Forced Air Furnace Facts

The forced air furnace is the most common appliance used to heat American homes. There are also oil and propane furnaces but gas is the most widely used. Furnaces work by burning fuel which is forced through a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is designed with curved metal tubing which radiates heat as hot gases pass around the heat exchanger. These toxic gases are vented outdoors and sealed to prevent accidental poisoning.

In a forced air furnace, warm air is circulated through vents in your home. As the air passes over the heat exchanger it warms up and circulates through the house. The heat exchanger is sealed to keep the warm air separate from the toxic gases which are a by product of combustion.

Furnace Efficiency

Efficiency is measured by the AFUE rating, or annual fuel efficiency rating. This is the percentage of energy returned to your home as warm air.

Standard Furnaces have an AFUE rating of 80-85% Your typical standard furnace has one heat exchanger. This average rating of means that 15% – 20% of your energy is lost.

High-Efficiency Furnaces use a secondary heat exchanger to extract even more heat and can have ratings as high as 96% AFUE, which means an energy loss of only 4%. High-efficiency furnaces are now the preferred choice for furnace replacement and new construction.

Furnace prices these days are higher than before, but the energy savings makes up for it if the unit is fitted properly to the home and usage.

Look at Your Own Furnace

Older School Furnaces do not have blower fans and have very low efficiencies, as little as 30%. If your home has one of these ancient relics you might want to think about upgrading. The savings will be well worth the investment.

How A Furnace Can Turn Deadly

In furnace related deaths it is usually due to a cracked heat exchanger. Cracks occur over time as the burners turn on and off to regulate heat. Expansion and contraction fatigues the metal and causes cracks. A cracked heat exchanger is a serious issue, because even a small crack can release carbon monoxide gas, which is a silent odorless killer. For all of us, home safety is a major concern and should be taken seriously.

Maintenance

If you don’t know how to maintain your own furnace or air conditioning unit hire a professional to inspect, lubricate parts, check for damage, and tune it up. Another important test is for carbon monoxide leaks and safety of operation. Furnace tune-ups usually cost $50-100, but they can reduce your heating costs and guard against exposure to carbon monoxide.

Furnace Filters

Change or clean your filters on a regular basis. A dirty filter slows airflow and reduces efficiency which can result in higher heating costs, and could even damage the motor.

There are three types of filters:

1. Fiberglass filters are the cheapest, but the least efficient. If you have allergies consider spending a little more money on your furnace filters. They only block the largest particles allowing pollen and other particles like mold to pass through.

2. Washable electrostatic filters attract dirt and other matter with an electric charge. They only filter out about 15% – 20% and can be a chore to clean.

3. The pleated filter design is the best with more surface area and denser material. They last three times longer than cheap furnace filters and trap much more air borne allergens and dust.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

A carbon monoxide alarm near your furnace can save your life. Two or more in your home is better, but make sure to have at least one installed in your home. Carbon monoxide gas is odorless and colorless, so the only way to avoid disaster is with an alarm. Replace existing alarms every five years.

Thermostats

A programmable thermostat will save money in the long run. Take a few minutes to set it up each season, so you can let it run. This will save energy by not heating your home when you’re at work for instance.

Obstructions

Check your heating vents for obstructions. With a clean vent system you will have better heat flow, which will save energy. If you have never done this you might consider bringing in a professional.

Make sure you hire a crew with proper equipment. It’s essential they use compressed forced air and industrial vacuums. Too many small operators scam home owners by pretending to clean your vents with a personal vacuum cleaner.

Outdoor Exhaust Vents

Every winter do an inspection of your intake and exhaust vents. If your vents become blocked, carbon monoxide can back up into the house, and the furnace could even shut down.

For a professional opinion on your heating system, call Efficient Furnace. They will address your concerns and let you know what’s needed for peak performance.

Forced Air Furnace Maintenance – Radiant Heat, and Boilers

When your furnace gives up and the house is cold, repairs can get quite expensive. Better to call a professional before that happens

Best And Safest Way To Unclog Drains

Clearing Drains With Boiling Water: Bad Idea

You’ve probably been told by some people that they pour boiling water, sometimes with baking soda added, down a slow drain.

In fact, it’s easy to find plumbing advice on the Internet that recommends this procedure. Well, that’s a bad idea for several reasons. If you’re a do-it-yourself plumber and you think  boiling water is okay for your home’s plumbing system, you need to read the rest of this article.

