Posts Tagged ‘Furnace’

What Happens During Professional Heating Maintenance?

Monday, December 13th, 2021

technician-working-on-furnaceIt’s that time of year again–the time where we encourage, even insist, that our customers have their heating systems maintained. Why? Well for starters, maintenance will help your heater last longer! During maintenance, we inspect, clean, and adjust the components that need it. This all reduces wear and tear, which ultimately helps your heating system last the 10-15 years it’s meant to.

But we don’t expect you to take this as face value. We want you to understand what actually happens during heating maintenance, so you can be more confident in the benefits it provides. Read on to learn more!


Heating Tip: What Are My Options For a New Heating System?

Monday, January 7th, 2013

When the heating system in your Tacoma home gives out, it can be a frustrating and discouraging experience. But the exciting part is that you get to pick out a brand new heating system for your home. There are a variety of options available to you that you should consider carefully. Depending on how old your previous system was, new models likely offer you a number of very attractive improvements. At Sound Heating and Air Conditioning, we know how important a good heating system is to survive the winters here in Washington. We thought it would benefit our customers in the Tacoma area if we put together a quick explanation of some of the available options.

Benefits of Replacing Your Heating System

Even in just the last 5 or 10 years there has been some pretty impressive advancement in heating technology. Here are just a few of them.

  • Safety – Many new models of furnaces, boilers and heat pumps have safety features that are designed to potentially protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning, fuel leaks and fires.
  • Efficiency – Perhaps one of the most attractive developments is high efficiency systems that may be able to reduce the amount of energy required to heat your home.
  • Size – In general, many new heating systems take up less space than older models.

Heating System Options in Tacoma, WA

When you start to think about replacing the heating system in your home, there are some important things to consider. First, what type of fuel is available to you? In general, natural gas systems are cheaper to install and to operate. While electric systems are more efficient, they almost always cost more to run. If your old system was an electric furnace, you may want to consider switching to a gas-fired furnace. If you have a gas line running into your home, it would be fairly simple to run it to your furnace’s location. However, if you don’t have a gas line, it can be very costly to install one.

Another option to consider is switching systems. If you’re replacing a furnace, you may consider getting a heat pump. Heat pumps offer comfortable heating and also are highly efficient. Additionally, you can also think about moving from a forced-air system (like a furnace) to a radiant heating system like a boiler system. Ground source heat pumps also offer a great deal of energy efficiency while providing comfortable heat to your home.

If you have any questions about heating systems and the options that are available to you in Tacoma, call us. We can walk you through the installation process and also discuss all of the options that are available to you. Contact Sound Heating and Air Conditioning!

What Are Flue Gas Spill Switches?

Monday, October 1st, 2012

While some components of a heating system make sense to the average Olympia homeowner – think blower fan, thermostat and air ducts – others are more esoteric and prone to bouts of head scratching.

So, you may find yourself asking “what the heck is a flue gas spill switch?” Read on for the answer.

As you know, gas heating appliances produce heat by means of combustion. The gas line feeds gas into the appliance, the gas is ignited, and the burning gas produces heat. It’s a simple concept that goes all the way back to our caveman ancestors building fires to keep warm, and it is the same process in gas furnaces, boilers and water heaters.

In addition to producing the cozy heat we love in the winter time, this combustion process also releases gases. Known collectively as “flue gases,” some of these – carbon monoxide being the most notorious – can be very toxic. This is why we have flues or chimneys in our northwestern homes– to give these gases a means of egress.

A flue gas spill switch is designed to shut down the furnace if these gases start seeping out. It is made up of a sensor or series of sensors that detect heat outside the flue, not unlike the flame sensor in your furnace. If flue gases start to escape and pass by the sensor, the sensor heats up and signals the furnace to shut down. This cuts off the power and gas, so that no more flue gases can leak into the home and create a health concern.

If your furnace has been abruptly shutting down, it could be your flue gas spill switch trying to tell you that you have a leaky or cracked flue. If this is the case, you want to have it repaired right away. The constant off and on is not good for the furnace, and more importantly, those flue gases can be exceptionally hazardous to your family’s health.

