Furnaces, HVAC System

The Truth: Radiant Heat vs. Furnace

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There are many different options when it comes to heating your home. The most common is a forced-air furnace. But you can also install a radiant heating system. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a look at radiant heat vs furnace options.

Radiant Heating

With radiant heat, heating coils are installed beneath your floorboards. Heat then rises, spreading throughout the room and providing an even, comfortable layer of warmth. Not only are you warmed by the ambient heat, but also by direct contact with the heating source. There's nothing like walking on a radiant floor on cold mornings.

Radiant heating doesn't use ductwork, which eliminates the energy losses that can come from leaky or damaged ducts. Thus it uses much less energy than a forced air system, while heating a room more evenly. The drawback is, no ductwork also means no cooling in the summer. If you do get radiant heat, a dedicated duct system would still have to be installed for your A/C.

Radiant heat is also expensive to install, particularly when retrofitting an existing home, as it means tearing up the floorboards. And if you have thick carpet or area rugs on the floor, they act as insulation, and the radiant heat won't be able to spread effectively throughout your home.


A forced air system has its own advantages when it comes to radiant heat vs furnace. It warms your home more quickly and provides better air circulation.

The main drawback is dealing with energy loss from damaged ductwork, air leaks, poor airflow, and more. Additionally, the ductwork can circulate allergens and other contaminants through your home. The heat isn't as even, and the lower areas of your home will have trouble getting heat at all.

So ultimately, which is better? It all depends on your specific heating and cooling needs. Talk to an expert and let them help you decide which is the best option for your home.

For help solving the radiant heat vs furnace conundrum for yourself, contact us at Air Assurance. We proudly serve all of Broken Arrow's heating and cooling needs.


Furnace Safety 101

Furnace Safety 101

Furnace safety is a timely topic as another cold winter comes on strong. Since Oklahoma’s among the top natural gas-producing states in the U.S., it’s no surprise that gas heating is the preferred choice for residential use. Like any home heating device, gas furnaces require periodic attention for proper maintenance and safe operation. Here are some furnace safety tips to ensure peace of mind and consistent heating comfort in the the coming winter.

Schedule professional maintenance.

All gas furnaces should receive an annual inspection and preventive maintenance by a qualified HVAC professional. The service includes verifying the integrity of critical components such as the heat exchanger as well as sensors that detect overheating and safety switches that shut down the system automatically. Tests to detect hazardous carbon monoxide gas in the system airflow are also included. Professional maintenance also supports furnace performance and efficiency for optimum heating comfort and lowest operating costs.

Keep the furnace area clear.

Don’t utilize the furnace closet or immediate vicinity to store flammable items such as boxes or clothes. Also, keep combustible liquids in a separate part of the house or garage.

Change the Filter

Change the furnace air filter at least every other month. A clogged filter impedes airflow that may overheat the furnace.

Inspect the Vent Pipe

Visually inspect the furnace vent pipe for deterioration, loosening joints or possible obstructions such as bird’s nests at the roof where the vent terminates.

Verify that the removable front cover of the furnace is securely installed.

New furnaces incorporate a safety interlock to prevent operation without a panel, which could pose a fire hazard. However, some older units do not have this protection.

Check the supply and return vents in each room.

To prevent overheating of the furnace, no more than 20% of the vents in the home should be closed at the same time.

Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors.

If you don’t already have them, install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of the home and outside every sleeping area. Replace the battery twice a year.

For more furnace safety advice, as well as annual furnace inspection and maintenance, contact the pros at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.


Then vs. Now: Furnaces

Then vs. Now: Furnaces

Since prehistoric days, when people gathered around a fire in the dead of winter, humans have sought ways to keep warm. How have those ways evolved over the centuries? How have they led to the technologies that heat our homes today? Let's take a look at the history of furnaces.

History of Furnaces

Among the first to develop central heating were the ancient Romans. They introduced radiant floor heating by building a fire in the basement, which would heat the stone floor above it. And since hot air rises, the heat from the floor would soon spread to the rest of the house.The first heating sources used wood for fuel. This included the Franklin Stove, invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1741. Made of cast iron, it was designed to produce more heat than a regular fireplace, with less exhaust.Then in 1885, a new furnace was developed, which burned coal, which replaced wood as the standard. It produced more heat and used a system of ducts in the basement to transport that heat to the rest of the home. Then in 1919, Alice Parker invented the first modern central heating system. It replaced coal with natural gas, and distributed heat evenly throughout the home using a system of pipes.

