If you can think back to your middle school days, you’ll remember that it’s pretty hot and steamy underneath Earth’s surface. This high temperature is due to magma below the crust. Though outdoor temperatures may change depending on the season, underground temperatures remain relatively consistent due to Earth’s insulation. You’ll find this temperature consistency a mere 4-6 feet below the surface. When magma stays trapped in the Earth’s surface, it can heat underground water. These hot water pools that remain underground are called geothermal reservoirs, and can be harnessed to heat and cool homes and businesses via geothermal heat pumps. Geothermal heating is created when natural heat is pulled to the Earth’s surface. This heat can also be used for electrical purposes. Keep in mind that geothermal HVAC systems have been used for more than 60 years in the U.S.—this is a proven method to cut down on utility bills, consolidate heating/cooling, and tap into a renewable resource. This guide will cover the advantages of geothermal energy as well as a breakdown of how this process works.
Geothermal Heat Pump and Geothermal System
A geothermal heat pump is composed of loops of buried pipes that change function depending on the season. In colder months, heat from the ground is pulled into homes and circulated through a duct system. The system reverses in warmer months; a home’s heat is picked up by the circulating fluids inside the pipes and transferred into the Earth. With a heat pump, an air delivery system uses ducts and a heat exchanger buried in the ground to transfer this heat. A geothermal system is made up of an indoor handling unit, underground pipes (called an ‘Earth loop’), and a pump to reinjection well. The pipes in this system are composed of polyethylene and can be buried vertically or horizontally depending on your space requirements. If an aquifer is available, you also have the option to design an ‘open loop’ system. ‘Open loop’ means a well is drilled into the underground water. Water is pumped up, runs past a heat exchanger and returns to the same aquifer through reinjection. A geothermal heating and cooling system is composed of the heat-pump unit, a liquid heat-exchanger medium, and an air-delivery system (ductwork) or radiant heating.
What is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is the energy stored as heat beneath the Earth’s surface. Geothermal springs have been used for hundreds of years by Native Americans, Romans, and Chinese to heat water for cooking and bathing, but we’ve come a long way. We can now utilize geothermal energy to generate electricity through power plants, one of the many advantages of geothermal energy. Once a geothermal resource is identified, wells are drilled a few kilometers deep and the hot water is extracted. Electricity-generating power plants convert hydrothermal fluids to electricity. Depending on the state of the fluid and temperature, this conversion takes place via dry steam, flash steam or a binary cycle. The dry steam method extracts steam out of fractures in the ground and harvests hot water and steam that can then drive turbines on electricity generators.
Advantages of Geothermal Energy
Great for the planet
If you’re looking into geothermal heating and cooling or geothermal energy for electrical appliances, keep in mind that it doesn’t involve any form of combustion. This is one of the best advantages of geothermal energy! Geothermal has less greenhouse gas emissions, and binary geothermal power plants release NO greenhouse gases. Geothermal power plants generate 1/8th of the CO2 emissions associates with typical coal power plants. The geothermal heat pumps used for heating and cooling are also considered one of the most efficient options available. This status is due to their low electricity requirement (electricity is only used to operate the unit’s fan, compressor and pump). Plus, geothermal energy has a small land-use footprint, producing huge amounts of electricity without taking up much space. Even the United States Environmental Protection Agency agrees that geothermal heating and cooling is the most environmentally-safe and cost-effective option on the market.
Geothermal is renewable
Many ask, ‘is geothermal energy renewable?’ Yes! And it’s one of the major selling points of this option. As a base-load renewable power source, production takes place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No matter the weather, these power plants can operate. It’s expected that geothermal will overpower coal in the traditional utility system in the years to come, presenting a greener option that’s more scalable. Smaller plants can be set up and tailored to applications in individual communities. With geothermal reservoirs naturally replenished, we don’t have to worry about these sources running dry. In fact, geothermal energy will be around for as long as Earth exists.
These geothermal power plants are expected to crop up in more rural areas, creating jobs in smaller cities that rarely experience this level of employment growth. In 2012, a power complex built in Imperial Valley, CA created jobs for 323 workers. The investment cost $1 billion and took four years to complete, but there were 57 jobs that opened up after the project was completed, including maintenance, operations and engineering. Advantages of geothermal energy can be long-term.
Geothermal is limitless
No matter where you live, you have access to Earth’s internal heat. The tricky part is finding a way to extract this heat, but technological advancements have made this extraction process easier. Geothermal heat pumps, for example, have made it possible for people to harvest hot water from reservoirs below the surface to heat homes and businesses. Electricity conversion requires more advanced resources, but industry professionals are working to makes this process easier for everyone.
Utility bill savings
There is a high up-front cost for geothermal energy systems, mostly due to the expensive buried loop systems that are required. However, this initial cost is offset by the savings you’ll receive in the long run. Once the system is running, utility bills can decrease by up to 50%, one of the most popular advantages of geothermal energy In fact, a 30%-60% savings on heating and 25%-50% saving on cooling can cover the initial cost within three years. Lower maintenance costs mean it can be installed and then left alone for years afterward. To alleviate the financial strain, many institutions offer to tie the upfront cost of installation to monthly mortgage remittances or other interest financing options. A 2,000 square-foot home can be heated and cooled for as little as $1/day with a geothermal system. Plus, you can have it set up to supplement your home’s conventional water heater, saving you up to 30% on hot water costs every year. With a simple modification, you can have your geothermal system generating some, if not all, of your hot water. Hot water is stored in your water heater for later use, and heat extracted from the building is sent to the water heater during the cooling cycle. This savings calculator tells you how much you can expect to save by switching to geothermal energy.
High efficiency and low maintenance
The great thing about geothermal heat pumps is that they’re incredibly efficient (using only 25%-50% electric power for geothermal heating and cooling). The life expectancy is much higher for a geothermal system’s parts compared to other heating and cooling mechanisms. Because they have few mobile parts and are housed in a building, they can last a lot longer. The pipes have a warranty of up to 25 years, though the system can only last up to 20 years. Where other options might require frequent maintenance, a geothermal system only needs periodic checks, annual coil cleaning and filter changes when installed properly. A geothermal heat pump’s efficiency is determined by its coefficient of performance (COP), a ratio that compares how much energy the system moves to how much it uses. With a geothermal heat pump, you can expect your COPs to be between 3.0 and 5.0. For every unit of energy used to power the system, 3-5 units are supplied as heat.
Geothermal tax credit
If you purchased a and installed a geothermal system prior, you can claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the U.S. on your purchase for your personal tax credit. This system must be owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. This federal tax credit includes all expenditures related to labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and piping/wiring to interconnect a system to the home. According to energy.gov, “if the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year”. For geothermal system qualification, your system must have been installed prior to 2017. There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008, but the geothermal heat pump must meet federal Energy Star criteria. To qualify for geothermal tax credit 2017, your system must have been placed in service on or after January 1, 2008 and on or before December 31, 2016. Finally, the home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principle residence.
Other advantages of geothermal energy
- No threat of combustion
- Clean/safe (no odors or carbon monoxide)
- Heats and cools home evenly
- Provides dehumidified air in the summer
- Power output can be predicted
- No fuel required
Get Started Today!
If you’re interested in a more thorough look into the advantages of geothermal energy, contact us. We would love to help you get set up with a geothermal heating and cooling system or answer any questions you may have.
Before Replacing your furnace…
1. Bigger is Not Better
A unit too large for your home can lead to the following problems.
- Dramatic High and Low Temperature swings.
- Hot Air moving in short, strong bursts can feel like a warm front blowing through your room.
- Leads to a shorter life of your furnace, and parts may break or crack leading to additional problems such as carbon monoxide leakage.
- Waste of energy, and it will show up on your utility bills.
2. A New Furnace Will Not Automatically Solve Your Problems
- Your Ductwork may need to be sealed or insulated, or you may have connectivity issues.
- Your Attic insulation levels may not be adequate. The biggest air leakage occurs in the attic through electrical and plumbing penetrations, light fixtures, gaps in corners, and recessed lighting.
3. Heat Pumps Really Do Work
- Just like a furnace and AC, – it heats and cools your home.
- Summer: It pulls heat and humidity from inside your home to the outside. Winter: It pulls heat from the outside air into your home.
- Heat Pumps require a back up furnace to heat when temperature drops below 20 Degrees.
4. Humidifiers Aren’t Always the Answer
- Adding a Humidifier to your furnace to solve dry air problems is a band aid.
- The home is not air tight, letting cold dry air into the home.
- A whole-home survey by an Anthony PHC Comfort Advisor will help indicate any leaking air.
5. Electric Furnaces are Not a Better Deal
- Contractors – may recommend an electric furnace because installing a new flu to meet code will take extra work.
- Downside is your utility bill. Electric furnaces will cost 1 to 2 times the money to operate because the cost of electricity is much higher than natural gas.
- Gas furnaces can maintain a higher comfort level and heat your home much faster than an electric furnace.
- Natural Gas is a cleaner fuel than coal powered electricity with lower level emissions.
- In order for you manufacturers warranty on your new furnace to stay valid, annual maintenance is required.
- An Easy Way to maintain annual maintenance is with the Anthony Service Agreement Program (A.S.A.P.) which comes standard with your Anthony PHC furnace installation.
7. Don’t Replace it with a Replica
- Do Not replace with exact same model. Dated units, even if it is brand new, might not meet new efficiency standards or code.
- Replacing the unit with a new high efficiency model will save you money over the long run and allow you to enjoy better comfort and lower utility bills now.
8. Ask for Load Calculations
- Undersized units – Cannot keep up with the comfort needs of the home.
- Oversized Units – Create bigger problems: Short Cycling, dehumidification, shorten life cycle.
- The Correct Size – is based on square footage of your living space, but each home has unique factors such as insulation levels, number of windows and doors, how many people live there.
Whether you live in Lenexa or Liberty or somewhere in between understanding as much as you can about replacing your furnace before you buy will help prevent any type of buyers remorse in the long run.
If you are interested in receiving a FREE ESTIMATE from a Comfort Advisor call (913) 353-8444 or Click Here.
Best Plumbing in Johnson County and Best Heating & Cooling company in Johnson County.
The results are in! Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has been voted by the readers of Johnson County Lifestyle Magazine as the BEST service provider in two categories! After a record number of votes Anthony PHC was selected as the BEST Plumbing and BEST Heating & Cooling company in the area!
Additionally, Anthony PHC was voted by the readers of Leawood Lifestyle Magazine as the BEST Heating & Cooling company in the city.
Since 1951, Anthony Plumbing, Heating Cooling is Kansas City’s most trusted plumbing, heating and cooling provider with “The Technicians You Can Trust With Your House Keys!®”.
Anthony PHC has the largest customer referral network in the Kansas City area. All Anthony PHC technicians are drug tested and background checked, and, holding to a strong heritage of expertise and customer satisfaction, AnthonyPHC technicians participate in weekly classroom and hands-on training.
The Anthony Service Agreement Program (A.S.A.P.), extends the life of customer’s heating, cooling and plumbing system with annual preventative maintenance including semi-annual tune-ups and is widely supported by manufacturers and customers. Anthony PHC provides service seven days a week and is always open to attend to our customer’s needs.
Anthony PHC specializes in plumbing, heating and cooling service, maintenance and installation. Furthermore, Anthony PHC is an industry leader in home automation with its Anthony MyHome line of products.
Owner & Home Comfort Expert, Steve Burbridge proclaims, “We are honored to have been voted as the best plumbing, heating and cooling company in the area as we strive every day to provide solutions for our customers to be safe, healthy, and comfortable with the least amount of energy use. We welcome anyone who is not a current customer to see why we truly are “The Technicians You Can TRUST With Your House Keys!®”.
Is your AC blowing hot air?
There are several reasons why your home AC may be blowing hot air. We’ll go over the different causes, reasons for malfunctions, and troubleshooting for the problem. We’ll also go over causes for your car AC blowing hot air and some quick fixes outside visiting a mechanic.
Home AC Blowing Hot Air
1. Thermostat Setting
If you’ve noticed that your AC is blowing hot air, the first step is to make sure that your thermostat system is set to ‘cool’ and your fan is on ‘auto’ (if you don’t have a whole-home air cleaner). When your fan is on, it’s constantly blowing air through your vents. It can be active even when your system isn’t cooling the air that’s leaving the vents. It’s a good way to improve air quality for those with a whole-home air cleaner, but it doesn’t do much to cool your home if the system isn’t set to ‘cool’. This is a common reason warm/neutral air might be blowing through your vents. You should also lower your temperature setting to be at least 5 degrees below what the room temperature says on the thermostat. Make sure your unit’s temperature isn’t set too high on auto either. Remember to change the setting from ‘heat’ to ‘cool’ in the summertime.
2. Dirty Condenser Unit
Otherwise known as the outside unit, the condenser unit may be the culprit for an AC blowing hot air. The inside and outside unit work together to remove heat from within the home. If there’s anything interfering with the system’s moving parts (dirt, leaves, tall grass, etc.), you’ll need to remove this blockage to get your AC working the way it should. If there’s restricted airflow, the condenser coil won’t be able to do its job. Use a broom to get rid of visible debris and trim brushes, weeds and tall grass that may be interfering with airflow.
3. Dirty Air Filter
Since the air filter protects the inside of your AC unit from dust and dirt, it can prevent proper airflow if not properly maintained. Those who live in warmer climates needs to check their air filter once a month. The filter alone won’t be the cause of your AC blowing hot air. However, it can add to the problem and reduce cooling efficiency. To fix this issue, turn off the unit, order a new filter or clean the dirty filter, then reinstall the filter.
4. Low Refrigerant
When your AC unit is losing refrigerant, the air blowing throughout your home will not be cool. It’s an issue that requires a professional to come take a look at it, because you can’t see a leak with the naked eye. Since refrigerant isn’t ‘used up’ over time, low refrigerant indicates a leak. If you don’t fix the leak, the refrigerant you add will just continue to escape. These leaks could be caused by a loose joint due to frequent use or perhaps the unit was assembled poorly by the manufacturer. Another common culprit is a worn service valve. This is typically caused by turning on the AC after inactivity all winter. You can prevent leakage by having the unit serviced before turning it on for the summer or right after turning it on.
5. Leaky Air Ducts
Other leaks can be responsible for AC blowing hot air. Leaks in air ducts can mess up the system’s cooling process, so contact a professional to locate the ducts within your walls, attic or basement and seal the leaks. When cooled or heated air leaves through the duct leaks, your AC has to run longer to match the thermostat setting. This means you have a higher energy bill on top of warm air. You’ll also have to deal with more AC repairs, hot/cold spots in your home and more frequent filter changing. In most houses, 20-30% of the air moving through the duct system is wasted due to holes, poorly connected ducts and leaks.
6. Loss of Power to Outside Unit
When the outside unit loses power but the inside unit doesn’t, you might notice your AC blowing hot air. Power can be lost in the circuit breaker (check to see if it got tripped) or an emergency shutoff switch. You’ll find this switch on your home’s exterior wall next to the outside AC unit. If the breaker switch (pictured below) is your problem, flip it all the way off and then back on. Normally, breakers flip on or off due to power overload. With too much current, it switches off as a safety precaution. If flipping the breaker back on doesn’t do the trick, contact an Anthony PHC technician. In the even that your breaker is dead, an electrician will need to be called in.
7. Air Conditioner Freezing
Air conditioners can freeze solid into a block of ice, a common reason for your AC blowing hot air. The part of your AC that’s frozen is the evaporator coil. It blocks cool air from entering your home. The motor is what’s providing the heat if the fan isn’t frozen as well. This freezing occurs when condensation builds up within the unit. If the temperature at which the AC Is blowing falls below 32 degrees, the freezing process begins. Where we see this most often is on hot days when homeowners crank up their AC to the highest setting. To prevent this, keep your thermostat between 70 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit on auto. To combat a frozen air conditioner, turn it off and let it thaw over the span of a couple hours. Then, turn the unit back on again. If the problem continues, you may need to contact a professional.
8. Bad Compressor
Your compressor collects cool, low-pressure refrigerant gas from inside, then squeezes the refrigerant and raises its temperature/pressure. When this happens, the transformed refrigerant exits the compressor as a hot, high-pressure gas. If the compressor isn’t working properly, the whole system collapses. Normally these compressors go out due to electrical failures, overheating and refrigerant coming back to the compressor. Compressors are sturdy parts, typically lasting at least 10 years and into 20. This part can be replaced, though it may be more cost-efficient to just purchase a new AC unit.
9. Electrical Problems
If a wire is frayed or damaged, it can cause your AC to underperform or break entirely. Wires can undergo damage from overheating or family pets, so it’s important to keep your wires unexposed. An AC repair company can take care of your broken wires.
Car AC Blowing Hot Air
1. Blocked/Broken Condenser
The condenser, which looks similar to the radiator, is located at the front of your vehicle. It turns the hot, compressed refrigerant into an ambient temperature as it comes from your compressor. It also uses the air your car is traveling through. Without a working condenser, the warm refrigerant travels through the expansion valve. This results in the AC blowing hot air. Condensers are susceptible to blockage because they’re located at the front of the vehicle. You can remove any debris that may be causing the blockage, or remove the condenser yourself if you feel confident in your mechanical skills. The condenser is mounted in with a few bolts and there are 2 refrigerant lines which you will need to remove. If the puncture isn’t visible to the naked eye, you can use UV dye in your AC system to find the puncture point.
2. Low Refrigerant
Refrigerant turns hot air into cold air by taking in and releasing heat, leaving the cool air behind. Low refrigerant can be caused by a loose connection, the escape of refrigerant as time goes on, or an old hose. Even a minuscule leak can be the cause of your car AC blowing hot air. A common refrigerant is Freon, a liquid which is similar to motor oil and radiant coolant. To identify a refrigerant leak, you can check for oily residue around the AC hose units or connections. Leaks can occur in the compressor, condenser and/or evaporator.
3. Broken Cooling Fans
Another possibility is that the vehicle has a broken cooling fan. Condensers need air moving over them to cool the refrigerant. This fan can wear out and eventually die. Another issue may be that the cooling fans blew a fuse or was clogged. Other electrical system failures might include issues with the relays or pressure switches.
4. Worn Out Compressor
The compressor circulates refrigerant through several stages to remove the heat from your car, but it can wear out over time due to contamination or other failed parts. To prevent your compressor from going out, you should run it for 10 minutes once a month in the off season. This can be done by turning on the defroster. You can also visit a mechanical for an AC checkup.
While these are some troubleshooting tactics that you can try when your AC is blowing hot air , we recommend contacting a professional if these tips don’t fix the problem. Our certified technicians receive 100 hours of training each year, and we pride ourselves on being the ‘technicians you can trust with your house keys’. Check out our blog post on air conditioning repair to learn more about how the system works and what you can do to maintain a healthy system.
If you’re considering furnace repair in Kansas City, there are a few things you should know about furnaces first. In this post, we’ll go over the different parts that make up a gas furnace, as well as how these parts interact to give you a heated home. For troubleshooting purposes, this can be a good guide to determine exactly which part of your furnace is in need of repair. Though we don’t recommend conducting furnace repair in Kansas City on your own, understanding how your system works can always be beneficial.
Parts of a Gas Furnace
A gas furnace (aka ‘home furnace’) turns gas to heat and keeps the circulation of indoor air warm. Most gas furnaces operate at 95% efficiency. They are made up of three parts, the first part is composed of a burner, heat exchanger, vent and draft inducer. The second part contains the safety devices and controls (i.e. circuit board relays, thermostat, flame sensors, etc.). Lastly is the blower and air movement. We’ll go over each of these parts to help you better understand how the system works and determine whether you require furnace repair in Kansas City.
The furnace burner is the part where air and fuel are combined, resulting in heat. After this step, the heat is distributed throughout the home. In some cases, the burner has a pre-mixer that mixes the air and fuel. Because of this, combustion is more efficient. Fuel sources can include gas, oil or propane, and a furnace can have more than one burner. Once the thermostat calls for heat, the fuel valve opens and the air intake sucks in air from the exterior of the home. This mixes with the fuel and the pilot light engages. Heated air travels across the heat exchanger, sending warm air into the ductwork. Blower fans take care of the rest.
A heat exchanger makes it possible for heat from a fluid to pass to another fluid without the two fluids mixing together or coming into direct contact with each other. Through this process, it transfers hear from one medium to another via conduction. There are different types of heat exchangers; An air-cooled heat exchanger moves cool air through a core of fins to lower the temperature of the liquid. Shell and tube heat exchangers, on the other hand, move the fluids through and over tubes. What’s important to know about a heat exchanger is that is transfers heat without transferring the fluid that carries the heat. As far as furnace repair in Kansas City goes, this is a part that you need to maintain.
Furnace Vent Pipe
Why is a vent pipe so important? Because it transmits emissions from the combustion process outside the building. This means you never have to worry about toxic gases and harmful byproducts of the heating process. In addition, this part prevents fires. There are three types of vents: natural, direct and sidewall. A natural vent is powered by natural air convection, and they’re standard in most modern gas furnaces. It takes air from within the home for combustion. Since warm air rises, the gases created during combustion rise through the vent. From there, the air is vented outside via a vertical pipe in the roof. A direct vent uses two pipes that are different sizes. An outer pipe sucks in the air from outside to be used for the combustion process, and the smaller pipe inside vents the exhaust fumes. They’re more costly than natural vents, but also have easier installation and less environmental pollution. Finally, the sidewall power vent (aka induced draft fan) is positioned at the end of the exhaust pipe, drawing out combustion gases and expelling them outside. It works with the furnace and is one of the most budget-friendly options out there. These types also are highly efficient and safe.
Essentially, a draft inducer is a fan that’s positioned within the furnace near the heat exchanger. It’s one of the first parts activated once the furnace starts up the heating cycle. It turns on prior to the burners igniting in order to remove the combustion gases that hang around after the previous heating cycle. Draft inducers provide the burners with a consistent source of oxygen. The draft inducer blows the combustion gases out of your furnace before flames are lit, ensuring your furnace is safe for the home. They also improve the system’s efficiency by ensuring you get the most out of your burner’s efforts. Heat production is maximized since it runs the whole time, and heat is evenly distributed within the heat exchanger’s walls.
A thermostat senses the temperature of a system to ensure the desired set point is maintained. This is a ‘closed loop’ control device, because it works to reduce the error between the desired and measured temperatures. With gas furnaces, a thermostat will start drafting the fan to create a column of air flowing up the chimney. Then, the ignitor will be heated. Open gas vales ignite the main burners, and the heat exchangers eventually reach a proper operating temperature for the main blower fans to be activated. Mechanical thermostats work by using the thermal expansion principle (things get bigger when they heat up and smaller when they cool down) to switch an electric circuit on and off. Most thermostats use bimetallic strips or gas-filled bellows.
A furnace blower moves the heated air throughout the duct work in your home, ensuring all rooms are heated evenly. The blower motor is one of the hardest-working parts of your furnace. There are a couple different types to choose from as well. The single speed blower has only two settings: on and off. It’s either at full capacity or nothing. A variable-speed blower motor, on the other hand, gives you a soft start. This means that blowers don’t start out on full throttle when the heater is activated, but rather increase as runtime goes on. This saves on energy, because the blower motor only runs at full capacity when needed. The blower is activated when the heat sequence is initiated. The relay in the circuit board closes, thereby powering up the motor of the blower. When a desired temperature is achieved, the blower is activated by a blower relay in the circuit board.
To ensure optimal safety with your gas furnace, you should follow these steps. For one, make sure your furnace is cleaned and checked every year by a certified Anthony PHC technician. Do this before the heating season. Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home and change your furnace filter regularly. This filter will be located inside the front cover of the furnace and can be accessed via a door on the front of the furnace. When your filter is cleaned regularly, dust doesn’t circulate around your home. Additionally, you should maintain a clean area around your furnace and keep the burner area of your furnace clean. As a rule of thumb, you should never operate your furnace without the front-panel door properly in place. This is where carbon-monoxide poisoning becomes a possibility, since some older models don’t have a safety switch that prevents furnace operation when the panel to the blower compartment is not in place. Keep any combustibles, like paint thinners or gasoline, away from your furnace to prevent fires. By following these steps, you ensure that your furnace can run worry-free. If you’d rather a professional take care of these safety measures, you can call out an Anthony PHC representative to work on your furnace repair in Kansas City.
Why Choose Us
What distinguishes us from the competition is that we offer a two-year, money-back, 100% satisfaction guarantee. This means that you take zero risk by deciding to go with us. A twelve-year parts and labor guarantee ensures your furnace installation in Kansas City is top-quality, and you receive a whole new unit if a major part failure pops up. Plus, we guarantee that your home will be kept at 70 degrees even when it’s zero degrees outside. We promise that your furnace will save on utilities by the time we’re through with it, and we offer a referral-rewards pay-back program. This means you can receive furnace repair for FREE if you have enough referrals under your belt. One of the most annoying things about hiring a technician is having to take a half-day so you can be home during their ridiculous time frame. Not with us. Since we’re the ‘technicians you can trust with your house keys’, all you have to do is leave your keys and let us take care of the rest. Every technician is drug-free and background tested—we have years of experience to back up our technicians’ legitimacy.
If you choose to go with a new furnace, they are test-fired to burn-off any manufacturing oil on the heater exchange. With a noise-dampening package, you can be sure that your furnace will stay as quiet as a mouse. Not only do we file a quality control report with a new furnace installation, but we also train you on how to operate your new system. Contact us if you’d like to receive a free estimate or require furnace repair in Kansas City!
Infrared Garage Heater
It may seem far off now, but winter is coming—and your garage best be prepared when it arrives. Lucky for you, we’ve provided this handy guide to ensure your garage heating is taken care of. Our recommendation is the Auto-ray infrared garage heater, because it has easy installation, doesn’t use electricity and runs on natural gas. These handy devices can heat a 2-3 car garage (500-600 square feet) with hardly any cost to you. We’ll go over the science behind infrared, the perks to using natural gas, the effects of cold weather on your vehicle, and a couple other garage heating options besides infrared.
Since the garage is the area of the house that gets the least home heater attention, it’s important to implement a separate heat source that will de-ice your vehicle and stored items in the wintertime. We know how annoying it is when you have to heat up your car every morning just so you can feel your fingers. If you’ve earned the coveted garage spot, you deserve a warm, ice-free car. Garage heating is the solution. They work great for an out-building or detached work shed. Plus, an infrared garage heater helps the rooms above your garage stay warm too. An infrared garage heater directly heats people and objects, thereby heating the surrounding air to the set temperature. The adjustable thermostat puts the control in your hands, so you never have to finagle with the system. An infrared garage heater is maintenance-free and odor-free. Plus, they’re not noisy like other HVAC units. We offer a one-year warranty on gas control and a five-year warranty on the burner, so you can rest assured that these systems will last you a while.
The infrared garage heater is also CSA certified, meaning an accredited third party has reviewed this product for safety and performance. This reassures retailers, regulators and consumers alike that this product does what it’s supposed to.
How Infrared Heating Works
Before you invest in an infrared garage heater, it’s important to know how it works. Similar to how the sun heats our planet, electromagnetic waves make the molecules oscillate and release energy as warmth. These systems produce sun-like heat tuned between 9-14 micron meters, ensuring safe heating. Where traditional heating systems pump expensive heat into the air only to have it rise to the ceiling of the garage, infrared garage heaters are up to 50% more energy efficient. This type of heating doesn’t suck the moisture out of the air, and it prevents heat loss through ventilation (ie: heat escaping through open doors and windows). In other words, you don’t have to worry about your garage losing its heat just because the garage door is open.
Infrared light isn’t visible because our eyes can’t access the spectrum it’s on. The same works for an infrared heater; the heat is a product of the light that we can’t see. Since our skin and clothes absorb the heat, these heaters aren’t wasting energy on the spaces that don’t need heat. Infrared heaters can use propane, natural gas or electricity. Our preferred infrared garage heater uses natural gas, because it’s the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly option.
Natural gas is the least damaging fossil fuel. It comes from deep beneath the Earth’s surface and is made up mostly of methane. It formed from the remains of decayed plants and animals mixed with sand and silt. The buried layers or organic material were turned into coal, oil and natural gas via pressure and heat. In some spots, the natural gas moved into large cracks and spaces between layers of overlying rock, while some natural gases remained trapped in the tiny spores of shale, sandstone and sedimentary rock. Natural gas has fewer impurities than other fuels, is less chemically complex, and has a generally less harmful pollution output from combustion. Natural gas produces less carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas), sulfur dioxide (acid rain), nitrogen oxides (smog) and particulate matter. On top pf being environmentally friendly, natural gas is also efficient. In fact, 90% of the natural gas produced is delivered to customers as useful energy. On the other hand, 30% of the energy converted to electricity in conventional generating facilities reaches customers.
How the Cold Affects Your Vehicle
Low temperatures and dryness can create trouble for your vehicle. That’s why an infrared garage heater is so important. Leaving your car in a cold environment for long periods of time can have these effects on your car:
- Most cars have several rubber components (ie: windshield wipers, belts around engine, etc.) which are susceptible to altercations from cold weather. Low temperatures can make rubber less pliable, thereby increasing chances of a rip, tear or break. Your windshield wipers can even be less effective during the colder months, because the cold rubber can’t conform to the shape of the windshield.
- Another issue that can arise if your car isn’t kept in a warm location is that your battery can die. If your car is going to be in cold conditions, you should have the battery checked to avoid a surprise dud. Extreme cold (below 30 degrees Fahrenheit) pulls voltage from a battery, which makes it more difficult for your car to start.
- Sometimes when the temperate drops, fluids (oil, antifreeze, power steering, brake, transmission) can thicken, making it harder for your car to function the way it should. In fact, if transmission fluid isn’t flowing quickly, your car won’t function at all.
- Cold air can also affect tire pressure; Tires typically lose 1 pound per square inch for every 10 degree Fahrenheit drop. Tires that aren’t fully inflated won’t perform as well and are especially susceptible to damage in snowy and icy climates.
- Other parts that can be damaged by the cold are wipers and washer solvents. If you clean your windshield before turning on your wipers, you’ll avoid creating more damage. Blades can get torn and wiper transmissions can break when the weather overpowers the freezing point of the washer fluid.
- Spark plugs are another feature that cold weather targets, weakening their reliability. As it gets colder, you’ll have a hard start. If your plugs and wires aren’t in pristine condition, you may have issues getting your car going.
Other Types of Garage Heaters
If you’re not sold on infrared, there are other great options you can look at, such as zoning and geothermal heating. While neither option has the cost-effectivity of infrared garage heaters, they may be the better choice if you’re looking to change up the heating of your entire home.
Zoning lets you customize the temperature for different parts of your home. This means you can funnel extra cooling/heating into the rooms that need it the most without wasting energy changing the temperature of the entire home. The system uses automatic dampers and an electronic monitor to send individual temperature instructions to each of the rooms that are set up in the system. It’s a great option for homes that have multiple levels, have a bonus room off the back or over the garage, have finished areas in the basement or attic, or have a portion of the home built over a concrete slab floor. If you want to heat your garage from the same system as your home heater without using up the same amount of heat, this is a great option.
Geothermal heating works by tapping into the renewable energy in the Earth’s surface to heat or cool your home. This option negates the need for burning fossil fuels at all; Instead, we set up a system to collect the Earth’s temperature via underground water pipes and a ground source heat pump. This saves you up to 70% on your utility bills compared to a conventional system. This is the most environmentally friendly option for heating or cooling your home, and has been approved by the U.S. Department of Energy. They even save owners money by lowering utility bills, cutting out about $129/mo. They end up paying for themselves within 5-10 years, and the government offers a 30% tax credit incentive for purchases on energy efficient products. You can easily access indoor components, and the geothermal heating system lasts 24 years. Not only do they have a longer lifespan, but they also have fewer moving parts to worry about (no maintenance!). Outdoor components, like the ground loop, can last upwards of 50 years. This lowers the amount of energy needed to heat up your garage and the rest of your home.
If you’re looking for a garage heater that will make the most of your budget and harness the warming capabilities of the sun, an infrared heater is the way to go. For those interested in zoning or geothermal heating, we’ve got you covered there too. Contact us, so we can get you set up with your very own system. Keeping your vehicle warm will be worth it in the long run—trust us.
What is HVAC?
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. It encompasses the technology of indoor and vehicular environmental comfort. HVAC is meant to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality using the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. HVAC systems provide ventilation, reduce air filtration, and maintain pressure relationships between spaces. This guide will provide a breakdown of how the different systems operate, as well as causes for your AC blowing hot air. We’ll even go into HVAC in Kansas City and the best systems for our climate.
Ventilation is the process of exchanging or replacing air in any space to provide high indoor air quality. Essentially, this process replaces stale air with clean air via natural or mechanical means. Proper ventilation is made possible by temperature control, oxygen replenishment, and removal of moisture, odors, smoke, heat, dust, airborne bacteria, carbon dioxide and other various gases. This transfer of air sucks out the unpleasant smells and excessive moisture and keeps the interior air moving. Ventilation is the most important factor for ensuring indoor air quality is up to standard.
This type of ventilation is provided by an air handler (AHU), which is used to regulate indoor air quality. Excess humidity, contaminants and odors can be controlled by dilution or replacement with outside air. In more humid climates, more energy is obviously required to extract excessive moisture in the air. Oftentimes, kitchens and bathrooms already have mechanical exhausts that regulate odors and humidity. Your system can vary depending on flow rate (vent size) and noise level. Ceiling fans work by circulating air in a room to make it seem as though the temperature has lowered. This is done by increasing the evaporation of perspiration on the skin. Fans can even be used in the winter to circulate the warm stratified air from the ceiling to the floor.
This type of ventilation utilizes outside air to circulate the indoor air—no fans or mechanisms necessary. Sometimes this ventilation is made possible via trickle vents or operable windows. Another tactic is to allow warm air to rise and flow out of high building openings to the outside. This causes the cooler outside air to be sucked into the low building openings. Though this method may be cost-effective, it doesn’t work as well in climates that are warm and humid. An air-side economizer combines fans, ducts, dampers and control systems to funnel outside air into a building. Natural ventilation is dependent on air change rate or air changes per hour, which is the hourly rate of ventilation divided by the volume of the space. Most buildings and homes require a minimum of four air changes per hour. Natural ventilation also reduces the spread of airborne illness like tuberculosis, mold, influenza and meningitis. Natural ventilation may not be ideal for HVAC in Kansas City unless it’s being utilized during the more mild-weather times of the year, like Spring and Fall.
The heat pump picked up popularity in the 1950’s. They extract heat from various sources (environmental air, exhaust air, ground) and are popular in both warm and cool climates. With heated water and steam, the piping is utilized to move heat into rooms. The modern hot water boiler heating system has a circulator (pump) which moves hot water throughout the distribution system. Radiators, hot water coils, and other heat exchangers transfer the heat to surrounding air. You can even install radiators in the floor to produce floor heat. When water is used for heat transfer, it’s called hydronics. Heated water can also be supplied to the auxiliary heat exchanger for bathing and washing. Warm air is moved throughout a building via duct work systems of supply and return air through metal or fiberglass ducts. These same ducts are tasked with distributing air cooled by an evaporator coil for air conditioning. This air supply is cleaned before it reaches you via air cleaners that take out the dust and pollen particles.
First, the system refrigerant begins as a gas. Then, the compressor pumps the refrigerant gas up to a high pressure and temperature. Once it enters a heat exchanger (aka condenser coil), it loses energy (heat) to the outside, cools and condenses into a liquid. The expansion valve ensures the refrigerant liquid flows at the proper rate. The liquid refrigerant can evaporate once it’s returned to another heat exchanger (evaporator coil). During the evaporation process, the liquid refrigerant absorbs energy as heat from the inside air. From there, it returns to the compressor and repeats the cycle. During this process, heat is absorbed from indoors and transferred outside. This creates cooling. This can also be reversed in climates with dramatic seasonal changes. Using a reversing valve, you can switch from heating to cooling via a reverse flow of refrigerant. This means you can heat and cool a system using only one piece of equipment.
Free Cooling Systems
These systems are incredibly efficient, especially when paired with seasonal thermal energy storage. When these two systems work together, the cold of winter can be released in summer air conditioning. This cold air is stored in either deep aquifers or natural rock masses that are buried beneath the ground and accessed through small-diameter, heat-exchanger-equipped boreholes. Oftentimes, systems with small storages tap into free cooling early in the season and then later utilize a heat pump to chill the circulation coming from the storage. This storage functions as a heat sink when in cooling mode, meaning the temperature increases during the cooling season. With ‘free-cooling mode’, the control system opens the outside air damper and closes the return air damper. As a result, fresh air from the outside is supplied to the system. In the case that the outside air is cooler than the temperature required, the demand is met without using the mechanical supply of cooling. Energy saved! Free cooling systems are a great option for HVAC in Kansas City because of the regions diverse temperature ranges throughout the year.
Where a humidifier might help with your asthma, dehumidification can prevent mold growth in your home. Dehumidification is powered by the evaporator, which operates at a temperature below dew point. When the moisture within the air condenses on the evaporator coil tubes, the moisture collects at the bottom of the evaporator in a pan and is removed by piping to a designated drain or the ground outside. Essentially, a dehumidifier operates like an air conditioner. Instead of controlling the temperature though, it controls the humidity. They’re used most often in basements with a higher relative humidity due to lower temperatures.
By maintaining your HVAC in Kansas City, you ensure that your systems live a long life. All AC systems come with internal air filters (made of lightweight gauzy material) that have to be changed out or cleaned. Environments with high dust levels or furry pets may need their filters cleaned out more often. If you don’t clean out your filter, there will be a lower heat exchange rate—this means you’re wasting energy! Plus, your equipment won’t last as long and your energy bills will increase. If the problem continues and there isn’t enough airflow to de-ice the evaporator coils, the air flow can stop completely. Plug filters that are extremely dirty or plugged filters result in overheating, creating damage and possible fire hazards. You also need to regularly clean the coils (see below), since an air conditioner transfers hear between the indoor and outdoor coils. Condenser coils also need cleaning, otherwise the compressor will suffer damage. The condenser coil discharges the indoor heat and the heat created by the electric motor driving the compressor.
AC Blowing Hot Air
If your AC is blowing hot air, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem. Start with the thermostat setting—make sure you’re set to ‘cool’, your fan is on ‘auto’ and your temperature setting is below what the temperature reads on the thermostat by at least five degrees. A dirty condenser unit (outside) may also be the culprit. Check for debris like dirt, tall grass, or leaves that may be blocking the system. The final issue that you can solve by yourself is a dirty air filter. Warmer weather climates should check their filter more often. A professional will need to be called in if a low refrigerant leak or leaky air ducts are the cause of your AC blowing hot air. A low refrigerant leak means you need to get the problem fixed before you add in more refrigerant—otherwise you’re just putting a band aid on the problem. Leaky air ducts alter your system’s cooling process as well. There are ducts are in your walls, attic and basement, so you’ll need to check all of them to pinpoint the leak.
For any HVAC assistance, including cooling and heating, contact us for service you can trust. Our 24/7 availability ensures you never have to be uncomfortable in your own home. HVAC in Kansas City is our specialty, and our highly trained technicians go through over 100 hours of training each year to ensure we deliver the highest quality of service.
R-22 Refrigerant: A Necessary Cost
Out with the Old in with the New!
According to the EPA, refrigerant is damaging to the environment. Because of this, the price of ozone depleting R-22 refrigerant, which is used in many older air conditioning systems, has risen as much as 500%—and we don’t know how high it might go. These are direct costs that we have to pay and we have no choice but to pass those costs along, which is why your refrigerant may cost more now than during previous service calls.
The U.S. EPA controls how much R-22 can be produced and imported each year through annual allocations. For the last two years the agency has reduced the supply in the hopes of increasing the price of R-22 in order to encourage higher recycling and reclamation rates. This policy, along with a delay in setting permanent allocations for the future, created uncertainty in the marketplace and forced the manufacturers to increase their prices.
The EPA reduced the annual allocation of R-22 in 2012 by about 45% with a short term, temporary allocation. In March of 2013, the EPA finalized the allocations for 2013 and 2014 with an additional overall reduction of 7%. These allocation reductions will continue until 2020 when the production of virgin R-22 will cease. As a professional contractor, our goal is to provide you with the best possible products and services at the best possible value. Unfortunately, we have no control over the cost of a commodity like R-22 refrigerant.
If you have an older system in need of R-22 refrigerant you might want to consider replacing your unit instead of continuing to pour money into expensive refrigerant that is being phased out.
For a Free, no obligation estimate on a new air conditioner click here.
AC Repair in Kansas City
In this post, you’ll learn how to prevent AC failures, the basics of refrigerant, how to avoid scammer repairmen, troubleshooting tips, heat-related illnesses that may come as a result of air conditioner failure, and typical reasons for AC repair in Kansas City. Before we get to air conditioning repair, let’s go over some ways that you can prevent air conditioning failures in the first place.
- For one, homeowners need to keep their system clean by changing out filters every month. Now that may seem like a lot, but it also might save you thousands on a new system. You can change out these filters using an electronic filter system, which is best done by a service man. Annual maintenance is always a good policy as well.
- In addition to changing out filters, you should clean the outside of the unit (condenser) by washing it out every month. This is especially important when you have a lot of stuff flying around in the air, like cottonwood or plants that may clog it up. Once clogged, the system cannot function properly.
- Just like how you go to the doctor for a checkup, your air conditioning system needs a checkup every once in while too. Contact a professional that can apply gauges to your unit and check refrigerant levels and other components of your system.
Speaking of, let’s talk about refrigerant. These stable, nonflammable, moderately toxic gases or liquids are most often used as refrigerants and aerosol propellants. They include CFCs, which contribute to ozone depletion. That means that by moderating your refrigerant levels, you help the environment. Some newer refrigerants include fluorine instead of chlorine, so they don’t affect the ozone layer. Another reason to regulate refrigerant levels is to avoid refrigerant poisoning. This can happen when someone is exposed to the chemicals used to cool appliances. When refrigerant is deeply inhaled, it can cut off oxygen to your cells and lungs. If you regularly inhale refigerant, you may suffer from breathing problems, fluid buildup in the lungs, organ damage and even death.
According to the EPA, refrigerant is damaging to the environment. Because of this, R-22 refrigerant is being phased out by another coolant, R-410A refrigerant, which can be more expensive. Since the R-22 refill price has rose more than 500% over the last ten years, many have decided to just go with a new system instead.
Now let’s say that you need AC repair in Kansas City because these preventative tips just didn’t do the trick. It’s essential that you don’t get jipped by some shoddy company that’s going to give you a low initial price and then bump it up once the job is done. You also don’t want a technician that hasn’t had the proper training to deal with your problem.
Troubleshooting and Warranties
Just recently, Phoenix’s record-breaking summer weather drew in dozens of air conditioning repair scams. To avoid AC repair scams, you should troubleshoot the problem first. Check to make sure that the electrical breaker hasn’t been tripped, and ensure that the thermostat is operating. Next, take a look at your warranty coverage. If your air conditioner is under the manufacturer’s warranty, you may be in luck. The owner’s manual should be able to tell you this information.
If you want to be sure that you’re contacting a trustworthy business, research contractors with the Better Business Bureau or sites like Angie’s List. Google Reviews can be helpful in determining whether you’re getting scammed or not since reviews are now being verified. Another good rule of thumb is to verify their license by searching the Kansas City Registrar of Contractors. You can even see the history of complaints filed against the company in question. We recommend this for all AC repair in Kansas City.
Multiple Bids and Written Contracts
To make sure you’re getting a competitive price, obtain multiple bids for extensive repairs. Also, find out the proper size unit to cool your home and how energy efficient different units are. We offer free estimates, so you don’t have to worry about a surprise price tag at the end of the project. In fact, we encourage you to obtain a written contract of the equipment and services the company is selling and review this document before signing anything.
If your air conditioner requires a refrigerant to fix it, you may be dealing with some costly repairs. Since Freon is being phased out for environmental reasons, alternatives are becoming more expensive. Where 20 years ago an R-22 could be bought for $20 wholesale, the same product is now $800. The newer AC units use the coolant R-410a, but R-22 is still in use by older models. Because of this price increase, counterfeits which can wreck your AC are multiplying. These fakes can create compressor problems, cause explosions, and initiate fires. It’s important that you verify your AC repair in Kansas City before making a purchase.
As trained professionals, we know a counterfeit refrigerant from the real thing. By locating a special seal enclosing the valves of the canisters and ensuring our wholesaler is reputable, we ensure you get a quality refrigerant. Some R-22 manufacturers have started adding specially designed security labels to their products to prove their legitimacy to contractors. As a consumer, you should make sure your technician has an EPA Section 608 Certification. This proves that they’re knowledgeable about ozone depletion, substitute refrigerants and safety. Be skeptical of unbelievably cheap price quotes for an R-22 recharge—this may indicate that your technician is using a counterfeit.
Heat waves aren’t exclusive to Phoenix, so be prepared for a summer of sweat and tears if that AC goes out. Heat-related illnesses include heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Heat cramps normally occur in the hands, calves, and feet, and make your muscles feel hard and tense. Heat exhaustion is identified by fatigue, nausea, headache, excessive thirst, muscle aches, weakness, anxiety, sweats, slowed heartbeat, dizziness and fainting. Heat stroke symptoms include nausea and vomiting, dizziness, flushed skin, decreased sweating, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, decreased urination, blood in urine, increased body temperature and convulsions. Heat stroke is the most serious of these heat-related illnesses, so seek immediate medical attention If you or someone you know shows symptoms. You can avoid these illnesses by staying hydrated and staying in cool places. If you’ve experienced an AC system failure, relocate to a cool space if possible and await our 24 hour services. You might also invest in thick shades to keep out the sun’s heat. Because the sick/elderly and infants are more susceptible to these illnesses, air conditioning repair services typically prioritize service for them.
Are Air Conditioners Fire Hazards?
With summer heat slamming the country, air conditioners are needed now more than ever. Unfortunately, these machines can also pose a fire risk with added work load and maintenance negligence. From 2010-2014, there were 2,800 air conditioning-related fires in homes. Rising temperatures strain air conditioning units, causing electrical issues which can catch nearby combustibles on fire. The key ways to combat this hazard are by changing the filter, ensuring units are receiving adequate power supplies, and avoiding the use of extension cords or power outlets. Extension cords can overheat and start a fire. Our professional recommendation is to clear a circle around your unit to keep out any combustible material. You can also anchor the unit into a window opening to ensure that, in the case of a fire, the seal between the bracket and opening will prevent the flames from entering the house.
Common Problems with Air Conditioners
More often than not, your air conditioner is out for the running due to refrigerant leaks and electronic control failure. With a refrigerant leak, your air conditioner is low on refrigerant due to either a leak or poor installation. In the case of a leak, all you have to do is fix the leak, test the repair, and charge the system with the appropriate amount of refrigerant. This charge should match the manufacturer’s specifications for optimal performance. An electronic control failure happens when the compressor and fan controls wear out, an issue caused by the air conditioner being turned on and off frequently. The wires and terminals can fall prey to corrosion, so your serviceman for AC repair in Kansas City should take a look at all parts of your system before proceeding with a diagnosis.
- Turn your unit off if it isn’t cooling. Running it only causes more damage.
- Reset dampers for air conditioning at the beginning of the cooling season.
- Don’t turn on your air conditioning if the outside temperature is below 60 degrees.
- Ensure that you have attic insulation and weather-stripping on your windows and doors.
- Check to make sure ducts are insulated.
- Keep outlets and returns clear of obstruction and dust.
As experts at our craft, we know exactly how to handle AC repair in Kansas City. Our servicemen receive 100 hours of training per year to ensure we stay up to date with the latest trends. Contact us for immediate assistance with your air conditioning or for a free estimate. If you need AC repair in Kansas City, we’re your guys.
Hot Water Heaters
Hot water heater not working? If you have hot water heater problems, this guide will provide a breakdown of the types of hot water heaters, the different features of a hot water heater, and some troubleshooting tips that you can do on your own! Whether your hot water heater is leaking, making some strange noises, or releasing an unpleasant odor, we’ve got the solutions to your problems.
Most water heaters have an 8-12 year warranty, so expect plenty of repair needs after you hit that mark. This time frame can be made even shorter in homes that don’t have water softeners. Since water heating makes up about 20% of your energy bill, it’s well worth it to invest in a new water heater that will boost efficiency by 4% (in water heaters under 55 gallons). Water heaters over 55 gallons can cut utility bills by 25-50% when replaced. The price of a water heater depends on the number of gallons they hold.
When considering size, keep in mind that it’s only the first-hour rating (FHR) for storage-tank water heaters that matters. This tells you how much hot water the heater can deliver over a set period of time (the first hour). If you keep trying to use hot water after you’ve used up your allotted time, the water will turn tepid or cold.
An on-demand water heater doesn’t hold any water unless it has an auxiliary tank, but there is a limit on how much hot water it can produce in each time period (GPM: gallons per minute). You’ll receive a steady output of hot water as long as you don’t run multiple sources at once, like the shower and dishwasher. Several newer models of hot water heaters are wider and taller than previous models due to increased insulation, so make sure you have room before you bring a new one in.
Storage Tank Water Heaters
Storage Tank Water Heaters are the most common types, and are made up of insulated tanks in which water is heated and kept until required. Then, the water emerges from a pipe on top of the water heater. If you go with a natural gas water heater, you’ll be using less energy at a lower cost than electric water heaters. However, these models also cost more at the time of the purchase.
Tankless Water Heater
For a tankless, on-demand water heater, water is heated through coils when you need the hot water. This is an energy-efficient method, but provides only a limited flow of hot water per each minute (3.5 gallons). This means that it’s an ideal option for those who don’t normally draw water for more than one use at a time, like running the dishwasher and shower both at once. This is the best option for homes that utilize natural gas to heat the water. The electric models sometimes need a costly upgrade for the home’s electricity capacity though.
Heat Pump Water Heater
If you choose to go with a heat pump (hybrid) water heater, expect some energy conservation. They capture heat from the air and transfer it to the water, using up to 60 percent less energy than standard electric water heaters. They come at a higher price, the installation process is similar, and the payback time is quick. They aren’t a great option for cold spaces, and should be placed somewhere that has a temperature between 40 and 90 degrees. With the heat pump on top, the hybrid water heater may need 7 feet of clearance from floor to ceiling. In addition, you’re going to need 1,000 cubic feet of uncooled space to capture enough heat from the air. Plus, you’ll need a drain nearby to discharge the condensate.
Solar Water Heater
Solar water heaters work by absorbing the sun’s heat via a roof-mounted cell and transferring it to an antifreeze-like fluid in a closed-loop system that funnels into the water tank. They save the most money in the summertime, and most employ a backup system that kicks in whenever necessary. You may be waiting 10 to 30 years to recuperate your costs though, so invest wisely.
Condensing Water Heater
The final option is a condensing water heater, which heats with gas and has a unit capacity of over 55 gallons. The tanks are similar to a conventional water heater except they absorb exhaust gases that would typically go out the flue (wasting energy). The gases are then blown through a coil that’s located in the base of the unit. From here, incoming cold water can absorb a large portion of the heat.
Hot Water Heater Features
Besides being knowledgeable about the different types of hot water heaters, you should also be versed on the different features of a hot water heater. For one, your warranty will determine how confident you can be with your purchase. Some warranties run as low as 3 years, so keep in mind that these heaters may not be the best quality. Heaters with longer warranties also tend to have larger elements or burners that make the water heating process faster and thicker insulation to reduce heat loss. Don’t be cheap with your water heater or you’ll be replacing it all the time.
Anti-scale devices (pictured below) reduce the buildup of mineral scale at the bottom of the tank by swirling the water. Even though scale can shorten the life of your heater, this may be a pricey investment. In addition, you can choose between brass and plastic drain valves, which are situated near the base of the water heater. They drain the water heater essentially. The brass valves will last longer! The glass-linked tanks are designed to slow down corrosion, and digital displays make it easy for you to monitor levels and adjust settings. The ability to adjust electric/heat-pump hybrid water heaters means you can set a vacation mode. In this mode, your heater will use just the heat pump for added efficiency while you’re gone.
If you’re concerned that the hot water you’re receiving is either too hot or not hot enough, adjust the temperature dial on the front of the water heater. After waiting for a bit, check the water temperature at your faucet. If this tactic doesn’t work, it may be that your undersize water heater isn’t able to accommodate new fixtures that are draining on your water source (ie: high flow shower head). If this is the issue, you may need to purchase a larger water heater or get a tankless water heater. Keep in mind that drops in outdoor temperature will affect how hard your water heater has to work. Not only does your heater have to maintain the cold inbound water, but there’s also water cooling as it travels through the pipes.
Hot Water Heater Leaking
Another thing you can check for while troubleshooting is whether your hot water heater is leaking—look for signs of water near the base. If neither of these factors seems to be the problem, try flushing the water heater tank to clear out the mineral deposits. You might also check that the temperature-pressure relief valve is working correctly, since a faulty one will cause pressure to build up in the boiler. If your water is too hot, there’s too much steam, or you hear boiling sounds within the water heater, it may be that your appliance isn’t shutting off at its set temperature. If the temperature-pressure relief valve doesn’t release the excessive pressure from steam buildup, your water heater may have been improperly installed or the valve is faulty. You’ll need to replace it or get it fixed.
If you experience a strange odor coming from your hot water heater, this may “be caused by a reaction between the hot water heater’s anode rod and water that has a high concentration of sulfates” according to hometips.com. Let the hot water run for two or three minutes. If you get a rotten egg smell, try flushing the hot water heater tank. If this doesn’t work, replace the anode rod (with one that’s flexible if you have limited space above your tank). With a garlic-like scent, it’s likely that your pilot light went out. To fix this, you should turn the gas valve control off and wait until the smell has dissipated before you relight the pilot light. If the smell still doesn’t disappear, call a professional and leave the location.
Noises are another issue you may come across with your hot water heater. These can be caused by the metal parts expanding and contracting, drips, or minerals/hard water scale accumulations within the tank. In order to prevent water heater corrosion through ionization, water heaters include a magnesium or aluminum anode rod (pictured below) which is inserted through the top of the tank. The buildup of hard water sediment which heats up and explodes in the tank can also be the culprit behind your noisy hot water heater. To remedy this, you can flush out the tank or contact a professional to get it taken care of.
If you experience any issues with your hot water heater or need a new system installed, contact us! We specialize in hot water heaters in Kansas City.