Brilliant Home Services Blog : Archive for the ‘Heating’ Category

Why Is My Furnace Leaking Water?

Monday, February 20th, 2017

February is ending with a few warm weather surprises here in Chicagoland. Some days have even gotten up into the 60s! But we can’t let this deceive us into believing that it’s already time to shut down our furnaces for the season: March is infamous for the way it can throw harsh cold snaps at us, and even April can turn chilly. Your gas furnace isn’t done with its workload yet—and it’s more important than ever to act fast and call for furnace repairs if you should notice any furnace behavior that doesn’t look right.

And water leaking from the bottom of your furnace? Yeah, that definitely doesn’t look right!

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A Caution about Electric Furnace Efficiency Ratings

Monday, February 6th, 2017

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Last week we discussed how the efficiency ratings for furnaces work. The short version: a gas furnace’s efficiency is rated as AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency), a percentage that tells you how much of the furnace’s natural gas fuel supply it converts into heat. The current ENERGY STAR requirement for furnaces is 90% AFUE or above.

“Okay, but what about electric furnaces?” you might ask. “How do they score on AFUE?”

It’s good question. And the answer is a deceptive one: electric furnaces have 100% AFUE.

“So I should always get an electric furnace, right? Even the highest end gas furnace doesn’t get 100% AFUE! An electric furnace has a perfect score!”

Okay… this is one of difficulties in explaining AFUE to people unfamiliar with it. AFUE doesn’t actually tell you how much you’ll pay to run your furnace. “Higher Efficiency” isn’t equal to “Lower Cost.”

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Why Are Newer Furnaces More Efficient Than Older Ones?

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

furnace-burners-ignitedCurrent home heating systems work better and at higher energy efficiency than ones from 20, 30, even 10 years ago. We can chalk this up to an investment in research to improve the products, as well as the nebulous idea of “progress.” But there are specifics behind why heaters waste less energy today than the models of the not-too-distant past.

For example, look at the natural gas furnace. Gas furnaces once had AFUE ratings between 56% and 70%. That means that even at the most efficient level, a furnace was converting only 70% of its natural gas into heating power and letting 30% go to waste.

Fast-forward to today. The best furnaces available for homes have AFUE ratings of 98.5%, which means only 1.5% of the natural gas goes to waste. Lower-end furnaces can have AFUE ratings between 85% and 90%. The standard for a furnace to earn the ENERGY STAR label from the Department of Energy is 90% AFUE.

So the question is: “What’s changed?” Well, quite a bit!

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Why Is My Heat Pump Struggling to Warm the House?

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Nothing can be more frustrating during another icy cold Chicago winter than to have a heating system that simply isn’t delivering the level of heat that a home needs. If you have a heat pump and you’re currently running into problems with cold spots around the house and what seems like a forever wait until people feel warm, you’ll want to know what’s wrong.

Let’s take a look and find out how to get your home pleasant once again:

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Why Your Heater May Be Tripping the Circuit Breaker

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Your heater receives power from your home’s electrical system (yes, even a gas furnace or boiler—we’ll get to that). That means your heating system could cause a circuit breaker in the electrical panel to trip when it’s running. If this happens once, but doesn’t reoccur after you reset the breaker, then it’s probably not a major problem. But if is happens more than once, you may need heating or electrical repairs to solve the problem.

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Replace that Old Boiler before It Breaks Down!

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

With winter here in full force, you can’t afford to have your home’s boiler give out on you. If you arranged for professional maintenance for your boiler before the winter started, it ought to be in excellent shape. But nothing is certain, especially if you have an old boiler that’s getting close to replacement age.

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Furnace Repair Signs to Look For

Monday, December 12th, 2016

The outdoor thermometer is rapidly dropping now that we’re in December—and the actual official start of winter isn’t even here yet! (It’s the 21st of December if you want to mark your calendar. It’s also the shortest day of the year, so if you need some extra lighting, give us a call.) You’ve got your furnace already fired up to keep your home warm. If it received its regular maintenance during the fall, it should be in good shape for winter. But you still need to keep a close watch on it during these early months; the sooner you catch malfunctions, the easier they are to fix, and the less likely they are to cause the system to breakdown.

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A Few Carbon Monoxide Warnings for the Winter

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Back in August we wrote a post about how important it is for you to have carbon monoxide detectors installed for your house if you use natural gas. As we’re getting closer and closer to winter and can expect to see even more use from our natural gas furnaces, it’s a good time to bring up a few important reminders about the dangers of carbon monoxide and how to keep your family safe through the season.

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High-Efficiency Heating Systems and How You Can Save

Monday, November 14th, 2016

There are many good reasons to decide to retire your old residential heating system this fall in preparation for winter:

  • It’s just too old (more than 15 years)
  • It can no longer deliver the heating levels you need
  • It’s breaking down all the time
  • It costs too much to run

We’re going to take a look at that last point, because the advances in high-efficiency heating systems today means you can replace your energy-draining heater for one that works better than your current one ever did when it was new.

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Boiler Maintenance: Yes, You Need It before Winter!

Monday, October 31st, 2016

We recently took a look at 5 reasons why boilers make a great pick for heating a home. But if you already have a boiler, you know all about these advantages. This is the post for you: how to make sure that you keep getting those same advantages winter after winter from your home’s boiler.

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