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Heating Tips & Advice | Furnace and Boiler Repair and Maintenance Advice
Heating

Heating (72)

Tips and advice to keep your home's heating system working smoothly.
Thermal Imager For Smart PhoneFor years professionals have used advanced thermal imaging cameras to identify problems with pipes, ductwork, insulation and other systems in the home. Thermal imaging works by converting infrared light into an visible image on a video screen called a thermogram. Temperature differences are easily seen as a range of warm and cool colors. Aim a thermal imager at a window and cold air leaks become easily visible. By performing a thermal inspection of your entire home you can locate leaking air ducts, drafty doors and attics with insufficient insulation.

The advantages of thermal imaging are not limited to home heating and cooling. Problems with plumbing and electrical systems can also be identified. Water leaks inside walls and ceilings, and clogs inside pipes can be detected through thermal imaging. Overheating electrical systems can also be quickly located and diagnosed.

Inexpensive Thermal Imaging for Homeowners

Until recently the high cost of thermal imaging systems meant they were used almost exclusively by professional contractors. Today, inexpensive thermal imaging cameras are in reach of the average homeowner. One example is the Seek CompactXR®, a portable thermal imaging camera that plugs directly into your smartphone. It works by translating thermal energy (infrared light) into a visible image right on your phone.  So the next time you're weather sealing your your home tracking down water leaks, or checking for overheating electrical systems, you can take the guesswork out of the equation by using a thermal imaging device to pinpoint the source of the problem.
Click. Click. Click. Sound familiar? No, we’re not talking about your car or that strange bug outside - we’re talking about your furnace. Sure, you’ve probably heard lots of noises coming from your home’s heating system, but this one seems to be something out of the ordinary. What could it be? Find out below:

Different noises could mean there’s a variety of things going on inside your furnace, we’re going to focus on clicking noises here:
  • The Ignition System: if you’ve got a gas furnace and are noticing a clicking noise, it could mean the spark igniter isn’t working properly. The spark igniter is the piece that lights the burners in order to produce heat.
  • Worn Out Bearings: if you opened up a furnace’s motor, you’d find a number of bearings. And if the bearings are worn out, they can produce a clicking sound. You’ll want to get them replaced right away otherwise the motor can burn itself out.
  • Gas Valve: notice the sound at random times throughout the day or night without any sort of pattern? Chances are it’s a problem with the gas valve. In most areas, it’s required by law for your gas company to come out to inspect this problem and replace your home’s meter if it’s not operating properly.
Need an expert to come take a look at your home’s heating system. You’ve come to the right place! The professional heating technicians at ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric have years of experience under their belts and are more than happy to help! Call us to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook.
Many homes have rooms that go unoccupied for long periods of time. Guest rooms, bedrooms and basements make up a large percentage of the air volume in the average home. So it seems like a simple question: if the room is unused, why not close the air registers to save energy? The reality is that closing vents can actually waste energy, harm your furnace and AC while also making occupied rooms less comfortable.

When your central heating and cooling system was installed your HVAC technician carefully measured the volume of air in your entire home, then matched the size of your furnace and air conditioner to provide the best performance. Reducing the air volume by closing vents will not make your AC cool less or the heating system heat less, it will simply send the same amount of air to the open air ducts and vents throughout your home. In addition, during normal operation a home's ductwork will lose 20-30% of the air though leaks. Closing vents will simply cause more conditioned air to leak, wasting energy.

Closing air vents also increases the pressure inside the ductwork, which in turn will make the blower fan work harder to push the air through. The result is an increased risk of the AC evaporator coil freezing or the furnace's heat exchanger overheating.

Of course, closing one or two air vents is not going to cause major issues, but for each vent that is closed the performance of your central heating and cooling system will be diminished.
It’s about time you started making things a little easier at home. While we can’t control your job, your significant other or your kids, we can definitely help you control your home’s comfort level. It all starts with the right thermostat and with Honeywell, you’ll be left in great hands.

