If you have a traditional split system air conditioner for your home, the system has two distinct units: the outdoor unit, which holds the condenser, compressor and condenser fan, and the indoor unit, which holds the blower and evaporator coils. Depending on your home and your preference, the indoor unit may be placed in a basement above your furnace or in your attic space. In either location, the moisture the system pulls from your indoor air as it dehumidifies has to go somewhere, and this moisture gets to your sewer line from two components known as the condensate array. When the condensate array is working properly, it directs the excess moisture, in the form of water, to your sewer line; when it isn’t working properly, it can cause major leaking issues.
Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Mt Lebanon’
You expect your stove to emit odors when cooking, or even your dryer if you use dryer sheets, but there’s never a good reason for any kind of smell to come from your air conditioning system in Mt. Lebanon, PA. In fact, if you are detecting an odor coming from your AC system, whether through the vents or from a component, it’s time to call your Boehmer Heating & Cooling expert for help.
You vacuum, you polish, you take your shoes off before entering the house, but yet it is still there: dust. And it is endless. If you have a forced air system in your home, you know how irritating swirling dust can be, especially for the allergy sufferers in your home. While it may look as if dust emanates from your air conditioning system, it doesn’t: the dust in the air flow is actually from your home. So how is this dust getting there? You may be surprised.
While it’s not yet hot enough to begin using our air conditioning in Pittsburgh, spring is an excellent time to think about air conditioning maintenance and its potential benefits. While installing an appropriately sized system and making sure it has an excellent SEER rating are both important factors in energy efficiency and cooling performance, maintenance is the key to long-term reliability. It’s estimated that neglected air conditioners lose about 5% of their efficiency every year of use. You need professional care on a regular basis to ensure you get the most for your money. For Pittsburgh air conditioning maintenance, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today!
Here are a few benefits of air conditioning maintenance:
- Improved energy efficiency: Efficiency measures the cooling output against the electrical energy input. Due to the ever-rising energy costs, homeowners and business’ alike are looking for ways to maximize the energy efficiency of their cooling systems. Routine inspection, cleaning and tune-ups of your AC go a long way to ensuring that you get the most cooling on the dollar.
- Extended system life: No matter whether your air conditioning system is 3 or 13 years old, it’s never too early or too late to enroll in a routine maintenance program. As dust and debris accumulate inside the components and mechanisms of your cooling system, they will begin to interfere with performance and may eventually cause premature system replacement. When you invest in a cooling system, you want to be sure that it’s going to last. Maintenance is the best way to make that happen.
- Reduced need for major repairs: While some repairs are inevitable, routine air conditioning maintenance significantly reduces the risk of major repairs, those that are most costly. Often, during the thorough inspection and cleaning of your system, your technician may discover minor problems that need to be repaired. Always make sure to take care of any minor repairs because they can lead to major problems in the future.
We hope you found this list of maintenance benefits useful. If you’re still unconvinced as to the merits of our Pittsburgh air conditioning maintenance service, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today!
When you are in the market for a new furnace for your Pittsburgh home, there are several reasons you should pay attention to the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. All newer model furnaces get an AFUE percentage, which measures how much fuel a particular model converts into heat. Furnaces with higher AFUE ratings are more efficient, but the size and type of furnace will also factor into how much you’ll save on energy costs.
Understanding the AFUE Ratio
The minimum AFUE rating for new furnaces is 78%. This means that seventy-eight percent of the fuel is turned into heat, and the remaining percentage is lost either through poor insulation, air leaks, or the ventilation system in the home. Because there’s no heat loss through a chimney flue, some all-electric furnaces can have an AFUE rating as high as 98%. However, if the cost of electricity used to meet your normal heating needs is higher than the efficiency savings, you may want to consider other options. Talk to a qualified HVAC contractor for advice about the most cost-efficient heater for your home.
Furnace Efficiency Features
Furnaces manufactured 15-20 years ago have significantly lower AFUE ratings (between 55%-70% for most older models) because they are typically single-stage, or single-speed systems. Single-stage furnaces are less efficient because they are designed to cycle on at full capacity and shut off when the desired temperature is met. Newer, two-speed models have a second setting that runs consistently at a lower speed, which saves energy by burning less fuel. Multispeed furnaces that have variable-speed blowers are the most efficient because they operate at various levels and automatically adjust to the thermostat to maintain a constant temperature.
