If you’ve ever noticed your furnace turning itself on and off every few minutes, you have a short cycling problem. Short cycling is a serious issue that not only affect the furnace’s ability to heat, but shortens its lifespan and increases the chances of a breakdown, as well. Let’s take a look at what causes this serious issue, and what to do about it.
Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Furnaces’
What is Furnace Short Cycling?Monday, November 9th, 2015
Is an Electric Furnace Better Than a Gas Furnace?Friday, December 20th, 2013
Here in Lake Forest, CA, getting a furnace installation can be easily ignored. California winters are very mild, and we usually focus on air conditioners at the expense of heaters. This can be a big mistake. Our nights still get pretty cold, and with our California architecture favoring open, breezy homes, a good furnace can be your best friend. During installation, you may be asking “should I get an electric or gas furnace?” Both systems feature their share of advantages. Which ones work best depends on your needs and the specifics of your home.
Saddleback Plumbing offers heating services to the Lake Forest community!
Gas furnaces offer a singular advantage of cheaper month-to-month costs, since natural gas is cheaper than electricity. Repairs tend to cost less as well, since gas furnaces are more common and their replacement parts don’t cost as much. Gas furnaces also take less time to warm the home than electric furnaces, which saves you even more in monthly bills. On the other hand, electric furnaces are usually less expensive to install initially, making them a smart choice if you don’t want to spend a whole lot up front.
In addition, electric furnaces tend to be a little quieter. Electric heat doesn’t depend on a fan to blow air, which means it won’t make nearly as much noise when it works. It also doesn’t generate any drafty spots or cold spots, and it doesn’t spread indoor air pollutants like pet dander and the like. Electric furnaces thus make a popular choice for residents who have allergies or who just need to maintain a higher air quality overall. Finally, because they don’t use gas, electric furnaces can be a little safer, especially as they get older.
In Lake Forest, CA, a furnace installation doesn’t need to be your only choice. We have heating system options for our California winters, and Saddleback Plumbing can spell them all out for you. We can inspect your home and answer the question “is an electric furnace better than a gas furnace?” before planning an installation that fits your specific needs. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!
Signs of an Undersized FurnaceMonday, January 23rd, 2012
If you’re purchasing a new furnace for your Santa Ana home, you want to avoid buying one that is undersized for your particular space. To do that, here are some common signs that the furnace isn’t powerful enough for the heating needs of your home. These signs might appear for an older furnace as well, especially as it ages and loses its ability to provide adequate heat for your home.
The most common (and in many cases only) sign that your furnace is undersized is that the device simply doesn’t maintain the temperature in your home properly. This means that when turned on to full and left for a few hours, your furnace doesn’t heat your home to the thermostat setting.
This can be due to an improper load calculation or a load calculation that wasn’t taken at all. The perfectly sized furnace will heat your home evenly on the coldest day your area is likely to have. So, undersizing should be pretty evident – if it doesn’t heat your home evenly and it’s not exceptionally cold outside, you might not have enough BTUs under the hood.
How to Fix the Problem
The problem is one that varies depending on the severity of the undersizing. Modern furnaces are often available with two stages, meaning they can operate at both a low BTU rating (often around 40K or so) and a higher BTU rating (70K or higher). This is the perfect solution for homeowners worried about undersizing because it ensures that your home always has enough heat in reserve should the weather get exceptionally cold.
For example, most furnaces are sized for extremely low temperatures, but if the temperature jumps up to 50 degrees F outside, your furnace is now oversized for that weather. A two stage furnace offers solutions for both common conditions and extreme conditions and will resolve most of the concern you have about undersizing and not having enough heat to offset outdoor temperatures.
Balboa Heating Installation Question: What Makes a Furnace High Efficiency?Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
You’ve probably heard about the new lines of high efficiency furnaces being released by popular home heating companies in Balboa, but what exactly is different about these high efficiency devices from your current furnace? Let’s take a closer look at what a high efficiency furnace offers and why it can save you money.
A high efficiency furnace uses familiar technology in a new way to reduce the amount of energy lost when combustion takes place. This means:
- Sealed Combustion – Instead of open combustion which allows heat to escape during and after the combustion process, a high efficiency furnace uses a sealed chamber with carefully measured and fed airflow to burn fuel and produce heat. Exhaust heat can then be recaptured and used to heat air transferred to your air vents.
