furnace

Furnaces, HVAC System

The Truth: Radiant Heat vs. Furnace

Radiant Heat_iStock-970857302.jpg

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.

Furnaces

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.

Service & Maintenance

Decoration Storage Do's and Don't's

Decoration Storage Do's and Don't's

Most homeowners have a collection of treasured decorations that help make the holiday season more festive. You may not realize it, but there's a direct correlation between protecting your decorations while they're in storage and keeping your home and family safe from harm. Here are some decoration storage do's and don't's that can help you accomplish both:

Don't Assume That Decorations Aren't Dangerous

You might mistakenly think you only have to worry about hazards like frayed electric holiday lights or placing a tree too close to your fireplace when your decorations are in use. However, some stored decorations can add fuel to a fire or produce noxious fumes when they melt, such as:

  • Boxes and egg cartons used for ornament storage

  • Fabric holiday stockings and tree skirts

  • Components of wreaths, garlands and artificial trees

  • Holiday candles

  • Plastic totes and storage containers

Don't Use the Furnace Room for Decoration Storage

If you have some extra space around your furnace, you might be tempted to use it to store your holiday decorations. The truth is, having any of the above items close to a combustion device like your furnace (or water heater) is a serious safety hazard. Other flammable and combustible items that shouldn't be stored near your furnace are fuels like gasoline, paint and paint thinners, aerosol sprays, cleaning and laundry products, wood products, paper goods, cat litter and fabric/textile materials.

Do Choose a Safe Spot for Storing Decorations

After you've carefully packed up your holiday decorations to keep them safe while in storage, here are some potential storage location where they're unlikely to cause any danger:

  • The attic. A well-lit attic can be a good spot to store seasonal holiday decor, just don't include items like paraffin candles that may melt.

  • Your garage. A dedicated shelving unit in the garage can make a great location for storing decorations during the off-season.

  • A bedroom closet. An empty closet in a seldom-used bedroom can give you easy access to stored boxes of holiday decorations.

To learn more safe decoration storage ideas for your Broken Arrow home, contact us today 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, us at 918-217-8273.

Furnaces

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.

Safety

Safety Hazards of a Multi-Purpose Furnace Room 

Safety Hazards of a Multi-Purpose Furnace Room

Safety should always be a top priority in every household. Unfortunately, many homeowners make simple mistakes without considering what might happen. A great example is when families create storage in mechanical room areas of the home, primarily where their furnace is located. This results in a fire just waiting to happen.

People Own More Stuff

It's getting a little ridiculous at how much "stuff" exists that you can buy these days. Many households are full of boxes with everything from Christmas ornaments and legal documents to comic books and action figures. Much of what we buy will end up in a box somewhere, which necessitates the need for more storare areas around your home. So, why not use the furnace room, right? Wrong!

The Dangers of Using a Furnace Room for Storage

When you place storage items in an area that houses a source of heat, you're asking for trouble. If the furnace isn't operating properly or your personal belongings are too close to the furnace, a fire could ignite. This is especially true if you're storing items like half-empty paint cans, cleaning supplies, or solvents. Don't laugh - we've probably all put these items in places that weren't entirely safe.

What You Can Do to Prevent a Fire

The good news is that preventing a fire in the room where your furnace is stored is rather simple. Here are some quick rules that you can follow:

  • Remove any flammable materials such as storage boxes, cleaning materials, and other items discussed throughout this article.

  • Equip your home with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Have a fire extinguisher readily accessible in the kitchen and near the furnace area.

  • Hire a technician to perform an annual check of the system to keep it operating properly.

  • Never block the entrance or area around the furnace in case firefighters require access.

For more advice on safe storage in mechanical room areas, or if you have any other questions related to home comfort, reach out to the experts at Air Assurance. We've been serving the HVAC needs of Broken Arrow and the surrounding areas 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 other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.

Winterizing

Winterizing Your HVAC System

Winterizing Your HVAC System

Your furnace gets quite a workout in Broken Arrow during the winter, so it pays to schedule annual preventative maintenance to ensure it works reliably through the worst of winter. Here's what winterizing your HVAC system, particularly your furnace, should look like:

Air Conditioner

Before you schedule preventative maintenance, you should square things away with the air conditioner. First, clean up around the outdoor condenser, removing leaves, weeds and other debris. Trim overhanging limbs and shrubs away so that nothing falls on the unit during a storm.If you're concerned about freezing rain dripping inside the unit -- moisture that freezes, melts and refreezes can cause damage -- then place a square of plywood over the top and secure it to the ground. You can cover the unit up with a commercial cover, but be aware that sometimes covers provide a cozy habitat for rodents and other creatures through the winter.