To schedule a maintenance appointment today, give Sound Heating & Air Conditioning a call!

Heating Guide: Furnace Control Boards

Monday, September 24th, 2012

One way to be a truly responsible homeowner is to familiarize yourself with the major systems and appliances in your home. By having at least some understanding of how, say, your refrigerator or toilet work, you gain understanding of how to use them efficiently and detect when something goes wrong.

The same is true of your Tacoma home’s furnace, which can appear to be a complicated piece of machinery. In order to help you get acquainted with your furnace, we will discuss one of its main control components, the furnace control board.

As the name suggests, furnace control boards are responsible for governing the operation of the furnace. At a minimum, a simple furnace control will control the furnace ignitor (e.g., a spark generator or glow coil), the gas valve and the furnace thermocouple, also called a flame sensor.

More complex furnace control boards will also have control over the blowers and/or the built-in diagnostic system.

To simplify things, you can think of the furnace control board as being a driver and the furnace as its car. Just as the driver oversees all the functions and operation of the car from ignition to shutting off the engine, likewise does the control board for the furnace.

A typical operation sequence for a furnace control board goes something like this:

  1. The control board receives a signal from the thermostat that the temperature is too low.
  2. It starts the ignition system, whether that be a spark generator, glow coil or pilot light.
  3. Once the ignitor is hot, the furnace control board initiates the flow of gas through the burners, where it is ignited.
  4. The control board keeps the furnace running until it is signaled by the thermostat that the temperature is now high enough, or until it detects something is wrong.

(An example of a malfunction where the control board would get involved is a thermocouple that is not detecting enough heat. In this case, the control board would shut off the gas flow to prevent a leak into the home.)

Furnace control boards are an essential part of your Tacoma home’s heating system. For any heating repairs in the Tacoma area, give Sound Heating a call!

How Do I Check a Gas Furnace Draft Pressure Switch? A Question From Kent

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Since Fall has started, it important to be prepared for the upcoming winter in Kent. It is a good idea to get yourself ready by learning some basic information about your home’s heating system. For instance, there are many reasons why a gas furnace stops working and in many cases, a homeowner can perform some simple diagnostics to pinpoint the problem. Finding the problem is one thing – fixing it is another. When in doubt, don’t try it yourself. Call a qualified professional.

But let’s look at one possible problem and solution you may be able to perform yourself – testing the draft pressure switch. The draft pressure switch on a gas furnace allows an electrical current to pass through to ignite the furnace. The pressure switch monitors the draft conditions and won’t allow the furnace’s gas valve to open unless draft is correct.

If the switch is malfunctioning, so too will (or will not) the furnace.

The best way to locate the switch is by consulting with your owner’s manual or by going online and simply typing in the words “gas furnace draft switch.” It is identifiable by its round size and is bolted to the outside of the furnace. It should be nearby the draft inducer motor because the two are connected by a metal tube. The tube may sometimes be the culprit, too. A tube that is blocked with condensation may cause the switch to go bad.

To check for proper function, first turn off power to the furnace, either by shutting down the “on’ switch at the furnace or shutting off the circuit breaker.

Use a volt ohm meter to check if the switch is opening and closing properly. Start by zeroing out the meter’s probes by touching the tips together. Using the dial (could be analog or digital), set the meter to 24 volts. Ground the black probe by attaching it to any metal part of the furnace. Then place the end of the red probe on the metal tube connecting the draft pressure switch to the draft inducer motor.

If the switch is working properly the meter should read at least 24 volts, or very near that. If the reading is short of 24 volts, the switch is not working correctly. At that point you may decide to replace it or call a professional to do the task (recommended).

Always remember that there are many sources which will help you diagnose and repair a problem, especially those available through the Internet. If you search you will find many videos advising you on how to repair certain components. Use all of the resources available to you and keep the phone number of a qualified and professional heating and cooling contractor nearby.