Know Your Furnace: The Heat Exchanger and Furnace Repair

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Furnaces use mechanical parts to operate, and mechanical parts eventually will start to wear down and require repairs. No matter how well you take care of your furnace, at some point you will likely need to call for professionals to fix it.

However, one of the most important repairs that a furnace can need is not to a mechanical part like a fan or a motor. It’s a repair that replaces the heat exchanger, a clamshell-shaped chamber that performs the crucial part of the heating cycle that safely moves the heat of combustion gas to the air that will enter your home. We are going to share with you the basics of the heat exchanger and why repairs are so important when something goes wrong with it.

Call any time, 24 hours a day, for furnace repair in Atlanta, GA from Cool Air Mechanical. Our knowledge and experience will restore your furnace’s power and safety.

The Heat Exchanger

Combustion gas enters a furnace’s heat exchanger, where it raises the temperature of the exchanger walls and then transfers that heat to air blown around the exchanger. After the gas cools down, it exits the heat exchanger and leaves the house through an exhaust flue.

If a heat exchanger begins to corrode (which occurs because of a reaction with the combustion gas) the force of it expanding each time it heats up can lead to cracks. This is a potentially hazardous situation because these cracks lead to the escape of the exhaust fumes—toxic carbon monoxide—into the cabinet and possibly into your home.

How can you tell your heat exchanger is cracked? There are a few warnings signs. If you notice corrosion developing anywhere on your furnace, call for repairs. Have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home, and should they warn of a spike in CO, call for repairs. If you hear a loud clicking noise from the furnace before the blower fan comes on, call for repairs. Don’t let unusual noises from your heating system go without a call to professionals.

Do Not Attempt Repairs on Your Own

It’s risky to try to make amateur repairs to a natural gas-powered furnace. You should never tamper with anything connected to a main gas line unless you have the training and tools for it. Work with a heat exchanger needs a licensed, trained professional. Shut off the gas power to your furnace and give a heating technician a call immediately.

Cool Air Mechanical wants you to stay warm and safe this winter. Our team can handle your furnace repair in Atlanta, GA to make sure you have both.

Continue Reading

Will a High Efficiency Furnace Work in My Home?

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Furnaces have been around for a long time, and they have gotten more sophisticated and more efficient over the years. Furnaces now score high AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) ratings and are some of the most efficient types of heating systems available. Special high-efficiency gas furnaces can score AFUE ratings of up to 98%, which means they consume 98% of the gas they use and convert it to heat, losing only 2% of it. High-efficiency furnaces achieve this feat through a second heat exchanger, which takes the water vapor from the first exchanger and condenses it to provide additional heat and reduce waste.

This sounds like such a good idea for home heating that you’re probably wondering if there’s a catch. Will a high-efficiency furnace work in your home? The answer is: “probably.” But it’s best if you consult with experts like those at Cool Air Mechanical for advice about the Atlanta, GA furnace installation that will work best for your home and your budget.

The main issue to consider with a high-efficiency furnace is that it vents differently than a standard furnace. If you are replacing an older furnace, your flue liner and other components of the ventilation system may no longer work with a high-efficiency model. This doesn’t mean you can’t have one installed, but you will need to invest in upgrades on the flue liner and the other components.

The other factor to consider is pricing. A high-efficiency furnace provides savings on your heating bills, but they cost more upfront to install. You should consult with your installer about how the high-efficiency furnace will affect your budget in the future, and determine if it is indeed the best long-term value.

Keep in mind that the fuel-efficiency of other furnaces is still quite high, even if they cannot match that of a high-efficiency model. You have many choices for your Atlanta, GA furnace installation, and with a trained expert helping you select and then install the right model, you should end up with a furnace that fits your comfort and budget requirements.

Call Cool Air Mechanical today and talk to one of our experienced technicians about your best heating installation options.

Continue Reading

Mold Testing: What You Need to Know about Mold

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Among the many threats to indoor air quality—dust, pollen, dander, chemicals—is one that people in general don’t like to think about… mold. Nobody wants to consider the possibility of mold growing inside the ducts of their home. However, mold presents one of the major threats to indoor air quality if you live in a climate with high humidity, like Georgia.

Cool Air Mechanical provides both mold remediation and mold testing in Atlanta, GA to help you alleviate problems from biological contaminants. If you opt for mold testing, experts will determine specific health concerns in your home, find the source of the contamination, and then devise a plan for remediating the contamination. Often this will involve using UV germicidal lights, which use high frequency wavelengths to destroy the cellular structure of mold without using chemicals.

Problems Caused By Mold

Why is mold an issue inside a home, specifically ducts, and why should you have mold testing done? We can turn to a trustworthy source on this issue, The U.S. EPA.

Mold is a fungus that survives by digesting plant material, and serves the important biological function of cleaning up excess dead plant matter. However, you don’t want it growing inside your house. Unfortunately, mold can grow anywhere where moisture and oxygen are present, and it usually develops where there is excess moisture that remains stagnant. (For example, moisture that gathers inside ductwork.)

According the EPA, the health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposure include allergic reactions such as hay fever-like symptoms, sneezing, and runny nose; asthma; irritant effects on the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs; and infections in people with weakened immune systems.

