Air Mechanical, Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Furnace’

Is Ignoring Furnace Repairs a Safety Hazard?

Monday, February 19th, 2018

furnace system venting outdoorsIf we’re talking about damaged ductwork or a loose component that needs adjusting, then no, you aren’t in any danger—although we can’t say the same for your heating system, as even the smallest problem can grow into a bigger one if left ignored for too long.

Hopefully, you had maintenance performed before winter began, to ensure that your system was fully inspected, adjusted, and cleaned to enable peak performance. If so, you likely have nothing to worry about. There is, however, one Andover, MN furnace repair that should never be ignored, and that you’re at risk of experiencing if your gas-powered furnace isn’t properly cared for. And that’s a cracked heat exchanger.

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End-of-Season Furnace Tune-Ups You Shouldn’t Skip

Monday, February 20th, 2017

natural-gas-furnace-burnerThink your heater is just about ready for retirement for the season? Think again. We’ve still got quite a bit of winter ahead of us, and the spring can be rather chilly as well. There are some maintenance and tune-up steps you should take even now to ensure your heater continues to work at its best.

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Why Won’t My Furnace Turn On?

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Your furnace runs in cycles. After it heats up the home within a target range, it shuts off, only to start up when temperatures in the home start to fall again. So if temperatures are falling lower and lower—68°, 67°, 66°—and they’ve passed the thermostat settings, you should become concerned.

The worst thing that can happen with your furnace—aside from a potential safety issue—is that it won’t turn on at all, and you need to act fast. Below, we explain why it may be happening, along with the DIY fixes and what you should always leave to professionals.

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Prepare Your Furnace for the Holidays

Monday, November 21st, 2016

This holiday season, don’t let problems with your furnace keep you from enjoying a family meal. Make sure your furnace is in the best shape possible, and you can prevent sudden breakdowns (and improve efficiency, too!). Learn more about how to prepare your furnace for Thanksgiving and the holiday season to come in this guide, and call our technicians for more helpful advice.

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How Does a Furnace Work?

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Most homeowners have a furnace inside of their homes, a heating system that often uses natural gas (although it may use electricity or oil) to heat up the air and send it throughout the home. But because the furnace itself tends to be out of your sight, you might not think much about how it operates. Curious about how a furnace keeps you warm? Get the basics below!

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Why Replacing Your Boiler in Ramsey May Be Worthwhile

Friday, January 31st, 2014

The boiler is one of the two great workhorses of the home heating world. (The other one is the furnace.) They have stayed around for so long because… well, they have the ability to stay around for a long time. Boilers have a longevity that few heating systems can match, and they need fewer repairs than furnaces or heat pumps do because they have fewer mechanical parts. With proper maintenance done annually, a boiler can last over 20 years.

But at some point, your boiler in Ramsey, MN will require replacement. Here are some reasons that you might consider doing this. Call Air Mechanical, Inc. to help you make the decision, and to receive a quality installation for your new boiler.

Reasons to replace your boiler

  • The current one is losing energy efficiency: Take a look over your heating bills for the last two years. Has the cost of heating your home gradually risen? If you have kept up with regular maintenance and whatever repairs are necessary, this rise in heating costs is probably because your boiler has aged to the point that it is no longer energy-efficient and must work harder to reach its former level.
  • You want to take advantage of newer, high-efficiency boilers: During the time you’ve lived with your current boiler, many new advances in HVAC technology have increased boiler efficiency. New boiler models use more effective heat exchangers to rapidly transfer the heat from the combustion gas to the tank, resulting in reduced heat loss. You could save around 10% from your annual bills with the switch to a newer model.
  • You wish to avoid an abrupt break down: In general, you want to “pre-emptively” replace an aging boiler, not wait for it to permanently break down and leave you in the cold. You can arrange for the new installation during a more convenient, preferably warmer, time.

You may also consider replacing your boiler with a different type of system: radiant heating, which also uses hydronic power, is an attractive alternative. Consult with your installation technicians for advice about how best to proceed with new heating for your home.

When you decide to replace your boiler in Ramsey, MN, make your first call to Air Mechanical, Inc. Make sure that you enroll in our maintenance program as well so your new boiler lasts as long as your old one. Since 1985, Air Mechanical, Inc. has been a top choice for heating, cooling, and plumbing in the 7-county Metro Area.

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Why Is My Furnace Making a Strange Noise?

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

If you have a furnace in Andover, MN, you don’t want it to fail during one of our harsh cold winter days. If your furnace starts making unusual noises, it might be a warning sign of trouble. You probably know what sounds to expect from your furnace when it’s operating normally, so anything out of the ordinary needs your attention. If your furnace requires repairs, turn to the professionals at Air Mechanical Inc. We’ve serviced heating troubles since 1985 with our large and skilled staff, and can service your furnace in Andover.

Here are some reasons your furnace might have started to make odd noises:

Dirt build-up: If too much outside contamination gets into a furnace (usually because of problems with the air filter), it can damage the working parts and make it noisier. Dirty gas burners will cause a low rumbling noise. Ball bearings that need more lubrication will create a high-pitched squeal. The furnace will probably require a thorough cleaning, and the filter will need to be changed.