If you look at the AFUE ratings for multispeed and variable-speed furnaces, the ratios should be above 80%. Keep in mind that this only determines the efficiency levels for the furnace itself. You’ll need to factor in whether or not your home has proper insulation and other upgrades, such as double-paned windows and doors.
While not every McKeesport HVAC system in your home requires electricity, many of them do. Your air conditioner and water heater and ventilation system all need access to the central power line. So what does that mean for your system and what problems should be you beware of?
How Your HVAC System Uses Electricity
How your HVAC system works depends largely on which components need electricity to operate. Here is a quick summary of how each system uses electricity:
- Air Conditioning – Most air conditioners are electric and therefore use electricity based on the number of BTUs produced. For example, if your air conditioner produces 25,000 BTUs and has a SEER of 16, it can produce 16 BTUs for every watt of electricity consumed per hour. As a result, it consumes 1,562.5 watts per hour when the system is running at maximum capacity. If it runs at full capacity for 8 hours per day, 30 days a month in the summer, that’s 375 kilowatt hours – which is the measurement unit you’ll see on your electric bill.
- Ventilation – Your ventilation system is almost always going to use electricity to circulate and filter air. While mechanical filters rely on the movement of air to remove certain particles, ventilation systems have a variety of components including fans and possibly even condenser coils to conserve energy as air is exchanged between the inside and outside.
Electricity plays an important role in your McKeesport HVAC system no matter how your system works. To ensure yours continues to operate as intended, have your power system checked on a regular basis when the rest of your HVAC system is serviced. To schedule your annual maintenance visit, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call today!
The filters on your Pittsburgh air conditioning unit are vital for keeping out the dust and debris that make things like illness, allergies and air quality worse. And it’s important that you take personal responsibility for checking those filters. Sure, you have a Pittsburgh air conditioning professional visit your home once a year to check the air conditioning, but you should also check the system yourself on a semi-regular basis for possible filter degradation.
So, how often should you check? Think of it this way. There is no such thing as checking too much, but you can easily not check often enough. So, we recommend checking your filter at least once every 4 weeks. It may not always need to be changed during that four week checkup (sometimes it can last 6 weeks or longer), but it’s good to take a peek.
Why is this so important? Because filters that haven’t been checked and changed as needed have a habit of building up excess sediment and debris. Not a problem when it comes to actually working, but a huge problem when it comes to your energy bill. The harder a system has to work to keep you house cool, the more energy it draws and the more you pay to have cool air in your home. And it will break down much faster as a result of overwork and dirty filters.
Changing an AC Filter
If your filter is ready for a swap, here are some quick tips to get the job done:
- Find Your Filters – If you don’t know where your filters are, ask your contractor on the next visit or look near the return grills by the thermostat.
- Remove the Filters – Open the latches and pull the old filter out to check it. You should be able to see clearly through a permanent filter and a disposable one should still be white. If this isn’t the case, it’s time for a cleaning/replacement.
- Clean the Area – Clear the grill and area of any debris and sediment that might make the filter worse after replacement.
Proper filter maintenance only takes five minutes and it will save you money every month you run your AC – not a bad deal for a few minutes’ work. If you need a complete tune-up for your air conditioner, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call today!
You have already read plenty about how energy costs are rising. You know plenty well that heating your Mt Lebanon home is a substantial expense, and that the cost of running a boiler is constantly on the rise.
But as technology has gotten better, so have boilers become more efficient at providing heat. It stands to reason that a more efficient boiler is one that costs less to run…but what does “efficient” really mean in the context of boilers? What makes a boiler “high efficiency”?
What Is a High Efficiency Boiler?
All boilers are rated according to a standardized system of rating efficiency, called the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). Essentially, this rating tells you how much heat energy is produced by a boiler compared to how much energy it draws. The higher a boiler’s AFUE rating, the more efficient it is.
For a boiler to be called high efficiency, it must carry an AFUE of at least 90%. For basis of comparison, older systems carry an AFUE of about 70%, while mid-efficiency systems run at about 82%.
