Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Verona’

Pittsburgh Air Conditoining Question: How Can I Keep My AC Working Dependably?

Monday, July 8th, 2013

During the summer you likely rely on your air conditioning system to keep your home comfortable. But like any other piece of equipment your air conditioning system will eventually break down on you. So how can homeowners make sure that their AC operates as consistently as possible? Here at Boehmer Heating & Cooling Company, we offer fast and reliable Pittsburgh, PA air conditioning services. We wanted to put together a quick list of some of the ways that our customers can keep their AC systems working well.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Probably the best way for you to increase the consistency of your air conditioner’s performance is to get it regularly maintained and inspected by a professional. As your air conditioning system operates it will develop small problems that will eventually turn into full-blown repairs and cause a disruption in its performance. However, if you get your air conditioning system regularly inspected your AC technician will be able to find those types of small issues and fix them before they turn into larger, more costly repairs. In addition to increasing the dependability of your air conditioner, regular maintenance could also increase efficiency and extend the life of your air conditioner.

Change the Air Filter

Probably the most common cause of  air conditioning repair that we see is caused by a clogged air filter. Your AC system has an air filter in it that keeps dust, dirt and insects from getting sucked into the mechanical parts of your equipment. But if that air filter isn’t changed regularly it can get clogged and restrict the flow of air into your system. Not only does this greatly reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner, but it can also case more repairs because of the added strain on the system.

If your air conditioning system is breaking down a lot or if it has started to operate inefficiently, call the Pittsburgh, PA air conditioning repair and maintenance professionals at Boehmer Heating & Cooling today.

 

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Why Use a Humidifier This Winter? Pittsburgh Heating Question

Monday, November 12th, 2012

The winter is typically a very dry time in Pittsburgh. You can tell when it gets dry because your throat will get scratchy or your skin might start to dry out. While you obviously can’t control the humidity outside, you can definitely do something about it inside your home. Whole house humidity systems are a great way monitor how much moisture is inside the air in your home. These systems have a number of benefits that we will explore here.

Your Health

When the air gets dry, it lowers your body’s ability to fight off infection. Dry air can irritate your sinuses and your throat. Your skin can also be affected by dry air. Using a whole house humidity control system can help improve your comfort level and could potentially keep you healthier through the winter.

Your Property

Dry air can also wreak havoc on your property. In particular, wood floor and wood furniture can start to dry out and crack in excessively dry climates. Also, if you have any paintings, dry air may cause them to deteriorate prematurely. You may start to notice that your wallpaper has dried out and started to peel in some places.

Allergies

The dust in your home is primarily made up of dead skin cells. If you have pets in the home, dry air can allow more skin to fall off and increase the amount of dust in your home. Dry air can also cause dust mite droppings to become airborne which can aggravate allergies as well.

Efficiency

Having a properly humidified home can potentially increase the efficiency of your home. Humans generally feel warmer when the air has proper humidity. Also, when you start to invest in the air quality of your home

If you have any questions about the humidity levels in your home in Pittsburgh, call the experts at Boehmer Heating and Air Conditioning. We have years of experience offering humidity control services and other indoor air quality control services in Pittsburgh. We would be more than happy to talk with you about the options for your home and how you can stay comfortable all year long.

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Pittsburg Air Conditioning Tip: How to Fix Wrong Sized Air Filters in HVAC Systems

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

If you moved into a new home or had someone change the filters on your Pittsburg heating or air conditioning system for you, you may notice that whoever did the job put on the wrong size filter. This is not uncommon and is usually the result of an effort to save either time or money. However, in the long run it actually costs both. Here is how you can fix the problem of a wrong size filter.

The WRONG Way

If you have a filter that is too big for your system, it may seem like an easy enough fix– just fold it over or trim it down, right? Not so fast. 

Folding the filter over makes for an imperfect seal. Air will leak through and around the bend, bypassing the filter entirely. This causes dirt and debris to build up on the fan, slows down air flow, degrades performance, decreases air quality and overall makes a big mess that you will have to pay to fix or clean up later.

Bending or cutting the filter also decreases its structural integrity. The whole filter can collapse while installed, creating not just a performance issue and a potentially costly repair, but also possibly creating unsafe conditions.

