Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog: Archive for January, 2014

What Makes a Furnace High Efficiency?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

The modern furnace makes better use of its fuel supply than the models of only a few decades ago. Many furnaces on today’s market carry the ENERGY STAR label from the U.S. EPA because of their efficient use of fuel and high return of heating power.

One type of furnace that goes above and beyond for energy savings is the high-efficiency condensing furnace. Where most furnaces can score AFUE ratings in the 80%–90% range, a high-efficiency model can climb as high as 98%—meaning only 2% of the natural gas goes to waste as exhaust.

Here’s an explanation for how these modern marvels achieve this. If you are interested in installation of a high-efficiency furnace in Pittsburgh, PA, talk to our specialists at Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

High-Efficiency Furnace Operation

The reason these furnaces waste so little energy is that they are capable of using the exhaust from the first part of the heating process to generate more heat. Here is how it works:

A standard furnace contains a single heat exchanger. High temperature combustion gas enters the chamber and heats up its walls. After air is blown around the exchanger and absorbs the heat, the cooled-down gas changes into a vapor. This vapor vents out the exhaust flue.

But a high-efficiency condensing furnace contains second heat exchanger. The exhaust vapor moves into this chamber, where it condenses into a liquid. The process of condensing causes a release of more heat, warming up the walls of the heat exchanger and providing additional warmth for the air that will be sent into the ventilation system. The liquid exhaust is then drained from the second heat exchanger.

The result of this is a reduction in energy waste. The more efficient performance means these furnaces will rapidly make up for their costlier installation with large savings off of heating bills.

High-Efficiency Furnace Repair and Maintenance

There is one drawback to high-efficiency furnaces which you need to know about: because they are more intricate machines that require a balance of many components, they require very attentive maintenance and repairs. All furnaces need regular maintenance and prompt repairs when necessary, but with a high-efficiency furnace you must take particular care of it or lose the benefits it provides.

Boehmer Heating & Cooling has maintenance plans that will make caring for your high-efficiency furnace in Pittsburgh, PA much simpler. Our 24-hour emergency service will also put you more at ease. Call us today for installation, maintenance, or repairs for your furnace.

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My Heat Pump Won’t Turn On! What Should I Do?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

It’s the emergency you don’t want to occur in the middle of a rough winter: suddenly discovering that your heat pump won’t come on when it should. Is it broken and can you do anything about it?

Obviously, a heat pump that malfunctions and doesn’t turn on is a serious problem and needs to be remedied as soon as possible. We will look over some of the reasons that a heat pump might fail to turn on and what you can do about it.

Most of the time, you’ll need to call for professional repairs; heat pumps are complex mechanical devices that require special training to fix. For 24-hour emergency service on your heat pump or any other heating repair in Pittsburgh, PA, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

Reasons for a Heat Pump Not Turning On

  • Thermostat issues: The first thing you should check when any heating system fails is the thermostat (or thermostats if you have a zone control system). Is it set correctly? If you have a programmable thermostat, check that the program is set so the heat will come on at the appropriate time. If the thermostat seems set correctly, the issue might be a miscalibration that is causing the thermostat to read the temperature incorrectly, or possibly an electrical failure that has cut if off from communicating with the heat pump. You will need professional repairs for this.
  • Power loss: Heat pumps can sometimes trip circuit breakers. Check your fuse box to see if this is the case. If the heat pump continues to trip the circuit breakers, there may be an electrical fault in the heat pump that needs attention.
  • Failed start capacitor: Listen to the cabinet of your heat pump. If you can hear a clicking noise whenever the heat pump should be turning on, then likely the problem is a failing start capacitor, the component responsible for transmitting the electrical charge that starts the motors. Call technicians to replace it.
  • Broken reversing valve: The reversing valve is responsible for changing the direction of refrigerant in the heat pump so that it can function as both a heater and an air conditioner. If you find that the heat pump will still provide cool air, but won’t provide heat, then it’s probably the fault of the reversing valve, and it will need replacement.

