Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Oakdale’

Pittsburgh Boiler Tip: 5 Common Boiler Problems You Don’t Know You Have

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Heating homes in Pittsburgh with boilers is common, especially in older homes. While boiler systems are relatively simple, there can be many hidden issues with them.  Here are 5 common boiler problems that you may not be aware of. Call the heating experts at Boehmer Heating & Air Conditioning any time for more tips and advice.

1. Sediment Buildup and Pressure Gauge Problems

If you notice that your boiler is not producing enough heat or not working at all, there are a few reasons that this can happen. Something could have gone wrong inside the boiler that has decreased the hot water levels, which can be caused by sediment buildup or the pressure valve. If you aren’t sure how to check the pressure gauge, call your heating contractor. You may be able to adjust the water levels if the water is low, but if there’s mineral buildup, your boiler will need to be drained and flushed out by a professional.

2. Boiler Expansion Tank Issues

There are a few reasons your boiler expansion tank is causing problems. The air pressure could be low, which an issue that can be detected by inconsistent temperatures within the tank. The hot water should be at the bottom and cold at the top. If this is reversed, you could have problem with the air pressure or a water level problem. Call your Pittsburgh heating contractor if you suspect an issue with the expansion tank.

3. Broken Radiator in Boiler Systems

Usually if you are having trouble with the radiator, excess air in the lines or inside the actual radiator could be causing the problem. Hissing noises and lack of heat could be indicators of this. Problems with air in the lines will require a repair service.

4. Thermocouple Failure in Gas Boilers

If you have a gas boiler, it is equipped with a thermocouple sensor that monitors the gas flow to the burners. It helps to regulate the amount of heat that is produced. If your pilot light has gone out and you cannot get it lit again, it may an issue with the thermocouple. This a fairly easy part to replace, so call a service technician if you are having problems getting the pilot light on your gas boiler to stay lit.

5. Boiler Leaks

Water leaking from your boiler is something that should be taken care of by a technician. Leaks can reduce the pressure inside your expansion tank, and this will affect proper temperature control. If you notice water leaking from your boiler or any corrosion on the equipment, call a heating technician.

If you suspect any of these problems with the boiler in your Pittsburgh home, call Boehmer Heating & Air Conditioning.

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Pittsburgh Heating Question: Can Your Heating System Warn You of a CO Leak?

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that is produced as a natural byproduct of combustion. So, any time something burns, carbon monoxide (CO) is released into the air.

As long as the area is properly ventilated, the carbon monoxide cannot build up in the air to a dangerous level of concentration. For example, if you are around a campfire or charcoal that is burning outside, you are generally safe.

In your Pittsburgh home, the danger arises when combustion is not properly ventilated. If you use any gas, fuel or wood burning appliances in your home, you could be at risk for exposure to carbon monoxide. To help mitigate that risk, it is important to know some warning signs. Your heating system gives off some warnings that can tip you off to danger, so be on the lookout for these three signals:

  1. Carbon monoxide detector goes off. Some heating systems these days have built-in carbon monoxide detectors, which can provide an extra measure of safety. Whether you have one of these systems or not, your home should still be equipped with a CO detector.
  1. A fume vent is leaking. Fuel-burning furnaces have vents to move combustion gases out of the house safely. If you notice this vent is leaking on your heating system, CO may be seeping into your house. Shut down the furnace, open windows for ventilation and have the fume vent repaired immediately.
  1. Smoke backing up from the fireplace. If you have a fireplace and you notice smoke in the room while using it, stop using it immediately. Your chimney may be blocked or leaking, preventing the smoke from rising and venting properly, which means CO can enter your house. Do not use the fireplace again until you have had the chimney inspected.

Please take care and note this is just a simple guide. There are other risks and warnings of carbon monoxide. If you have any suspicion that there is CO in your home, immediately call a professional to look into the situation.

For more information about heating systems in Pittsburgh, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call today!

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Pittsburgh HVAC Tip: How to Maintain High Efficiency Filters to Reduce Stress on Your Heat Pump

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

The filter on your Pittsburgh heat pump is an integral part of your home’s comfort system. Without that filter, the device will quickly be subjected to an influx of debris and contaminants that can get into the machinery and the air being filtered into your home. As a result, you need to make sure you properly maintain the filters to reduce stress on your heat pump.

