Archive for the ‘hydronic heating maintenance’ Category

Advantages You Can Garner from Hydronic Radiant Heating

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Radiant heating is not something that is often considered when homeowners are in the market for a new heating system. This is usually because the house is already set up to accommodate a forced-air heating system. The temptation to make the process easier by sticking with a similar type of heating system to the last one is also a factor. However, radiant hydronic heating actually has quite a bit to recommend it. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that you can garner from installing a hydronic radiant heating system in your home.

Energy Efficiency

Hydronic radiant heating is a boiler-based system that heats the house by distributing hot water through it. The water flows through a network of pipes installed in the walls or subfloors of each room. As the water flows through the pipes, it transmits heat through them and into the room. This style of heating is much more energy efficient than forced-air systems. For one thing, water is a much better thermal conductor than air is. It heats up faster, and retains that heat for longer. For another, forced-air systems have to deal with duct leaks.

The US Department of Energy has estimated that the average forced air system loses as much as 20-30% of its output to duct leaks. A radiant heating system doesn’t use ducts, which allows it to deliver much more of its heat to the intended destination.

Comfort

When warm air is pumped into a room, it will immediately rise to the ceiling and then lower as it cools. This not only makes it take longer for a room to warm up, but creates an uneven heating effect. Hot and cold spots are quite common in rooms heated by forced-air systems. Radiant heating warms a room much more evenly, with most of the heat staying near the floor where it is of greater benefit to the occupants.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of hydronic radiant heating, call Sound Heating. We provide heating services throughout Tacoma, WA.

Simple Steps to Prevent Heat Loss in Kirkland

Monday, June 4th, 2012

There are two fundamental ways to make your Kirkland house warmer. One is to generate heat, which is the job of your furnace or boiler. The second is to keep the warm air in — and thereby keep cold air out — which is the job of your system of insulation.

The idea that the physical structure of a home can be a component of the heating system is one that is often overlooked, but when you think about it, it makes sense. The insulation, windows, doors and building materials that comprise your home are designed to keep the place warm against the cold and vice versa.

So, when bolstering your HVAC system to promote efficient heating, it is important to also consider heat loss and how to prevent it. This is a process that can get out of hand if you go overboard, so it is important to prioritize. Let’s look at the top 3 places to start when trying to prevent heat loss.

  1. Doors and Windows:  If you have older doors and windows, they could be a source of heat loss in your house, even if they are always closed. Replacing your windows and door with Energy Star rated ones will make sure that you are not losing heat to the outside AND still getting all the heat energy from the sun. Installing storm windows or putting up heavy curtains in winter can also help cut down on your heat loss.
  1. Seal off drafts. If any opening to your house, such as windows and doors, is improperly sealed, improperly installed or if the surrounding construction is deteriorating, you can lose a lot of heat. Check any drafts that you notice that might indicate a problem, and also if your vents and air ducts are leaky.
  1. Start at the top. If you want to go farther in sealing your house up against the cold, it is time to work on the insulation. When installing new insulation, remember that heat rises, so you get the most bang for your buck by starting at the top. If you only have the budget or time to insulate one space, make it the attic. You can work down from there.

These areas should be your top three priorities on your mission to prevent heat loss in your home. If you start here, you will get the best gains with the least effort.  If you have any questions about additional ways to make you heating your home more efficient please call Sound Heating

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.