Issues to Look for When You Start Your Heater for the First Time this Winter

When the weather starts to change and the temperature calls for a little help to warm up your home, there are some issues to look out for when you start your heater for the first time. Many of these issues can be found in furnaces, heat pumps, and other types of heating systems and are regularly a cause of concern. As your heater may have been out of commission for more than eight months there are problems that could have arisen or become worse in that time and it is important to watch out for these signs of malfunction in your heater.

Major Heating Issues to Look Out For

Here are some major heating issues to look out for when you are turning on your heating system for the first time before winter:

“My heating system smells funny”

When you first turn your heater on, there is a chance that there could be a strange smell that comes from the vents. This can be normal for some heater types when you first turn them on. In other circumstances – say, a smell that is quite strong or a smell that is not dissipating – this could be a sign that your heater has an issue that has developed or worsened while it was in storage or not being used. This can be not only hazardous to the operation of your heating system but also a sign that your furnace is emitting gas which is dangerous.

“My heater is making strange noises”

Another sign that your heater is malfunctioning is that there may be some strange noises when you first turn it on in the winter or it could be a noise that develops after being run for a short period of time. It is important to pay attention to these noises and make sure that the heater is not dangerous to be using. These noises could be a ‘clanking’, ‘thudding’ or zapping sound. These noises could be caused by mechanical malfunctions or even worse electrical malfunctions. In both cases this could be quite dangerous for use within the house.

“My heating bills are astronomical!”

This is not something that you will notice instantly unless you are measuring the power usage of your heater at the outlet, however an appliance that draws a lot of power is a surefire sign that the appliance is malfunctioning in some way. This may not mean that the heater is directly dangerous, though it could easily become that way if left unattended or unchecked. Be sure to check your power usage after you have just started using your heater in the winter to look for any spikes in usage that are incredibly irregular.

“My heater is not working!”

This one seems simple and fairly straightforward but it is something to watch for in order to make sure that your heater continues to work properly and poses no danger to you or your family. If your heater is not throwing off any heat or throwing off very little heat then this could be a sign that there is a serious issue with the heater and could lead to something much worse if you continue using the heater.
If some or all of these issues have occurred when you have been using your heater it may be necessary to stop using your heater and contact us in order to make sure that the heater is safe to continue using around you and your family. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health, safety, and home comfort for your family.

Quick Guide to Purchasing Water Heaters

How to Choose a Water Heater

Next to heating and cooling, water heating is the next biggest consumer of energy in your home. So whether you’re looking to replace a heater in an existing home or you’re looking at options of water heating for a new home, it pays to do some research. The first thing you’ll want to do is familiarize yourself with the different types of water heater.

Types of Hot Water Heaters

The first type of heater, the one that most everyone is familiar with and the oldest technology in heating water, is the tank style heater. These are usually the lowest-efficiency method of water heating, but also the least cost-intensive in the beginning. They come in a number of different sizes and efficiency ratings and can easily meet all hot water needs.

The next type of water heater is the tankless water heater. These are single-unit heaters that heat water as it passes through the system only. The efficiencies gained here are by not keeping a large volume of water at temperature, but on an as-needed basis. The downside is that the initial costs are higher than the tank style and electric heaters aren’t as effective as gas heaters. Properly set up however, they can more than meet the demands of an average house’s needs. There are also point-of-use tankless water heaters which are installed as close to the intended point of use as possible, such as under a bathroom sink, and can provide efficiently-generated hot water.

Solar heating is another option in water heating. These systems are virtually cost-free to operate provided you live in an area that receives a fair amount of sunshine each year. With solar heating, you will still need another supplemental heater to provide hot water on cloudy days or at night.

The next option in water heating is the heat pump water heater. These work by moving heat from the air around the heater, to the water inside the heater. You can think of these as working sort of like an air conditioner in reverse. These systems are very efficient and offer substantial savings in energy costs. However the initial costs can be higher and they operate best where the air around the heater stays in a certain temperature range.

Follow the Countryside Plumbing & Heating blog to stay up to date on all the advancements in HVAC and plumbing technology.

Tips For Winterizing Your Water Heater

Winterizing your water heater is a necessary chore if you plan to take a holiday vacation with the family and you live in a cold climate where overnight temperatures routinely drop below the freezing point. If you fail to prepare before going away, you may come home to serious problems requiring expensive repairs.

Before working on your water heater, you need to turn off the water supply and turn the gas off or unplug the heater if it is electric. After turning the gas valve off, make sure the pilot light is out. Turn the knob on the heater control box to OFF.

