Premier Indoor Comfort Systems LLC Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Big Canoe’

Condensate Drain Line Freezing Problems

Monday, October 15th, 2012

As you know, the condensate produced as byproduct during normal operation of your furnace has to be drained away. It’s toxic, very acidic and has been contaminated by the normal combustion that takes place in your furnace, so you certainly don’t want it hanging around.

The typical solution is to have it drain out through a drain pipe, usually beneath the floor of your basement foundation, or down the side of your home and out through a downspout. But have you ever had your condensate line freeze up on you? That is no fun chore to deal with.

A frozen condensate line is usually caused by poor insulation. What happens is that when the temperature drops, the rate of drainage begins to slow down and the droplets begin to freeze one by one, like icicles, until the whole pipe is frozen. This creates obvious problems and can interfere with the proper heating of your home.

Usually, this just means the pipe is poorly insulated, which is a solution that can be remedied. If you have a condensate drain line that freezes anywhere other than under the foundation – for example, one the runs down the side of your home – you can try wrapping it in heat tape.

Sometimes, the best way to rectify the situation once and for all is to reroute the pipe. This can be a somewhat involved process, depending on where the drain line is. For example, if the pipe is poorly insulated because it is buried to shallow beneath the foundation, it will have to be dug up to be rerouted along a warmer path.

If you have already tried insulating the pipe with heat tape or some other solution, but the freezing problem continues to occur, then rerouting is probably your best option. For that kind of job, the average homeowner should consult with an Atlanta heating professional, as the job can get challenging and a little dangerous.

For more tips on how to keep your heating system running this winter, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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Big Canoe Heating Service Tip: Why Does My Furnace’s Pilot Light Keep Going Off?

Monday, December 12th, 2011

If you have an older furnace with a gas pilot light and it keeps going out, heating your Big Canoe home can become a frustrating process. Not only are you forced to trudge downstairs to light it every time you need heat, but you’re probably starting to worry that there is something wrong – either with your furnace or with your gas supply. Here are some possible reasons for your pilot light shutting off and what you can do about them.

  • Thermocouple – The thermocouple is used to generate electricity from the gas being burned by the pilot light to power the sensor that keeps the pilot light running. So, if the thermocouple goes bad or gets blocked in some way, the sensor won’t work properly and your pilot light won’t remain lit. Even a small problem with the thermocouple can lead to the valve closing and the pilot light going out.
  • Gas Pressure – If the gas pressure going to your furnace is too low, due to a leak, pipe problem or another appliance, the pilot light may not have enough gas to stay lit. While it is possible that the problem is not related to gas pressure, anything that affects the flow of gas into your home should be inspected by a professional. If you smell gas, leave the house and call your gas company immediately.
  • Mercury Sensor – The sensor in your pilot light that maintains the flow of gas to keep it lit can go bad. Keep in mind that these sensors almost always used to contain mercury (and often still do), so you should be careful with them. It’s best to call a professional who can replace and dispose of it properly.
  • Dirty Burners – Excess dust, lint, rust or sulfur build up can result in blockage of the burner holes. When this happens, gas will flood into the chamber but not light right away. When it does finally light, it will create a small boom or banging sound that will often put out the pilot light. Not only is this inconvenient, it is very dangerous. Fortunately, it can be avoided with annual cleanings of your furnace.

The best way to keep your pilot light lit at all times is to have someone inspect it once a year. If something happens in between, you can usually rule out cleanliness issues and call in a heating contractor to check the thermocouple and sensor.

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How Do You Measure Your Air Cleaner’s Performance? A Question from Newnan

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Your air cleaner is designed to keep your family comfortable and healthy, regardless of what contaminants make their way inside. This is important because homes these days in Newnan are sealed up tightly to minimize the loss of heating or cooling, but as a result they have poor ventilation and frequently they will suffer a buildup of excess contaminants like mold, dust, pollen and dander.

To ensure you get the best possible air cleaner for your home, there are a number of measurements available to help you in the purchasing process. Let’s take a look at a couple of those measurements and what they mean.

MERV

MERV ratings are used to measure the ability of a filter to remove dust from the air that passes through it. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter works at removing particles. The MERV rating scale goes from 1-16 with 16 being the best possible rating you can obtain from a residential (non-HEPA) grade filter. Usually, they are designed to measure things like dander, dust, smog, wood smoke, spores, bacteria and mold.

