Posts Tagged ‘Seatac’

Heating Repair Question: Why is My Furnace Making Noise?

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

During a bitterly cold night, in the luxury of our homes, we have the ability to adjust the temperatures to comfortably walk barefoot down the hall.  It is easy to take our Tacoma furnaces for granted, but without proper maintenance, they can become noisy and irritable, growling with mysterious sounds of dissatisfaction and ominous groans, warning that slippers and more blankets may soon be necessary.

This does not have to happen to you.

At the beginning of each season, it makes good sense to care for the furnace that is going to take care of you.   Scheduling an annual inspection and filter change with Sound Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. ensures a longer life and more comfort.

Rattles and Bumps in the Night

At the first sound of trouble, checking the filter can often be a quick relief.  As air passes through the furnace, a filter picks out much of the dust and some heavier particles that have come along, gotten snagged and accumulated over time to create a solid blockage.

This filter can become clogged and force your Tacoma furnace to work much harder to push the air through the blocked passage. Located just inside the front panel of the furnace, the filter is very accessible and easily exchanged for a clean one.  This should be the very minimum of regular maintenance and is simple enough to do that it can make anyone feel handy.

Deeper Trouble

Heated air and cold air returning to and from the furnace travel through ductwork which is often metal (those long, silvery boxes tucked up between joists in your basement and covered by a nasty layer of cobwebs).  The vibration of footsteps across the floor overhead or even of just the air movement through the ducts can loosen the fasteners and rattle the metal like a rumble of thunder.

Internally, there are fans and lots of moving parts in the motor.  A noise coming from this area portends a repair of a more complicated nature and should have the inspection of a certified technician, a service easily provided by Sound Heating.

With proper care and maintenance, furnaces are built to last for decades, providing heat and comfort to the home or office and improving the quality of life for the people inside.  Consult with experts to ensure the efficient operation.

Heating Q/A: Can Your Heating System Warn You of a CO Leak?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Carbon monoxide is a serious health risk, even in Tacoma. It is an odorless gas that is produced as a natural byproduct of combustion. So, any time something burns, carbon monoxide (CO) is released into the air.

As long as heating installation is properly ventilated, the carbon monoxide cannot build up in the air to a dangerous level of concentration. For example, if you are around a campfire or charcoal that is burning outside, you are generally safe.

In the home, the danger arises when combustion is not properly ventilated and this toxic gas is allowed to seep into our living spaces. If you use any gas, fuel or wood burning appliances in your home, you are at risk for exposure to carbon monoxide. To help mitigate that risk, it is important to know some warning signs. Your heating system gives off some warnings that can tip you off to danger, so be on the lookout for these three signals:

  1. Carbon monoxide detector goes off. Some heating systems these days have built-in carbon monoxide detectors, which can provide an extra measure of safety. Whether you have one of these systems or not, your home should still be equipped with a CO detector. If it begins sounding the alarm, get everyone out of the house immediately.
  1. A fume vent is leaking. Fuel-burning furnaces have vents to move combustion gases out of the house safely. If you notice this vent is leaking on your heating system, CO may be seeping into your house. Shut down the furnace, open windows for ventilation and have the fume vent repaired immediately.
  1. Smoke backing up from the fireplace. If you have a fireplace and you notice smoke in the room while using it, stop using it immediately. Your chimney may be blocked or leaking, preventing the smoke from rising and venting properly, which means CO can e getting into your house. Do not use the fireplace again until you have had the chimney inspected.

Please take care and note this is just a simple guide. There are other risks and warnings of carbon monoxide. If you have any suspicion that there is CO in your home, immediately call Sound Heating to look into the situation.

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.

Heat Pump Maintenance: Some Pointers from Seatac

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Heating and cooling your Seatac home is a priority. You need your home and family to be comfortable all year round, so you either got or are considering a heat pump. These machines are great because under the right circumstances, they are essentially all-inclusive and incredibly efficient solutions for all your home heating and cooling needs.

Notice the “under the right circumstances” part. A number of things have to be considered when choosing a heat pump, such as the climate and the size of your home. But these are not the only circumstances that influence how well your heat pump works for you. Proper maintenance is a vital component of heat pump ownership, ensuring that you get the best performance out of your heat pump for the longest time possible.

A major part of properly maintaining any machine is to keep it clean. A heat pump is no exception. Dirt and dust can affect the efficiency of your heat pump, as well as speed up corrosion problems. Keep the compressor and coils clean. Check them monthly or so and remove any accumulated dirt. Also, consistently check and change filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Simple cleaning is an easy and effective first step to heat pump maintenance, but there are some things that you just won’t be able to do on your own. For more intensive maintenance, it is best to call in a professional for an annual inspection.

During a routine maintenance check of your heat pump, a technician will inspect the whole heat pump system for problems. He will clean the compressor and coils, tighten any connections that may have loosened up and change the filters as needed. In addition, a skilled technician will be able to detect any early signs of trouble and make necessary repairs to prevent break downs. These small repairs can prevent big problems later on, thereby preventing some serious discomfort and a possible big expense.

