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Heating Tips & Advice

Heating Tips & Advice (10)

Monday, 10 February 2020 20:08

5 Furnace Filter Tips

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Keep Your Heating and Cooling System Working Efficiently and Your Air Healthier

5 Furnace Filter Tips

A common question we hear from our customers is, "How often should I change my furnace air filter?" The answer is usually once a month. Check with the filter packaging for details.  There are a few other things to consider as well:

1. Buy filters in bulk and keep them next to the furnace.

Having filters always ready next to the furnace will reduce procrastination and the tendency to wait too long between filter changes. Also, buying filters in bulk is usually less expensive than buying them individually.

2. Use the correct size filter.

An poor-fitting filter lets dirt and debris escape around the filter, contaminate the air in your home and the parts inside the furnace, leading to reduced efficiency of the unit which can shorten the lifespan of the compressor and other components.

3. Install the filter in the right direction.

Most filters have arrows indicating the direction of air flow. Putting a filter in backwards can cause the filter to work less efficently and in some cases may cause the filter to bend, allowing dirty air around the filter.

4. Always turn of the power at the breaker rather than the thermostat when changing the filter.

This will ensure that if you come in contact with any wiring inside or near the filter you won't get shocked.

5. Furnace filters are not designed as air cleaners.

While most furnace filters will keep a lot of dirt and debris out of the air, they are not going to keep the air free of smaller contaminates and allergens. If your home has excessive dust, pet dander, smoke or other pollutants, consider using a separate, high quality home air filtration system. A HEPA rated filter is designed to capture the smallest particles that can easily pass through most common furnace air filters.

Have questions about your furnace filter, indoor air quality or your home's heating and cooling system? Call MR Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning & Electric. We are here to help answer your questions.
Wednesday, 05 February 2020 19:29

Are Furnace Noises the Sign of a Problem?

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If you have an older furnace you’ve likely experienced a range of noises over time, especially as the furnace nears the end of it's lifespan. However, most newer gas furnaces are designed to run very quietly.

Are furnace noises a sign of a problem?

Here are some of the sounds you may hear from your heating system and what they could indicate:

Screeching Noises
If you hear a screeching noise coming from your furnace, it could be a problem with the motor, such as a worn bearing.

Pinging and Popping
Pinging or popping sounds often happen when the air ducts expand and contract and are usually nothing to worry about.

Vibrating or Whining noises
This can indicate a serious problem with the furnace, such as a loose motor mount, that you should have a technician check as soon as possible.

Crackling Sounds
When the furnace shuts down the hot metal parts will often make a crackling sound as they cool down.

Booming sounds
Loud booming sounds may come from air ducts as they expand and contract in very cold weather, especially when a basement is unheated. It can also indicate the furnace has dirty burners that should be serviced by a heating technician.

If these sounds are accompanied by a blower that is turning on and off more frequently or is blowing cool air, it may be time to call MR Plumbing to inspect the unit.
Thursday, 14 November 2019 15:38

Solving Uneven Temperture Problems In the Home

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Inconsistent heating or cooling in the home is one of the most common reasons homeowners contact us for service. Hot or cold zones around the home are not only an annoyance, they’re a sign that the air delivery system is not operating correctly. Many homeowners will simply close or open vents, or adjust the thermostat well above or below where it should be to maintain a comfortable setting. This wastes energy and can shorten the life of your HVAC system.

Uneven Temperatures In the Home

Several factors can contribute to uneven heating or cooling, but, fortunately, they can all be fixed. Here are a few things that you can do to address uneven heating and cooling in your home

Have Your Home's Ductwork Inspected

If airflow to certain parts of the home is imbalanced, you’ll experience uneven heating or cooling in those areas. An airflow imbalance also causes your system to work overtime in order to compensate, which in turn will shorten your system’s life and decrease its efficiency.

In order to create a balanced airflow M/R Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Heating will need to inspect and assess the adequacy of your home’s ductwork. If the ducts are not properly sized, it’s important to replace them with correctly sized ones.

Identifying leaks and blockages is also important, as leaks are a major contributor to inefficiency and uneven temperatures. If blockages are identified, they will be removed to restore airflow. Once the underlying causes of the imbalance have been identified, the appropriate repairs or replacement will be made to get your system functioning normally again.