When choosing an air cleaner, it is recommended that you look for a MERV rating of at least 8, which is good enough to remove almost all common household contaminants. Higher MERV ratings (17 and up) are found in HEPA filters which are considered among the best on the market, able to remove particles as small as 0.3 microns.

CADR

This rating stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate and is a measurement of how efficiently the air cleaner delivers clean air for tobacco smoke, pollen and dust (the common measurements given for each device). This is not a measurement of the efficiency of the device, so much as the speed of it the device. So, the higher the CADR measurement for all three contaminants, the faster those particles are removed from the indoor air.

The best way to choose a device to match your needs is to look for a CADR rating of at least 2/3 of the size of the room you are cleaning. So, if you are cleaning the air of a 150 square foot bedroom, you should get a device with a CADR rating of at least 100.

When choosing a good air cleaner for your home, make sure you do your research and choose on the best possible option for the space you need to clean. MERV and CADR allow you to do this.

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Why is My Furnace Not Producing Enough Heat? A Question from Waleska

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

If your Waleska home is cold, many blame the furnace for not bringing up the warm temperatures or they blame the thermostat for not working right.

It may very well be a thermostat issue – often caused by the location of the thermostat – that is causing the problem. However, sometimes root cause is found in the furnace or ventilation system.

Your indoor environment may be contributing to a seemingly slow-moving furnace. Your furnace may be working too hard to keep up with the heat demand because of an excessive build-up of dirt or debris on the filter or around the moving parts, such as the motor or fan belt. The most obvious thing to do is to keep the airflow unobstructed and keep all working parts clean.

First of all, you should regularly check your furnace filters and if they are dirty, replace them or clean them. Disposable furnace filters are relatively inexpensive and come in a variety of sizes and media ratings (ratings determine what size media is used and its ability to trap certain sized particulate). You can buy these individually or in bulk from a number of different resources. It is a good idea to replace the filters every three-six months.

Mesh filters can be removed, cleaned and reinserted. Like replaceable filters, mesh filters should be checked on a regular basis and then cleaned at least every three months.

You can remove the access panels to your furnace and inspect the components for any build-up of dust, dirt, or debris. Using a vacuum with an extension hose usually is all it takes to clean up the area.

Other reasons for poor heating performance include dirty or blocked ductwork. The harder your furnace has to work to push air through the ventilation system, the longer it takes to bring the heat up. Make your furnace work less and keep vents clear and ductwork clean.

Finally, the reason your furnace isn’t producing enough heat may not be the fault of your furnace at all – you may have a leaky house. But that’s a whole different story.

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How to Get My Furnace Ready for Winter: A Tip from Tyrone

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

The best time to get your furnace ready for winter in Tyrone is not during the cold winter months – it is before the winter season even begins. There are several way to get your furnace ready for winter and let’s explore some of them.

First of all, check and see when you last had your furnace serviced. If it has been over one year ago, you should schedule and maintenance inspection from your local qualified heating and cooling professional. And when you make that appointment, ask about service agreements and getting on a regular maintenance schedule. Most heating and cooling contractors offer service agreement plans which include furnace and air conditioning check-ups on an annual basis.

Okay, so you know who to call for maintenance but what can you do yourself? First of all, give your furnace a little “help” by checking the vents and returns throughout the house. Ensure that there are no obstructions or blockages such as rugs, clothing, furniture, etc. You need to have unobstructed paths for your heated and return air to flow. The more congested the path, the harder your furnace will have to work. And while you’re at it, make sure your vents are open or closed, depending on how much you use your rooms. For example, if you have an extra bedroom that doesn’t need to be heated, closed off the vent or close the damper in the ductwork. The heated air will be diverted to other parts of your home where it is needed.

You can also help the airflow by vacuuming the vent cover or removing it and vacuuming any of the ductwork that you can easily get to. For a more thorough job consider calling a qualified and professional duct cleaning contractor. Many heating and cooling contractors also offer duct cleaning service, too.

Another maintenance function that you can perform is cleaning or replacing the furnace filter. Depending on the size of your home and its air quality (occupants, pets, etc.), you may want to clean or replace your air filter every one to three months. A dirty filter can restrict airflow and can put contaminants like dirt and dust right back into your air system. If you don’t know how to replace your air filter, consult the furnace owner’s manual or go online to learn more. If your furnace uses an electrostatic air filter, it will need to be removed and cleaned, either by using a hose or with soapy water and a hose. Make sure you let it dry before re-installing it.