At ABC, we work with, install and service a wide range Honeywell thermostats. Take a look at some of the benefits and key features of two models below that may help you decide on the perfect option for your home:

Prestige IAQ:
  • Seven-Day Programming
  • Displays Outdoor Temperature (Wireless Outdoor Air Sensor)
  • Trilingual Displays (English, Spanish & French)
  • Five-Year Warranty
  • Programming is simple and easy
  • Connects to your smartphone, PC, or tablet
Lyric T6 Pro:
  • Connect to your smartphone, PC, or tablet anywhere, anytime
  • Geofencing: uses smartphone location to save energy while you’re away and increase comfort levels when you return
  • Amazon Echo compatibility
  • Program it to your schedule or let it automatically adjust based on your behaviors
For more information on the thermostats we use, give the heating & cooling experts at ABC a call today! After all, providing you with a comfortable indoor environment is a top priority.
Did you make it a goal to create budgets and stick to them in 2017? We like where your head is at, but keeping your home comfortable all winter long can quickly throw you off track. So, how can you stay cozy without spending a fortune this season? Try the proven methods below:
  1. Install a Programmable Thermostat: they can help keep costs down by only heating your home when you need it. Are you away from your home during the day? Set the temperature a few degrees cooler so the heat isn’t pumping while nobody's home.
  2. Take Advantage of Your Surroundings: even in the dead of winter, the sun’s rays are quite warm. Allow them to penetrate through windows and doors to heat your home by opening up blinds and curtains during the day. Doing a renovation on your home? Consider having additional windows installed on the south-facing side of the structure.
  3. Throw on Some Layers: bundling up in a sweater or sweatshirt and wrapping yourself in a blanket is a great way to warm up for less. You can trap extra heat by layering up after a shower or bath.
  4. Stay Active: spending lots of time on the couch or in bed can make you feel cooler. Tackle a few chores around the house like cleaning up the bathroom or vacuuming the living room and we can bet you’ll feel much warmer. Plus, you’ll have a cleaner house - it’s a win-win.
Find out more on how you can save money on heating and cooling with a programmable thermostat, give the energy saving experts at ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric a call.
If you’ve spent a winter in the Chicagoland area you know that we’re no strangers to snow and ice. While some of us love the fluffy white crystals other can’t stand it and wish that summer would remain here all year long. Whatever the case may be, it’s vital to keep your vents clear before, during and after snowstorms. Why? Find out below:

In case you’re unfamiliar with how your furnace is set up, there’s a vent that leads to the outdoors. This vent works to carry out potentially dangerous carbon monoxide in order to keep you and your family safe.

Now let’s take a second to think about what happens when snow builds up around the outside of our homes. You guessed it - it can block the vent and prevent the harmful gas from escaping.

For this reason, it’s important to head outside during the storm to shovel away snow so the vent can continue to expel air. The same goes for once the storm has finally subsided.

In addition to getting rid of carbon monoxide, keeping your furnace vents clear will allow them to work more efficiently and more effectively. It’s a win-win!

With that said, it’s also necessary to make sure your water heater and other appliance vents are free of snow, dirt and other debris to keep them from failing at any time during the year.

Keeping your home's heating system working smoothly is a top priority at ABC. Our heating technicians are NATE certified and have the expertise to install, repair and maintain all types of heating systems from boilers to gas furnaces.
The last thing you need during a frigid Chicago winter is for your furnace to blow cold air. The air outside is already cold enough, you don’t need it inside your home, too. After all, it’s your furnace’s job to pump warm air throughout the house so you can come inside and thaw out after spending time in what can seem like a tundra.

