Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! We hope you have a wonderful time celebrating the beginning of 2012! Now is also a great time to set goals and reflect on what you would like to accomplish in the year ahead. If you are thinking of trying to be more environmentally friendly, your HVAC system might be the place to start. Annual maintenance will make your system run efficiently, and if you upgrade your system you can be sure that you will be using less fuel than before. Give us a call to learn more ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint!
Archive for December, 2011
No matter what the problem is with your HVAC equipment, you want it fixed quickly. And not only that, you also want it repaired by someone who really understands the problem in and out. An experienced and well-trained technician should be able to not only fix the problem, but also explain to the customer exactly what has gone wrong. At Bob’s Heating, we pride ourselves on having some of the best-educated and most tech-savvy technicians in the industry. Here is what Sean in Renton wrote to us about his recent heating repair:
Very professional and super easy to work with! I would have no problem giving your business referrals on my future jobs! I think I have found my new HVAC contractor!
- Sean Thomas, Renton, WA
One of the worst things that can happen to your house this winter is a broken heating system. If you sense any warning signs of a malfunctioning furnace, such as uneven heating or higher heating bills, give a contractor that you can trust a call right away.
You’ve probably heard about the new lines of high efficiency furnaces being released by popular home heating companies in Silverdale, but what exactly is different about these high efficiency devices from your current furnace? Let’s take a closer look at what a high efficiency furnace offers and why it can save you money.
A high efficiency furnace uses familiar technology in a new way to reduce the amount of energy lost when combustion takes place. This means:
- Sealed Combustion – Instead of open combustion which allows heat to escape during and after the combustion process, a high efficiency furnace uses a sealed chamber with carefully measured and fed airflow to burn fuel and produce heat. Exhaust heat can then be recaptured and used to heat air transferred to your air vents.
- Two Stage Gas Valves – With a two stage gas valve, your furnace can respond to the temperature outside. There isn’t just one “on” switch. The furnace will regulate gas flow based on how much energy is needed to produce heat for your home. So, if there is a sudden burst of cold outside, the furnace will respond accordingly, but for most days when heating needs are low, it will use only the minimum amount of needed gas.
- Programmable – High efficiency furnaces are now programmable, meaning you can set specific time limits for operation, change thermostat settings digitally and inspect the device through an electronic read out. The level of control given to you by a programmable high efficiency furnace can greatly reduce gas or electricity consumption.
The real reason many people are interested in high efficiency furnaces is that they are so much less expensive to operate. Instead of costing hundreds of dollars to run through the winter, they operate the bare minimum needed to heat your home. Using up to 95% of the fuel they consume to produce heat and regulating gas to cut how much is consumed during milder days, these furnaces are built to save you money.
If you have an old furnace that chews through energy like nobody’s business, now might be the time to consider the benefits of a brand new, high efficiency model.
Everyone at Bob’s Heating and Air Conditioning wishes you a very Merry Christmas! We hope you enjoy spending time with family and opening lots of presents. The holidays are all about appreciating what you have, and we are very thankful for all our customers. We hope that you get everything you want under the Christmas tree tomorrow!
To help make your Christmas a little sweeter, here is a recipe for Molasses Sugar Cookies:
“These are a wonderful chewy spice cookie. They are drop cookies that keep very well. I make them at the beginning of the holiday season and they keep all the way to New Year’s!”
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
- Melt the shortening in a large pan on the stove, and cool.
- Add sugar, eggs, and molasses, beat well.
- In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together and add to the pan. Mix well and chill 3 hours or overnight.
- Form into walnut-size balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes.
- Store in an airtight container to keep from getting overly crisp. If they do lose their softness, an easy way to restore it is to place one slice of fresh bread in the container with the cookies for a couple of hours or overnight and they will be soft again!
For more details, visit allrecipes.com.
If you haven’t had your annual maintenance visit, we recommend you do so soon. Regular maintenance will keep your system running efficiently all winter long, which will help you save money on your utility bills! It will also give you early warning if there are any problems, and an early fix now can save you from a lot of trouble in the future!
There are a lot of reasons to clean in Steilacoom. Guests, children, pets, simple peace of mind – without the right amount of cleaning, a messy house can quickly get out of control. But, don’t forget the health benefits of removing excess dust and sediment from your home with regular cleaning. To ensure your indoor air quality doesn’t take an unnecessary hit, here are a few basic cleaning tips you can implement right away.
- Regular Vacuuming – Most people vacuum occasionally when it’s obvious that carpets are getting a little messy. Consider increasing the frequency of your vacuuming to at least 3-4 times per week, possibly more, especially if you have pets. Regular vacuuming removes a lot of the airborne particles that can get into your lungs and cause allergies or asthma flare ups.
- Remove Junk from Floor Spaces – Toys, garbage, clothes, and other random junk sitting on the floor can create air quality problems, especially if they are near or around vents.
- Bathe and Brush Pets – Pet dander is a top contributor to indoor air quality problems. Bathe and brush your pets once a week to reduce hair loss and get rid of all that excess dander that builds up over time. Consider it an investment in the cleanliness of your home.
- Shoes Outside – Shoes bring in pollen and other outdoor pollutants. Take them off outside and you will reduce the number of contaminants that make it inside.
- Remove Moisture from Bathrooms – Bathroom moisture results in mold growth and the development of other allergens. Wipe down the walls of your shower and mop the floor daily to remove excess moisture after showers.
- Food Waste – Throw away food waste immediately. Food in the sink or garbage can attracts bacteria and bugs and can result in mold growth very quickly. Consider a compost bucket or pile outside where food waste can be disposed or purchase a garbage disposal to get rid of it immediately after eating.
There are dozens more little things you can do that will reduce the amount of allergens and pollutants that build up in and around your home. Consider creating a simple calendar schedule you can follow from day to day to keep your indoor environment clean and healthy.
Everyone here wishes you a Happy Hanukkah! Whether you have a Menorah or a Christmas tree in your house, the holidays are all about spending time with family. We hope you have a great holiday and enjoy eight days of gift giving! One of the great Jewish traditions for this time of year is great food, so here is an excellent recipe for potato latkes:
“Shredded potatoes and grated onions are bound with flour, salt and eggs, then fried in oil to make delicious potato pancakes that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.”
2 cups peeled and shredded potatoes
1 tablespoon grated onion
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup peanut oil for frying
- Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much moisture as possible.
- In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour and salt together.
- In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties. Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other. Let drain on paper towels. Serve hot!
For more details, visit allrecipes.com.
When researching your Burlington home’s furnace and potential problems it might have, you’ve probably run across a few references to the fan limit switch. And while you know that it can break in a number of ways, do you know what the switch does and what you should look for when checking your furnace its air handler for problems?
What the Limit Switch Does
To put it very simply, the furnace fan limit switch is a control that tells your furnace’s fan when to turn on and off. So, when the furnace isn’t on, it tells the blower not to operate (and send cold air into your home) and when the furnace is on, it tells the blower to turn on and start circulating the warm air.
While the primary function of the limit switch is to turn the blower fan on and off, it also has a safety role. When the temperature in the air supply plenum gets too hot, the limit switch turns off the furnace boiler to keep there from being any damage from overheating. This is handy if there is a blockage in the air vents or the controls are messed up due to water damage or improper adjustments to the settings.
Looking for Problems
Most of the time, when there is an issue with your furnace turning off or on frequently, the limit switch is one of the first things you will check. Because the switch is electronic and is attached to a thermostat which measures temperature in the air supply plenum, a small problem can result in it not working properly. So, you can easily check it by temporarily bypassing the switch and seeing if your device turns on or off properly.
In many cases, if the limit switch is the problem, you will still need to call a professional for replacement, but you can avoid a lot of headaches related to tracking down the source of the problem. If you suspect a limit switch problem, make sure to call someone immediately, because it does provide an important safety function and because without it your furnace won’t cycle on and off properly.
When upgrading to a high efficiency gas furnace in your Fife home, you may need to make some upgrades to your chimney. Older chimneys built for standard furnaces with normal exhaust needs are not built to the specifications needed by today’s high efficiency models. Not only is it unsafe to leave it as is, but the cost of repairs if you don’t have it upgraded can be substantial.
A common concern when upgrading to a high efficiency gas furnace is the issue of condensation and draft. Because the amount of exhaust being vented is reduced by a high efficiency furnace, your current setup is not sufficient for the new model. So, it needs to be reduced in size by a professional to avoid backup of exhaust. Proper chimney sizing is a complex process that requires professional guidelines and careful measurements of all appliances in your home.
Because the chimney often isn’t used at all for a high efficiency furnace (often PVC pipe used instead), the extra airflow in the chimney can become a major issue.
The biggest concern for the chimney when changing the furnace efficiency is condensation. Specifically, acidic condensation droplets can build up in the chimney if not properly stopped. A new chimney liner must be placed in the chimney to avoid excessive corrosion due to the acid droplets. Keep in mind that the efficiency of your new furnace will determine whether you will use the traditional chimney for exhaust or if a new line will be installed to vent your furnace.
When to Take Action
If you have your furnace replaced, your technician will likely discuss the chimney situation in your home with you. Keep in mind that this might be necessary and that there might be an added cost involved because of it. Modern furnaces are not designed to accommodate aging chimneys and your safety and the integrity of your house are at risk if you don’t retrofit the chimney if necessary.
Most people, when they choose a new furnace in Black Diamond, think that “bigger is better”. However, an oversized furnace can present just as many if not more problems than an undersized furnace. So, if you feel you may have overdone it in the past or you want to avoid making a mistake in the future, here are some signs that your furnace may be oversized.
The most common sign of oversizing is short cycling. Short cycling occurs when your furnace turns on and off frequently because it reaches the thermostat setting so fast. Basically, your furnace is so powerful that it can produce what you need rapidly and then shuts off. But, because it does this, the temperature in your home is likely to cool much faster as well since the furnace isn’t on all the time.
Additionally, the on and off short cycling has a negative effect on your furnace, causing excess wear and tear on the system and eventually leading to extra repairs and in some cases early replacement.
High and Low Temperatures
When your furnace is turned on for a comfortable indoor temperature like 70 degrees F, the high and low temperature between cycles should be relatively close to that temperature. In an ideal situation, you shouldn’t even notice a fluctuation.
So, if the high temperature gets close to 75 degrees F and the low temperature is around 66 degrees F, you have a furnace much too large for the size of your home.
Furnace Room Issues
You might find that the space and exhaust given for the furnace are not sufficient either, especially if your previous furnace was replaced with this oversized unit. Backflow of a gas or oil smell or excess heat in and near your furnace room are both common signs that the furnace is much too large.
So, what should you do about your oversized furnace? If you have had that furnace for some time or just moved into a new home, it’s a good idea to have a new one installed. Have a proper load calculation done and then get a new furnace installed so you don’t have to worry about the system cycling on and off so often. If it’s a newer unit, call your technician and discuss possible options to reduce the negative effects of the miscalculation of its size.
If you need your furnace replaced, you want to look around for the best deal possible. You don’t just need the right furnace – you need the right contactor to install it. At Bob’s Heating, we pride ourselves on having some of the best educated and tech-savvy technician in the industry. Our installers even attend bi-weekly safety meetings! For great service, give Bob’s a call! Here is what Cary Polin in Bothell wrote to us about his furnace installation:
The installers were very professional and did a high quality job. I was very impressed as I have high expectations for quality work.
- Cary Polin, Bothell, WA
Thanks Cary! If you need your furnace replaced, don’t wait until it has broken down entirely. You can save money in the long run by buying a replacement system instead of paying for repair after repair. A newer system will also be more energy efficient and therefore cost less to operate. Make sure your home is safe and comfortable this winter by upgrading your old furnace.