What to Consider When Replacing Your Furnace

The average furnace can last as long as 25 years with a proper maintenance routine. Even the most meticulous homeowners, though, will eventually have to replace their units. If your unit has begun to lose efficiency and break down, it’s probably time to switch it out for a newer model.

How to Tell When Your Furnace is Obsolete

Age itself isn’t reason enough to buy a new furnace. These systems can last a surprisingly long time. There are some specific signs that you can look for to help you determine if your unit has reached the end of the line.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (Or ACEEE) recommends that any furnace with a coal burner be replaced; even if it has been modified to consume gas or oil. They also suggest that units with a pilot light (versus an electric ignition) be removed. These machines can be a bit less stable and are significantly less energy efficient.

If you notice a sharp spike in your winter energy bill, it’s evidence that your furnace is struggling to meet the demand. If you can’t seem to get your house warm enough or have noticed new noises coming from the unit, those indicate a possible replacement.  

Choosing a New Furnace

Once you’ve determined that you need a new furnace, select the best fit for your home or office. Instead of simply ordering an exact replacement for your old unit, do some research. ACEEE says that most furnaces are grossly oversized. This can end up costing you quite a bit of money because larger units cost more. A good supplier will help you select a heating system based on your actual energy needs, rather than estimating based on square footage. This method takes other information into account, such as insulation and preferred temperature.

Efficiency and Return On Investment for Furnaces

Furnaces cost thousands of dollars, so choose a unit that will help cut costs as much as possible over the course of its life. The more effective your new system is, the sooner you will recoup your losses and have a unit that “pays for itself.” For example, if your current setup has a 65% efficiency rating and you upgrade to a model with a 95% efficiency rating, you’ll save approximately $32 for every $100 of heating costs. If your average monthly power bill before replacing our furnace was $300, you’ll be cutting back by an astounding $1,100 each year.

Selecting a Fuel Source

Consider the fuel source of your new unit. Even if you already have a gas-burning unit, you don’t have to continue to use it. Fossil fuel prices tend to fluctuate, so it’s difficult to tell how cost-effective another gas unit might be down the road. Examine some of the new alternatives, such as wood pellets. Find a fuel that is cheap and easy to acquire in your area and then select the appropriate furnace.

When you’re ready to replace your furnace, contact us. All Climate has some of the best heating systems and products on the market. Our team will help you find the heating system that best fits your home and budget. Ask about our convenient financing options.

Will Your Heating System Last this Winter? Here’s How to Test It

Though winter may still be a few months off, it is important to test your heating system before you need it. Much like your vehicle, your heating system also needs regular maintenance to keep it running efficiently. Checking your system in the fall allows you to identify any problems that you can work to fix before you’re left in the cold.

How to Test Your Heating System Before Winter

Testing your heating unit to make sure that it is working properly is a simple, but important task. Follow these steps to make sure that your heating system is working:

  • Set your thermostat to the heat or on position, and adjust the temperature so that it is at least 10 degrees higher than the temperature of the room.
  • Listen carefully for the heating equipment to turn on. It should start up within a few minutes of adjusting the thermostat.
  • Use a standard thermometer to test the temperature of the room after 15 minutes. Place this thermometer by your thermostat and check that the temperatures are reading the same. If they are not, you may need to replace your thermostat.

If the equipment does not start up, you can press the reset button on the burner’s relay, but make sure to only press it once. If the system still does not start up, you may need to call an HVAC professional to check your heating system.

Heating System Maintenance Checklist

Once you have tested your system to make sure that it runs, you should also complete some basic maintenance tasks to avoid any breakdowns and ensure that your system will run efficiently. Here’s a short checklist to help you make sure you are ready for winter:

  • Check your windows and doors for leaks and cracks. Though they may be harder to notice in the summer, these areas let more cold air in, causing your heating system to work harder than it needs to in order to keep your home warm.
  • Clean or replace air filters. Dirty and clogged air filters can also decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system. These should be checked and replaced regularly to keep your system running smoothly.
  • Turn off the power to your furnace, and clean the heater’s fan blades if you are able to access them. Also, check to see if the fan’s motor and blower shafts need lubrication. Keeping your system cleaned and oiled helps prolong the life of the unit.