To drain the tank, locate the drain near the bottom and attach an ordinary garden hose. Direct the water flow down the nearest floor drain or to the outside, if possible. If you cannot use a garden hose, drain the water into a bucket and repeat until the tank is empty. When draining the tank, make sure the air vent on top of the heater is open. It can take up to a half hour to drain all the water out depending on what type of heater you own.

After the tank is empty, open the faucets in the basement, bathrooms and kitchen. You may see some water drain out but the flow should stop. Leave the faucets open

You should purchase a water heater blanket to protect the equipment from cold temperatures while it sits idle. A large piece of insulating material wrapped around the unit and held in place with duct tape can serve as an effective makeshift blanket. You should also protect the pipes leading to the water heater. Wrap insulation around the pipes and secure it with duct tape to keep the pipes from freezing and breaking.

Protecting your water heater while you are away is a great way to extend the lifespan of your equipment. If you follow these tips, you can enjoy your vacation without having to worry about dealing with broken water pipes after you return home.

Follow us for more tips and tricks to keep your HVAC system running efficiently and saving you money.

Here’s How To Get The Most Out Of Your Hot Water Heater

Nothing is worse than getting into the shower or drawing a nice “hot” bath only to learn that you have no hot water. You can avoid this scene by using the following water heater tips to keep your unit working and providing hot water when you need it most.

Check the anode rod to see if it needs to be replaced. The purpose of the rod is to keep your hot water heater clean. The rod should be checked around the same time each year. A plumber can replace the anode rod for you.

Check the receipts or paperwork that came with your unit for the date of purchase. A hot water heater should be replaced about every eight years. If your water heater is not heating the way it should or if you are having problems such as water leaking from the appliance, it may be time to install a new heater.

Your water heater may require flushing. If your unit requires it, contact a qualified professional to flush it for you. Flushing the unit is not an easy do-it-yourself project. Rather than take a chance on not doing it properly or damaging the heater, hire a plumber to do the job right.

There are also some steps you can take to make sure your water heater works more efficiently. The temperature of the water does not need to exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. By keeping the water temperature in the 120 degree range, you will save on your utility bill and also avoid scalding hot water which could cause injuries, especially when there are young children in the home.

Another energy saving strategy is to have your water heater insulated. This is especially important if the unit is located in a garage or basement that gets cold in winter. Insulation will help the unit work more efficiently and will help you save on energy costs.

These are just a few water heater tips that can help you get the most out of your hot water heater. Follow us for more great ideas on all aspects of home maintenance needs.

How Important Is It To Get The Right Size Of Heating And Cooling Equipment?

Energy consumption for heating and cooling systems accounts for around 5 percent of the electricity produced in U.S—this is almost $15 billion. As a homeowner, therefore, going for energy efficient systems makes a lot of sense. Correctly sizing your heating and cooling system is one way that you can use to cut down your energy costs.

Unlike older homes, modern homes have many other additions including more windows, weather stripping, insulation, and caulking among other features. This implies that even with a smaller system, you can still keep your home comfortable and save money in your monthly utility bills.

Generally, over sized heating and cooling systems are:

  • Expensive to install
  • Operates inefficiently; will break more often; and will cost you more to operate
  • Create uncomfortable and wide temperature swings
  • Will not run long to dehumidify air and may contribute to mold growth
  • Have frequent starts and stops which accelerates their wear and tear and eventual equipment failure
  • Use more fan power and are vulnerable to duct leakage problems due to high duct pressures.

 

Sizing Your Cooling and Heating System Correctly

Most contractors will only check the label listing of your existing system and advice to go for a similar one, or even worse, one’s that’s bigger. Others will also base the size of your HVAC system on what other customers (with similar home size) settled on or purchased. These are not the correct way to size HVAC equipment and are never in your best interest.

The best methods that you should use are the Manual D (Residential Duct Design) and Manual J (Residential Load Calculation) methods. The two methods take into account factors such as size and orientation of your home, insulation levels, air infiltration rates, occupant preference levels, age and number of occupants, window location, roof surface color, local climate, efficiency of major appliances that produce heat, duct air leakage, and window building materials among other factors.

Correct HVAC sizing will impact your home’s comfort level, energy costs, and the lifespan of your equipment. Before you install your HVAC unit, therefore, ensure that you understand the significance of your system correctly.

For more information follow us at http://countrysideph.com/blog/

2015 Water Heater Efficiency Regulation Changes

In 2015, every water heater manufacturer that sells in the United States must have their equipment conformed to the new standards of energy efficiency.  This is applicable to all residential, propane, electric and gas water heaters.  Water heaters as they are currently known will not look the same.

