Design Comfort Blog: Archive for the ‘Furnace’ Category

Why the Beginning of Spring is a Great Time for Furnace Maintenance

Monday, April 18th, 2016

One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC system maintenance is that you have to do it at a particular time of the year. This is not true: as long as you are having your system maintained on a regular basis, the time of year does not matter. However, there are certainly benefits to having furnace maintenance done near the end of the heating system. We’ve explored a few reasons why below.

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What Does That Clicking Sound from My Furnace Mean?

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Furnaces are capable of a pretty astonishing variety of sounds during operation.

Most of these are harmless, like the sound of the air handler turning on or the burners igniting. However, there are a few sounds that indicate a problem that needs repair. Intermittent or constant clicking is one of those sounds. Let’s take a look at some of the different factors that can cause clicking with your furnace.

Inducer Blower

Oil furnaces produce a lot more combustion byproducts than more common gas furnaces, including large amounts of thick smoke. For that reason, these kinds of furnaces have inducer blowers that help blow the combustion byproducts into the exhaust flue and out of the house. The blower is similar to the air handler, which circulates air around the house.

It is composed of a motor and fan, both of which can make clicking noises if they get dirty or worn down. If the fan gets a bit loose, it can cause clicking by colliding with nearby parts during operation. Generally, this is one of the least harmful problems associated with furnace clicking. Even so, you should have it checked out by a professional to make sure that everything is ok.

Air Handler Motor

The air handler motor is very similar to the inducer blower, but is installed in all kinds of furnaces. The strain of circulating so much air throughout the house is considerable, and air handler motors are outfitted with lubricated bearings to help them compensate for this strain. As the bearings wear down, however, they can produce grinding and clicking sounds.

This is a more serious problem than the inducer motor, as an air handler motor whose bearings fails can overheat and burn out. If you hear a clicking or grinding coming from your furnace, no matter what kind it is, you should turn the furnace off immediately and call a professional HVAC technician to make sure that everything is alright.

If your furnace is making a clicking sound, call Design Comfort. We provide furnace heating repair services throughout the Sandy area.

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Salt Lake City Furnace Tip: What Is AFUE and Why Should I Care?

Monday, October 29th, 2012

If you’ve been shopping for a furnace in Salt Lake City, chances are you’ve noticed that each furnace has its own annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. These generally range from 80% to the high 90% s and the higher the number, the more fuel efficient that particular furnace is.

But what does this number really mean and just how much should you care? Well, the AFUE rating should actually have a significant impact on your furnace purchasing decision, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll always choose the furnace with the highest efficiency rating either.

For one thing, you’ll have to recognize that not every type of furnace is capable of running at the highest efficiency levels. Oil furnaces, for instance, can’t compete with the super high efficiency gas furnaces on the market today. That’s not to say that an oil furnace might not be the best choice for you under certain circumstances, but it does mean that you should take a close look at your furnace usage before you make a decision.

If you do choose a gas furnace, you will of course have the option of getting one that can reach up to 97% or so efficiency. However, that may not always be the best choice either. If you live in a place where with very harsh, long winters and you’re going to be using your furnace heavily, then it’s definitely worth investing in a higher AFUE furnace that can save you considerable amounts on your monthly heating bills.

But if you don’t use your furnace too often as your area has more mild winters it’s probably not worth it for you to invest in such a high efficiency product. That’s because the higher the AFUE of the furnace, the more expensive it is to purchase and install. Certainly you’ll save money every month because you’ll be getting more heat out of the fuel you’re paying for. But if you don’t use your furnace all that much, the savings really won’t be that substantial.

Don’t forget that a furnace with an 80% AFUE rating is still quite energy efficient. And once you get up that high, you have to use your furnace a lot for the difference between 80% and 90% to really become apparent. So if you don’t use your furnace heavily during the winter, it will take you many, many years to make up for the higher purchase price of the 90+% AFUE models.

 If you have any questioning regarding furnaces in Salt Lake City, Contact us today! Over the years, Design Comfort has provided Salt Lake City with quality heating services.

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Salt Lake City Heating Tip: What Makes a Furnace High Efficiency?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

You’ve probably heard about the new lines of high efficiency furnaces being released by popular home heating companies, but what exactly is different about these high efficiency devices from your current furnace? Let’s take a closer look at what a high efficiency furnace offers and why it can save you money.

Added Features

A high efficiency furnace uses familiar technology in a new way to reduce the amount of energy lost when combustion takes place. This means:

  • Sealed Combustion – Instead of open combustion which allows heat to escape during and after the combustion process, a high efficiency furnace uses a sealed chamber with carefully measured and fed airflow to burn fuel and produce heat. Exhaust heat can then be recaptured and used to heat air transferred to your air vents.
  • Two Stage Gas Valves – With a two stage gas valve, your furnace can respond to the temperature outside. There isn’t just one “on” switch. The furnace will regulate gas flow based on how much energy is needed to produce heat for your home. So, if there is a sudden burst of cold outside, the furnace will respond accordingly, but for most days when heating needs are low, it will use only the minimum amount of needed gas.
  • Programmable – High efficiency furnaces are now programmable, meaning you can set specific time limits for operation, change thermostat settings digitally and inspect the device through an electronic read out. The level of control given to you by a programmable high efficiency furnace can greatly reduce gas or electricity consumption.

Cost Benefit

The real reason many people are interested in high efficiency furnaces is that they are so much less expensive to operate. Instead of costing hundreds of dollars to run through the winter, they operate the bare minimum needed to heat your home. Using up to 95% of the fuel they consume to produce heat and regulating gas to cut how much is consumed during milder days, these furnaces are built to save you money.

If you have an old furnace that chews through energy like nobody’s business, now might be the time to consider the benefits of a brand new, high efficiency model.

Over the years, Design Comfort has provided Salt Lake City with quality heating services. Contact us today!

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Causes of Delayed Furnace Ignition in Salt Lake City

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Delayed ignition in Salt Lake City is usually accompanied by a loud banging or booming sound that resembles a small explosion in your gas appliance. In a furnace, this can be terrifying and should never be ignored.

What Causes Delayed Ignition

Delayed ignition usually happens when you first turn on your furnace, often after a long delay between use, so usually early in the fall or late in the spring when you don’t necessarily have it on every day of the week.

What happens is moisture builds up over the course of a period of inactivity and begins to corrode the firebox in your furnace. That corrosion builds up to the point that it starts to block the ports that feed gas into the burners. When these ports get blocked, the burners down the line cannot light and when you flip the switch, they won’t light immediately.

Of course, while rust and corrosion are a risk, lint and dust can be equally problematic (and are more common if you don’t heating system maintenance properly each fall). Sulfur build up is also a possibility, as it is left behind by burning natural gas. It will appear as a layer of white on the surface of the burners or the pilot light.

When all of this happens and the ports are not cleaned properly, gas will build up in the chamber after it is turned on and, when it finally ignites, create the small boom sound. It doesn’t just sound like an explosion – it is one – and if ignored, it can become incredibly dangerous.

Solving the Problem

Delayed furnace ignition is an easy problem to avoid. All you need to do is have your furnace cleaned properly before turning it on each fall. A technician will clean the burners and ports and remove any dust, lint, rust or sulfur buildup that might block ignition and cause a delay.

When replacing your furnace, look for a device with corrosion resistant materials. You can learn more about these when it comes time to replace your furnace from a technician. Most importantly, be careful. It may be a small problem now, but if left to build up over time, that small boom can become a much larger one.  For help with this issue please call Design Comfort.

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Happy Valentine’s Day From Your Greater Salt Lake City’s HVAC Contractors!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Everyone at Design Comfort wishes you a Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine ’s Day is all about showing your appreciation for your loved ones. Whether it is your significant other, your family, or your friends, today is a great day to let them know how special they are to you. A handmade card, a bouquet of flowers, or even a simple phone call can make someone’s whole day.

