Warminster Heating Guide: Ways to Improve Furnace Efficiency

Posted by Kevin Carney on October 22nd, 2014

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As temperatures dip to uncomfortable lows, you keep your furnace running for longer periods of time throughout the night and day. This can drive up your utility bills, and if you have an inefficient system, it may take longer to heat your home and will have a negative impact on the environment. Sometimes, it seems like the only way to save money is by leaving your furnace off for large portions of the day. However, there are a few simple ways to improve the efficiency of your system without sacrificing any comfort.

Change the Filter

Experts recommend you change the furnace filter about once a month if you use a standard one-inch fiberglass filter, and to clean a washable filter every month as well. Three-inch filters only need to be changed every three months, though this number may vary depending on usage. A dirty filter can restrict airflow to the unit causing your furnace to become overworked, which may lead to various repair needs and could cause the system to overheat.

Schedule Regular Heating Maintenance

Heating maintenance is a service that you can schedule every year with a trained technician. The standard steps of a heating system tune up include cleaning key components, adjusting some of the parts, and performing a full inspection. And if this is done by a trained professional, there is a chance that your system will gain back a large portion of the efficiency that is lost over the course of a year. The parts of your furnace may have worn down slightly since the last heating season. This is standard for any heating system, but a thorough cleaning and adjustment can restore it to an efficient state and ward off repairs for years to come.

Consider a New System

Sometimes a maintenance visit cannot help to overcome the wear and tear accrued by an older system. When your unit is beyond help from heating maintenance, you may consider an entirely new unit that offers greater efficiency and can give you a return on your investment throughout the years. Look at the AFUE (Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency) to determine how much energy your unit uses to heat a home and how much is lost to the surrounding environment.

Call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling to schedule a heating system tune up in Warminster today!

Signs that You Need a New Water Heater

Posted by Kevin Carney on October 20th, 2014

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Eventually, you will need to call a professional to schedule new water heater installation if your unit is broken down completely and will not provide any hot water to your home. This can come as a surprise right in the middle of a shower or before you’ve completed a large load of laundry. Instead of waiting for your water heater to fail entirely, you may decide that it makes more sense to schedule replacement around the end of your unit’s lifespan. Look out for the signs that your water heater may need replacement sooner rather than later.

  • Leaks: Technicians can repair many leaks on the spot. Sometimes, a technician simply needs to make some adjustments to the temperature, flush the tank, or replace the temperature and pressure valve. However, when the leak comes directly from the tank, there may be no saving your unit, and a sudden flood is a definite possibility.
  • Rust: One of the reasons that water heaters leak is when rust and corrosion wear away the steel tank. Your tank is protected from corrosion via the sacrificial anode rod, and with proper maintenance this should not happen before your unit has outlived its expected age range. However, if your tank does begin to corrode, it will require replacement. This may be indicated by leaks in the tank or discoloration in the water when you turn on a hot water tap.
  • Poor Performance: If your water heater just does not seem to be working the way you would like it to, it could be a sign that your system is approaching the end of its life. Many people inherit their water heaters when they purchase their homes and may be unsure of how old the unit is. Poor performance is a good indication of impending failure, although it could also point to a number of other problems, from a broken dip tube to sediment buildup.
  • Old Age: If you know how long you’ve had your unit, you may simply decide to replace it now before it gives out someday soon. Most storage tank water heaters go about 10-15 years before they can no longer run effectively or efficiently. A new water heater may offer better performance and save you some money over time.

Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling has been dedicated to quality customer service for over 30 years. For water heater installation in Lansdale, give us a call!

Montgomery County Heating Guide: How Ductless Heating Works

Posted by Kevin Carney on October 13th, 2014

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Ductless systems have been around for a while, having mostly been used in commercial properties. However, over the last few years they have become very popular choices for homeowners. There can be some initial confusion over how a ductless system works, especially in regard to how it provides both heating and cooling for your home. We’ll explain more about that below, but remember that for any of your ductless heating needs in Montgomery County, there’s only one company you should call: Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling.

How Does Ductless Heating Work?

