G & S Heating Cooling & Electric Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Furnaces’

Is Your Furnace Costing too Much to Operate?

Monday, January 4th, 2016

When you heat your home, you really should not have to do so with an impending sense of dread as you await your gas or electric bill’s arrival. While heating your home is certainly going to come at a cost of some size, excessive heating costs may indicate that there is a problem with your system. This is especially true if you are using a heater that you have used in seasons past without any such issues. Should you have any concerns regarding the cost of heating your home, give the technicians on our staff a call. G & S Heating Cooling & Electric will determine if there is a problem with your furnace in Everett, WA.

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Are Furnaces Safe Heating Options?

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

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.

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What Happens When Your Furnace Isn’t Sized Correctly?

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

If you’ve ever tried to wear an article of clothing comfortably that was either too big or too small, then you know in the end it just doesn’t work; this is the same with your heating system. Just as you need to know the correct size for your clothes, you need to know what size furnace fits in your home. Some people may wonder, could it be so bad to have a furnace that’s too big or too small? Let’s take a look.

Too Big

It may seem counter-intuitive, but bigger isn’t better when it comes to your heating system. The first problem you can encounter with a system that is too big is heating that comes on too fast; for many, this can be uncomfortable, especially with a forced-air system. This can lead to a second problem that can develop: short-cycling. Short-cycling refers to the constant turning on and off of your heating system, and with a heater that is too big, your home will heat fast and cool down fast, resulting in short-cycling. Short-cycling can create a high level of wear and tear, which can lead to malfunction; it can also lead to a significant increase in energy bills.

Too Small

The biggest problem with a heating system that is too small is that it can’t achieve the heating needs for your home. As such, the heating system can run constantly as it tries to achieve the temperature setting on your thermostat. This level of operation can lead to wear and tear, malfunction, overheating and eventual breakdown; it can also prematurely age the unit. Lastly, your energy bills may skyrocket with the additional energy usage.

Calculate for Heat Load

The best way to avoid installing a furnace that isn’t the right size is to have a professional calculate your home’s heat load. The heat load is the amount of heat your home needs in order to be comfortable. There are a number of factors included in this calculation, including your home’s orientation, insulation levels, floor plan and square footage.

If you are having trouble with your furnace in Everett, make an appointment with your G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., technician today.

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3 Common Issues with Furnaces

Friday, November 7th, 2014

If you own a furnace, it’s important to keep it in top shape in order to make sure it performs at its best throughout the heating season. In fact, now is the best time to schedule furnace maintenance in order to ensure that your unit continues keeping you warm and cozy all season long. During an annual scheduled maintenance visit, a technician will visit your home and inspect your furnace for any problems that may affect performance or efficiency. They will clean and adjust some components ad may also help you determine whether you are at risk for gas leaks.

But if your system is experiencing problems, it’s time to call a technician for repairs right away. Even if the issue seems somewhat bearable, it may cause a lot of extra wear and tear on your system, causing parts to break down, increasing your heating bills, and possibly leading to premature replacement. Call a technician right away when you notice any of the following heating issues.

  • Not Enough Heating: If you feel little heating power from your furnace, it could be due to a number of issues. For example, it could be because of a faulty fan motor, which reduces airflow through the ducts. Or it may mean your thermostat is having wiring issues or trouble with the sensor.
  • Short Cycling: Short cycling is when your system only runs for a short period of time before the cycle is complete, turning on and off too frequently. This could also be due to an issue with the thermostat or fan, or it could even indicate a dirty furnace filter.
  • Noisy Operation: A high-pitched screeching sound could indicate a problem with the blower fan belt. Loud banging noises could indicate loose parts or problems in the ducts. Or you may hear your fan run constantly, which could just be due to an incorrect thermostat setting.

In any case, gas furnace repairs are simply not a job for an amateur. Professional technicians have the tools and expertise to diagnose and repair any problem, or recommend furnace replacement when necessary. Furthermore, prompt professional repairs may make your unit run more efficiently. Remember to schedule maintenance this year, and look out for any repair needs. For more advice about heating services in Snohomish, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc.

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What is a Downflow vs Upflow Furnace?

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

There are a lot of different factors to weigh when you are picking a new furnace to install. What’s size is right for your home? What kind of fuel does it use? Should you stick with combustion or try an electric unit? What’s the AFUE rating? One important question that most overlook, however, is whether a furnace should be an upflow or a downflow furnace. Read on for a description of each, and which would best fit your needs.

Downflow Furnace

The primary difference between an upflow and a downflow furnace which direction they take in and expel air. A downflow furnace takes in cold air at the top of the unit, and expels air at the bottom. By doing this, the downflow furnace directs heat downwards towards the area that requires it. This makes downflow furnaces naturally suited to being installed in attics. They can also be installed in the upper floors of a house if you don’t have an attic.