You may also want to inspect any electrical wires around your furnace to ensure none are broken or frayed. A visual inspection should be good enough.

Once you have done what you can, let your heating and cooling professional take over from there. They are licensed and trained to inspect your furnace and ensure that it is in peak operating condition. And do it today – while everyone else is waiting.

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Is Special Insurance Required For Solar Systems? A Question From Big Canoe

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

After working the costs of installation and the potential savings of solar energy over time for your Big Canoe home, there is one more factor to include in your cost analysis: insurance. Inevitable questions surrounding the issue of insurance will arise such as whether home owner’s insurance covers your panels, if you can add coverage, and what additional insurance you might need. These are all logical and shrewd questions that you should be asking before installing a solar system in your house.

Existing Insurance

The unfortunate truth is that many homeowner’s policies won’t cover solar panels, with the logic being that the additional structure presents an additional liability. Insurance companies have expressed concerns over the solar panels overheating or that installation hardware mounted on the home creates opportunities for water to leak in.

These concerns have not been shown to be based in fact, but many companies still use them as guidelines. There is also the point of view held by some companies that because solar panels increase the potential resale value of the home, the insurance premiums should be correspondingly higher. In some cases, policies have been canceled due to the perceived increase in risk.

The most important thing is to inquire with your company regarding your current policy. Ask directly if you will be reimbursed for damage to solar panels, if they will raise your premiums, cancel your policy, and any other questions you might have.

Other Options

If you discover that your policy won’t cover solar panels, you still have some options. First of all, you can see if you can amend your policy to include your planned solar panels. If not, see if you can get a separate policy specifically for solar panels, either with your current company or another. Note that this will almost certainly be an additional expense, so you will want to account for that when figuring out costs. Fortunately, some of the more enlightened insurance companies offer discounts of up to 5% for homes that use solar power, so that may help offset the cost.

The degree of difficulty and amount of expense you must endure to insure a solar system will depend a lot on your insurance company’s philosophy and the area in which you live. The important thing is to look into these questions first in order to avoid a risky or expensive situation later.

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How to Avoid Mold Spores: A Tip From Big Canoe

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Mold is one of the single worst problems you can face as a homeowner in Big Canoe. So, how do you prevent it from appearing in the first place? Here are a few tips to help reduce the risk of mold growth and infestation in your home.

Moisture

The very first thing you should do is get rid of excess moisture in your home. Mold needs moisture to grow, so by denying it that moisture you severely reduce your mold risk. Dry your bathroom after showers, install a dehumidifier for the basement and check humidity levels in the summer for excess moisture in the air. If there are damp areas of your house that you have trouble controlling, make sure you don’t store anything there. Avoid placing boxes, clothing or anything else that could harbor mold on concrete floors or in crawlspace areas where dampness could occur.

Ventilation and Heat

If you have a finished basement, make sure it is heated properly to avoid excess moisture build up. Cool spaces in the basement can result in high levels of humidity which in turn result in mold growth. Additionally, ventilation is key throughout your house, especially if you have a moisture problem. Get fans and open windows if necessary, but keep air moving to help dry and keep dry those spaces.

Air Filtration

Having a forced air system for air conditioning or heating can result in moisture build up in your ductwork along with allergens that lead to mold growth. To avoid potential mold spores, make sure you install an air cleaner to supplement the forced air system. Get a good air filter will have a MERV rating of at least 8, although 11 is better when you are trying to avoid any potential allergy issues. Whole house air cleaners are an ideal solution here as they will capture all of the particles floating around your house.

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Is Your Humidifier too Noisy? A Tip From Gainsville

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Humidifiers are great items to add to your Gainsville home. They make it much more comfortable, especially during the winter months when hot and dry indoor air damages your skin so much. Properly humidified air also makes it easier for your indoor air cleaner to remove harmful contaminants from the air circulating through your ducts.

But along with all of their benefits, many humidifiers also make noise when they run. This is definitely something to keep in mind when first examining your home humidifier options. In general, warm mist humidifiers are quieter than cool mist models because they rely on heating to generate water vapor rather than fans. The moving parts of cool mist humidifiers are what generally create the greatest amount of noise.

However, warm mist humidifiers often make noise as well. With a warm mist model, you’re most likely to hear the gurgling sound of running or bubbling water as the humidifier heats the water in the reservoir. To a certain extent, there is no way to stop your humidifier from making some noise when it’s working, although some are definitely quieter than others.

