thermostat

Beat the Summer Heat

As we enter August, which is typically the hottest month of the year, the heat is telling us that it is here to stay. At least in the Kansas City area, where we’re at, temperatures continue to stay in the Olathe Weather - Hot90’s, with the occasional dip into the high 80’s for some relief. These temperatures are causing excessive heat warnings, and with excessive heat comes hazardous health risks. Places with higher humidity have additional issues. High humidity slows the evaporation of the body’s sweat, and this causes our body to overheat, and could pose even more dangerous health risks if not monitored carefully.  Finding a way to stay cool in the hot weather is imperative for health reasons, as well as overall comfort.

The vast majority of heat-related illnesses are preventable. Some basic tips to avoid heat-related illnesses include the following:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If A/C isn’t available in your home call a service company ASAP, or use a public facility. DO NOT RELY ON A FAN AS YOUR MAIN COOLING DEVICE DURING A HEAT WAVE.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially from the hours of 10AM-6PM.
  • Drink more water than usual.
  • Try not to use the stove or oven to cook, as it will make your house hotter.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor, and have them do the same for you.

Hopefully the tips above aren’t a huge worry to you, as you have a dependable air conditioning system in your home. If you do then your focus should be on staying cool, which is the result of a well-functioning and well-maintained system. However, another focus should be on saving money with your air conditioning system. Running your A/C all day every day for 3+ months (as is necessary during the regular Kansas City summer) can prove to be expensive. Here are some tips on lowering your monthly electric costs:iS30

  • Use your windows to your advantage. Keep your windows well insulated, as this will keep out unwanted warm air. Also, during rare cool periods turn off your A/C
    and open up your windows to cool your home.
  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortable. An often recommended temperature is 78 degrees when you’re home, and 85 when you’re out of the house. You can save 3% – 5% on your air conditioning costs for each degree you raise the thermostat in the summer.
  • Install a programmable thermostat as an alternative to constantly monitoring and changing the thermostat yourself. Programmable thermostats allow you to be in absolute control of the temperature in your home, day and night, home or away, saving you money in the process.
  • Keep your filters clean. Check your filters monthly, or as often as specified by the manufacturer. Replace filters when needed. Preventative maintenance is important to keep your equipment running efficiently.
  • Consider installing an energy efficient air conditioner. New energy efficient A/C’s have several advantages over their predecessors, including a longer lifespan, lower energy bills monthly, and the use of environmentally-friendly refrigerant.

How Cool is your Thermostat?

An important part of every heating and cooling system, the thermostat is how a homeowner regulates the temperature inside their home. Some thermostats have settings to allow week-long programming. Others, they aren’t quite as advanced. Some of the top-of-the-line thermostats can be connected to a smart phone via Wi-Fi and an app. The homeowner can be hundreds of miles away and still control their thermostat.

But what does a thermostat actually do?iS30

When it comes down to it, the thermostat is the temperature regulator for the home. Thermostats are a tool to control the level of comfort/temperature in a particular setting. Some people prefer warmer temperatures, and others prefer cooler ones. With the weather starting to heat up, it is important to make sure your thermostat is in proper working order to keep you comfortable during the warmer months.

If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure it is set for the temperatures you want. And, if you know you will be out of the house for long periods of time (going to work, for example), set it to stay off during those times. This will lower your electricity bill, and who doesn’t want that?

1f971277Some furnaces modulate their airflow. These modulating furnaces have variable speed motors. A variable speed motor is meant to be running 24 hours a day. When it is not heating or cooling it is cycling about 200 cubic feet of air per minute. This keeps the entire house the same temperature. Another added bonus to having the furnace constantly running is the constant filtration of the air.
With a thermostat placed on each level, some units are capable of keeping different levels at different temperatures. The thermostat tells the dampers to shut or open accordingly, and when the temperature called for is met, they close and run on low power mode. An added advantage to the variable speed motors is the conversion of an AC electrical current to DC.  This conversion of energy makes the unit considerably more efficient, and cost-effective.

Thermostats dictate the comfort of the home. Having a functioning thermostat and one that best fits your needs is important to have the highest level of comfort possible. We have a wide range of thermostats to choose from. Come check out our selection at http://www.hvacpartsshop.com/thermostatsandcontrols.aspx! We at HVAC Parts Shop hope to serve you soon! Give us a call at (866) 215-3831!

Basic HVAC home troubleshooting

H1: Basic HVAC Heating and Cooling System Troubleshooting

Your home heating and cooling system is a vital piece of your home that makes sure you and your family can feel comfortable year round. If it isn’t maintained properly, you run the risk of your system becoming less efficient that will not only wasting costly energy, but make it difficult to maintain that perfect, comfortable environment in your home.  When something goes wrong, there are a few common things to check in the HVAC system for some quick troubleshooting.

