Short CyclingHave you noticed that instead of the longer, sustained cycles you’re used to, your furnace has begun turning on and off rapidly, over and over again? This is known as short-cycling, and it can happen with both the furnace and the air conditioner.The most common cause of short-cycling: A system that was installed poorly, or is too big for the space it’s serving. This will cause the unit to misinterpret how often and how long it needs to run for, creating issues where it uses exponentially more energy – and still doesn’t create ideal heating or cooling despite costing you more. Our pros will provide simple solutions to short cycling.
Pilot LightIn the case of a healthy system, your pilot light will appear blue in most cases (your model will note otherwise if this is the case). If the light has become a different color, however, especially if it’s yellow, this signals a potential ventilation issue that’s causing issues. Various gases may not be dispersing as they should be, which can lead to a combination of furnace issues (including combustion in severe cases) and health concerns. If this is the case, call our team for solutions.
Air Quality ConcernsOne of these potential health concerns stems from poor air quality, which is directly impacted by your HVAC system. In some cases, you may simply notice that your air quality has gotten poorer due to increased quantities of dust, or due to increased allergy or other respiratory symptoms from yourself or someone else in your home.The most common culprit here is the furnace filter, which must be changed regularly throughout the year. If you have recently changed or cleaned the filter and this is not the issue, however, it’s time to call our HVAC technicians for assistance.
CO2 DetectorA major air quality issue that deserves its own section is carbon monoxide, which can leak from cracks or other furnace problems and present major health issues. It’s vital to ensure your home’s C02 detector is always in working order, for starters, plus that if it is ever tripped, you immediately turn the furnace off and open your windows to begin ventilating the gas out. After this, contact both your gas company and our HVAC technicians for assistance.For more on how to recognize and remedy furnace concerns this winter, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
Cold SpotsOne of the first available signs of a defective furnace will be cold spots or uneven heating found in various areas of the home. Certain rooms do just fine, or even perhaps get hotter than needed, while others remain far too cool.In many cases, you’ll notice that the cool rooms are those furthest from the actual furnace. In these cases, you might actually be dealing with duct issues that are preventing air from reaching every area of the home. In either case, call our pros for basic remedies.
Strange OdorsIn other situations, your first sign of a furnace problem will actually be detected by your nose. One smell that might become noticeable is fuel, especially if you utilize a gas-powered furnace. You might also smell a burning odor or some other kind of poor smell that doesn’t go away for days or weeks at a time and clearly originates from the furnace.This may signal several issues, from dust concerns to gas leaks and more. Our team can easily assess the problem.
Spiking Energy BillEven if you don’t notice specific comfort signs of a failing furnace, you might pick it up on your energy bill. In particular, have you noticed fall months like October and November showing far higher heating bills than previous years? This is often a sign that something inefficient is taking place in the furnace.
Weird SoundsHas your heating system begun making loud noises you aren’t familiar with while in use? Some of the most common here are clanging, banging, hissing or clicking, but there also might be others that don’t quite meet any of these descriptions. In all such cases, contact our HVAC pros right away to determine the source of the sound and repair any issues.
AgeIf your furnace is 18 years old or older, you’ll definitely want it inspected for safety against carbon monoxide leaks. Airtime can inspect the furnace heat exchanger via camera to seek out potential carbon monoxide hazards.For more on how to spot potential signs of furnace issues, or to learn about any of our heating or cooling services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
Duct Tape Discovery and HistoryYou can trace the history of duct tape back to World War I, around which time it was created with the original purpose of sealing ammunition boxes. Its original name was “duck” tape, likely because it was backed with duck cloth in its first iterations.Sometime in the 1950s, though, the name shifted to duct – largely due to the mistaken assumption that this tape was used for ductwork sealing. However, this was never the case, and this product was never meant for this purpose. Modern tests have repeatedly shown that duct tape reacts poorly to heat and various fluctuations in temperature, making it unfit for any kind of use in your HVAC system.
