3 Tips to Avoid Heating Repair

March 25th, 2015

At Boehmer Heating & Cooling, our technicians are committed to a positive customer experience. But that doesn’t mean that you want to see our experts all the time. Scheduling heating repair is never an ideal situation, no matter how friendly, knowledgeable and clean the technicians are. If you’d like to avoid heating repair in the future, follow these tips for a heater that works as well as you need it to.

1. Keep the Thermostat at an Efficient Setting

When your heating system runs at full capacity day and night, it can begin to take its toll on the unit. Parts can start to wear down until your entire system eventually struggles. While maintenance can delay this effect, keeping your heating system running at an efficient temperature is a good way to make sure it does not wear out too soon. When you’re away, program your thermostat to keep the heat turned off or to lower the temperature below what you’re used to, and then to heat back up after you arrive.

2. Schedule an Energy Audit

Have a professional visit your home for an energy audit to find out which parts of your home allow heat to escape and use up energy. A more efficient home can lead to reduced heating times, or you may feel that you can shut off your heat altogether at times. After an energy audit, you may learn that you need to seal air leaks or add some insulation. These steps keep your heater running smoothly and efficiently so that it does not become overworked.

3. Get Professional Maintenance Each Year

A professional maintenance visit can extend the life of your system and prevent repairs. A technician may make a few adjustments to your system and clean up some of the dirtiest components. Afterwards, the tech will let you know what still needs repair, if anything, so you can schedule it at a later date rather than waiting for a heating breakdown.

Call on the help of the friendly people at Boehmer Heating & Cooling for our quality heating repair service in Pittsburgh, PA. We provide energy audits, maintenance, repair, and more, so call us first for all of your HVAC needs.

What Are these Noises from My Boiler?

March 20th, 2015

Boilers are known for their quiet operation. Unlike forced-air heating systems, which may have loud fans and motors running at all times, boilers have far fewer moving parts, and these are usually out of the way of your living space. You might not notice that your boiler is in trouble until you move closer to the unit itself, but when you hear loud rumbling, rattling, or other noises, it can seem quite alarming.

When you notice odd sounds from your boiler unit or anywhere in your home heating system when you run the boiler, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

Common Noises and What They Mean

If you hear a rumbling or rattling noise from the tank of your boiler, it could mean trouble. Most likely, the source of the rumbling is sediment in the tank. Sediment builds up as hard water moves into the pipes with your water supply. Hard water is water that has a high concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium. These can leave deposits in the tank, which can then rattle around and cause a bit of noise.

More important than the noise, however, is the effect that these minerals have on the performance of your boiler. When sediment builds up too much, the volume in the tank decreases, which means that pressure increases. Long ago, a boiler in this position could be at risk of exploding, but this is not a concern today. Safety features on the boiler should shut down the unit if the pressure becomes too high or water may leak out from a relief valve. Either way, this is not an ideal situation to be in, and you should have a technician look at the system as soon as you can.

Noises from your boiler, from the baseboard heater or radiator, or from the pipes underneath your floorboard can all indicate trouble. Often, noises from locations besides the boiler tank itself could indicate circulator pump trouble. This can lead to uneven heating or none at all.

Call us today at Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We can drain sediment from your boiler or find a suitable solution with our boiler repair service in Bethel Park. In some cases, a replacement is necessary, but we can help you to find the best system for your replacement needs quickly.

Common Furnace Problems

March 11th, 2015

During the cooler months in Whitehall, it may seem as though the winter weather will never end. Your furnace works hard to keep you comfortable during the chilliest days, which means each one of the parts of your system gets quite a bit of use. Eventually, excessive use can really take its toll on the parts of your furnace, which means that you may need repairs. Here are some of the most common furnace repairs that our technicians deal with at Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

  • Blower Fan Motor Replacement: Warm air moves into your home through the ventilation system in your home after a blower fan pushes it past a heat exchanger and into the ductwork. If this blower fan is not operating properly, then you won’t get the level of heating you need in your home. What’s more problematic is that the furnace plenum could overheat—were in not for the safety switch in place meant to prevent this. The furnace limit switch shuts off the unit when it’s at risk of overheating, so you won’t get any heat at all. Often, this just means that you need replacement.
  • Cleaning the Flame Sensor: The flame sensor is another safety feature which helps to protect your home and family. This component keeps gas from leaking into your home if the pilot won’t light. When there is no flame, the probe senses the trouble and shuts down the unit. However, this sensor may malfunction and assume there is no flame if it is too dirty, shutting down the unit unnecessarily.
  • Repairing or Replacing the Thermostat: Sometimes, a problem with the furnace is a result of a faulty thermostat. Poor wiring can cause the furnace to short cycle, or it may not turn on at all. You may decide to replace your existing thermostat with a more efficient model, like a smart thermostat that allows you to change the temperature from your smart phone even when you’re far away.

Call the people at Boehmer Heating & Cooling to repair your furnace in Whitehall. We have years of experience repairing and maintaining heating equipment, and we will work hard to get your furnace back to normal operation as quickly as possible or help you to find a replacement unit and install it for you. Call a member of our team of heating technicians today and ask about our comprehensive furnace services.

