Sound Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Dupont’

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.

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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.

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Indoor Air Quality Tips: How Electronic Air Filter Works

Monday, February 6th, 2012

For a long time, the most frequently used kind of air filter in Tacoma has been the mechanical variety. This is the kind you probably think of when you hear the terms air filter, air cleaner or air purifier. They use pleated fibrous filters in-line with an air handler to trap particles in the air before circulating it back out into the home. Many models of these work very well and have for many years. They have the added benefit of being flexible because you can put in whatever filter you need depending on what size particles you need to trap. However, these traditional devices are not the only option. A second kind of air filter exists for trapping particles in the air– one that does not use a fibrous filter that physically snags them out of the air on the way through. These electrostatic, or electronic air filters work in a different way to produce a similar result. The filtering component is still a fibrous sheet, but the difference is that the fibers are made of plastic, which becomes charged when air passes through it and causes friction. (Think something like when you rub a balloon and stick it to the wall.) These friction-charged fibers carry an electronic charge, which attracts the ions in the air around it. These ions — and the particles that they are a part of — get trapped in the fibers and stay out of your air supply. Electronic air filters are generally very good at trapping particles that are 1 micron in size or higher, putting them about on par with a mechanical air filter that carries a MERV rating of 12. The electrostatic method works well for many common household air pollutants, such as dust, pollen, mold and pet dander. As with many ventilation-related decisions, the choice of what kind of air filter is right for you depends on your needs and those of your family. If you are having trouble deciding, then contact Sound HCVA experts with any questions.

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Question from Eatonville: What is a Gas Furnace Draft Hood?

Friday, December 16th, 2011

As every Eatonville HVAC contractor knows, a draft hood is a necessary part of any gas burning appliance. For a gas furnace in particular it ensures steady air flow to the burners to avoid flares or the pilot light being put out by fluctuation in temperature and air flow.

What the Draft Hood Does

The draft will change in the chimney as exhaust vents towards it – especially when going from cold air to hot. A draft hood is placed above the upper most part of the gas furnace to draw air into the chimney and makes it possible to draw more or less air through the chimney as necessary to create a constant flow.

This makes it possible for the burner to enjoy consistent air flow without any wind gusts or sudden temperature spikes or drops. Hot air, if not put through a draft hood would create a strong air flow through the burners.

A draft hood cools the air as it is released by the burners from 500 degrees F to between 300 degrees F and 350 degrees F. The cooling needs to be carefully calibrated to avoid condensation build up in the chimney however – a problem that occurs when the temperature gets too low.

Maintaining Pressure

The draft hood is a part of a larger system designed to maintain air flow to the chimney. For every cubic foot of gas burned, the furnace needs to have 15 cubic feet of air for combustion and another 15 cubic feet of air for dilution. A draft hood and the rest of the ventilation system make it possible to put a furnace that has many thousands of BTUs in the basement of your home and still supply it with enough air to burn gas and dilute the exhaust before it enters the chimney.

For all of these reasons, if you see your pilot light flickering irregularly, notice a backflow of exhaust or a burning smell in your furnace room, it’s important to call a professional who can inspect and repair the problem before it becomes any worse. Not only can gas burner exhaust contain high levels of carbon monoxide, it can be bad for the device and the chimney if it doesn’t vent properly.

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What to Look For in an Olympia HVAC Contractor

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Here are some things to look for when bidding out a service/replacement job or a new installation in Olympia. The contractor you hire should answer yes to most of these questions (except the obvious). The bad contractor, who is likely the lowball bidder, will probably not.

  • Can the bidders give you references from former customers and show details of work they have done?
  • Can the bidders verify if they are licensed to do their work or have any certifications?
  • Do the bidders include the cost of pulling permits and paying for inspections for their work?
  • Are the bidders members of any professional organizations and can they show credentials?
  • Do the bidders belong to any local Chambers or other civic organizations?
  • Do the bidders offer an option of products and services to choose from, rather than just one choice they say “is best for you?”
  • Do the bidders take measurements and do mathematical equations to determine what size equipment you need (called load calculations or heat loss/heat gain measurements to determine the proper sized furnace or air conditioner, for example).
  • Do the bidders constantly criticize their competition and use this tactic more than explaining what they can do for you?
  • Do the bidders listen and ask questions?
  • Do the bidders use pressure tactics like offering add-on equipment for a “special price” or say, “I will need to know you answer as I have other customers who need my services right away.”
  • Do the bidders offer a variety of warranty plans to back up their work?
  • Do the bidders require a large deposit or all of the money up front?
  • Do the bidders have a neat appearance, i.e. well-groomed and clean clothes?
  • Are the bidders’ vehicles clean and free from obvious rust or body damage?

