Archive for the ‘York Furnaces’ Category

Heating Q and A: What Is a Gravity Furnace?

Monday, April 9th, 2012

A long time ago, gravity furnaces were a very popular means of heating a home in Eatonville. Instead of pressurizing and blowing air through vents to each room of your home, a gravity furnace used gravity to move warm air between rooms.

The operation of these furnaces is pretty simple. When turned on, the furnace, which is located in your basement, burns fuel like gas or oil and produces heat. That heat is vented through ductwork to the top level of your home using the natural properties of gravity (hot air rises). The hot air exits vents as it travels up in the home and releases heat into the room.

Why to Replace a Gravity Furnace

While gravity furnaces can work nearly forever and have very few mechanical problems, they are incredibly expensive to operate and take up a lot of space. Due to the sheer volume of ducts needed to distribute air throughout your home and the cost of heating enough air to ensure it rises properly, you’re dealing with a heating efficiency of 50% or lower.

In fact, about half the energy you consume to heat air in a gravity furnace gets pumped straight out through the chimney. It’s a complete waste of money and a heating system replacement will start saving you money almost immediately.

Newer furnaces have efficiency ratings of up to 95% which makes them nearly twice as efficient as gravity furnaces. Additionally, they take up less space and with modern components, you can install newer devices like zone controls, electronic readout and display and more. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy steady, reliable heat in your home without having to invest a fortune in the fuel needed to operate it.

Comfort Matters

Another thing to consider is the comfort level of your home. Because gravity furnaces release warm air through the middle of the house and cold air comes back down along the walls, homes that have them are rarely comfortable except in the middle of the house. Forced air furnaces with blower fans are much more efficient at distributing heated air and matching the thermostat settings you select.  Please call Sound Heating to get started today.

Different Types of Furnace Filters for Lacey Residents

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

A good filter for your furnace is a must. Because that device heats and blows air throughout your home, you want to be sure that it doesn’t recycle contaminants and bacteria that could easily be captured at the air handler. By choosing the right filter you also contribute to your overall heating system maintenance over time.  That’s why it’s vital to choose the right furnace filter on the first try. Here are some furnace filters to consider and their various benefits to your home and family:

  • Electrostatic – Most electrostatic filters are permanent and must be washed on a regular basis. They are electronically charged to capture particles as they pass through, much like a magnet. These filters are effective because they are both physical and electronic. However, keep in mind that they are only as efficient as the cleaning they receive.
  • HEPA – HEPA is the highest rating available for a filtration system, removing up to 99.9% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns. However, they are also inefficient when used in furnaces as they severely reduce air flow. They are not often recommended for this reason.
  • Pleated – Pleated filters come in both reusable and permanent forms and can be either purely mechanical or electrostatic. There is a very wide range of efficiency ratings for pleated filters so make sure you analyze your home’s specific needs before selecting any one pleated filter.
  • Activated Carbon – Activated carbon is unique from the other three filter types because it effectively removes fumes, odors and chemicals from indoor air along with other larger particles. It is recommended that if you choose an activated carbon filter, you supplement it with a pleated or electrostatic filter (or choose a combination filter) to remove all unwanted components from your home.

There are a lot of options when it comes to furnace filters. To make sure you get only the best air quality, call Sound Heating and we can help you determine which pollutants are the biggest problem in your home.

Get Rid of the Icicles on Your Eaves in Des Moines

Friday, February 10th, 2012

There’s nothing more impressive than a particularly long icicle on the eaves of your Des Moines home. As it reaches toward the ground, dripping cold water, you can’t help but think of starting up your furnace. However, icicles are often unsafe – not only for you and your family but for anyone else that might be near your home. As more water joins the icicle and the structure grows, it gets heavier. That weight heightens the chance that it will fall and hit someone or that it will cause damage to your roof or gutter.

So, it’s important to get rid of icicles on your eaves as they appear. Generally, it is best to remove them before they reach 4 or 5 inches in length. Even shorter icicles can be dangerous if left unchecked and if anything is stored underneath the overhang of your roof, it can be damaged.

Removing Icicles

There are quite a few ways to remove icicles. The easiest way to is to cut or break them down. If your roof is low enough, you can hack them down with a large saw or knife. If the roof is higher, a board or broom can be used to reach up and knock them down. In the winter, you should do your best to avoid going on the roof to remove icicles. The danger involved is too great due to ice and snow.

Another way to remove icicles is with heat. There are a few ways to do this. A blowtorch or heated rod provided by a roofing company can help to remove them from the ground. Or you can install heating panels on your eaves and gutter that will keep those icicles from forming in the first place.

Safe Removal

When removing the icicles from your roof, make sure you carefully rope off the area and don’t allow anyone nearby. You should wear a helmet if you plan on standing below them and try to stand clear of the fall area. Icicles are very sharp and incredibly solid – they can cause horrific injury if you’re not careful.

Ideally, if you act fast, icicle removal is just a minor inconvenience every weekend. However, if the icicles form up too heavily and become a physical danger to people in and around your home, you should contact a professional with tools that can remove them quickly and safely without putting anyone at increased risk.  If you have any questions about this please contact Sound Heating & AC.

When Is it Time for a Backup Heating System?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

A backup heating system is sometimes necessary for Tacoma homeowners who heat their homes with an air-source heat pump. This style of heat pump transfers the heat from the outside air to your home in the winter, and it pushes the warm air outside the home in the summer. Although some systems are efficient enough to work in colder climates, most heat pump systems require a backup heater when temperatures drop below 20° F.

York Furnaces are commonly used as a backup heater for air-source heat pumps, especially since the furnace fan blower can help distribute the hot air throughout the home. Although they are more expensive to buy and install, geothermal heat pumps typically do not require a backup heating system. These are also called ground-source or water-source heat pumps since they draw in heat from the ground below the house or from a nearby water source. Because they take advantage of the ground or water temperatures, they are also easier to maintain and have lower operating costs.

Getting the most cost-efficiency from a geothermal heat pump will depend on several factors, such as the size of your property, the temps of the subsoil, and access to local water sources. You will most likely not have to install a backup heating system with a ground-source or water-source heat pump; however, it is important to think about the installation costs and the variables that need to be in place before deciding on this type of heat pump.

Absorption heat pumps use a heat source, such as natural gas or solar-heated water, instead of electricity. Natural gas is typically used for absorption heat pumps, so they are also called gas-fired heat pumps. Depending on the source of the heat, you may or may not need a backup heating system. It’s always best to speak to a professional heating and cooling contractor if you are not sure when it’s necessary for a backup heating system.

Call Sound Heating if you have any questions about a backup heater for your Tacoma home.