Variable Speed Motors

Variable speed motors provide more even heating and cooling, and allow for more precise control of airflow throughout the home. By moving the air more slowly through the system, variable speed motors can help make a home’s air filtration and moisture control systems more effective. They adjust the system’s output based on the home’s heating or cooling needs. They can also be helpful in situations where uneven heating or cooling is actually desired. If there are rooms in your home that are rarely used, you can save money by keeping them at a slightly higher or lower temperature than the other rooms in your home. This involves “zoning,” which means customizing temperature settings for different areas of the home. In general, variable speed motors are the only systems that allow for zoning within the home.

Ensure Your HVAC System Is The Correct Size

Just as you’re experiencing discomfort due to uneven temperatures, your system is constantly trying to compensate, which means high utility bills and the potential for costly repairs.

Sometimes, an improperly sized HVAC system may result in uneven heating or cooling. This could be the result of either an incorrect load calculation at the time of the system’s installation or a home’s heating and cooling needs changing over time. For example, it is common that an extra room is added or an area like an attic or basement is converted into living space. If your HVAC system is too small to properly heat or cool your home, uneven temperatures and system failures could result. To determine whether your HVAC system is properly sized, contact an HVAC professional for an up-to-date load calculation.
Tuesday, 05 November 2019 15:22

The Importance of Replacing Your Furnace Air Filter

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Changing Your Furnace Air Filter Regularly Keeps The Air Clean and Your Heating System Running Reliably and Efficiently

Having a clean, properly sized furnace filter is critical for a number of reasons. A clogged or poorly fitting air filter will make your home's heating and cooling system work harder to move the air around your your home. The result is poor efficiency, higher utility bills and dirtier air.

Replacing Furnace Filter

How Often Should You Replace Your Air Filter?

The frequency of filter replacement will depend on the filter type, the size of your home and your home's air quality. A furnace in a larger home will move more air and clog the filter faster. If you have pets you’ll probably need to change your filter twice as often. Not only are pet dander and hair a leading cause of allergens, they also clog air filters more quickly.

Start with every two months for a standard 1” filter and twice as often if you have a large home, allergies or pets. Costlier filters often claim to last 90 days, but in our experience, these filters restrict air flow so much that they should be changed monthly. Your furnace and air conditioner will breathe easier and so will you!

Choosing An Air Filter

If you’re really interested in cleaning the air in your home, MR Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical can install a whole-house air cleaner in place of your standard furnace filter. HEPA filters clean the air better that any of the standard pleated filters and need to be changed much less frequently.

If you buy your air filters by the case and keep them near your furnace it will reduce the tendency to procrastinate about changing the filter. Buying by the case can also reduce the cost of the filters.

Never run your system with an incorrectly sized filter. An poor-fitting furnace filter will allow dust and other contaminates to sneak around the filter and into your home. This is also the primary cause of clogged air conditioner coils. Clogged AC coils reduce efficiency and compressor life, and can cause expensive problems down the road.

Always turn off your furnace at the breaker panel or disconnect (not just the thermostat) before replacing your filter. Some furnaces have electrical wiring close to the filter location which could shock you if the power is not disconnected first. furnace air filters

If you're uncertain about where your furnace filter goes, what direction to install it, or what size or type to use, give us a call. We're always happy to help.

For improved filtration and healthier indoor air quality, we offer whole-house air cleaners and other Indoor Air Quality systems. Our technicians can recommend the best solution based on your needs and your home.

Buying a Home? Don't Forget To Inspect the Heating System

The Importance of Heating System Inspections For Home Buyers

Heating System Inspections For Homebuyers When buying a new home there are countless things to check to ensure there are no hidden surprises. One of the most important is the home's furnace. Taking the time to ask questions and inspect the unit can save you potential headaches down the road. Here are some steps to take:

1. Turn on the furnace and listen for noises. Squeaks and rattles could indicate a mechanical problem, lack of maintenance or just be symptomatic of an older furnace that is showing its age.

2. Ask the real estate agent for the age of the furnace. A gas furnace will typically last 15-20 years. Also, keep in mind that older furnaces can be more expensive to operate.

3. Check the unit's EnergySTAR® rating. If you're lucky the label will still be attached to the unit. If not, the unit's serial number can be used to contact the manufacturer for efficiency information.

Finally, for your peace of mind, it's a good idea to have the home's heating and cooling system inspected to identify any potential problems that could end up costing you money in repairs or higher utility bills.

Have questions about heating systems? Call MR Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We're here to help.

How To Maintain Consistent Temperatures Throughout Your Home

Home zoning
The transition from spring to summer can be a challenging time for keeping your home comfortable. One day it can be over 80, the next day back in the 60s. During these ever changing conditions, adjusting your home's thermostat to maintain consistent indoor temperatures can be tricky. Larger, multi-level homes with large windows can present a unique challenge when trying to maintain even temperatures. During the spring months the lower levels may be cold, while the upper level may be uncomfortably warm.

