Tired of Expensive Heating?

December 16th, 2014 by Roger Thompson

Most homes have a heating budget for each winter season, but if you are finding that your heating isn’t staying on budget this year, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate the costs:

  • Install ceiling fans – ceiling fans do two important things: first, they circulate the air, helping to even out the heating in your home; second, they help push down the heat so that it stays in your living areas instead of rising, as it will do naturally.
  • Cover drafty windows – if you have drafty windows, winter drapes or plastic window kits can help to cut down on cold drafts. Many retail stores carry winter drapes, and plastic window kits are available at most hardware stores.
  • Conduct an energy audit – according to Energy.gov, energy audits can reduce your overall energy usage anywhere from 5-30%. Energy audits pinpoint your exact areas of energy loss and offer recommendations on how to fix them.
  • Check your insulation – having the right amount of insulation in your home can make a huge difference when it comes to saving energy. A trained insulation specialist can check the level of your current insulation and assess if your home can benefit from more.
  • Install a programmable thermostat – programmable thermostats allow you set times and days for your system to turn on and off, enabling you to control your heating whether you are home or not. Most programmable thermostat allow you to program for up to 7 days with a maximum of 4 temperature changes per day. You can also loop the program continuously so you don’t have to update it every week.
  • Schedule maintenance – if you haven’t scheduled maintenance for your heating system, you may be missing out on savings. During a routine maintenance appointment, your system is given a full tune-up that can help prevent repairs and allows your system to run optimally. It’s never too late to schedule a maintenance appointment, so if it’s been more than 12 months since your last one, schedule maintenance with your technician.

If you are tired of expensive heating services, and are looking to save money this winter on your energy costs, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., today and schedule heating service is Monroe with one of our HVAC experts.

Rust on a Furnace: What It Means

December 12th, 2014 by Roger Thompson

If you own a furnace, you may be surprised to learn that this unit can actually develop rust over time. Rust forms when iron reacts with oxygen and water, but a furnace doesn’t use any water to operate, right? While this problem may seem to be more common with a hot water heating system like a boiler, corrosion can actually happen with older furnaces as well. Homeowners are surprised to learn that their furnace has developed corrosion on the flue, heat exchanger, or elsewhere in the system, and this can actually be due to a few separate factors.

The heat combustion process that takes place in a chamber in your furnace produces gases that must be vented outdoors so that they do not form a health hazard when gathering in the house. The gases that form as a result of this process can actually contain corrosive elements. Water vapor and oxygen can interact with the inside of the flue pipe used to vent gases and cause rust to develop, so this pipe may need to be replaced from time to time. Similarly, condensation can occur as the flue passages cool down when the furnace cycles off and form iron oxide.

Rust on the furnace may also be caused by condensation dripping from an improperly installed air conditioner or even from moisture in the air. If your ducts are not properly sealed, moisture may move into the ducts and collect as condensation along the furnace.

In general, if you notice rust on the furnace itself, it means your unit most likely requires replacement. Rust and corrosion are just too big of a risk for your furnace, as they can cause gases to leak into your home if the corrosion causes a serious enough leak. In any case, a rusty furnace is probably several years old, and could benefit from replacement either way. New furnaces are far more efficient than older ones, particularly if you choose one with a high AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency), and your new installation may have advanced power and safety features that cannot be beat.

Call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to learn more about what rust means for your furnace and how you can schedule heating repairs or replacement in Marysville with an expert technician.

Why Consider Upgrading My Thermostat with Heating Installation?

December 12th, 2014 by Roger Thompson

When you replace your heating system for whatever reason, you tend to only replace the central unit, right? You don’t tear out the ducts, or install a new gas line (unless you’re switching fuel types). Why, then, should you install a new thermostat when the old one works just fine? Well, the simple answer is that a newer thermostat can help your heating system in multiple ways, from efficiency to comfort. Let’s dig into a few details regarding thermostat upgrades, and why you should consider them.

New Functions

Old manual thermostats (and even some early digital ones) were basically limited to two settings: on and off. That’s all well and good for people who don’t mind a trip across the house every time it gets chilly, but a better way has been available for years now. Newer thermostats are capable of all sorts of different functions. They can be set to regulate themselves, maintaining different temperatures at different times of the day and even different days of the week. If you know you’re going to be cold in the morning, you can set your thermostat to start heating the house before you wake up. You can even tell the thermostat to shut off overnight, in order to save money.