Ductless heating has two important components:

  • Outdoor unit
  • Indoor blowers

It is the heat pump technology that allows the system to offer both heating and cooling for your home. Heat pumps come equipped with a reversing valve that allows the system to change the flow of refrigerant, thereby creating the two modes of heating or cooling.

The way a ductless system works is that the outdoor unit is connected to the indoor blowers via a conduit that is placed in an exterior wall. The outdoor unit contains the compressor and condenser, and each indoor blower has a small set of coils, air filter and blower fan. The indoor blowers are about 35” long and can be mounted flush against walls or hung from ceilings. The conduit contains a refrigerant line, power cord and condensate drain pipe that runs between each blower and the outdoor unit. An outdoor unit can support up to 4 blowers.

The heating (or cooling) cycle begins when you turn on a blower. This signals the refrigerant to flow and the other motors to start. Each indoor blower operates independently.

Benefits of a Ductless System

We’ve already mentioned that a ductless system can offer you both heating and cooling, but here are some other benefits to consider:

  • Easy installation – there is no need to install ductwork, and installing the equipment is straightforward: the outdoor unit is secured outside and the indoor blowers are mounted. A small 3” hole is drilled into an exterior wall and the two units are connected.
  • Customized comfort – because the blowers of a ductless system work independently, a ductless system allows you zone control.
  • Energy efficiency – with a ductless system, you use only the heating and cooling you need. This helps improve energy efficiency.

If you think a ductless heating system in Montgomery County is a good fit for your home, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling today and schedule an appointment.

 

The Best Ways to Maintain Your Geothermal System

Posted by Kevin Carney on October 6th, 2014

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Geothermal heat pumps are a great way to heat your home efficiently. They rely on a renewable heat source, use less electricity or gas than traditional furnaces, and save you money on your heating bills. Geothermal heating has only recently begun to gain widespread popularity, however. Because of this, homeowners may be unsure about how to maintain their geothermal heat pumps properly. Read on to discover some of the best ways to take care of your geothermal heating system.

Clean or Replace the Air Filter

The air filter is what protect the coil in your heating unit from becoming dirty. If you never clean the air filter, it will eventually become dirty enough that it cannot protect the coil. If the coil gets dirty, its heating capability will gradually decrease. Eventually, the coil may become permanently damaged by prolonged exposure to dirt particles. The solution to this problem is simple: clean your air filter. Some air filters are disposable, rather than washable. If you are unsure which one is in your heating unit, ask your HVAC technician. Cleaning or replacing the air filter is one of the easiest ways to prolong the life of your geothermal system.

Check Underground Piping

The underground pipes that serve to draw in thermal energy are a vital part of your geothermal system. Because it is located underground, it is unlikely that this part will need major repairs. However, it is recommended that you have it checked at least once a year to be sure. Depending on the material and the medium used, you’ll want to make sure that the pipes are checked for leaks and any other possible issues that may require repair. This isn’t really something that you can do yourself, but your HVAC professional should have all the necessary equipment.

Our geothermal heating experts service the entire Hatfield area. Geothermal systems require very little maintenance, but they’re not perfect. Let us ensure your geothermal heating system’s health today.

If you haven’t scheduled maintenance for your geothermal heat pump yet this year, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling before the weather really starts to turn.

When is the Right Time for a Heating System Tune Up?

Posted by Kevin Carney on September 29th, 2014

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Preventative maintenance is always faster, cheaper, and more convenient than replacing or repairing an entire broken system. That is why it is so important to have regular maintenance done on your heating system. The recommendation is that you get your heating system tuned up at least once a year. What is the best time to actually get it done, though? Read on for the benefits of getting your maintenance done during the fall season.

Timing

Fall is the ideal time to have your heating system checked for a number of reasons, timing being foremost among them. Any system is most susceptible to breakdowns during periods of heavy use. Therefore, it is prudent to have your heating system checked right before you plan on using it regularly. Since your need for heat will likely be greatest during winter, it is best to have a tune up shortly before the winter months begin.

Convenience

The benefit of convenience flows directly from the above point on timing. Inevitably, there will be many people who fail to get their heating system tune up before winter. When their heating system begins to have problems, the demand on service professionals in the area will spike. As you can probably imagine, this slows down the rate of service significantly.

If you wait until your heating system begins to have problems, you won’t just have to deal with not having heat during the cold season. You will also be competing for attention with all the other people who are having similar problems. Getting your heating system tuned up in the fall prevents this whole mess from happening.

Efficiency

Of course, you don’t have to wait to get your heating system checked in the fall. In fact, we highly recommend that you have your system checked as soon as possible if you haven’t already done it this year. However, the earlier in the year you have maintenance conducted, the greater length of time between having your heating system in top condition and putting it under heavy use. The closer your heating system tune up is to winter, the more you can be certain that your heating system is ready to face the cold season.

If you have not scheduled a heating system tune up, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling. We’ll make sure that your heating system runs smoothly all winter long.

3 Benefits of Heating Maintenance

Posted by Kevin Carney on September 24th, 2014

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No one wants to think about preparing for winter, but it is coming. With the Fall Equinox passed, winter will be here before we know it, and with it, your need for heating. No one likes to experience that first flick of the heating switch and hear nothing, and one of the best ways to prevent this from happening is by scheduling heating maintenance in Doylestown. Since 1976, Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has helped our customers stay comfortable through the cold Pennsylvania winters, so call us for a maintenance appointment today.

Why Schedule Maintenance?

There are 3 key things that happen during a maintenance appointment:

  • Inspection
  • Cleaning
  • Adjusting

During a maintenance appointment, your entire system is thoroughly inspected so that any existing or developing problems can be detected. Once the system is inspected, the different components are cleaned. Dirt and dust can build up on a system, and a system that is dirty simply doesn’t run as well as it should. Removing this dirt and dust allows the system to operate as it should. Lastly, there are components that may need adjusting and tightening, and your technician will handle this during the appointment.

So what are some of the benefits of scheduling maintenance? Here are a few:

  • Better performance – a clean, lubricated system runs much better than a dirty, worn one. This helps reduce energy usage.
  • Better comfort – when a system doesn’t run well, it doesn’t heat well. By doing the proper maintenance, you help your heating system work as it’s supposed to, which means it will heat as it’s supposed to.
  • Helps extend life of the system – allowing your system to operate while it’s dirty and not well-maintained contributes greatly to premature aging. No one wants to replace their furnace earlier than expected, and maintenance can help you avoid this scenario.

Maintenance can sometimes be underrated, but the truth is, it really does make a difference to the operation and life of your system.

If it’s been more than a year since your last heating maintenance appointment in Doylestown, call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today and speak with one of our trained specialists.

Norristown Heating Question: What is Involved in Replacing an Old System?

Posted by Kevin Carney on September 22nd, 2014

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No heating system can last forever, and if your unit has been in your home for many years, it may be nearing the end of its life. Whether rust and corrosion has rendered your current unit unusable, or if you simply want to find a more efficient furnace, boiler, or heat pump, professional heating system replacement is the right choice for you. In this guide, we’ll go over a few of the steps of replacing an older system and why it’s important to choose a company with experience selecting and replacing heaters.

Choosing a New System

The first step of heating replacement is choosing a new system. This is probably not a task you can take on by yourself. Technicians stay up to date on the latest technology, as well as which types of systems are most efficient. A specialist will be better at calculating which type of system uses more fuel as well as the lifespan of your new unit, which can help you decide on a heater that won’t break your budget as time goes on.

Sizing Your Unit

A technician must also determine which size unit is right for your home. This usually requires making careful calculations to account for the various rooms in your home as well as some other factors such as architectural design and insulation. With a heat pump, the technician must also account for cooling capacity. Undersized systems simply will not get the job done, while oversized units will be more costly, and may cost more to operate and have a shorter lifespan.

Installation

Of course, the final step of heating system replacement is installation. This is where you’ll want to make sure you’ve chosen the right technicians for the job. The installation process ensures that your unit is as efficient as possible. And improper installation means you may need repairs early on. Look for a company that offers warranties and optional maintenance coverage for your new system.

Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling has been repairing, maintaining, and replacing heating systems for over 30 years.