Legal Status for DuctsBeyond the simple impracticality of using duct tape in HVAC areas, there are many states where this practice is outright illegal based on building code. Such codes generally prohibit using duct tape for any holes, cracks or gaps in air ducts, both due to problems with performance and the fact that duct tape is flammable and may be impacted poorly by dirt.
Mess and DurabilityIn addition, duct tape adhesive – which regularly gets stuck to areas of your system – is no fun to deal with. It can be baked in by the high temperatures and glom up several areas.Duct tape also doesn’t create a solid seal, perhaps the single largest reason not to use it in these situations. This is due to both material quality and commonly poor application.
Professional Duct SealingFor these reasons and more, it’s important to call on professionals when there are issues with your air ducts. Our team will recommend the ideal cost-effective repairs, plus offer you tips on how to avoid these concerns moving forward.For more on why you should not use duct tape for air duct leaks or related HVAC areas, or to learn about any of our HVAC repairs or other services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
AC Maintenance Isn’t Worth ItThere are some who, for some strange reason, seem to only believe they should spend money on their AC or HVAC system if something is visibly wrong. If they can’t see any problems, why spend money?This is the wrong way to look at these systems. Many of the most common issues in AC or HVAC systems begin as small, easily-remedied concerns – but if they’re left until you actually notice them, they’ll be much worse by that point. Regular HVAC maintenance, however, helps you spot these issues well in advance, which in turn allows you to avoid them growing too large. By spending a very small sum on a yearly or bi-yearly HVAC inspection, you’ll be saving yourself much larger amounts down the line.
Bigger Always Means BetterFor those who are looking to upgrade or replace their AC, or those building a new construction home from the ground up, there’s an unfortunate tendency to assume size is the only relevant factor for a new AC unit. The bigger the unit, the better it will be, as the thinking goes.Not so fast. There are many AC units that will simply be too large for a given home, using way too much power and causing major cycling issues. You certainly don’t want an AC that’s too small, but one that’s too large can be just as detrimental.
Closing Vents HelpsSome figure they’ll be saving themselves some money and air by closing the vents in rooms where they don’t spend much time. Rather, however, this messes with the air distribution balance in the home, often leading to cycling issues or creating problems with the vents themselves. You should leave vents open even in areas that aren’t frequently occupied.For more on avoiding common air conditioning myths this summer, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
Lower Setting = Faster CoolingFor those looking to cool their home or a given space as quickly as possible, there’s a tendency to try and turn the AC down as low as possible to speed this process up. However, you should know that this method doesn’t actually work – and actually might hurt your system.The HVAC system can only blow so much air at once, and this doesn’t change even if you drop the temperature even further. Forcing it to an even lower number might cause it to work harder just to achieve the same level of cooling, and will not speed things up at all.
Constant Running Saves You MoneyWe’re all looking for ways to save on HVAC costs, but anyone who tells you that running your AC constantly will help in this realm doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The thought here appears to be that constant running saves the energy of turning the system on and off regularly – but this is a misconception, and the opposite is true. Allowing the system to turn on and off as needed is a big part of what keeps its operational strain low, limiting your energy bill.
Thermostat Placement is UnimportantFor those designing a new home or replacing their thermostat in an existing one, you may not think the placement of this item matters all that much. In reality, though, it does: If it’s placed too close to vents or other cooling areas it may think the home is cooler than it really is, or the opposite effect could take place if the thermostat is in a sun spot, near the oven or in another area that’s hotter than the rest of the home. The thermostat should be located in a neutral area that represents as close as possible to average home temperature.For more on debunking common myths regarding your air conditioner, or to learn about any of our heating and air services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
Filter IssuesThe first area to look at if you’re experiencing dust issues is your HVAC filter. Filters should be changed at least once every few months, and sometimes more often depending on the filter type you used – for washable filters, these should be cleaned regularly as well.Failure to do this will result in filters accumulating dust and other materials over time. When they build up too much, they become ineffective and allow dust to spread throughout the home, including in your ducts and vents plus within any room where air is pushed to.