- Two Stage Gas Valves – With a two stage gas valve, your furnace can respond to the temperature outside. There isn’t just one “on” switch. The furnace will regulate gas flow based on how much energy is needed to produce heat for your home. So, if there is a sudden burst of cold outside, the furnace will respond accordingly, but for most days when heating needs are low, it will use only the minimum amount of needed gas.
- Programmable – High efficiency furnaces are now programmable, meaning you can set specific time limits for operation, change thermostat settings digitally and inspect the device through an electronic read out. The level of control given to you by a programmable high efficiency furnace can greatly reduce gas or electricity consumption.
The real reason many people are interested in high efficiency furnaces is that they are so much less expensive to operate. Instead of costing hundreds of dollars to run through the winter, they operate the bare minimum needed to heat your home. Using up to 95% of the fuel they consume to produce heat and regulating gas to cut how much is consumed during milder days, these furnaces are built to save you money.
If you have an old furnace in your Balboa home that chews through energy like nobody’s business, now might be the time to consider the benefits of a brand new, high efficiency model.
Woodbridge Heating Guide: Furnace Fan Limit SwitchFriday, January 13th, 2012
When researching your Woodbridge furnace and potential problems it might have, you’ve probably run across a few references to the fan limit switch. And while you know that it can break in a number of ways, do you know what the switch does and what you should look for when checking your furnace its air handler for problems?
What the Limit Switch Does
To put it very simply, the furnace fan limit switch is a control that tells your furnace’s fan when to turn on and off. So, when the furnace isn’t on, it tells the blower not to operate (and send cold air into your home) and when the furnace is on, it tells the blower to turn on and start circulating the warm air.
While the primary function of the limit switch is to turn the blower fan on and off, it also has a safety role. When the temperature in the air supply plenum gets too hot, the limit switch turns off the furnace boiler to keep there from being any damage from overheating. This is handy if there is a blockage in the air vents or the controls are messed up due to water damage or improper adjustments to the settings.
Looking for Problems
Most of the time, when there is an issue with your furnace turning off or on frequently, the limit switch is one of the first things you will check. Because the switch is electronic and is attached to a thermostat which measures temperature in the air supply plenum, a small problem can result in it not working properly. So, you can easily check it by temporarily bypassing the switch and seeing if your device turns on or off properly.
In many cases, if the limit switch is the problem, you will still need to call a Woodbridge professional for replacement, but you can avoid a lot of headaches related to tracking down the source of the problem. If you suspect a limit switch problem, make sure to call someone immediately, because it does provide an important safety function and because without it your furnace won’t cycle on and off properly.
Furnace Tip 1: How to Fix a Faulty Furnace BlowerMonday, January 9th, 2012
The blower fan on your furnace is designed to distribute warm air through the ductwork in your Talega 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 Talega heating and air conditioning 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.
Space Heating vs. an Upgrade to Your Fountain Valley Heating SystemWednesday, December 14th, 2011
If your Fountain Valley home’s heating system isn’t really cutting it anymore, it may be time to take a step back and consider what your options are. After all, upgrading to an entirely new heating system is a big investment and a large project that will likely disrupt your life at least for a short period of time. However, under certain circumstances it’s the best alternative out there.
One option to consider when you’re unhappy with your home heating situation is supplementing your central heating system with space heaters. These are generally inexpensive and can be placed virtually anywhere in your house or taken with you from one room to another.
Especially if there is a small part of your home that your heating system just doesn’t seem to reach or that you want to keep a bit warmer than the rest of the house, space heaters can be an excellent option. They’re small, safe and portable and can easily keep a smaller portion of your home or room cozy and warm.
However, you’ll have to take into account the operating costs of a space heater as well as the initial investment when you’re trying to evaluate the overall cost effectiveness of this option. Most space heaters run on electricity, which often costs considerably more than oil or natural gas. If your home heating system runs on electricity anyway, this might not be so much of a factor. But if you have a gas furnace, you could wind up paying significantly more to run space heaters as supplemental heat over time.
Also, it’s worth considering that new home heating systems are likely much more energy efficient than the system you currently have in place. Although the initial installation cost can be pretty substantial, you’ll wind up saving a very large amount on your monthly heating bills by upgrading to a newer model.
Plus, you’ll be getting a system that should be able to satisfactorily heat your home without the need for space heaters or other supplemental heat sources. This translates into a pretty hefty savings over time and that’s something you’ll certainly have to take into consideration when you’re evaluating your options.
How a Furnace Works: A Guide from Newport CoastMonday, November 14th, 2011
Do you know how your furnace works? Believe it or not, lots of Newport Coast 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.