Heating Frequently Asked Questions
Unless you are an HVAC professional, determining the size of a replacement furnace can be a daunting task. A trained heating specialist is familiar with all industry standards and can evaluate your home for not only the heating appliance but also the quality of the heated air and proper air distribution throughout your home. In some cases, a "Heat Loss, Heat Gain" calculation is necessary to determine the correct furnace size. Additionally, changes made to your home since the previous furnace was installed, such as new windows, doors, wall and attic insulation, exterior changes, additions, and other appliances, can all have a significant impact on the size of the furnace needed today. While a consumer can provide a contractor with the make and model of their existing furnace, without a complete home analysis, it's impossible to accurately determine the proper size of the replacement furnace equipment.
Determining the best time to replace a furnace involves many factors, including its current operating efficiency, condition, make, model, and age. While a general rule-of-thumb is that a furnace should be replaced every 10 years, this is a somewhat broad generalization. Many well-maintained furnaces may last much longer, while less efficient or lower quality models may only last a few years. To determine the best time to replace your furnace, it's important to have an HVAC inspection and energy analysis performed on your heating and cooling system. We offer this service as part of any appointment, and scheduling a certified technician to perform the analysis can provide you with valuable information on furnace options available to you. Because every home and individual is different, a Comfort Adviser can help you find customized solutions for your specific comfort needs.
Heating system maintenance is not only a good idea for optimal performance, but it is also a legal obligation in most provinces in Canada. Fuel safety regulations require owners of furnaces and boilers that burn fuel, such as oil, natural gas or propane, to maintain their equipment in safe operating condition. This is because improperly maintained equipment can pose a risk to building occupants. Annual regular maintenance is recommended by all heating equipment manufacturers, and it's important to have properly trained technicians with the appropriate fuel safety certificates and trade licenses perform this maintenance. While homeowners can handle basic routine maintenance, such as replacing air filters on a furnace, a whole industry of trained and licensed professionals is available to assist homeowners and commercial building owners in meeting their equipment maintenance obligations. Regular maintenance not only ensures safe operation of the equipment, but it also makes the system work as effectively and efficiently as possible, providing thermal comfort throughout the home or building while minimizing energy consumption.
Carbon Monoxide or CO for short is a by product of incomplete burning of fuels, including wood, heating oil, propane, natural gas, kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel, coal or charcoal. Equipment that are not maintained properly, inadequate fresh air supply for safe burning and venting of exhaust gases, and a deteriorating or blocked chimney or flue can create a carbon monoxide hazard in your home. Careless use of equipment can also create such a hazard. If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in the home, open windows immediately to allow fresh air inside. Turn off all heating appliances.If you feel weak or need emergency assistance call 911 immediately.Seek medical advice for physical symptoms and have a licensed gas contractor inspect your home and gas appliances. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real threat in today's energy efficient houses. Most modern houses are so tightly sealed that carbon monoxide cannot escape as easily as it can in drafty old houses. Carbon monoxide detectors can help. You should check your CO detector annually to make sure proper operation.
- Install a digital programmable thermostat and set it 3°Celsius (5 ̊ Fahrenheit) lower when you’re asleep or away from home
- Clean, inspect, or replace your furnace filter every three months
- Seal drafty windows, doors, and electrical sockets with weather stripping or caulking
- Keep drapes closed at night and open on sunny days
- Set your water heater dial to 120°F
- Install a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) to recover lost heat from the building
- Use your dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand and save up to 40% in energy usage
Heat exchangers are a crucial component of forced-air high-efficiency furnaces used in residential and light commercial applications. They are typically made of stamped stainless steel sheet metal or tubes and are designed to transfer heat quickly between gas/oil combustion products and the air being heated. In such systems, there are two interconnected parts - primary and secondary heat exchangers. The combustion products pass on one side of these heat exchangers, and air to heat on the other side. However, during combustion, condensation water is produced, which can be corrosive and damage the heat exchanger over time if it's not made of durable materials. Carrier secondary heat exchangers, for example, have been found to be defective due to the use of propylene to laminate inside secondary heat exchangers. If left unchecked, such defects can lead to hazardous situations such as combustion products entering the living space. Therefore, regular maintenance and timely replacement of damaged heat exchangers are crucial to ensure the safe and efficient operation of your heating system. Click here to learn about Carrier heat exchanger issues for older models.