Today's Furnaces

Today's furnace designs have come a long way since then. Top furnaces can operate with over 98% efficiency, providing more heat for less energy. Zoning systems now allow you to heat each part of the house according to its individual needs. Some can even sense whether or not a space is occupied, so you don't pay to heat empty rooms. And smart thermostats let you adjust your home's temperature from anywhere, via your mobile device.There are a variety of amazing features available on today's furnaces. When buying a new system, make a list of your home's heating needs and talk to an HVAC expert to find the furnace that's right for you.

To learn more about the history of furnaces, and tips for furnace buying, contact us at Air Assurance. We proudly serve Broken Arrow's HVAC needs.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

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4 Things to Know Before You Replace Your Furnace

4 Things to Know Before You Replace Your Furnace

When it comes to your home's central heating system, you don't want to be the guy or gal who's totally surprised when the furnace conks out on the coldest day of winter. It's better to be ready for that inevitable time when your heating system needs to be replaced, and then know the correct steps to take before installing a new system.

In general, you should start preparing to replace your furnace when it nears the end of its estimated service life. That's typically 15-20 years, though it can be shorter or longer depending on the amount of usage and maintenance the furnace gets. Certain red flags will tell you more specifically that it's time for replacement, including frequent repairs (more than one significant repair in a year) and lost heating effectiveness.

Once you've made the decision, consider these tips:

Work with an HVAC contractor whom you trust when it's time to replace your furnace. This is much too great an investment to make without feeling secure about your contractor.

Discuss with the contractor what capacity furnace is needed for your home. They should perform a heating load calculation that takes into account your home's size and layout, airtightness and insulation, window coverage, and many other factors. The heating load is the amount of heating required to make your home comfortable.

Likewise, discuss what level of energy efficiency is desirable in your particular home. In general, higher efficiency comes with a higher purchase price but lower operating costs once the furnace is installed. Climate is a key factor when considering furnace efficiency, since you'll reap more monthly energy savings in a climate with a colder, longer winter. Your contractor can tell you what efficiency level makes the most sense in our Broken Arrow climate.

Your contractor also should discuss what advanced features are available for your new furnace. This can include add-ons that increase furnace efficiency, and supplemental systems for whole-house air cleaning and humidity control.

For more advice on upgrading your Broken Arrow area home's heating system, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnaces and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay”


The Benefits of Modulating Furnaces

The Benefits of Modulating Furnaces

Often when you hear about combustion furnace options, fuel efficiency is the main metric thrown around.These are usually shown in terms of AFUE (annualized fuel utilization efficiency) percentage, in other words, the amount of fuel that gets converted into heat (furnaces with AFUE 90 percent and above are considered "high-efficiency"). High efficiency in a furnace is mainly accomplished with variable gas-valve staging and blower-motor speed. Modulating furnaces are considered the best in terms of both efficiency and performance.

Single-Stage Furnace Operation

To understand the benefits of modulating furnaces, it helps to realize that furnaces without multi-stage, variable-speed operation come with just one stage and one speed – meaning the gas valve is either open or closed, and the blower motor operates at 100 percent speed or not at all. When the thermostat signals the furnace to kick on, it immediately begins churning out heat at full blast, runs until the desired temperature is achieved, then shuts off.The result is short-cycling, especially during milder weather, with the furnace alternating between full-blast and "off" at relatively short intervals. Not only does full-go operation use more fuel than necessary to heat a house, the most fuel is consumed at start-up, so frequent on-and-off cycling also wastes energy.Short-cycling in a single-stage furnace without variable-speed operation also can result in uneven heating, as well as noticeable temperature swings.

Two-Stage and Modulating Furnaces

A two-stage furnace, with a gas valve that can open partially when it's not fully open, is a big improvement over a single-stage furnace. Even better is a modulating furnace featuring a gas valve with multiple staging, with the heating needs at any given time determining the setting. Two-stage or modulating operation is generally combined with a variable-speed blower motor, which also adapts its running speed depending on heating needs.These furnaces typically ramp up to full blast upon starting, then settle into lower-stage, lower-speed continuous operation, which results in more consistent temperatures throughout the house and less fuel consumption.