Humidity LevelsWhile this is less common in a dry state like Utah, high humidity levels within the home or a certain part of the home are still easily possible. These often lead to dust building up, plus to the formation of mold and mildew. If you’re concerned this is the cause of your dust, purchase a basic hygrometer to test for humidity levels, plus consider a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier.
Air Duct LeaksIn some cases, your filters will be clean and working well – but dust will still make its way around because it was already present in your ducts. This often is due to leaks that cause dirty air from your attic or other spots to enter your standard air supply, including within ducts that are supposed to be supplying recently-filtered air.
Window CracksAnother of the most common causes of dust in the home is major gaps to the outdoors, and maybe the most frequent situation here is a crack or gap around a window area. You might be surprised how much dust will be prevented simply by re-caulking any small crack or gap areas in windows.
ShoesFinally, one of the simplest dust causes in some homes is dust being tracked in by occupants, especially in homes with several people living in them. This is simply avoided by requiring shoes be taken off before entering the house.For more on the common causes of dust in your home, or to learn about any of our indoor air quality solutions or other HVAC services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
How Particles Enter Through the AC SystemIn some cases, the mode of entrance for allergens and various related particles into your air supply is based on cracks or other seal issues with your air conditioner, ducts or related components. When these issues are present, air that has not yet passed through your filter system will be able to make its way into breathing areas, meaning contaminants like allergens and others have not been removed.In addition, however, it’s important to note that having a proper exhaust system for your HVAC system is also vital. This allows various contaminants or particles that have not been caught by the filters to exit the home properly – these particles will be present no matter how good your filters are.
Filter FactorsSpeaking of filters, you should be sure that the filters installed in your HVAC system trap allergens – most do, but some on the cheaper end do not. Also be sure areas like pet dander, which may carry allergens, are caught as well.As we noted above, however, not all the air in your home necessarily makes it to the air filter before reaching your lungs. For this reason, those homes with significant allergy sufferers may want to consider additional measures.
Other MeasuresHere are a few such options available for both allergen prevention and other areas of indoor air quality:
- Whole home filtration: We offer the “Clean Effects” filter system from Trane, arguably the top home air filtration system in the world, which will remove all pollutants, allergens, bacteria and viruses within the entire space.
- UV lights: There are also UV air cleaner options that attack mold, mildew and other bacteria within your air ducts, common collection locations for these contaminants.
- Electronic purifier: A different purifier system that charges particulates in the air and forces them to stick to metal surfaces, which can be easily cleaned.
Time and Money SavingsFor starters, you’d be surprised how much time and money you can save by arranging furnace replacement in spring. For one, furnace replacement schedules tend to be far less filled at this time of year, meaning you’re more likely to get your ideal appointment time range within a few days of calling for an appointment. You also might be able to get good deals on installation or even sales, as some manufacturers offer discounts on furnaces during their slower season.Additionally, choosing the spring offers you more time flexibility on your end. If you decide to wait on signs that replacement is needed, you could suddenly be staring at a late-fall cold front – and all of a sudden, furnace replacement appointments are much harder to get. Taking the time to cover this area now allows you a full range of product choices, plus ensures you aren’t chasing the game.
Maintaining ComfortAnother benefit of replacing the heater during spring is the comfort retention the process offers. We’re mostly past the point where homes need to have their heaters on to keep the temperature comfortable – this means it’s no big deal if our pros have to turn your heating system off for a few hours while we replace the system. If you wait on replacement, however, this process might take place during a cooler period where things won’t be so convenient.
Signs It’s TimeSome general signs your furnace or heating system is giving you that it’s time for replacement:
- Common repairs: If you’re making the same kinds of repairs over and over again, this is a sign that the heater has worn down and needs to be replaced.
- Age: Any furnace or heater that reaches above 15 years of age should at least see replacement considered.
- Lost efficiency: If you notice your HVAC costs rising compared to previous years, or if you can’t seem to get the proper heating levels, this could mean the furnace is worn down and needs a replacement.
- Noises: Finally, some malfunctioning furnaces make loud noises like rattling, clanging or electrical humming, all of which may signal replacement needs.