There are likely several other considerations but the point is, the HVAC contractor should be professional and businesslike. They should “act like they’ve done this before.” The low bidders may appear to put on a good face, but dig below the surface and ask a lot of questions. The low bidders may quickly lose their happy disposition.

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Why is My Furnace Turning On and Off? A Question from Seatac

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

One of the most annoying things your furnace can do is to constantly keep turning on and off. This on-off cycling keeps your Seatac home from heating up properly. This action – called short cycling – also requires more electricity and drives up utility bills.

Short cycling is caused by an overheated furnace, which triggers safety mechanisms and shuts down the furnace. After a brief interval and cooling down, the furnace starts up again the cycle keeps repeating itself. Not only is it an annoyance, it can also signal more serious problems. A leaking heat exchanger can cause a furnace to overheat – and produce deadly carbon monoxide gas.

If a furnace is working too hard and overheating, it is usually because of airflow in and out. Your home’s ventilation system needs to be clear of dirt, dust, and debris. The more blockage in your ductwork and vents, the more friction is created, slowing down airflow and ultimately ending with an overworked furnace that continues to cycle on and off. And a blocked exhaust vent, such as a chimney or dedicated exhaust vent, can also cause a furnace to work harder. Check for things like leaves or bird’s nests.

The blockage may also be coming from a clogged furnace filter. You should clean or replace your furnace filter after a visual inspection reveals any type of build-up of dust or dirt. Do this at least every three-six months.

If you have a two-speed fan on your furnace, it is recommended that you run the fan in low speed during the cold months and high speed in the warm months. The reason? Warm air is lighter and takes less force to move.

There are other measures to take to prevent short cycling but these usually require a  heating and cooling service technician to correct the problem. If in doubt, call your local qualified heating and cooling contractor and schedule a furnace inspection. Don’t make your furnace work any harder than it was designed for – and keep your home’s occupants comfortable and safe.

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The Effect of Dust Mites on Indoor Air Quality: A Tip From Covington

Friday, October 7th, 2011

There are three types of indoor air pollutants in your Covington home– particles, bioaerosols and gases. Dust mites are a special case because they are nearly invisible to the eye, but represent a substantial bioaerosol that can make it harder to breathe and result in a number of sometimes debilitating symptoms.

What Are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are tiny arachnids related to ticks and spiders that cling to fabric like curtains, carpet and upholstery. They resemble dust in the air and thrive in high humidity conditions. So, the easiest way to treat a dust mite problem is with proper dehumidification. Knowing whether dust mites are a real problem if you simply have a lot of dust and pollen floating around is tough. Here are some common symptoms to look for:

  • Dizziness
  • Nose Irritation
  • Respiratory Irritation
  • Cough
  • Chest Tightness
  • Asthma (made worse)
  • Allergic Reactions

Because dust mites are alive when you breathe them in, they can cause severe irritation to your throat and lungs and result in a number of uncomfortable reactions – ranging from a runny nose to a full blown allergic reaction.

Getting Rid of Dust Mites

So, how do you get rid of these tiny arachnids? The first step is to improve the humidity level in your home. Anything under 50% humidity makes it impossible for dust mites to survive, so air conditioning is the best step to remove the threat of these little bugs.

Tiny dust mites are among the larger air pollutants and can be captured by most MERV 10+ filters on the market. A HEPA filter will absolutely remove them as well, along with any other particulate or bioaerosols in your home.

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How Much Can I Expect To Save On Energy If I Have A Solar System? A Question From Fircrest

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Everyone in Fircrest knows about the benefits of solar energy for the environment. It reduces carbon emissions, preserves nonrenewable natural resources, reduces dependence on oil, etc. That is all well and good, but in tight economic times the question always comes down to one thing: how much will you save. People want to know how much going solar can really save them on costs, and if you are reading this, then you are probably wondering the same thing, and with good reason.