A Guide to Different Indoor Air Quality Systems

March 4th, 2015

One of the best ways to take control of your health is by paying more attention to the air in your home. You may believe that the quality of your air is just fine. But if you’ve noticed sneezing, coughing, frequent illness, or other health symptoms from the members of your household, then you need an indoor air quality system that will eliminate the issues that are most prescient in your home.

Here are some of the different types of air quality systems you may choose between. Whether it’s a standard air conditioning filter or an electronic air cleaner or humidifier, the professionals at Boehmer Heating & Cooling can install or service it to keep everyone in your Baldwin home healthier.

  • Air Filters: Air filters are standard in any home air conditioning and heating system. But if people in your home have respiratory or immune system trouble, you may need more than your standard air filter. Most filters can only remove large particles from the air. But an air filter with a higher MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) is more effective at removing smaller particles that may induce allergies.
  • Air Cleaners and Purifiers: An electronic air cleaner can take even more particles out of the air. You may choose an electronic air cleaner with a HEPA filter, or an ionization air purifier, which charges particles so that they cling to surfaces in your home, may be best for your home.
  • UV Germicidal Light: UV rays can kill organic matter. Luckily, this doesn’t affect you much when you step out into the sun for short periods of time. However, UV lights can take care of the most common biological pollutants in your home such as bacteria and viruses when installed in the air ducts by a professional.
  • Humidifiers: A humidifier helps to keep the air in your home more comfortable for everyone inside. When there is moisture in the air, your chances of illness go down, and you may notice that your lips are no longer chapped nor is your skin as dry.

Call the experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling to speak with a professional who understands the different types of air quality issues and knows the best type of system to use as treatment. Call us today to get a new air purifier in Baldwin.

How to Tell If Your Heat Pump Is Low on Refrigerant

February 25th, 2015

Refrigerant is the lifeblood of any heat pump system. A heat pump moves heat from one place to another by evaporating and condensing refrigerant to capture and release heat in different areas, depending on the mode it’s using. Without sufficient refrigerant, a heat pump would lose the ability to actually operate as a heating or cooling system. Refrigerant is not consumed during normal heat pump operation, which means if your heat pump is low on refrigerant it was either not charged properly on installation or it has a leak in the system. How can you tell if your heat pump is low on refrigerant? Read on to find out.

Low Output

Heat pumps are capable of both heating and cooling functions, which they accomplish by simply reversing the flow of refrigerant through the system. Therefore, if your heat pump begins to experience a drop in heating or cooling output, you may have a problem with your refrigerant level. This is often the first sign of a refrigerant leak, so be sure not to ignore it if it happens.

Gurgling Sounds

You should always pay attention to any unusual noises that your heat pump is making, but gurgling sounds in particular are an indication that you have a refrigerant leak. As the refrigerant leaks out of the system, more and more air gets into the line. The air bubbles in the refrigerant line are what make the gurgling sounds, like the last few drops of a drink traveling through a straw. This is an almost certain indication that not only do you have a refrigerant leak, but that it has progressed pretty far already.

Pooling Liquid

You should conduct a visual inspection on your heat pump every once in a while, paying special attention to the area around the unit. If you notice any liquid dripping or pooling around the heat pump, you may well have a refrigerant leak.

If you suspect that your heat pump has a refrigerant leak, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We provide quality heat pumps and services throughout the Brentwood area.

Potential Problems with a Boiler’s Circulator Pumps

February 16th, 2015

Boilers can heat homes in two ways: with the steam created from the hot water or with the hot water itself. Steam flows on its own through your system’s piping because it is under significant pressure, but hot water systems need a little help pushing the hot water through the piping; this is where circulator pumps come in. As you can probably imagine, problems with a circulator pump or pumps means that the hot water needed to heat your home; should this happen, you’ll need to call for heating repair in Pittsburgh, and you’ll want to call professionals you can count on. Boehmer Heating & Cooling has been helping customers in the Pittsburgh area with heating since 1933, and we bring this experience to every job we do, so call us today!

Types of Circulator Pump Problems

There are a few kinds of problems that can develop with circulator pumps, such as:

  • Leaking – when leaks develop with a circulator pump, they typically develop at the joints where the pump meets the pipe into which it is soldered. The reason leaks are likely to occur here are that the pump has rubber phalanges that act as seals at these joints, but these seals can sometimes dry and crack, which causes leaking.
  • Electrical issues – circulator pumps need a small amount of electricity to turn the wheel inside the pump, known as an impeller. A relay switch is responsible for delivering this electricity, and if the switch becomes faulty, the electricity won’t be delivered as needed.
  • Broken impeller – as mentioned above, the small wheel inside the pump is the impeller, and its job is to push the water forward. Impellers look like miniature water wheels, complete with small blades that help push the water forward. Impellers can crack, which hamper their ability to push the water forward as needed, and the result is usually low heat.

Circulator pumps are critical to the proper operation of your heating system, and as such, should only be repaired by a trained professional. If you are in need of heating repair in Pittsburgh, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today and schedule an appointment.