Zoning for Consistent Heating and Cooling

Zoning is the process of dividing rooms and levels of a home into environments that can be adjusted separately to specific temperature requirements. For example, if one family member prefers to sleep in a cooler upstairs bedroom, occupants on the lower levels can control their own thermostat rather than enduring colder temperatures.

By working with your home's HVAC system, zoning will increase, reduce or shut off heating and cooling in each zone by opening and closing dampers located inside the air ducts. A programmable thermostat on an inside wall regulates damper function, allowing each zone to be climate controlled separately.

Zoning will not only maintain comfort levels in all areas of the home, it will significantly reduce home energy use and utility costs. When properly set up, a home zoning system can pay for itself in as little as three years.
Tuesday, 18 December 2018 13:34

Is Your Furnace Ready For The Heating Season?

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If your home has a gas furnace, it’s important to learn how to be aware of potential problems to prevent unexpected breakdowns or inefficient operation.  Troubleshooting your gas furnace can help you to avoid costly repair bills that may arise if potential issues are left undiscovered.

Furnace Maintenance

Turning On Your Gas Furnace

FurnaceTypically, a gas furnace is operated through the same thermostat as the air conditioner.  This means that when the weather turns cold, you can simply turn your thermostat to the 'warm’ or 'heat’ setting and then adjust the temperature to your liking.

Inspecting and Replacing Your Furnace Filter

Before beginning, it's important to turn the power off to the unit. Many furnaces have electrical components near the filter. Open the cover of the unit and then remove the filter.  You can use a vacuum to clean the surface dust from a plastic filter, then simply wash it and dry it before replacing it.  Always operate the furnace with a filter in place. You will need to replace a paper filter every few months, or as recommended by the filter manufacturer.

Checking Airflow

Check each room in your home by feeling for the airflow that comes from the vents.  If airflow is insufficient to areas of your home, you should have an M/R Plumbing heating technician check your ducts to ensure they are properly sized for air delivery throughout your home.

If Your Gas Furnace Will Not Ignite

A inoperable pilot light is one of the main reasons that a gas furnace will fail to ignite.  To ignite the pilot, turn the gas cock off and then push the pilot reset button while turning the cock to 'pilot’.  Get a match and light it, then hold it near the furnace pilot to relight it.

Heating System Maintenance

Heating System MaintenanceCleaning the system every couple of years helps the unit to run more efficiently and last longer.  During an annual heating system inspection your technician will lubricate the furnace ports and bearings, reducing the amount of energy the unit needs to operate.  Your technician will also clean the furnace burners if they appear dirty.

Air Vent Blockages

Cleaning the vents and ducts will remove blockages that can interfere with heat flow in the home. In the winter, ice can block the outdoor vents. Make sure to turn off the unit before you attempt to remove the ice.

Sealing Air Leaks To Prevent Heat Loss

If you notice air leaks in your ventilation system, seal off any gaps. In addition, placing weather stripping around doors and windows will keep your home from losing heat, which makes your furnace run more often.

What To Do If You Smell Gas

If you ever smell gas coming from the furnace, leave the area and call your gas company right away.  Avoid lighting matches or using any electrical appliances until you are safely away from the area.

If you have questions about your home's heating system, call M/R Plumbing, Heating, A/C and Electrical. Keeping your home's furnace operating safely and reliably is our top priority.

Tuesday, 04 December 2018 13:02

Choosing a New Furnace

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When it's time to replace your old furnace you may have a lot of questions about which new furnace is right right for your home.  There are three different types of furnace : gas, oil, and electric.  Depending on your particular home heating needs, you may find that one type is more suitable for your household than another type.  Learning about each furnace style can help you to decide which model to purchase.

Choosing a new furnace

Types of Furnaces

Each furnace type operates on a different energy source and there are advantages and disadvantages to each model.  Oil furnaces can last for up to 30 years with proper maintenance, which makes them a great choice if you are planning on staying in your home for a long period of time.  Oil furnaces also tend to be safer, since the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is quite low.

Gas furnaces have become very reliable, since they run on a natural gas, they cannot be interrupted by typical electrical shortages.  However, gas furnaces have the potential threat of a gas leak that can be harmful to a home's inhabitants. Compared to electric furnaces, gas furnaces are less expensive to operate on average, but only last for 12 to 15 years.

