When is an Emergency Heating Repair Necessary?

February 21st, 2015 by Roger Thompson

As with most things, it is better to be safe than sorry when considering heating repair. You don’t want to ignore something that seems trivial, only to have the entire system break down from it soon after. For that reason, you should always schedule a visit from a professional HVAC technician as soon as you notice something wrong with your heating system. There are some problems, however, that cannot wait even a single day for a technician to get there. When that happens, you need emergency heating repair. Let’s take a look at some of the signs that emergency heating repair is necessary.

Short Cycling

Short cycling is the name for when your heating system rapidly cycles on and off throughout the day. It is caused by the temperature inside your heater rising above established safety levels. This activates the limit switch, a safety device that monitors the heater’s internal temperature, which shuts down the system in an effort to protect it from overheating. However, the limit switch cannot solve for the source of the overheating. When the heater has cooled off enough, it will restart and the whole cycle will repeat.

Short cycling is extremely damaging to your heating system, and the longer it goes on the more likely it is to cause a breakdown. If you notice your heater short cycling, turn it off and call a professional immediately.

Partial or Total Heat Loss

A heating system is designed for just one purpose: to provide heat. So, when your heater suddenly has trouble providing that heat it’s a sign that something is seriously wrong with it. In forced air systems, the problem might be a broken air handler, which can trap heat inside the system and cause problems like short cycling. In boiler systems, you may have a broken circulator pump or a kettling heat exchanger. No matter what, loss of heating ability is a serious issue that should be dealt with as soon as possible, before the problem causing it has a chance to do more damage.

If you are in need of emergency heating repair, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We provide emergency heating repair throughout Everett.

In What Ways Can Professional Duct Cleaning Benefit Me?

February 20th, 2015 by Roger Thompson

When was the last time you spared even a single thought for the ducts in your home? Probably not for a long time. Possibly not ever. That’s not really your fault. After all, when was the last time the ducts did something that required your attention? Despite the ducts’ unobtrusive natures, however, they actually need maintenance just as much as any other home system. Let’s take a look at why professional duct cleaning is necessary for the health of your ducts, and how it can benefit you as well.

Airborne Contaminants

The air in the average home is infested with millions of airborne particles. These particles not only lower your indoor air quality, but can have an adverse effect on your health. Dust, pollen, insect and pet dander are all common allergens and lung irritants. If you happen to suffer from allergies, and have frequent attacks while inside, it is likely due to these particles. Meanwhile, biological infectious agents like viruses and bacteria can sicken you if you are exposed to them.

All of these contaminants have a tendency to collect in a home’s ductwork. There are two reasons for this. First, the ducts are dark, which offers a safe place to thrive for light-sensitive germs. Second, ducts are largely undisturbed by human activity, including routing cleaning efforts. This allows contaminants to build up over time, until you turn on your heater or air conditioner. When that happens, all of those pollutants get blown out of the ducts and circulated around the house, where they have a greater chance to infect you.

Duct Cleaning

Since you can’t be reasonably expected to stop using your heater or air conditioner (and that wouldn’t solve the problem anyway) you’ll need another solution if you want to improve your air quality and health. Professional duct cleaning is a service designed to clear all the contaminants out of your ducts. Depending on the type of ducts you have, your HVAC technician will either vacuum out the entire space or clean it manually with a special set of tools. Duct cleaning is the fastest and most thorough way to improve your air quality, cleaning up the area of the house with the highest concentration of harmful particulates.

If you haven’t had your ducts cleaned in a while, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We provide duct cleaning throughout Granite Falls.

Are Furnaces Safe Heating Options?

February 19th, 2015 by Roger Thompson

Furnaces are great heating systems. They’re versatile, fairly cheap, and have a high heat output. However, they also work with some pretty dangerous materials. Natural gas is obviously highly flammable, which is why it’s used as a fuel source. However, burning natural gas also produces a number of very toxic byproducts like carbon monoxide. Knowledge of these risks has led some homeowners to question whether or not furnaces are safe home heating options. Let us put those doubts to rest now. Yes, furnaces are safe heating systems, mainly because they are equipped with quite a few safety measures designed to prevent any mishaps. Let’s take a look at some of those safety features.

