Premier Indoor Comfort Systems LLC Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Furnaces’

Signs That Your Furnace Is in Trouble

Monday, January 28th, 2019

furnace-technician-flashlightNo, Atlanta is not setting any national records for low winter temperatures. No, this does not mean that you don’t have to worry about keeping your heater in great operating condition. We may not get nailed with snow or subzero temperatures like they do up in the northeast, but it gets more than cold enough to necessitate the use of a good heater in our homes. That is why you need prompt home furnace repair in Atlanta when something goes wrong.

Because we don’t rely on our furnaces all that much, it can be easy to overlook potential problems with the system. That is going to become a major issue when you really do need your furnace, though. That “minor” issue that you ignored or overlooked previously may be the straw that breaks the furnace’s back when it goes into heavy rotation. With that in mind, we’ll use our post today to discuss some common red flags that furnaces may be in need of repair.

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How Much Electricity Does a Gas Furnace Use?

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Did you know that electricity is necessary for several important tasks as part of the more efficient gas furnaces? Gas is the fuel that heats the air that warms your Bryson City home, but electricity is the spark that lights the gas.  The flame is not roaring all the time or just ignites spontaneously.

A low voltage electric signal from the thermostat opens the valve that controls the amount of gas flow and therefore the flame.  A solenoid coil in the valve senses gas and ensures flame to prevent an explosion or leakage, then opens wide to let the heating begin and shuts down when the desired temperature is reached.

All that heated air must be moved through the ductwork and distributed room to room to create the comfort and this is done by a motor-driven fan which is the largest use of electricity in a gas furnace.  The motor turns on and shuts down according to the relationships between flame, heated air and the thermostat setting.

Known as a draft inducer, a second fan is employed to remove the toxic fumes that are the residue of the burned gas.  These fumes which can be deadly are usually pushed through a PVC pipe to the exterior and released safely into the atmosphere.

The amount of electricity used to ignite the flame is very small, phased through a low-voltage impulse wire, nearly too small to even show on your meter.  Most of the electrical energy contributing the critical role of powering the two fans in gas furnaces adds up typically to less than 600 watts at any given time or about the same as a few light bulbs.

While gas furnaces are much more efficient and less costly than any kind of electric heat, they are not very useful without that little bit of electrical help.

Call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems today if you need furnace repair in the Bryson City, NC area!

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What Is Electronic Ignition?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Gas furnaces are very complex pieces of equipment to have in your Mableton home. Modern ones in particular are designed to use as little gas as possible, and to recapture as much of the heat generated from burning that gas as can be done safely. One of the many safety and energy-efficient advances in furnace technology in the least twenty years is the electronic ignition.

The Purpose of Electronic Ignition

In older furnaces and boilers, a pilot light would stay lit continuously whenever the heating system needed to be available. That meant continuously burning gas throughout the fall, winter and spring months for those times when heat was needed. It was inefficient and unsafe, especially in older devices that didn’t have safety valves.

Today, furnaces are built with electronic ignitions – small devices that only ignite the gas supply when the thermostat is on. there are two types of electronic ignition used in boilers and furnaces today.

  • Intermittent Pilot – An intermittent pilot is unique in that it releases a spark through an electronic component to the gas pilot, lighting the gas burners.
  • Hot Surface Ignition – Hot surface ignition uses an electronic filament (like a lightbulb) to heat up and ignite the burners when the thermostat calls for heat.

Both devices are designed to use a very small amount of electricity and reduce the amount of gas needed for continuous operation of your furnace.

 Safety Benefits of an Electronic Ignition

While gas efficiency was a big part of the transition from pilot lights to electronic ignition, safety was an equally big component. Whereas before, the pilot light was continuously lit, meaning gas was continuously flowing into the furnace, today’s furnaces are essentially off when not in use. This means less of a chance that gas will flow unburned or that the pilot will get dirty or burn too soft, releasing carbon monoxide.

If your furnace still uses a traditional pilot light, consider having it upgraded to electronic ignition, not just to save gas but to keep your home and family safer. If you have any questions about your heating system, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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A Question from Mableton: What Is a Gravity Furnace?

Friday, December 9th, 2011

A long time ago, gravity furnaces were a very popular means of heating a home. Instead of pressurizing and blowing air through vents to each room of your Mableton home, a gravity furnace used gravity to move warm air between rooms.

The operation of these furnaces is pretty simple. When turned on, the furnace, which is located in your basement, burns fuel like gas or oil and produces heat. That heat is vented through ductwork to the top level of your home using the natural properties of gravity (hot air rises). The hot air exits vents as it travels up in the home and releases heat into the room.

Why to Replace a Gravity Furnace

While gravity furnaces can work nearly forever and have very few mechanical problems, they are incredibly expensive to operate and take up a lot of space. Due to the sheer volume of ducts needed to distribute air throughout your home and the cost of heating enough air to ensure it rises properly, you’re dealing with a heating efficiency of 50% or lower.

In fact, about half the energy you consume to heat air in a gravity furnace gets pumped straight out through the chimney. It’s a complete waste of money and a replacement will start saving you money almost immediately.

Newer furnaces have efficiency ratings of up to 95% which makes them nearly twice as efficient as gravity furnaces. Additionally, they take up less space and with modern components, you can install newer devices like zone controls, electronic readout and display and more. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy steady, reliable heat in your home without having to invest a fortune in the fuel needed to operate it.

Comfort Matters

Another thing to consider is the comfort level of your home. Because gravity furnaces release warm air through the middle of the house and cold air comes back down along the walls, homes that have them are rarely comfortable except in the middle of the house. Forced air furnaces with blower fans are much more efficient at distributing heated air and matching the thermostat settings you select.

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A Guide from Hampton: What to Expect in a Low, Medium or High Efficiency Furnace

Monday, December 5th, 2011

When buying a new furnace for your Hampton home, you have many options. You can purchase a low end model to save money up front and you’ll still get exceptional fuel efficiency, but as you go up the scale, more innovative, money saving features become available. Here is a brief look at what you can expect based on which type of furnace you purchase.

Low Efficiency Furnace

This is a bit of a misnomer as even entry level furnaces have efficiency ratings of at least 80%. For comparison, if you’re still using an old gravity furnace, your efficiency rating could be lower than 50%. Modern furnaces are built to conserve, and while you won’t receive all of the bells and whistles that tend to accompany high efficiency models, you will get a durable, affordable furnace that will last for quite a while.

Medium Efficiency Furnaces

Furnaces in the mid-efficiency range have AFUE ratings of between 85% and 92% and are therefore significantly better than those in the entry level range. They also have some of the higher end features available in high efficiency models like programmability and the option for zone control. Because they are still mid-range, they are affordable without skimping too much on features too – a must for any homeowner wanting to save money on both ends.

High Efficiency Furnaces

The highest efficiency furnaces on the market are very different from those you would have purchased even just 10 years ago. Top end furnaces can carry AFUE ratings of up to 95% with a boat load of added features to conserve energy. These features include two stage gas valves so you can maintain a low BTU heating system for most of the year but crank up the heat when the temperature outside drops too low. They are also programmable, which allows you to easily change the temperature settings, fan speed and more from anywhere in the house.

And while they cost more to install, high efficiency furnaces use less energy over their lifespan, last longer and are more environmentally friendly than any other furnaces on the market today.

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What is Forced Air Heating? A Question from Atlanta

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Chances are that you’ve heard the term forced air heating before, particularly if you’re in the market for a new home heating system in Atlanta. But what does that actually mean? The truth is that if you’re asking this question, you’re not alone. There are so many types of home heating systems out there that it’s common to be a bit confused and overwhelmed by it all.

The truth is that a forced air heating system is simply a heating system that distributes heat throughout your house using air to carry it. In this type of system, heated air travels through a system of ducts and is expelled through vents into the different rooms and areas of your home in order to maintain a particular temperature. That temperature, of course, is whatever you set your thermostat to, and when the desired temperature is reached, the heat will shut off until the temperature drops down again.

The main difference between the different types of forced air heating systems is the type of equipment that heats the air. For instance, you could have a gas furnace or an electric one. Both of these are capable of heating air, and when paired with a fan, blower or air handler, can distribute heated air throughout your home.

Many forced air heating systems are remarkably energy efficient and can effectively keep you home comfortable all winter long. Additionally, they are generally made to be incorporated with central air conditioning systems for year round temperature control. Heat pumps are especially convenient in this way, as they’re able to both heat and cool your home depending on the season and your home comfort needs.

Particularly if you already have ductwork in place or if you’re choosing a heating system for a new construction home, it can make a lot of sense to opt for some type of forced air heating. However, if you’re looking to replace an existing heating system in a house that doesn’t already have ductwork in place, the need to put it in can add a lot to the overall installation costs of the system.

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How a Furnace Works: A Guide from Waleska

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Do you know how your furnace works? Believe it or not, lots of Waleska homeowners probably can’t explain the operation of furnace. It probably isn’t at the top of your “to do” list. It’s only important to know that once you set your thermostat to a desired temperature, the furnace comes on and warms the house.

When the temperature in your home falls below the level set on the thermostat, an electric pilot light automatically ignites to heat a burner inside the furnace. This burner uses gas to generate heat within a combustion chamber inside the furnace. After the furnace senses that the thermostat has triggered the flame and that it is properly lit, the actual spark (or ignitor) is turned off.

Simultaneously, a motor in the furnace pulls in air from an exchange or return, which could be a grill in the floor, ceiling, or wall of a house. That air flows through ducts into the plenum of the furnace. The plenum is on the opposite side of the heat exchanger from the burner.

Gas will typically burn for at least two minutes before the blower starts to disperse heat throughout your home. This extra time gives the air an adequate period of time to warm up and also so that cold air won’t be pushed through the vents into the rooms in your house at the start. After either the preset time (roughly two minutes) or pre-established temperature is reached, the blower’s motor is turned on and it blows air over the heat exchanger, which usually consists of a series of copper tubes or pipes. When a fan blows air onto the heat exchanger, the air is heated. This heated air is then blown through a series of ducts to heat your home via vents in the floor, walls or ceiling. Exhaust fumes from the combustion process exit the furnace through a gas flue or chimney.

Just as the heat in your home turns on when a certain temperature is reached, it also turns off after the rooms are warm enough, thanks to your thermostat. The thermostat again senses the temperature in the room. When the room warms up to the temperature set by you at the thermostat, the gas valve is switched off, stopping the flow of gas. After the gas is turned off, the blower motor will still run for a few minutes, allowing the heat exchanger to cool off a bit. In some furnaces, the blower motor never shuts off, but operates at low speed to keep air circulating throughout your home.

In a nutshell, your thermostat is the brain in your heating system and your furnace is the brawn, doing most of the work.

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