Furnaces: Gas vs. Electric

Amana Furnace

When installing a new furnace, homeowners have to make many choices, one being the fuel-type. Deciding between gas and electric can be difficult but knowing the pros and cons of each option can help make it a little easier.

Electric Furnaces

This type of furnace pairs with the air conditioner or heat pump to distribute air throughout the home. It contains your air distribution system, indoor coil and can have heat strips that provide additional heating power.

Pros:

  • Can heat/cool home all year
  • Doesn’t require natural gas

Cons

  • Can have difficulty keeping up with heating demands
  • Creates original heat instead of transferring it

Gas Furnaces

This furnace can be paired with a split-system, air conditioner or heat pump. It has an air distribution system and creates original heat.

Pros

  • Provides powerful heat
  • Gas is often lower in cost for utilities than electricity

Cons

  • Not all homes have natural gas lines
  • Carbon monoxide is a larger concern

Choosing which one to purchase when installing a new furnace will largely depend on what type of furnace is currently in place, and what utilities are currently available in the home. Homeowners who want to switch from one of type of furnace to the other might require some additional work.

Switching from an electric furnace to a gas furnace requires natural gas lines to be installed. This can be an expensive endeavor that some people feel negates the money that could be saved by switching. Switching from gas to electric is an easier process, because homes already use electricity in some capacity.

The team at Diamond Heating and Cooling can also assist homeowners in making a decision by determining their heating needs and helping them find the right system for those needs. For furnace maintenance and repairs on both types of systems, call Diamond Heating and Cooling at 208-378-6624 to schedule an appointment.

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Tips to Limit Heat Loss Through the Garage Door

garage insulation

When homeowners look at where they could be losing heat in their home, they focus on door gaps and window seals. One spot that is often overlooked and can be a significant area for heat loss is the garage. Although the home is somewhat sealed off from it, the garage can release heat if it is poorly insulated.

There are a few things homeowners can do to limit this loss of heat and improve their energy bill.

  1. Wall Insulation

The wall between the house and the garage needs to be insulated. It already is in most homes, but in older homes, there might not be any insulation or there may not be enough. Adding insulation in this wall can make a huge difference in the comfort of the home.

  1. Garage Door Insulation

It’s common to find that most garage doors don’t have insulation on the inside, especially those with metal garage doors. It might be worth it to upgrade the garage door to a steel one with insulation, or add insulation to the inside of the existing garage door.

  1. Weather stripping

The last detail to attend to is any small gaps that may be present. Check the door between the house and the garage, as well as the exterior doors and windows for proper seals. If there are gaps, weather stripping can close them, and stop even more heat loss.

The best furnace in the world can’t win against heat loss in a house. If the home is well-insulated, turn attention to the garage to see if it is the culprit. Implementing the tips above could make a difference in home comfort, energy efficiency, and the energy bill.

For help increasing energy efficiency of the furnace in other ways, talk to the HVAC experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling. They can inspect the furnace to determine if there is another issue causing the energy bill to increase.

Furnace Cleaning

Furnace Cleaning

When furnace maintenance is mentioned, most people think about getting all the components checked for issues to prevent a breakdown, but there’s an important part of maintenance that homeowners might not think about: cleaning. The furnace needs to be regularly cleaned as well as inspected to keep it working properly.

The furnace can get loaded down the dust and debris over the years, which lowers its efficiency. There are many components that need cleaned to keep it working at an optimal level. Some of these are:

  • Heat Exchanger

Heat exchangers are a very important component in the furnace. Once it becomes dirty, the heat exchanger can begin to malfunction, needing repaired or replaced.

  • Burners

Burners can fail due to contamination. If they are covered in dirt, dust, and debris, it could disrupt the flow of gas and air.

  • Flame Sensor

When the furnace is having an issue staying on, the issue is likely a dirty flame sensor. This build-up of sediment won’t allow it to work properly.

These components, plus the entire furnace cabinet are thoroughly cleaned during Diamond Heating and Cooling’s furnace maintenance services. Homeowners should not attempt to clean these components themselves because furnaces deal with electricity and gas, two items that can be harmful when handled improperly. It’s much safer to call in a professional for furnace cleaning.

Instead of a DIY cleaning job, schedule annual maintenance with Diamond Heating and Cooling. They make it easy and a bargain with the Silver Club Membership. For just $13.50 per month, Diamond Heating and Cooling comes out twice a year to perform maintenance. In addition, members receive 20% off repairs along with many other savings. Make all aspects of furnace maintenance easier with the help of Diamond Heating and Cooling.

Frequently Asked HVAC Questions

HVAC Questions

Homeowners often have a lot of questions regarding HVAC systems, energy efficiency, and energy savings. To address some of these questions, here’s a compilation of the five most common HVAC-related questions homeowners have:

  1. How Can I Save on Energy Costs?

There are a few ways to accomplish energy savings. Here are some surefire ways to save:

  • Change the furnace filters regularly
  • Schedule annual maintenance
  • Use a programmable thermostat

 

  1. What Size HVAC Do I Need? Should I Size Up?

Bigger is not always better when it comes to HVAC systems. A system that is too large can lead to issues later. To find the right size, technicians need to measure the home to find the square footage and heating/cooling needs.

  1. Should I Repair or Replace?

There’s a lot of variables that go into this answer, but here’s a basic answer: If the system is over the age of seven and has required frequent repairs, it’s best to replace the system. Continuously repairing the HVAC system gets expensive and homeowners could save money by investing in a newer system.

  1. How Often Do Filters Need Replaced?

Dirty filters are the most common cause of system breakdowns. Simply changing out the filter is the easiest way to combat this issue. How often that should be done depends on the system and type of filter being used. In general, filters should be changed every 1-3 months. More often during winter and summer when the system is working harder.

  1. How Often Does The HVAC System Need Serviced?

For the best efficiency and energy savings, both the air conditioner and furnace should be serviced once a year. It’s optimal to get them serviced before they will be used for the season.

Hopefully this list of frequently asked HVAC questions is helpful for homeowners needing some answers about HVAC systems. For any other questions, just give Diamond Heating and Cooling a call!

Knowing When to Change the Furnace Filter

Furnace Repair Boise

Everyone knows the furnace filter needs replacing, but they might not know exactly how to tell when it needs replacing. Here are some things to look for when determining if the furnace filter needs replacing:

  • There’s built-up dust and dirt on the filter, making it grey in color
  • The house is dustier than usual
  • The HVAC system is cycling longer

Watch out for these telltale signs by:

  1. Examining the filter regularly

Often during seasons with extreme temperatures, the furnace filter will need to be changed more frequently to keep up with the HVAC demand. It’s a good idea to check the filter at a minimum of every 4 weeks during winter.

When examining the filter, check for excess dirt and grey color. Also, take note of the sound of air moving through the furnace before taking out the filter. After removing the filter, if there is a significant release of air pressure, the filter is too dirty and has lost effectiveness.

  1. Monitoring the Environment

Keep an eye on the dust level in the home. If it seems ledges and surfaces need to be dusted more often, it can be a good sign to check the furnace filter. The buildup means the filter is clogged, and can’t remove dirt and dust as well anymore.

  1. Watching for Health Issues

In homes with allergy and asthma sufferers, clean air is even more important. If allergies and asthma attacks are starting to become more frequent, the furnace filter might not be effectively doing its job. It’s time to check the filter to see if it is dirty.

The best thing homeowners can do is set up a routine with the furnace filter. Have some sort of reminder each month to check it for dirt and dust. It should be changed every three months minimum, but might require more frequent changing if the furnace has to work harder this winter.

Why Is There Water Underneath the Furnace?

If there is water pooling around the furnace, it could be a sign that something is wrong inside the furnace. The issue could be one of many problems, such as:

  1. Condensation

A condensation problem is the most common cause of water underneath and around the furnace. Both high-efficiency and standard-efficiency furnaces can experience condensation issues, but they stem from different causes. High-efficiency furnaces, also called condensing furnaces, produce condensation that is supposed to be channeled into a floor drain. If it is pooling instead, the tubing or drain could have become clogged. The tubing might also have a crack in it.

A standard-efficiency furnace is not supposed to produce any condensation. If it is producing condensation that means the flue pipe may not be properly sized and it should be corrected as soon as possible.

  1. Faulty Exchanger

Another possibility in a condensing furnace is that the secondary heat exchanger is faulty. This type of furnace usually has two or three heat exchangers instead of one like standard furnaces. If the secondary heat exchanger has a crack, water can drip out onto the floor. This problem could result in the need for a total furnace replacement.

  1. Humidifier

Some furnaces have a humidifier inside that adds moisture to the warm air blown throughout the house. This humidifier could be leaking, letting the water pool on the floor beneath it. This issue can usually be caught early on during furnace maintenance.

Don’t dismiss water pooling around the bottom of the furnace. No matter if the furnace is high efficiency or standard efficiency, it could mean there’s a serious problem that should be repaired right away. Make sure to schedule annual furnace maintenance with Diamond Heating and Cooling to catch these issues early or call us at 208-608-5050 if water is present.

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.