Archive for January, 2015

Furnace Problems Due to a Clogged Air Filter

Friday, January 30th, 2015

It is often the smallest and most subtle things that cause the biggest problems, especially when it comes to home heating systems. If not properly maintained, there are a hundred different ways that small parts can cause big problems for your furnace. Let’s take a look at one of the most important, though unassuming, parts of the furnace: the air filter.

What is the Air Filter?

The air filter is a fiber mesh stretched over a frame, and installed in the air return duct of your furnace. It is designed to protect your furnace from any dust and debris that might blow in from the ducts, while still allowing air to travel freely through the system. It does this job remarkably well. However, the air filter does need to be cleaned or replaced every 1-3 months in order to prevent it from becoming clogged with all the particulates that it captures. If this is not done, it can lead to some pretty severe issues with your furnace.

Clogged Air Filter Problems

The biggest problem with a clogged air filter is that it doesn’t allow air to pass through it anymore. This lack of cool air flowing into the furnace does two things. First, it prevents the furnace from actually warming air and circulating it throughout the house. Second, it traps all of that heat that the furnace is producing inside the furnace itself. That trapped heat raises the temperature inside the furnace significantly, which will quickly trip the furnace’s limit switch and shut the system down as a safety measure.

After the furnace temperature has dropped sufficiently, it will start up again in response to the thermostat’s continuing calls for heat. That will trip the limit switch again, which will shut off the furnace again. This constant on/off cycle is called “short-cycling” and severely limits the lifespan of your furnace by putting it under far more strain than it is designed to handle. It can also lead to other issues, like a cracked heat exchanger.

If you haven’t had your air filter cleaned in more than 3 months, call Comfort Central, Inc. We provide quality furnace repair services throughout the Brevard area.

Repairs That Radiant Heating Systems May Need

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

The kinds of repairs you may see with a radiant heating system will depend at least partly on the kind of radiant heating system you have. There are two ways in which radiant heating can heat your home: via electricity or via hydronics (hot water). The best way to review the kinds of repairs you may see with either system is to look at each system individually.

Electric Radiant Floor Heating

Electric radiant floor heating consists of either electric cable set into cement or installed directly to subflooring or electrically-conductive matting through which the electric cable is weaved through electrically-conductive plastic matting, and the matting is installed directly to subflooring. A couple of the more common repairs you can see with electric radiant heating are:

  • Cold spots – if some part of the electric cable in the radiant heating system fails, it can result in cold spots on the floor. The cable may have sustained damaged or simply worn out, but it will likely need to be replaced in order to restore heat to that section.
  • Electrical overload – your electrical box may need to be upgraded in order to accommodate the electrical needs for the radiant heating. If it isn’t, you may experience tripping circuit breakers that won’t allow electricity to flow for your heating.

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

A hydronic system heats by using a boiler to heat water that will travel through PEX tubing as either hot water or steam; this hot water or steam then releases heat as it travels through the PEX tubing. Common problems that can ensure are:

  • Problems with the boiler – boilers are durable, but at some point your may need repair. If the boiler isn’t working properly, your radiant heating won’t work properly.
  • Issues with the circulating pumps – the circulating pumps are the mechanisms responsible for pushing the hot water from your boiler through the tubing; circulating pumps can malfunction due to broken seals or a build-up of mineral deposits.

Radiant heating repairs don’t have to be big, scary problems, especially when your heating repair service in Hendersonville is handled by the experts at Comfort Central, Inc. Having a problem with your radiant heating? Call us today!

The Risks of Amateur Heating Repairs

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

So you’re trying to save a little money in the new year, when all of a sudden, an unexpected heating repair leaves you without any heat in the home. You may feel that calling a contractor is too much of a drain on your budget, so you look up guides and advice on the internet to try and diagnose and repair the problem yourself. Whether you’re setting out to attempt repairs on your own or you’re enlisting the help of a family member with little experience, it’s important to note that amateur heating repair in Asheville can risk your home’s safety and may have unsatisfactory results.

Safety

One reason to avoid amateur repairs and installation is the potential risk to your safety. Furnaces run via the natural gas line, which means that there is always a chance of gas leaks. While modern furnaces contain safety switches that keep gas from potentially entering your home, an untrained repair person may be unsure of how to monitor these features or how to make repairs in the safest manner possible.

Efficiency

If your heating repair is not completed using the proper methods, you may notice that your energy bills continue to go up. When one part of your heating system is not working properly, the other parts all have to work harder to compensate, which means that you end up paying a lot more every month. This may be true if your amateur repair person selected the wrong sized component or even if there are loose screws or small air leaks in the system.

Comfort

Finally, with amateur heating repairs you risk reducing your home comfort. A heating system that is not properly repaired is likely to perform poorly, giving off too little heat or reduced heating in certain areas of the home. A trained professional is able to test the system for any further problems and repair all parts of the unit that must be addressed for proper operation. If not, you risk a heating system that breaks down far sooner than its expected lifespan.

Call Comfort Central, Inc. for quality service on boilers, furnaces, and heat pumps by professionals with years of experience with heating in Asheville, NC.

Why Are Newer Furnaces More Efficient Than Older Ones?

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

When you get a new cellular phone, you may be excited to show your friends and family how much better it works than the older one. Your older phone may have been slow to run, offered very little storage, and had a run-down battery. But the new phone may use a totally different operating system and come equipped with a battery that lasts longer than any you’ve ever seen. When you install a new furnace, especially if your old standing gas pilot model was decades old, you’ll notice immediate energy savings and better performance, and you may even end up bragging to your friends.

Let the technicians at Comfort Central, Inc. help you select a new furnace that runs better and more efficiently than any you’ve had before.

If your furnace is nearing the end of its lifespan, you may have noticed decreased efficiency over time. Sure, your furnace has always cost a lot of money to run, but now that it’s in desperate need of replacement, you’re noticing even higher utilities. This is to be expected, as the components of a furnace tend to wear down over time, which means they become overworked. A brand new furnace will have new parts so that the unit runs in top condition.

In fact, your new furnace will probably run much more efficiently than your old one did even when it was brand new. Older furnaces have an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) of about 50-60%, meaning they only use about half of the energy they require to run to actually heat up a home. Newer furnaces are required to have an AFUE of over 80%, which means a large majority of the energy utilized goes towards heating the living space.

So what technology brought on this change? For one, newer furnaces have advanced mechanical parts. But also, the new ignition systems used in gas furnaces, chiefly an intermittent pilot and hot surface ignition. With these types of ignition systems, the pilot light does not need to remain lit throughout the day, only when the heating cycle begins. So you don’t have to worry about throwing away natural gas throughout the day.

Call Comfort Central, Inc. to learn more and ask a technician about installing a new efficient furnace in Black Mountain.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at Comfort Central, Inc. hope you have a great start to the year and a, uhm, fruitful 2015.