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Heating (40)

How To Check a Gas Pilot Light

Gas Furnace Standing Pilot FlameWhile electronic ignition furnaces have been around for a while now, you may still have a gas furnace with a standing pilot light that remains lit all the time. The standing pilot light works in conjunction with a thermocouple to control the ignition of the burners and the flow of gas. The thermocouple senses if the pilot flame is hot enough to ignite the fuel to the burner.

If you have an old furnace that uses a pilot light, it needs to be kept clean burning and properly adjusted to ensure that the furnace operates safely and efficiently.

Inspecting a Gas Furnace Pilot Light Flame

Remove the furnace cover panel to expose the burner assembly and pilot. You should be able to clearly see the flame of the pilot light. The first thing to check is the color of the flame.
  • A natural gas flame should be a bright blue color with a small amount of yellow at the very tip.
  • A propane flame will have more of a bluish-green flame with a tinge of yellow at the tip.
  • The flame should strong enough to cover about 1/2 inch at the end of the thermocouple tip.
  • If the flame is too strong and not adjusted correctly, it will be blue and may make a hissing sound as the flame crosses the thermocouple. The pilot should be adjusted to reduce the intensity of the flame.
  • A yellow flame is caused by lack of oxygen and incomplete combustion. If the pilot light is a weak yellow flame it will not get hot enough to heat the thermocouple to the temperature needed to enable the gas valve to open. This is often caused by a dirty pilot tube tip.
  • A split flame is usually caused by a dirty pilot tube.
  • A flickering or wavering flame is usually caused by a draft. Check to see if there are sources of drafts in the room and take steps to reduce the effects on the furnace.
Have questions about your gas furnace or boiler? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating.

Tips to Stay Safe With Space Heaters

Space Heater SafetyDid you know that 80 percent of home heating fire deaths in the U.S. involve space heaters and that 32 percent of home heating fires are caused by space heaters? It is estimated that space heaters cause over 19,000 home fires, 360 deaths, and over 1,000 injuries a year.

Once a house fire starts it is only a matter minutes before it becomes life-threatening. By following a few safety steps when using a space heater you can avoid becoming a statistics.
  • Space heaters should never be closer than 3 feet to upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses, bedding and other flammable material.
  • Place the space heater on a hard, level and nonflammable surface
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters
  • Never leave a space heater running when you are away from home.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a grounded wall outlet without adapters or extension cords
  • Choose a model with features like a built-in thermostat that shuts the heater off when the room temperature is met and a thermal cut out switch that shuts the heater off if it gets too hot.
  • If you have kids or pets, a cool touch exterior can prevent accidental burns
  • Ensure there is a working smoke detector on every level of the home and test them monthly

Learning Thermostats - the Smart Way To Save On Heating and Cooling

Learning ThermostatLearning Thermostats, or smart thermostats, have been around for a while now, and they keep getting smarter. Here are some of the features you will find that can help keep your home more comfortable while also reducing your energy usage.
  1. Learns your routine. Built-in sensors track activity in the home and use algorithms a custom, auto-adjusting temperature schedule based on those movements in the home. If you turn down the heat before bed, the thermostat learns this routine.
  2. It knows when you're away. Using your smartphone's location and sensors in the home, a learning thermostat can switch to economy mode to save energy.
  3. Tracks energy usage. Knowing your energy usage history can help you better manage your heating and cooling schedule and save on your utility bill.
  4. Early warning of an emergency. If the temperature drops unexpectedly when it's below freezing because your furnace is not working, you will be warned before pipes freeze and your home is damaged.
Upgrading to a learning thermostat is easy, and can make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.

The Causes and Cures For the Most Common Oil Boiler Problems

Oil Boiler Service West Haven Connecticut1. The Burner Is Not Operating
There are several reasons the burner may not operate, they include a lack of fuel, a thermostat that is set too low or no electrical power to the unit. If there is sufficient fuel, check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit. Next, turn the thermostat up higher by a few degrees. Also check that the filter and ductwork are not blocked or restricted and that the blower motor is operating. If the burner still won't turn on, call Air Specialties for service.