Change the Air Filter

The change of seasons is a good time to change the air filter. Starting the heating season with a clean filter will help ensure that the inner workings of the system are free of dust so that the furnace runs more efficiently.Follow manufacturer's instructions to change the filter. If you don't know where your filter is located, ask your HVAC technician to show you, and to show you how to change it.

Preventative Maintenance

When you schedule your preventative maintenance on your HVAC system you can expect the technician to perform a number of tasks. Among them are these:

  • Check thermostat to ensure the system attains the right temperature set points.

  • Inspect and tighten electrical connections.

  • Lubricate moving parts to reduce friction, which decreases efficiency.

  • Test controls. Make sure they are operating properly.

  • Inspect condensate drain. This drain can get stopped up over time, resulting in flooding.

  • Inspect furnace parts, including gas connections, burners and heat exchanger. A crack in a heat exchanger can cause unsafe operation, including the leaking of carbon monoxide.

For more on winterizing your HVAC system, 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 winterizing and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “kmicican/Pixabay”

HVAC system

Air Balancing: Everything you Need to Know

Air Balancing: Everything you Need to Know

While repairing or replacing your air conditioner and furnace can help lower your utility bills, these systems won't deliver the highest comfort and efficiency levels if airflow is poor or unbalanced. Air balancing can help you get the best performance from your HVAC system. Let's find out what it is and how it can improve your system and home.

What Is Air Balancing?

The air that passes through your HVAC equipment carries the heat or cold inside. The equipment's effectiveness depends on the volume of airflow.Air balancing involves carrying out tests and adjustments to your heating and cooling system to ensure the correct amount of air is delivered to the rooms in your home. An HVAC technician uses manometers to measure the current system pressures, hoods to get the airflow levels at each grille, and hygrometers to measure humidity and temperature.The technician compiles the test results into a report to establish your system's performance. He or she may then make changes to your vents and ducts to balance the return and supply channels.

Why Do You Need To Balance Airflow?

Improper balance in your air distribution system can make your HVAC system work harder to achieve the ideal temperatures. This may put unnecessary strain on the system and damage its parts. It may also cause premature failure of the system.Balancing the airflow in your system involves adjustment of the quantity of air flowing into each room. When this is done, your rooms will have similar temperature levels, improved humidity control, and cleaner air. You'll enjoy maximum comfort in each room, and your system's efficiency will be optimized.

Although balancing your system's airflow isn't a simple task, the energy savings and reduced system wear and tear you'll get will partially or entirely cover the costs. To learn more about air balancing, please contact Air Assurance. We've been proudly serving the Broken Arrow area for more than 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). For more information about TOPIC and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “attem/Shutterstock”

Featured, Furnaces

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”

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”

Featured, HVAC system

Need Advice on Choosing a New HVAC System? Here's a Helpful Guide

Need Advice on Choosing a New HVAC System? Here's a Helpful Guide

When choosing a new HVAC system, you'll be looking at technology you may not have known existed, most of it vastly more efficient than what you had in your home before. Here's a rundown on some of the new technology, but remember, your best bet is discussing your HVAC system replacement with an experienced contractor.

Cooling

When choosing a new central air conditioner, your new system is likely to be much more efficient with a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). You'll also have the option to choose features such as:

  • Variable-speed air handlers that gently gear up to provide cooling as needed, then slowly cycle down, maintaining cool temperatures as you need them.

  • Two-stage compressors that use the most power only on the hottest days.

  • Scroll compressors that use less energy than a piston-driven compressor.

These features are also available with a heat pump, which works similarly to an A/C. Both systems use refrigerant to extra heat from the home, but a heat pump can be reversed in winter so that it moves heat into the house from the outdoors for warming.

If you already have central heating but don't have a central cooling system, ask your HVAC consultant if the current ductwork is sufficient to handle the volume of air produced by the A/C you are considering. You may have to replace the ductwork.

Ductless systems are a popular option for homes without existing ductwork. You can get a ductless A/C or heat pump depending on your heating and cooling needs. With these systems, air is distributed by small, strategically mounted air handlers, which are connected to an outdoor compressor/condenser. Multiple air handlers can run on one outdoor unit, making these systems perfect for creating comfort zones.

Heating

When choosing a new furnace, pay attention to annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the furnace you choose will be. Newer furnaces also may have safer, more efficiently sealed combustion technology, as well as an efficient modulating gas valve and a variable-speed blower.

