Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Maple Glen’

What is a Hybrid Heating System?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

A hybrid heating system combines a gas furnace with an electric heat pump. It provides excellent comfort year round, and tends to be most energy-efficient during moderate heating conditions. While conventional heating solutions opt for one or the other, a hybrid heating system seeks to find a balance between comfort and efficiency, and passes the savings on to you. For more information about hybrid heating in Maple Glen, PA, get in touch with Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We offer an extensive selection of hybrid heating systems, and we have a team of highly experienced and certified technicians ready to help you install it.

As you probably know, a gas furnace works by drawing energy from natural gas and converting it to hot air to be distributed throughout your home by ducts. A heat pump does not heat air, so much as move heat indoors or outdoors, depending upon the season. It works similarly to an air conditioner, although it does not tend to cool as effectively as a stand-alone air conditioner. That said, an air conditioner only cools, while a heat pump can work throughout the year.

The purpose of the hybrid heating system is to react automatically to changing outside temperatures, and to adjust to the most energy-efficient heating method accordingly. The beauty of this system is in its versatility. On those extremely cold days, your system senses the necessary adjustment and fires up your gas furnace to provide extra heat. On moderate days, your heat pump moves the heat inside the home by the circulation of a refrigerant.

The great thing about this system is that a heat pump also provides cooling in the summer. As a comprehensive system, your hybrid heating system can actually work for you all year long, which means energy and cost savings throughout the year. Not only that, but putting your heat pump to work on moderate days, you are also reducing the amount of fossil fuels used, which make the hybrid heating system far more eco-friendly than conventional furnace-based systems.

For more information about hybrid heating systems in Maple Glen, PA, or to schedule a consultation, call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today!

 

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Why Cover Your Air Conditioner During the Winter?

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Many air conditioner owners in Maple Glen wonder how best to care for their outdoor condenser units during the winter months that they are not in use. It can be a bit confusing, as everyone seems to have different opinions. Some people claim that wrapping your air conditioner is of utmost importance, while others claim that it can actually harm your air conditioning system. Ultimately the importance comes down to location of your home and the conditions of the environment, but at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling we believe offering some sort of protection over your condenser unit is a good idea. The important thing is how you do it.

If you’re  concerned about debris falling into your unit, such as pine needles, ice or leaves, simply cover your condenser unit with a piece of plywood. Put a brick on top to hold it in place, and you’re all set. This will also keep rain and snow out, as well as corrosive salt water for those that live near the ocean. If you want to further protect your unit you may opt for a full cover, but it is important that you give this some further consideration.

If your concerned about the fins or casing of your condenser unit and must use a full cover, be sure that it is made of a breathable material. Sure, you may have some large trash bags in the garage that would cover it, but this can actually do more harm than good. Using plastic or other non-breathable materials to cover your air conditioner can trap moisture inside the unit. When the sun is shining during the winter the cover will heat up, making it much warmer inside the plastic and creating the perfect environment for rust and mildew to develop. Plus, this warm area makes a tempting place for rodents to spend the winter. Many electricians spend some time in the spring rewiring systems that have had their wiring chewed through.

Before you take any steps in protecting your air conditioner – consult your owner’s manual or as your Maple Glen heating and air conditioning contractor.  Most importantly, protect your air conditioner following the passing of winter in the most reliable way possible. Call a professional air conditioning service provider for regular maintenance service before putting your air conditioner into regular use. This is the best way to make sure that your AC has made it through the winter unscathed by debris, moisture, rodents and anything else. Call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling  today with any further questions you may have about keeping your air conditioner safe during the off season.

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HVAC Installation Guide: Where to Place a Thermostat for Accurate Heating

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

It’s easy to forget that with your furnace in the basement churning away all day to keep your Lansdale home warm, but your thermostat is the single most important device in ensuring your home is heated to the temperature you want. If it stops working or it misreads the temperature inside your home, your furnace won’t know what temperature it actually is and will turn on and off at the wrong time.