The Universal Plumbing Code

The UPC advises against the introduction of water hotter than 140 degrees Fahrenheit/60 degrees Celsius into a waste or vent system of any kind without some kind of cooling-off station.

Using enough boiling water sufficient to unclog a drain could damage your pipes. Unless you use a LOT of boiling water, it’s going to cool off  – to the point of being ineffective – as it flows down your plumbing system. Too much boiling water will distort drains and seals, leading to expensive problems.

Also, pouring boiling water down a porcelain fixture (toilet or sink) can fracture the fixture. You don’t want to have to deal with that now, do you?

Should You Use Baking Soda?

No! Baking soda is actually a kind of salt and it can be very bad for cast iron pipes and even plastic pipes.

Particularly dangerous is the practice of pouring a mixture of baking soda and boiling water down a drain after having uses a chemical drain cleaner. This can cause an explosive chemical reaction that would throw the boiling water and drain chemical back in your face, a most unpleasant experience sure to mean a trip to the hospital. So don’t run the needless risk of a severe scald or burn from steam or chemicals.

Hot Water Is The Answer


Hot tap water, that is – not boiling. As long as it’s below 140 degrees, you can use as much water as you want! If a couple of sinks full of hot water don’t unclog the drain, then it needs to be snaked. And, when you (or a plumber) put a cable in the drain, you won’t risk getting dangerous chemicals on you.

An Ounce Of Prevention

Running hot water down a drain once a week – or even monthly – can help to prevent drains from clogging in the first place. It softens up fats that build up on the pipe walls and will help keep the pipes clear. Even water at a lower temperature will help keep your drain clear – it just takes more of it. If this seems wasteful, consider how much more time and money you could waste or how using boiling water could result in a trip to the hospital.

So play it safe: no boiling water or soda goes down your drains! If lots of hot water doesn’t work, then try a plumber’s snake. If that doesn’t work, you’re probably better off to call a plumber at that point.

Local Plumbing Experts

copper piping
If you are completely new to the world of plumbing, then you are probably thinking that some tips on plumbing will help you immensely so that you can begin maintaining your own at home. Listed below are some tips to get you started with your home plumbing maintenance and repair.

Old Noisy  Pipes

If your pipes bang when you turn on the water, and all the pipes are anchored correctly, you should add some straps or cushion the pipes with a rubber blanket. There may be times when you will need to do both. Make sure that if you have copper pipes, you are not using galvanized straps.

Clogged Drains

The next time you have a clogged drain, avoid the simple solution of dumping drain-clearing chemicals into the pipes. While this method involves the least amount of effort, the chemicals in these liquid cleaners are destructive to your piping. Instead, consider using a little bit of elbow grease with a plunger, snake, or other device designed to clear your clog without chemicals.

Overflow Clogging

Be sure that the overflow holes don’t clog up. Overflow holes exist to act as a double check in case of an overfilling sink. That may seem unimportant – but it will become a problem if they are clogged. Make sure to clean out the overflow holes each time you do maintenance checks on your sinks.

Dishwasher Water Blockage

If water is not coming to the dishwasher, you most likely have a blockage somewhere. You will need to turn off the water supply and remove the hose that leads to the dishwasher. After securing the hose, turn the water back on. See if it feeds into a bowl. If not, then you must find the block where it is at which may include removing more piping.

Kitchen Drain Clogs

If you want to keep your kitchen drains from clogging up, don’t pour grease down the drain. As it cools and congeals it can trap other food or waste particles, which over time can slow the draining of water and even form a clog that will not be easy to remove.

Pipe Freezing Prevention

In the winter months, if you live somewhere where temperatures fall below freezing, leave your faucets on a little bit to let a thin stream of water through. This will help prevent the pipes from freezing, which could be a major problem for you and all the pipes in your home.

Tips

As you can see from the above list of tips, maintaining and repairing your own plumbing can be very time and money-saving in the long run if you know what you are doing. After following these tips, you will no longer be new to plumbing, but if something in this area gets out of hand call for professional help. A good company for any kind of plumbing emergency is Pioneer Plumbing and Heating in Vancouver BC.  See contact details below the video

SINK REPLACEMENT / REPAIR

626 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5T 3K4