Don’t trust just any company for your major heating decision. For heating system replacement in Norristown, call our dedicated staff of trained technicians today.

How Do Storage Tank Water Heaters Work?

Posted by Kevin Carney on September 8th, 2014

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As water flows from the water main to your home through a series of pipes, it’s usually much cooler than what you’d expect from a hot shower. The water heater, then, is an important asset to your home which is vital for many everyday activities around the home. And while there are a few different types of units available today, the storage tank water heater remains the most common type of unit used in homes. Yet many homeowners are unsure of how these systems heat water. Why is the tank so large? How does hot water enter the faucet? To answer these questions, we’ve put together this short guide to hot water heaters.

There are two types of systems that use different heating elements to heat the water: gas and electric. While these systems may look large and complex, they actually rely on a natural process of heat exchange in order to keep water heated. First, cold water enters the tank through a large pipe that leads all the way to the bottom. Here there may be a burner located underneath the tank, or an electric heating element may be located toward the bottom. Here’s where science takes over; hot water naturally rises above the cooler denser water. Another small pipe is located towards the top of the tank. This pipe picks up the heated water and carries it to the faucet. Water continues to re-enter the tank in order to keep a large supply of hot water on hand.

A few more key elements of hot water heaters help keep everything in working order. For example, a thermostat helps monitor the temperature while a pressure valve keeps the water pressure at a safe level. One problem you’ll want to avoid at all costs is rust, but the anode rod can prevent rust from damaging your system, increasing its lifespan. When rust damages the storage tank of your unit, you’ll likely need to replace your water heater. The anode rod attracts corrosive elements that may cause your unit to rust through, so it’s important to replace this rod when it becomes too worn down.

If you’re not sure whether you want a gas or electric water heater, or if you want to talk to an expert about hot water heaters in Lansdale, call the experts at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling today!

The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

Posted by Kevin Carney on September 1st, 2014

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You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

Furnace Repairs to Take Care of Before Heating Season

Posted by Kevin Carney on August 27th, 2014

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Is it already that time of year again? Or close to it? The end of summer has arrived, and with it comes concerns about keeping homes warms during the fall and into winter. If you haven’t given much consideration to your home’s furnace over the summer—and you likely haven’t—now is the time to ask yourself if the furnace is prepared to handle the cold days that will arrive within a few months.

The best way to know if your heating system can tackle another winter is to schedule a maintenance session for it. A professional technician will inspect your furnace to locate any repair needs that you should have taken care of before the chilly weather arrives. Don’t delay with furnace repairs, since a sudden cold snap could strike and leave you in a freezing house.

We offer same-day service for repairs, satisfaction guaranteed!

Call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling and sign up for our maintenance program so you’ll get a head start on heating repair in Bucks County, PA.

Some repairs your furnace may need:

  • Cleaning the burner – If you have a gas furnace, the burner is the component where the gas jets ignite to raise the temperature. If the burner has developed dirt and grime across it during the summer rest period, it will struggle to draw oxygen and ignite. Technicians can remove the burner and clean it off so it runs at its best.
  • Replacing a malfunctioning igniter – Pilot lights are becoming less common for furnaces, and they instead use electronic ignition to start. If this igniter fails, the furnace’s burners will not activate. During maintenance, a technician will check that the igniter is working and inform you if you need to schedule a replacement.
  • Repairing the blower motor – If you also have a central air conditioner, it likely uses the same blower fan to distribute air as the furnace. The motor can start to wear down and lose lubrication over the summer, or dirt along its moving parts can create strain. If you begin to hear shrieking noises from the AC, you may also have a problem for your furnace; schedule a maintenance session and whatever repair work you may need.
  • Replacing broken heating elements – For electric furnaces, the heating elements are the critical part of creating warmth. If one or more the heating elements burns out, the furnace will lose its heating capacity. Technician can easily replace the broken heating elements.

When you sign up for our maintenance agreement at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling, you will receive two yearly inspections and tune-ups: one for your heater and one for your AC. You’ll also receive 10% to 15% off any HVAC service or repair and guaranteed 24 hour service, 365 days a year, so you’ll always have the heating repair in Bucks County, PA that you need to stay warm through to spring.