If you are considering a heat pump as a heating and cooling solution for your home, great. If you have already decided on one and had it installed, congratulations on making a smart decision. Now, make another smart decision to protect that investment by keeping your new heat pump properly maintained.

When Should You Replace Instead of Repair Your Heating? A Question from Olympia

Friday, October 21st, 2011

We all dread an expensive repair in Olympia, whether it is a car that needs a new transmission, a leaky roof that needs new shingles, or electrical wiring that has been chewed up by a wild animal. Equipment repairs are a necessary evil. We often try and put bandages on things that we know should be replaced but we just can’t afford to replace them.

The same can be said about your home’s heating system. When your heat goes out or your home just doesn’t seem to be heating up to the setting on your thermostat, your first inclination is to check and see if it is running. Some people will put their hand over a heating vent to check for hot air while others may go into the basement or mechanical room to listen to hear if the furnace is running. Maybe there is a blockage in the ventilation system or a blown circuit breaker, two relatively easy fixes.

If the furnace isn’t working after checking the obvious symptoms, your next move is to call for service. Any qualified heating professional would be able to diagnose your problem and offer suggested repairs. Something relatively minor like a bad circuit board or blown fan motor are not real expensive repairs and are the best option versus replacing the furnace. And you may keep experiencing the same problem and getting the same repair work done – anything to avoid an expensive replacement.

But at some point the vicious cycle will come to an end. Your repair bills will begin to inch their way past the cost of replacing the furnace. You can only bandage a problem so long before it becomes “unfixable.” You may not want to pay an expensive replacement bill but consider the alternatives.

First is the obvious – it costs too much to keep repairing the furnace. Secondly, you never know when the furnace may break down and its failure to operate could have dangerous effects on the people in your home, especially if someone is sick. Third, your furnace may not be able to keep up with the heating demand due to lifestyle changes, i.e. an addition put on the house, carpeting removed and wood floors exposed, a new window, door, or skylight added, etc. Your old furnace may not have been designed to keep up with these changes and the repairs are only delaying the inevitable.

Ask yourself if everyone in your home is comfortable during cold weather. If most answer no, it may be time to consider replacing that old furnace with a new, energy efficient model that uses today’s technology – and leaves a smaller carbon footprint – to keep up with the demand for heat, in any sized building or home. Your decision to replace your old heating system could be as simple as the need to use modern technology to solve your indoor comfort problems.

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.

Possible Causes of Poor Heating Performance with Your Boiler: A Guide From Renton

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Fall is approaching, have you turned on your heating system yet? If it isn’t working, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a mechanical engineer to troubleshoot – and possibly diagnose – the problems with your Renton home’s boiler.

The good thing about boilers is that they are typically reliable and long-lasting. There aren’t a lot of working parts that can break down and cause problems, compared to other home heating equipment. When problems do arise, they are usually related to the expansion tank or circulating pumps. But a problem can be much simpler – like a tripped circuit breaker.

The most common problems can be noise, no heat, or poor/erratic heating. Before calling a qualified heating and cooling professional, take a moment to see if you can figure out the what’s wrong.

If you have a noisy boiler it might be because of two things – a faulty circulating pump or water trapped in the return lines. If the pump breaks it will make a loud noise when its motor runs. Water can be trapped in the return lines, which may require “re-pitching” the lines to allow for a flow back to the boiler. You may be able to adjust the flow by positioning hangers on the piping but replacing a pump is better left to a professional.

If your boiler is producing no heat, it could be because of something as simple as a circuit breaker being tripped or a fuse being blown. Check your circuit breakers and fuse and reset or replace if necessary. Is your boiler thermostat in the heat mode? It should be but if it isn’t, make the switch. If your boiler has a standing pilot you should check to see if it is lit and if not, re-light it.

Other problems would take a professional to fix. For example, no heat can be traced to low water levels in the boiler. The boiler should always be half-full of water and if it isn’t, it is likely because of leaks or a faulty pressure reducing valve. Don’t try and fix the problem by yourself.

Low water levels may not cause the boiler to lose its heating capabilities, but may cause fluctuations in its heating capacity. Again, it is advisable to call a professional to diagnose and fix the problem. Poor heating can also be traced to mineral deposits in the boiler. Consult your owner’s manual on instructions how to flush out the boiler.

As always, read the owner guide or operating manual for your boiler. You should get some good tips on proper maintenance and troubleshooting. And have the phone number of a qualified professional taped to your boiler – just in case.

To Zone or Not to Zone My Home Comfort: A Tip From Bellevue

Monday, September 19th, 2011

There are a lot of decisions to make related to your Bellevue home’s comfort system. You must decide what type of heating you want, how you’ll implement air conditioning, and then how to keep all of that heated and cooled air clean and healthy in your home.