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Boehmer Heating & Cooling hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

Is a HEPA Filter Right for My Home?

February 4th, 2015

For people with allergies, it can sometimes feel as if the very air is out to get them. The air inside the average home is full of all sorts of lung irritants, most of which are too small to even see. Dust mites, pollen, insect and pet dander are just a few of the common airborne pollutants capable of making an allergy sufferer’s life miserable. Though the situation may seem hopeless, there are actually a number of solutions available to improve the air quality in your home. One of those solutions is a HEPA filter. Let’s take a look at what a HEPA filter is, and whether you should consider installing one in your home.

What is a HEPA Filter?

HEPA stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Air.” It is a classification of air filters that are capable of capturing all airborne particles that are .3 microns or larger. For a point of reference, a micron is one millionth of a meter. HEPA filters are comprised of fibers woven so tightly that they are capable of capturing individual viruses and bacteria. Most HEPA filters also include a fan to help move air through the filter.

When Should I Consider a HEPA Filter?

HEPA filters are pretty heavy duty. They are often used in environments that must be kept as sterile as possible, like hospitals and server rooms. That doesn’t mean that they’re overkill for your house, though. Quite a few people make use of HEPA filters to help improve their quality of life. The most common reason for a homeowner to use a HEPA filter is due to severe allergies. Most allergens are simply too small to be taken care of by frequent dusting or vacuuming. They can always find their way back into the air, and from there into your lungs. A HEPA filter is a pretty surefire way to keep your air clear of even the smallest allergens, especially if you install a whole-house model.

If you are interested in installing a HEPA filter in your home, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling to schedule an appointment with us. We provide professional air cleaner services in the Baldwin area.

The Basics of an Electric Boiler

January 30th, 2015

With the massive popularity of natural gas as a fuel source for home heating systems, it’s not surprising that so many people view it as the only option. Though natural gas is a great choice for many reasons, it is thankfully not the only option available. Whether due to limitations on the availability of natural gas, or simply the desire to use a non-combustion system, more and more people are making use of electric heaters in their home. Let’s examine one of the more common electric heaters, the electric boiler, and how it can benefit your home.

How it Works

An electric boiler is actually fairly similar to one powered by natural gas. The only real difference is that an electric boiler eschews any sort of combustion to create heat, instead using several heating elements to warm the water being circulated around the house.

In a gas boiler, the heat exchanger is suspended over the flames of the burner assembly. Water flows through the heat exchanger and is heated by the fire below before flowing into the house. An electric boiler is a little different, with the heating elements actually inside the heat exchanger with the water supply. The heating elements themselves are basically very thick metal wires, coiled and connected to the electricity supply. As the system runs an electrical current through these wires, it meets resistance that causes the coils to heat up. The now-hot heating elements heat the water in the heat exchanger before distribution.

Why Install an Electric Boiler?

There are many reasons to prefer an electric boiler over other heating systems, the first of which being efficiency. Electricity is often more expensive as a fuel type, compared to natural gas. However, natural gas heaters vent a lot of heat out of the house as combustion gases, which are useless to the heating system and dangerous to the homeowner. As an electric boiler does not combust fuel, almost all of its heat goes directly into the water used to heat the house. Electric boilers also require a lot less maintenance, due to their lack of moving parts compared to combustion heaters.

If you are interested in installing an electric boiler, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling to schedule an appointment. We provide quality boiler installation services throughout Bethel Park.

How to Find the Ideal Air Purifier for Your Home

January 20th, 2015

Though it may seem clear, the air quality in your home is not as pristine as you would think. There are hundreds of different types of particulates floating through your home’s air at any given moment. Most of these particulates are harmless. Some of them, however, are not. Viruses, bacteria, dust, pollen, mold, insect dander, and all sorts of other contaminants can reduce your quality of life by provoking allergic reactions or making you sick. In order to combat these contaminants, a number of air purifiers have been invented over the decades. There are many different kinds of these, as well, each suited to take care of a different kind of airborne pollutant. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of air purifiers available, and which one would be best for your needs.

Electronic Purifiers

Electronic air purifiers work by creating an electromagnetic field around themselves during operation. As particles pass through this field, they receive a negative charge. These negatively charged particles are then attracted to any surface that has a positive charge. To prevent the particles from merely sticking to the walls and floor, most electronic purifiers contain a number of metal plates inside the unit. The particles will stick to these metal plates, which can then be removed and washed. Electronic purifiers are effective at catching all kinds of particulates in the air. They do nothing to impede the progress of the air itself, though, so gaseous contaminants like cigarette smoke will not be affected.

UV Germicidal Lights

There are many kinds of viruses, bacteria, mold, and other biological organisms that are sterilized or even completely destroyed by too much exposure to ultra-violet light. The UV germicidal air purifier takes advantage of this by bathing the area around it in ultraviolet light. This is great for those people who have weaker immune systems, as it kills a lot of otherwise-minor germs that might make them sick. It only focuses on biological contaminants, however, which means that things like dust are not affected.

To schedule a service or if you’d like to know more about air purifiers, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling. We provide professional air purifier services in the Canonsburg area.