Where Not to Place Your Thermostat

To avoid inaccurate readings, avoid placing your thermostat in the following locations:

  • Direct Sunlight – Direct sunlight will almost always increase the perceived temperature of the thermostat. Unless you live in a greenhouse, this will be very uncomfortable for everyone in your home.
  • Windows – Windows can result in direct sunlight and breezes. If the windows are not properly sealed, cold air can blow in and make it seem cooler in your home than it really is. In any of these cases, your thermostat will misread the indoor temperature.
  • Drafts – Drafts from improperly sealed doors, windows, or anything else in your home can negatively impact the thermostat.
  • Heat Vents – Don’t place your thermostat near a radiator or heat vent where it is likely to be warmer than anywhere else in the house.
  • Kitchens – Kitchens tend to be warmer than other rooms in the house, especially when in use. Avoid placing a thermostat here unless you have a zone control system and your kitchen is separate from other rooms.

A properly placed thermostat will ensure your home is heated or cooled to the temperature you desire regardless of outdoor conditions. If you’re unsure whether your thermostat is calibrated properly, check the temperature with a separate thermometer in a different location in the same room. If it is significantly warmer or cooler in one place than another, try to determine which is more indicative of the actual comfort level in your Lansdale home. When properly located, your thermostat should never be an issue again.

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What is a Gas Furnace Draft Hood?

Monday, December 5th, 2011

As any Maple Glen heating contractor knows, a draft hood is a necessary part of any gas burning appliance. For a gas furnace in particular it ensures steady air flow to the burners to avoid flares or the pilot light being put out by fluctuation in temperature and air flow.

What the Draft Hood Does

The draft will change in the chimney as exhaust vents towards it – especially when going from cold air to hot. A draft hood is placed above the upper most part of the gas furnace to draw air into the chimney and makes it possible to draw more or less air through the chimney as necessary to create a constant flow.

This makes it possible for the burner to enjoy consistent air flow without any wind gusts or sudden temperature spikes or drops. Hot air, if not put through a draft hood would create a strong air flow through the burners.

A draft hood cools the air as it is released by the burners from 500 degrees F to between 300 degrees F and 350 degrees F. The cooling needs to be carefully calibrated to avoid condensation build up in the chimney however – a problem that occurs when the temperature gets too low.

Maintaining Pressure

The draft hood is a part of a larger system designed to maintain air flow to the chimney. For every cubic foot of gas burned, the furnace needs to have 15 cubic feet of air for combustion and another 15 cubic feet of air for dilution. A draft hood and the rest of the ventilation system make it possible to put a furnace that has many thousands of BTUs in the basement of your home and still supply it with enough air to burn gas and dilute the exhaust before it enters the chimney.

For all of these reasons, if you see your pilot light flickering irregularly, notice a backflow of exhaust or a burning smell in your furnace room, it’s important to call a professional heating contractor who can inspect and repair the problem before it becomes any worse. Not only can gas burner exhaust contain high levels of carbon monoxide, it can be bad for the device and the chimney if it doesn’t vent properly.

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Heat Pump Settings and Your Comfort Level

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Your heat pump has a number of settings that can affect your Fort Washington home’s overall comfort level. One of those settings is the fan – which can be set to run automatically when heating is needed or left on continuously so that the device never turns off. Which is better for your home, though? Let’s take a look.

Comfort vs. Economy

The reason there are two settings on your heat pump is that one is more economical. The auto setting allows the device to minimize how often it is on. So, it only turns on when the house needs warm air to maintain the thermostat setting.

On the other hand, the always on setting is designed to provide better comfort. When you leave your heat pump’s fan on continuously, it provides steady heat over time. This means that the temperature remains consistent and mixes the air to ensure there are no uncomfortable pockets of poorly conditioned air in your home somewhere.

Which Is Better?

In terms of comfort level, it depends on your needs. If you’re not too picky about the exact temperature of your home, the auto setting is best because you will save money and it tends to be fairly accurate. However, if you want to ensure you and your family are perfectly comfortable, regardless of the weather outside, the always on setting is the best way to achieve this level of comfort.

Of course, if you’re concerned about the added cost of leaving the heat pump fan on all the time, you can adjust the thermostat to even out the cost. By raising the thermostat 2 degrees in the summer and lowering it 2 degrees in the winter, the added cost of running it constantly should be offset. If it isn’t, you should have your device inspected to ensure both of the settings are properly calibrated.

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My Furnace isn’t Producing Enough Heat

Friday, November 4th, 2011

If your Telford home is cold, many blame the furnace for not bringing up the warm temperatures or they blame the thermostat for not working right.

It may very well be a thermostat issue – often caused by the location of the thermostat – that is causing the problem. However, sometimes root cause is found in the furnace or ventilation system.