To learn more about choosing a new HVAC system, contact Air Assurance. We've been serving customers in the Tulsa 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).  Credit/Copyright Attribution: “schatzy/Shutterstock”

Featured, HVAC system

Learn About All the Systems That Explain What HVAC Stands For

Learn About All the Systems That Explain What HVAC Stands For

Do you know what HVAC stands for? It's an acronym for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Let's have a look at each of these individual systems and see how they work together to provide your home with a comfortable environment.

Heating

The most common method of heating in the American home is forced air, with a furnace burner warming air, then dispersing it through ductwork and vents. Less common are radiant heating systems, using a boiler to send hot water through a home by way of tubes in the floor or through radiators in each room, and geothermal heating, which absorbs heat from the ground to disperse through the home.

Ventilation

Ventilation systems use an air handler and a home's ductwork to draw in return air, removing pollutants as the air passes through the filter and then dispersing conditioned air through supply ducts into the home.

Auxiliary ventilation equipment such as exhaust, supply, balanced or heat recovery or energy recovery ventilation systems may be installed to move moisture, odors and pollutants out of the home and let fresh air in. Air purifiers help by trapping pollutants and keeping them from circulating in your home's air, while dehumidifiers remove excess moisture in the home that might promote mold.

Air Conditioner

The air conditioner controls the temperature in your home in the summer months, providing cooling and eliminating moisture. If you have a split system central air conditioner or a heat pump, the air conditioner will consist of two units: an indoor evaporator and air handler and an outdoor compressor. Refrigerant is pumped between the two, with the refrigerant absorbing heat indoors and exhausting it outside. Air inside the home is cooled when it passes through an evaporator coil and is dispersed by an air handler through a system of ducts.

Another type of air conditioner is a ductless mini split, also a heat pump, but without ducts. It distributes conditioned air through air handlers mounted on the wall, ceiling or floor.

To learn more about what HVAC stands for, contact Air Assurance. We've served the metropolitan Tulsa 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). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Stuart Miles/Shutterstock”

Energy Savings, Featured

Everything You Need to Know About the EnergyGuide Label

Everything You Need to Know About the EnergyGuide Label

That distinctive yellow sticker on new appliances like A/Cs, water heaters and heat pumps is called the EnergyGuide label, but it might as well be called the energy-saving label. If you use this federally mandated label as intended to compare the energy-saving potential for a given appliance to that of similar appliances, it can save you money on energy bills throughout the life of the appliance you choose. If you're shopping for a furnace, the EnergyGuide label will show you how one furnace compares energy-wise to other furnaces with the same size and features.

You'll find the EnergyGuide sticker on a broad range of appliances, but not all of them. The label is affixed to air conditioners, heat pumps, dishwashers, clothes washers, furnaces, freezers, TVs, refrigerators and pool heaters. The label isn't placed on clothes dryers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, ovens and ranges.

Reading the Label

You'll find the following pieces of information on the EnergyGuide label:

  • Estimated yearly operating cost: A single-line continuum graph shows where a particular appliance stands in regard to energy costs compared to similar models. These numbers are based on average national electrical costs.

  • Estimated electrical usage: The label uses kilowatt hours to show how much electricity the appliance will consume annually, based on typical users.

  • Details on key features of the appliance: Other appliances used for comparison purposes will have the same basic features and size. The tag also will provide details on the model and manufacturer.

  • The Energy Star logo: If the appliance you're considering has achieved minimum energy efficiency standards set by the federal Energy Star program, it will feature the familiar blue logo on the EnergyGuide label. Appliances with this designation use less energy than an equivalent product that doesn't sport the Energy Star while offering the same or better functionality and quality. If at all possible, make sure any new appliance you buy comes with the Energy Star logo.

For more information on the EnergyGuide label, please contact the pros at Air Assurance. We proudly supply excellent service to the Tulsa metro area, including 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). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “iQoncept/Shutterstock”

Efficiency, HVAC system

What's the Easiest Way to Make Your HVAC System More Efficient?

What's the Easiest Way to Make Your HVAC System More Efficient?

Keeping your HVAC system's air filter clean may not seem like it would make much of a difference in terms of performance. In reality, it's the most important thing you can do to keep your system running both efficiently and durably. Dust found on your filter and inside your air handler can significantly reduce your system's overall performance

Importance of Airflow

Engineers design forced-air HVAC systems to pull a specific amount of air through the air handler for peak efficiency. A dirty filter slows airflow, reducing the volume of air that passes through the ductwork. As a result, it will take longer to heat or cool your home, driving up energy consumption.Air handlers also house the components that exchange heat in both the heating and cooling mode. A gas furnace has a heat exchanger, while a heat pump has an evaporator coil that can both heat and cool. When your heat exchanger and coil are dust-free, the heat exchange process is faster and more efficient.

Reducing Dust

Air filters trap airborne particulates of varying sizes, depending on the quality of the filter. Running your system with a dirty filter will eventually cover the parts inside it with dust. A heat exchanger that's covered with dust holds onto heat longer, which can cause it to crack. When the cracks go all the way through, carbon monoxide can escape into your home's air. An HVAC system with a cracked heat exchanger needs to be repaired or completely replaced.When too much dust covers the evaporator coil, the refrigerant inside it will stay cold long enough to freeze the condensation coming off the coil. Unless your system shuts off to give the coil a chance to thaw, the exceptionally cold refrigerant can burn out the compressor inside the outdoor condenser. Keeping your filter clean reduces the likelihood of compressor failure or water damage from a frozen coil.

To learn more about keeping your HVAC system running as efficiently as possible, contact Air Assurance. We've been providing top-notch HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners 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). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Fulop-Zsolt/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.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in thearea about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “art_of_sun/Shutterstock”

Furnaces

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!

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: “www.3drenderedlogos com/Shutterstock”

Service & Maintenance

What to Do If You Smell Gas in Your Home

What to Do If You Smell Gas in Your Home

The smell of gas is strong and unpleasant, which is a good thing when it comes to home safety. A whiff of this pungent odor is a clear indicator that your home and those within it are in danger. If you smell gas in your home, you need to take immediate steps to protect your entire family. 

The Dangers of Gas

There are many potential causes of gas leaks in a home. They can include anything from a faulty stove igniter to a blown pilot light in a furnace. Any of these things can result in an accumulation of gas in your home. Note that it takes less gas than you think for there to be a dangerous situation. A room only needs to be filled with 25 percent gas to result in an explosion.

Gas Leak Safety Procedures

If you smell gas in your home, safety should be your primary concern. It's important that there be no naked flames in your home. Avoid smoking, lighting matches or using electrical appliances as any of these things could cause a spark and ignite the gas.You should also open windows and doors to provide ventilation. If possible, you should find your gas valve and turn it off. Your next step should be to contact your gas provider or HVAC service provider for emergency assistance.

A gas leak in your home is a serious problem that can cause harm to your family, along with major property damage. If you have a gas leak or want more information about how to stay safe if one occurs, contact Air Assurance. We've been providing HVAC services to the Tulsa and Broken Arrow areas since 1985. Our HVAC professionals are trained to service gas appliances and will be happy to help.

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: “doglikehorse/Shutterstock”

Furnaces

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”

Air Leaks

Not Detecting Air Leaks Can Cost You

Not Detecting Air Leaks Can Cost You

Winter is coming, and with it the promise of yet another stretch of cold Oklahoma weather. So what is a homeowner to do when they feel as though their furnace isn't heating their home as well as it should? There's increasing the amount and quality of insulation, for starters. But homes can lose heat in a number of ways without us even realizing it. One of those sources of heat loss is air leaks.Detecting air leaks can go a long way toward improving your home's energy efficiency. There are well-known ways for air to leak, of course, such as under-door drafts. But air leaks occur in many other places than that. There are steps you can take in detecting air leaks yourself:Conduct a visual inspection outside your home. Keep an eye out for gaps or cracks in any of the following areas:

  • Outdoor water faucets

  • Where the siding or brickwork and foundation meet

  • The area where the siding and chimney meet

  • Exterior corners

Then take a look around your home's interior, again watching for gaps and cracks in the following:

  • Window and door frames

  • Air conditioners mounted in walls or windows

  • Baseboards

  • Switch plates

  • Electrical outlets

  • The area where your dryer vent meets the wall

  • Fans and vents

  • Weather stripping around doors

  • Areas where cable and phone lines enter the house

Pay special attention to windows. If storm windows rattle, there are possible air leaks. Air leaks are also possible if light can be seen coming through around the frame. Check the condition of caulking and weather stripping both inside and outside, and repair if necessary. Check, too, to be sure that all doors seal properly.Detecting air leaks can take time, but it is time well spent. Sealing these leaks can go a long way toward increasing your comfort as well as lowering your energy bills in both winter and summer.Since 1985, Air Assurance has been making sure customers in the Broken Arrow and Tulsa area are more comfortable in their homes. If you have questions about air leaks or any other HVAC concerns, please contact us.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: “dny3d/Shutterstock”

Generators

Have You Had Maintenance Completed on Your Generator?

Have You Had Maintenance Completed on Your Generator?

A home generator can make a world of difference during a power outage. A generator, depending on its capabilities, may keep refrigerated food from spoiling and your hot water tank pumping out hot water. In other words, a it may help you from having to seek alternative living conditions during a power outage. In order to keep a generator in proper working order when you need it the most, it is imperative you establish a yearly routine generator maintenance schedule.