In addition, a high efficiency system has a second heat exchanger for capturing and condensing flue gases, as well as a closed combustion system.
These three things — an AFUE of 90% or above, condensing flue gases and closed combustion – define a high efficiency boiler.
The initial investment in a high efficiency boiler can be costly, but the savings over time in heating bills make it well worth the expense.
If you would like a high efficiency boiler installed in your Mt Lebanon home, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call today!
When upgrading to a high efficiency gas furnace in your O’Hara home, you may need to make some upgrades to your chimney. Older chimneys built for standard furnaces with normal exhaust needs are not built to the specifications needed by today’s high efficiency models. Not only is it unsafe to leave it as is, but the cost of repairs if you don’t have it upgraded can be substantial.
A common concern when upgrading to a high efficiency gas furnace is the issue of condensation and draft. Because the amount of exhaust being vented is reduced by a high efficiency furnace, your current setup is not sufficient for the new model. So, it needs to be reduced in size by a professional to avoid backup of exhaust. Proper chimney sizing is a complex process that requires professional guidelines and careful measurements of all appliances in your home.
Because the chimney often isn’t used at all for a high efficiency furnace (often PVC pipe used instead), the extra airflow in the chimney can become a major issue.
The biggest concern for the chimney when changing the furnace efficiency is condensation. Specifically, acidic condensation droplets can build up in the chimney if not properly stopped. A new chimney liner must be placed in the chimney to avoid excessive corrosion due to the acid droplets. Keep in mind that the efficiency of your new furnace will determine whether you will use the traditional chimney for exhaust or if a new line will be installed to vent your furnace.
When to Take Action
If you have your furnace replaced, your O’Hara technician will likely discuss the chimney situation in your home with you. Keep in mind that this might be necessary and that there might be an added cost involved because of it. Modern furnaces are not designed to accommodate aging chimneys and your safety and the integrity of your house are at risk if you don’t retrofit the chimney if necessary.
How do you know when your Mt Lebanon home’s furnace is “on the fritz?” There are warning signs of a broken furnace and some are recognizable – but not all. A broken furnace not only deprives your home of heat and comfort, it also can be deadly, too.
Let’s look at some of the warning signs.
Each year, hundreds of people die and many more are injured from the most common household poison: carbon monoxide. This colorless and odorless poisonous gas comes from several sources and the furnace is the most common source of all; more precisely a broken or malfunctioning furnace. Carbon monoxide is a result of incomplete combustion of a fossil fuel, which is when a fuel does not burn correctly or completely. In a furnace, carbon monoxide gas comes from a poorly operating burner or a cracked heat exchanger. A properly tuned and maintained furnace greatly reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Since carbon monoxide gas is colorless and odorless, it can go undetected. It can make people sleepy and create flu-like symptoms. Sometimes a person may fall asleep and never wake up. But there are warning signs. Drowsiness, vomiting, or flu-like symptoms are a warning sign. Regularly scheduled maintenance of your furnace by a qualified heating and cooling professional and installation of carbon monoxide detectors can reduce the risk of falling ill to carbon monoxide gas.
Another warning sign is a higher energy bill. Sometimes you can’t detect a problem right away because, like carbon monoxide, there may be no obvious signs. Higher utility bills can be a sure sign of a furnace that is working too hard and running more than usual. This may be a result of clogged or dirty air vents, or dirty filters. If your monthly bills are higher than those of the previous year, it may not just be because gas prices are higher.
There are other warning signs of a broken furnace, too. The most obvious is the failure of your furnace to bring your home up to the desired thermostat settings or to maintain an even temperature. Cold or uncomfortable houses are sure signs of a broken furnace. The furnace may cycle on or off, causing an uneven or inconsistent flow of heated air. This can be because of a poor blower or a clogged furnace filter. If you don’t feel any moving heated air or detect any unusual odors or smells coming from your heating vents, that’s a sure sign of a broken or malfunctioning furnace.
A broken or cracked gas line can emit odors and can cause a furnace to malfunction, too.
Don’t take a chance of losing heat and comfort this winter. At the first possible warning sign, call your Mt Lebanon heating professional for a heating system tune-up.