7 Signs Your Heating System Won’t Survive the Winter

If you have a heating system that has not been maintained for the past couple of years, it may be possible that you may have a tough time this winter. Therefore, it is only natural that you take care of it before the winter comes. A comfortable, cozy and warm home in chilly winter requires a healthy heating system.

Signs That Your Heating System Needs Maintenance

A good heating system warms the house without over-consumption of electric energy or gas and does not endanger the air quality inside either. Such a heating system does not overuse the internal oxygen supply needed for combustion required inside the house. Although the durability and toughness of your heating system depends on its quality and make, there are certain fast and easy signs that can give you clues about your heating system health.

Sign #1: Your heating system is getting old.

You need to compare the age of your furnace with the average age of furnaces which in today’s house hold is 16 to 20 years. If your furnace is close to this age or older than this, it is time that you start looking for a new heating system. It is a good idea to start shopping as soon as you discover this rather than to have a panic replacement which may not allow you to make the best decisions.

Sign#2: Your gas and electric bills are going up.

Soaring gas and energy prices are not the only causes of rising electric and gas bills. If your furnace is too old, it can also cause a steady increase in electric or gas bills, especially if it is poorly maintained. Use of the heating system over time can reduce its efficiency such that it requires more energy to heat the house making the gas and electric bills to rise. This is also an indication that you may need heating system replacement.

Sign#3: The thermostat is not working properly.

Are some rooms in your house too cold and others warmer? Do you have to constantly adjust the thermostat to keep yourself comfortable? This is a sign that your heating system is wearing out and requires maintenance or replacement.

Sign#4: The thermostat flame has changed from blue to yellow.

If your furnace thermostat flame is yellow and not blue, this is an indication that poisonous carbon monoxide is being produced inside your furnace. This can lead to health hazards because the furnace may be getting too old and starting to break down.

Sign#5: Your furnace is noisy.

Old furnaces tend to make noises when they are around the end of their working age. Have you heard any squealing, popping, rattling or banging noises from your furnace? Another type of noise to look out for is when your furnace blower runs loud. If your burner starts to throw cold air occasionally or it shuts down frequently, it is a sign that it requires repair or replacement.

Sign#6: There are changes in your family’s health.

Old heat furnaces may develop cracks inside the heat exchanger sides. Small quantities of poisonous Carbon monoxide gas may release into your home which results in serious health symptoms. This may result in frequent headaches, a burning in the nose or eyes, nausea, disorientation and flu like symptoms. If such conditions are noticed in family members immediately shut down the furnace and open the doors and windows in your house. Proceed to call gas service technicians. The cracks inside the heat exchangers are quite undetectable which is why it is not advisable to wait for their occurrence in an old furnace.

Sign#7: Your home is dry and dusty.

Some old heating furnaces lack the ability to keep the air clean. The air inside your house may be stuffy and stale during winter due to the old age of your heating system. This is another sign that the heating system in your house needs attention.

A well-maintained and newer heating system can help keep your home healthy and comfortable. If your heating system is older, it is important to monitor the system and look for signs of failure. Not sure if your furnace needs to be replaced? Call us today for a professional heating system inspection.

Hybrid Heating Systems and their Components

These days it’s getting more and more expensive to heat and cool a home. As a result, anything that can increase the efficiency and lower the costs of operating the HVAC system is highly sought after. One of the ways of lowering operating costs is through the use of a hybrid heating system. The hybrid system combines a furnace with a heat pump to operate efficiently through many conditions. Let’s examine the individual parts and then see how they work together.

The Furnace

Almost everyone is familiar with the furnace. It is a machine that heats the air in a home by burning natural gas or propane to heat air that is then blown throughout the home by a fan and via ductwork. The furnace is capable of providing potent heat in even the coldest of weather. However, its operating costs can fluctuate depending on the price of the fuel used in it. And when the weather isn’t as extreme, there are better options of heating the air in a home: the heat pump.

What is a heat pump?

A heat pump is a clever machine that transfers heat from a cold area to a warmer area where it is desired. How does that work you ask? If you’ve ever felt the coils on the back of your refrigerator and noticed that they are giving off heat, while the inside of the fridge is cold, you have a basic concept of a heat pump. In your fridge, the heat pump will pull heat from the cold air inside, leaving it colder, and then transfer it outside of the fridge, warming the air. When your heat pump is operating it will pull heat from the cold air outside and transfer it inside in the same manner.