There are a number of factors which may keep your generator from working properly. Climate, specifically freezing temperatures, may keep an already compromised generator from starting. Fortunately the Tulsa climate dose not dip into the negative temperatures too often, but even our temperatures will affect an improperly cared-for generator. Losing power during the winter months, and without a generator to back you up, you may be put in a dire predicament. Other reasons your generators may not start include: compromised fuel supply, rust, debris, seized starter, blocked carburetor, fouled sparkplug, damaged flywheel, or severed electrical wire, just to name some of the more common ways a generator will not start.

Generators, depending on their make, model, size, and fuel supply, will require service not unlike your furnace. Routine generator maintenance includes ensuring components are in proper working order, making sure fluids are filled, and changing out air filters for starters. Waiting until a power outage to discover your generator has a loose sparkplug will cause you unnecessary heartache. Also, waiting until a power outage, or until the unit is fully broken, will ensure you pay the maximum dollar amount for your repairs. A little maintenance once or twice a year may keep you from having to shell out replacement costs on your investment.

Generators can make a difference during an emergency, but only if they are properly maintained. If you live in the Tulsa area, and have a generator that has not seen a maintenance mechanic since the assembly line, please feel free to contact us.

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 generators and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.Image courtesy of Shutterstock

HVAC system

3 Important Terms to Know for Your System: AFUE, SEER, HSPF

3 Important Terms to Know for Your System: AFUE, SEER, HSPF

Whenever you’re buying a new major HVAC appliance or having repairs done, it’s good to be able to understand what your technician or salesman is talking about. It will help you learn about your HVAC system, which will in turn allow you to make better decisions that will benefit you and your home. Here are three important terms you should learn about: AFUE, SEER, HSPF.

AFUE

Annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) is a value that shows how well a furnace or water heater is able to turn your fuel into usable heat. The word annual in the acronym indicates that this is an average value that was determined over the course of a typical year. This is important because some units will perform better or worse than others in extreme temperatures. The current minimum AFUE level in the U.S. has been set at 78 percent by the Department of Energy.

SEER

Air conditioners (A/Cs) have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) value that demonstrates how efficiently your A/C cools air. A high SEER number indicates that your A/C wastes less energy to cool air than a comparable air conditioner with a lower SEER value. The minimum standard for A/Cs in terms of SEER rating is currently 13.

HSPF

A final HVAC term you should understand is the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) of your heat pump. This number is again a type of efficiency rating that measures how well your pump translates the energy it consumes per hour into hot or cold air. High efficiency air conditioners will have the highest HSPFs, and will save you money on energy bills.

Understanding your HVAC system can only help you as a homeowner. If you have any questions or confusion about your Broken Arrow home’s HVAC system, please contact Air Assurance to clear them up.

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

Furnaces

Furnace Not Warming Up Your Home as It Should?

Furnace Not Warming Up Your Home as It Should?

If your furnace isn't warming your home as it should, there may be a simple solution that doesn't require the assistance of an HVAC pro. The following tips can help you troubleshoot the problem.

  • Make sure that the thermostat is set correctly. It should be in "heat" mode, and the temperature called for must be above the room temperature that's displayed. Also check that the fan is in the "auto" position so that it only operates when the furnace is running.

  • Check the thermostat itself. If you have a digital thermostat, replacing the batteries may solve the problem. With an older, manual unit, remove the cover and clean the contacts.

  • Examine the furnace filter. If the filter's clogged with dirt, it can adversely affect the flow of warm air that arrives at your registers. To maximize your furnace's efficiency during the heating season, clean or replace the filter once a month.

  • Check the gas shutoff position. The shutoff is located along the gas line that runs from your furnace, and the handle must be set parallel to the pipe so that fuel reaches the burner.

  • Look inside your breaker box. Is the furnace not warming your home at all? A tripped breaker could be the reason why. If everything looks fine inside your main electrical service box, check for a blown fuse and/or flipped breaker in the furnace's blower compartment.

  • Check your pilot light. If the pilot light has gone out on your older furnace, look for instructions on how to relight it right on the unit, next to the pilot light opening. Alternately, they should be in your owner's manual.

If the above tips don't help, or if you have a newer heating system with an intermittent or hot surface ignition, give your HVAC professional a call. He or she may diagnose another common problem such as inadequate airflow to the combustion chamber, or a dirty gas burner.

Is your furnace not warming your home and you need expert help? Contact us today at Air Assurance. We've provided outstanding service to Broken Arrow area homeowners for more than 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). 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock