Premier Indoor Comfort Systems LLC Blog : Archive for February, 2014

Solar vs. Geothermal: Which One Is Better?

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Here in Atlanta, there are many different ways to heat your home, including some environmentally friendly options. Geothermal systems utilize the constant temperature beneath the earth to warm you home, while solar panels can collect the energy in sunlight to provide energy for heating. Both have considerable advantages, including low monthly costs, durability and environmental friendliness. But does one have a tangible advantage of the other? Solar vs. geothermal: which one is better?

Certainly solar panels don’t provide as much energy as geothermal systems do, at least at this point in time. They need a great deal of square footage and the power supply is obviously less effective on cloudy days. However, you can tie most systems into the grid as a backup for days when you need more energy. Solar heating does well if your home’s square footage is small and your winters are mild. Solar panels also benefit from being comparatively easy to access, making it easier to maintain and repair them over time.

Geothermal systems, on the other hand,  draw on the ambient temperature of the earth, they aren’t affected by seasonal conditions, and once they’re set up, they provide regular heating with a minimal of effort. They work by running tubes of liquid underneath the ground, which circulate and facilitate a heat exchange with the surrounding earth. That makes them very efficient. Unlike solar panels, however, they require a huge amount of effort to set up, and repairs to the tubes can be very costly since they require excavation in order to treat.

Again, when pondering solar vs. geothermal, you have to keep your individual circumstances in mind. Here in Atlanta, heating options of all sorts are available, but one size does not fit all. The experts at Premier Indoor Comfort Systems have experience with a large number of heating options, and can discuss them all with you before performing a high quality installation. Pick up the phone and give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did!

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Why Won’t My Gas Furnace Work When the Power Is Out?

Monday, February 17th, 2014

When a power outage occurs, we can rely on a few systems to continue running, such as phones. However, modern gas furnaces won’t provide you with heat when the power shuts off because they contain a number of electrical components. Although this loss of heating is inconvenient, the electrical systems inside a gas furnace are important for the safe operation of the furnace: you wouldn’t want to be without them during times when the furnace is running.

We’ll explain in more detail why most gas furnaces will not work during a power outage. If you need help keeping your furnace in Swain County, NC running safely and effectively, call on Premier Indoor Comfort Systems and our trained and EPA-certified technicians.

The Electrical Side of a Gas Furnace

The main electrical system that will prevent a furnace from turning on if the power fails is the electrical igniter. These ignition systems have started to replace the old-fashioned pilot light as the method for starting the burners. They are safer and more reliable than pilot lights. (Please, please, do not try to use a match or a lighter to ignite the burners on your own if the electrical ignition goes out. This is extremely dangerous.)

A key electrical component in your gas furnace that monitors safety is the gas valve. This valve closes off the flow of gas in the main pipeline into the furnace so it will not flood the combustion chamber and risk an explosion. The valve is electrically charged when open, so if the power should go out, the valve will automatically close to prevent further gas flow. This is definitely a system you want protecting you should there be a power failure.

Two other important components that require electricity are the blower fan motor and the digital thermostat. Loss of the thermostat means you cannot control the furnace, and loss of the blower means no air will go anywhere.

What You Can Do About Your Furnace in a Power Outage

If the furnace is your only electrical concern during an outage, portable generators can hook up to the furnace to supply sufficient power to run the required electrical systems. You should consult with an HVAC technician to see how to make the connections, since generators can be fire hazards if used incorrectly.

Make certain that the electrical systems in your furnace are all working properly with regular maintenance. During an annual visit, a technician will test the electrical components in your furnace to make sure they are doing their job and keeping you safe. Call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems to schedule maintenance, or for any urgent repairs you need for your furnace in Swain County, NC.

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Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Premier Indoor Comfort Systems hope you have a wonderful February 14th!

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Warning Signs of Furnace Problems

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

We can expect more cold days ahead in Atlanta, so you should pay attention to the operation of your furnace to make sure it isn’t in need of repairs. Make sure you have necessary repairs done as soon as possible, and only rely on experienced and qualified technicians to handle the work. Call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems: we’ve been in business for fifteen years and our technicians are EP-certified and up-to-date with the latest developments in HVAC technology. We can deliver you the heating repair in Atlanta, GA that you need.

Some signs that can warn you about furnace problems:

  • Uneven heating: When a furnace begins to lose its heating effectiveness because of a malfunction, you will first notice it as cold spots in the house. The rooms the farthest from the furnace along the ductwork will not get as warm as the rest of the house, no matter how high you turn up the thermostat. This could be any number of issues, from broken heating elements (for electric furnaces), to a loss of gas flow (for gas furnaces).
  • Burning smells from the ducts: When mechanical parts in a furnace begin to wear down, they will often give off smoke or an acrid odor. When you smell this coming from the vents, it usually means one of the motors is on the verge of burning out.
  • Strange, loud noises: Contemporary furnace manufacturers design the units to operate with as little noise as possible. If anything disrupts the low hum of a furnace, it’s usually a negative sign. Grinding, groaning, rumbling, rattling, and booming can all indicate serious problems. Be especially cautious of clicking sounds from the cabinet of a gas furnace right before the blower fan comes on, since this might be due to cracks in the heat exchanger, a situation that can lead to carbon monoxide leaks.

Don’t make repair attempts on your own

However mechanically inclined you may think you are, do not try to repair a furnace on your own unless you have professional training with HVAC systems. Simply diagnosing the cause of a particular problem is too difficult, and you can end up trying to fix the wrong component. Gas furnaces are potentially very dangerous to tamper with, so put away your tool kit and instead pick up your phone and call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems for professional heating repair in Atlanta, GA.

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