How Does Faulty Ductwork Affect Heating?

December 12th, 2014

At first glance, the ductwork for your heating system may seem like an incredibly simple construction. Truth be told, it kind of is. Ducts are usually simple rectangular tunnels of sheet metal, with the sole purpose of directing air throughout the house. Being simple doesn’t mean that they are trivial, however. The quality of your ductwork has an immense effect on the quality of your home heating. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.

Leaks

Your ductwork is likely to develop a leak here or there sooner or later. Ducts, especially rectangular sheet metal ones, expand and contract with the heat of the air moving through them. This flexing and fluctuating will eventually cause small cracks to form in parts of your ducts. One or two small ones aren’t too big of a problem. However, faulty ductwork has the potential to form many more leaks than usual.

The US Department of Energy estimates that forced air heating systems lose between 20 and 30% of their heat on average to leaks in the duct work. That’s almost a third of your system’s heat that is being lost during operation, for which you are still paying. This is where faulty ductwork can have a major effect on your home heating. Even though the USDE makes no distinction between the quality of the ductwork in those statistics, it’s a fair assessment that faulty ductwork is far more prone to more and larger leaks.

Mold

Mold requires darkness and moisture to thrive and spread. If mold were to ever take root in your ducts, it could release spores into the circulation system. These spores can provoke allergy attacks, make you sick, and generally lower your indoor air quality. Normally, ducts are specifically designed to keep moisture out. Faulty ducts, however, are often not sealed properly. This can allow moisture into the ducts, causing mold growth along with a host of other issues. This doesn’t affect the quality of your heating right away, but it will cause the degradation of your ducts.

If you haven’t had your ducts inspected in a while, call Command A/C. Our heating service professionals cover the entire Cypress area.

Do I Have to Change My Furnace Filter?

December 5th, 2014

Yes and no. Yes, the furnace filter should be changed once every 1-3 months. No, you don’t have to do it yourself. A professional should always be happy to replace it for you. In order to understand why the filter needs to be replaced, you need to have an understanding of what it actually does. Let’s examine the role of the furnace filter, and what can happen if it isn’t changed frequently enough.

What Does the Filter do?

The furnace filter, often simply called an “air filter” is a woven fiber mesh over a metal frame. This frame is installed in the air return of your furnace, in order to protect it from the dust and debris that is circulated through your home’s ducts. Every time your furnace is turned on, the filter accumulates more and more debris until it eventually becomes clogged.

What Happens when the Filter is clogged?

A furnace filter is designed so that it can catch airborne contaminants without restricting air flow. A clogged filter does the exact opposite, restricting air flow to the point of causing damage to the system. A furnace needs a steady flow of air, not only to keep warming and circulating it, but to help maintain the temperature inside the furnace itself. With that air flow restricted by the clogged filter, the internal temperature of the furnace will increase. Problems associated with this increase in temperature include:

  • Short-Cycling. This is when the furnace control circuit detects an internal temperature above the safety limit. It then shuts down the furnace to prevent a fire. After the furnace has cooled off, it restarts and the cycle repeats all over again. This rapid on/off behavior throughout the day is characteristic of short-cycling.
  • Cracked heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is responsible for venting toxic gases to the exhaust flue, while heating the indoor air that passes over it. The increased heat can cause the heat exchanger to flex and warp much more rapidly. Eventually it can create cracks in the heat exchanger. This can be a fire hazard, as well as allow combustion gases to escape into the house.

If it’s been a while since you’ve had your filter changed, call Command A/C. We provide heating services throughout Cypress.

Common Ductless Heating Repairs

November 28th, 2014

Ductless systems avoid a lot of the problems that plague more traditional heating systems. Unfortunately, they aren’t perfect. Ductless heaters still have a number of common problems of which every homeowner should be aware. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ductless heating problems that require repairs.

Refrigerant Leaks

When a ductless heating system is installed, it is “charged” with a set amount of refrigerant. This refrigerant is what allows the ductless system to heat your home, by being evaporated to draw in heat and then condensed to expel it in another place. If a leak develops in the refrigerant line, the initial charge will drain over time until there isn’t enough to transport heat. At this point, your ductless system will be pretty much unable to do its job. If you notice liquid of any kind dripping or pooling on or under your ductless system, it’s a good idea to call a professional to take a look at it.