The Limit Switch

Overheating is one of the primary contributors to some biggest furnace problems, like a cracked heat exchanger. In order to mitigate that kind of damage, every furnace is equipped with a limit switch. The limit switch is a small device that measures the temperature inside the furnace’s plenum, or main chamber. When the temperature inside the plenum exceeds the safety limit, the limit switch activates and shuts the system down to protect it.

The Thermocouple

Most furnaces switched from a standing pilot light to an electric ignition device a long time ago. For those that still use standing pilot lights, however, the thermocouple is an indispensable safety feature. A standing pilot light is a small gas flame that burns 24/7, in case the furnace needs to be lit at any time. The flame is fed by its own gas line, which keeps it lit. However, if the flame ever blows out (which is common) there is a risk that the gas will continue to flow into the house and become a fire hazard. Enter the thermocouple. The thermocouple is a heat sensor that controls the gas valve in the line that feeds the pilot light. When it senses the heat from the pilot light, it generates an electric current that keeps the gas valve open, thus keeping the flame lit. When the pilot light goes out, the current stops flowing and the gas valve closes to prevent gas from leaking into the house.

If you’d like to know more about your furnace’s safety features, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We provide furnace services throughout Carnation, WA.

Can Geothermal Heating and Cooling Save Me Money?

February 18th, 2015 by Roger Thompson

If you dread opening your energy bills every month, you’re not alone. Many homeowners find that during especially warm or cool months, their energy bills skyrocket well beyond an acceptable level. Besides, high energy bills indicate a heavy reliance on our natural resources, but there are many alternatives for renewable energy to both lower bills and help the planet.

One of the most common types of renewable energy systems today is the geothermal unit. Geothermal heating and cooling systems use heat pump technology to absorb heat from the ground and bring it into your home or to release heat back into the earth. This means a large loop system must be buried in the ground first, as the earth’s temperature remains consistent when you dig down deep enough.

To install a new geothermal system, you must have enough space on your property and a working set of ducts. As long as these are present, you should trust the professional technicians at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to install a new geothermal unit for your home in Mercer Island. We go over the geothermal cost benefits here.

Ways that Geothermal Systems Save Money

A geothermal system reduces your bills in a couple of ways. While these units do still rely on electricity to run, the amount of electricity needed is significantly smaller. There are fewer moving parts, which also means they are less likely to need repairs. Lower bills and smaller repairs are important features in a new heating and AC system.

Besides, geothermal units last a very long time, and you may not have to replace the unit for the entire time during which you own it. You also won’t have to worry about purchasing a separate AC and heating system since geothermal does both. Furthermore, there may be government incentives in place for installing a new geothermal unit. If this is the case, you’ll save on installation, repairs, maintenance, and monthly spending.

Call our team of skilled technicians for geothermal installation or speak with a member of the G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. team today. 

Why You Don’t Have Consistent Hot Water

February 17th, 2015 by Roger Thompson

One of the best features of the modern plumbing system is the water heater. Hot and warm water makes cleaning and showering easier and far more bearable. And most likely, you rarely run into the need for hot water heater services. However, you may have been in a situation before in which you don’t feel enough hot water from the unit. Or, maybe you notice sporadic bursts of warm and cool water. There could be a number of reasons for this. Unfortunately, it could mean that your water heater is almost ready to be replaced. On the other hand, it could indicate any of the following problems, all of which require a technician for repairs.

Call the skilled technicians at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. any time you aren’t satisfied with the level of heating from your water heater.

  • Dirty Burner – The problem may just be that the burners are dirty, leading to inadequate heating. You should still allow a technician to do the cleaning and inspect the unit so that you can rest easy knowing that there is not a larger problem contributing to the lack of heat.
  • Broken Dip Tube – The dip tube lets cold water into the bottom of the tank, where it heats up before rising to the top of the tank. If your dip tube breaks or cracks, cold water may make its way to the top of the tank.
  • Thermostat Trouble – A thermostat monitors the temperature of the water, but this may fail or become miscalibrated over time and require replacement.
  • Improper Sizing – It could be that your water heater was not sized properly in the first place. If you have a large household with a high demand for hot water, you need a large system to accommodate your family. If the unit is not the right size for your needs, it can run into trouble, and you may need to schedule replacement services prematurely.