To discuss installing a new high-efficiency modulating furnace in your Broken Arrow area home, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about modulating furnaces and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

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These are the Most Common Furnace Troubleshooting Situations

These are the Most Common Furnace Troubleshooting Situations

In the midst of cool winter weather, the last thing you need is for your furnace to give you problems. If and when that happens, you’ll need to rely on your furnace troubleshooting expertise until you can get your HVAC technician to take a look at the problem. If you’re not getting enough heat or any heat at all, here are a few furnace troubleshooting tips to consider:

Not getting enough heat?

First, check your thermostat and make sure it’s set to your desired temperature. Also make sure the furnace filter isn’t clogged with debris. An undersized furnace can also fail to produce enough heat for your home’s space.

Not getting any heat at all?

Check the circuit breaker or fuse box for any tripped breakers or blown fuses. Afterwards, make sure your thermostat is set to “heat” and the desired temperature is set above the current indoor temperature. Also make sure your pilot light is on or your electric ignition is working properly.

Blower running continuously?

Have your HVAC technician check and, if necessary, replace the limit switch on the blower motor.

Not getting enough airflow?

Make sure the furnace filter isn’t clogged with debris. Also check the ducts for any breaks, holes or other damage that could accidentally reroute airflow.

Furnace too noisy?

Make sure there aren’t any loose components on your furnace. Some noises, including rumbling or squeaking sounds, could indicate a mechanical problem that your HVAC technician should deal with.

Furnace frequently cycling?

It could be a bad thermostat, clogged furnace filter or poor airflow at play. Oversized furnaces can also cycle frequently, resulting in increased wear and tear.

Can’t see your pilot light?

Try relighting the pilot. If it won’t stay lit, there may be a problem with the thermocouple or the gas supply. Don’t forget to check the surrounding area for drafts.

For more furnace troubleshooting tips and other advice, turn to the professionals at Air Assurance. We proudly offer the best in heating and cooling service and installation for homeowners in the Broken Arrow area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about troubleshooting and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”


All About Furnace Smells

All About Furnace Smells

When you turned on your furnace for the first chilly weather this fall, you may have been aware of a burning smell pervading the home. As most homeowners know, this furnace smell is nothing more than the dust that's collected on the combustion chamber during the time the furnace is unused. The dust quickly burns up when the furnace is turned on. It's nothing to worry about, as long as it does not persist past a couple of hours.A very strong burning smell, or a persistent burning smell is, however, something you should be concerned about. Common causes of persistent burning odors are dirty air filters blocking the heating system and perhaps causing overheating, or blower malfunction. You can change the filter and see if the burning smell goes away. But if it's a blower malfunction, you will need professional help.

Other Common Furnace Smells

Rotten Egg Smell

This smell usually signals a gas leak. Turn the furnace off and open windows. Then clear out, taking all the living creatures in the home with you, and call your gas company. They will have to fix the leak before the HVAC tech can work on the furnace.

Electrical/Metallic Smells

This might be a burning odor, indicating components inside the furnace are getting too hot. If you smell this type of odor and the furnace shuts down randomly, it may be a protective mechanism. Call your HVAC company right away.You may also smell unfamiliar odors associated with the burning caused by aging or worn parts made of metal or rubber. Again, you'll need an HVAC tech to identify the source of the smells and replace the parts before they malfunction and cause damage.

Musty or Moldy Smell

This is a problem more commonly associated with the air conditioner. However, if you have damp conditions inside your home or your HVAC system, and mold spores have taken hold inside the parts or the ductwork or vents, have your HVAC tech check it out.

For more on identifying a furnace smell, contact Air Assurance. We serve Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnaces and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “piotr-marcinski/Shutterstock”


Learn the Components of Your Furnace

Learn the Components of Your Furnace

How much do you know about your furnace? You turn it on and heat comes out. The higher the thermostat temperature, the more energy you use. How much more do you need to know than that? Well, it can be helpful to learn at least a few basics about your system and how it works. At minimum, it will help you communicate more effectively with your HVAC technician, to diagnose repairs more quickly. So here's a breakdown of some of the basic components of your furnace and what they do.

Blower Motor

Found at the base of your unit, this is an electric motor, attached to a fan, which distributes air evenly through the system.

Supply Plenum

The duct through which that air is distributed to your home.

Heat Exchanger

This is what transfers heat from the natural gas being burned for fuel to the air that warms your home. A small chamber with metal walls, the gas enters the exchanger, and the heat is absorbed. The gas is then cooled and removed from your home. During this process, the blower motor blows air past the exchanger, absorbing the heat from the metal, before it enters the supply plenum, where it can be distributed to the rest of your ductwork and heat your home.