Broken Fan Belt

The fan belt is a rubber loop that transfers motion from the motor to the fan. Over time, wear and tear from everyday use can cause this belt to stretch and develop cracks. This deprives the belt of the elasticity it needs to operate properly. If left untreated, the fan will eventually break. With no connection between the fan and the motor, there is no way to circulate air through the room. If your ductless heater turns on but doesn’t seem to be blowing air, you may have a broken fan belt. Pay attention to the noises your unit makes, as well. A loud squealing sound on startup is an indication of a failing fan belt.

Motor Breakdown

The motor is what makes the whole ductless heating system run, and is obviously a vital part. Upon occasion, the bearings inside the motor can wear down and create friction. This creates a lot of extra heat when the motor is running, and can eventually cause it to overheat. If you hear a grinding noise coming from your ductless unit, turn it off and call a professional.

If you’re experiencing problems with your ductless heating system, call Command A/C. We offer professional heating services throughout Cypress area.

Will Thanksgiving Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

November 26th, 2014

We’ve all heard it before: you feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal because of the main event: the turkey. For years, people have credited extraordinary levels of tryptophan in turkey as the reason we all feel the need to nap after the annual feast. But contrary to this popular mythology, tryptophan is probably not he largest responsible party for your post-meal exhaustion.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means it’s something that our bodies need but do not produce naturally. Your body uses tryptophan to help make vitamin B3 and serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that sends chemicals to the brain to aid in sleep. But in order to get this essential amino acid, we have to eat foods that contain it.

Turkey has somewhat high levels of tryptophan, but so do many other foods, including eggs, peanuts, chocolate, nuts, bananas, and most other meats and dairy products. In fact, ounce-for-ounce cheddar cheese contains a greater amount of tryptophan than turkey. In order for tryptophan to make you feel sleepy, you would have to consume it in excessive amounts, and serotonin is usually only produced by tryptophan on an empty stomach.

The truth is, overeating is largely responsible for the “food coma” many people describe post-Thanksgiving. It takes a lot of energy for your body to process a large meal, and the average Thanksgiving plate contains about twice as many calories as is recommended for daily consumption. If anything, high levels of fat in the turkey cause sleepiness, as they require a lot of energy for your body to digest. Lots of carbohydrates, alcohol, and probably a bit of stress may also be some of the reasons it feels so satisfying to lay down on the couch after the meal and finally get a little bit of shut-eye.

If you feel the need to indulge in a heaping dose of tryptophan this year, go ahead! Turkey also contains healthy proteins and may even provide a boost for your immune system. Here at Command A/C, we hope your Thanksgiving is full of joy and contentment this year. Happy feasting!

It’s Time to Schedule Heating Maintenance

November 14th, 2014

It’s almost the holidays which means it’s time to prepare your heating system for the winter months. The best way to do this is by scheduling maintenance. Maintenance for your heating system isn’t a quick visual inspection. It is an in-depth tune-up for your system, and its benefit can carry you through the entire winter season. It is recommended that you schedule your heating system for maintenance annually, so if it’s been more than 12 months since your last maintenance appointment, call Command A/C today!

What Happens During a Maintenance Appointment?

Here is a general overview of what happens during a routine maintenance appointment:

  • Thorough inspection of entire system
  • Small repairs as needed (corroded/frayed wiring, worn fan belts, etc.)
  • Cleaning of components, including burner assembly
  • Adjustments and lubrication of components
  • Inspection of components for cracks or holes
  • Checking and cleaning blower
  • Check of refrigerant levels (for heat pumps only)
  • Safety checks, including for carbon monoxide
  • Testing of system performance

What Are the Benefits of Maintenance?

  • Better energy efficiency – your heating system was made to operate at a certain level of energy efficiency. When it is dirty and worn out, it can’t achieve the energy efficiency it should. The cleaning your system receives during maintenance allows it to operate at the efficiency level it was made to.
  • Better comfort – a dirty and worn system can have a difficult time achieving the temperature set on your thermostat. The thorough tune-up your system receives during a maintenance appointment allows it to operate as it should.
  • Prevents repairs – during a maintenance appointment, your system is adjusted, cleaned and lubricated, and small repairs are made. This helps get you ahead of potential problems and prevents repair.
  • Extends life of the system – maintenance keeps your system in good working order so that when it operates, it doesn’t operate under stress. Ensuring your system doesn’t operate under stress helps extend the life of the system.