 Change Your Filters

High efficiency filters are designed to remove as much of the airborne contaminants in the air as possible. This is fantastic for keeping your indoor air clean. But if you don’t properly maintain the filter, air quality can worsen and your heat pump is put under unnecessary stress. Specifically, the extremely tight knit filter, designed to stop nearly anything from getting through, gets clogged.

Now your heat pump is forced to work much harder to draw the air it needs from outside and heat or cool your home. On top of that, the filter is filled with contaminants that can start to leak back into the air supply, actually making your indoor air quality worse than it would be otherwise. That’s why it is so important to clean your filters on a regular basis (for permanent filters) and replace them if they are one time use.

 Recommended Filters

You have options as to which types of filters you use for your heat pump. Filters come in multiple options, from super high MERV rated filters that trap up to 99% of all contaminants as small as 0.3 microns.

Electrostatic filters are especially efficient because they extract contaminants of all types – from dust and mold to smoke and gas fumes. A good filtration system should effectively remove anything from the air without needing replacement too often.

Permanent filters tend to offer the best protection against airborne contaminants and generally need to be cleaned once a month. HEPA filters are often permanent and while each filter is different, these are often extremely effective at minimizing contaminants in the air without putting stress on your heat pump.

We all know that high efficiency filters are great to have in your home because they remove contaminants from the air. This keeps your indoor air clean and healthy by preventing pollutants from circulating throughout your forced air system. But what most people don’t know is that if you don’t maintain your air filters, they can actually cause your heat pump to work much harder. When high-efficiency filters get clogged, they can restrict airflow and cause stress to your heat pump. Not to mention making your indoor air quality worse! The contaminants that were caught by the air filter might now start getting back into the air supply, acutally making your indoor air quality worse. It is easy to see why it is so important to change your Pittsburgh heat pump’s air filter regularly, especially if they are high efficiency.

To schedule any maintenance you need for your home’s heat pump, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call!

 

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Pittsburgh AC Question: Refrigerant and Load Capacity – How Are They Linked?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think too much about how your Pittsburgh air conditioning system works. All you really need to know is that when you switch on the system, your house gets cooler. But if you’re looking to purchase a new air conditioner for your home, it’s a good idea to know how to select the right one to fit the space you’re trying to cool.

Air Conditioning Basics

Air conditioners use refrigerant as a coolant to remove heat from indoor air and transfer that heat outside. To do this, they cycle the refrigerant through a closed loop of coils. When the cold refrigerant enters the cooling coil of the air conditioner, it absorbs heat from the air passing by, thereby lowering the temperature of the air. That cooled air can then be transferred into your home and more warm air can be cycled past the cooling coils.

Air Conditioner Sizing

The more air your air conditioner can cool at once, the larger its load capacity. In order to keep a particular space cool, an AC unit has to have a large enough load capacity to accommodate that type of air volume. A unit that’s too small will obviously never be able to keep your room cool enough, but one that’s too big will have a similar problem.

The truth is that when it comes to air conditioner sizing, bigger is not better. It’s best to simply get as good an estimate as you can of what type of load capacity is ideal for the space you’re trying to cool and stick as close to that as you can.

Load Capacity and Refrigerant

Of course, if you want your air conditioner to cool more air at a time, you’ll need more coolant. But simply increasing the amount of refrigerant in your air conditioner won’t make it cool any better. Refrigerant is simply one of many elements that contribute to effective cooling. And the larger the entire system is, the more refrigerant is needed.

So more refrigerant technically contributes to greater cooling capacity, but it’s not enough to accomplish that all on its own. There is really nothing you can do to increase the load capacity of your Pittsburgh air conditioner once it’s in place. So for best results, make sure you pick out an appropriately sized unit the first time around. For any help choosing the right AC for your Pittsburgh home, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call!

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Oakdale Heating Maintenance Question: What Are the Different Types of Furnace Maintenance?

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Everyone in Oakdale knows that there are different types of maintenance tasks associated with keeping your automobile in tip top shape. Did you also know there are tasks that can be performed at various intervals to keep your home’s furnace in peak running condition?

For example, the most frequent maintenance task is checking the filters in your air handling unit. These are often called furnace filters but in reality, they serve the same function to filter air to and from your air conditioner, too. It might be easiest to just call them air filters. The frequency of replacing or cleaning air filters usually depends on the type of indoor environment you live in – like humidity levels, number of household pets or occupants, etc. In general, filter maintenance should occur every one to three months.