Your indoor environment may be contributing to a seemingly slow-moving furnace. Your furnace may be working too hard to keep up with the heat demand because of an excessive build-up of dirt or debris on the filter or around the moving parts, such as the motor or fan belt. The most obvious thing to do is to keep the airflow unobstructed and keep all working parts clean.

First of all, you should regularly check your furnace filters and if they are dirty, replace them or clean them. Disposable furnace filters are relatively inexpensive and come in a variety of sizes and media ratings (ratings determine what size media is used and its ability to trap certain sized particulate). You can buy these individually or in bulk from a number of different resources. It is a good idea to replace the filters every three-six months.

Mesh filters can be removed, cleaned and reinserted. Like replaceable filters, mesh filters should be checked on a regular basis and then cleaned at least every three months.

You can remove the access panels to your furnace and inspect the components for any build-up of dust, dirt, or debris. Using a vacuum with an extension hose usually is all it takes to clean up the area.

Other reasons for poor heating performance include dirty or blocked ductwork. The harder your furnace has to work to push air through the ventilation system, the longer it takes to bring the heat up. Make your furnace work less and keep vents clear and ductwork clean.

Finally, the reason your furnace isn’t producing enough heat may not be the fault of your furnace at all – you may have a leaky house. But that’s a whole different story.

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What Is a Downflow vs. an Upflow Furnace?

Monday, October 17th, 2011

When you go looking to buy a furnace in Yardley, you may well be surprised by how many different elements go into making a good purchasing decision. There are simply so many different kinds of furnaces available now and they each are more appropriate for certain situations. That means that finding the one that’s right for you is less about finding the one best unit than it is about finding the one that is the best match for your particular circumstances.

This applies to the type of fuel the furnace uses, its energy efficiency, and whether it’s an upflow furnace or a downflow furnace. Energy efficiency and fuel types are probably things that you’re more or less familiar with. But what are we talking about when we classify a furnace as an upflow or downflow model?

Well, it’s pretty much what it sounds like. These terms refer to the direction the air flows as it is taken in and heated by the furnace. So in an upflow furnace, the cool air is taken in at the bottom, warmed, and then expelled at the top. A downflow furnace, on the other hand, takes in cool air at the top and expels heated air at the bottom.

While this is all very exciting, it may still not be obvious what impact this will have on your decision about what type of furnace to buy. The main thing you’ll have to think about when you’re deciding between an upflow and a downflow furnace is where the furnace will be placed in your house.

An upflow furnace is generally installed in the basement so that the heated air is directed towards the parts of the house you want cooled and so that the furnace can be appropriately vented outside of the house. On the other hand, a downflow furnace would be installed in your attic for the same reasons.

So where you want to have the furnace installed is probably the biggest thing to take into account as you’re comparing these two types of equipment. Of course, whether you pick an upflow or a downflow furnace, you’ll still have to select the appropriate AFUE, size and fuel source to best meet your needs. But making the choice between upflow and downflow can at least make it easier to narrow down your options. If you need help choosing the best furnace for your home, contact your local contractor.

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Safety and Your Furnace

Friday, October 14th, 2011

There are many advantages to a safely operating furnace in your Telford home. The most important are the safety and comfort of a home’s occupants and the cost of running the furnace.  There are several things you can do to ensure the safe operation of your furnace. There are some things you can do to ensure that your furnace runs safely.

Here is a checklist of ideas:

  • Clean or change furnace filters on a regular basis. Replace disposable filters and clean permanent filters using water or cleaning solutions. Your owner’s manual or a qualified heating contractor can suggest a regular maintenance schedule.
  • Check the exhaust vent from the furnace. Clear obstructions such as leaves, clothing, or animal nests from the vent pipe or chimney. Keep roof exhaust vents clear of snow. If there is a faulty exhaust system (like a blocked flue), of if there are cracks and leaks in the pipes or improper adjustment of the burner, or if there is lower air pressure indoors than outside, the furnace can create serious indoor air pollution.
  • A clear air intake is important too, since furnaces need fresh air to “breath” and complete the fuel burning cycle. Again, check for debris, snow, or animal nests in intake pipes.
  • If you have an older gas furnace, you may want to install a supplementary induced-draft fan that reduces the possibility of backdrafting. Some furnaces have automatic shutoff devices that turn off the furnace if it begins to backdraft.
  • Check internal components such as the blower motor and vacuum any dirt. Check belts and pulleys for excessive wear. You should consult your owner’s manual for any suggested maintenance tips on internal working components.
  • You may also want to check the pilot light to see if it is working and if it producing an even, blue flame. If the flame is uneven, it may be a sign of incomplete gas combustion, which can result in the creation of dangerous carbon monoxide gas.
  • Ensure that your thermostat is operating correctly by raising or lowering the temperature settings to make sure the furnace cycles on and off.
  • Install and maintain battery or hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Externally vented natural gas furnaces, when properly designed and installed, will operate safely for years. But if you detect a problem, use the most common solution – contact a qualified heating professional to check out your furnace.

