Heating

Heating

How to Transition Your Home and HVAC into Heating Season

Cooler fall temperatures are a welcome relief after the summer heat and humidity, and they are also a sign that Broken Arrow residents need to think about switching from cooling to heating their homes. By transitioning seasons wisely, you can ensure the comfort and safety of your family throughout the winter months while saving money on the cost of heating and repairs, using these tips.

Enhance Airflow

Supply and return vents are an important part of your HVAC system and those which are closed or obstructed can upset the pressure balance and cause a loss of efficiency or equipment malfunction or breakdown. Check your registers to ensure they remain open and they are not blocked by drapes, furniture, area rugs, or other items.

Turn Off Your A/C at Night

Milder daytime temperatures translate into colder nights, so rather than leaving your A/C running and burrowing under the covers, set the temperature several degrees higher or turn it off altogether. Ceiling and floor fans can help to circulate the air while you sleep without breaking the bank.

Clean Your Air Filter

An air filter is the first line of defense to prevent particulates such as allergens, dander, dirt, and dust from traveling throughout your HVAC system, and it should be cleaned or changed before you first turn on your heating system each fall, and again every four to six weeks as needed.

Schedule Annual Maintenance

Annual preventive maintenance each spring and fall can help make transitioning seasons easy, by ensuring your HVAC equipment is cleaned, tuned, and optimized for maximum efficiency and performance.

Change Direction on Your Ceiling Fans

During the summer months, your ceiling fan should be set to rotate counter-clockwise to push the cool air towards the floor, but in winter, your ceiling fans should be set to rotate clockwise at a slower pace to create an updraft that redistributes rising warm air back down the walls.

Contact Air Assurance for expert assistance with transitioning seasons, with services that include residential HVAC installation, replacement, and repair. We have been proudly serving Tulsa area residents for more than 30 years.

Heating

Emergency Heat During Winter Storms

Emergency Heat During Winter Storms

Having a source of emergency heat in the winter can make the difference between staying safe and healthy or having to leave your home to wait out a bad storm or a prolonged power outage. Each of these suggestions is a sound way to supply enough heat to wait out an emergency. Always make sure your CO detector is working before using any of these heaters.

Emergency Heating Equipment

  • Tent heaters. You can find these at sporting goods and big box stores, as well as online. They’re small heaters that use propane canisters and are capable of heating small spaces. They’re safe as long as you crack a window open and use them as the manufacturer intends.

  • Ventless heaters. These heaters are available from specialty stores and online. They burn clean, which means they produce few toxic gases, including carbon monoxide (CO). Each heater, whether a ventless fireplace or heater, has an oxygen depletion sensor that turns the unit off when the oxygen in the room gets too low. Whenever you use a ventless heater, be sure that there’s a window open or a door cracked to bring in fresh air.

  • Fireplaces. If you’re lucky enough to have a gas or wood-burning fireplace in your home, it will provide reliable heat during the outage. If it’s gas and lights electronically, it may start if you hold a lighter near the gas orifice inside the firebox. If it’s wood burning, keep a supply of seasoned firewood to use in the event of emergencies.

Retaining Heat

  • Be sure you have at least three days of food on hand. Eating enough calories gives you plenty of energy to keep yourself warm.

  • Dress in layers. Instead of wearing a one layer of heavy clothing, wear a few layers. They trap your body heat better so that you won’t feel as chilled.

  • Plug as many air leaks as possible to prevent drafts throughout your home.

If you’d like more information about using emergency heat because of power outages or a furnace breakdown, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

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.

Heating

Do Fireplaces Efficiently Warm Your Home?

Do Fireplaces Efficiently Warm Your Home?

Fireplaces are much beloved for the coziness they bring to a room on a blustery winter night. However, they are also much reviled on several fronts. Fireplaces are inefficient, allowing most of the energy they produce to go up the chimney. Fireplaces can be unsafe, leading to fires in the chimney or from smoldering embers. Wood burning gives off smoke, and with it, unhealthful particles that can compromise your indoor air quality. Wood burning gives off massive amounts of carbon emissions, and is actually banned in some cities.Add to the list of disadvantages the fact you've got to store firewood, which can harbor rodents and termites.So should you buy a house with a fireplace? If you have a fireplace in your home, should you stop using it and replace it with a more efficient type of heating?Our best answer: It depends on how much any of the above disadvantages bother you. Read on for further considerations on fireplace warmth.