A less frequent maintenance task is cleaning the moving parts of the internal mechanism. You may only need to have your furnace cleaned every six months to a year, depending on its use. In some cases you can perform the cleaning yourself or it is included in an annual cleaning as part of a service agreement with a qualified heating and cooling contractor. A furnace can typically run at peak efficiency when it is cleaned on an annual basis.

You can also make it a regular habit of checking the motor bearings and fan belt, too. You can lubricate the bearings and tighten or replace the fan belt on a same schedule as cleaning the moving parts.

Other maintenance tasks related to your furnace, which may require longer interval times include ventilation system cleaning, or more commonly known as duct cleaning. Some homes don’t require this type of maintenance more than every five to ten years – perhaps longer. Unless there are unusually high levels of dust, allergens, or contaminants in the air, most ventilation systems can remain clean for several years.

Of course, you can turn all of your maintenance tasks over to a heating and cooling contractor like  Boehmer Heating & Cooling Company – and have the most peace of mind.

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Is My Home as Comfortable as It Could Be? A Question From Carnegie

Monday, September 19th, 2011

When it comes to indoor comfort, there are a surprising number of things you need to take into account for your Carnegie home. Of course, you need to have a good heating and cooling system in place so that you can easily maintain a comfortable indoor temperature all year round. But that really isn’t enough when you’re trying to create the optimal indoor environment. So what else do you need to consider?

Humidity 101

Well, for starters, it’s a good idea to check the humidity levels in your home. Improper humidity can lead to all sorts of problems, and it can also make it harder for your home heating and cooling systems to maintain a comfortable temperature. Air that’s too dry doesn’t hold heat as well as properly humidified air, so in the winter, your heating system will have to work harder to keep your family comfortable. Too little humidity can also dry out your skin and cause the symptoms of colds, allergies and asthma to last longer and be more severe.

On the other hand, if there is too much humidity in your home, you’re more likely to develop problems with mold and dust mites. And your home cooling system will have a harder time keeping you comfortable indoors. Luckily, there are plenty of great humidification systems on the market right now that can take care of all of these types of problems for you, and they’re definitely worth looking into if you’re concerned about the overall comfort level in your home.

Indoor Air Quality

Along these same lines, you should take the time to have your indoor air quality upgraded by a professional. Indoor air pollutants are a growing problem, particularly in newer homes that are sealed up tight against the elements. These seals prevent all of your temperature conditioned air from escaping and make your home more energy efficient, but they also lead to inadequate ventilation and a buildup of things like gasses, dust mites, bacteria, mold spores and pet dander in your indoor air.

These are obviously not the types of things you want to breathe on a regular basis, so it’s a good idea to invest in ventilation and an indoor air quality system that can bring in a steady supply of fresh air from outside and remove any harmful contaminants from the air circulating through your home.

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Variety of Ways to Cool Your Home Naturally: A Guide From Oakdale

Friday, August 19th, 2011

It is normal these days to simply switch on the air conditioning when the temperature begins to rise outside in Oakdale. But this can get expensive quickly, so it is a good idea to look into some alternative cooling methods as well. Fortunately, there are actually some great ways to help keep your home cool without touching that air conditioning at all. You will probably still want to have it around for extreme circumstances, but the less you need to use it, the more you will save in the long run.

Using fans, ceiling fans in particular, can certainly help to keep you cool on many moderate summer days. But they are far from the only options available. In fact, the design and composition of your house itself will have a lot to do with how easy it is to keep it cool all summer long.

One of the main reasons that your house gets so hot inside during the summer is that sunlight heats the air inside when it hits the walls, roof and windows. Closing your blinds will help to keep some of this out, but there will still be plenty of heat from the sun working to increase the indoor temperature.

What you really want to do to keep your house from heating up because of sunlight is to actively reflect the sun’s rays away from your home. You can do this by having light colored roofing and exterior paint or siding put on. While the dark colors typically used for this type of work absorb the vast majority of the sunlight that hits them, lighter colors will reflect it away.

This works well for the walls, but on your roof it can be a bit more difficult to stop the absorption of heat from the sun because of the nature of typical roofing materials. What you can do, however, is add a reflective coating like white latex on the roof. This will dramatically reduce the amount of heat that is able to come into your home in this way.

Also, natural shade can do a lot to keep sunlight from getting to your home to begin with. Planting trees close enough to your home that they will block out the sun but far enough away that they have room to grow will eventually help to keep your home much cooler without any extra work whatsoever.

For more tips about keeping your house cool, talk to a air conditioning contractor.

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