Air Mechanical, Inc Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Furnaces’

Boiler or Furnace: Which Is Better?

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Warmth-Hands-HeaterWhen you first decide that you’ll need a new heating system for a new home or a replacement heating system for an older one, there is a lot to think over. Typically, in colder parts of the country, the options narrow down to two main categories: furnaces and boilers.

Furnaces are forced-air heating systems, meaning they warm up the air in your home and send it through the ducts and to your vents. This is very different from the way a boiler works. Radiant heating, rather than forced-air heating, uses a large tank to heat water and send it through a set of pipes leading throughout your home.

So which is the better system? Like any major decision in HVAC, that will depend on your home and your particular needs.

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How to Choose the Most Efficient Furnace for Your Home

Monday, September 29th, 2014

No matter where you live, getting through the winter months without a furnace probably isn’t a pleasant prospect. Not all furnaces are created equal, however. There are a number of vastly different options available, each capable of meeting your heating needs in different ways. So, how do you choose the best one? Let’s take a look at what you need to know to pick the most efficient furnace.

AFUE

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This number measures how efficient a furnace is at converting fuel into heat over an average year. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit is. For example, if a furnace has an AFUE of 60%, it means that 60% of the fuel it burns is converted into heat while 40% is lost to other factors. That isn’t a very efficient furnace. Furnaces with a lower AFUE will require more fuel to reach target temperatures, which will cost you more money. The current minimum requirements are around 80% for most types of furnaces, but you should still examine each unit to compare AFUE numbers.

Energy Star

The most efficient furnaces will have the ENERGY STAR label on them to highlight their efficiency. These are probably the best choice in colder climates. Their extremely high AFUE rating (90%+) makes them the least expensive if they are going to be used quite often.

Retrofits and Replacements

There are ways to retrofit your older furnace to be more efficient. Oil burning furnaces can be converted to use gas, for example. Depending on how old your furnace is, however, it would likely be far more cost effective to simply replace it. Some older furnaces are extremely inefficient, and replacing them could double the effectiveness of your heating system as a whole. Ultimately, you will have to weigh your options and go with what fits your home situation the best.

If you are looking for furnaces in Oak Grove, call Air Mechanical, Inc. No matter what your home situation is, we can find and install a furnace that meets all your heating needs.

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What Are the Benefits of Electric Furnaces?

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Furnaces come in a variety of types that use different energy sources. The earliest furnaces used wood and coal, and later propane and oil became popular. You can still find propane and oil furnaces warming homes today, but it’s likely that if you’re looking into getting a furnace, your choice will come down to either a natural gas or electric furnace.

Natural gas furnaces are the most popular choice for contemporary homes, but electricity continues to gain ground as an option. Electric furnaces have a number of advantages you should consider as you shop for a new heating installation.

If you are thinking of installing a furnace in Anoka, MN, you should seek the professional assistance of the NATE-certified technicians at Air Mechanical, Inc. We specialize in “Creating Custom Comfort,” and that means you will end up with a heater that is just right for you.

Electric furnaces: the benefits

  • No natural gas line required: If your home doesn’t have access to a natural gas line, you can still enjoy the benefits of a furnace by going electrical. Electricity is available almost everywhere in the U.S., so an electric furnace is always an option.
  • Low initial cost: Electric furnaces usually cost less to install than other heating choices. If you are on a tight budget, an electric furnace is an excellent way to save money upfront.
  • Safety: Although no heating system is 100% accident-proof, electrical furnaces do not have the potential hazard of toxic and combustible carbon monoxide leaks that gas furnaces and gas boilers do.
  • Efficiency: Electrical furnaces have made huge strides in efficient performance during the last two decades. Although gas usually costs less than electricity, the efficient performance of an electric furnace can make up for the difference, since you will need to use it less.

Although these advantages may make it sound as if an electric furnace is the choice for your home, keep in mind that every home offers different heating challenges. Perhaps an electric furnace isn’t the heater to meet that challenge. The best way to make an informed choice is to have an informed opinion: contact an HVAC specialist to find the best method to heat your home.

Air Mechanical, Inc. has 25 years of experience delivering quality heating. If you think installing a furnace in Anoka, MN is your best choice for the winter, then come to us for all the assistance you’ll need.

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Heating Tip: Gas Furnace Safety Features and Other Settings

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Be sure to call one of the Ramsey heating experts at Air Mechanical the next time you need any type of service for your gas furnace. It’s important to know how your furnace works and how to control the safety features and other settings.

If you think your furnace is not working at all, first check the power switch, which is typically located on a wall near the furnace. Make sure it is in the on position, and also make sure that the emergency gas cutoff switch is on as well. That is usually located near the furnace or if the furnace is in the basement, on the wall next to the steps to your basement.

Also make sure a fuse or circuit breaker has not flipped. Check the service panel. Make sure you know which one is for the furnace. A dirty or clogged filter can also turn the furnace off in some models. Check the filter to see if it needs to be cleaned or changed. If your furnace is part of dual fuel system, make sure it is on the right setting.

On older furnaces, the pilot light is also a safety device. If the pilot light has gone out, be sure you check the owner’s manual to see how to safely light it again. Most models will have instructions on a metal plate or sticker on your furnace. Newer gas furnace models usually have an electronic pilot igniter. If the pilot light won’t light or stay lit, call us. There could be something wrong with the igniter or another issue.

You can always call the Ramsey heating professionals at Air Mechanical if you have further questions. Contact Air Mechanical today!

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Coon Rapids Heating FAQ: Why is My Gas Furnace Making That Noise?

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Have you recently noticed a loud banging or explosion noise when you turn on the gas furnace in your Coon Rapids home? This can be caused by a few different things, but it’s important that you call a heating technician at Air Mechanical to look at your furnace any time you hear strange noises. We’ll send someone to your home as soon as we can to investigate the issue.

Gas furnaces have special concerns due to the combustible fuel source. Improper ventilation, issues with the pilot light, and burner problems can all be hazardous situations. One problem that is not as common but can be easy to detect is a delay in the ignition of the burners. A delay in the ignition of may be an indicator that not enough gas is getting to the burners.

One sign that you have a delay issue is if when you turn on the furnace you hear a loud banging sound.  You may also hear what sounds like a small explosion when you turn the furnace on.  If you hear these sounds or any other unusual sound, it is an indicator that gases within the furnace are not being transferred to the right compartments. This means that excess gas can build inside the chamber, creating the loud banging noise when the furnace is fired up.

In addition to being a sign of problems with your furnace, a delayed igniter is a safety issue because it can lead to a dangerous situation for anyone near the furnace or trying to light the pilot light. The accumulation of unburned gasses in the chamber can result in instantaneous or extremely hot fire.  For these reasons, if you believe your furnace has an ignition delay, it is important to call a technician as soon as possible. A technician should be able to tell why the gas doesn’t ignite when it should and will remedy the problem accordingly.

Contact Air Mechanical for all your Coon Rapids heating repair needs!

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HVAC Guide: How to Fix a Faulty Furnace Blower

Monday, December 19th, 2011

The blower fan on your furnace is designed to distribute warm air through the ductwork in your Little Canada home evenly, ensuring you use all of the energy consumed by your furnace. If the blower doesn’t turn on when the furnace turns on or it continues to run when the furnace is off, it can cost you money and result in cold rooms. Here are some tips on how to fix a faulty furnace blower.

What is the Problem?

First, check to see what the problem is. If your furnace blower remains on all of the time, it may be a thermostat issue. Make sure the fan isn’t set to stay on continuously (a common setting for most air handlers). You should also check the limit control switch to make sure it is working properly. If this is broken, it needs to be replaced which is a relatively simple fix.

If the furnace blower isn’t turning on at all, you may have a belt problem. This can be fixed by you if you have the proper tools. To repair the belt problem, first turn off all electricity to the device. You’ll need to remove the old furnace blower belt, so release the tension in the pulleys before removing the belt.

Installing a new belt is not unlike doing so for your car. Make sure to check the blower or your user manual for proper tension when you install the new belt. Make sure you purchase the right size belt and set it to the right tension. If you cannot or you do not feel comfortable doing so, you should call a professional to inspect and repair the problem for you.

Getting the Blower Back Up and Running

Once your new belt is in place, test the system carefully, starting with the lowest setting (if there are variable settings). If it does not yet work or if something sounds strange, call a technician right away. You don’t want the motor to burn out or something else more substantial to go wrong with your furnace or air handler during the middle of the winter.

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Pros and Cons of Various Heating Systems in Cedar

Friday, December 9th, 2011

When it comes time to install a new heating system in your Cedar home, there are a lot of options to consider. Many people get overwhelmed when confronted with all of the furnaces, boilers and heat pumps on the market these days. So, to help you get a handle on what each has to offer and which will offer you the best benefits, here is an overview of the modern heating system market.

Furnaces

Furnaces are the core of a forced air heating system and use gas, oil or electricity to heat air which is then circulated through your home by a blower in your air handler. Furnaces are among the most fuel efficient heating systems on the market today with options available at up to 95% AFUE (meaning it uses up to 95% of the fuel consumed to produce heat). They are also inexpensive to install and while they don’t last quite as long as boilers, they are highly efficient when well cared for.

Boilers

Boilers use gas, oil or electricity to heat water or steam which is then circulated through your home into radiators or baseboard heaters. The heated water or steam releases heat into your home and heats it in turn. While not quite as energy efficient as a high efficiency furnace, boiler heat is perfect for homes with existing radiators and no room for vents and ductwork. It also has less of an impact on indoor air quality since there is no air movement and boilers tend to last a very long time when well maintained.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular, especially in milder climates where it rarely gets below 40 degrees F. A heat pump uses the same technology as an air conditioner to extract heat from outside using a compressor, evaporator coils, and condenser coils with refrigerant.

It is most efficient in the spring and fall when temperatures are mild, but it uses much less energy than either a boiler or furnace and it can be used in the summer to cool your home. When properly maintained, a heat pump will last 10-20 years and save quite a bit of money, though it is recommended that you have an emergency heat source for days when the temperature outside gets below 40 degrees F.

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Furnace vs. Heat Pump: Some Pointers from Golden Valley

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

If you’re preparing to replace your existing heating system in your Golden Valley home, you may very well be struggling with the question of whether to go with a furnace or a heat pump for your future home heating needs. Each of these systems have their own advantages and drawbacks, and once you’ve narrowed it down to one type or the other, you’ll still have a pretty wide variety of products to choose from.

Furnaces are still the most popular type of home heating equipment on the market. You can get furnaces that run on gas, oil or electricity, although gas furnaces are by far the most common type of furnace around these days. The latest models are extremely energy efficient, with AFUE ratings reaching into the high 90%s.

Like heat pumps, furnaces use ducts to transfer heated air throughout your home. They typically require regular maintenance once every year or two depending on the type of furnace you have, and they can be expected to last anywhere from 15 to 25 years when properly maintained. Most modern furnaces are also made to be compatible with a central air conditioning or cooling system as well.

Heat pumps, on the other hand, don’t generate the heat that they circulate throughout your house. Instead they are able to extract the heat from the air outside and pump it inside. This means that they use much less energy than even the most energy efficient furnaces.

However, heat pumps are only capable of heating your house comfortably when the outside temperature is above freezing. If you live in an area with particularly long and frigid winters, you’ll probably find that you need to supplement your heat pump with another heat source. Because of this, it actually makes little sense to use a heat pump in more extreme climates.

On the other hand, if you live in an area with relatively mild winters, heat pumps can be a great option. They provide a constant flow of warm air to all parts of your home and can also keep you house cool during hot summer months. To cool your home, heat pumps simply reverse the process they use to warm it. They take the heat out of your indoor air and pump it outside. This is a very effective home cooling method and makes heat pumps a great solution for year round comfort.

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