Archive for May, 2012

How to Handle Furnaces That Turn Off and On Repeatedly in Puyallup

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

York furnaces in Puyallup are designed to last decades without major problems so long as they receive regular heating system repairs.  They typically work so well, in fact, there is a danger of taking our comfort for granted and skipping the annual service for a year or two as time rushes by, waking up suddenly and brutally to a dark night and no heat.

In retrospect, a preliminary indication of trouble could have been the furnace continually turning off and on in short bursts, something that was tugging at your senses, but not strongly enough to really catch your attention.

Possible Problems

A furnace constantly turning on and off could often be a direct result of poor airflow through the system.  Heat builds up and the detectors sense the proper temperatures have been reached and automatically shut down.  In the room, the thermostat calls for more heat and starts the cycle over again.

A relay switch or control valve may also be worn and working improperly.  A crack in the heat exchanger might fuel the flame to burn too hotly and cause the sensor to misinterpret the information and shut down.

These problems not only impede the distribution of heat to the living spaces, decreasing comfort, but also create intense wear on the motor and controls, threatening the very life of the appliance.

Simple Solutions

Restricted airflow can be caused most often by a dirty or clogged filter.  At the furnace, there is usually a panel that can be removed to check, clean or replace the filter.  It is typically a single or series of cardboard and screen panels approximately 1′ by 2′, but varies by manufacturer and furnace output.

A vacuum to pull lint free or compressor to blow it clean are the recommended tools to use a few times each year.  It is a good idea to change the filters at the beginning of each heating season. The belts are also easily replaced.

The fan belts for the blower may also be worn loose and not pushing the air hard enough to get through the filters.  It is a good idea to check them regularly as well.

The Calvary Charge

When in doubt, call the experts out.  Scheduling an annual inspection and service by calling Sound Heating takes the worry out of living in a furnace heated home.  Besides the rite of safe passage for your peace of mind, trained mechanics can spot the defects and give you the best assurance of a long life of comfort and warmth.

When contracting with the same HVAC company over time, a relationship is built whereby they care nearly as much as you.

Save Energy and Save Money This Summer

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Some of the quickest ways to waste energy in Des Moines is by over using your air conditioner or using it inefficiently.  Many people are guilty of coming home and trying to create a cool environment as fast as possible by cranking up the air conditioner.  By asking too much from your cooling system you will not cool your house faster, and because of the heavy demand you are putting on your AC you will need air conditioning maintenance more often.  For more ways to save money on energy costs this summer keep reading.

Households throughout the US will spend somewhere between $1,200 and $2,200 per year on energy costs.  With the cost of living in many areas of life skyrocketing, it’s nice to know there are some easy ways to lower at least one household bill: the energy bill.  Of course, some of these fixes are free, and some cost a little time and energy, while others must be paid for as long-term investments.

Free, Do-It-Yourself Energy Solutions

These quick and easy, do-it-yourself, no cost solutions produce energy saving results almost immediately!

  • Adjust the air conditioning thermostat to higher numbers, such as 78 while at home and 85 or higher when away.  Supplement AC usage with a ceiling or room fan, as moving air feels cooler on the skin.
  • Eliminate wasted energy by turning off appliances, lights, and equipment when not in use, unplug electronic chargers when not in use, and get rid of spare appliances such as refrigerators which are plugged in but not in use.
  • Put those dishwashing gloves away and let the dishwasher do the dirty-work!  Dishwashers use less water than washing by hand.  In addition, let the dishes air-dry rather than running through the heat-cycle to save even more.
  • Do laundry more efficiently by washing and rinsing in only cold water, and line dry instead of using the dryer.
  • Use the microwave to cook and not only speed up the cooking process, but use two-thirds less energy than a stove or conventional oven.

Low-Cost, Economical Energy Solutions

Most of these energy saving options can be procured at the local hardware store, are fairly inexpensive, and can be easily done by any competent home-owner.

  • Replace HVAC filters regularly, according to manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Weather-proof your home by plugging air leaks on doors and windows with weather stripping, sealant, or caulk where applicable.
  • Purchase and install ENERGY STAR® certified products such as porch lights, floor and table lamps, pocket lights, and even programmable thermostats to ensure energy using items are using as little energy as possible.

Invest in Energy Solutions

If it is important to you to save energy and money long-term and on a larger scale, there are a number of durable energy-saving investments to consider.

  • Purchase new windows, a new air-conditioning unit, refrigerator, or other household appliances which use less energy than older units
  • Install window and house shading such as patio covers, or strategically plant trees to shade the home during peak times of heat
  • Install a whole house fan which can suck cool air into the home after sundown or in the early morning in order to cool the entire house thus reducing air conditioning usage
  • Seal and insulate all household ducts in crawl spaces and attics
  • Increase or upgrade attic insulation to higher than the standard grade to keep housing temperatures more constant

To save energy also means to save money, and by following any of the simple steps listed above the average consumer can save energy and save money almost immediately.  Please call Sound Heating to learn more ways you can save money on your energy bill.

