furnace

What Your Filter MERV Rating Means

MERV RATINGS: WHAT DO THEY MEAN?filters

Generally speaking, most people take their HVAC system for granted. It is just one more thing to think about in the ever-stressful world of home ownership. Even people who pay attention and provide preventative maintenance on a regular basis could be doing more harm than good if not careful. Depending on what type of HVAC system you have, the filter may need to be replaced monthly, or every few months. One key item to note when purchasing filters is the MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). The MERV rating tells how effectively the filter takes the dirt, dust, allergens, and other things out of the air as it passes through the HVAC system.

When replacing a filter in your home, taking notice of the MERV rating is important to make sure the correct amount of air flow is coming through the filter. Without enough airflow, the HVAC system can overheat and cause electrical or mechanical breakdowns and burnouts later on down the road.

To avoid mechanical failure and an expensive service call down the line, be sure to check your HVAC system manual for the correct filter size and MERV rating. This will give you the correct amount of airflow and make your system run as optimally as possible. Changing the filters on a regular basis is also important. Having proper air flow is the most important part of maintaining your HVAC system. If a filter is clogged it can have the same impact as having a filter that is too thick for your system.Filter Media

Filters with a higher MERV rating are typically thicker and catch more particles. The caveat to that is they also require more force to push air through them. This is the reason filters have to be correctly sized for your specific HVAC system. Without proper air flow, the HVAC unit will overheat over time. This is what causes the costly repairs in the future.

If you are aware of which filter you need, and how often you should replace it, you are ahead of most people. Just make sure you are diligent with your preventative maintenance and that will help prevent service calls.

The MERV ratings on filters range from 1-20 and it will say on the side of the filter what the rating is.

MERV RATING: 1-4

These are the lowest rated filters. They are primarily for residential use. They catch the bigger things floating through your HVAC system. These items include; dust, pollen, carpet fibers, pet hair, and other things of that nature.

MERV RATING: 5-8

The next step up in MERV ratings helps remove some of the smaller irritants that are cycled through your heating and cooling system. As the MERV rating increases, the smaller the particle the filters will catch.

MERV RATING: 9-12

These filters are typically used in businesses. They are capable of catching much finer particles than the previous filters. They can even catch some of the larger bacterial cells, emissions, and some fine dust particles.

MERV RATING: 13-16

High-end filters like these are used in hospitals, or in situations where high amounts of allergens are present. These collect a very high amount of bacteria, smoke, sickness germs released from the body, and numerous other things.

MERV RATING: 17-20

This is the top-of-the-line for filters. In residential uses, and most commercial uses, it provides too much filtration and not enough air flow. These filters are used for quarantined locations and other highly sensitive areas. They are capable of catching viruses, all smoke particles, and everything else that runs through the HVAC system.

Knowing what each of these different types of filters is used for is important for being an informed homeowner. In the case of filters, the bigger MERV rating isn’t always better. If you are trying to do any type of preventative maintenance you want to make sure the correct part is put in. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at (866) 215-3831 or visit us at www.hvacpartsshop.com and we can help talk you through any issues you are having.site-logo

Shocking Truth Behind Static Electricity

control boardA furnace circuit board uses two types of voltages. First is the control voltage. This always operates at 24 volts. Second is the line voltage. This is used to run the motors, and the voltage required for the line voltage depends on the unit. Typically, this is around 120 volts. With just one touch, a technician or homeowner can burn up the electrical components of a furnace. To avoid this type of incident it is important for anyone working on the furnace to discharge their self of any static electricity before working on the furnace.

Static electricity can build and burn up electrical components without any warning. Typically, when a person feels a static shock, they are feeling at least 3,000 volts of electricity. That is 20-25 times the normal capacity for that board to handle! If static discharges to the board with less than 3,000 volts, but more than the amount needed to run the board, the board can become ruined without any warning.

Grounding the electrical current out of the body is important to prevent shorting out any electrical components of the furnace. To ground the static electricity from the body, before doing any work on the electrical components, touch a metal object away from the furnace. The current will move from the body’s point of contact to the metal surface. This happens because metal is a better conductor of electricity than the human body.control board

 

Once the electricity is discharged from the body, working on the furnace is less dangerous to the electrical parts. And, if there are issues with electrical components or any other technical questions, we do offer technical support at (866) 215-3831. We have videos posted online for our most common parts, and we add more videos periodically. They can be viewed at www.hvacpartsshop.com. Feel free to give us a buzz if you need any parts for your furnace!