We have the right amount of experience to inspect the unit thoroughly and find the right solution.

Allow the skilled technicians at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to service your hot water heater in Redmond before attempting any repairs on your own.

Detecting Problems with a Whole House Generator

February 16th, 2015 by Roger Thompson

In a power outage, you can end up losing a lot. Perhaps you need electricity in order to work from home. You could lose a day’s worth of work, and waste a lot of time and money attempting to find a new setup. In some cases, lost power is even a case of life or death when someone in the home relies on electrical medical equipment. Other times, it’s just a matter of convenience. If the power is out overnight, you may have to relocate so that you have heating or air conditioning, and you could end up replacing spoiled food and damaged floors and valuables if there is a leak.

A whole-house generator is the best way to prevent such problems. Whole-house generators connect to your electrical system, and kick in only a few seconds after detecting there is no longer an electrical current running through your home. This is far more effective than a portable generator, which could only power one or two important pieces of electrical equipment.

The problem is that it can seem difficult to tell whether you are in need of whole house generator repair. Generators only turn on when you need them, so how can you be sure it will work properly during a power outage?

The best way to make sure that your generator works properly is by scheduling regular maintenance with a trained professional. During maintenance, the technician will make some adjustments and tell you if anything is not quite right. But you should also have a technician come right after any major weather phenomenon, especially if you notice any external damage to the unit.

Another way to tell that your generator needs repair is during a generator test. Many systems perform weekly self-tests and alert you to trouble. If not, ask your technician or consult your generator manual to figure out how to run a test on your own.

Choosing only experienced technicians for installation, repair, or maintenance is another way to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. today for quality whole house generator repair in Everett.

Lupercalia: The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015 by Roger Thompson

Many people may think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday essentially created by card and gift companies, but the truth is that the holiday has long-standing roots going back to the Roman Empire. The name “Lupercalia” has its origins in the word “lupus”, which means wolf, and the reason for this is that according to Roman pagan religion, the she-wolf Lupa nursed the two orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

 

The Festival

The Festival of Lupercalia spanned two days each February, from February 13th to 15th. The festival was about fertility and was led by Luperci priests, known as “brothers of the wolf”. The festival was serious with intention (fertility) but was executed as quite a romp for both the priests and citizens of Rome. The process was this: two male goats and a dog were sacrificed at the beginning of the festival by the priests; two young Luperci were then anointed with the blood from the animals, and the hides of the animals were cut into straps. As food and drink flowed, the male priests would run around the city wearing nothing but thongs made from the animal skins, and they also carried a strap from one of the sacrificed animals. The strap was used to strike the palms of Roman women waiting for the priests in the city, as it was believed that being hit with the strap could help with infertility issues and a safe, healthy labor for women who were pregnant.

 

The Transition to St. Valentine’s Day

The Christian influence of the holiday came around the 5th century. The Roman Empire was still strong, but Christianity was rapidly taking hold throughout the world. It is believed that to try and remove the paganism from the holiday, the deaths of two men, supposedly both named Valentine, were added into the mix. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, a law created by Claudius II forbade young men eligible for military service to marry, because Rome wanted a strong army. The two men named Valentine were priests, and married young couples in secret. Both were found out and executed on February 14th, although in separate years. The Church made Valentine a saint (they chose one), and Lupercalia became St. Valentine’s Day.

 

Here’s wishing you and your loved one a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Where Do I Need Insulation in My Home?

February 13th, 2015 by Roger Thompson

Insulation is a really big part of making your home as energy efficient and comfortable as possible. Though you may never see it under normal circumstances, you should devote special attention to getting your insulation checked on a semi-regular basis. Where is insulation actually required in order to do the most good, though? Let’s take a look at some of the places where it is most important to have insulation in your home.

Walls

Remember, the point of insulation is to inhibit the transfer of heat. Heat will always attempt to move from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. In a house, those to areas will switch depending on the season. In summer, when it’s really hot outside, all that heat will attempt to enter the home where it’s cooler. In winter, the heat inside the home will constantly try to escape to the cold outside. Insulation inhibits this heat transfer, which means it should be installed in those areas that are otherwise the easiest for heat to move through. Exterior walls are some of the most important of these places. The better insulated the exterior walls of your home are, the harder it’s going to be for heat to actually enter or leave the home.