Efficiency

Newer thermostats have more to offer than simple new functions. Advances in sensor technology have made thermostats much more accurate at measuring temperatures. Older thermostats, which often used sensors as rudimentary as a mercury ampule, were notorious for poorly regulating the temperature across the house. As they could only sense the temperature in a very small area around themselves, they often created hot and cold spots by running the heater at odd intervals. Newer thermostats are much more adept at detecting small changes in temperature, giving them finer control over the temperature in the house. This saves money by only turning the heater on when it is actually needed, instead of running it for too long or too short.

If you would like to know more about new thermostat technology, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We provide heating installation throughout Marysville.

What to Check Before You Call Heating Repair

December 11th, 2014 by Roger Thompson

As soon as your heater begins acting strangely, your first response is likely to call for a professional to look at it. This isn’t a bad response at all, and you should definitely trust a professional to handle problems with your heater instead of trying to fix it yourself. Before you make that call, however, you should check these 3 areas first.

Thermostat

The thermostat is the control center for your heater. It is what determines when your heater turns on, how long it stays on, and when it turns off. A malfunctioning thermostat, therefore, can stop even a healthy heating system from operating properly. If your heater isn’t working, check the thermostat. Make sure that it is set to “heat” or “fan,” and that the temperature being displayed correctly. You won’t really be able to tell if the internal components of the thermostat are working correctly. You’ll need a professional to look at it in order to be absolutely sure. The point, however, is to eliminate the possibility of minor issues that can be identified and fixed without expert knowledge.

The Pilot Light

Most combustion-based heating systems make use of a pilot light as the ignition source. The pilot light is a small flame, often located underneath your heater, which is used to start the system when required. Pilot lights are often open, with no protection from air currents or sudden drafts. This contributes to the pilot light’s reputation for blowing out easily, preventing the system from starting. Check your pilot light, if you have one. If the light is out, then relighting it should solve your problem. If you don’t know how to relight your pilot light, any HVAC technician should be able to do it for you.

The Vents

If you’re using a forced air system and you’re experiencing uneven heating, check the vents in the room having the issue. Vents are often unintentionally blocked by people moving furniture or other objects in a room. If the vents are all clear and you’re still having the issue, call a professional to have a look.

If your heating system is giving you trouble, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. Our heating repair experts cover the entire Everett area.

Is Ductless a Good Option for Heating This Winter?

December 8th, 2014 by Roger Thompson

Many homes are built with a network of ducts for heating and cooling purposes. Your heater or air conditioner conditions the air so that a fan can move it through the ductwork and into your home with ease. But what are your options for heating and cooling if your house or new room addition doesn’t have any ducts? Well, you can add ductwork to the structure of the building. However, this type of renovation takes up a lot of time and space you may not be able to spare.

Besides, ductwork can end up causing a lot of trouble for homeowners. Ducts have been known to form holes and cracks over time or have an inefficient design that allows air to escape. When it does, you get decreased performance and end up paying for warm air that doesn’t ever make it into your living space.

Ductless mini splits are highly efficient heating and air conditioning systems that work just as well as any standard air conditioner or heat pump—but with the added benefit of no ducts. You’ll need someone to install an outdoor unit and multiple indoor units for a standard home. The indoor air handler is mounted high on the wall or ceiling to blow air directly into the room. It connects to the outside via a refrigerant line.

Refrigerant travels from the outside compressor, through the outdoor coil, and into the indoor coil. What makes it so efficient is that it doesn’t actually generate heat; it only moves it from place to place, which requires little energy. In the summer, refrigerant absorbs heat from the air in your home and moves it outside. In the winter, it absorbs heat from outdoors to bring inside. Besides, you get the added benefit of zone control with a ductless system. Since you have multiple indoor units, each one can be controlled with its own thermostat.

A ductless heating system could struggle somewhat if temperatures drop too low. However, this is usually not the case in the Everett area. Your technician can give you information and advice about how to supplement your ductless unit with another form of heating in case you live in an area where temperatures tend to drop much lower.

Call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to learn how you can get quality ductless heating in Everett or for professional repairs or maintenance.

Will My Gas Furnace Still Work During a Blackout?

December 5th, 2014 by Roger Thompson

A gas furnace is a reliable way to heat a home, chosen for heating installation by the majority of homeowners in the United States. If you have a gas furnace, it may seem as though an advantage is that your heating system will continue to work in case of a blackout. This is a logical assumption; your heating system runs via the gas line so it only makes sense that it would continue to run—right? Not quite.

For the most part, your gas furnace will not be able to run if there is no power to your home. There are a few reasons for this. Components of your furnace are hooked up to the electricity to ensure proper operation and your health and safety. The thermostat requires electricity to communicate with the furnace when it’s time to switch on and off. The blower runs via a motor that also requires electricity. And relays send a signal to control the safety features like the thermocouple (but don’t worry—a blackout won’t cause any sudden gas leaks).

