What Causes Short Cycling?

When the furnace starts and stops frequently, it is call short cycling. This decreases the furnace’s efficiency and could be a sign of a serious furnace issue. However, the most common source of short cycling is a clogged air filter. Check the filter first, replacing it if necessary. If that doesn’t stop the short cycling, it could be one of the following problems causing it:

  1. Thermostat Location

If the thermostat has been poorly located, it can cause short cycling to occur. It should be placed away from drafts, effects of windows and air vents. To see if this is the issue, place something in front of the thermostat like a piece of cardboard. If the short cycling stops, it needs to be moved to a new location.

  1. Overheating

Many modern furnaces have a safety device that switches the burner off if the heat exchanger starts to overheat. This can also cause short cycling. If the heat exchanger is overheating, there’s a possibility of it being cracked, which should be repaired right away.

  1. Improper Furnace Size

Furnaces that are the wrong size for the home will short cycle trying to keep up with the desired temperature. To correct this issue, it will require a new system to be put in place that is the correct size. While expensive, it will save homeowners money on energy bills and keep the home at a more comfortable temperature.

Don’t live with a short cycling furnace. It could be increasing energy bills and not achieving the desired temperature. Continuing to let it short cycle could lead to lasting HVAC damage as well. Call Diamond Heating and Cooling if the furnace starts short cycling this fall and winter.

Also, be sure to schedule annual furnace maintenance. Check out Diamond’s Silver Club Membership and learn how to save on all things HVAC.

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Finding Your Perfect Fit

Furnace Efficiency

Having a well-running, efficient furnace makes Idaho winters a lot more bearable. An efficient furnace starts with size. Bigger isn’t always better, and finding the right size is the best way to stay warm without breaking the bank. Here’s what happens when the furnace doesn’t fit the home:

Too Large

When furnace shopping, remember that bigger isn’t always better. A furnace that is too big for the building it is heating will continuously cycle on and off. This can lead to several problems. First, it creates hot and cold spots in the home because the air closest to the vents will actually become too warm while other areas, where the thermostat is located, still may not be up to temperature.  The over-sized furnace will also need maintenance more often and is likely to have a shorter life span because of the constant cycling.  It will also be costlier to operate because the furnace is least efficient when it first fires up and the constant cycling means it will be firing up more often.

Too Small

Homeowners trying to save money might consider purchasing a smaller furnace than they really need. A furnace that is too small won’t be able to heat the home comfortably. It will constantly run trying to reach that desired temperature, using up energy and costing homeowners a fortune. It will also require more maintenance over its shortened lifespan.

Finding the right size is easy with the help of Diamond Heating and Cooling. Their HVAC professionals take into consideration a number of variables to find the right size furnace. These variables are the home’s building materials, windows, size, insulation, the direction of the home and more.

One size does not fit all when it comes to furnaces, which is why the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling is here to help find the perfect fit for any home in the Boise area. Don’t go through the fall and winter with the wrong size furnace.

Call Diamond Heating and Cooling about furnace sizing, finding the perfect fit, and yearly maintenance once the furnace is installed.

5 Signs of a Cracked Heat Exchanger

Cracked Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger in the furnace has two jobs: work with the burner to generate heat and separate toxic byproducts of combustion and vent them out. When it becomes cracked or damaged, it fails to perform these jobs, which can be dangerous to those who live in the home.

Knowing there’s a cracked heat exchanger can be difficult, but there are some signs homeowners can keep an eye out for.

  1. Difference in Flame

A normal flame in the furnace will be steady burning and blue in color. A damaged heat exchanger can make the flame dance around and be more orange or yellow in color. If this is observed, call Diamond Heating and Cooling right away.

  1. Metal Cracks

With a damaged heat exchanger, cracks can appear in the metal. While a flashlight can detect larger cracks, it is best to have a professional inspect the metal with proper equipment. It could also have excess corrosion or rust developing on the unit.

  1. Soot Buildup

If the furnace is working properly, there shouldn’t be any soot on or around the furnace’s cabinet. If it begins to build up and discolor the metal, there’s a chance the heat exchanger is cracked.

  1. Odor

In some instances, a damaged heat exchanger will manifest itself in a strong, unpleasant odor similar to the smell of formaldehyde. It can cause headaches, and is a good indication there is something wrong in the furnace.

  1. Carbon Monoxide Presence

A damaged heat exchanger leaks carbon monoxide, which is a byproduct of the combustion process. If the carbon monoxide detector in the home goes off, the heat exchanger might be broken. Call for help immediately and evacuate the home.

Call Diamond Heating and Cooling at 208-378-6624 if any of the five signs listed above are noticed. Whether the furnace has a cracked heat exchanger, or another problem, Diamond Heating and Cooling can make the necessary repairs.

Optimal Fall Thermostat Temperatures

Fall Thermostat Settings

Fall will be here in no time, switching the air conditioner off and the furnace on. Before you really need that furnace, be sure to call Diamond Heating and Cooling for annual maintenance to prepare the HVAC system for the seasonal change.

As Boise residents prepare for the cooler weather, they’ll have to figure out how to best set the thermostat for comfort and optimal energy savings. While the best thermostat setting relies largely on personal comfort, there are some guidelines.

The US Department of Energy recommends having the thermostat set at 68 degrees on cooler days while spending time at home. It’s warm enough to be comfortable while doing chores or being active, but not so warm that it wastes energy.

While everyone is away from the home during school and work, the thermostat can be set at a lower temperature to save energy. Also consider lowering it while sleeping. With everyone in warm clothes and under blankets, they won’t miss a few degrees of heat.