Control Boards and Furnaces 101

control boards

Control board

A furnace control board is essentially the computer, or the brain, in a furnace. It operates the key functions in the order that they are supposed to happen and controls everything from turning on the gas to shutting down the fan after your home has reached your desired temperature. While it is a very essential piece to your furnace it is common for control boards to be replaced.

TYPES OF CONTROL BOARDS
There are two types of control boards for gas furnaces. The first is a simple ignition control board module, which is more common in older, less efficient models. It controls the gas valve, the igniter and the flame sensing circuit. These older units will have a fan control board along with the simple ignition control board.

The more common control board, at least in newer units, is the integrated furnace control board. This controls the same things as the simple ignition control board but it controls the furnace blower as well. Ultimately it is the simple ignition control board and the fan control board in one.

STEP-BY-STEP SEQUENCE
To understand whether or not your control board is operating correctly, it is first imperative that you understand the step-by-step sequence of your furnace, which should be like this:

  1. The thermostat is set and calls for heat.
  2. The induced draft motor turns on.
  3. The pressure switch senses a drop in pressure and closes to complete a circuit.
  4. The control board sends a signal to the hot surface igniter and the igniter lights up.
  5. Then a few seconds later the gas valve clicks and releases gas to the burners.
  6. The burners ignite in sequence.
  7. The flame sensor senses the flame and allows the gas to continue to flow, heating up the furnace.
  8. The blower motor turns on and moves air through the furnace to keep it from overheating.
  9. The limit and rollout switches remain closed and continue to monitor the airflow.
  10. Once the thermostat is satisfied, the control board shuts off the gas.

TROUBLESHOOTING
The control board can also help you diagnose a problem with your furnace. Most control boards have LED lights that flash to indicate a problem. The different flashes serve as codes. Follow the chart on your control board to decipher what the flashing code means. The code might tell you that you need a new control board.

Control boards also have lights to let you know that it is on and functioning correctly. If this light is not on, then the control board can be reset by turning off the furnace power and restarting it. However, this is not normal; a control board should not have to be reset.

CONTROL BOARD REPLACEMENT
If you find that you need a new control board, HVACPartsShop.com can help you find the correct replacement part. Use our furnace model drop list to select the correct control board using your furnace model number. You can also use the manufacturer’s part number to find the correct part. If you are still having problems figuring out which control board is right for your model you can use our online chat feature to chat with a certified technician or you can call us at 1-866-215-3831.

When you begin the replacement, please first make sure that the power to the furnace is off. Before removing the wires make sure that you have marked them so that you know which connection they go to. Then remove the wires, screws or clips and the old board.

Attach the new board and carefully reconnect the wires to the proper terminals. Then restore the unit and run it through a complete cycle, verifying that is follows each step of the sequence.

 

Warmth Equals Love and a Working Furnace

love warmthA Warm And Cozy Valentine’s Day

Here at HVACPartsShop.com, when it’s cold outside we are all about keeping you, your family, and ourselves warm.

Right now, it’s still cold! Even the typically warm west coast is at 50 degrees or below. And as Cupid’s big day draws nearer and nearer, we have to ask, is your home warm and cozy for that Valentine of yours? Or is it more comparable to a Valentine’s evening that a polar bear would enjoy?

If your home is more comparable to the latter, we can help with that. We have the HVAC parts to keep your furnace running! And we can get them to you in as little as one day! Wouldn’t your Valentine enjoy a running furnace and a warm house?

Love That Warming Feeling

Now don’t go thinking that we, at HVACPartsShop.com, aren’t a romantic bunch. We understand that there are different types of warmth than just the one coming from our furnace. We’re talking about love and the warmth that that feeling can create. And with Valentine’s Day coming up so fast, there’s no better time to talk about it!

Since we’ve been talking about polar bears, please bear in mind that we’re not just talking about the romantic kind of love. Any kind of love can make you feel warm – whether it’s the love you feel for your family and friends, or the kind you have for a significant other. In fact, there have been studies that have shown a direct correlation with strong, loving relationships and a feeling of warmth.