Fireplaces as Backup, and Other Options

One of the best reasons to have a fireplace is it can be a backup source of heating in an all-electric house when the power goes out and your furnace won't come on. The fireplace will keep you from freezing, albeit inefficiently.Why else have a wood-burning fireplace? They're great for roasting marshmallows.Seriously, you may want to look into using that fireplace space for a catalytic wood stove. These stoves trap smoke and other combustion byproducts. A chemical coating on the catalyst interacts with smoke and ignites it at a lower temperature than the 1100-degree F temperature normally required, thus making it burn more efficiently. These wood stoves also release fewer carbon emissions and burn wood slower than non-catalytic models. The downside is they are more expensive than non-catalytic types, and the catalysts generally break down after 10 years or so.You might also look into a pellet stove. These are more efficient than a traditional wood stove or fireplace.

For more on fireplace warmth, and whether it's worth the trouble, contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow.

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.

Heating

Considerations for Heater Replacements

Considerations for Heater Replacements

Fewer things are more annoying and inconveniencing than finding out your heating system needs replacement on a freezing winter evening. It can be hard for the average person to tell when their system has started to break down completely hence needs to be replaced. The good news is there are certain signs that homeowners can use to know when it's the right time to make heater replacements. Read on to learn more.

Current System Age

Furnaces have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. After this period, they start failing more often. If your furnace is 12 years or older and has required numerous repairs, you should consider replacing it.

Energy Efficiency

Have your energy bills gotten higher than usual? Your heating system may be to blame. Its efficiency may have significantly reduced. Therefore, it may need replacement. Newer furnace models come with higher AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) ratings than older models, meaning they'll operate more efficiently.

Comfort

If some rooms feel warm whereas others are chilly, your heating system may be failing to distribute air correctly. A home that heats up unevenly can't be comfortable. It may be time to upgrade your heating system. Newer furnaces have variable speed motors that produce more even, comfortable heat and use less operating energy.

Costly Repairs

Are you faced with an expensive repair? It may be better to upgrade the system and get a new warranty on parts.

Financial Incentives

Are there any financial incentives for purchasing a new system? You should definitely take advantage of that. Summer is the best time to make good use of preseason upgrade specials. But that's not all. You may also qualify for manufacturer, company, and statewide rebates for choosing to install a new heating system in the summer. Installing a new heater in the summer will also prevent you from worrying about having a malfunctioning system in the winter.

By understanding the signs of needing heater replacements, homeowners can prevent harrowing total system breakdowns. If you need the best possible comfort in the Broken Arrow area, contact the HVAC experts 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.

Heating

Reasons Your Heating System May Not Keep Your Home Warm

Reasons Your Heating System May Not Keep Your Home Warm

You might be shivering inside your home because of a problem with the heating system, or it could be your home itself. Any one or several of these problems could be contributing to cold temperatures indoors.

Check the Furnace

  • Look for signs of ductwork leaks. Dusty areas around the registers or nearby walls or rooms that are colder than others often indicate ductwork problems. A segment of the ducts might be obstructed, blocking the airflow. If you can access them, look for ductwork damage, tears, or detached segments.

  • Check the thermostat. The thermostat may not turn the furnace on when needed, or shut it off before it reaches its target temperature. Its batteries could be dead, or the thermostat needs replacing.

  • The furnace needs repair. Furnaces use safety switches that will turn them off when they are overheating or malfunctioning. There could be a problem with the ignition system, or the blower motor.

An HVAC technician can diagnose and fix the heating system problems, whether they’re associated with the ducts or the furnace itself.

Look Over Your Home

  • The lack of insulation and air leaks in the home’s envelope might be responsible for the cool indoor temperatures. Over time, insulation can disintegrate and air leaks form. Damp or compressed insulation loses its ability to slow heat loss.Builders often use caulk to seal around exterior door and window frames. Over time, caulk shrinks and dries out, losing its effectiveness. You may need to reapply it, or replace old door weatherstripping.