This makes them very versatile, able to be installed in almost any type of home. The downside is that a downflow furnace is less efficient than an upflow furnace. Heat naturally rises, so the downflow furnace must constantly fight against the natural tendency of the air it’s circulating.

Upflow

An upflow furnace takes in cold air at the bottom of the unit and expels warm air upwards. This makes them more efficient than downflow furnaces, because they are working with the natural tendency of heat to rise upwards. Upflow furnaces tend to heat spaces more comfortably, since heat moves from the floor of a room upwards. This keeps the actual living area of each room more comfortable than a downflow system, which wastes heat on areas like ceilings.

The downside is that upflow furnaces have more strict installation requirements. Oftentimes you’ll need a basement to get the most out of an upflow furnace. This precludes a lot of homes in areas like the west coast.

If you are having trouble picking the best furnace for your home, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. We install and maintain heating systems throughout the Mill Creek, WA area.

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Some Reasons Why Your Furnace Burner Won’t Stay Lit

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Nothing can be more frustrating on a cold winter day than to have your furnace start to heat your home, then shut off due to the burner losing its flame. There are a few reasons why a burner won’t stay lit, and while you shouldn’t endeavor to repair a malfunctioning burner on your own, it is helpful to understand why it can happen. Your gas furnace is your main heating source, so whenever you experience problems, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., for repair. We’ve been performing heating repair for 37 years, and we bring all of this experience, knowledge and expertise to every job we have.

Reasons Your Burner Won’t Stay Lit

Here are a few reasons your burner may not stay lit:

  • Dirty flame sensor – the flame sensor is a safety component in your furnace that detects whether or not there is a flame in the combustion chamber. If this sensor is dirty, the dirt can cause the sensor to operate intermittently; when this happens, your furnace will most likely light, but because the sensor can’t properly detect whether or not a flame is present, the sensor may signal the ignition cycle to end, which will extinguish the flame.
  • Broken thermocouple – a thermocouple is a safety component that uses two different types of metal wire to measure the temperature of the flame so it can manage the gas flow to the burner. When the thermocouple senses that the flame isn’t hot enough, it shuts off the flow of gas so that your home isn’t filled with flammable gas. If the thermocouple malfunctions, it can incorrectly shut off the gas, resulting in your burner not staying lit.
  • Tripping pressure switch – a pressure switch is another safety device, mostly on newer systems, that will shut your system down if it detects the venting in your system isn’t operating correctly. Improper venting can be caused by dirty air filters, blockages or obstructions in the ductwork, or blocked registers.

Having your gas furnace work properly during winter is critical to your indoor comfort. If you are experiencing problems with your furnace, call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., and schedule service for your gas furnace in Lynnwood with one of our experts.

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The Importance of Furnace Maintenance

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Here in Seattle, furnaces are an overwhelmingly popular way to keep warm and toasty during our cold, rainy winters. The Pacific Northwest has its share of chilly days, and even the summer can get cold enough to fire up the furnace every once in a while. That’s why the important of furnace maintenance cannot be underestimated. You never know when you’ll need to call upon your furnace to perform and when you do, the last thing you want is to have it fail on you. Furnace maintenance is the best way to prevent this, as well as helping to extend the life of your furnace overall.

Maintenance isn’t the same thing as repair, which usually means addressing a very specific problem hampering your heater. Rather a maintenance session acts as a “tune up” to help the furnace perform at its best. Our Seattle furnace service technician will arrive can clean off all of the internal components: clearing away any dust or dirt that can interfere with performances. He’ll tighten any loose bolts or fittings, check the burners to see if they’re functioning and monitor the furnace while it’s running to make sure everything is ship-shape. If he spots any kind of larger problem, he can identify it, the schedule a repair session to address it formally.

The benefits of this are obvious. In the first place, it helps spot potentially large problems when they’re still small, allowing you to correct them without spending as much money. You’ll also enjoy savings on your monthly bills, since a maintenance session allows your furnace to function more efficiently. Your furnace will also last longer than it might otherwise as well, since wear and tear will be kept in check. Finally, a regular furnace session gives you peace of mind by reducing the risk of a major breakdown just when you need it the most.

For more on the importance of furnace maintenance, or to schedule a maintenance session, contact G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical Inc. We handle Seattle furnaces of all varieties and can ensure that yours stays in tip-top shape to help combat our rainy Washington winters. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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The Benefits of Proper Furnace Installation in Everett

Monday, December 17th, 2012

With a quality installation and professional maintenance there is no reason you should not be able to expect years of dependable home heating performance from your furnace in Everett. You can never expect to get the best possible performance from your gas or electric furnace if the installation is not handled by a qualified, professional service technician though. Make sure that you not only get the right furnace for your home but that you get the best service that furnace has to offer by letting G & S Heating, Cooling and Electrical handle you installation.