Love & Warmth Are Connected

In this particular study that we wanted to mention, a group of close family and friends were tested to see if positive interaction created warmth and if warmth promoted a stronger connection.

The first test had pairs give each other either a positive message or a neutral message. Essentially, it’s the difference of being told “I love you” versus “you have blue eyes”. Each person would have their brain scanned during the experiment to see any activity, and also be asked how warm they felt and how connected they felt with the other person. The test showed that those who got a positive message felt a warm sensation and felt that their connection with the person deepened, while those who got a neutral message didn’t feel much of a change.

The second test had pairs hold heated objects or room temperature objects while in a room together, with the goal of measuring if the pairs felt more connected with each other after the time spent together. After the test, those holding the warm objects said that they felt a stronger improvement in connection versus those who had the room-temperature objects.

Share Some Love This Month

Now that we know a little bit more about how love and feeling warm are connected, let’s try to spread some warmth this month! Spend some time with your friends, families, or significant others and let them know how much you care and value them, so they can experience that warm feeling inside that comes with being loved.

Of course, we’ll continue to do what we do best to make sure you and all of your loved ones stay warm by offering all of the HVAC parts that you need to keep your home warm and comfy, plus the best customer service around, so we can show our customers that we love each and every one of them! As a special offer, use the code CHILLY to receive a free ground shipping on your order that’s $100 or more!

Different Types of Capacitors for your HVAC System

The main function of a capacitor in an HVAC system is to provide the additional torque needed to get a unit running and the electricity needed to keep it running. There are different types of capacitors and you will find different types in different HVAC systems. As in the video, let’s begin by explaining start capacitors:

Start Capacitor
Start capacitors can be seen in outdoor units such as air conditioners and heat pumps, and are in addition to a dual run capacitor, which we will cover later. Generally only high-end factory models come with a start capacitor, but start capacitors or super boost capacitors can be installed in older or smaller units in order to increase torque and quicken start up.

The purpose of a start capacitor is to get the compressor up and running as fast as possible. As the compressor begins running, the potential relay will disconnect the capacitor from the electrical circuit. The two parts go hand-in-hand and it is a good idea to purchase them together.

A super boost capacitor is another type of start capacitor that has a potential relay built into it. This capacitor is very easy to install. It has two interchangeable wires – one that connects to the common terminal and one that connects to the HERM terminal. It can easily be stacked next to the run capacitor in your unit. If you have any additional questions about installation, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help.

We can also help identify the size and ratings of your capacitor so that you can replace it correctly. It is common for the label to become rusty and hard to read. As long as you know your unit’s model and serial numbers we can find the right capacitor.

Dual Run Capacitor
Dual run capacitors are also found on outdoor AC units and heat pumps and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are able to support two motors – the compressor motor and the fan motor. The dual run capacitor runs continuously while your unit is running. It has three terminals: HERM connects to the compressor, fan connects to the fan motor and common connects to the contactor. It is imperative to connect each wire to the appropriate terminal.

Again, it is important to read your data sticker in order to purchase the correct size of capacitor. The data that you should be looking for are the microfarads and the VAC, or voltage amp current. The capacitor in the video shows a capacitor with 45 + 10 microfarads. This means that 45 microfarads will go to the compressor and 10 microfarads will go to the fan motor. The new capacitor that you purchase must have the same amount of microfarads. VAC, however, is slightly different. If you are replacing a 370 VAC, you may replace it with a 440 VAC, but you cannot replace a 440 VAC with a 370 VAC.

Single Run Capacitor
Single run capacitors are generally used in furnaces. They have two terminals, HERM and common. The two wires that come from the furnace’s blower motor can connect to either terminal.

Over time, single run capacitors can get weak and you will begin having problems keeping your furnace running. If your fan motor is making a humming sound, this is a sign that you need a new capacitor. Note, it is dangerous to use your hand to give your blower motor a push. Please refrain from doing so.

Two additional safety tips for replacing your capacitor are:

  1. Make sure the power to the unit is off, both at the unit and at the circuit breaker.
  2. Deactivate the electrical charge, by using an insulated screwdriver and touching each terminal. It is also a good idea to wear insulated gloves.

Thank you for watching (and reading) our video. Until next time, stay warm!

 

Does Your Furnace Need a New Capacitor?