Air Filter

Captures dust and other contaminants as air flows through your system. It's meant to keep your blower motor free of debris, but has the added benefit of providing cleaner air to breathe. Be sure to change your filter regularly, or it can reduce airflow, damaging your system.


A bit like a chimney, the flue is a duct through which exhaust can exit your home, as your system burns fuel. If it's not vented properly, then carbon monoxide can get into your living space, putting you and your family in danger. If your heating system is electrical and doesn't burn fuel, then it won't have a flue.

To learn more about your furnace and how it works, contact us at Air Assurance. We've been Broken Arrow's trusted source for quality HVAC solutions since 1985.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnace components and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “petelinforth/Pixabay”


Furnace Motor Replacement: ECM or PSC

Furnace Motor Replacement: ECM or PSC

If you're replacing a heating system with a standard blower motor, it's worthwhile investigating different furnace motor replacement options such as an electronically commutated motor (ECM). Here's a look at how standard permanent split capacitor motors compare to more technologically-advanced ECM motors.

Permanent Split Capacitor Motors (PSC)

Standard PSC motors have just two operating modes: off and on. When signaled by the thermostat, these single-speed motors start up and run on high, then cycle off when the temperature setting is reached.

Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM)

An ECM motor can vary its speed in response to changes in your home's heating needs. The motor cycles on slowly and runs for longer periods on the lowest speed necessary to maintain comfort. When more warm air output is needed, it speeds automatically.

PSC Vs. ECM Motors

Here are some additional factors to consider so you can compare how PSC and ECM motors perform and make a more informed decision on which type is the best choice for your home:

  • Energy consumption. A furnace blower unit equipped with a variable-speed ECM motor uses up to 75 percent less electricity than a blower that's powered by a PSC motor.

  • Maintenance needs. An ECM motor has "true" bearings that don't need lubrication, it starts, ramps up and stops "softly" and runs on low speed most of the time. Because an ECM motor is under less strain and subject to less wear than a PSC unit, it requires less maintenance.

  • Temperature control. With its longer cycling and variable-speed operation, an ECM motor can provide more consistent temperatures and better humidity control than a one-speed PSC unit that cycles on and off frequently.

  • Equipment lifespan. ECM motors have an expected lifespan of about 90,000 hours, compared to PSC motors that typically last for 40,000–50,000 hours.

  • Air filtration. The prolonged cycling of an ECM motor also means that the indoor air gets pulled through the furnace filter more often, so it's able to remove more debris from your air supply.

To learn more about different furnace motor replacement options for your Broken Arrow home, contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about motor replacement and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “feng-yu/Shutterstock”


Check Your Furnace's Readiness for Winter Usage

Check Your Furnace's Readiness for Winter Usage

With winter just around the corner in Oklahoma, now's the right time to start preparing your furnace or heat pump for the cold weather. This means both professional maintenance and do-it-yourself tasks, to make sure your forced-air heating system will be ready when the temperatures go south of freezing.

Preparing your heating system for winter early is a good idea since many HVAC businesses get very busy once cold weather arrives.

A professional furnace or heat pump maintenance visit will accomplish the following:

  • Enhance energy efficiency. An efficient furnace or heat pump will require less energy to provide comfortable heating than a system for which maintenance has been neglected.

  • Ensure safety. The technician will inspect and adjust your heating system to minimize the risk of fire or hazardous gas leaks in a combustion furnace, or electrical or refrigerant issues in a heat pump.

  • Repair small problems before they turn into big, expensive ones.

  • Ensure proper airflow so all parts of your home are evenly and comfortably heated.

What Happens During Professional Maintenance?

While different levels of maintenance are available, a comprehensive heating system maintenance visit will include an inspection of your equipment and air distribution system. The technician should clean and lubricate moving parts, check the thermostat, electrical connections and system controls, and perform appropriate diagnostic tests. They'll also replace the air filter if necessary.

With furnace maintenance, the technician will check and/or adjust the ignition system and combustion burners, making sure the burners aren't clogged. They'll check that the exhaust system is working correctly, among other things.If you have a heat pump, the technician should check the refrigerant level, ensure that heat-exchange coils are clean, and make sure the condensate drain system isn't clogged.

Homeowner maintenance steps include regular air filter checks, making sure the area around the heating appliance is clean and clear of clutter, and removing any items that might be blocking heating vents and registers.