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The Technology of Video Pipe Inspection: Some Pointers

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Let’s face it – technology is the answer for everything, from Souderton to Maple Glen. If it’s mechanical, it has been affected by technology. The world of plumbing is no exception. Technology now makes it possible for people to look inside the piping in their home – to get the “inside story” on why a pipe is blocked up or why water is flowing too slowly. A trained expert can use video pipe inspection technology to quickly diagnose a problem in order to find a solution.

So what types of technology are available today? Before we get to that, remember that technology is fluent. By the time you read this blog there may be something new to make this material outdated. The best way to keep up with the latest technology of video pipe inspection is to talk to your local plumbing professionals and check out updates on the Web.

The technology you will see in your home can be viewed live or via digital recording. The camera and its scope can grab a birds-eye view of the pipe without the need to unscrew fittings and elbows and without having to make a mess of things.

Plumbers making a service call who use video inspection will usually show homeowners some live pictures from inside their pipes or use a digital reproduction in their sales presentation. In either case, the camera doesn’t lie and repairs are quickly supported by video evidence.

Here are some of the components involved in the technology of video pipe inspection. First and foremost is the camera itself, which usually will have high definition image display, recording, and playback capabilities. Images can be stored on flash cards for downloading onto other computers or to the Web. The lens of the camera is mounted into the head of the scope, which could be made of fiber optic or fiberglass material. The scope or “snake” comes in a variety of lengths. Images from the camera can viewed on monitors of various sizes in color or black-and-white.

Other options may include audio capabilities for a plumbing professional to record what the camera sees and explain the problems and solutions to homeowners via voiceover technology.

According to one plumber who utilizes this type of technology, video pipe inspection provides “an assessment of pipe’s structural integrity, detection of blockages, breaks or defects, still image/video footage for client use, and first-time mapping or updates.”

If you want to utilize the latest technology to diagnose pluming problems in your home, call your local plumbing professional and ask for a video pipe inspection.

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Pipe Inspection Camera: When to Use One

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

For plumbers today, anywhere from Maple Glen to Willow Grove, pipe inspection cameras are a huge aide. In the past, it was often very difficult to determine the location of a blockage or a leak, or indeed if one even existed at all. But now with this great modern equipment, it is much easier to get a thorough picture of the exact state of a pipe system and the nature of a potential problem.

These types of inspection cameras are especially useful when a clog is located underground or when an underground leak is suspected. Many types of plumbing problems can have multiple possible causes. But with pipeline inspection cameras, you can know for sure quickly exactly what type of problem you are dealing with.

For instance, even if you know that an underground pipe is leaking, it can be next to impossible to figure out exactly where the leak is. But to fix the leak you will have to unearth the damaged section of pipe and repair it. If you cannot pinpoint the leak precisely, you will be forced to unearth a large section of pipe. This takes a long time and causes unnecessary, although hopefully temporary damage to your yard as well.

However, if you can determine exactly where the leak is, you can dig up only the affected portion of pipe. This saves a lot of time and labor and it also means that you can limit the disruption the work causes in your yard. And the best way to find a leak like this is to use a pipe inspection camera to get a look at the inside of the pipe before you ever begin digging.

You do not need to wait for an emergency situation to develop to make use of a pipe inspection camera either. This technology is also extremely useful during annual drainage and sewer maintenance visits to help ensure that there are no unnoticed problems lurking below the surface. It is perfectly possible that one of your pipes is getting close to cracking but has not done so yet. The repairs can be a lot simpler if you catch this type of problem early, and that is exactly what a pipe inspection camera makes possible.

Pipe inspection cameras are also useful during maintenance visits because they allow technicians to determine which parts of your system need the most work. They can see where the larger buildups are and get the job done quicker overall than they could if they were operating blind.

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