Savings Are Variable

Somewhat disappointingly, that’s the answer. There a number of factors to consider in the cost of using solar energy and the subsequent savings, and after considering all of them you may decide solar isn’t right for you. There is no one right answer, but below you can see some guidelines which ought to give you a better idea:

  • Energy costs for an average American household are estimated at about $195 per month, and rising at a rate of about 3.75% each year.
  • The cost of installing a solar panel system is between $8 and $12 per watt (or $8,000 to $12,000 per kilowatt).
  • If your family uses 7 kilowatts of electricity per month, a solar panel system to offset 100% of your energy use will cost about $63,000. You can opt to get a less robust system to offset, say, 50% of current usage, however, for a lower cost. This is not set in stone either. Costs fluctuate depending on where you live and current component prices.
  • Despite the high initial cost, many solar systems are under warranty for 25 years, meaning you can expect them to last at least that long.
  • Depending on the utility price structure in your area, using solar for 50% of your household energy consumption may reduce costs by as much as 60%. Over 25 years, assuming the steady rate increase of 3.75%, your savings can be upwards of $60,000.

Keep in mind that these are only rough estimates. Research utility costs in your area and get estimates before installing. Solar energy calculator utilities are available online. You may find that there is a definite savings with solar, or that you can use a smaller system to offset a portion of your energy use. Or, you may even find that solar energy is not the right option for you. The important thing is to do your homework and choose the home energy solution that is best for you and your family.

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What Is New in Dupont Air Conditioning?

Friday, August 5th, 2011

There are developments being made in air conditioning just about every day, as you can see in Dupont. Air conditioning  is a huge business, and so manufacturers are constantly trying to outdo each other as it is their only way to compete for customers. What this means for you as a consumer is that you will always have an excellent selection of products from which to choose.

Energy efficiency is one of the main selling points for any air conditioning system. For that reason, manufacturers are constantly working to come up with new and better models. The most advanced air conditioning systems on the market have energy efficiency ratings that by far surpass what was available even ten years ago and it is only going to keep getting better.

Another type of air conditioning system that is relatively new but is rapidly gaining in popularity is the ductless mini-split system. These and other compact air conditioners are popular because they can be installed virtually anywhere and do not take up much space. They also do not require the duct system that many other central air conditioners do.

In this way, ductless mini-splits combine the best of central air conditioning and more conventional window or wall mounted units. They keep individual rooms of your house cool and comfortable and can be controlled independently of one another, but they are also very quiet and energy efficient. In fact, ductless mini-splits are among some of the most energy efficient options available in the air conditioning world today.

For many years, enjoying the comfort that air conditioning provides has meant putting up with the noise of the compressor as well. Now, however, you can get the best of both worlds. Many air conditioning companies, in response to customer requests, have been working to curtail the noise and vibrations that air conditioners make.

This has affected models all up and down the line. Whether it is a window mounted unit you are after or a large central air conditioning system, you can rest assured that the model you buy today will be much quieter and produce a great deal fewer vibrations than your old system.

This is not only good news for you. It can also help to make your relationship with your neighbors a bit friendlier. The outside component of most air conditioning systems is usually where all the noise and vibrations come from anyway, and so your neighbors are likely to hear and feel it as well.

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Label Your Panel Box for an Emergency

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

During an emergency, moving fast is a priority. You need to get your family out of the house fast, but there are certain things you should have done well before the emergency that can help to keep you and your family safe. Specifically, if there is an earthquake, flood, or other major natural disaster that can disrupt your appliances or cause a sudden power surge, you want to turn off your electricity immediately, before anything can go wrong. Emergency workers might also need to access your panel box if you’re not home or if the area is too unsafe to enter.

Specific Instances this Might Matter

Think of what can happen if there is a flood in your basement and you need to go down to save your prized possessions or to stop the flow of water. Walking into a flooded basement with live electricity is incredibly dangerous. So, it’s important to know where your panel box is and what each of the breakers in it is for. This gives you the control necessary to stop the flow of electricity and stay safe, even when knee deep in standing water.

This also makes it possible for someone else to flip those breakers if you’re not home or there is a more urgent disaster like a fire or an earthquake. In the case of an earthquake, you never know when electrical supplies might be tripped or when your appliances will become disconnected from exhaust hoods or vents. Your gas is usually tripped off immediately by an earthquake shutoff valve, but your electricity needs to be manually stopped.

The Risk of Live Electricity

The key to effectively keeping your home operational through an emergency is to take every possible precaution until you can be sure that the space is safe. That means turning off key breakers, checking your home for disconnected appliances or potentially dangerous situations, and if necessary calling in an electrician to take care of any specific problems. In the case of most emergencies, if you’re not totally sure that something is safe, take precautions first by calling a professional and then worry about saving possessions and cleaning up.

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