The Attic

The same rules hold true for the attic as for the exterior walls of your home. Along with moving to areas of low concentration, heat also has a tendency to rise. This makes the attic a prime location for heat transfer, especially for homes that use forced air systems as heaters. You’d be horrified to learn how many homes have excellent wall insulation, but still feel hot in summer and drafty in the winter because they have almost no insulation in their attics. If you don’t properly insulate the attic, you are leaving the entire house open to heat transfer in the most inconvenient ways.

If you aren’t sure about the state of your home’s insulation, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We provide a full range of insulation services throughout Lake Stevens.

What Does a Geothermal Installation Entail?

February 12th, 2015 by Roger Thompson

Geothermal heating has been getting a lot of attention lately, due to the benefits that it offers as a home heating system. Geothermal heating is energy efficient, safe, and doesn’t run into some of the disadvantages that other heat pump systems have to deal with. Before you rush out to purchase a geothermal system, however, there are a few factors that you need to consider. Let’s take a look at the steps involved with installing a geothermal system, and how it affects the way that the heater operates.

The Trench

Geothermal heating systems work by utilizing the thermal energy present approximately 10-15 feet underground. They are heat pumps, moving heat from one location to another instead of creating it through combustion. This thermal energy is fairly constant, as the subterranean temperature at that depth remains around 50-60 degrees. This is an important difference between geothermal systems and other heat pumps, which we’ll discuss later on.

The geothermal heating system accesses this thermal energy through a wide pipe loop, which is installed in a trench outside the house. This is normally done in a back or front yard, where there is lots of undeveloped space. The loop is usually horizontal, but can also be installed vertically if the space requires it. The loop is then filled with water or refrigerant, and connected to the central unit.

The Central Unit

The central geothermal unit is similar in construction to other heat pumps, with incoming and outgoing connections to the pipe loop and an air handler to distribute heat through the ducts. During operation, the heat pump circulates refrigerant out of the loop and into the unit, where it extracts the thermal energy before returning the refrigerant to the loop. This grants the heat pump an endlessly renewable heat source. This is the single greatest advantage that geothermal heat pumps have over other heat pumps. Most heat pumps take heat from the surrounding air, which loses most of its thermal energy when the temperature drops to extremely cold levels. Geothermal heating always has access to a pool of renewable thermal energy, while air source heat pumps do not.

If you’d like to know more about geothermal heating services, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We provide geothermal services throughout the Kenmore area.

 

Here’s Why You Should Invest in an Outdoor Lighting System

February 11th, 2015 by Roger Thompson

Indoor lighting is something that tends to get a lot of consideration from homeowners. Lights are set into the ceiling in just the right place, either to illuminate the entire room or a specific feature. Portable lamps are moved back and forth to give light to a nightstand or favorite reading chair. For all the planning and shuffling that is done with indoor lights, however, not nearly as many people give as much attention to the lighting situation on the outside of their house. Outdoor lighting may not be used as often as indoor lighting, but there are plenty of situations where it can be just as important. Let’s take a look at the reasons why you should invest in an electrical outdoor lighting system.

Convenience

There are millions of people in this country who like to entertain friends and family in their home. That often includes spending time on the porch, or in the backyard, or any number of other outdoor features that may be part of the property. Without outdoor lighting, those areas become more or less off limits as soon as the sun goes down. No one likes ending a party early just because it’s dark outside. With an outdoor lighting system, you can continue enjoying spending time outside for as long as you want.

Safety

Safety is another good reason to invest in some sort of outdoor lighting system. For one thing, no one likes stumbling around in the dark if they need to go outside in the middle of the night. Need to take out the trash? It’s infinitely better to be able to see where you’re going on the way out to the trashcans, rather than risk serious injury by missing a step or tripping over something.

Outdoor lighting also serves as a crime deterrent. Most criminals are opportunists; they’ll only commit a crime if they see an opportunity to do so without getting caught. Shining a light on certain otherwise-vulnerable areas of your home at night is a good way to dissuade people from attempting anything that they might otherwise try.

If you’d like to invest in an outdoor lighting system, contact G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We provide electrical services throughout the Bellevue area.