Furthermore, don’t give into the temptation to run your Pittsburg HVAC system without a filter for the time being. The debris will quickly build up in your AC system, as well as being blown into your home. Heating and cooling systems should always be operated with the proper filter installed.

The RIGHT Way

So, what do you do when you have an air filter that is the wrong size? The only solution is to find the right size. If you are having trouble finding the right air filter for your system, try these tips:

  • Refer to your owner’s manual for the filter model number.
  • Have a Pittsburg air conditioning professional inspect your system and replace the filter. (You should have a professional inspection once a year, anyway.)
  • For HVAC systems that are large or have special dimensions, special order custom filters to fit.

Above all, never operate your HVAC system without a clean, correctly sized filter properly installed. Call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today if you need any help with your HVAC system!

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Pittsburgh Air Conditioning Guide: Cooling Coil or Evaporator Coil Diagnosis & Repair

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Inside the air handler of your Pittsburgh air conditioning system is a cooling coil or evaporator coil. From a home cooling perspective, this is where the magic happens: where the actual cooling occurs. So, if there is a problem with the cooling or evaporator coil, you will notice a decrease in the performance of your AC system.

You may notice that the air flow has slowed significantly or even stopped, even though you can hear the air handler running. You may also notice that the air isn’t as cool as it used to be or should be. Aside from having a house that is not cool enough, this can also cause problems like high electricity bills or damage to other parts of the air conditioner. Use this quick guide to start diagnosing and repairing the problem.

Diagnosis

For starters, just try to get a good look at the cooling coil. Some problems are obvious enough upon visual inspection that no further diagnostics or major repair is necessary. To inspect the cooling coil on your air conditioner, first turn off the electricity at your fuse panel or breaker box. Then, locate the access panel on the air handler that can be removed to at least partially expose the coil. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for help.

Once you are able to see the cooling coil, look for things like:

  • Dirt and debris
  • Mold
  • Staining that indicates a refrigerant leak
  • Ice or frost
  • Damaged fins on the coil

Repair

Any of these could be the culprit that is degrading the performance of your Pittsburgh  AC system. Some of these you can take care of pretty simply on your own – if there is obvious debris that you can remove safely, do so – but for most repairs you will want to call in a licensed technician. Especially if the problem is something potentially hazardous like mold growth or a refrigerant leak, you don’t want to take the risk. Let Boehmer Heating & Cooling who has technicians that are  trained in safely and effectively repairing the problem take care of it, so that your home can be comfortable again.

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Bridgeville Heating Repair Tip: Furnace Control Boards

Friday, February 17th, 2012

One way to be a truly responsible Bridgeville homeowner is to familiarize yourself with the major systems and appliances in your home. By having at least some understanding of how, say, your refrigerator or toilet work, you gain understanding of how to use them efficiently and detect when something goes wrong.

The same is true of your furnace, which can appear to be a complicated piece of machinery. In order to help you get acquainted with your furnace, we will discuss one of its main control components, the furnace control board.

As the name suggests, furnace control boards are responsible for governing the operation of the furnace. At a minimum, a simple furnace control will control the furnace ignitor (e.g., a spark generator or glow coil), the gas valve and the furnace thermocouple, also called a flame sensor.

More complex furnace control boards will also have control over the blowers and/or the built-in diagnostic system.

To simplify things, you can think of the furnace control board as being a driver and the furnace as its car. Just as the driver oversees all the functions and operation of the car from ignition to shutting off the engine, likewise does the control board for the furnace.

A typical operation sequence for a furnace control board goes something like this:

  1. The control board receives a signal from the thermostat that the temperature is too low.
  2. It starts the ignition system, whether that be a spark generator, glow coil or pilot light.
  3. Once the ignitor is hot, the furnace control board initiates the flow of gas through the burners, where it is ignited.
  4. The control board keeps the furnace running until it is signaled by the thermostat that the temperature is now high enough, or until it detects something is wrong.

(An example of a malfunction where the control board would get involved is a thermocouple that is not detecting enough heat. In this case, the control board would shut off the gas flow to prevent a leak into the home.)

Furnace control boards are an essential part of your home’s HVAC system. And now, as a responsible homeowner, you know just how important. If suspect you have a problem with your furnace, 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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A Tip from Verona: Where to Place a Thermostat for Accurate Heating

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

It’s easy to forget with your furnace in the basement churning away all day to keep your Verona home warm, but your thermostat is the single most important device in ensuring your home is heated to the temperature you want. If it stops working or it misreads the temperature inside your home, your furnace won’t know what temperature it actually is and will turn on and off at the wrong time.

Where Not to Place Your Thermostat

To avoid inaccurate readings, avoid placing your thermostat in the following locations:

  • Direct Sunlight – Direct sunlight will almost always increase the perceived temperature of the thermostat. Unless you live in a greenhouse, this will be very uncomfortable for everyone in your home.
  • Windows – Windows can result in direct sunlight and breezes. If the windows are not properly sealed, cold air can blow in and make it seem cooler in your home than it really is. In any of these cases, your thermostat will misread the indoor temperature.
  • Drafts – Drafts from improperly sealed doors, windows, or anything else in your home can negatively impact the thermostat.
  • Heat Vents – Don’t place your thermostat near a radiator or heat vent where it is likely to be warmer than anywhere else in the house.
  • Kitchens – Kitchens tend to be warmer than other rooms in the house, especially when in use. Avoid placing a thermostat here unless you have a zone control system and your kitchen is separate from other rooms.

A properly placed thermostat will ensure your home is heated or cooled to the temperature you desire regardless of outdoor conditions. If you’re unsure whether your thermostat is calibrated properly, check the temperature with a separate thermometer in a different location in the same room. If it is significantly warmer or cooler in one place than another, try to determine which is more indicative of the actual comfort level in your home. When properly located, your thermostat should never be an issue again.

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Is Your Furnace Making too Much Noise? (and Happy Halloween Weekend!)

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Happy Halloween weekend from everyone at Boehmer Heating & Cooling! We hope you have a fantastically spooky time! But don’t be scared of the noises coming from your furnace, here is some information about common causes and solutions.

The old saying that “It is better to be seen than heard” certainly applies to the mechanical equipment in your Pittsburgh home. If you hear a squeaky noise or loud clattering you automatically suspect that something is wrong. And if that noise is coming from your furnace, you better pay attention to it. A noise is an obvious sign of a problem – minor or major – and it could result in mechanical failure that could leave your home cold and uncomfortable – and affect your home’s indoor air quality.

Today’s newer variable-speed furnaces keep a constant airflow through the ventilation system utilizing a low speed fan that consumes small amounts of electricity. Constant airflow brings in fresh air and keeps the room air from becoming stale or stagnant. Because of this constant operation, it is important to ensure the furnace is running at peak efficiency, which also means that it is running quietly.

Here are some common noises, possible reasons, and suggested repairs. As always, if you are in doubt about how to repair your furnace, call a local qualified heating contractor and schedule a service call.

  • Squealing noise – could be a worn out or slipping blower belt. Check for proper tension of the belt or replace the belt if it is worn out or cracked.
  • Squealing noise – could be worn out motor shaft bearings. Lubricate the blower motor at the proper points.
  • Rumbling noise – often caused by a poorly adjusted pilot light when the burners are turned off. Adjust the pilot as necessary.
  • Rumbling noise – often caused by dirty gas burners when the burners are switched on. This problem requires service from a qualified heating technician.
  • Buzzing noise – often caused when a blower motor mounting come loose. Tighten the mounting screws or use shims to fill gaps.
  • Hissing noise – indicates a possible air leak. This problem requires service from a qualified heating technician.
  • Ticking noise – possibly a leaky gas valve. This problem requires service from a qualified heating technician.
  • Rattling noise – could be a dirty fan blade. Wipe the fan blade or clean with degreaser.
  • Rattling, grinding, or whining – could be resistance to airflow that causes the motor to work harder. Check the vents in each room for dirt, debris, or obstructions and clear them.
  • Vibrating noise – may not be the furnace but loose or cracked seams in the ventilation system. Check the ductwork seams and hangers to ensure everything is tight. You may need duct tape or bracket hardware.

