How Rust Can Develop on a Furnace

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Rust on your furnace is akin to a jet engine on a car: it just shouldn’t be there. In fact, it’s not good to have rust on a boiler, and that’s a system that uses water to heat. Rust on your Atlanta furnace means that there is a moisture problem somewhere, and once rust starts, it’s very hard to stop it. If you see rust on your furnace, even a small spot, it’s time to call your technician from Cool Air Mechanical and schedule an appointment.

How It Starts

There are a few ways in which rust can start to develop on your furnace. The first way is from the improper ventilation of the water vapor created during combustion. The way it happens is this: the toxic byproducts created during the combustion process enter the inside of the heat exchanger from the bottom and make their way to the top of the exchanger where they exit via the flue. As the vapors travel, they cool, and condensation is created. If your furnace isn’t vented properly, this condensation can linger on the metal of your heat exchanger and flue, and rust develops.

A second way rust can develop is if you have a combination furnace and air conditioner HVAC. With these kinds of units, the air conditioner evaporator sits on top of the furnace; sometimes condensation that develops while the air conditioner cycles drips down and lands on the furnace components, and rust develops.

The last way rust can develop on your furnace is via faulty ductwork. Faulty ductwork can allows excess moisture to enter, and this excess water can run down the ductwork to your furnace. Improperly installed ductwork can also allow rain water in, which will also run down to your furnace.

Sometimes if the rust is located in a specific area and the amount of rust is small, there is a chance that particular spot can be remediated. Unfortunately, if you have excessive rust on your furnace, you may need to consider replacement. Get ahead of even the smallest amount of rust by scheduling a repair appointment for your furnace in Atlanta.

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Pros and Cons of Furnace Systems

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Furnaces come in an immense variety of sizes and types, which makes them very flexible when you are picking a unit to install in a home. But this variety can cause some consternation when it’s time to make the actual choice for the heater you want to keep your home warm.

We’d like to help you cut through some of the different furnace systems to give you some idea of what fuel source you want for your new furnace installation in Atlanta, GA. But the best advice you can get is in person: talk to our technicians at Cool Air Mechanical about your heating options, and they can determine which one will fit your budget and the needs of your home.

Natural gas furnace

  • Pros: This is the most common type of gas furnace found in homes because of their high efficiency and effectiveness. Furnaces can combat almost any cold weather, and they work well for old homes with poor insulation. Because gas is a less expensive fuel to burn than electricity, gas furnaces will save you on your heating bills.
  • Cons: You must have a gas line to your house to use a gas furnace. They usually don’t last as long on average as electrical furnaces and can require more repair work. There are also concerns about safety, although regular maintenance should reduce any risks to a minimum.

Electric furnace

  • Pros: Electric furnaces can work anywhere—all you need is electricity. They are generally smaller than gas furnaces, last longer because they don’t have exposure to carbon monoxide that will damage their components, and generally require fewer repairs and less stringent maintenance. They pose little health hazard.
  • Cons: If you need to use you heater a great deal, an electric furnace can turn costly to run. They also do not provide as effective and fast heating as a gas furnace.

Propane furnace

  • Pros: Using stored heating fuel like propane is often a less expensive option for installation than a gas furnace, and propane furnaces also have a longer lifespan and less maintenance. The propane used for the furnace can also be used for other appliances.
  • Cons: Propane doesn’t come directly into your house; you must purchase it or have it delivered, and this means you may run out of it at a crucial time. Propane furnaces in general are better as back-up furnaces for dual fuel heat pumps than as a main heating system.

You’ll need a heating contractor to give you the best advice for the right furnace for you, or perhaps draw your attention to a different system. Heating technicians will assist you with balancing all the factors in your home that will point you to the right heater.

Call Cool Air Mechanical today to talk to one of our Atlanta, GA furnace installation experts regarding your top choices for heating.

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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.

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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.

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What You Need to Know about Furnace Efficiency Ratings

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

If you are currently shopping for a furnace for your home, you need to know about how the efficiency of modern furnaces is rated. Efficiency is not the only factor in picking out a furnace—you also need to consider the availability of fuel, the heater’s effectiveness and size—but it is an important factor. An efficient heater can save you large amounts off your heating bills every year.

In this post, we’ll give you information about the principle efficiency rating used for furnaces, AFUE. This knowledge will help you narrow down your choices. However, this is only the beginning of understanding which heater will work for your home. To make the best choice possible, consult with experts like those at Cool Air Mechanical. We have years of experience with installation and furnace repair in Atlanta, GA.

AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency

The initials AFUE stand for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.” This is the universal rating used to measure the efficiency of furnaces. It is expressed as a percentage, which represents how completely the furnace converts fuel into heat, as measured over a year. The higher the percentage, the more efficient the furnace. A furnace with an AFUE rating of 90% produces 90 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of heat for every 100 units of fuel it burns. This means it wastes only 10% of the fuel available.

For a useful benchmark, the AFUE rating of conventional firewood is 45%-55%. Boilers and furnaces from around 50 years ago had ratings usually in the 60s. Currently, the U.S. Department of Energy requires that all furnaces sold in the country must have a minimum AFUE of 78%—and most score much higher than that. A high-efficiency gas-powered furnace can have an AFUE of close to 96%, making it one of the most fuel-efficient systems on the market. Most furnaces will fall in the upper 80s range.

Although a high-efficiency furnace will save you money on your heating bills, they also tend to cost more initially to purchase. Also keep in mind that AFUE does not take into account heat lost from your house, only the heat lost during the furnace’s conversion of fuel to heat. You can have the highest efficiency furnace ever manufactured but see little difference on your bills if your home does not effectively trap the heat.

When you’re ready for the installation of a new furnace in your home, consult with an HVAC technician to go over your options. Perhaps a lower-efficiency furnace will suit your budget and heating needs better than a model with an AFUE of 96%. The technician will help you balance the various criteria and guide you toward the heating option that will suit you best.

Whenever you need Atlanta, GA furnace repair or installation, contact Cool Air Mechanical.

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