Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Buckingham’

How Can a Geothermal System Installation Save Me Energy?

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Every homeowner likes to be comfortable in their own home, no matter how swelteringly hot or bitterly cold the temperature may be outside. With energy prices rising as much as they tend to, though, the cost of keeping your home comfortable year round may dissuade you from doing so. At Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we think that that is simply unacceptable. No homeowner should have to sacrifice their comfort to lower energy bills in Buckingham, PA. If high energy costs have got you feeling low contact us today to learn more about geothermal heating and cooling systems.

A geothermal heating and cooling system is one of the most efficient ways in which you can choose to keep your home comfortable all year long. Unlike more conventional heating and air conditioning systems, geothermal heating and cooling systems do not consume fuel in order to keep your home comfortable. Rather, they utilize a geothermal loop system that is buried on your property to absorb existing heat from the ground or a water source. This heat can then be used in your home to warm it in the winter. In the cooling season the process is easily reversed, allowing the geothermal heat pump to remove heat from your home to cool it. Only a very small amount of electricity is used in the process.

Unlike air source heat pumps, a geothermal system does not fall prey to widely fluctuating air temperatures such as those of the air. Because temperatures are much more even and consistent underground or underwater than they are in the open air, a geothermal system can be even more efficient and dependable than standard heat pumps. While the installation of a geothermal system is a bit more involved and expensive than other home comfort system options the potential savings in energy costs over time can help offset the initial investment.

For more information about geothermal heating and cooling system installation services in Buckingham, PA, contact the experts at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We can answer any questions that you may have. You might wind up deciding that this environmentally friendly, highly efficient comfort system option is the right choice for your home heating and cooling needs.

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What Fixtures Should I Use for My Bathroom Remodel?

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Are you remodeling a bathroom in your Bedminster home? The plumbing fixtures and appliances that you choose are important since they will be in your home for a long time. Because a bathroom or kitchen remodel will add value to your home, you want to get the fixtures that will improve your home the most without spending a large amount of money.

To get the most cost-efficient upgrades, the plumbing experts at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling have included a few suggestions to keep in mind.

Water-saving plumbing fixtures and appliances have improved over time. Now you can use less water without sacrificing performance. Dual-flush toilets will add value to your bathroom because compared to standard models, they save as much as 50% of the water use with every flush!

Installing low-flow faucets and fixtures can also provide up to 60% in water usage and utility savings. These are also a great option if you have decided to upgrade to a tankless water heater since they help increase the efficiency of the tankless water heater if they have to produce less hot water for every application.

While you may not have thought of it, you may want to consider installing a tankless water heater as part of your remodeling project. Tankless models do not have the heat loss that you get with a traditional tank model. As mentioned above, a tankless water heater works well with low-flow plumbing fixtures.

You have two options: A single unit that is used to heat all the water in your home. Or you can choose to install individual units located near the hot water applications that use the most water, such as a washing machine or dishwasher.

Feel free to call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for all your Bedminster bathroom plumbing remodeling needs!

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How is Geothermal Heating Different than a Boiler or Furnace?

Monday, October 8th, 2012

If you need a new heating system in Quakertown, there are quite a few options to choose from. But before we can talk about the differences between boilers, furnaces and geothermal systems we need to understand how they work.

How a Boiler Works

Boilers, like most traditional heating systems, require a fuel source, normally oil or gas, which is combusted in exchange for heat. In the case of a boiler, that heat is transferred to water that is circulated to radiators in each room where the heat from the water is expelled into the air.

How Furnaces Work

With furnaces, the heat generated by the burning of fuel is transferred to a piece of metal called a heat exchanger. The furnace blows cool air from the house over the heat exchanger which warms the air and it is then delivered to the rest of the house using a series of ducts.

How Geothermal Systems Work

A geothermal system uses a pump to circulate liquid, sometimes water or a mixture of anti-freeze and water, into the ground where it is either heated or cooled—depending upon the needs of the people in the house.

The Differences between Boilers, Furnaces and Geothermal Systems

The main difference between a geothermal system and a boiler or a furnace is that it doesn’t require any kind of fuel source. The energy for the geothermal system is actually in the ground. If you dig about 10 feet into the ground, the temperature of the soil stays at an almost constant 55° F no matter what the temperature of the air is above it. When the air in the home needs to be cooled, a geothermal system absorbs the heat from the air and transfers it into the ground. When the home needs to be warmed, the process is reversed: heat from the ground is absorbed by the liquid in the pipes and transferred to the air in the home.