Capacitors

Capacitors are a key component to your furnace’s overall performance and just like most parts, will eventually wear out. Here are some indications of a weak or faulty capacitor:

1. Noisy! – If your furnace’s motor is running a lot louder than normal this is a sign that you might need a new capacitor. Also, a worn-out capacitor will make a clicking sound as the furnace starts up.

2. Burning Odor – An old or malfunctioning capacitor will cause the motor to overheat and may even cause the wires to melt, hence the burning odor.

3. Will Not Start – A furnace with a bad capacitor will not start, but before that happens you may notice that it won’t run at full power or will run sporadically. This is a good indication that the capacitor needs to be replaced.

4. Visual Signs – A faulty capacitor can become swollen with bulging ends. In some cases a capacitor may even swell so much that the ends blow open and begin leaking oil.

5. Rising Gas/Electric Bills – A weak capacitor causes the motor to run less efficiently and your bills to go up.

 

What Is A Capacitor?

capacitorA capacitor is used in most HVAC systems, including furnaces. It has two main functions – it provides the additional torque needed for starting a unit and gives the unit the electricity needed to keep it running. They are on continuous duty while the motor is running.

Capacitors provide a steady supply of electricity to the fan motors and help the blowers move hot air through your system. In other words a capacitor is similar to a battery, storing electricity and stabilizing currents.

Without a capacitor your furnace’s motor will not start and the unit will not run. In fact, if the motor in your furnace won’t start, the capacitor is likely the problem.

Capacitors are categorized by microfarads and voltage. Microfarads are what measure the capacitors ability to store an electrical charge. A capacitor will range from 1.5 to 100 microfarads and will be classified at either 370 VAC or 440 VAC.

 

Thankful For Running Furnaces: Tips to Keep Them Running

Rustic Thankgiving DinnerLater this week most of us will find ourselves sitting around a platter-filled table among family, enjoying the stories and happenings that have occurred since our last gathering. And hopefully we will remember what the day is really all about – the celebration of giving thanks.

Many of us will be thankful for family and friends, good fortunes and safe travels, but will we take time to stop and consider the warmth of our homes and the machine that has blessed us with such coziness? Probably not! And we can’t say that we blame you!

Even so, we know that somewhere deep down, you are truly thankful for that wonderful machine and the warm air that it provides, so heaven forbid it ever stop providing it! Here are some tips to keep your furnace running and in the best of shape:

1.Check and Replace Filters 
Check your filter regularly. If it is so dirty that you are unable to see through it, then it is definitely time to replace. On average you should replace your filter about once a month.

2.Clean, Clean, Clean 
A clean furnace and air supply will inevitably increase your furnace’s overall lifespan. Keep your blower assembly and fans clean by wiping them down with a wet cloth.

Clean your vents and cuts for dust, cobwebs, pet hair, calcium deposits and anything else that may have collected there over time. Again, use a damp cloth and/or a large brush to clean the vent covers. The ducts can be cleaned with a high-powered vacuum.

3.Check Ducts For Leaks 
Air leaks contribute to poor indoor air quality, significant energy loss and overwork of your furnace. Locating and fixing leaks in your ducts can improve the comfort of your home, lower your utility bills and keep your furnace in tip-top shape longer.

4.Insulate Your House 
Retaining interior air within the walls of your home has many benefits including saving energy, keeping your bills down and preventing your furnace from overwork. Use weather stripping to seal air leaks in your house around doors and windows. Caulk all other cracks and gaps that you might find in your house. You should also check your attic, walls and basement for adequate insulation. If you can see the floor joists in your attic then you need more insulation.

5.Don’t Turn Your Thermostat Too High
Overworking your furnace will only improve its chances of wearing out. As it becomes colder outside, your furnace has to work harder to maintain your desired temperature. Keep your thermostat at a manageable temperature for your furnace.

 

No Draft Inducer Blower, No Heat

Draft Inducer Blower

A draft inducer blower is the fan that you hear churning 30-60 seconds before your furnace booms to life. Its main functions are to clear the heat exchanger of gas leftover from the previous cycle, move air through the blower housing and keep burners from getting clogged with soot.

Bottom line – if your draft inducer blower is not working, your furnace cannot create heat.

Purchase a draft inducer blower here.