If you find yourself getting blasted with cool air inside your home this winter, there are a number of potential causes:
  1. The thermostat is on the wrong setting - check to make sure it’s set to “AUTO” rather than “FAN.” The fan setting means the fan will continue to blow air through the system even if it’s not heating it. Switching it over to AUTO means the fan will only turn on when the system is producing warm air.
  2. The pilot light went out - if you have a gas furnace and it’s not making warm air, there’s a chance the pilot light blew out. You may simply need to relight it, but if that doesn’t solve the problem there could be an issue with the thermocouple. Call in an expert to assess the situation.
  3. You have leaky ducts - sometimes the actual furnace isn’t the problem. If you have leaky air ducts they can allow warm air to escape through cracks or gaps. This also means cold air can get into the ducts and blow throughout your home.
Whatever the case may be, the heating professionals at ABC have the knowledge and expertise to get your system back up and running in no time. Give us a call to schedule an appointment - don’t get left out in the cold!
Appliances in the home that use natural gas for fuel, such as your furnace, water heater or clothes dryer, rely on combustion to generate heat. Traditionally, these appliances have utilized atmospheric combustion from air drawn inside the home, usually from the basement. The combustion exhaust gases are then expelled out of a flue or chimney.

With sealed combustion appliances the supply and return air flow is tightly contained, so it does not have to rely on the air inside the home to convert fuel into heat.

The Advantages of Sealed Combustion

The main advantage of sealed combustion is efficiency. To achieve an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of 90 or higher, furnaces use sealed combustion. With sealed combustion, the furnace connects to the outdoor air through a supply and a return pipe. Because the air supplied to the furnace is outdoor air, and the flue gases are exhausted back outside furnace efficiency is increased because it is not heating air only to send it outside.

Another advantage of sealed combustion is safety. Without an exposed flame, there is no risk of flammable materials near the appliance catching fire. Burning natural gas can also generate dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas, which is more likely to enter the home through backdraft without a sealed combustion chamber.

Have questions about sealed combustion? Give ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric a call, we're here to help.
Even if your home has central heating, ductless mini-split heating may be a good option in certain situations.  A mini-split system consists of a small air handler in each room, usually installed into the wall near the ceiling. A small conduit connects a condenser outside the home to all of the indoor air handlers. When used for cooling, they typically offer greater efficiency and improved performance compared to window AC units.

Here are some applications where mini-split systems offer an advantage over traditional central heating.

1. Mini-split systems can be installed in older homes, attics, or new additions without existing ductwork.
2. They can be used to solve challenging heating situations where the furnace is located too far from certain areas of the home, such a new addition.
3. Ductless heating and cooling systems are ideal where you need to optimize the temperature of a room for a specific purpose, such as a wine cellar or cold storage.
4. External or seasonal spaces like detached garages or 3-season porches.

If your interested in how ductless mini-split systems could work in your home, give ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric a call, we're here to help.
The holidays are supposed to be the time of year when you spend quality time with family and friends laughing, reminiscing and loving. It’s not supposed to be the time of year when you’re stressing out about utility bills, but with colder temperatures settling in those feelings can be difficult to avoid. So, to make sure you have one less thing to worry about we’re letting you in on a few holiday heating tips - see below.

1. Add Area Rugs

Can’t stand the feeling of cold floors on your bare feet? Place area rugs on wood and tile floors. Not only is this a way to keep your feet more comfortable, it can help prevent warm air from escaping through the floorboards.

2. Leave The Oven Door Open

When your holiday meals are finished cooking, turn the oven off and leave the door open for a few minutes. This is a great way to cut back on the work your home’s heating system has to do by supplementing it with another source. You’d be surprised at how much warmer your kitchen and nearby rooms will feel.

3. Take Advantage Of The Sun

We all know how warm the sun can feel even on the coldest days of the year. Allow the sun’s warm rays to enter your home by opening curtains and blinds during the day. Just remember to close them up when the sun goes down to keep warm air trapped inside.

4. Use Your Ceiling Fan

It might sound a bit contradictory to use your ceiling fan to heat the house. While it doesn’t actually produce heat, running the fan in reverse is a wonderful way to bring warm air that has risen to the ceiling back down to the living areas.

5. Swap Out Your Bed Sheets

It’s time to take those cotton sheets off and replace them with flannel. Pairing flannel sheets with a thicker comforter is a great way to stay cozy at night without cranking up the heat.

Keeping your home's heating system working smoothly is a top priority at ABC. Our heating technicians are NATE certified and have the expertise to install, repair and maintain all types of heating systems from boilers to gas furnaces. Give us a call today for more information about our heating services.
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