Scheduling your heating system for maintenance before the cold weather settles in can help both you and your system throughout the winter months. Call Command A/C today and schedule heating service in Cypress with one of our experts.

What Is a Mercury Sensor?

November 7th, 2014

Every furnace has a safety device that senses the burner flame. In certain types of furnaces, this component may be a mercury sensor. Furnaces are no longer manufactured with mercury sensors, but the sensors are still produced as replacement parts. If your heating system has a mercury sensor, you’ll want a professional to handle any problems with it as mercury sensors can be delicate, somewhat complex instruments. Command A/C has the trained and certified technicians for all your heating needs in Cypress, CA, so if you are experiencing problems with your heater, call us today.

How Does a Mercury Sensor Work?

In a combustion heating system, the flame must be “proved”; in other words, the safety controls of the system need to know that a flame is present and burning correctly before it will allow fuel to enter the combustion chamber for ignition. When the sensor acknowledges the presence of a flame and that it’s burning correctly, the main fuel valve opens to start ignition. The reason the flame needs to be proved is to ensure that the fuel doesn’t flood the combustion chamber, which can be a potentially dangerous situation.

A mercury sensor’s job is to prove that the burner flame is operating correctly so that gas will continue to flow to the burner until the temperature set on your thermostat is reached. A small tube inside the sensor is filled with mercury that evaporates as it is heated. One end of the mercury sensor sits directly in the pilot flame while the other end is connected to the main gas valve. As the mercury heats and evaporates, pressure builds in the tube, forcing the remaining liquid mercury down the tube to the switches at the main valve; this action is similar to what happens with a mercury thermometer as the temperature outside rises. The pressure inside the tube becomes great enough that the liquid forces the switches at the main gas valve to open, allowing the gas to ignite and light the gas jets in the burner.

Repairing a mercury sensor isn’t a DIY kind of project and neither is replacing one. Instead, call the experts at Command A/C and schedule an appointment for heating repair in Cypress, CA.

Common Problems with Furnace Burners

October 31st, 2014

The burner in your furnace is where air and gas meet and combust. It is a critical part of your furnace, and problems with it can result in heat loss. Repairing a burner takes training and expertise, so working on your burner yourself is not recommended. The best way to ensure that your heating, works the way it’s supposed to is to call the professionals at Command A/C. Our certified and trained technicians are available in Cypress, CA 24/7, so if you are experiencing issues with your furnace, call us today.

What Is the Burner?

The burner is the part of your furnace through which the natural gas flows and ignites into jets that heat the air for your home. The burner is a rectangular-shaped component with 4-8 short metal tubes that are fed the gas from the furnace’s manifold. An igniter at the right side of the burner ignites the gas jets, and a flame sensor at the other end monitors the flames. The burner heats the heat exchanger, which provides the warm air for your home.

Common Problems with Burners

Here are some common problems that can develop with a burner:

  • Rust/corrosion – any kind of rust or corrosion on your burner means that the burner needs to be replaced. A rusty burner can leak gas and/or malfunction, leading to problems with heating.
  • Problems with the igniter – there are two types of igniters: intermittent pilot and hot surface igniters. While each works differently, they both do the same thing: ignite the gas in your furnace. When the igniter is dirty, has a crack, or there is no spark, the burners won’t light.
  • Problems with the manifold – the burners are fed the gas via a manifold. The manifold is a pipe that runs the length of the burner, with small nozzles feeding gas into the burner tubes. If something obstructs the manifold from the inside, or the manifold is bent, problems can ensue with the burner, in addition to potential problems with safety.

Without a properly working burner, you may lose heating in your home. Repairing a burner is not a DIY kind of job, so call Command A/C and let one of our certified technicians handle any heating repairs in Cypress, CA.

Why Is Fall Maintenance Important?

October 24th, 2014

We have warm daytime temperatures, but our nights are getting cool. If you haven’t turned your heating on yet, you will need to soon – is your system ready? One of the best ways to prepare your heating system for cooler temperatures is to schedule fall maintenance. When performed by a trained and certified technician, like the ones from Command A/C, maintenance can provide a number of important benefits. Call us today and schedule your maintenance appointment for this fall.