The only energy being used is the electricity to run the heat pump that circulates the liquid in the pipes and the air handler to distribute the conditioned air.

If you’d like to learn more about installing a geothermal system or to see if your property in Quakertown can support one, call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today.

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HVAC Guide: Saving Energy This Summer

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Everyone wants to make their home more energy efficient, it not only saves you money but it also makes your home more environmentally friendly. Upgrading your Hatboro HVAC equipment is a great place to start, but it can be hard to decide what to do first.

Before you start making changes, ask yourself the following questions:

How much do you spend on energy?

Paying attention to your energy bill from month to month is very important. A sudden spike could indicate a problem with your Hatboro HVAC system or other appliances in your home. If you start trying to embrace an energy efficient lifestyle, your energy bill can help you keep track of how well you are doing.

Are there benefits to this upgrade?

In addition to being energy efficient, you should discover if there are any other ways that a change can benefit your home. For instance, a new air conditioner could make your home more comfortable, or zone control could make it easier to keep every room in your home the desired temperature. You’d be surprised how many energy efficient upgrades can really improve your whole home and not just your energy bill.

What is your budget?

Budgeting is never fun, but it’s important step to figuring out what you should change first. While it would be great to replace your air conditioner and furnace for ENERGY STAR rated models, it’s a big investment. You can try the little things first, like improving you insulation, repairing air ducts, and sealing air leaks. After you have saved up and improved other parts of your home you can work on replacing your HVAC equipment.

Improving the energy efficiency of your home will make it more comfortable and lower your utility bills. If you have any questions about energy efficient upgrades you can make to your home, call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today!

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Indoor Air Quality Tip: Air Filters and Mold

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Among the potential problems that can plague Souderton homeowners, mold is particularly frustrating. It is persistent, the spores are tiny and easily spread and it can be hazardous to your health.

Preventing a mold problem involves properly ventilating moist areas, such as bathrooms, to prevent mold from thriving in the moisture. It also means spotting and eradicating any patches of mold that do manage to take hold. Perhaps most importantly, it also means keeping mold out of the air in your home.

Mold particles and spores can readily break off from a mold colony can get into the air. Eventually, they can be drawn up into your HVAC system and redistributed throughout your house. Once airborne, they can settle elsewhere to start new mold growth or wind up in your lungs, potentially causing respiratory problems.

Simply put, having mold in your home is a health risk, so you want to keep it under control as much as possible. The best way to keep out of the air is with an air filter.

The good news is that most mold spores are rather large (relatively speaking), so a HEPA air filter installed in your air handler can remove them from the air pretty easily. They are often 3 microns in size or smaller, so a filter with a MERV rating of 8 should do fine, although some spores can reportedly be as small as 1.5 microns. If you want to be very vigilant, or if anyone is your home has a particularly sensitive respiratory system, you can get a filter with a higher MERV rating of 12 or so.

Also, UV germicidal lights can be a good addition to your HVAC system. These lights emit UV radiation that is safe for humans to be around, but kills many microorganisms, including mold spores. They also kill bacteria and other pathogens that can cause disease.

In addition to proper ventilation, a quality filtration system can effectively eliminate the health risks to your family caused by mold. For information of the benefits of an indoor air quality system in your Souderton home, give Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call!

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Heating Installation Guide: System Ventilation 101

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Maintaining Proper Ventilation for Combustion Systems

Anytime you maintain, retrofit, or replace a gas heating system in your Buckingham home you also need to be concerned with air quality. Combustion air is needed by all oil and gas heating systems to support the combustion process. This air is provided in some homes by unintentional air leaks, or by air ducts that connect to the outdoors. The combustion process creates several byproducts that are potentially hazardous to human health and can cause deterioration in your home. You can protect yourself from these hazards, as well as maintain energy efficiency, by ensuring that your chimney system functions properly and that your gas heating system is properly ventilated. In some cases, installing a sealed-combustion furnace can also help.