2. The Burner Will Not Fire
If the burner is working, but will not fire, it could be a fuel supply problem. This can be caused by a failed oil pump or a clogged nozzle filter or oil line. Your heating technician can diagnose the cause and recommend solutions for repair.

3. Smoking Burner
Smoking burners are often caused by an out of adjustment burner, a dirty or wrong type of nozzle or end cone. Other causes include a defective heat exchanger, incorrect oil pressure or an obstructed chimney. Because this is a potential safety issue, call Air Specialties to inspect the system to ensure there are no carbon monoxide leaks or other hazards.

4. High Fuel Consumption
When an oil boiler is consuming too much fuel it if often because off lack of maintenance or a system that is out of adjustment. An improperly sized boiler can also cause inefficient operation and high fuel consumption. 

5. Heating System Odors
Many of the same problems that can lead to a smoking boiler can cause unusual odors, including a clogged nozzle, broken heat exchanger or a burner that is out of adjustment. The chimney may also need to be cleaned. Call Air Specialties to have the heating system inspected.

Have oil boiler problems? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating. From maintenance and repairs to boiler replacement, we can help keep your oil boiler running in top condition.

How Long Does a Furnace Last?

Connecticut Furnace ServiceAs cold weather arrives in Connecticut area and you get ready to turn on your trusted old gas furnace, you may be wondering just how many heating seasons the furnace has left. The average lifespan of a gas furnace is approximately 20 years. There are several factors that determine how long your furnace will last, including whether it is a lower cost or more expensive higher end model. If it's a lower cost furnace it may be ready for replacement in as little as 8 years.

Thankfully, many of the factors that determine how long a furnace will last are under your control. The most important thing you can do is have your furnace professionally maintained every year. This will not only make the furnace last longer, it will help it operate more efficiently and reduce the cost of unexpected repairs.

Because most gas furnace parts can be replaced as they wear out, it's usually a good idea to repair the unit as parts wear out. The one part that usually ends the life of a furnace is the heat exchanger. Constant heating and cooling will eventually cause the heat exchanger to rust out or crack, leading to failure. With new gas furnaces operating at much higher efficiency than units made just 10 years ago, replacing the furnace may be more cost effective in the long run when compared to the repair cost of keeping a 10-15 year old furnace running.

Have questions about your furnace? Give Air Specialties a call, we're here to help.

Ductless Heating - The Solution For Difficult To Heat Rooms

Connecticut Ductless Home HeatingIf your home has forced-air heating or a gas or oil boiler, you may have rooms that are difficult to heat because they are not accessible to install air ducts or radiators. Attics, additions, garages, sunrooms and enclosed porches can present special challenges for heating and cooling. In many cases it would be too cost prohibitive to add air ducts or plumbing for radiators. 

Ductless Heating Systems

A ductless, or mini-split system, consists of a small air handler in each room, often installed on a wall near the ceiling. A small conduit connects a condenser outside the home to the indoor air handlers. When used for cooling, they usually offer greater efficiency and improved performance compared to window AC units. When used for heating, ductless systems can provide just the right amount of heat where it is needed, providing an energy savings advantage over radiators and forced-air heating systems.

Air Specialties installs state-of-the art Mitsubishi Ductless Heating and Cooling Systems which offer advanced comfort and efficiency for any room in your house. All systems include a remote control and an optional smart phone app to custom program the unit.

Want to learn more about ductless mini-split systems? Give Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating a call today.

Will Closing Off Rooms Save On Your Heating and Cooling Bill?

If you have rooms that go unused for long periods of time such as guest rooms, bedrooms or basements, you may have thought: if the room is unused, why not close the doors and air registers to save energy? While this seems like common sense, it can actually waste energy and shorten the life of your heating and cooling system. It can also making the remaining occupied rooms less comfortable.

