We all like being comfortable in our homes, and staying in a warm and cozy house in the winter is a feeling like no other. For those of you who are curious, or just like knowing how things work, we’ve got a quick guide to furnaces.
Once upon a time, furnaces were fueled by coal or wood, but in the modern era, furnaces are fueled by either electricity, gas, or propane. Contemporary units are highly efficient and can convert most of the fuel into heat.
All furnaces operate on the same principle: forced air. Fuel produces heat, which then moves into the air. A fan pushes that warm air through a system of ducts, which then comes out as warm air through the vents in your home, thus heating the house. Air conditioners will typically use the same ductwork to push cool air, which is overall the most efficient layout for a house.
Gas and Propane Furnaces
Gas and propane furnaces are very similar. In a gas furnace, there is a pilot light (like on a stove) that ignites burners. The heat from the burners raises the air temperature to your thermostat setting; then fans push the air through the ducts.
This type of furnace does not have a pilot light. Instead, the unit jump starts via electrical ignition. The actual heating element is a series of coils, and the warmer you want the air temperature, the more coils heat up. And like the other types of furnaces, the warm air is then distributed throughout the home.
If you need to have your furnace inspected, or if you just need an annual check-up, give Total Comfort Heating & Cooling a call, and one of our technicians will come out to your home and take a look.
The days where you could just open a door or window to let in fresh air are gone, so it’s time to make sure you maintain good air quality. You’re going to be spending more time indoors and breathing in the recirculating air, so it’s even more important to make sure that the air you’re breathing is clean. Here are a few tips for coping with life indoors.
Registers and Vents
Your heater or furnace system will have registers and vents spread across your home. Over time, these build up with dust and allergens. Keep them clean by using a duster or the wand attachment on your vacuum.
Ceiling fans are in constant motion and start to pick up all of the dust that circulates in the house. Take time to clean the ceiling fan blades and remove the grime. This is also a good time to reverse the direction to clockwise so that it creates an updraft and circulates warm air. This could potentially allow you to lower your thermostat a little bit.
You may not even be able to see the culprit for poor air quality—the ducts. A technician can come to your home and clean the ducts using special vacuums and disinfectants.
Changing your filters is a year-round task, but as people and pets spend more time indoors, those filters can become clogged more quickly. Check and replace your filters more frequently in the winter.
Air Filtration System
If you’re serious about indoor air quality, a filtration system can be installed to complement your existing HVAC system.
If you have questions about maintaining good indoor air quality, contact us at Total Comfort Heating & Cooling. One of our experienced technicians can answer all of your questions, and you may be able to schedule a duct cleaning.
That’s right. We said air conditioners. As the weather turns cold, it may seem strange to think about air conditioning, but there are a few good reasons to invest now. We’ve put together a list of some of the advantages to buying a new air conditioning unit in the fall, as opposed to waiting until when the weather is warm.
Avoid Potential Delays
Most people don’t think about cooling until the weather starts to turn, and HVAC installers naturally get busier. This could lead to a delay in installation and a delay in your comfort. The average air conditioner lasts about 15 years, depending on the unit, and if your unit is getting close to the end its lifespan, replacing it can help lower your cooling bills.
Avoid Expensive Repairs
If your unit is approaching the end of its life, you may notice it requires more and more repairs, which can get expensive. Also, if your unit has to work harder, it’s using more energy. Replacing your unit now before it gives out entirely will save you headaches and costly repairs.
Time to Research
If you’re planning ahead for your air conditioning needs, you have the luxury of comparing products and making the best decision for your needs. When your unit conks out in the middle of summer, you’re inevitably rushed to make a quick, emergency decision.
Protect Your A/C in Winter
It doesn’t matter if you buy a new unit in the fall or if you already have it installed—either way, you should take measures to winterize your unit.
- Turn off exterior power
- Make sure the outside is clean
- Inspect for damage
- Cover the unit
Your HVAC Experts
Don’t wait for your aging unit to fail when you need it most. Contact Total Comfort Heating and Cooling to have a new unit installed ahead of the cooling season.
The evaporative cooler, colloquially known as a swamp cooler, is a type of air conditioner that works well in the hot, dry air of Colorado and the Southwest. This method of pushing air over water to create a cooling effect has even been used by ancient Egyptians who hung wet blankets over doors or had servants wave fans over jugs of water.
Swamp coolers, despite the name, do not perform well in swampy conditions, but rather in drier climates. The name may come from the fact that they add humidity to the air.
The Evaporation Process
Liquid evaporates by releasing molecules into the air, which is then converted into gas form. The hotter, faster-moving molecules are likely to dissipate quickly, cooling off the remaining liquid and thus cooling the warm air.
Swamp Cooler Mechanics
So we know the process of water evaporation causes the air to cool, but now there needs to be a way to circulate that air in your home. The swamp cooler contains damp pads that stay moist thanks to a small pump. A blower sits at one end of the box and pulls air from outside across the damp pads and pushes the now cooled air into the house.
The A/C Difference
An air conditioner works by recirculating air through a unit that passes over a set of coils cooled by a refrigerant or coolant, such as Freon. Air conditioners are different from swamp coolers not only in their mechanics but their output—swamp coolers humidify the air while air conditioners dry the air, making the swamp cooler ideal for dry climates.
Even though summer is over, your unit still needs maintenance. Denver Total Comfort can help you make sure your evaporative cooler is properly stored for winter. Give us a call or contact us through our website and set up a winterization appointment today.
Having a home requires a lot of maintenance, and one of the areas that require upkeep is your HVAC system. When not properly maintained, your system can become inefficient and have poor performance. One task that you can take on to help your HVAC system is to change the air filter.
Your HVAC System
Every HVAC system has an air filter that filters out larger airborne particles that can clog the machinery in your system. A dirty air filter can lead to poor airflow or even a lack of air infiltration altogether. A clogged filter can also cause your system to work harder at heating or cooling, leading to increased energy bills and possibly future repairs. Your air filter needs to be replaced or cleaned periodically, as often as once every three months. If you run your system regularly, have pets, or live in a dusty climate, you may need to change the filter more frequently.
Locate the Filter
Your air filter is located just behind the return air intake vent, which is usually a huge vent. If you have a larger home, you may have multiple return air intakes. There are usually a couple of clips at the top of the vent that you release to open, and you should see a large filter just behind the vent.
Measure the Filter
Not all filters are the same, so when you are shopping for a replacement, it’s important to find the right fit. Take the old filter out and measure it. Do this for all of the filters in your house, as they may not all be the same size.
Once you know what size to buy, go to any hardware store to find a replacement. There are one-month and three-month options, as well as washable filters. Your HVAC manual will have a filter recommendation.
Don’t live with an inefficient HVAC system—check your filters regularly and replace as needed for optimal performance. If you need help, you can always contact us at Total Comfort Heating and Cooling and our knowledgeable staff can assist you with your system.