Posts Tagged ‘Bremerton’

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.

What Exactly Are High Efficiency Boilers?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

As a Pierce County resident you have already read plenty about how energy costs are rising for most heating systems. You know plenty well that heating your home is a substantial expense, and that the cost of running a boiler is constantly on the rise.

But as technology has gotten better, boilers in Pierce County have also become more efficient at providing heat. It stands to reason that a more efficient boiler is one that costs less to run…but what does “efficient” really mean in the context of boilers? What makes a boiler “high efficiency”?

 What Is a High Efficiency Boiler?

All boilers are rated according to a standardized system of rating efficiency, called the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). Essentially, this rating tells you how much heat energy is produced by a boiler compared to how much energy it draws. The higher a boiler’s AFUE rating, the more efficient it is.

For a boiler to be called high efficiency, it must carry an AFUE of at least 90%. For basis of comparison, older systems carry an AFUE of about 70%, while mid-efficiency systems run at about 82%.

In addition, a high efficiency system has a second heat exchanger for capturing and condensing flue gases, as well as a closed combustion system.

These three things — an AFUE of 90% or above, condensing flue gases and closed combustion – define a high efficiency boiler.

The initial investment in a high efficiency boiler can be costly, but the savings over time in heating bills make it well worth the expense.

If you would like a high efficiency boiler installed in your home, call Sound Heating today!

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.

Steilacoom Boiler Guide: Basic Maintenance

Friday, January 20th, 2012

The boiler in your Steilacoom home is a sensitive piece of equipment that needs routine maintenance and repairs. Regularly maintaining your boiler is especially important for safety reasons. Many boiler malfunctions and accidents are due to neglecting some of these basic tasks.

Even if you’ve just installed a new boiler, the safety valves and settings should be checked by a professional on a regular basis to prevent a breakdown or hazard. We recommend that you schedule a boiler inspection and cleaning at least once a year.

A service technician will measure the pressure, drain and remove sediment buildup, test the efficiency ratings, and make sure your boiler is set at the right temperatures. Regular maintenance can also help you determine whether or not you need a boiler replacement. By keeping track of performance levels, you will be able to tell when it’s time for an upgrade.

Other tasks performed during an annual maintenance visit include cleaning and lubricating all the components, checking for any leaks or clogs, and testing gas boilers for any carbon monoxide intrusion. If you have any gas appliances in your home, you should always have carbon monoxide detectors and test them once a month.

Boiler pressure is something that you can check often on your own. If you aren’t sure how to read the pressure gauge, or if you aren’t sure what the right pressure should be, just call one of our technicians to walk you through this process.

Always call Sound Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. if you have any problems with the boiler in your Steilacoom home. We are here to help and answer any questions you may have.

Heating System Ventilation 101: Basic Guidelines from Bremerton

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Maintaining Proper Ventilation for Combustion Systems

Anytime you maintain, retrofit, or replace a gas heating system in your Bremerton home you also need to be concerned with air quality. Combustion air is needed by all oil and gas heating systems to support the combustion process. This air is provided in some homes by unintentional air leaks, or by air ducts that connect to the outdoors. The combustion process creates several byproducts that are potentially hazardous to human health and can cause deterioration in your home. You can protect yourself from these hazards, as well as maintain energy efficiency, by ensuring that your chimney system functions properly and that your gas heating system is properly ventilated. In some cases, installing a sealed-combustion furnace or boiler can also help.

Chimneys

Properly functioning chimney systems will carry combustion byproducts out of the home. Therefore, chimney problems put you at risk of having these byproducts, such as carbon monoxide, spill into your home.

Most older gas furnaces and boilers have naturally drafting chimneys. The combustion gases exit the home through the chimney using only their buoyancy combined with the chimney’s height. Naturally drafting chimneys often have problems exhausting the combustion gases because of chimney blockage, wind or pressures inside the home that overcome the buoyancy of the gases.

Atmospheric, open-combustion furnaces and boilers, as well as fan-assisted furnaces and boilers, should be vented into masonry chimneys, metal double-wall chimneys, or another type of manufactured chimney. Masonry chimneys should have a fireclay, masonry liner or a retrofitted metal flue liner.

Many older chimneys have deteriorated liners or no liners at all and must be relined during furnace or boiler replacement. A chimney should be relined when any of the following changes are made to the combustion heating system:

When you replace an older furnace or boiler with a newer one that has an AFUE of 80% or more. These mid-efficiency appliances have a greater risk of depositing acidic condensation droplets in chimneys, and the chimneys must be prepared to handle this corrosive threat. The new chimney liner should be sized to accommodate both the new heating appliance and the combustion water heater by the installer.

When you replace an older furnace or boiler with a new 90+ AFUE appliance or a heat pump. In this case, the heating appliance will no longer vent into the old chimney, and the combustion water heater will now vent through an oversized chimney. This oversized chimney can lead to condensation and inadequate draft. The new chimney liner should be sized for the water heater alone, or the water heater in some cases can be vented directly through the wall.

Other Ventilation Concerns

Some fan-assisted, non-condensing furnaces and boilers, installed between 1987 and 1993, may be vented horizontally through high-temperature plastic vent pipe (not PVC pipe, which is safely used in condensing furnaces). This type of venting has been recalled and should be replaced by stainless steel vent pipe. If horizontal venting was used, an additional draft-inducing fan may be needed near the vent outlet to create adequate draft. Floor furnaces may have special venting problems because their vent connector exits the furnace close to the floor and may travel 10 to 30 feet before reaching a chimney. Check to see if this type of venting or the floor furnace itself needs replacement. If you smell gases, you have a venting problem that could affect your health. Contact your local utility or your Bremerton heating contractor to have this venting problem repaired immediately.

Chimneys can be expensive to repair, and may help justify installing new heating equipment that won’t use the existing chimney.