Chimneys

Properly functioning chimney systems will carry combustion byproducts out of the home. Therefore, chimney problems put you at risk of having these byproducts, such as carbon monoxide, spill into your home.

Most older gas furnaces have naturally drafting chimneys. The combustion gases exit the home through the chimney using only their buoyancy combined with the chimney’s height. Naturally drafting chimneys often have problems exhausting the combustion gases because of chimney blockage, wind or pressures inside the home that overcome the buoyancy of the gases.

Atmospheric, open-combustion furnaces, as well as fan-assisted furnaces, should be vented into masonry chimneys, metal double-wall chimneys, or another type of manufactured chimney. Masonry chimneys should have a fireclay, masonry liner or a retrofitted metal flue liner.

Many older chimneys have deteriorated liners or no liners at all and must be relined during furnace replacement. A chimney should be relined when any of the following changes are made to the combustion heating system:

When you replace an older furnace with a newer one that has an AFUE of 80% or more. These mid-efficiency appliances have a greater risk of depositing acidic condensation droplets in chimneys, and the chimneys must be prepared to handle this corrosive threat. The new chimney liner should be sized to accommodate both the new heating appliance and the combustion water heater by the installer.

When you replace an older furnace with a new 90+ AFUE appliance or a heat pump. In this case, the heating appliance will no longer vent into the old chimney, and the combustion water heater will now vent through an oversized chimney. This oversized chimney can lead to condensation and inadequate draft. The new chimney liner should be sized for the water heater alone, or the water heater in some cases can be vented directly through the wall.

Other Ventilation Concerns

Some fan-assisted, non-condensing furnaces, installed between 1987 and 1993, may be vented horizontally through high-temperature plastic vent pipe (not PVC pipe, which is safely used in condensing furnaces). This type of venting has been recalled and should be replaced by stainless steel vent pipe. If horizontal venting was used, an additional draft-inducing fan may be needed near the vent outlet to create adequate draft. Floor furnaces may have special venting problems because their vent connector exits the furnace close to the floor and may travel 10 to 30 feet before reaching a chimney. Check to see if this type of venting or the floor furnace itself needs replacement. If you smell gases, you have a venting problem that could affect your health. Contact your local utility or Buckingham heating contractor to have this venting problem repaired immediately.

Chimneys can be expensive to repair, and may help justify installing new heating equipment that won’t use the existing chimney.

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Comparing High-Efficiency and Mid-Efficiency Furnaces

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Whenever you are in the market for a new furnace for your Perkasie home, there are many models to choose from.  Many of the furnaces manufactured within the last few years are high-efficiency furnaces with a high AFUE rating (AFUE measures the amount of fuel the furnace converts into heat). When people refer to a mid-efficiency furnace, they are usually talking about older furnaces.

Single-stage furnaces were considered to be an efficient heating system when they were manufactured, but compared to newer furnaces, they use up a lot more energy than they need to. Single-speed furnaces are designed to run at full capacity until the temperature inside the home reaches the thermostat setting. After they shut off, the home not only loses heat, but the furnace will also take longer and burn more fuel when it cycles on again.

Newer, two-speed and multispeed models run consistently at lower speeds, and the ones with variable-speed blowers are even more efficient because they can operate at various levels. These models will also automatically adjust to the thermostat to maintain a constant temperature, which saves energy by keeping the home at a consistent temperature so that there’s little heat loss.

When shopping for a new furnace, keep in mind that the AFUE ratings for multispeed and variable-speed furnaces only determine the efficiency of the actual furnace. If you are upgrading your old, mid-efficiency furnace to a high-efficiency furnace, you should make sure that your Perkasie home is properly insulated and sealed.  You could also consider upgrading any older doors and windows to more efficient double-paned ones, or you can also install storm doors and windows.

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What Is a Gravity Furnace?

Monday, January 9th, 2012

A long time ago, gravity furnaces were a very popular means of heating a home. Instead of pressurizing and blowing air through vents to each room of your Buckingham home, a gravity furnace used gravity to move warm air between rooms.

The operation of these furnaces is pretty simple. When turned on, the furnace, which is located in your basement, burns fuel like gas or oil and produces heat. That heat is vented through ductwork to the top level of your home using the natural properties of gravity (hot air rises). The hot air exits vents as it travels up in the home and releases heat into the room.