Although your gas furnace will not work when the power goes out, you can install a generator to ensure that a blackout never takes away the heating in your home or any other major electrical appliances. A standby generator switches on as soon as it senses that there is no longer an electrical current running through your home. If you have family members with illnesses that require you to keep the home heated, you cannot afford to go without power for too long. Keep in mind, however, that connecting a furnace to a generator is a job for a licensed electrician only.

If you don’t have a generator, it’s important to shut off power to the furnace when there is a blackout. This is because your furnace may suffer damage if the electrical grid fluctuates and sends inconsistent voltage to the furnace. In case of electrical damage, be sure to call a technician to your home as soon as possible to get your heating back to normal.

Speak with an expert at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. for more information about generators and your heating in Marysville.

Common Geothermal Repairs

December 5th, 2014 by Roger Thompson

When looking over the numerous advantages of geothermal systems for home heating and cooling, two of the major ones that attract homeowners are their long lifespans and small number of repair needs. A well-maintained geothermal heat pump can last over 20 years, and the ground loops can last more than 50.

Geothermal systems may still require repairs from time to time. If you notice that your geothermal heat pump is not performing up to expectations, call for professionals to check on the system and find out what is wrong with it and what repairs will restore it. G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. has more than 35 years of experience working on home heating in Monroe, WA and throughout the Puget Sound Area, including service for geothermal heat pumps. You can put your trust in us when it comes to repairs to restore your geothermal heating this winter and any time of the year that you need us.

Some Repairs Your Geothermal System May Need

  • Ground loop leak sealing: The ground loops that carry the refrigerant through the earth and then to the heat pump’s heat exchanger indoors are durable and should last for many decades without needing replacements. If one of the loops starts to leak, however, it will cause the heat pump to begin to lose heating and cooling power. If technicians think that a leak in the loops is behind a drop in system performance, they will insert a colored dye into the refrigerant, and then track where it emerges on the ground. This will help them pinpoint where they need to dig to seal the leak.
  • Acid flush: Ground loops can come in open and close-loop configurations. The open-loop configuration uses water from the municipal system, which can leave mineral deposits inside the loops and start to clog them. Repair professionals flush the loops with a gentle acid to clear out the deposits and keep the system clean and efficient.
  • Interior heat pump repairs: The majority of repairs that a geothermal system may need will be in the heat pump section indoors. Aside from the heat exchanger that transfers heat from the refrigerant in the loops, these heat pumps are similar to air-source heat pumps and share similar repair needs. These include: cleaning the coils, replacing capacitors, lubricating motors, and fixing the blower fan.

We want you to enjoy a long service life from your geothermal heat pump so that you’ll receive the maximum benefit from its energy-saving performance. Call us at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. any time your cooling or heating system is in trouble because of a malfunctioning geothermal system. If you need to schedule geothermal service in Monroe, WA, call us now!

Should I Add a Humidifier to My Heating System?

December 4th, 2014 by Roger Thompson

When the humidity inside a home drops too low during the winter, it can lead to a number of comfort and health issues. Although a portable humidifier can alleviate some of these problems, these small systems are mostly useful for humidifying a single room, such as a baby’s room. For the full benefits of balanced humidity, you need to have a professional install a whole-house humidifier into your heating system.

To find out more about humidifiers and the ways they can benefit your home heating in Marysville, WA and throughout the Puget Sound Area, contact the comfort and air quality experts at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We install and service a variety of air quality systems, including whole-house humidifiers.

Here Are Some Reasons to Add a Humidifier to Your HVAC System

  • You feel uncomfortable even when the heater is working: Dry air makes colder temperatures feel even colder. The reason for this is that low moisture levels draw heat from the human body, and the heat loss makes the body feel colder. If the indoor humidity in your home drops below 40%, it will leave you uncomfortable during cold temperatures, no matter how well the heater is performing.
  • You need to run the heating system constantly: If you feel colder because of dry air, you will need to run your home’s heater more often to maintain comfort. A humidifier will reduce the amount of time your heater operates during the winter, and subsequently help you save on energy bills.
  • Colds and flus are on the rise in your home: Low humidity dries up sinuses and mucus membranes, which are an important defense against airborne germs and viruses. When a home’s humidity levels are too low, it will mean a faster spread of colds and flus throughout the household. A good humidifier will help create a healthier environment.
  • Static electricity is a major nuisance: Do you worry about static electricity every time you touch a doorknob or any other metal surface in the house? Does your hair cling to your comb when you try to brush it? Do your sheets and laundry stick to each other? Balancing the humidity in the air will help lower the annoyances of static electricity.