Benefits of Fall Maintenance

  • Helps prevent repairs – during a maintenance appointment, your system undergoes a thorough inspection. This inspection allows your technician to discover any existing or developing problems. If the problems are minor, such as frayed wiring or a worn fan belt, these items will be repaired. Larger problems will be reported to you so that you can schedule a repair appointment. Repairing small problems and taking care of larger ones helps get you ahead of repairs on your system and can prevent new issues from developing.
  • Better energy efficiency – your heating system was made to operate at a certain energy efficiency level. When it is worn, or covered in dust and dirt, it won’t be able to perform at the efficiency level it should. During maintenance, your system’s components are cleaned, adjusted and lubricated, allowing them work optimally; this helps your system retain its energy efficiency.
  • Extends life of equipment – dirt, dust and wear and tear act as a drag on your system, causing stress. When your system operates for a long period of time under stress, it can cause premature aging. Maintenance helps your system run optimally, so it doesn’t operate in a stressed state. This helps reduce the effects of aging, which can extend the life of your equipment.

Maintenance helps your system maintain its energy efficiency, increase your comfort and helps prevent future repairs. Fall offers the perfect window of time to schedule maintenance for your heating system in Cypress, CA, so call Command A/C today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

How Does a Zone Control System Help My Heating?

October 17th, 2014

When you turn on your heating system, you expect to have full control over your indoor comfort. However, sometimes the natural process of heat exchange may get in the way. For homeowners with expansive floor plans, more than one level, or unique home designs, a standard furnace simply cannot distribute heat evenly to the entire home. Zone control can help you keep temperatures under control in any area of the home and keep your family members comfortable throughout the year.

Why You May Need Zone Control

In many homes, a single thermostat controls the temperature in every area. However, in larger homes, this system cannot possibly offer even temperatures. Heat naturally rises, so you may find that the upstairs rooms often feel warmer than downstairs. Or, large windows may make one area of the home feel cooler than the other areas.

Even if the temperatures in your house remain relatively stable, some of your family members may have different temperature preferences than others. If you’re sick of hearing family members argue over the thermostat setting, a zone control system may be the perfect solution.

How it Works

When you call an HVAC company to install your new zone control system, a technician will need access to the ductwork in your home. The technician installs dampers in each area of the ductwork for which you would like zone control. Each damper is connected to its own thermostat but can also be controlled by a master thermostat located in a central area.

When you set the temperature in a particular room or zone, the thermostat controls a damper that opens or closes to adjust the amount of airflow into the room. No longer will you have to deal with uneven temperatures throughout the home. And you won’t hear family members complain about being too cold or too hot in their own rooms. You can also use zone control to save a little money. If no one uses one area of the home throughout the day, shut off the heat in that zone only to save on your energy bills. When you decide to ask a professional about installing a zone control system in Cypress, CA, call Command A/C today!

What is an Upflow Furnace?

October 10th, 2014

There are a number of characteristics that homeowners use when selecting a home heating system. Size, fuel type, and AFUE rating are all common factors in making the right decision. When selecting a furnace, however, something is commonly left out. Do you want an upflow furnace or a downflow furnace? Despite not being as well known as the other differentiating factors, this question has a definite impact on the performance of your furnace. Read on to discover the qualities of an upflow furnace, and whether it’s right for you.

Up and Out

Essentially, what makes a furnace upflow or downflow is where it takes in cold air to be heated. An upflow furnace takes in cold air at the bottom of the unit, heating it and circulating it from the top. There are a couple of implications with this kind of furnace, the first being efficiency. Hot air naturally rises, and sinks when it cools. This makes an upflow furnace more efficient, because it is taking advantage of heat’s natural behavior. This will result in heat being more easily distributed throughout your house, requiring less work from the furnace and lowering your heating bills.

The other implication is the location where the furnace needs to be installed. Because of the way upflow furnaces operate, they tend to be installed in basements. This allows them to waste very little heat, as it all rises into the house through the floor. This is also viewed as a more comfortable method of heating. A downflow furnace heats from the top down, which results in much of the warm air becoming trapped in the ceiling where it isn’t much use.

The disadvantage of an upflow furnace is that it isn’t necessarily viable in all homes. Not all homes have basements, especially those on the west coast. This can make proper installation of an upflow furnace more troublesome, perhaps even impossible.

If you are thinking about installing an upflow furnace, call Command A/C. Our heating experts operate throughout the Cypress, CA area. We will find the right furnace for your living space.