The best way to keep your furnace and ventilation system from making noises is to practice preventative maintenance. Have your furnace checked annually by a qualified heating contractor – and enjoy the peace and quiet.

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Things to Look for When Buying a Heating System: A Guide from Bridgeville

Monday, October 24th, 2011

If you are in the market for a new or replacement heating system in Bridgeville and don’t know much about heating systems, you are not alone. Many homeowners are in the same boat as you. And many of that number put their trust in their local, professional, and qualified heating and cooling contractor to find the right furnace for their homes.

Before calling for an estimate, there are some things you can do to “prepare” yourself for one of the most important purchase you can make. Here is a checklist of things you should look for when buying a heating system.

Know your energy alternatives. There are lots of options today when it comes to heating your home. Gone are the days when the choices were so cut and dried. Check with your heating and cooling contractor for suggestions.

  1. Know what size your furnace should be. Furnaces are not “one size fits all.” The size of the furnace is determined by its Btu (British thermal unit) rating. For example, a one-story ranch home on a crawl space requires less heating capacity than a two-story colonial with a basement, thus it would require a furnace with a smaller numbered Btu rating. A home with a great deal of heat loss through windows and doors may require various furnace sizes. And don’t forget about insulation. Insulation can affect the furnace size, too. Again, check with your heating and cooling contractor for recommendations.
  2. How much room do you need for your furnace? Some homes have mechanical rooms for furnaces and water heaters while others utilize attics, basements, or crawlspaces for furnaces. If you think you need a big furnace to heat a big home, think again. Furnace manufacturers have been downsizing their heating equipment for years, while maintaining the same heating capacities. One example are wall hung boilers, which utilize water and electric as heating sources and are installed on a wall, making the unit easy to locate and easy to service – while at the same time being off the floor and out of the way.
  3. Will your heating system be “plug and play?” New furnaces can take the place of the ones they are replacing by using the same space. But sometimes a replacement unit may need some altering to fit into an existing duct system. It is almost a given that a new plenum (the part attaching the furnace to the ductwork) will have to be fabricated. But the new furnace may also require some other modifications to an existing duct system. You should understand this ahead of time and be prepared to pay additional costs.
  4. A box is a box is a box. As a rule, most heating systems are made the same. In some cases, one furnace manufacturer may produce several different brand names. The best “brand” is the heating and cooling contractor who installs and services your heating equipment. Do your homework ahead of time and find a qualified and professional contractor. Ask friends and family for recommendations. This is may be the most important thing to look for when buying a heating system

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Maintenance Tip from McCandless: Why You Should Have Your Furnace Serviced Every Heating Season

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Particularly if you’ve just purchased a new furnace in McCandless, it’s probably not something you think about all that much. As long as it works when you need it to, that is. Unfortunately you usually find out that something is wrong with your furnace just when you need it most. However, there is a way to avoid that kind of problem, and many others, and that’s to have regular maintenance service performed on your furnace by a home heating professional every year.

One of the main reasons to have your furnace serviced is that it allows technicians to catch small problems before they become large ones. During a typical maintenance visit, a technician will examine all parts of your furnace to ensure that they are still in good working order. He’ll also thoroughly clean out the unit to make sure there are no buildups of debris that could cause problems or impede the furnace’s energy efficiency.

And if they do find something wrong like a part that’s beginning to wear out or something that just isn’t working properly, the technician can make the necessary repairs right away. You can get the problem taken care of ahead of time and you won’t have to worry about going without heat during the coldest part of the winter.

That’s not the only reason that annual maintenance is important and beneficial, however. It can also help you save money, both on your monthly energy bills and in the long term. That’s because annual maintenance tune ups keep your furnace functioning at peak efficiency levels longer than they would be able to otherwise.

A typical furnace will lose a small percentage of its energy efficiency every year, and while it won’t seem like a lot at first, that can really add up over the course of a couple of years. With regular maintenance, though, you can often maintain up to 95% of your furnace’s original efficiency for the life of the furnace.

Plus, when the proper maintenance and service is performed on a regular basis, your furnace will simply last longer.

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