Heat pump repairs usually do not take long to complete, so call for repairs right away when you cannot get your heat pump started so you’ll avoid a long stretch in the cold. Boehmer Heating & Cooling has specialized in heating repair in Pittsburgh, PA since 1933, so you can trust in our services for your heat pump.

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Some Options for Heating Replacement in Pittsburgh

Monday, January 13th, 2014

We’re now deep into winter in Pittsburgh, with below-freezing temperatures swirling outside. If you have an old heating system in your home that you think may be nearing the end of its service, it’s time to schedule a replacement so you will have the briefest possible interruption in your heating.

Finding the right system to replace your old one can present a bit of a puzzle, however. You should always contact a professional heating and cooling company to assist you with making the choice, and then let them handle the installation so it goes fast and without complications. Our NATE-certified technicians at Boehmer Heating & Cooling have extensive knowledge of the many types of systems available and will help you pick the right one for your heating replacement in Pittsburgh, PA.

Common choices for heating replacement

  • Furnaces: Furnaces continue to be popular because they offer some of the highest levels of heating and they come in a variety of models that can fit almost any home. Furnaces can use different types of fuel (gas, electricity, propane), so there’s always a model that will work with your current power set-up. Furnaces do require ductwork, however.
  • Boilers: Boilers use hydronic power—the circulation of heated water—to provide warmth. Boilers are energy-efficient, run quietly, and provide cleaner heating because they do not need to use ducts. Boilers also require few repair needs and have incredible longevity. Boilers can run off electricity, natural gas, or oil.
  • Heat pumps: These systems are essentially air conditioners that can switch the direction they move heat so they bring heat indoors instead of moving it outdoors. The huge advantage of heat pumps is that you get an AC and heater in a single unit. Heat pumps use only a small amount of electricity to run and can provide tremendous savings during the winter. However, at very cold temperatures, they can begin to lose their heating effectiveness.

Find the best system for your home

Your home won’t have the same heating needs as another, so there is no “one size fits all” solution to getting the right heater for your home. The best way to discover the correct system for your house is to have home comfort experts perform a heat load calculation, which will measure the amount of heat required from a system to provide the temperature you want. The experts will then match you with the ideal heating system.

Boehmer Heating & Cooling has helped people stay warm since 1933. You can trust that we know how to locate the right heating replacement in Pittsburgh, PA to keep you comfortable all the way to spring.

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What Does NATE Stand For and Why Is It Important to My Heating Repair?

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Our Pennsylvania winters get awfully cold, and you need your heating system to be reliable. That’s why professional Pittsburgh heating repair services are critical to the safety and comfort of your home, and why the term “NATE” matters so much in that equation.

NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence; it’s a non-profit certification organization designed to boost the credentials of HVAC repair services throughout the country. The organization was founded in 1997 in Arlington, VA, and tests the knowledge and experience of HVAC technicians everywhere. Because it’s a third-party organization, it can maintain its objectivity and customers can be assured that their findings are accurate. NATE-certified technicians have passed a strict series of tests designed to ascertain not only their knowledge in HVAC repair and similar fields, but the ways that they can apply that knowledge to heating and cooling systems. Because it’s so reliable, many cities, counties and states use NATE certification as a basis for their licensing procedures, ensuring that anyone who practices HVAC installation and repair within their boundaries can exercise a certain amount of competence.

That’s important because it helps you rest easy when your heating or air conditioning system goes down and you need a repair service to fix it. Looking for the NATE certification symbol helps you find a technician who can fix your system with confidence. For heating repair in Pittsburgh, you can count on the experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling to help. We’ve been in business since 1933 and pride ourselves on complete customer satisfaction, backed up by our solid-gold NATE certification. If you know what NATE stands for and why it is so important to your heating repair, don’t hesitate to give us a call today!

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