Electric furnaces are longer lasting, running up to 30 years.  Since these furnaces run on electrical power, a power outage will shut them off and the cost of operating them will increase your power bill.  One of the benefits of electric furnaces, however, is that they pose no safety risk since they do not rely on fuel.

Choosing the Right Furnace for Your Home

How do you know when it’s time to replace your current furnace?  Typically, if  it is at least 15 years old, it’s a good idea to consider replacing it with a newer model.  This is because new models are manufactured with improved energy efficiency, which can save you money on your home’s heating bill.  Another reason to update your furnace is, even if you have a newer furnace model, you may need a new system if your current unit is not adequately heating your home.

Energy Star Furnaces

One of the most important considerations when choosing a home furnace is energy efficiency.  If you select an Energy Star-approved model, you’ll save on your energy use and your utility bill.  It is also important that you select a certified installation technician who will make sure that you select a furnace that can meet your home’s daily needs.  If you select a furnace that is too small for your home, you may experience areas with not enough heat, or need to run the unit more often to reach an acceptable level of comfort.

Choose An Experienced Technician

By discussing your unique needs with an experienced professional, you can be sure that you're getting the best type of furnace for your home’s needs, and that it will be installed properly and safely.

Have questions about choosing the right furnace for your home? Call MR Plumbing, our experienced Home Comfort Specialists can help. They’ll study your home, listen to your concerns, explain all of your options in easy to understand language and assist you with finding the quality heating system that best meets your family’s needs.
Tuesday, 23 October 2018 23:47

Should You Repair Or Replace Your Gas Furnace?

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If your furnace is getting up in years and needs extensive repairs, how do you decide if the advantages of installing a new furnace is a better solution than repairing the old unit and hoping it lasts through another long winter?

How long should a gas furnace last?

A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders found that gas furnaces last an average of 15 to 20 years. So consider the age of the unit when deciding whether to repair or replace. When a furnace is installed most technicians will write the year the equipment was installed right on the unit. You can also look for a metal identification plate, usually on the inside of chamber door (be sure the unit is off and cool before checking inside). Record the model and serial number, then call the manufacturer’s customer service number to obtain the date of manufacture

How much will repairing your furnace cost?

If the furnace is beyond three-quarters of its life expectancy and repairing it would cost a 1/3 or more of the amount of a new furnace, it may be more economical to replace the unit. Parts like heat exchangers can be expensive to replace, and are often a sign that the furnace is past it's expected lifespan.

Consider the energy savings of a new furnace

In these days of sky high fuel costs, it's important to factor in the efficiency of your old furnace versus a new, energy efficient unit. A standard measure of fuel efficiency is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency number (AFUE). AFUE measures the percentage of the fuel that’s converted to heat rather than being lost through inefficiency.

If the furnace is 20 or more years old, its AFUE is probably about 70. New furnaces will have an AFUE of at least 80%, which means you’ll burn 10% less fuel, that's 10% savings of your heating bill. High efficiency furnaces go as high a 95% AFUE , which could save you 25% on your heating bill.

Other Factors to Consider

Depending on the time of year, many manufacturers offer rebates on new heating and cooling systems that could save you a significant amount on the up-front cost of purchasing a new system. 

Considering whether to repair or replace your furnace? Give MR Plumbing Heating Air Electrical a call. We can help with all your home heating needs from repair and maintenance to new system installation.

Tuesday, 07 August 2018 15:33

Energy Saving Home Heating Tips For Fall

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Heating takes up the largest percentage of a typical household's energy use, about 42% of the typical utility bill. You can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining your heating system. A properly maintained heating system will not only keep your home more comfortable it will reduce the likelihood of a breakdown during the coldest time of winter, when you need it the most.

Even the most energy-efficient heating system won't have a significant impact on your heating bill if the whole-house isn't energy efficient. Good insulation, duct sealing, weather sealing windows and doors and programming your thermostat can save about 30% on your energy bill.

Here are some home heating tips to reduce energy use and make your home more comfortable:
  • Replace your furnace filter once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Program your thermostat to the lowest comfortable level, and lower when you're away from home or sleeping
  • Keep your air ducts clean and make sure they are nit blocked by furniture, rugs or drapes
  • Seal holes and gaps in air vents
  • During the winter keep shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill.
  • Use ceiling fans to improve the circulation of warm air in your living space
  • Replace worn weather sealing around windows and doors
  • Ensure your attic has sufficient insulation
Have questions about saving energy this heating season? Give MR Plumbing, Heating, Air, Electrical a call. From furnace tune-ups to duct sealing, we can help you stay comfortable and save energy all year long.

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