It’s thought that turning the thermostat down 10 degrees while away or asleep can save homeowners 15%-20% on energy bills each year. However, 10 degrees might be a bit of a stretch and could make the system work harder to regain a comfortable temperature. Even turning it down 3-5 degrees will make a difference, just not quite a 20% savings.

Turning the temperature up and down while coming and going can get tedious and someone might forget if they are in a hurry. Combat this by investing in a programmable thermostat. It will change the temperature at the same times each day as it is programmed, keeping energy savings up, and the house comfortable.

It might not seem like a few degrees makes much of a difference, but the savings can add up throughout the year. Having a smoothly running HVAC system will increase the energy savings as well.

Be sure to call Diamond Heating and Cooling to schedule annual maintenance before cold weather arrives in Boise.

Dealing with Fluctuating Temperatures

Idaho experiences a significant amount of fluctuating weather and temperatures around this time of year. This can be hard for the HVAC system to keep up with. Keep your home comfortable during temperature fluctuations and save energy by following these tips:

  1. Smart Thermostat

These thermostats are one of the best ways homeowners can save energy and money. They help to gain control over comfort, and have many benefits. Smart thermostats allow for automation of heating and cooling, optimizing efficiency. Often they come with a phone app too so homeowners can adjust the temperature from anywhere. Use it to analyze energy usage to figure out how to decrease it and more.

  1. Window Treatments

Having the right window treatments can help minimize warm or cold air loss during times of fluctuation. They keep the home more comfortable without using any energy in the process.

  1. Fans

Not everyone is ready to turn on the air conditioner yet, but with 80 degree days, the house can get a little unbearable. Delay turning on the AC with the help of fans. They might not actually cool the room down, but they can make it feel cooler in whichever room they are used.

  1. Check the Weather Reports

It can be useful each morning to check what the weather is expected to be that day. This gives homeowners a heads up on how to program the thermostat and if they need to adjust it later on. Remember to turn the temperature up while away so the AC doesn’t run unnecessarily.

  1. Open the Windows

Open the windows for a few hours at night or in the morning during cooler hours instead of using the AC. Then shut them before leaving for the day and turning the AC on. The naturally cool air means the air conditioner won’t have to run as often until later when the day heats up.

Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about getting the air conditioner serviced or a new one installed before summer hits Boise and the Treasure Valley.

3 Tips for Cleaner Winter IAQ

house-plant

In winter, homes are sealed up as tight as possible to be energy-efficient and stay warm. However, this limits the amount of fresh air in the home, raising concentrations of both allergens and pollutants. For those who suffer from allergies or asthma, it could mean more breathing problems.

There are many ways to clean the air inside of the home to reduce allergies and asthma attacks. Here are a three tips:

  1. Living Plants

Plants produce oxygen, while cleaning and purifying the air. They are an inexpensive way to improve indoor air quality, while adding some beauty to the space as well. For homes with pets, they need to make sure those plants are pet-friendly. Here is a list of plants that are not toxic to pets:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Yucca
  • Bamboo
  • Snake Plants
  • Ferns

Sufficient air cleaning can be accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet in the home. Different plants filter certain elements out of the air, so getting a mix of plants will be most effective.

  1. Cleaning

Airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and mold can be minimized with regular cleaning. Dust and vacuum so allergens cannot pile up on surfaces. Wiping down the walls is something homeowners might not think to do regularly, but walls and ceilings also attract things like pet dander or other pollutants.

  1. Change the Furnace Filter

The furnace filter needs to be changed regularly. However, if a normal filter isn’t doing the job, ask Diamond Heating and Cooling about the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner. It isn’t just a filter. The Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner is an electric polarized media air cleaner that can filter out submicronic allergens, which make up 98% of airborne particles.

Winter doesn’t have to be a time for runny noses and sneezing. Keep the air clean with the tips above. Visit Diamond Heating and Cooling’s website to learn more about allergies solutions.

Getting the Most Out of Your Gas Furnace

Gas costs less than electricity in most areas, which is what makes gas furnaces an economical choice for heating. They can be a reliable and energy efficient source of heating when they’re operating well and paired with a good thermostat. Here are a few ways to get the most out of a gas furnace:

  1. Insulate the Home

The furnace won’t be able to keep the house consistently warm if heat is escaping through the walls. Proper insulation will keep warm air in, which helps the furnace run more efficiently, saving energy and money.

  1. Upgrade

If the gas furnace is older, it might be time to upgrade it to a more energy efficient model. The higher the rating, the more homeowners are likely to save on energy costs. The savings will help offset the cost of a new system.

  1. Smart Thermostat

Furnaces are only as efficient as the thermostat that controls them. The thermostat is like the brain of the system, telling everything else what to do based on its settings. Investing in a smart thermostat allows for better control over temperature, creates comfort zones and schedules, and can even be adjusted by smart phone. This is another way to help the system run more efficiently.

  1. Filter

Filters also play a huge role in how well the gas furnace operates. The more clogged it becomes, the more the furnace has to run, decreasing efficiency and increasing the energy bill. Change the filter every three months to keep the gas furnace running smoothly.

  1. Maintenance

Furnace maintenance is important for any type of furnace, but especially for gas furnaces. With this type, there’s a chance of carbon monoxide leaks, which can lead to illness and in extreme cases death. Homes with gas furnaces need to invest in carbon monoxide detectors and get their system regularly serviced. Diamond Heating and Cooling can inspect the system and fix problems before a leak happens.

Tackle every furnace need with the help of the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling. We can service gas furnaces, help homeowners find a new one, and install the system. Visit our website to learn more about our heating maintenance plans.