The hybrid System

As you’ve probably guessed, the hybrid system combines both of these technologies in order to operate at the most efficient means possible depending on the conditions. In the dead of winter when it’s -10 out, the furnace will be operational and easily warm the house. When it is a little warmer, the heat pump can easily and efficiently heat the house. The two systems combined can end up paying for their costs within a few years by saving on the amount of natural gas or propane used.

There’s not a best system across the board for homes. Every home is unique and will operate best with one type of system versus another. If you would like to find out what that system is for your home, give us at Premier Comfort Heating & Cooling a call today!

Heat Pumps Explained

A sizeable portion of the homes in the US rely solely on the heat pump as their method for heating their home. In fact, you may have been using a heat pump for years and not even known it. So what is a heat pump exactly?

The Heat Pump

Heat pumps are a method of heating that transfers heat from a cold area to a warm area. And since the heat pump is only transferring heat, and not generating heat, it is extremely efficient. Now, this is where most of you just got lost but let’s examine it and figure out how to get heat from a cold area to a warm area.

Whether solid, liquid, or gas, any substance that has a temperature above absolute zero, or roughly minus 460 degrees F, has heat energy that can be extracted, leaving the substance behind just a little bit colder.

The best way to imagine the heat pump in action is to think of your refrigerator. Yes, ironically the best analogy for the heat pump is the thing in your kitchen that keeps things cold. On your refrigerator are coils. The ones on the inside you don’t see but that’s the cold side, and the coil on the back you’ve seen if you’ve ever had to move a fridge, is the hot side.

Now imagine that the only thing you have to heat your home with is the refrigerator and there is a hole cut in the side of your home that perfectly fits the fridge. One side of the fridge is inside, one outside.

During the summer you’re going to have the cold side of the fridge facing in. That way the fridge is going to take heat from inside, and move it outside where it’s hot, leaving the inside cooler.

In the winter you’re going to reverse that. You’re going to have the back side of the fridge facing inside and the inside of the fridge on the outside of your home. This is now the heat pump we’re talking about. The fridge is going to pass refrigerant through the coils outside your home, pick up heat from the air, and then transfer it inside your home, where the refrigerant then cools off, and starts the cycle over again.

In essence, that is what a heat pump is and how it works. It’s like running your air conditioning in reverse. And, as mentioned previously, many homes in the US where the winters aren’t harsh, utilize a reversing valve on their AC units to turn the air conditioner into a heater, by reversing the flow of refrigerant through the system.

For more information on all things heating and air, be sure to follow the Premiere Heating & Air blog.

HVAC System Features That Are Essential to Efficiency

Homeowners will hear a lot about HVAC efficiency when dealing with the repair, maintenance, tune-ups, purchase, installation, and replacement of heating and air conditioning systems; but when it comes down to it, what truly constitutes efficiency, and what features are key to an HVAC system’s performance and efficiency? Today we will be looking deeper into HVAC system efficiency, and explaining all of the modern features that work towards higher energy, heating, and cooling efficiency.

HVAC Ductwork Efficiency

Many homeowners do not realize how much the ductwork of your HVAC system plays a role in both high efficiency and a lacking of efficiency. While many of the modern, technical advances in heating and cooling systems that have led to higher efficiency are in-fat housed within the mechanics of the unit itself, many homeowners forget that the most common place in a home or business where energy efficiency and heating and cooling efficiency is lost is within the ductwork.

Think about it – the treated air (warmed or cooled) makes a journey from the central unit to the various rooms and zones in a home. While it is inevitable that the air will lose a few degrees in either direction during this journey, some less insulated ductwork systems or incorrectly sized ducts can a detrimental amount of heated or cooled air, leading to a drastic reduction in efficiency.

Return-Air Efficiency

Another HVAC system feature that many forget about or never even consider when it comes to efficiency is the Return Air feature. A home is more or less hermetically sealed (airtight) space, this means that if you pump air into the space, there must be an equal amount of air leaving that same space, in order to keep the air pressure even and the HVAC system running efficiently. If more air is being pumped into the space than is leaving, you run the risk of breaking seals around ducts, windows, doors and even in the HVAC system itself. Conversely, if more air is leaving into the return-air than is being pumped into the space you will get a slight suctioning effect that drops HVAC efficiency and can be hard on system components.

As you can see, these two components of heating and air conditioning systems may often be forgotten or taken for granted, but they play a strong and integral part in assuring that ALL of your systems components work together in a cohesive strategy for maximum comfort and maximum efficiency.

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