New 2015 Water Heater Regulation Changes

Water heaters that are manufactured after April 16, 2015 are required to obey the rules for the new energy efficiency standards.   This will result in a mandatory increase of between 3 and 30 percent greater efficiency versus current models.  The quantity differs by tank size according to the formulas.  More efficiency will be required based on the size of the tank.  There are only small gains in efficiency; however, the overwhelming majority of US homes have a water heater.  Therefore, this can add up to huge environmental benefits.

The Effects

If your tankless water heater has efficiency rating over .82, it is already compliant.  However, if you have a regular tank heater, you could be affected.  To achieve the efficiency, additional insulation will be added by manufacturers.  You will be impacted as outlined below:

In 2015, every water heater manufacturer that sells in the United States must have their equipment conformed to the new standards of energy efficiency.  This is applicable to all residential, propane, electric and gas water heaters.  Water heaters as they are currently known will not look the same.

New 2015 Water Heater Regulation Changes

Water heaters that are manufactured after April 16, 2015 are required to obey the rules for the new energy efficiency standards.   This will result in a mandatory increase of between 3 and 30 percent greater efficiency versus current models.  The quantity differs by tank size according to the formulas.  More efficiency will be required based on the size of the tank.  There are only small gains in efficiency; however, the overwhelming majority of US homes have a water heater.  Therefore, this can add up to huge environmental benefits.

The Effects

If your tankless water heater has efficiency rating over .82, it is already compliant.  However, if you have a regular tank heater, you could be affected.  To achieve the efficiency, additional insulation will be added by manufacturers.  You will be impacted as outlined below:

Fitting It In

These new tanks will be different in size; they will be wider and taller.  Additionally, larger venting will be required for some of the gas water heaters.

Custom Installation

The installer may need to do some creative planning to fit the new heater to fit some homes.  For example, if a 50-gallon tank is too big, a 40-gallon tank that have an additional mixing valve could produce the required amount of hot water.  Fortunately, we have the experience to get that done.

Price Increase

Manufacturers will need to undertake the expensive task of re-tooling production lines. There will also be increased materials cost from the added tank insulation; as such, we expect a price increase in the $100 range.

Three Replacement Choices

• Substitute with the style and size of your existing tank while it is still available.

• Upgrade to compliant water heaters

• Think about moving to a tankless heater

These are things that must be done in keeping with the 2015 Water Heater Regulation Changes.

These new tanks will be different in size; they will be wider and taller.  Additionally, larger venting will be required for some of the gas water heaters.

Custom Installation

The installer may need to do some creative planning to fit the new heater to fit some homes.  For example, if a 50-gallon tank is too big, a 40-gallon tank that have an additional mixing valve could produce the required amount of hot water.  Fortunately, we have the experience to get that done.

Price Increase

Manufacturers will need to undertake the expensive task of re-tooling production lines. There will also be increased materials cost from the added tank insulation; as such, we expect a price increase in the $100 range.

Three Replacement Choices

• Substitute with the style and size of your existing tank while it is still available.

• Upgrade to compliant water heaters

• Think about moving to a tankless heater

These are things that must be done in keeping with the 2015 Water Heater Regulation Changes.

For more information visit us at http://countrysideph.com/blog/

Things To Do Before A Furnace Replacement

Having a furnace replacement performed is something that always inevitably happens with all furnaces. Eventually, they will wear down because they are not performing as well, or you may want to change your furnace in order to better keep up with your energy bills. No matter the reason, remember these following tips that will help you prepare for a replacement.

The first thing that you will need to do is carefully track your furnace’s performance. The first step is to make sure that your furnace actually needs to be replaced, because you do not want to buy a new unit too early and lose money. Consider the age of your unit and whether or not it has been performing up to your standards lately.

Do a little bit of personal research before you figure out what furnace you need. Explore your options and see what brand names will be able to provide you with the best deal and services for your unit. It is important for you to learn everything you need to know about your house’s energy and heating needs before you even begin to look at your potential options.

Try to schedule for a tune up as soon as possible. This will help you prepare for any problems that may occur. The winter season is when your furnace will be working its hardest to keep up with your needs, so if you are sure that you need to have a replacement done, it is a good idea to have it done before the winter. Forcing your furnace to work harder during the colder season will put more strain on your home and on your bills.

If you are not sure about what type of replacement you need, or even if you need one, it is always recommended to speak with a professional. Contacting a Countryside Plumbing and Heating Inc., HVAC specialist will allow you to explore your options in a much more definable way. Our professionals will not only be able to inspect your unit and help you determine the right conclusion, but they can also provide you with advice on future maintenance.

Contact us today for all your cooling and heating needs.

Explanation On Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant

If you take a look at the water heaters available in the market then you will notice that they are all FVIR or Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant ones. From 2005 onwards, all the water heaters produced in North America are FVIR ones. In the past, water heaters running on propane or Liquefied Petroleum and natural gas caused tremendous fires in case there are flammable liquids such as gasoline nearby and gas spills occur. Thankfully, with FVIR models, things are a lot safer as these models boast of an impressive design that helps in preventing flashback fires.