No Heat From Your Boiler in Bremerton: Causes and Solutions

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Hydronic Boiler Systems in Bremerton are very popular because of their reliability and efficiency. Just like any other appliance though, hydronic heating maintenance is needed periodically, especially as units age, and they can happen for many reasons. The first step is to make sure you’re actually dealing with a breakdown and not something much more simple. If you’ve lost heat from your boiler, check to make sure there’s fuel in your oil or gas tank before making a service call. Also keep in mind that part of the heating system is electrical. A recent power outage or short circuit in the house could have tripped the circuit breaker for the boiler.

Next, check the emergency shut off switch. It looks like a typical wall light switch but with a red cover and bold lettering indicating the off and on positions. It’s usually placed in a convenient spot in the basement. In many Bremerton homes it’s located at the top of the basement stairs. Sometimes the switch is turned off accidentally, but if a repairman or someone else in you house turned it off for a reason, you need to find out why.

If the emergency switch is on and all the circuit breakers are on and there’s plenty of fuel, the next step in diagnosing the problem is checking the boiler. First, understand that most heating appliances automatically shut down when a critical component stops functioning properly. Don’t put yourself or your family at risk. Don’t attempt to restart or repair the boiler yourself. But you can help the HVAC technician help you by checking a few simple things before making the call.

A puddle on the floor usually means a pipe or valve is leaking. A drop in the water level inside the boiler could have triggered the shut down. But leaks in joints can also occur when something else shuts the boiler down and the metal plumbing shrinks. Is the puddle getting larger or is it stagnant?

If there’s no leak, carefully touch the copper pipes running in and out of the top. If some are hot and others cold, the boiler is probably working but some of the zone controls or thermostats may be broken.

If all the pipes are cold, carefully touch the metal panels covering the boiler. They usually warm up a bit when the boiler is operating normally. Listen for the faint hissing sound of the pilot light. If the  boiler is cold and completely silent, the pilot light may have gone out, triggering a shut down. Don’t attempt to relight the pilot unless you’ve done so before. The HVAC technician can show you how to do it. Keep in mind that many new boilers in the Bremerton area have pilotless electronic ignitions.

If the pilot is lit but the pipes and boiler are cold, and boiler uses fuel oil, the burner motor may have stopped working. The burner motor is a separate, smaller unit attached to the boiler. Most burners have a red reset button that pops up when there’s a burner malfunction. Try to locate the button and decide if it’s popped up, but don’t reset it. Call an HVAC technician first. Restarting a malfunctioning unit may cause further damage. Oil burner motors can stop working for many reasons, including soot blocking the air supply, blocked fuel line, dirty electrodes inside the motor, or seized up bearings. Only a licensed HVAC technician can correctly diagnose and fix such problems.

Please call Sound Heating if you have any questions about these tips.

Common Mold Myths in Redmond

Monday, May 7th, 2012

You hear a lot of bad things about mold and while a lot of them are true, many are not. To help you avoid unnecessary scares and excessive worry about air filtration in Redmond, here are some of the most common myths we hear about mold:

  • Black Mold!! – Black mold is not the only mold you should worry about. While black mold does produce mycotoxins and can be quite dangerous if it develops in your living space, all molds can be potentially dangerous due to the off gassing of MVOCs and other chemicals. If you see mold – whether green, black, grey, or red – call someone immediately to test and check your home for toxicity.
  • Scrubbing with Bleach Gets Rid of Mold – Mold can be removed with bleach, but only on the surfaces you can reach. Real mold removal uses more advanced techniques to clear away spores, block sources of moisture and reduce the presence of the toxins produced by mold. It’s impossible to ever truly, 100% remove mold from any environment, but with the right abatement techniques, you can reduce its impact.
  • Mildew Isn’t a Big Deal – Mildew may have a different name but it’s the same problem. Mildew is a certain kind of mold and that stale, musty smell you experience when it develops is the development of microbial volatile organic compounds – chemicals like benzene and aldehyde. To ensure mildew doesn’t have a negative impact on the overall indoor air quality, be sure to reduce and remove moisture from your home whenever it develops – in basements and attics as well as bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Mold Needs Organic Material to Grow – Mold can grow on anything with enough moisture. While carpets, upholstery, paper and other organic based materials are more likely to develop mold, it can grow on glass, porcelain and metal if enough of the spores are present. The key to mold abatement is not material changes or closing it out; it is to remove the moisture and seal up holes.

Mold is a major health problem for millions – by better understanding it, you can minimize the risk and keep your family safe. If you suspect mold in your home, don’t wait to have it checked. Call Sound Heating today for full testing, inspection and, if necessary, removal.