Failing motors: If a motor is overworked and has not received proper maintenance, it can start to burn out. If you hear a humming noise from your furnace, it could be a motor that is about to die—leaving you with a non-functioning heater. Get a professional in right away to find out if the motor is the culprit and needs replacing.

Gas leaks: If you have a furnace powered by natural gas, pay special attention to any rattling sounds coming from it. This might indicate a carbon-monoxide leak due to cracks in the heat exchanger. This is an urgent issue and needs an HVAC technician to remedy it immediately.

It is very important that you do not attempt repairs on a furnace on your own unless you have expertise in HVAC technology. Furnaces are complicated machines, and tampering with them can lead to electric shocks or exposure to hazardous fumes, depending on its power source. Have professionals analyze the problem and make the necessary repairs when you suspect those noises are a serious issue.

When you don’t like the sounds your furnace in Andover has started to make, contact Air Mechanical Inc for the expert help you’ll need to keep safe and warm.

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Heating Tip: Comparing Heating Fuel Costs

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Looking for a new heating system or upgrade for your Ham Lake area home? Before you choose a new furnace or boiler system, be sure that you understand how to compare the costs of fuel in your area. While you may thing that natural gas is the best choice for a furnace, you may find that an electric furnace would provide better energy savings for your particular home.

There are many factors other than just the cost of the fuel to help you choose a cost-effective heating system to install. Call the Ham Lake heating professionals at Air Mechanical to help you through this process. First, you’ll need to decide which type of system you want to install.

Heating Options

Whether you are building a new home or retrofitting an existing heating system, you’ll have several options. You may decide that you want to upgrade your split system heat pump to a ductless mini split, especially if you are facing costly ductwork or adding a room to your home. While many newer homes the area install high-efficiency systems, you can also upgrade to zone control or install programmable thermostats to get more energy savings.

Keep in mind that before installing a new high-efficiency furnace or boiler system, it’s a good idea to make other upgrades to ensure that your home is ready for this type of system. Radiant floor heating is ideal in new homes, since the flooring would have to be ripped up in remodeling jobs. We can go over the different types of heating systems that we install and help you select the most cost-effective one by going over different factors you should consider. Fuel cost is one of these factors.

Gas or Electric

While natural gas is typically less expensive than electric heating systems, you will definitely need to research fuel costs in the area before choosing. You may also choose a dual fuel system, such as a dual fuel heat pump. This type of system uses the electricity for the heat pump in heating mode until it is no longer efficient to do so. Then the system automatically switches to the gas furnace as a backup heater. Make sure you understand the costs of heating your particular home with both types of fuel before choosing a dual fuel or standard heat pump or gas boiler system.

Feel free to call the Ham Lake heating experts at Air Mechanical if you have further questions about comparing fuel costs in our area.

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Furnace Efficiency Tips

Monday, November 12th, 2012

If you’re like many people in Andover, you’re looking for ways to save money on your energy bills. With energy prices on the rise, people are doing everything they can to decrease the amount of fuel that they have to buy to heat their home. If you have a furnace in Andover, you’re likely in the same situation. Whether you have a gas-fired furnace or an electric furnace, we put together some tips on how to maximize the efficiency of your furnace.

Andover Insulation

Insulation is one of the most important factors in improving the energy efficiency of your Andover home. During the winter, the insulation in your attic is especially important. As heat rises into your ceiling and your attic, the insulation there needs to be able to keep as much heat inside your home as possible. Having a heating professional inspect your home’s insulation is a great way to find out exactly what state your insulation is in and if it needs to be replaced.

Seal Your Ducts

The ducts are like the veins of your heating system: they carry the heated air to each room in your home. If you have leaks or holes in your ducts, all the fuel that you purchased to heat the air might be lost when the air escapes out the cracks in your ducts. As your ducting ages, it might also shift and begin to pinch.  Unnecessary pinches or bends in your ducts can reduce the efficiency of the heater as it tries to push the air through.

Use Solar Power

If there is sunshine during the day, open your window blinds to allow in as much sunlight as possible. While there might not be a lot of heat, the sun’s heat will still collect inside your home.

Close the Doors between Rooms

By closing the doors between the rooms, you can trap the heat inside. This will keep heat from escaping out into your hallways or other spaces.

If you have any questions about the efficiency of your home in Andover, call the professional heating technicians at Air Mechanical. We take pride in the furnace and heating services that we offer our customers. We would love to talk with you about how you can improve the efficiency of your home and reduce your energy consumption.

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How a Furnace Works: A Guide from Champlin

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Do you know how your furnace works? Believe it or not, lots of Champlin 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.

The most common furnace is fueled by natural gas but there are other examples of heating equipment such as boilers, electric baseboard, or geothermal. But let’s look at how a gas furnace works since natural gas is found in most U.S. households. Gas furnaces use natural gas or propane to provide energy used for generating heat.

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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