If you are particularly sensitive to noise and want to make sure that your humidifier won’t cause you more aggravation than it’s worth, you may want to consult with an HVAC professional. A professional can give you a rundown of the types of humidifiers available and what you can expect from each of them in terms of noise.

Of course, you may also find yourself dealing with a humidifier that became noisier over time. In some situations, your best bet is to simply go out and get a new one. Many newer models are even quieter than their predecessors, so this is an attractive option for some people. But if you’re not ready to buy a replacement just yet, cleaning out your humidifier is a good step to take.

The excess noise your unit produces may just be the result of buildup around the fan creating friction. Cleaning out the buildup should reduce to normal levels. You also might just need a new fan or motor, which is often a lot cheaper than replacing the entire unit.

No matter how noisy your humidifier is, though, the benefits you gain from owning one far outweigh the cons. Do your research and look for ways to quiet your device down – you’ll be glad you have it when the humidity dips below 20% next winter.

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How Much Will I Save Switching to Fluorescent Bulbs?

Monday, July 25th, 2011

You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about how much better and more energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs are than traditional incandescent. But going through your entire house and switching out all your old light bulbs for new ones is a big job. Plus, CFLs generally cost significantly more than the average incandescent bulb. So is it really worth it to switch to fluorescent bulbs?

In fact, it is. Fluorescent bulbs use so much less electricity than their incandescent counterparts that you’ll start saving money almost immediately. The average fluorescent light bulb will save you about thirty dollars in energy costs over the life of the bulb. This might not sound like a whole lot, but think about how many light bulbs there are in your house right now. Multiply that savings times the number of bulbs you have and you’re likely to come up with a pretty big number. In many cases, you can end up paying almost 80% less to run CFLs where you used to have incandescent bulbs.

Savings Over a Lifetime

The average lifespan for fluorescent bulbs is also much longer than it is for an incandescent, meaning that you won’t have to change your bulbs nearly as often as you do now. And while they are more expensive to purchase initially, you don’t have to buy fluorescent bulbs for years at a time. Think about it this way: if you calculate the total cost of purchasing all of the fluorescent bulbs you’ll need for 7 years (the average lifespan for one of these bulbs) and compare it to the total cost of purchasing incandescent bulbs (which typically last less than a year) for that long, it’s easy to see that CFLs are the more economical choice.

In addition to their direct cost-saving power, fluorescent bulbs also have some other advantages over incandescent bulbs. For instance, they generate much less heat, meaning that your air conditioner won’t have to work so hard to keep it cool indoors during the summer. And because they last so long and use so much less energy, fluorescent bulbs are the environmentally friendly choice as well. It’s important to note, however, that these types of light bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury, so making sure you dispose of them safely and appropriately when the time comes is very important.

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How Much Can I Save with New Equipment?

Monday, July 11th, 2011

There is certainly something to be said for upgrading your current HVAC equipment to newer, more energy efficient equipment. Doing so can save you a ton of money in heating and cooling costs and it can make your home a more comfortable place in general. Of course, upgrading your equipment is a big investment, but ideally you will save enough on your monthly energy bills that it will more than make up for the initial cost of the installation.

But before you can decide whether or not it makes sense for you to upgrade, you need to know exactly how much you stand to save every month by upgrading. And that will vary considerably depending on several particulars of your situation.

For instance, you will have to take the age of your current system into account. No matter how energy efficient your system was when you first bought it, that energy efficiency has almost certainly deteriorated over time. Plus, the older your system is, the less energy efficient it probably was to start with. And the less energy efficient your current system is, the more you will save when you upgrade to a newer, more energy efficient system.

But that is not the only variable you will have to be on top of. The amount you will save monthly and annually will also have to do with how much you use your HVAC system. If you live in a rather temperate climate, you may use your HVAC much less, both in the summer and the winter.

In a case like this, the percentage you will save with an equipment upgrade will be the same as it would for someone who lived in an area with a harsher climate, but the actual dollar value will be much lower. All that really means is that it will take you longer to recoup your investment, but it may still be worth it to invest in a new system now.

You will also need to be aware of other factors that could impact the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. For instance, if your house is not well insulated, it will not matter how good your HVAC system is. You will still be paying more than you should to keep the indoors comfortable, and while investing in a new system may save you money, you will save more by taking care of your insulation problem first.

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