak around the filter and into your home. This is also the primary cause of clogged air conditioner coils. Clogged a/c coils reduce efficiency and compressor life, and can cause expensive problems down the road. Always turn off your furnace at the breaker panel or disconnect (not just the thermostat) before replacing your filter. Some furnaces have electrical wiring close to the filter location which could shock you if the power is not disconnected first.
If you're uncertain about where your furnace filter goes, what direction to install it, or what size or type to use, give us a call. We're always happy to help. For improved filtration and healthier indoor air quality, we offer whole-house air cleaners and other Indoor Air Quality systems. Our technicians can recommend the best solution based on your needs and your home.
5 Advantages of Radiant Floor Heating
Radiant floor heating offers many advantages over other forms of heating. Here are just a few of the advantages.
Energy EfficientRadiant heat is like being out in the sunshine. You can be more comfortable at a lower air temperature. This lower air temperature will save you money on your energy bills.
The sensation of comfort is caused by a combination of air temperature and radiant energy that equals the body’s energy needs. When you receive a greater amount of radiant energy, you will be equally comfortable at a lower air temperature. The sensation of radiant heat allows you to keep the air temperature – and your heating bills – lower.
Cleaner and More HealthfulRadiant heating does not blow dust, dirt, bacteria and viruses around your home. Unlike forced air systems, radiant heat will not dry out your respiratory system and leaving you vulnerable to infection. Radiant heat is ideal for people with asthma and other upper respiratory ailments.
Child Friendly and Safer
With radiant floor heating, there are no dangerously hot surfaces for children to come into contact with...and no floor vents to drop those crayons into!