Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘O’Hara’

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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O’Hara Heating Repair Question: Why Is My Air Handler Squealing?

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Unusual noises coming from your O’Hara home’s HVAC system never a good thing; they make you worry that something is wrong.

It’s true that an unusual noise does often mean that something needs to be fixed; however, a noise emanating from your HVAC system does not necessarily mean a major repair. You should always have a technician check out if you suspect a problem with your system, but not all problems are going to be expensive to fix.

One common noise that homeowners notice and complain about is a squealing noise originating in the air handler. Usually, this noise is coming from the fan belt that connects the blower fan and the motor. Over time, the belt can stretch out and become worn or misaligned, which makes it slip and generate that aggravating squealing noise.

So, while the squealing can be annoying and unpleasant, a slipping belt is by no means major. A belt is an inexpensive part and a O’Hara technician can install it in just a matter of minutes.

As long as the noise is a squealing and not a grinding, this simple fix wil often take care of the problem. If you hear a grinding noise, however, immediately shut the unit down and call Boehmer Heating & Cooling Company. This may mean that your motor bearings are worn out and need to be replaced ASAP before further damage is inflicted on the motor itself.

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How Much Can I Save with New Equipment?

Monday, July 25th, 2011

There is certainly something to be said for upgrading your current HVAC equipment to newer, more energy efficient equipment. Doing so can save you a ton of money in heating and cooling costs and it can make your home a more comfortable place in general. Of course, upgrading your equipment is a big investment, but ideally you will save enough on your monthly energy bills that it will more than make up for the initial cost of the installation.

But before you can decide whether or not it makes sense for you to upgrade, you need to know exactly how much you stand to save every month by upgrading. And that will vary considerably depending on several particulars of your situation.

For instance, you will have to take the age of your current system into account. No matter how energy efficient your system was when you first bought it, that energy efficiency has almost certainly deteriorated over time. Plus, the older your system is, the less energy efficient it probably was to start with. And the less energy efficient your current system is, the more you will save when you upgrade to a newer, more energy efficient system.

But that is not the only variable you will have to be on top of. The amount you will save monthly and annually will also have to do with how much you use your HVAC system. If you live in a rather temperate climate, you may use your HVAC much less, both in the summer and the winter.

In a case like this, the percentage you will save with an equipment upgrade will be the same as it would for someone who lived in an area with a harsher climate, but the actual dollar value will be much lower. All that really means is that it will take you longer to recoup your investment, but it may still be worth it to invest in a new system now.

You will also need to be aware of other factors that could impact the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. For instance, if your house is not well insulated, it will not matter how good your HVAC system is. You will still be paying more than you should to keep the indoors comfortable, and while investing in a new system may save you money, you will save more by taking care of your insulation problem first.

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When to Replace Your Air Conditioning System

Friday, June 17th, 2011

One of the last things you probably want to think about is replacing your current air conditioning system. However, the time will come when you can no longer ignore the fact that your air conditioning system is not getting the job done like it used to. And considering your replacement options early can help save you a lot of money and aggravation in the long run.

Before you can start looking at replacement options, though, you need to be aware that the time has come to replace your current model. But how can you tell that your air conditioner is on its way out? Well, there are actually quite a few warning signs that, if you are attuned to them, will help you determine whether or not it is the right time to replace.

First of all, if you have to call for repairs, even minor ones, on a regular basis, chances are that you would be better off replacing rather than continuing to patch up the air conditioning system you already have. This is true for several reasons including the fact that a system that requires repairs so often is probably not going to last you much longer anyway.

By replacing now rather than continuing to pay for repairs, you will save a lot of money in the long run. After all, you are going have to pay for the new system sooner or later, so you might as well skip the shelling out of extra cash to repair a system you are just going to get rid of anyway.

Problems like inadequate or uneven cooling or mismanaged humidity levels in your home are a good sign that something is not working right in your air conditioning system and that it may be time to replace. At the very least, you should call someone out to take a look and let you know what type of repairs you are looking at.

You should also think about replacing an older system even if it is still working fine because the newer systems available are much more energy efficient than even the top of the line models available ten years ago. While you will have to pay the purchase and installation cost up front, you will immediately begin to save substantial amounts on your monthly cooling bills.

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Furnace vs. Heat Pump

Friday, April 15th, 2011

If you’re preparing to replace your existing heating system, you may very well be struggling with the question of whether to go with a furnace or a heat pump for all of your future home heating needs. Each of these systems have their own advantages and drawbacks, and once you’ve narrowed it down to one type or the other, you’ll still have a pretty wide variety of products to choose from.

Furnaces are still the most popular type of home heating equipment on the market. You can get furnaces that run on gas, oil or electricity, although gas furnaces are by far the most common type of furnace around these days. The latest models are extremely energy efficient, with AFUE ratings reaching into the high 90%s.

Like heat pumps, furnaces use ducts to transfer heated air throughout your home. They typically require regular maintenance once every year or two depending on the type of furnace you have, and they can be expected to last anywhere from 15 to 25 years when properly maintained. Most modern furnaces are also made to be compatible with a central air conditioning or cooling system as well.

Heat pumps, on the other hand, don’t generate the heat that they circulate throughout your house. Instead they are able to extract the heat from the air outside and pump it inside. This means that they use much less energy than even the most energy efficient furnaces.

However, heat pumps are only capable of heating your house comfortably when the outside temperature is above freezing. If you live in an area with particularly long and frigid winters, you’ll probably find that you need to supplement your heat pump with another heat source. Because of this, it actually makes little sense to use a heat pump in more extreme climates.

On the other hand, if you live in an area with relatively mild winters, heat pumps can be a great option. They provide a constant flow of warm air to all parts of your home and can also keep you house cool during hot summer months. To cool your home, heat pumps simply reverse the process they use to warm it. They take the heat out of your indoor air and pump it outside. This is a very effective home cooling method and makes heat pumps a great solution for year round comfort.

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