When a central heating and cooling system is installed, the HVAC technician carefully measures the volume of air in the entire home. The furnace and air conditioner are then sized to provide the best performance, efficiency and comfort. When the air volume is reduced by closing air vents, rather than making your air conditioner cool less or the furnace heat less, they simply send the same amount of air to the open air ducts and vents throughout the home. During normal operation a home's ductwork will lose 20-30% of the air though leaks, so closing vents increases this loss of conditioned air, wasting energy. Closing air vents will also increase the pressure inside the ductwork, which in turn will make the blower fan work harder to force the air through. The result is an increased risk of the evaporator coil freezing or the heat exchanger overheating.

Of course, closing one or two air vents is not going to cause major issues, but for each vent that is closed the performance of your central heating and cooling system will be diminished. If you have questions about your heating, cooling or ventilation system, give Air Specialties a call. We can help answer all your questions.

Are Leaky Air Ducts Costing You Money?

If you have central heating and cooling system in your home, you probably don't give much thought to the air ducts. However, even the most energy efficient furnace won't operate near its potential of the air ducts are leaking.

In some homes, as much as 40 percent of the conditioned air from the central heating and cooling system does not reach the rooms where it is needed because of leaking air ducts. It's a prime reason that some rooms never feel comfortable and the furnace or AC runs seems to run much longer than it should, wasting energy and inflating your utility bill.

A home's ductwork is a maze of joints, curves and creases, providing many places for air to escape. A professional HVAC technician can find the leaks and offer solutions for providing tighter, improved airflow throughout the home. One option is professional duct sealing. Duct sealing involves measuring the rate of air entering and returning in through the HVAC system, then sealing the ducts from the inside using an advanced polymer spray.

The first step to fixing air duct leaks is to have Air Specialties check the efficiency of your HVAC system. We can identify any problem areas and recommend solutions to reduce air leaks.

The Advantages of Ductless Mini-Split System for Heating and Cooling Your Home

There are many situations where a home with a central heating and cooling system, or radiator heat can benefit from a mini-split ductless system. A mini-split system consists of a small air handler in each room, typically installed into the wall near the ceiling. A small conduit connects a condenser outside the home to all of the indoor air handlers. When used for cooling, they usually offer greater efficiency and improved performance compared to window AC units.

Here are some applications where mini-split systems offer an advantage over traditional central heating and cooling.

1. Mini-split systems can be installed in older homes, attics, or new additions without existing ductwork.
2. They can be used to solve challenging heating situations where the furnace or air conditioner is located too far from certain areas of the home, such a new addition.
3. Ductless heating and cooling is ideal where you need customized control over the temperature of a room for a specific purpose, such as a wine cellar or cold storage.
4. Seasonal spaces like detached garages, 3-season porches, and out buildings are ideal for ductless heating and cooling.

Want to learn more about ductless mini-split systems? Give Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating a call, we offer state-of-the-art Mitsubishi mini-split systems, for high efficiency and precision control.

Smoky Oil Boiler? Here are the Possible Causes

When smoke is visible coming from your oil-fired boiler, you may have what's known as "puffback". Puffback is the explosion of un-burned oil in the combustion chamber. If the quantity of oil is high enough, it can cause damage the boiler, the flue vent and can cause soot to enter the home.

There are several reasons that un-burned heating oil fuel can exist, including:

Leaks in the oil supply line. This is often visible as oil drips that occur when the equipment is not running. Inspect the floor below the burner oil supply piping regularly. If you notice oil pooling on the floor, have the connections serviced immediately.

Oil burner shutdown. Incomplete heating oil combustion can also occur if the "shut-down" phase of oil burner operation is not working properly.

Lack of Maintenance.  A partially blocked burner nozzle will cause incomplete combustion leading to the accumulation of unburned oil in the combustion chamber. This is usually followed by an unusual rumbling or popping sound during boiler operation. Regular maintenance is important to prevent boiler problems such as a dirty oil spray nozzle, which can lead to a build up of unburned heating oil.

Improper boiler installation. In some cases installation problems such as a too-short chimney could cause inadequate draft, leading to sooty burner operation and poor heating.

If you're experiencing problems with your oil-fired boilder, call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating, we can help.
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