Checking your heating system before winter is about more than just comfort. A properly maintained HVAC system will run more efficiently and help you keep your energy costs down when you are running your heater often. Checking the system before you use it regularly also helps you to eliminate any potential hazards from a broken or malfunctioning heating system.

If you need help getting your heating system ready for the winter, call us today. An experienced HVAC technician can test your HVAC system and make sure you are ready for the coldest time of the year.

The Future Of HVAC: Cogeneration

These days, most home and business owners are as concerned with the environment as they are with daily life. They’re always looking for ways to benefit the earth and save energy in their homes. Though it may surprise you, one of the key places to save energy is through your HVAC system. Cogeneration, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), is touted as the future of not only the HVAC system, but environmental awareness. Consider cogeneration to protect the environment and the health of your family and customers.

What Is Cogeneration?

CHP generates electricity without wasting heat and heat byproducts. Instead, CHP recaptures and “recycles” heat that would otherwise be wasted. It gives the wasted heat productive uses, such as adding just a bit more warmth to your home as needed or re-cooling heated air. This keeps heat from being wasted during spring and summer when it’s needed less. Cogeneration also keeps extra heat from being siphoned into the environment, preventing some pollution.

Although it’s seen as a twenty-first century technology, cogeneration has actually been around in one form or another since about 1882. It’s been proven helpful for homeowners and business owners for a variety of reasons. For one thing, cogeneration helps people become more dependent on thermal energy. Thermal energy is much cleaner than energy based in coal, oil, and other fossil fuels. While these forms of energy are fairly cheap, they’re also infamous for their detrimental effects on the planet and the health of those nearby. They spread pollution throughout the environment, and they may also be responsible for certain diseases, such as respiratory infections.

Why Cogeneration Matters

Home and business owners who use CHP will likely learn how to respond better to temperature fluctuations in their buildings. They may look into other clean energy alternatives, such as wind or water energy. Even if these aren’t available or affordable, people who use CHP will find that their energy bills are declining and that their thermostat runs without the need for constant adjustment. Additionally, since this technology keeps contaminants out of the surrounding environments, owners can run their systems with less concern about contributing to dirty emissions in the air.

The money that home and business owners save on energy can then be funneled into more important matters, such as hiring new employees or paying more expensive daily living costs. The EPA estimates that, as cogeneration grows more popular, more money and energy will be saved. Currently, the EPA estimates that using CHP cuts energy costs and harmful emissions by 30-40%. In our recovering economy, this is a huge positive for those dealing with high energy bills. The EPA estimates that as technology behind cogeneration improves, it will become more popular and accessible. Specific environmental controls are still undergoing improvements, as are technologies that will benefit indoor air quality.

Finding An HVAC Dealer

When choosing an HVAC system, ask your dealer how much energy he or she estimates it will save your building. Additionally, ask any questions you have about maintaining an HVAC system that uses cogeneration. Although cogeneration is beneficial for everyone, it works differently depending on your specific HVAC system. That’s why it’s crucial to find the right dealer and system for you. If you’re searching for an HVAC dealer in Redmond, WA or surrounding cities, contact us online or by phone or visit us in person.

Radiant Floor Heating for Your Home

When homeowners want seamless and even heating in areas of their homes, they look into radiant floor heating. Imagine walking on your tiled bathroom floor in the dead of winter without having to put on socks or hop between strategically placed throw rugs. Radiant floor heating is efficient and completely invisible, giving you the best in comfortable heating.

At All Climate Heating & Air Conditioning in Seattle, we look forward to discussing the many benefits of installing a radiant floor heating system in your home. Whether you want to make your bathrooms more comfortable or you’re looking into a better way to heat your entire home, we have the right radiant heating solution for your needs.

How Radiant Floor Heating Works

Instead of placing registers in the floor or ceiling, we install radiant floor heating systems between your subfloor and the finished top floor. Typically, the systems involve coiled loops that run just under the surface, evenly heating the finished floor in the same way a heating pad warms to soothe sore muscles. The most popular style of radiant floor heating is called hydroponic radiant floor heating.

Hydroponic heating is often more cost-effective and efficient than other types of radiant heating because it uses hot water instead of warm air or electricity. The boiler-heated liquid progresses through a series of installed tubes under the floor, providing consistent heating. Homeowners can install radiant flooring systems under any flooring material, but tile tends to conduct and hold onto residual most efficiently.

Benefits of Installing Radiant Floor Heating

While many homeowners consider radiant floor heating an added luxury, like a heated towel rack, the solution is incredibly practical. Benefits include:

  • Cost-effectiveness. The upfront cost of installation is slightly higher than other heating solutions, but radiant floor heating is more cost-effective over time. The even heating provided to the entire room means you can keep your thermostat set a little lower. Owning and operating the system typically saves homeowners money over time.
  • Energy efficiency. Radiated heat provides constant, comfortable temperature changes instead of forcing hot air out of registers only to have it rise to the ceiling. Radiant flooring only uses the amount of heat truly needed to keep the space comfortable.
  • Silence and invisibility. You won’t hear the system kick on, risk exposure to allergens forced out of a register, or see the system at work. All you’ll feel is a comfortable temperature from the floor up.

Contact All Climate Heating & Air Conditioning to Learn More

If radiant floor heating sounds like a step up from your current heating installation, let us know. We offer free in-home estimates for radiant flooring installations, and our team of technicians is happy to answer all of your questions about installation and maintenance over time. Contact us today at (425) 361-0126 to get started.

On Servicing Thermostatic Expansion Valves

Servicing a Thermostatic Expansion Valve

Thermostatic expansion valves generally offer worry-free operation and are highly reliable. If they’re malfunctioning it’s usually not because of something wrong with the valve itself, but rather a problem somewhere else is expressing itself symptomatically in the TEV. If you’re going to have to be servicing a TEV it means you’re either fixing an issue somewhere else, or you’re going to be replacing the TEV due to an improper installation. If you’re lucky however, the issue could be fixed with a superheat adjustment.

Causality in Servicing TEVs

More often than not when you’re on a service call and dealing with a malfunctioning TEV you’re not going to be doing much, if any, fiddling with the TEV itself. Flooding, starving and hunting can be caused by a direct malfunction of the TEV by debris in the lines getting caught inside the inner workings, from an improperly installed valve, or improperly set superheat. Installing a filter-drier ahead of the valve can remedy any issues with debris in the valve body.

Servicing Thermostatic Expansion Valves

For this you’re going to need your gauges and your thermocoupler. In order to diagnose an issue you will need to attach your gauges and you’ll also want to measure amp draw. A restricted TEV will cause amp draw to be low since the compressor doesn’t have to work as hard and a flooding TEV will cause amp draw to be high. Remember to let the system run for at least five minutes before attaching your gauges.

With gauges attached and system running, locate the bulb and remove it from the line.

You’re going to need to replace it in exactly the same position to mark, photograph, or remember how and where it was attached. Hold the bulb in your hand and watch the gauges. The high side should drop substantially as the TEV opens to supply more refrigerant. If the pressure does not change substantially then the TEV is likely stuck. Next, immerse the bulb into a cup of cold water.

The high side pressure should increase as the TEV closes to restrict the flow of refrigerant. If it doesn’t, again it is likely stuck.

If the TEV is hunting excessively, this is caused by either an oversized TEV or an improperly installed one. Replacement will be necessary if that is determined to be the case.

Remember to reattach the bulb to the line set before packing up. Remember, if the line is 7/8 or smaller, install the bulb at 12 o’clock. If it is larger than 7/8 then install the bulb at 4 or 8 o’clock.

For more information about servicing TEVs or HVAC systems, follow the All Climate Heating & Air Conditioning blog to stay on top of the technology.

Stopping Mold Growth in Your Commercial HVAC System

Mold contamination is bad news for any business, including yours. Airborne mold spores can trigger allergic reactions, cause significant property damage and blemish your reputation in the community.

Cleaning mold isn’t impossible, but the best strategy to manage the problem is to prevent mold outbreaks from occurring in the first place. Taking proper care of your commercial HVAC system is a vitally important part of this mission, since heating and cooling equipment and the infrastructure that supports it are extremely vulnerable to the predations of this hardcore invasive fungus.

Mold Grows Where Moisture Collects

The battle against mold is really a battle against moisture accumulation and dampness. Mold spores need chronically humid environments to take root and grow, and in HVAC systems in particular ideal breeding grounds for mold tend to proliferate.

In large-scale commercial HVAC systems, mold can often be found in prodigious quantities in or on:

  • Duct work interiors
  • Cooling coils
  • Condenser drain pans
  • Humidifying equipment
  • Dehumidifying equipment
  • Return-air plenums
  • Cooling towers
  • Outdoor air intakes
  • Grills, screens and air filters (when clogged by dust and debris)

In some instances poor drainage allows water to collect in pools that can turn into toxic stews of microbial life, including bacteria as well as mold and other types of fungus. Meanwhile other areas inside commercial HVAC systems suffer from perpetual dampness, helping mold spores gain a solid footing from which to spread outward.

Cleaning and Preventing HVAC Mold Infestations

Mold fighting strategies in HVAC systems require thorough, inch-by-inch inspections of every possible area where mold might be found. If and when it is found, the affected parts should be vigorously cleaned until all traces of mold have vanished.

Treatment to prevent future mold growth in all vulnerable areas is the next step, preferably using fungicides, disinfectants, cleaning solutions and protective coatings that are environmentally benign and EPA-approved.

Before you hire any company to handle these tasks, you should make sure their technicians have extensive training and plenty of first-hand experience in this area. As they proceed you should monitor their actions carefully, to make sure they take protective measures to ensure mold contamination is contained and not accidentally spread to previously unaffected sections of your HVAC system.

All Climate Heating & Air Conditioning Hates Mold

Regular duct work cleanings and annual maintenance inspections are two of the best ways to prevent mold outbreaks in your commercial HVAC system. So if you happen to live in the Seattle area you are in luck, because All Climate Heating & Air Conditioning has expertise in both.

Mold is a sneaky invader, and you can never rest easy assuming you won’t have a problem. But All Climate can help you manage your mold risk to the point where it becomes virtually non-existent.

We invite you to call us today about all your commercial HVAC maintenance needs. Be sure to ask about our money-saving annual service plans, which offer affordable cleaning, tuning and maintenance procedures on a regular basis.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling Myths

Geothermal HVAC systems make indoor air hotter or colder by relying on the relatively stable temperature of the earth beneath our feet. These systems are not yet widely used, and many consumers hold mistaken beliefs about how they operate and how well they perform. Let’s take a look at the truth behind some of the biggest geothermal heating and cooling myths.

What Do Geothermal HVACs Do?

While temperature fluctuations are par for the course in the above-ground environment, the situation changes quickly just a few feet down. At a depth of roughly four to six feet, the temperature stays within a fairly narrow range in all four seasons, and significant fluctuations are quite uncommon. A geothermal HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system takes advantage of this reliable temperature stability. System components include a heat exchanger buried in the ground (typically a loop of polyethylene piping), a main indoor unit (commonly a heat pump) and a ducting network. During cold weather, fluid sealed in the heat exchanger pulls heat from the ground and transfers this heat through the indoor unit to the ducting system. During hot weather, the system pulls heat in the opposite direction and transfers it down into the ground.

Common Myths

  • Geothermal Systems Aren’t Truly Renewable – Some people believe that geothermal HVAC systems don’t qualify as renewable energy systems because they must run on electrical power. However, the average geothermal system will still provide roughly five times more heating/cooling power than the amount of electricity it consumes.

 

  • Wind and Solar Power Are Superior – Some people believe that solar-powered systems and wind-powered systems are better renewable energy resources than geothermal systems. In truth, a well-maintained geothermal system can actually quadruple the energy return provided by wind and solar technology.

 

  • Geothermal Systems Use Too Much Space – Some critics believe that the heat exchangers on geothermal HVAC systems inevitably require large amounts of installation space. However, you can bury exchangers vertically in order to minimize the amount of land needed.

 

  • Geothermal Systems Aren’t Multi-Use – Some people believe that you can only use a geothermal HVAC system for heating and air conditioning. In reality, the typical system can also simultaneously heat your indoor water and your pool water.

 

  • Geothermal Systems Provide Poor Indoor Cooling – Some critics believe that geothermal HVAC systems excel at providing household heat, but do a poor job of indoor cooling. In truth, a well-designed system will perform both tasks equally well and help keep your home comfortable throughout the year.

 

  • Geothermal Systems Are Too Costly – The average geothermal HVAC system does cost significantly more to install than the average conventional HVAC system. However, available rebates and tax incentives, as well as long-term energy savings, can help take the sting out of the purchase price.

 

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to consider installing a geothermal HVAC system. Keep following this blog for more up-to-date trends in heating and cooling technology for your home.

 

Duct Cleaning: Scam or Worth it?

The air ducts in your home work hard every day circulating the air you breathe and heating and cooling your home. So they deserve a little love and attention, right? Not necessarily. Duct cleaning services are offered by most HVAC service providers, but before you pay for it, make sure it’s really worthwhile.

Routine Duct Cleaning Isn’t Always Necessary

If someone tells you that all air ducts should be cleaned regularly to remove dust, mold, and other dangerous contaminants or to make your system run more efficiently, you are not being given the whole truth. There is no evidence that the typical home needs regular duct cleaning or that doing so improves indoor air quality. What can help your system run more efficiently is the regular cleaning of registers, motors, fans, coils, and the air handler. Let a professional do this and your furnace and air conditioner will run more efficiently and use less energy.

When You Should Consider a Duct Cleaning

While regular duct cleaning isn’t needed for most normal situations, there are times when you should consider it. In these cases you will want to rely on a professional HVAC service provider to do the job for you.

The Ducts Have Mold Visible

Mold can be very dangerous and can negatively impact the health of everyone in the home. Most duct systems will not grow mold, but it is possible. If you see mold growing in them, a professional cleaning is a good idea to make sure you are not breathing it in your indoor air.

Your Home Was Recently Renovated

Renovations and remodeling projects kick up a lot of dust. You may even have had asbestos or lead paint that needed removal. All of that can accumulate in the ducts if you didn’t have them well sealed off during the work. Duct cleaning will remove the debris, dust, and contaminants.

Animals Have Gotten into the Ducts

If animals have gotten into your ducts they may be nesting or could even have died in there. The result is that dander, fur, and other contaminants could be in your air. You can eliminate these with a good professional duct cleaning.

Someone in the Home Has Allergies or Asthma

Respiratory illnesses like allergies and asthma can be made worse by dust or other allergens in the ducts of your home. If a family member seems to get worse symptoms in the house, you may need a duct cleaning to take care of it.

An offer of a professional duct cleaning is not necessarily a scam. There are several situations in which it makes sense to pay for this service. Just watch out for anyone trying to sell you on a regular cleaning when you don’t have any of these special situations in your home.

For more information about duct cleaning and everything else you need to know about HVAC services, follow the All Climate Heating & Air Conditioning blog.

Lower Winter Bill With Heating Maintenance

Truly! Heating Maintenance Can Lower Your Bills.

It is essential to understand why heating maintenance is so critical. Many home owners dread the winter season. Not only does the winter mean that you are stuck indoors but it also means you will require heat in the home. This means running the heating system and the possibility of high heating bills. Many home owners long for ways to cut down on heating costs but with high fuel prices and harsh winters, it can be nearly impossible. However, this year, the fuel costs are down and the winter is not as cold as it has been in the past. We could see the winter season being a mild one that is not too hard to bear when it comes to heating costs.

At All Climate, we want to help you learn how to cut down on your heating costs. We have years of experience in the heating industry and can give you our top tips for spending less on heating the home. Check out our tips below to get started.

Regular Heating Maintenance

The first step is to have your unit maintained on a regular basis. Before the winter season, have your heating system checked. Each and every year, you should have heating maintenance service conducted on your unit. Our technicians can provide this service for you to ensure that the system is working correctly. When you have your unit checked on a regular basis, you ensure that every component is working properly and your unit is going to provide warm heat in the home.

Air Filter Checks

The air filter of your heating unit is essential to clean air and the correct operation of your heating unit. However, most home owners do not take time to change out the filter when it becomes dirty. Take time every month to look at your filter. Change or clean the filter as needed. When you do this, the unit will not have to work overtime and you will not have any repair issues due to a dirty filter.

New Unit Install

If you really want to save on your utility bills, have a new unit installed. A new system will have a higher SEER rating then your existing unit and will be able to provide better energy efficiency in the home. Many home owners find they save as much as 50% or more each month by having a new system installed. We can help you with a new unit installation in the home. Our technicians can evaluate your present situation and determine what unit type will be beneficial to your home. We can provide estimates free of charge for you to see just how a new unit can provide a higher quality heat to the home.

Insulating the Home

Insulation is the key factor to maintaining heat in the home. By having quality insulation in the attic space, you are able to retain the heat that your system provides. When you have low insulation levels, the heat will escape via the attic. Have more insulation added to the home to provide an additional layer of protection for the heat in your home.

Checking for Air Leakage

Drafts are a common cause of energy costs in the home. Imagine that you have a few drafty windows in your home. These drafty areas are causing you to lose valuable heat. This means your heating system is working more than it should just to meet the minimum temperature setting. When you plug up the air drafts in the home, you do not lose heat and your system is able to reach the desired levels of comfort at a more rapid pace.

Learn more about saving money on heating the home by contacting out technicians today. All Climate is ready to assist you with your home heating needs.

Improve Efficiency Of Heating System

Our technicians at All Climate like to keep our customers informed on the latest trends in HVAC. During this winter season, fuel prices are down. Combined with a relatively mild winter forecast in the works, it appears that home owners will be able to enjoy lower heating costs this year. If the predictions are correct by industry insiders, then a big boom will take place with home owners gaining cash from saving on heating system.

However, with the savings, home owners should consider using the money to upgrade the energy efficiency in your home. Use the extra cash to be able to see even more savings as you upgrade your home to be more energy efficient. Low fuel costs will not remain but with the upgrades you make, you will be able to continue to see savings as you warm your home.

Consider Your Upgrade Options

Our services at All Climate are one way to keep you heating system in tip top shape. Consider upgrading to a quality heating maintenance program to have your unit checked before and after the winter season. This way, we can find any repair issues and keep your unit clean and in proper working order. If you do not have your unit maintained, you can see an increase need in repairs as well as more money out of pockets for expenses.

Insulation upgrades are a great way to get started with adding more energy efficiency. Add more insulation to your attic or crawl space to help improve the way your home holds heat. With the extra cash from fuel savings, you can purchase more insulation to be installed in the home. Your unit will have to work less to meet the temperature setting of your heating system thermostat. Less work means less energy spent which equals less money spent to heat the home!

A heat recovery ventilator is another option that can be installed in the home. With this unit type, you will be able to preserve the indoor air quality without sacrificing the conservation of heat. The unit will cycle in fresh air while retaining the heat from indoors.

Consider planting trees or adding landscaping that will help to bring sunshine to your home. The sun’s rays will provide added warmth in the home. The same can be said for shading the home, when you want to conserve the cool air of the summer months from your air conditioning system.

An energy audit is an option that we can provide to help see just what you can do to lower energy usage in the home. Our All Climate technicians can review your home and determine what ways will help you save money as well as use less energy. With the changes we recommend, you will use less energy and spend less to keep the home warm as well as comfortable.

Consider an Upgraded System

With all-time lows on fuel, you may want to consider a new unit. While you are saving on the fuel source of your home, an older system is just not as energy efficient. With a new unit, you will have maximum energy efficiency, able to provide heat for your home at an extremely low cost. In most cases, older units are using way too much energy and you are paying hundreds more each month than you should. By having your system replaced with a newer model, you will spend less, able to use the savings on other areas of your home.

Let us help you to use less energy in the home with the many HVAC services All Climate can provide. Contact us today to set up an appointment or to learn more about our service options.