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

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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What Is a Downflow vs. an Upflow Furnace?

Monday, October 8th, 2012

When you go looking to buy a furnace in Lawrenceville, you may well be surprised by how many different elements go into making a good purchasing decision. There are simply so many different kinds of furnaces available now and they each are more appropriate for certain situations. That means that finding the one that’s right for you is less about finding the one best unit than it is about finding the one that is the best match for your particular circumstances.

This applies to the type of fuel the furnace uses, its energy efficiency, and whether it’s an upflow furnace or a downflow furnace. Energy efficiency and fuel types are probably things that you’re more or less familiar with. But what are we talking about when we classify a furnace as an upflow or downflow model?

Well, it’s pretty much what it sounds like. These terms refer to the direction the air flows as it is taken in and heated by the furnace. So in an upflow furnace, the cool air is taken in at the bottom, warmed, and then expelled at the top. A downflow furnace, on the other hand, takes in cool air at the top and expels heated air at the bottom.

It may still not be obvious what impact this will have on your decision about what type of furnace to buy. The main thing you’ll have to think about when you’re deciding between an upflow and a downflow furnace is where the furnace will be placed in your house.

An upflow furnace is generally installed in the basement so that the heated air is directed towards the parts of the house you want cooled and so that the furnace can be appropriately vented outside of the house. On the other hand, a downflow furnace would be installed in your attic for the same reasons.

So where you want to have the furnace installed is probably the biggest thing to take into account as you’re comparing these two types of equipment. Of course, whether you pick an upflow or a downflow furnace, you’ll still have to select the appropriate AFUE, size and fuel source to best meet your needs. But making the choice between upflow and downflow can at least make it easier to narrow down your options.

For any help you need with installing a new furnace in Lawrenceville GA and the surrounding area, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call today!

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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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Does Solar Make Sense in a Cloudy Area?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

There is a longstanding myth that if you live in a cloudy area you can’t use solar panels because, after all, you cannot see the sun very often. However, the truth is a lot more complicated and thankfully for you it means that solar panels are in fact very useful in such areas.

First, the Science

Solar panels are designed to absorb ultraviolet (UV) rays which are what carry the light we see during the daytime. However that light is not the actual energy being absorbed by the panels. While we may see a ray of ‘sunlight’ as a single entity, it is actually very complex. The light itself may be partially blocked by the clouds, but the UV rays that your solar system needs to generate electricity still get through even on the darkest of days.

Of course, efficiency can drop on cloudy days, but for the most part, what is important is the number of hours of daylight, not the intensity of that daylight. Another thing to consider is that solar panels are actually more efficient when it is cold outside so cloudy environments that tend to be colder offset much of whatever energy loss they have due to lower daytime high temperatures.

Why the Difference Doesn’t Matter

The real issue in terms of solar generation is the number of hours of daylight averaged throughout the year. The longer the day, the more sunlight exposure your panels get and the more electricity they generate. Fortunately, most people have the option of staying attached to the power grid.

Unless you live in a rural area with no power grid nearby, you can simply remain attached and when the winter months roll around, pull electricity from the grid. Better yet, you can supply electricity to the grid during the summer months when you produce excess electricity (and yes, you will do that!) and have a credit on your account that allows you to get free electricity in return in the winter.

If you have any questions about whether or not a solar system will work with your Riverdale home, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call!

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What to Know Before Going Solar

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

If you’re preparing to make the leap to solar power for your Peachtree City home, there are a few things you need to know. From the cost of installation to the maintenance needs of that solar system and the amount of energy you can expect to pull out of the sun’s rays on a cold, wintery day, you’ll want to be prepared for whatever you’ll be up against.

Cost and Maintenance

The cost of solar panels has dropped quite a bit in recent years. In fact, the cost per watt is down to less than $8 and in some cases, can be as low as $5 due to state and federal rebates for using solar power. Maintenance costs are also low if you consider the fact that solar systems are self-sustaining and only need to be checked as often as your electrical system. The lifespan of these systems is also very long, up to 25 years in most cases.

Dependability in Bad Climates

While it is true that you will get a better return from solar panels in southern states like Arizona or in higher elevations where exposure is greater, most solar systems are very dependable. Because you can wire your system into the power grid, you can offset the low times with peak performance in the summer. Most people won’t even use all of the electricity they generate during long summer hours (especially when on vacation!) so they can make it up in the winter.

Hot Water and Heating

Most people picture photovoltaic panels when they think of solar power, but you can get an equal number of benefits from solar panels for your hot water or heating system. These passive solar systems are even less expensive than PV electrical systems and recuperate their costs in under 10 years in most cases.

Solar power is highly efficient, clean and increasingly affordable for any homeowners. If you are getting ready to make a major upgrade to your electrical or heating system, consider the benefits that are to be had with solar panels.  For more information about getting solar for your home, give Premier Indoor Comfort Systems a call!

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Five Ways to Save Heat That You Might Not Have Considered

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Finding new ways to lower the heating bills for your Riverdale home is always a challenge. Maybe you’ve already insulated and sealed every crawlspace and crack, or you might have recently upgraded that old furnace, but there are always other ways to reduce heat loss in the winter.

Here are five ways to conserve heat that you might not have considered.