In case of a flammable vapor ignition resistant water heater, its technology prevents flashback fires from breaking out by trapping and burning the hazardous gas vapors inside its body instead of in the room. The ignited vapors do not get released to the combustion chamber and the air flow towards the combustion chamber is one-way. This type of heater also comes with an inner door and a burner assembly which ensures that the combustion chamber is sealed and that the flammable vapors and combustion air do not enter this chamber from the front side of the water heater.
Thanks to FVIR water heaters, a lot of injuries and even deaths associated with accidental fire can be prevented. This special type of water heater also produces very little Nitrogen Oxides in case of emissions, therefore it is quite environmental-friendly as well. It is made up of a flame arrestor plate, a thermal cutoff switch and a screen for protecting the combustion process from dust, lint or oil.

This type of water heater is designed in such a manner that vapors aren’t ignited outside the combustion chamber at all, thus minimizing the risks of fire to a great extent! In case the flames travels in an opposite direction and ignite the vapor outside the combustion chamber of the water heater then the multi-purpose calibrated thermal switch automatically shuts down the main burner and the pilot on detecting the problem. Flammable vapor ignition resistant water heaters are a cut above the rest, therefore it is extremely beneficial to invest in one such heater. Call (800) 542-4243 to get your FVIR water heater installed and experience the difference!

Solutions To Cold Water Sandwich Effect

What is the cold water sandwich effect?

A cold water sandwich effect refers to the phenomenon where the water from a heater is warm for first few minutes, then there is a burst of cold water, and then the water quickly returns to being warm again. This is a common phenomenon with tankless water heaters. There is some water which remains stored in warm condition at the mouth of the faucet or other outlets, which means when someone runs the tap or the shower, he will receive some hot water instantly. However, a tankless heater takes some time to heat up the exchanger and during that time, some cold water may get through the exchanger and reach the user. This is what results in the cold water sandwich effect. This should not be too great an inconvenience if you are turning on the heater for minor use, but you may not like it too much if you are under a shower!

The phenomenon is more common to electric water heaters than it is with gas powered heaters. The reason for this is that gas reaches the operating temperature almost immediately, whereas electric heaters may take a minute or two to reach the required temperature for heating.

However, there are solutions to this situation. Installing a recirc loop which will return the cold water back to the heater through the help of flow check valves is a common solution. But on the downside, this system results in overwork of the heater. This does not only mean greater energy consumption, but the longevity of the system suffers, too. An alternative is to plug in a small 110V 5-6 gallon tank heater to the outlet and add the recirc loop from the tank to the tankless heater. This way, the heater is spared any overwork and energy consumption remains to the minimum. For a better understanding of how this system works, interested customers can download a diagram of the process from the Rinnai website, the manufacture of the second kind of heater described above.

For any other plumbing and HVAC needs for your home, do give us a call today and we will get back to you immediately.

What Is I.A.Q (Indoor Air Quality)?

What Is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality is defined as the air quality within or around the buildings. The indoor air quality can be affected by a variety of things, including wood, coal, tobacco products, kerosene, gas and oil.The central air conditioning and heating system can also have a negative impact on indoor air quality.

Additionally, outdoor sources can have a negative impact on indoor air quality. Outdoor air pollution, pesticides and radon are examples of outside sources that may affect indoor air quality.

How Does Indoor Air Quality Harm Health?

Immediate Effects

One of the reasons indoor air pollution is a concern is because it has been linked to many health problems. In fact, many people notice the effects after being exposed to indoor air pollution for a short amount of time. Dizziness, headaches, sore throat and irritation around the eyes, nose and mouth are some of the immediate effects of indoor air pollution.

Many factors determine the effects indoor air pollution has on the person who is being exposed to it. Preexisting medical conditions and age are two of those factors. People who are exposed to indoor air pollution may experience symptoms similar to those of colds and other respiratory problems. It is often difficult to determine whether a person’s symptoms were caused by the exposure to indoor air pollution or a respiratory illness.

Long-Term Effects

Many people do not notice the effects of indoor air pollution until years after they have been exposed to it. In many cases, long-term exposure to indoor pollution can cause serious health problems. Cancer and heart disease are two of the health conditions linked to long-term exposure to indoor air pollution.

It is important to note people react differently to exposure to indoor air pollution. More research needs to be conducted in order to fully understand the health effects of indoor air pollution. Researchers are also trying to determine how much pollution one needs to be exposed to in order to experience adverse health effects.

You may want to have the air quality in your home tested. Call us to schedule your indoor air quality testing today.