On top of everything else, you have the option to implement zone control in your house to provide multiple comfort levels for each member of your family. Zone control systems are growing rapidly in popularity because they allow home owners to enjoy an enhanced level of comfort throughout the day, while not negatively impacting any one person.

For example, if it’s chilly outside and you need to turn your heater on, that doesn’t mean everyone in the house wants the thermostat set to 72°F. There are a few reasons for this. You may be in the kitchen, working over the stove or doing dishes where there is plenty of heat to keep you warm. More warm air coming through vents or radiators isn’t going to make you comfortable.

The second floor of a home traditionally needs less heat because warm air on the first floor rises and fills that space. The same is true in the summer when cool air settles in lower floors. Having a zone control system allows you to set specific temperatures in each room which are then controlled by your home heating system. You can even turn off the heating and cooling in a specific room like your office or the attic if it will be empty for long periods of time.

Other Considerations

A zone control system is good for comfort, but also for the overall air quality of your home. Too much conditioned air moving through your ducts carries more allergens and contaminants into your home and causes your air quality system to work harder. Your ventilation system will be asked to work harder as well.

Ideally, a good home air quality system is designed to use as little conditioned air as possible to keep everyone comfortable. A zone control system does this very effectively. When talking to a professional about a new installation, check to find out about programmable thermostats as well. These can make it easier to set and forget the temperature in rooms that are only used for a few hours each day.

Why Select a Two Stage AC vs. Single Stage Air Conditioner: A Tip From Seatac

Monday, September 5th, 2011

When you are in the market for a new air conditioner in Seatac, one of the decisions you will have to make is whether you want a two stage system or one that only functions in a single stage. Of course, before you can make a decision about this, you need to know what all of this means.

A single stage air conditioning system is probably what you are most familiar with. They have been around for longer and can be found in a wide variety of locations. Single stage air conditioners come on at full capacity when the temperature in your home rises above the preset level on the thermostat. Once they have effectively cooled the house, these types of air conditioners shut off until the temperature works its way back up again.

Two stage air conditioners, on the other hand, can function at either 67% or 100% of capacity depending on exactly how warm it is in your home. What that really means is that if the temperature in your home is only a little above the thermostat’s preset limit, the air conditioning system will come on at 67% and gradually cool the house to keep it right in a comfortable range.

However, if you have not been home for a while and your home has gotten very warm inside, your air conditioner will come on at full power to get the temperature down quickly. What this really means is that your air conditioner will be running more than a single stage air conditioner because it will sometimes not be using all of its power to cool.

The end result of using a two stage air conditioner is that you will receive a relatively continuous flow of cool air throughout your home. A two stage air conditioner will send in a steady but smaller stream of cooled air as opposed to the large blast of cold air you would get from a single stage system.

This results in a more consistent and comfortable environment overall, and it also makes it possible for the air conditioning system to dehumidify your house more effectively. When the air is cooled too quickly, the dehumidification system does not always have time to do its job. But with the longer cooling cycles of the two stage system, there is plenty of time to make sure the right amount of humidity is removed from the air.

If you have more questions about which type of air conditioner is right for you, consult a professional.

The Advantages of an Air Conditioning System: A Guide From Seatac

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Just about everyone in Seatac knows that air conditioning systems keep your indoor environment cool and comfortable during the hot summer months. While this may be enough of a benefit for you, there are also some other benefits to having a central air conditioning system installed in your house as well.

For instance, if you have someone in your household who is more susceptible to extreme temperatures than most people, an air conditioning system can actually help improve their overall health. Babies certainly fall into this category, as they have more difficulty than older children or adults do controlling their body temperature.

Also, many elderly people or people suffering from certain medical conditions, particularly heart conditions, are especially sensitive to the heat. If they are unable to stay cool, it can be very dangerous and damaging to their health, and an air conditioning system helps to guarantee that they will be able to stay cool and comfortable even on the hottest days of the year.

Aside from direct health concerns, air conditioning systems can also help to alleviate the symptoms of colds and allergies. They do this by controlling the level of humidity inside your home. If the air in your house is too moist or too dry, it can exacerbate cold and allergy symptoms, as well as dry out skin and make the indoor environment generally uncomfortable.

Proper humidity control is also important because it helps to ensure that any air filtration or purification system you have in place is able to operate at peak efficiency. Many of these units have a hard time extracting particulate contaminants from the indoor air that circulates through them if that air is too humid or too dry. With a state of the art air conditioning system in place, however, you will not have to worry about whether or not the humidity level in your home is out of balance.

It is also worth noting that a central air conditioning system can be preferable to a window mounted unit because it provides for a more even distribution of cool air throughout the house. Also, when you have a central air conditioning system, the condenser which is the source of most of the noise and vibrations that air conditioners make will be located outside and out of earshot. With window mounted units, on the other hand, there is really no way to block out or diminish the noise.

If you have any questions about how air conditioning help you feel more comfortable, contact your local contractor.