In addition, mold damages the material on which it grows. Even if the mold in your ductwork isn’t having an impact on your indoor air quality, it will cause corrosion to your ducts and eventual breaks and leaks.

Schedule Mold Testing

All the above may sound a bit scary, but there are basic steps you can take to reduce the mold in your house to safe levels. First, arrange for mold testing in Atlanta, GA that will identify the specific problems you may have with mold. Then contact a company that performs mold remediation to take care of the major contamination areas.

At Cool Air Mechanical, we can handle both tasks. If you have reason to believe you have mold growing in hidden parts of your home, such as the ducts, call us to arrange for mold testing, followed by the necessary remediation to give you a healthy home again.

Continue Reading

Common Furnace Repairs

Monday, January 13th, 2014

For your comfort during an Atlanta winter (which, although mild, can still offer some unpleasant surprises), a furnace is an excellent heating system. Given the right care, furnaces can last for many years, often besting heat pumps for longevity.

But furnaces are mechanical systems, and that means you will probably run into repairs at one time or another. It’s important that you call experts to handle the work, since trying to repair a furnace on your own—especially a natural gas furnace—is potentially hazardous. Cool Air Mechanical can take care of the repairs for your Atlanta, GA heating: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Common Furnace Repairs

  • Cleaning dirty burners: The burner is where the jets ignite to create the combustion gas for a natural gas furnace. If the burner develops a layer of grime or corrosion, it can prevent the jets from drawing enough oxygen to ignite. If your furnace uses a pilot light instead of an electric ignition, the pilot light could also go out. Technicians will need to detach the burner unit in order to clean it.
  • Replacing burnt-out heating elements: For electric furnaces, the most common malfunction occurs with the heating elements, which are the sets of electric coils that heat up to warm the air. These elements can burn out and cause a loss of heating power. Technicians will need to replace them with new units.

Don’t wait to call for repairs; furnace issues need attention right away before they become worse and lead to a breakdown, or possibly a safety issue. You should also enroll in a regular maintenance program with an HVAC contractor so your furnace will receive the annual visits necessary to keep it running at top efficiency and effectiveness.

Cool Air Mechanical can deliver the quality work on your heating in Atlanta, GA that will make sure you always spend a comfortable winter.

Continue Reading

Are Heat Pumps Cost Effective?

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Heat pumps combine the functions of an air conditioning system and a heater into one unit. Heat pumps are an excellent heating system for Marietta, since they do best in places with mild winters. But are heat pumps cost effective? According to the U.S. Department of Energy they are: saving you up to 40% in monthly costs depending on your old heating system. A closer look at how it works can explain the reasons why.

In simple terms, heat pumps don’t strictly create heat. They simply move heat around, which uses a lot less energy than an electric or gas furnace. The refrigerant in the heat pump transfers heat from the inside to the outside or visa versa, instead of creating heat by burning a fuel. The process involves a little electricity, but not nearly as much as you’d need with an electric heater.

The technology works best when heating in Marietta and similar communities, where the temperature rarely drops below a certain level. Heat pump efficiency tends to drop when the temperature falls to 40 degrees or below. It struggles below that, though you can augment its heating ability with an electrical or gas furnace.  Thankfully, that’s less of a problem here in the Atlanta area, which helps make heat pumps cost effective as well as convenient.

Contact Cool Air Mechanical to see if a heat pump is right for your home; we can explain the detail to you and help you find a model that suits your needs. We can explain the details to you and conduct installation while keeping you in the loop every step of the way. Give us a call today to set up an appointment!

Continue Reading

Furnace Noises That May Warn of Repair Needs

Monday, January 6th, 2014

The sooner a qualified technician can see to a problem with your heating system, the easier and less expensive the repair is likely to be. Noises, in particular, often signal a furnace in need of repair. Any noise that’s out of the ordinary – that is, any noise that doesn’t sound like a normal part of the furnace’s functioning – probably merits an inspection from a qualified technician. Here’s a brief list of some specific furnace noises that may warn of repair needs.

  • Rumbling. Dirty burners or burners that have suffered damage can create a low rumbling sound when the heater starts up. If your heater has a pilot light, it might make a rumbling sound when the light isn’t properly adjusted. Neither problem is critical, but they can result in more significant issues if they are not treated.
  • Rattling noises. Loose screws and other detritus might rattle around in your furnace when it turns on. Again, this isn’t a problem in and of itself, but if you don’t address it, the loose object could damage a more vital part of the system.
  • Grinding noises. An overloaded motor may create a grinding noise, as can a fan that is twisted and rubbing up against another component. Problematic bearings may create these noises as well.
  • Booming noises. If gas builds up before being lit, it may create a booming noise when your furnace starts up. This can seriously damage the components and may present a safety hazard to boot. If you notice this problem, its best to call for repairs right away.
  • Clicking. Leaky gas valves can sometimes make clicking noises. Leaking gas is a serious safety hazard; if you hear clicking, then turn off the gas to your home and call in an expert immediately.

If you hear any furnace noises that may warn of repair needs, then call Cool Air Mechanical to help. When it comes to heating repair, Atlanta GA residents can rest easy in the hands of our trained technicians. We can hunt down the source of the problem quickly and get your heater running again as efficiently as possible. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

Continue Reading