To schedule a fall maintenance tune-up for your heating system, please contact us at Air Assurance, providing quality HVAC services to Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnaces and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “openclipart-vectors/Pixabay”

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Things to Consider for Furnace Installation

Things to Consider for Furnace Installation

Upgrading to a new furnace is an important step towards improved home comfort and lower energy bills. Furnace installation is a lengthier and more complex process than installing simpler appliances, however. In order to get the most benefit from your new furnace and to ensure installation goes smoothly, keep in mind the following things.

Furnace Installation Should be Completed by a Professional

Poorly installed furnaces pose serious safety hazards, such as the risk of a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Only allow a licensed technician to install your new heating system. Professional HVAC contractors understand the importance of following special guidelines for furnace installation. These include:

  • Calculating the heating load — A load calculation is necessary in order to determine the correct furnace size for your home. An undersized or oversized furnace will cost you money and won’t give you the best in comfort. Many variables, such as number of occupants, the home’s insulation, number of windows and type of windows, and the number of levels to the home figure into this calculation.

  • Placement — A furnace requires sufficient clearance to allow sufficient airflow and maintenance access. Your contractor will also follow local codes regarding distance between the furnace and combustible materials.

  • Ductwork — Before installation begins, a contractor should check your home’s ducts to ensure they are compatible and in good repair. Cracks in the ductwork or poor duct design will diminish your new furnace’s efficiency.

Prepare Your Space

The furnace installer will need enough room to work safely and comfortably. You can help by clearing a path to the furnace area and then cleaning the area itself of debris. Move items into another room or at least away from the work area and make sure pets are safely confined in another area of the home.Professional technicians clean up after they are finished. Your home doesn’t need to be spotless, but it is very helpful if the area is clear of furnishings or anything else that could get in the way.

For more information about furnace installation in your Broken Arrow home, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Neil-Lockhart/Shutterstock”

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How to Reduce the Load on Your Furnace

How to Reduce the Load on Your Furnace

You've probably heard the terms "heating load" or "cooling load" in reference to the furnace and air conditioner. Sometimes experts advise reducing these loads on the HVAC system to save money on utility bills. Heating and cooling loads will also affect the size of the furnace or air conditioner you need. Here's a brief explanation of these terms and how understanding them can help you save.

Defining Heating (and Cooling) Loads

Load refers to how much heat has to be added or removed in a space to achieve a desired temperature range. When you're planning to upgrade your heating system, your HVAC consultant will refer to your home's heating load, or how much capacity a furnace must have to heat the home to the desired temperature. Reducing the load means finding ways to make the home more efficient so a system with a lower capacity can be installed. It also means preventing heated air from escaping the home — and cold air from infiltrating — so that the furnace works efficiently to achieve the temperature set points.

Heating and cooling loads are determined by software calculations, based on input from data collected on the home, including square footage, how many and what size windows, the home's orientation, insulation and many other factors. The software calculates the home's heating or cooling load so that the consultant can determine what size HVAC system is needed. The more efficient the home, the smaller the heating or cooling load, and the less heating or cooling capacity an HVAC system will need.

Increasing Efficiency

Here are a few things you can do to reduce your heating load this winter and lower your bills:

  • Caulk or install weatherstripping around windows and doors to keep out drafts.

  • Install a door sweep on exterior doors.

  • Install insulation around pipes, cables and wiring that enter through holes in exterior walls.

  • Insulate electrical switches in exterior walls.

  • Add insulation in attics and walls. Attic insulation should be above joists.

To learn more about reducing the load on your furnace, contact Air Assurance. We've served the Broken Arrow area for 30 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Imagentle/Shutterstock”

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Troubleshooting Tips for Common Furnace Problems

Troubleshooting Tips for Common Furnace Problems

No one wants to be sitting at home the middle of January when suddenly your furnace conks out. Or realizing after successive nights of shivering in bed that your furnace isn't keeping your house warm. Furnace problems do happen, unfortunately, and the sooner you're able to diagnose those problems, the better chance you'll have of fixing them yourself, or at least of being able to easily explain the problem to a service person. Here are some troubleshooting tips for common furnace problems:

Your Furnace Won't Work at All

This could be a number of issues, but you'll want to check the obvious and easiest ones to fix first. Is the furnace getting power? Check the on-off switch (if it has one), then go to the breaker box and make sure the circuit breaker hasn't tripped. If that's not the issue, check the thermostat. Is it set to "heat"? Is the temperature set above the temperature in the room?

If you have an older furnace, has the pilot light gone out? Relight it. If it goes out again, it's time to call the service technician. Same goes if the electronic ignition isn't working properly, though this will be more difficult to diagnose on your own.

If you hear rattling or banging inside the furnace before the it shuts down, you could have loose or detached parts, or maybe a belt has slipped. You might be able to reattach the belt, though mechanical issues with the motor will require professional help.

Clogged burners in the furnace will result in substandard heating and eventually may shut down the system. Annual maintenance should prevent this and other common furnace problems.

If the Furnace Won't Heat Properly

This could be a number of issues, some of which you can address yourself while others may require service. The air filter could be clogged, the ductwork might be dirty or leaking, mechanical parts may need cleaning or lubrication, or perhaps you just need a new furnace.

For help addressing furnace problems in your Broken Arrow area home, please contact us at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “docstockmedia/Shutterstock”

Featured, Furnaces, Heating

Find Out How a Variable-Speed Furnace Works

Find Out How a Variable-Speed Furnace Works

Why settle for outdated, on/off heating when new variable-speed furnace technology excels in both comfort and energy efficiency? You may not realize it, but if you’re heating with gas like most Oklahomans, the cost of the electricity to operate the forced-air furnace blower is a major contributor to your heating expenses. Most installed furnaces incorporate a blower with a PSC (permanent split capacitor) motor. It’s an old-school energy hog and only operates at two speeds: on and off. A variable-speed furnace blower incorporates ECM (electronically commutated motor) technology programmed to circulate air continuously across a wide range of output speeds keyed to the heating requirements of the home.

Maybe it's time to move up to 21st-century heating technology and upgrade to a variable-speed furnace. Here’s an overview of the advantages.

More Consistent Heating

Conventional PSC furnaces create noticeable temperature swings in the home. As the blower cycles on and off repeatedly, temperatures may swerve from 10 degrees above the thermostat setting to 10 degrees below. Rooms are always overly warm or too chilly. A variable-speed ECM blower runs at low output continuously, maintaining comfort levels close to the thermostat setting at all times.

Lower Operating Costs

A typical PSC furnace blower guzzles over 500 watts of electricity when it's energized. A variable-speed ECM blower consumes less than 100 watts, substantially reducing the electrical component of your heating costs.

Improved Filtration

The air filter in your heating system protects indoor air quality—as long as air circulates through the filter. When a conventional system blower cycles off every few minutes, circulation stops and filtration ceases. Optimum air quality is also on-and-off. Because a variable-speed blower runs continuously, air filtration never stops and the indoor environment improves.

Longer Component Life

A conventional motor runs at full-blast output and turns on and off repeatedly, incurring substantial wear and tear. Variable-speed blowers run consistently at reduced output and stay cooler. This reduces wear and contributes to greater reliability and a longer expected service.

For more advantages of upgrading to a variable-speed furnace, contact the heating professionals at Air Assurance.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Gustavo Frazao/Shutterstock”

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Important Tips to Consider When Purchasing a New Furnace

Important Tips to Consider When Purchasing a New Furnace

Buying a new furnace for your home may seem like a daunting task, but with the right information, you can easily choose a heating system that will serve your needs for many years to come. The following tips can help you identify what's important in a new furnace.

  • Efficiency: The efficiency of your new furnace will determine how effectively it heats your home and how much it will cost to maintain indoor comfort during the colder months. Higher-efficiency models use less fuel and, as a result, provide heating for a lower cost. Look for a furnace with a high AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating, usually 90 or above.

  • Size: Proper furnace sizing is essential to buying a system that works well for your home. Sizing, in HVAC terms, refers to the system's capacity to produce heat and keep your indoor living spaces at the temperature you prefer. Have your HVAC professional perform a load calculation on your home. This is a detailed evaluation process that determines exactly how much heating is needed. When you have this information, you can easily find a furnace of the correct size.

  • Fuel type: Most often, you'll probably want to buy a new furnace that uses the same type of fuel as your old one. If you have a gas furnace, for example, you'll already have the utility connections in place for a new gas model. However, there are circumstances where you might want to change fuel types or switch to an electric furnace. Ask your HVAC expert for advice.

  • Efficiency-boosting features: Additional components can be added to your furnace to boost performance and efficiency even higher. Variable-speed blowers, for example, provide a lower speed for use when less heating is required. This lower speed uses less energy and costs less to operate. Dual heat exchangers improve heat transfer functions.

Air Assurance offers expert heating and cooling services to customers in Tulsa and neighboring areas. Contact us today for more information on how to choose a new furnace and for expert help with selecting, installing and maintaining your heating system.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Dirk Ercken/Shutterstock”

Featured, Furnaces, Preventative Maintenance

Why Get Furnace Maintenance Before the Heating Season Starts?

Why Get Furnace Maintenance Before the Heating Season Starts?

While it's still early in the fall, it's not too early to begin thinking about scheduling furnace maintenance. If you wait until the busy late fall/early winter HVAC season, you may have trouble scheduling a timely appointment. A professional furnace maintenance tuneup will provide multiple benefits, including energy efficiency, safety, and comfort.

Why Is Regular Furnace Maintenance So Important?

  • Energy efficiency - The technician will check every component of your furnace, as well as the ductwork and registers. He or she will check the air filter, lubricate moving parts in the blower, make sure the burner(s) are clean, and check the ignition system for proper operation. Any worn or malfunctioning parts will be repaired or replaced. A cleanly burning, efficiently operating furnace will save energy every month, ensuring that it's operating at or near its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating.

  • Safety - The technician will examine the furnace and exhaust system to make sure nothing poses a risk of fire or toxic emissions. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a byproduct of fuel combustion and in a properly operating furnace will be safely removed from the home. However, if exhaust pipes are not connected properly or the furnace heat exchanger is cracked—among other issues—CO may escape into the home, threatening occupants with injury or death.

  • Comfort - The more efficiently your furnace operates, the quicker and more evenly your home will heat. Problems with air distribution and ductwork can erode comfort in a home.

  • Long-term savings - An efficient combustion furnace will save on utility bills over the long haul. Plus, having a trained technician inspect the furnace annually will ensure that small problems won't develop into large ones and extend the service life of your furnace.

At Air Assurance, we offer an Extended Service Plan that includes annual maintenance on both your heating and cooling systems. This offers a number of benefits and savings. However, you're also welcome to schedule a fall furnace maintenance appointment on its own. To discuss proper care for your home's heating system, please contact us at Air Assurance, serving Broken Arrow and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Globalphotogroup/Shutterstock”

Furnaces, UV Lights

Can UV Lights Really Eliminate Furnace Smells?

Can UV Lights Really Eliminate Furnace Smells?

One of the biggest complaints homeowners have about dirty furnaces is the smell that often comes along with them. Many people have been turning to UV lights to help eliminate potentially harmful organic pollutants and the odor they can spread throughout your home.

Where Furnace Smells Originate

When we think of harmful pollutants like bacteria and mold, our primary concern is usually the danger they pose to our health, especially in those who suffer from respiratory issues, such as allergies and asthma. What you may not realize is that the accumulation of these elements are usually the source of musty odors in your furnace. As air is drawn through your ductwork and redistributed throughout your home, these smells can quickly fill your entire residence if left unchecked.

How UV Lights Eliminate Odors

Put simply, these high-intensity lights eliminate odors by reducing the amount of organic pollutants found in your home. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which these pollutants have no defense against, disrupts their DNA and interferes with reproduction. This reduction can be done by either treating the air in your home or your HVAC system's components. When the pollutants are gone, so are the odors that accompany them.

Professional Installation is Key

Installing UV lights is not something you should attempt yourself. Installation must be done by a professional HVAC technician, who will typically accomplish the task one of two ways. The first technique is to place the lights in an area where the air being pulled through your ductwork will be treated before being redistributed to other areas of your home. The second technique is to install the lights in such a way that your problem HVAC components are bathed in ultraviolet radiation as needed.

For more expert advice on UV lights, or if you have any other questions related to home comfort, please don't hesitate to contact the friendly professionals at Air Assurance. We've been serving the needs of Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas since 1985.

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All You Need to Know About BTU Ratings for Furnaces

All You Need to Know About BTU Ratings for Furnaces

BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a measure of energy – about what a four-inch wooden match puts out when it's burned all the way down. BTU ratings for furnaces are the industry standard for measuring a furnace's heating efficiency.Along with the AFUE, which measures how well a furnace turns energy (such as gas) into heat, BTU is one of the key ratings for understanding your furnace's efficiency.

Average BTU ratings

You may see furnaces discussed in terms of BTU input, BTU output, total BTUs and BTUs per square foot. The input BTU is the amount of energy a furnace requires to run, while the output is the amount of energy delivered to your home as heat. Many experts recommend that you buy a furnace which delivers 40 to 45 BTUs per square foot. You should analyze your home to see what size furnace you need to keep warm.

BTUs in Your Home

Furnaces cover a wide range of BTUs, from small 40,000 BTU models to large units rated at over 200,000 BTUs. While it might be tempting to get a large model (on the grounds you'll always have enough heat) or a smaller model (hoping to save money), neither choice is wise. An oversized furnace can overheat your home and shut off more frequently to cool down, resulting in excess wear and tear and temperature swings. An undersized furnace, on the other hand, will struggle to keep your home warm, leading to reduced home comfort and furnace strain.

Always speak to your local HVAC experts to learn what size furnace is right for your home. If you'd like to learn more about BTU ratings for furnaces and AFUE efficiency ratings for your Broken Arrow home, contact Air Assurance today!

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Furnaces, Service & Maintenance

Before You Call a Pro About Those Gas Furnace Troubles, Try These Troubleshooting Tips

Before You Call a Pro About Those Gas Furnace Troubles, Try These Troubleshooting Tips

Having gas furnace trouble can be a real pain. This is especially true as the weather starts to get colder and you need a reliable source of heat to make sure everyone in your home stays healthy and comfortable. However, you sometimes have gas furnace trouble for very simple, easily fixed reasons. Before you call a professional, make sure you truly have gas furnace trouble that only they can repair.

 Furnace Not Turning OnIf your furnace isn't turning on at all, check for the following:

  • The thermostat is set high enough to activate the furnace. If it isn't, turn it up higher.

  • The thermostat itself is malfunctioning. If so, get another one.

Furnace Not HeatingIf your furnace seems to be operational, but it isn't producing warm air, check for the following:

  • The gas or electricity service to your home has been disconnected. If so, pay your bill or contact your service center to inquire about the problem and reactivate your service.

  • The furnace pilot light is not lit / has gone out. If it has, relight it.

  • The gas valve is closed on the furnace. If it is, open it.

  • If there is a dedicated fuse for the furnace, it may have been tripped. If so, reset it.

Having a furnace that isn't turning on or isn't producing any heat can be a pretty common occurrence. Moving into a new home and bumping the furnace with a box could cause some of these. Simple forgetfulness could be the culprit sometimes. Other times the weather in our area goes through a cycling period of hot days and chilly days so that we may forget to turn our thermostats up accordingly.So, before you think about hiring someone to come to assess your gas furnace trouble, be sure to make sure none of the problems listed above are taking place at your home.

For more expert advice and consultation, contact Air Assurance today!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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If You're Buying a New Furnace, Do Your Prep Work First

If You're Buying a New Furnace, Do Your Prep Work First

Even though buying a new furnace can be a daunting expense, the improved efficiency of modern furnaces can save homeowners considerably on their heating bills. In our area, where winter temperatures may be quite cold, it won't take too many years to recoup the initial outlay for a more efficient furnace. Following are some pointers to help guide you while you are hunting for a new furnace. 

Why Size Is Important

Getting a furnace that is bigger than you need might sound like a good idea, in terms of really warming your home quickly. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. A furnace that is sized too large will short cycle, turning on and off too frequently, never really heating the entire home and causing extra wear and tear on the furnace. On the other hand, a furnace that is too small to heat your home adequately will have to run all the time and will cost you a lot in utility bills. Make sure your contractor uses the standard HVAC software, Manual J, to size your furnace correctly.

Understand the Importance of AFUE

You need to know how quickly your new furnace converts fuel to heating energy. So, look for the annual fuel utilization efficiency number, which is reflected in a percentage. It tells you how much of the energy that the furnace uses converts to heating for your home.Federal regulations require that all furnaces have an AFUE of at least 78 percent. A higher AFUE gives your furnace a higher efficiency rating.

Choose Features You Need

Choose a furnace that has features you need. For example, a furnace with an ignition system might be ideal because its intermittent direct spark helps increase efficiency. It also improves the AFUE rating. Also, an air filtration system might be helpful if you have asthma or lung disease because it reduces the dust particles in the system.

Call us at Air Assurance if you're buying a new furnace. With more than 25 years serving the Broken Arrow and Tulsa area, we can help you keep your home comfortable this winter.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Stokkete/Shutterstock”