If you are thinking about a big gift for your family, an upgrade to your HVAC system might not be the most romantic gift, but it is a gift that keeps on giving! An air filter will keep you indoor air clean, and a new furnace or heat pump will make your home more comfortable and lower your utility bills. Making your home cozier is something your whole family will appreciate!

Call Design Comfort to learn more about how some HVAC system upgrades improve the comfort level in your home. And to make your Valentine’s Day a little sweeter, here is a recipe for Chocolate Covered Strawberries

INGREDIENTS:

16 ounces milk chocolate chips

2 tablespoons shortening

1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.

For more details, visit allrecipes.com.

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Types of Air Filters for Salt Lake City Homes

Monday, February 13th, 2012

When choosing an air filter for your Salt Lake City home, there are many options. Each type of material is designed to capture a different type of particle to a different degree, so make sure you choose carefully based on the specific air quality problems your home has.

  • Disposable – Disposable filters are the simplest and least expensive option on the market but they are usually rated as low as 1-5 MERV and don’t last very long. These types of filters are usually designed for basic mechanical filtration to stop debris from causing problems for your furnace or air conditioner and are therefore not ideal for actual air quality improvement.
  • Fiberglass – Fiberglass filters are very common in almost all HVAC systems and are more permanent than disposable filters. They come in MERV ratings of between 4 and 12 and are highly efficient at capturing larger particles like dust, pollen and dander. These can be dangerous, however, as they fragment and can send fibers into the air.
  • Polyester – These have a higher resistance rating than most fiberglass filters and are therefore more durable against larger particles like dust and pollen. They also don’t fray like fiberglass and are more durable over time.
  • Electrostatic – Electrostatic filters have a charge to help collect dust particles and are usually made with multiple layers of polypropylene material.
  • HEPA Filters – This is a completely different category of filters and is designed to capture everything as small as 0.3 microns – well below the threshold most commonly provided by standard HVAC filters. They can be purchased for your HVAC system or as standalone filters for individual rooms.

There are a number of different filter types to maintain the air quality in your home. If you’re interested in getting the most out of your home’s air quality control system, make sure you do it with the best possible device available to your system. Contact Design Comfort if you’re not sure what options will suit you best.

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What Does a Furnace Thermocouple Do for Salt Lake City Residents?

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

In Salt Lake City modern appliances are equipped with an array of safety measures to make sure that they operate safely in your home. This includes gas furnaces, which are harmless when working correctly but can be unsafe if something goes wrong. Perhaps the most crucial safety feature of a gas furnace is the thermocouple, also called a flame sensor.

Essentially, a furnace thermocouple works as a kill switch to shut off the furnace in case the gas is not igniting, like if the pilot light is out. Here is how it works.

The thermocouple is made up of two pieces of metal which are welded together at one end, called the “hot end” because it actually sits directly in the path of the furnace flame. On the cold end, it is wired to a circuit. Under normal circumstances, when the furnace is switched on, gas flows through the line and is ignited by a pilot light, ignition spark or glow coil. The flame heats up the thermocouple, and the furnace stays on.

However, sometimes the gas may not ignite, for example if the pilot light is out or the glow coil is faulty. In these cases, if there were no thermocouple, gas would continue to flow out without being lit, creating a very dangerous, poisonous and potentially lethal situation.

What the thermocouple does is detect heat, so if the furnace is on, but the hot end of the thermocouple has not heated up, that circuit up at the cold end kills the power to the furnace so that gas cannot continue to flow out unchecked. That way, you do not have to worry about a gas leak building to dangerous levels without being aware of it.

Sometimes, the thermocouple can malfunction, causing the furnace to shut off even if the burners are working just fine. Usually that is just the result of build up on the hot end over time, which can be fixed with some sand paper or emery cloth.  If you have any questions about this please contact Design Comfort Co.

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