Having a professional Everett heating technician perform your furnace installation benefits you and your home heating system in many ways. The very first way it does so comes even before the installation itself. Chances are you are not sure just what size the furnace you need in your home should be. We can help you make the right decision. If you furnace is too small it will be prone to damage as it struggles to attain temperatures beyond its capability. If it is too large it will bring temperatures up too quickly, causing it to short cycle and experience excessive wear and tear.

When you are dealing with any type of fuel source – gas, oil, electricity or otherwise – there is always the possibility for the development of a dangerous situation in your home. It is necessary that your furnace installation be handled by a professional to minimize this risk. There is no better way to ensure the safe operation of your furnace.

Plus, having your furnace properly installed by a home heating expert is the best way to ensure that you get the most efficient performance that that furnace has to offer. Do not spend more money for a weaker performance from your home heating system. Call to schedule a professional installation today.

Get the most out of your new furnace in Everett by scheduling a proper, professional installation. G & S is glad to help. We want you to enjoy the efficient, effective heating service you deserve. Contact G & S Heating, Cooling and Electrical today.

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A Question from Green Lake: How Warm is Furnace Heated Air?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

When your furnace turns on every day and warms your Green Lake home, just how hot is the air being blown through your vents? It’s a common question and while it varies depending on the type of furnace you have and the length of your ductwork, normally, the air is about the same temperature in most homes.

The Heating Process

When you turn on your furnace, it ignites fuel (gas or oil) or heats elements (electricity). A blower fan blows air through the heat exchanger and then into ductwork that distributes the heated air to vents around your home. When the combustion occurs and air is first heated, the temperature is between 140 degrees F and 170 degrees F.

This is extremely warm and could be dangerous to anyone if they got too close to it or it was blown directly into your home. However, as the heated air is distributed into your home it starts to cool. In some cases, it loses a significant amount of its energy in the ductwork.

This is intended, of course, because the temperature would be much too high if it was distributed directly to your rooms. That’s why high velocity ductwork often requires regulation to avoid overheating of the air. Cooling like this is normal and results in a better, more evenly distributed airflow.

When Something’s Wrong

To know something is wrong with your heating system, you must first understand what temperature air normally is when distributed through the vents. This will vary depending on which room you are in and how big your home (and furnace) are. However, if you notice a sharp drop off in comfort level in your home, it takes longer to heat rooms when cold or if that heating is suddenly uneven, it may be time for someone to inspect your furnace and check for potential problems.

A technician will then check to see if the air is being heated to the target 140-170 degrees F or if heat is being lost in the air handler or ductwork. There are a number of issues that can contribute to lost heat in your heating system – the easiest way to be sure the problem is solved properly is to call a professional when you notice the problem.

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What Do the Energy Stars Indicate? A Question from Wallingford

Monday, November 21st, 2011

If you’re in the market for any type of appliance for your Wallingford home, you’ve probably come across some that boast an Energy Star certification. But what does this really mean? After all, there are all types of special labels that manufacturers put on their products to make them look better, so how can you know which ones are really worth paying attention to?

Why Energy Star Matters

The truth is that no matter what type of appliance you’re looking for, from a coffee maker to a new furnace, buying one with the Energy Star label is definitely a good investment. This certification is conferred by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and it can only be used on products that pass the EPA’s stringent tests for energy efficiency and environmental impact.

Energy Star products create fewer pollutants like greenhouse gasses because they use less energy to get the job done than their inefficient counterparts. This is great for our planet, but it also translates to savings for you as a consumer. Because Energy Star appliances use less energy to heat or cool your home or do whatever else you need them to do, your monthly bills will be significantly reduced.

Quality and Performance Measured

And you don’t have to worry about inferior performance as a result of increased energy efficiency either. Energy Star products can only receive the label if they provide all of the features you’ve come to expect from comparable products across the board. They need to maintain high energy efficiency ratings while still maintaining a superior level of performance.

While it’s true that you may wind up paying a bit more for an Energy Star product, that is only a one-time cost. If you compare the monthly savings you’ll receive by using your Energy Star appliance on a regular basis to what you would pay out over time with a less efficient model, it’s easy to see how the Energy Star product costs you less.

For all of these reasons, the Energy Star rating is definitely worth looking out for when shopping for home appliances and equipment. These products are made to be reliably energy efficient and can save you a ton over the years as long as they’re properly cared for.

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