Tag Archives: heating

Top 5 Signs it’s Time to Buy a New Furnace

Furnaces are rugged and durable appliances that are built to perform like champions on even the frostiest January nights.

But over time, your furnace will wear down and gradually wear out. And even if it doesn’t, your needs and expectations may evolve, and a furnace that seemed like a solid, quality performer a few years ago might be less than adequate now.

Of course, getting a new furnace requires a significant financial investment, including installation costs as well as the price of the equipment. Before you lay out that kind of coin, you’ll want to be 100 percent sure the time is right to make a change.

Top 5 Signs it’s Time to Buy a New Furnace

So how will you know when your furnace is on its last legs and just about ready for the scrap heap? Here are five good indicators …

      1. Advanced age

With few exceptions, furnaces in general tend to wear out after 10-15 years of steady functioning, although early and obvious signs of damage or decay may not be detectable. Another factor to consider is that each new generation of furnace is more energy-efficient, and therefore more cost-effective, than the last, and the opportunity to cut your monthly fuel costs by 40-50 percent may be too good to pass up. Despite the upfront costs, a brand new energy-efficient furnace could pay for itself in less than 10 years’ time, depending on the quality and efficiency of the unit it is replacing.

      2. Escalating fuel bills

Have your home heating bills been creeping upward beyond the rising cost of fuel? Progressive changes like this are the mark of a furnace in crisis, and if you don’t take action, the problem will only get worse. By all means, you should consult with your HVAC contractor before making a final judgment, but if they can’t find a single mechanical problem that explains the excessive fuel usage, a general systemic decline is the likeliest explanation.

       3. More frequent services calls for repairs

Repeatedly patching up a failing appliance makes no economic sense. When things reach the point where you’ve got your HVAC contractor’s emergency repair line on speed dial, it might be time to start working on the epitaph for your furnace’s tombstone.

      4. Strange noises, odors, leaks, or soot accumulation

These are symptoms of a furnace that’s gradually crumbling into dust, the forces of entropy and heavy use stressing it to the breaking point. In a sense, these are like the small tremors that often precede a giant earthquake, and they should motivate you to take action before disaster strikes.

     5. Uneven heat distribution

Hot spots, cold spots, and temperature differentials throughout the house could mean one of two things: either your furnace is improperly-sized (too big or too small for your home), or it can no longer kick out and distribute heat at a consistent rate. If temperature anomalies are a new phenomenon, it means the latter is the problem, and that’s a clue your furnace is losing its battle with Father Time.

Energy-Efficient Furnaces are a Johns Plumbing, Heating,  and Air Conditioning Specialty

Johns Plumbing & HVAC is a certified dealer of Trane heating and cooling products, including state-of-the-art gas and oil furnaces that can maximize your fuel-cost savings.

If you’re in the market for a new furnace, or would like to have your old one checked and evaluated, please give us a call today. With our outstanding heating products and superb installation services, we can help you make a smooth transition to a happy new era in affordable home comfort.


10 Tips to Prepare You for the Winter Heating Season

Autumn is a time of transition. When the temperatures drop, the winds rise, and the leaves change color, it means air conditioning season is over, and the winter heating season is fast approaching.

10 Steps to Prepare Your Home for the Winter Season

In the coming months, your furnace and/or heat pump will be charged with the task of keeping your family warm and comfortable on even the coldest winter days. But there is more to home heating than just setting your thermostat at 70 degrees and letting it run night and day.

To get the most out of your heating system, you need to pamper it, customize it, and support it with smart home maintenance actions. You should get to work on all of this at least a month or two before heating season arrives to make sure your equipment is ready to function as efficiently as possible right from the first moment you need it.

Here are some pre-winter preparation tips that will put your HVAC system in prime working order and get your home ready for the long, cold months to come:

  • Plug or fill all potential sources of air leakage. Use caulk and weatherstripping to fill in and around windows, doors, pipes, electrical outlets, and other areas where small air leaks can lead to big energy loss.
  • Clean everything. When your home is shut up tight for the winter, your indoor air quality can deteriorate, putting your family at risk for respiratory disorders and other types of allergic reactions. To remove potential sources of contamination, clean your house thoroughly from top to bottom a few weeks before the heating season begins.
  • Inspect your insulation and add more if you find gaps. Attics and basements are areas of special interest. Spray-foam insulation is probably your best bet if you decide to add more insulation, since spray-foam will penetrate and fill cracks, crevices, and small openings wherever they might exist.
  • Check and clean all air vents. Over the course of the summer, your intake and output vents may become clogged with dust, dirt, and other forms of particulate matter. This can restrict air flow and reduce your HVAC system’s efficiency.
  • Add a humidifier to your home comfort arsenal. Humidifiers will help improve air quality, and moist air also feels warmer than dry air, which means you’ll be able to set your thermostat a few degrees lower than normal and still feel comfortable.
  • Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. They should run clockwise (at low speeds) during the winter, drawing cool air upward and forcing warm air downward. The use of ceiling fans in winter can cut heating costs down by 5-10 percent.
  • Change your HVAC air filter. This should be done on a monthly or bimonthly basis during the winter months, depending on the quality of the air filter you purchase. You should avoid the cheap fiberglass models and look for something of better quality—like a pleated or electrostatic filter.
  • Install double-glazed or low e-glass windows. By adding an extra pane of glass or low-emissivity glass coatings, you can cut heat loss through your windows by as much as 40 percent.
  • Have your ductwork inspected and cleaned or repaired if necessary. Find a reliable duct cleaning company with good online reviews (there are scammers out there, so beware!), and make an appointment to have your ducts checked for leakage and/or excessive contamination.
  • Call your HVAC contractor to arrange a full maintenance inspection of your furnace and/or heat pump. A full inspection and tune-up for your furnace and/or heat pump should be a fixture on your autumn “to do” list.  A trained technician can find and repair small problems before they turn into gigantic mechanical failures, while performing basic maintenance procedures that can restore your equipment to tip-top working order.



Annual Home Heating Furnace Checklist

We all look forward to the first hint of cool air to give us a break from the summer heat. We will be able to turn the a/c units off and fire up the furnaces and begin to go through the annual regimen of preparing for the upcoming winter. As we begin the transition from using the a/c to using the furnace, there are a few necessary steps we should consider taking. The heating and cooling systems are very important parts of our homes and need to be taken care of in order to perform properly and to run at the peak of efficient performance. Homeowners need to understand the importance of scheduling yearly inspections of their heating and cooling systems.

What an annual inspection accomplishes.

It is usually a good idea to schedule an annual inspection of your heating and cooling system during the fall season. This is a good time because the outside temperature has usually cooled enough that you do not have to use the cooling system but not enough to need to run the heating part of your system. Usual components such as filters and lines are checked to ensure proper performance. Electrical parts are visually checked for corrosion. If you have gas lines, they are checked for leaks, and all the fittings are checked as well. The burners should also be checked to ensure proper ignition and to make sure they are burning away all of the gas. It is equally important to check the carbon monoxide sensor; the vent is a very important protector against carbon monoxide and needs to be checked to see if it is venting properly.

Tune-ups will  help prevent breakdowns.

A tune-up will ensure the maximum performance of your system. There will be times during the winter when your system will run more than normal to keep your home warm during the harshest weather. You do not want to be snowed in with no way to get out and have your system break down; this will make for long cold nights and will call for emergency efforts which will cost you more.

Tune-ups will save you money.

Much like our automobiles, our heating and cooling systems perform better with annual tune-ups and help us save money on our energy bills. If our automobiles are at peak performance, they will be more efficient and so will our heating and cooling units. Heating and cooling make up about 54 percent of the average energy costs in our homes today. Tune up and save money.

Protect your family.

Damaged, broken, and poorly vented heating equipment can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Your HVAC technician will be able to properly check your system to be sure there are no leaks and that your system vents properly. You owe it to your family to keep them safe. Check with your local HVAC technician to maintain your system properly.




Checking Your Ductwork for Air Leakages

Ductwork leakages are one of the most common causes of energy loss and poor air conditioning and heater performance. This is a simple fix that you can do yourself and solve the issue of air leaks if you know what to look for and can do a simple test to find the
leaks in your ducts. In this article, we will look at the steps it will take to discover whether you have any leaks and what it will take to fix your leaks. Correcting leaks will be very beneficial to the performance of your air conditioner and also your heating unit. Once you discover the leaks, you can do what you need to do to repair the leaks.

Discover your leaks.

The first thing you will need to do is to check to see if your unit is running. Locate the access to your attic. When you enter your attic, be sure to step only on your ceiling joists or lay plywood down to walk on. The first place to feel for air leaks is where the air ducts first begin to come out of the plenum of your air conditioner. The plenum is the huge bow that is setting on top of your cooling coil. Feel around each duct that is coming out of the plenum. You can feel the air on your hand if you have leaks around the ductwork. Make a note of each leak that you find. The next place to check is at each joint of the ductwork. The number of joints can be different depending on the type of ductwork you have. If you have metal ductwork, you will probably have a joint at least every 10 feet depending on the length of your ducts. If you have foil ductwork, you will not have as many joints, but this type of duct work could develop tears along the lengths of ductwork. Feel around each joint to see if you feel air escaping. Also, inspect the whole length of duct work for any additional holes. The last place you need to check will be where the ductwork attaches to the air vent boxes. Remember to mark or note each place that you feel air escaping the ducts.

Repairing your air leaks.

There are a couple of ways to repair your leaks. One of the easiest and least expensive ways is to purchase a roll of duct tape and place it around the spots where your air is escaping. Although this is a simple fix, it is not one that will last for a long time. The heat in your attic will eventually dry out your duct tape causing it to become brittle and crack. If you have foil ducts, this may be the best way to repair the leaks and holes that may have developed in your ducts. You may have to remove some of the insulation to get to the spot that is leaking. Be sure to replace your insulation. If you have metal ducts, the best way to repair the leaks is by using a mastic sealant. This sealant can be purchased at your local building supplies store. You can take a regular paint brush and brush the mastic over any leaks you may have. When the mastic dries it will become hard and seal off any leaks that you have in your duct work. You may also have to remove some of your insulation to properly apply the mastic sealant. This is the recommended method of leakage repair because it will last much longer than duct tape.

If you cannot perform this procedure yourself, you need to hire a professional to do it for you. This is a simple and inexpensive method that will help to bring your air conditioning and heating units back to peak performance. Get this done now before it costs you more in energy costs.