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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Use a Heat Pump This Winter

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps can be an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces during cold Idaho winters. They work by extracting outside heat and transferring it inside. Even air that seems too cold, like during winter, has heat energy present for the system to use.

Because heat pumps move heat instead of generating it, their biggest advantage is energy efficiency. They can provide the same comfort level as a conventional heat source for as little as one quarter of the conventional source’s operating cost.

While there are three types of heat pumps, the most commonly used is the air-source heat pump. This transfers heat between the home and outside air using electricity. It can reduce electricity use for heating by about 50 percent when compared to electric resistance heating.

Before, heat pumps were only sufficient in moderate climates where the temperature didn’t drop too low. With recent technology developments, they can now provide sufficient heating in colder climates too. Often, a heat pump is paired with a furnace for supplemental heating if needed in subfreezing temperatures.

In homes without ducts, a mini-split heat pump, which is a type of ductless air-source heat pump, is a viable option. These can operate in climates as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the home warm all winter long.

Heat pumps aren’t just for heating in the winter, however. They can also be used to keep the home cool in the warmer months by reversing the process, extracting the warm air from inside the home and putting it outside. It pulls double duty year-round to keep the house comfortable while using less energy, helping homeowners to save money.

Diamond Heating and Cooling can install a heat pump or mini split heat pump for homes that want to save on heating costs or when a current heating option is unavailable. Call us to learn more about these heating options.

 

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.

How Colder Weather Can Affect IAQ

Indoor Air Quality

As a chill creeps into the air, residents in Boise will begin to close off their houses to outside air to keep the cold out. Trapping in warm air and keeping out the cold is good for furnace efficiency, but not as much for indoor air quality.

When people begin to close off their homes during fall, it traps indoor air, which leads to a buildup of pollutants that can re-circulate through the house for months. The solution isn’t to leave windows open year-round, but has to do with implementing these three tips:

  1. Increase Ventilation

Newer homes are designed to be sealed off for energy efficiency, but that can have a negative impact in IAQ. Increase the ventilation in the home with a whole-house ventilation system or use window and bathroom exhaust fans. This will allow fresh, outside air to come in, removing some pollutants and keeping the humidity levels in check.

  1. Maintain the HVAC System

As pollutants move around in the home, they become lodged in the air filters used by the furnace and heat pump. Check the filters each month to see if they need changed. At a minimum, the filters need to be replaced every three months.

Also, schedule annual maintenance for the furnace soon. The better it runs, the better it can remove pollutants, reduce humidity, and produce cleaner air.

  1. Clean Often

Dust particles and other pollutants settle on surfaces in the home. When they are disturbed, they fly into the air and can be inhaled. Cleaning and dusting on a regular basis reduces these particles, keeping the air cleaner.

Closing off the house for colder weather doesn’t have to decrease indoor air quality. Ask Diamond Heating and Cooling for more tips and products to improve IAQ and don’t forget to schedule furnace maintenance!

 

Covering the Air Conditioner

AC-Covers

With fall on its way in a few weeks, it’s time to start preparing to turn off the air conditioner for the year. After turning it off, many homeowners wonder if they should cover it when the weather turns cold. The air conditioner is built to withstand many elements of the weather, but there are some instances when covering it is a good idea.

During fall, the air conditioner should be covered to protect it from leaves, seeds, and nuts. These are things that can get inside the AC unit, allowing moisture to collect and sit. This can cause corrosion and rust.

Other than this, a cover isn’t needed for much else. Here is what the air conditioner doesn’t need to be protected from:

  • Dirt

While operating during the summer, the air conditioner can suck in quite a bit of dirt. This is expected and is removed with the filters. However, once the unit is turned off, dirt is no longer and issue.

  • Snow and Ice

Outside units are built to withstand just about anything winter can throw at it. The snow and ice shouldn’t cause any issues.

  • Rodents

Animals might burrow into the outside unit to escape the cold weather especially when there is a cover on the unit. It’s best to keep the cover off when worried about rodents.

When choosing a cover for the outside air conditioning unit, avoid getting one that covers it completely. The cover should allow some breathing room on the sides. If the unit is completely covered, moisture can get trapped inside, creating a humid environment perfect for rust, corrosion, and mold.

Not sure whether to cover the AC unit or not, or what type of cover to get? The folks at Diamond Heating and Cooling can assist homeowners in finding the right type of cover for their system and discussing when it is best to use it.

5 Common HVAC Questions

HVAC Repair

Over the years, Diamond Heating and Cooling has answered many questions from homeowners regarding HVAC systems. Helping them learn more about their HVAC system and how to keep it running well is something Diamond’s technicians strive to do. Here are five of the most common questions homeowners have and the answers to them:

  1. What size of system do I need?

The answer to this question depends on factors like the size of the home. A system that’s too big or too small can increase energy bills, and decrease the lifetime of the system. Having Diamond Heating and Cooling measure the home to determine the proper HVAC system will ensure the perfect fit.

  1. How can I increase efficiency?

To keep an HVAC system running at peak efficiency, homeowners should replace the filter regularly and schedule annual maintenance with Diamond Heating and Cooling. The filter can have a huge impact on how well the HVAC system runs and maintenance catches any potential problems.

  1. How often should an HVAC system be serviced?

At Diamond Heating and Cooling, we recommended having the system serviced twice a year. The furnace should be serviced in the fall before cold weather hits and the air conditioner should be serviced in the spring. Seasons can be harsh in Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley, which can put a strain on the system, so twice a year maintenance is encouraged.

  1. How often should the filter be changed?

At the very least, the filter needs to be changed every three months. During the months when it works harder, like the middle of summer or winter, changing it every month might be needed.

  1. How much does HVAC replacement cost?

Again, no two houses are the same, which means system replacement costs will differ. Diamond Heating and Cooling offers many brands of HVAC systems at a straightforward price.

For further questions, contact Diamond Heating and Cooling.