1. Insulate Recessed Light Fixtures

While recessed light fixtures save space and give you more control over lighting and design, such as task lighting in kitchens, they can be a hidden source of heat loss. Feel around your recessed lighting fixtures to see if there’s cool air or a draft. If you do, they could need more insulation. However, you have to be extremely cautious about what type of insulation you use around electrical wiring and fixtures. Check with the manufacturer, or call an electrician if you aren’t sure what  type of insulation to use.

2. Insulate Water Heater Tanks

Part of your heating bill each month goes to heating the water in your home. Whether you have a gas, electric, solar, or hybrid hot water heater, every water heater tank has an R-value that determines how much heat it loses. If you have a low R-value, your tank may need more insulation. Check your owner’s manual for the R-value of the model you own, but the general rule is that if the tank is warm when you touch it, you may need to buy a “jacket” for your water heater. These are fairly inexpensive, easy to install, and can be found relatively anywhere you buy insulation.

3. Open Curtains on South End

The southern end of your home will get the most sunlight in the winter. If you have curtains or blinds on your windows or doors, leave them open during the day, and make sure you close them at night. Opening them will help warm up the home naturally during the day, and closing them will help keep the cold air out and warm air in at night.

4. Storm Windows and Doors

Many homeowners know they have the option of upgrading old doors and windows that leak air, but not everyone can afford to upgrade all the doors and windows at once. You can also install storm windows and doors to help reserve heat. Before you start comparing prices, remember to measure, since measurements will affect the cost.

5. Close Fireplace Flue

Whenever your flue is open, you are losing large amounts of heat. Close the damper if the fireplace or chimney is not being used. You can also consider upgrading to a more air tight damper.

You can always call Premier Indoor Comfort Systems whenever you have questions about lowering your heating costs for your Riverdale home.

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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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Hydronic vs. Forced Air Systems: Some Pointers from Riverdale

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Both hydronic and forced air heating systems can serve you well depending on the specifics of your Riverdale home and your household heating needs. Certainly each of these types of home heating systems has advantages and drawbacks, but there is really no clear cut answer about which is better. All you’ll be able to determine is which one is best for you.

While current discussions about hydronics have come to focus on the applications for in floor radiant heating, this category of heating systems is actually much broader than that. Really, all the term hydronics means is that the system uses water to carry the heat throughout the house instead of air. This is what traditional radiators always did, and these types of systems are certainly still perfectly appropriate for certain types of homes.

Particularly if your home doesn’t already have ductwork installed, hydronic heating might be the best option for you because it doesn’t require ducts to get the job done. All you’ll need to have installed are pipes to carry the water to different parts of the house. These pipes are much easier than ducts to install and take up much less space overall.

If you’d like to include radiant floor heating as part of this system you’re certainly able to. However, using only this type of heating to heat your entire house is not particularly efficient or practical. Radiant flooring is particularly useful in basements because no matter how warm the air in the room is, the floor in these areas will still be cold.

However, if you do already have ducts installed in your home, it may make perfect sense for you to have a forced air heating system installed. While there are sometimes problems with the evenness of the heating experience that you get with these types of heating systems, proper installation of a high quality system can usually mitigate those types of issues.

Forced air heating systems are also convenient because they are made to work in concert with many types of central air conditioning systems. If you have hydronic heating and think you’d like to have a central air conditioning system as well, you’ll either have to install multiple window or wall units or have ducts put in anyway.

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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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What to Do About Cool Spots: A Tip From Peachtree City

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Sitting on your couch watching TV in your Peachtree City home should be an enjoyable experience, especially after a long day at the office. But, if your air conditioner deposits an abnormally high volume of cold air directly onto your couch, making you shiver despite the 90 degree heat outside, you may have a cool spot.

Cool spots are an unfortunate side effect of modern air conditioning technology. They occur when HVAC systems are improperly sized or ductwork is improperly installed. Other factors like insulation, vent configuration or window placement can also contribute to the presence of a cool spot (and possibly some hot spots). So, what can you do about it? There are a few options, starting with a quick inspection of the space.

Checking for Common Problems

Your inspector will check a number of things. Most importantly, they’ll measure the size of your HVAC system and compare it to the dimensions and particulars of your house. Usually, in the case of cool spots, the problem is directly related to an oversized system. When it turns on, even for a few minutes, it produces more cold air than is necessary, flooding your home with cooling. The thermostat recognizes this and the system shuts off soon after turning on. As a result, you’ll feel fluctuation between cold and warm as the system fails to properly condition the space.

Modern systems are sized for your house at 100% capacity. So, when the system turns on, it should stay on for a substantial period of time, keeping your home cool. Turning off and on frequently is bad for the system and wastes energy (plus it produces those pesky cool spots). Keep in mind that hot spots can also occur if the system isn’t powerful enough.

Your inspector will also look for vent placement and duct configuration. Improper placement of vents can lead to pooling of cool air that creates cool spots. By checking for potential problems in the layout of your HVAC system, an inspector can determine if new vents or ducts are needed to solve the problem.

Fixing the Cool Spots

For now, you may just want to move to another part of the house. Cool spots rarely affect the entire space – they tend to cluster around vents and outlets and can usually be fixed by resizing or adjusting your system. However, only your contractor can tell you for sure what the best solution will be for your air conditioning issues so make sure to schedule an inspection.

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