H2: Time to Swap Filters

A filter that is full of dirt and dust cannot properly move the air your HVAC system needs to operate efficiently. Even if the air still is flowing, the mechanics of the system might be working harder than they need too, prematurely aging your equipment. Plan to change your filters once a month in high-use seasons and every three months the rest of the year.

H3: Thermostat Is BrokeniS30

If your house is suddenly too hot or too cold and nothing seems to be wrong with the HVAC equipment, the culprit might just be your thermostat. Fortunately, this is a simple and relatively inexpensive repair to make.  Make sure that you check the status of your thermostat and see if it’s functioning properly before you start looking into other pieces of your system or planning a bigger repair project.

 

H4: Tripped Breaker

HVAC equipment that is completely unresponsive might throw you into a panic, but the reason might just be a tripped breaker. Be sure to immediately check out your breaker panel before doing anything other detective work. Flip the appropriate breaker back to the “on” position. That should get your system back up and running unless there was another problem inside your system.  It is possible that a breaker switch could be a fluke, but if the breaker continues to trip, contact a professional to help you address what may be causing the issue.

H5: Unbalanced Dampers

Dampers in your home heating and cooling ducts restrict the airflow into any section or room. If it seems like a particular space is always too cold or too warm, you might need to adjust the dampers that lead to that room.  If adjusting the dampers doesn’t completely solve the issue, you may have another issue on your hands.

H6: Leaking Refrigerant

If your home cooling system doesn’t seem to be producing air that is as cold as expected, you might have a problem with refrigerant leaking from the AC unit. If so, you will need to call a professional out to reload the system and repair any leaks.

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.

 

Simple Methods to Lower Heating Costs

Saving Money, by 401(K) 2012, 401kcalculator.orgThe winter air is getting colder and if you haven’t already, it is definitely time to turn that thermostat up. And if you’re on one of the stragglers it is probably because you realize that turning your thermostat up means rising heating bills. Yuck!

So what should you do? Keep your thermostat down and save money, while turning your family and yourself into icicles? Or turn your thermostat up and deal with those expensive bills? Maybe you can find a place somewhere in the middle. If you can keep your thermostat even one degree lower than where you usually keep it, then you can save one to three percent on your annual heating costs. Try these simple methods to staying warm, while keeping your thermostat down just a few degrees.

Please note that we are not suggesting you keep your thermostat down too low in the bitter cold and we certainly agree that you may have to turn your heat up as the weather gets colder, but these are some tips that might help you and your family keep your heat turned down just a smidge lower than you normally would.

Curtains. Close your curtains at night to keep heat inside your house. Open them during the day to utilize warmth from the sun.

Ceiling Fans. Since heat rises, all of your warm air is trapped at the ceiling. Set your ceiling fan to a low setting and let it spin clockwise. The warmer air will mix with the cooler air and raise the overall temperature in the room.

Humidifiers. Humidifiers push moisture into the air. Since moist air retains heat better than dry air, humidifiers will make your home feel warmer. Keep your humidifier(s) running during the cold and dry winter months.

Warm Showers. Showering in warm water will also warm you up and again, provide humidity. After you are done with your shower or bath, open the door and let the humidity warm the next room as well.

Kitchen Oven. Working in your kitchen, or just moving around period, makes you feel warmer. When you are done baking your delicious goodies open the oven door and let the heat escape into your kitchen.

Warm Sustenance. While you are in your kitchen baking those goodies, you might as well prepare a warm meal, such as soup, to serve to your family. Sipping on hot chocolate, tea or coffee throughout the day will also make you feel warmer.

Blankets! It seems so simple, yet can easily be overlooked. Curl up under a blanket while you and your family watch TV. Be sure and keep extra blankets on your bed as well.

As You Sleep. Nighttime is a good opportunity to turn the thermostat down a little more. When you are sleeping you won’t notice the drop in the temperature and if anything you may actually sleep better. Again, don’t turn the thermostat down so far as to let your family freeze, but a few extra degrees may really help lower those heating costs.

Dress Warm. Besides extra blankets, adding an extra layer of clothing will help you feel more comfortable as well. Wear warm socks and/or slippers to keep your feet warm, as the temperature of your feet has a large impact on your overall body temperature. If your feet feel warm, then the rest of your body will feel warmer as well.

Last, lower your heating costs by investing in a Smart Thermostat. The latest smart thermostats allow you to set a schedule, based on your daily routine, so that your thermostat can adjust accordingly. You are also able to adjust your home’s temperature from an app on your smartphone.

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.