A whole-house humidifier needs to have an indoor air quality specialist install it into your heating system. Otherwise, you may end up with a system that doesn’t work well, or one that places too much moisture into your air, resulting in a whole new set of problems. For quality installation of a humidifier into your heating, call to our indoor air quality team at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. today.

How Does Duct Sealing Help with Heating?

December 3rd, 2014 by Roger Thompson

Does your home use a forced-air heater for winter warmth? Chances are high that it does, since this group includes furnaces, the most common type of heating system in the U.S. It also includes heat pumps. With the exception of ductless mini split heat pumps, forced-air heating systems require ductwork to distribute warm air to the rooms of the house and provide the even heating necessary for comfort. It’s important that you take care of your home’s ductwork as well as you take care of the heating system, or you will end up with substandard comfort and higher bills.

Ducts occasionally require sealing to close up gaps and holes. This isn’t a service you can handle on your own using duct tape (which isn’t even designed for use on ducts). It takes the skill, training, and equipment of professionals. G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. offers full services to care for your ductwork so that your forced-air heating system works at its best. Call us to make sure that you receive the best quality heating services in Everett, WA this winter.

Duct Sealing And Heating

The ducts in a ventilation system are designed to create an airtight seal from the heater’s cabinet all the way to the vents that open onto the rooms. If the ducts have air leaks, they will begin to have a negative effect on the heating in a home.

Here is how calling professionals to seal those leaks will benefit your heating:

  • Prevent a loss of air pressure: The main reason that ducts must be kept airtight as possible is to stop a drop of air pressure inside. If air pressure decreases, it will result in low airflow out of the vents, and a corresponding decrease in comfort. If a room in your home feels colder than it should be, air leaks inside the ducts that service it might be the reason.
  • Better heating performance: Air pressure isn’t the only thing the ducts will lose if they have air leaks; they will also lose heat. The ductwork in your home runs through areas that are usually left unheated, such as crawlspaces and the gaps between walls. Heat will rapidly escape from the leaks to these colder areas, and the air from the vents will not be as warm as it should.
  • Lower heating bills: As air pressure and heating power drop, your heater will need to work harder to reach its set temperature. The more the system strains, the more it will cost you to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Duct sealing will help prevent your heating costs from soaring: air leaks can account for as much as a 30% rise in heating costs.

Any time you experience a problem with your home’s heating that might come from leaky air ducts (a drop in air flow, unexpectedly cold rooms, and high heating bills), give us a call at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We will find out the cause and help you solve it, whether through duct sealing or repairs on your heating system. Leave your concerns about heating to us.

Why Does Size Matter When It Comes to Heating Installation?

December 2nd, 2014 by Roger Thompson

There are some areas of life where “going big” is a good thing; this is not the case when it comes to your heating system. Having a system that is too small is an equal problem, although for different reasons. Properly sizing your heating system requires more than just knowing the square footage of your home, which is one of the reasons it’s important to work with trained professionals for your heating installation. Our G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., technicians bring over 30 years of experience to every job they perform, so if you are ready for a new heating installation in Marysville, call us today.

Problems from Incorrect Sizing

Having a heating system that isn’t correctly sized for your home can cause several different problems:

Too Big

When your system is too big for your home, your home can heat up too quickly. For some, this can be very uncomfortable. A second problem that can develop with a system that is too big for your home is short-cycling. Short-cycling occurs when your system turns on and off rapidly. The reason an oversized system short cycles is that it heats your home too fast. Short-cycling can cause multiple problems, including overheating and serious wear and tear to your system. Lastly, because an oversized system can operate too often, you may see your energy bills begin to climb. At the end of the day, an oversized system can cost you both money and time.

Too Small

The main problem with a system that is too small for your home is that it will have a hard time achieving your heating needs. This is because a system that is too small will not have the capacity to heat your home properly. As such, the heating system will run fairly constantly in order to meet your heating needs. This can result in serious wear and tear, premature aging and potential breakdown. Additionally, the extra amount of operation will result in greater energy usage, which will be evident in monthly energy bills.

Calculating Heat Load

The best ways to ensure that you install a heating system that fits your home is to hire a professional to calculate your home’s heat load. The factors that go into this calculation are:

  • Your home’s orientation
  • Daytime heat gain
  • Number of occupants
  • Floor plan
  • Number of rooms
  • Number and type of windows and doors
  • Square footage
  • Insulation levels

A trained professional can assist with the heat load calculation, choosing the right system for your home, the installation process and the on-going maintenance. If you need heating installation in Marysville, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.