Why to Replace a Gravity Furnace

While gravity furnaces can work nearly forever and have very few mechanical problems, they are incredibly expensive to operate and take up a lot of space. Due to the sheer volume of ducts needed to distribute air throughout your home and the cost of heating enough air to ensure it rises properly, you’re dealing with a heating efficiency of 50% or lower.

In fact, about half the energy you consume to heat air in a gravity furnace gets pumped straight out through the chimney. It’s a complete waste of money and a replacement will start saving you money almost immediately.

Newer furnaces have efficiency ratings of up to 95% which makes them nearly twice as efficient as gravity furnaces. Additionally, they take up less space and with modern components, you can install newer devices like zone controls, electronic readout and display and more. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy steady, reliable heat in your home without having to invest a fortune in the fuel needed to operate it.

Comfort Matters

Another thing to consider is the comfort level of your home. Because gravity furnaces release warm air through the middle of the house and cold air comes back down along the walls, homes that have them are rarely comfortable except in the middle of the house. Forced air furnaces with blower fans are much more efficient at distributing heated air and matching the thermostat settings you select.

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Signs of an Undersized Furnace

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

If you’re purchasing a new furnace for your Buckingham home, you want to avoid buying one that is undersized for your particular space. To do that, here are some common signs that the furnace isn’t powerful enough for the heating needs of your home. These signs might appear for an older furnace as well, especially as it ages and loses its ability to provide adequate heat for your home.

Maintaining Temperature

The most common (and in many cases only) sign that your furnace is undersized is that the device simply doesn’t maintain the temperature in your home properly. This means that when turned on to full and left for a few hours, your furnace doesn’t heat your home to the thermostat setting.

This can be due to an improper load calculation or a load calculation that wasn’t taken at all. The perfectly sized furnace will heat your home evenly on the coldest day your area is likely to have. So, undersizing should be pretty evident – if it doesn’t heat your home evenly and it’s not exceptionally cold outside, you might not have enough BTUs under the hood.

How to Fix the Problem

The problem is one that varies depending on the severity of the undersizing. Modern furnaces are often available with two stages, meaning they can operate at both a low BTU rating (often around 40K or so) and a higher BTU rating (70K or higher). This is the perfect solution for homeowners worried about undersizing because it ensures that your home always has enough heat in reserve should the weather get exceptionally cold.

For example, most furnaces are sized for extremely low temperatures, but if the temperature jumps up to 50 degrees F outside, your furnace is now oversized for that weather. A two stage furnace offers solutions for both common conditions and extreme conditions and will resolve most of the concern you have about undersizing and not having enough heat to offset outdoor temperatures.

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A Tip from a HVAC Contractor: How Warm is Furnace Heated Air?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

When your furnace turns on every day and warms your Warrington home, just how hot is the air being blown through your vents? It’s a common question and while it varies depending on the type of furnace you have and the length of your ductwork, normally, the air is about the same temperature in most homes.

The Heating Process

When you turn on your furnace, it ignites fuel (gas or oil) or heats elements (electricity). A blower fan blows air through the heat exchanger and then into ductwork that distributes the heated air to vents around your home. When the combustion occurs and air is first heated, the temperature is between 140 degrees F and 170 degrees F.

This is extremely warm and could be dangerous to anyone if they got too close to it or it was blown directly into your home. However, as the heated air is distributed into your home it starts to cool. In some cases, it loses a significant amount of its energy in the ductwork.

This is intended, of course, because the temperature would be much too high if it was distributed directly to your rooms. That’s why high velocity ductwork often requires regulation to avoid overheating of the air. Cooling like this is normal and results in a better, more evenly distributed airflow.

When Something’s Wrong

To know something is wrong with your heating system, you must first understand what temperature air normally is when distributed through the vents. This will vary depending on which room you are in and how big your home (and furnace) are. However, if you notice a sharp drop off in comfort level in your home, it takes longer to heat rooms when cold or if that heating is suddenly uneven, it may be time for someone to inspect your furnace and check for potential problems.

A technician will then check to see if the air is being heated to the target 140-170 degrees F or if heat is being lost in the air handler or ductwork. There are a number of issues that can contribute to lost heat in your heating system – the easiest way to be sure the problem is solved properly is to call a Warrington heating contractor when you notice the problem.

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