  • Windows might be the culprit. As your home settles, the windows may not fit as tightly in their frames. For the best protection against drafts, lock each window. You can also put draft blockers at the base of windows to block cold air.If new windows aren’t in your plans, install clear plastic window sealing kits, available online or at home improvement centers.

Whether it’s problems with your home or the heating system, an HVAC contractor can help you find the issues and promptly fix them. To learn more, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.

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 heating system and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Heating

Tips To Manage Home Heating Load

Tips To Manage Home Heating Load

If you're heard the phrase “heating load” but you're not sure what it means, it's simply the amount of energy consumed by your heat pump or furnace to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home. If you'd like to save energy and reduce your utility bills, you can use these tips to better manage your home heating load:

Seal Air Leakage Sources

Heated air losses make your heating system work harder and waste energy. To curb these losses, use weatherstripping, expandable foam and caulk to seal gaps and leaks around your exterior doors, windows, and where wiring, pipes and vents penetrate the exterior shell. Seal spots where air leakage occurs between the attic and your finished living areas and the access hatch too, and have your accessible HVAC ducting runs sealed and insulated as well.

Maintain Your Heating Equipment

Well-maintained equipment consumes less energy, so get yours professionally serviced every year. To keep your equipment running efficiently throughout the heating season, check the system's air filter once a month, and put in a fresh one when you see any dirt accumulation.

Install Sufficient Attic Insulation

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), you should have a total of R-30 to R-49 installed between your attic floor joists to limit energy losses that add to your heating load. When you're insulating the attic, don't forget to do the access hatch too.

Keep Heating Vents Open and Unobstructed

When some vents are closed or blocked, it puts extra strain on your heating equipment and increases its energy consumption. You can avoid this by keeping your vent louvers open and checking periodically that they're unobstructed by household items like furniture, rugs or long window treatments.

Switch to a Programmable Thermostat

If you still have an older manual or digital thermostat, install a programmable model that allows you to automate energy-saving temperature setbacks. Ideally, these should be daily eight-hour periods, such as when everyone's away all day, or at night when your family is sleeping.

For personalized advice about managing your home heating load, contact the Broken Arrow HVAC 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 heating loads and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Heating

Choosing the Right Heating System for Your Home

Choosing the Right Heating System for Your Home

A lot of factors go into choosing the right heating system for your home. If you think you'll be in the market for a new furnace or heat pump in the near future, start considering your heating system options now. But first, how do you know your current heating system is running out of time?

The easiest way to tell is its age. Combustion furnaces generally last from 15-20 years, while air-source heat pumps are more like air conditioners, with a useful service life of 10-15 years. If your heating system is at the upper range of those numbers, plus is breaking down frequently or your heating bills are going up, it's probably time for an upgrade. With the vast improvements in energy efficiency over the past 20 years, you might be surprised to learn how inexpensive modern high-efficiency HVAC systems are to operate.

One of the first decisions you'll need to make is whether to choose a combustion furnace (natural gas, heating oil or propane), an electric heat pump, or some other option. In most cases, sticking with the system that you're replacing is the easiest course, since your home already has the plumbing, wiring, venting, etc. However, discuss with your HVAC contractor whether a switch to a different system might give you better heating performance at a lower cost.

Energy efficiency is another factor you'll have to weigh. Higher-efficiency HVAC systems cost more at the outset, but bring long-term savings on fuel and/or electricity. The rule of thumb with heating systems is the colder and longer the winter, the more savings you'll get from a high-efficiency furnace or heat pump. Discuss with your HVAC contractor what efficiency level makes the most sense in our Oklahoma climate.

You'll also be asked about possible advanced features for your new heating system. Various add-ons can improve energy efficiency, ventilation, humidity control and air cleaning. Depending on your own budget and household conditions, some advanced features might improve comfort, indoor health and/or energy efficiency.

To discuss heating system options for 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 heating systems and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Heating

Best Heating Alternatives to Save Energy in the Winter

Best Heating Alternatives to Save Energy in the Winter

No one enjoys a freezing home, but heating up your place will typically take a big toll on energy costs. Don't fret - we've taken the time to put together a short list of heating alternatives that will help you save energy and lower costs.Here are some heating alternatives to consider this season:

Install a Solar Energy System

Solar power may very well be the wave of the future. Many homeowners have already discovered the savings they can enjoy by harnessing the power of the sun. If you have any issues with installation, an HVAC technician can assist you.

Install a Geothermal System

Why focus on the energy above when you can draw power from below instead? Our planet is full of energy just below its service and a geothermal system will allow you to harness that energy to heat your entire home at a lower cost than a traditional heating system.

Pick Up a Couple Space Heaters

If only one or two of your rooms are occupied at a time, there may be no reason to run your heating system. Instead, pick up a couple of space heaters and use them instead. These small units can warm you up very quickly and they can be moved from room to room (and person to person) as needed.

Start Using the Fireplace

Many homes use their fireplace for nothing more than decoration. Caring for a fireplace takes a bit of time, but it's totally worth the benefit of warming up a large portion of your home for a lower cost.

Put on a Sweater

While turning on the heat is easy to do, it's also the most costly. If your home isn't too cold, putting on a sweater - or warm clothes, in general - should be more than enough to keep you warm.

If you're looking for more advice on heating alternatives or have any other questions related to home comfort, please contact the friendly professionals at Air Assurance. We've been serving the HVAC needs of Broken Arrow and the surrounding area 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 home alternatives and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “nattanan23/Pixabay”

Heating

Heating Options for Older Homes

Heating Options for Older Homes

Heating old homes can be a challenging experience, especially if you want to use the latest in heating and cooling system technology. Older homes simply weren’t built with newer central furnace systems in mind. So here are a few alternatives to consider for heating old homes.

Mini-Duct Forced Air

One option to explore for heating old homes is the mini-duct forced air unit. True to its name, this system relies on small, flexible tubing that can be run through walls and framing with minimal impact. To make up for the relatively small tubing, mini-duct forced air systems rely on high-velocity air handlers to push conditioned air through.Mini-duct forced air systems were once known for being noisy compared to other types, but recent advances in system design plus the use of sound-attenuating materials have helped significantly reduce noise levels.

Ductless Mini-Split

If you can’t find any suitable places to run flexible tubing, then you may want to consider going ductless. Ductless mini-split heat pumps offer excellent heating performance and energy efficiency without the need for ducting.A typical ductless, mini-split system consists of a single outdoor compressor and multiple indoor air handlers that are usually wall-mounted. The only real downside is that the design of the indoor air handler may clash aesthetically with some older homes.

Fireplace Insert

Another option involves installing an insert within your existing fireplace. Inserts come in wood-burning, gas and electric varieties, with many electric inserts offering faux flames to simulate the look and feel of your original fireplace. Gas and wood-burning inserts offer guaranteed heat

Radiant Heat

Another good choice for heating old homes effectively and efficiently is radiant under-floor heating. This type of heating system comes in electric and hydronic forms - the former using electric mats and the latter using hot water through PEX tubing. Both offer an unobtrusive and innovative way of keeping an older home warm.

If you want to learn more about heating old homes, the experts at Air Assurance have you covered. Contact us for all of your Broken Arrow heating and cooling 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 heating options and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Pixel_perfect/Pixabay”

Heating

How to Heat Cold Rooms Quickly

How to Heat Cold Rooms Quickly

No one enjoys being in a cold room during the winter, but getting warmed up can often be a bit of a chore. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you heat cold rooms quickly without costing you a lot of money:

Check the Registers

You might be surprised at how often a cold room is due to something simple, such as a register that is either closed or blocked. If this is happening in your home, then rooms aren't being given a chance to warm up, so be sure that each register is open and that nothing is impeding their airflow.

Replace the Heating System's Air Filter

The job of a system's air filter is to stop pollutants from reentering your home. This filter gets clogged up over time, which negatively impacts its effectiveness. Check the filter each month and replace it whenever it's too dirty.

Install a Radiant Floor Heating System

The installation of a radiant floor heating system is relatively easy, so you have the choice of tackling it yourself or calling an HVAC technician to do the work. These systems are usually placed beneath tile flooring but can be used with other types of flooring as well.

Check the Ductwork Dampers

The job of ductwork dampers is to manage airflow during the season. These dampers must be adjusted accordingly to coincide with the season. If you haven't already done so, take a look at them and adjust them, if needed. This is likely to heat up even your coldest rooms if this is the problem.

Utilize Duct-Booster Fans

Duct-booster fans are small fans that attach to your registers in a forced-air setup to increase the flow of heated air within the room. This can be a highly effective, and yet inexpensive, way to quickly heat up each room they're used in.

For more expert advice on how to heat cold rooms or other home comfort concerns, contact the professionals at Air Assurance. We've been serving the HVAC needs of Broken Arrow and the surrounding area 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 heating and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Heating

What’s That Smell? Heating System Odors

What’s That Smell? Heating System Odors

Let’s face it - strange heating system odors can put you in a foul mood, especially if you’re just trying to enjoy the comfort your heating system normally offers. They could also be the first sign that something’s gone wrong with your heating equipment.Any one of the heating system odors mentioned below can spell trouble for your heating system if left unchecked. Here’s a quick guide on these odors, including what causes them and how to take care of them for good:

Dirty socks

Bacteria buildup on the evaporator coils can cause unpleasant odors that are sometimes it can to dirty socks. Cleaning the coils and other parts of your HVAC system can help take care of this problem.

Ozone or metallic odors

Burnt electrical wiring or overheating components can give off a variety of metallic and ozone-like odors. You should have your HVAC technician seek out the culprit before using your furnace again.

Dusty or musty odors

If you haven’t used your furnace in a while, then chances are you’ll end up burning off some of the dust and debris that has collected on your furnace during its dormancy. This is quite normal, unless you have a dirty air filter that needs changing.

Burning oil

Spilled oil, fuel line leaks and improper ignition can cause your basement or storage area to smell like heating oil. If the odor doesn’t go away within a day or so, then you should have your HVAC technician check out your furnace.

Rotten eggs

If you smell rotten eggs or sulfur, then you’re likely dealing with a natural gas leak. The additives in natural gas are designed to give off this noxious odor, alerting you to its presence. Shut off your heating system, exit your home and call your local gas company to tackle the leak.

If your nose is clueing you in to strange heating system odors, then it’s probably time to have an HVAC technician take a close look at your system. To schedule an appointment in the Broken Arrow area, contact us at 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). For more information about your heating system and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Heating

Lowering Your Heating Load For Your Home

Lowering Your Heating Load For Your Home

You might be surprised to hear how much control you have over the amount you pay in heating bills, as well as how big a furnace or heat pump is required to heat your home. Furnace sizing is directly related to your home's heating load, as is the amount you pay in monthly energy bills. If you lower the heating load, you can get away with a smaller furnace and lower heating bills.Following are some effective ways to reduce the heating load of your home:

  • Seal air leaks. When warm air is escaping your home via gaps in the outer envelope, the furnace has to work harder to replace that warm air. In the summer, when warm air is infiltrating your home through the same openings, your A/C has to work harder. Using caulk, weatherstripping or spray foam (depending on the location and size of air leak), seal your house so it's as airtight as possible.

  • Upgrade insulation. Without adequate insulation in walls, foundation, ceilings and attic, heat energy has an easier time transferring to the outside in winter and inside in the summer. As with air leaks, this forces your furnace to work harder, wasting energy and stressing parts. Attic insulation especially is important to keep heat inside.

  • Get a programmable thermostat. These devices allow you to set energy-saving programs to match your daily schedule. The thermostat will lower heating when nobody's home or when everybody's asleep at night, and return it to your comfort level shortly before home occupants are expected to awaken or return home from work or school.

  • Use ceiling fans. In the winter, set the fan blade rotation to clockwise. This blows air upward, where it displaces warm air that collects near the ceiling, pushing it down into the room where people can feel it.

  • Schedule preventive maintenance. Make sure you schedule a maintenance tuneup on your furnace once a year, to ensure it's operating effectively, efficiently and safely.

More more information on how to lower the heating load in your Broken Arrow area home, please call 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 heating loads and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”

Featured, Heating, Humidity

Find the Right Heat/Humidity Balance

Find the Right Heat/Humidity Balance

People complain about humidity in the summer months, but many don't know that it can also be a problem in the winter. However, in the winter, the issue lies with having too little moisture in the air instead of too much.

Who Needs Humidity Anyway?

Even though it may not feel like it during the summer, moisture in the air does serve a useful purpose. It helps prevent:

  1. Cold and allergy symptoms feeling worse as dry air can irritate your throat and mucous membranes.

  2. Leather clothes, shoes, or furniture drying and cracking.

  3. Skin, especially the sensitive skin on your lips, getting dry and chapped.

  4. Wood furniture and floors drying out, leading to cracks and other structural problems.

Can Humidity Save Money?

Perhaps one of the best reasons to control the moisture in your home is your energy bill. The higher you set your thermostat in the winter, the more energy you pay for. Obviously, you'd like to keep your home temperature reasonably low for cost reasons. You may find that you're sacrificing your family's comfort when you lower the thermostat, though.The solution may just be to raise the humidity in your home. If your air is dry, it will wick away the moisture on your skin more quickly. This has the same effect as a cool breeze when you are sweating on a hot day - it leaves you feeling cooler.Keeping your home's relative humidity at 45-55% in the winter means that the air has enough moisture not to dry out your skin. In turn, this leaves you feeling warmer. You can lower your thermostat a few degrees without noticing a drop in comfort.

How Do You Maintain Consistent Humidity?

Even though plug-in humidifiers will add humidity to your home, they are unable to adjust the amount of moisture they put out to keep the moisture in your air at a consistent level. A whole-home humidifier works through your HVAC system to deliver the right levels of moisture and adapt to changing air conditions.

For more information about controlling humidity in your Broken Arrow home, 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). For more information about heat and humidity balance and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “clker-free-vector-images/Pixabay”

Heating

Face It — Your Heating System is Ready for an Upgrade

Face It — Your Heating System is Ready for an Upgrade

Many people move into homes and only have a vague idea of the age of the heating system that comes with the home. Years later, it's even harder to know how long that heating equipment has been chugging away. Or perhaps you bought the furnace or heat pump yourself some years ago.Whatever the case, it's important to recognize signs that your heating system is ready for replacement. Following are some red flags to watch out for:

The age of the system

Furnaces last an average of 15-20 years, though it can be more or less depending on maintenance and usage. For example, a furnace operating in a cold-weather climate that seldom gets professional maintenance probably will go kaput at the short end of the average service life. With heat pumps, the average service life typically runs from 12-15 years. When your heating system gets close to the end of its expected service life, start watching for signs that a replacement is warranted.

The frequency of repairs

Obviously, if your older furnace or heat pump is breaking down or malfunctioning frequently – requiring serious repairs more than once a year – consider replacement. Once some components start to go bad, other components soon will begin following suit.

Loss of efficiency and/or comfort

If your energy bills are rising and comfort decreasing, and you can't find any other obvious reason for those negative developments, it could mean your old heating equipment is going bad.

Obvious corrosion or deterioration

Sometimes you can see for yourself that aging equipment is near its end. Corrosion or rust on a furnace heat exchanger may signal cracks, which can be hazardous to your family.The good news when it comes to a heating system upgrade is that modern HVAC equipment is much more energy efficient than equipment produced 15-20 years ago. With a new system, you can begin saving on energy bills immediately, while enjoying enhanced whole-house comfort.

For help deciding whether you need to repair or replace the aging furnace or heat pump 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 heating system upgrades and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay”

Heating

How Dangerous are Space Heaters?

How Dangerous are Space Heaters?

A space heater is a great addition to your overall home heating plan. Used strategically, space heaters can provide spot heating that raises your comfort level without adding significantly to your wintertime energy bill.The main drawback for any type of auxiliary heating is understanding how to use it safely. More than 18,000 home fires are caused annually because of improper use of space heaters. Read on, and learn about the types of auxiliary heating that are available, and how to use these appliances safely.

What Type of Space Heater for Your Home?

Choose from several types of auxiliary heating available in the marketplace.

  1. Conductive — This type includes electric space heaters, which use heating elements, made of mica or chromium/nickel, to convert electricity into heat. These are portable and easy to move around.

  2. Radiant — These commonly circulate oil through pipes, radiating heat outward and are good for small spaces. Radiant heat may also be generated by combustion-powered units, which should be vented for safety when used indoors.

  3. Convection — These use elements to heat air, which is sometimes circulated by a fan. They heat quietly, with the heat persisting for a long time. Convection heaters may be heavy and are therefore not really portable.

Employ these tips for safe use of your heating units:

  1. Buy a heater controlled by a thermostat, with guards over heating coils, sensors to shut down the unit if it tips, a grounded, three-prong plug, cold-touch surface to prevent burns and internal sensors to prevent overheating.

  2. Position auxiliary heating away from foot traffic and on level surfaces away from combustible materials.

  3. Never place anything on top of auxiliary heating.

  4. Plug auxiliary heating directly into the wall, never into an extension cord.

  5. Unplug heaters when not in use.

  6. Get rid of the heater if it trips the circuit breaker or is missing knobs, guard, controls or feet, or if the cord is frayed.

  7. Avoid using electrical heaters in a room where they may come in contact with water.

Want more expert advice about using a space heater? Contact Air Assurance of Broken Arrow.

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 space heaters and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “brian-a-jackson/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”

Heating, Technicians

Should You Leave These Heating Equipment Tasks to a Pro?

Should You Leave These Heating Equipment Tasks to a Pro?

Taking care of your home's heating system is essential if you want to provide your home with reliable, comfortable heating throughout the winter. This is true whether you use a gas furnace, an electric heat pump or a combustion boiler. As with all HVAC systems, heating equipment maintenance involves a mixture of do-it-yourself steps and professional tasks.

So, how to you know which heating equipment tasks should be left to a professional? Here's a basic explanation:

Do-It-Yourself

  • Inspect and change air filters when they get dirty. Make sure to check your filter at least once a month. A clean filter allows for a smooth airflow through your system, keeping damaging dust and debris out of sensitive components. As a result, you'll save money on energy and reduce the chance of breakdowns.

  • Seal leaky ducts. If you find loose connections or actual holes or cracks, seal them with duct mastic and metal-backed tape. Then, insulate ducts that run through unconditioned areas, such as your crawlspace or basement.

  • Remove obstructions from heating vents and registers. You'll be surprised by how many household objects get shoved atop vents, including rugs, furniture and drapes.

Call a Professional 

  • Check ignition and combustion components for fuel-burning furnaces and boilers. All components should be clean, and moving parts should be lubricated.

  • With combustion heating systems, your technician should make sure the venting, exhaust and chimney set-up is safe and up to code. Otherwise, you're risking carbon-monoxide poisoning and/or fire.

  • Electric wiring and terminals should be assessed for proper connections and operation in heat pumps, furnaces and boiler systems.

  • Heat pump systems should be inspected for correct refrigerant level, while indoor and outdoor coils should be cleaned. Airflow should also be checked and adjusted.

  • In both furnaces and heat pumps, the condensate drain should be inspected for blockages and cleaned.

For more advice on helpful heating equipment tasks to complete this season, please contact Air Assurance. We serve the Greater Tulsa 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: “mushan/Shutterstock”

Heating

5 Ways to Keep More Heat in Your Home

5 Ways to Keep More Heat in Your Home

The challenge of every homeowner during the winter is figuring out how to keep more heat indoors. Heating systems work hard, but if you've invested in an efficient, modern furnace and have kept it well maintained, you've already taken the most important steps toward lowering your utility bills.Still, there's always more you can do. Here are some tips that will help boost your heating efforts and make your home warmer and more comfortable.

Seal and Insulate

  • One of the best things you can do to keep cold air out and warm air in is to apply caulk around window frames and weatherstripping in door frames. Plastic film on windows and glass doors should also help. Apply wherever you feel cold breezes.

  • A door sweep will also keep chilly winds out. Make sure it's attached low enough to do the job without wearing the material out. You may have to adjust it from year to year.

  • Insulation is perhaps the no. 1 way to keep your home cozy. Have your home's insulation assessed by a professional for its effectiveness. Does your insulation have the right R-value (resistance value) for our area?

  • An easy way to insulate is by pulling drapes or curtains shut on a cloudy day to keep heat in. Be sure to open the drapes on a sunny day to let sunshine (passive solar energy) naturally warm your home.

  • Install a programmable thermostat. Program yours with a regular regimen. You might start with a program that is set for 68 degrees in the morning when people are getting up, and then goes down to 60 degrees after everyone leaves. The thermostat will then call for a return to 68 degrees when the household is due to return home in the afternoon or evening. At bedtime, the temperature should once again revert to 60 degrees. If occupants complain of being chilly, urge them to dress warmly.

Contact Air Assurance for more tips on how heating systems can keep your home warmer. We serve customers in Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas.

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: “VooDoo13/Shutterstock”

Heating

Is It Time for a Heating Upgrade? What to Consider

Is It Time for a Heating Upgrade? What to Consider

As the single biggest use of energy in your Broken Arrow home, your heating and cooling system has the biggest impact on your energy costs. As a result, it's important for your heating and cooling systems to operate as efficiently as possible. Even more, it's important to know when it is time to upgrade your heating system. The following information is designed to inform you of a few tell tale signs its time for a heating upgrade.

Exceeded Life Expectancy

Since all equipment has a life expectancy, it's important to consider a heating upgrade when your equipment has reached its life expectancy. While most heat pumps have a life expectancy of 10 years, furnaces and boilers have a longer life of around 15 years. In any case, when your system reaches its life expectancy, you should consider replacing it with a more energy efficient unit.

Frequent Repairs

Over time, your heating equipment will become much less efficient because component parts will fail. If your equipment starts to need frequent repairs outside of regular maintenance and your energy bill rises, it's time to consider upgrading your heating system.

Rooms Too Hot or Cold

If your rooms are too cold or too hot, it could be the result of improper ductwork. At the same time, your equipment could be malfunctioning.

Humidity Problems

If the air in your home is too humid in the summer or too dry in the winter, it could the result of inadequate equipment, leaky ductwork, or the need for a heating upgrade

Noisy Heating System

If your heating system is making strange noises, it's time to consider a heating upgrade. In most cases, the problem is with the indoor coil or your duct system is undersized.

In any case, if your heating isn't working efficiently, it may be costing you much more than you know. As a result, it's important to know when it is time for a heating upgrade and whom to contact. Since 1985, Air Assurance has been servicing the Broken Arrow and Tulsa area. Contact us for more expert advice all of your HVAC issues.

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: “Thinglass/Shutterstock”

Heating

Get the Upper Hand With Heat Loss This Winter

Get the Upper Hand With Heat Loss This Winter

It's the time of year when we in Broken Arrow can expect to see below freezing temperatures. Instead of paying high energy bills this winter, spend a morning inspecting your home for heat loss.

Here's what to look for:

  • Check the areas around doors and windows. If you felt a draft last year, now's the time to fix it. An incense stick produces a fine stream of smoke you can use to pinpoint the leak. If the gaps or holes you find aren't too big, buy a can of insulating foam sealant—it expands inside the wall and keeps cold air out.

  • Take a walk around your home's exterior. Be aware of junctions where pipes and wires enter the building. The original insulation may have weathered, shrunk and cracked in these areas, which leads to more heat loss.

  • Make sure all the shingles on your home are intact. A spring or summer storm might have damaged your roof. Even if water isn't getting in, cold air still can. If you see something out of place, head to the attic and take a closer look.

  • Inside your home, inspect your heater's air filter. Dirty air filters can increase the amount of allergens in your home and reduce the efficiency of your heater. Write down the size, or take a photo with your phone and head to the home improvement store to buy a new one.

  • Is your water heater wrapped? Thermally insulating it will reduce your bills. Also, think about turning it down a few degrees—it's another easy way to save money.

  • Is the hot water pipe from your water heater insulated? If not, it's losing heat. Pipe insulation is easy to install and doesn't cost much.

  • Finally, examine the heater vents around your house (especially in the kitchen.) Debris and dust fall in them, reducing their effectiveness. Pop them out of the floor, take them outside, and shake the dirt out.

If you need help preventing heat loss in your home, contact Air Assurance in Broken Arrow. We want our customers to have a safe and comfortable homes year round.

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). 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock