Archive for the ‘Heating’ Category

Are There Toxic Gases in My Heater?

Monday, April 7th, 2014

People sometimes think of home heating systems as potentially hazardous machines because they contain toxic and combustible gases. While it’s true that many heaters do contain gases that can create dangers, 1) not all of them do, and 2) the systems that do are still extremely safe thanks to modern technology. However, these systems still require regular maintenance and prompt repairs to make sure they remain safe.

Whatever type of furnace you have handling your home heating in Mahomet, IL, you can trust to the maintenance and repair services of Lanz Heating & Cooling to keep it working without danger. 

Heaters and toxic gases

Let’s clear up first the heating systems that use no toxic or combustible gases whatsoever: heat pumps, electric furnaces, electric boilers, and ductless mini splits. These all use electricity to power them. They can pose fire hazards from poor wiring, but that’s it.

The heaters that use gas are gas-powered furnaces and boilers. These are among the most common types of heaters in the U.S., which is why people often feel concerned about all heaters. The power of natural gas is both effective at generating high levels of heat and also less expensive as an energy source than electricity, propane, or oil.

Natural gas is a hydrocarbon gas that consists mostly of methane, but also carbon dioxide (CO2). The gas you receive through the municipal line is refined natural gas with impurities removed. CO2 is not defined as a toxic gas, although high concentrations can create dizziness from an asphyxiating effect. However, carbon dioxide isn’t the chemical that concerns people with natural gas furnaces. That is carbon monoxide (CO), which is an exhaust product from the burning of natural gas. CO is highly combustible and toxic, as well as colorless, tasteless, and odorless—making it a major health concern.

In a gas furnace or boiler, the CO exhaust generated from burning the gas to release heat is safely vented from the indoors through an exhaust flue, and heat exchangers keep the CO from contact with the air that furnaces send through vents. Other safety mechanisms on the heaters work to keep carbon monoxide from escaping into the outside air.

You should encounter no serious issues with CO leaking from your heating system as long as you keep the system repaired and well maintained. However, it is a good precaution to have CO detectors installed in your home to warn you in case of an accident.

Call Lanz Heating & Cooling to sign up for our maintenance program to take care of your gas-powered furnace or boiler. (You should have it for any heater to keep it working effectively and efficiently.) Our technicians will come to your home once a year, usually during the fall, and inspect your system to make sure it remains in good working order. We also have 24-hour emergency service to make sure that you receive the home heating help you need, when you need it. For all your heating needs in Mahomet, IL, look to the professionals at Lanz Heating & Cooling to help keep you safe and warm all year round.

How to Plan for Heating Installation

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Installation of a new heating system is a serious investment in your home. It can pay great dividends in terms of comfort, as well as saving money on monthly bills and improving the resale value of your home, which makes it all the more important that your do your homework beforehand. Heating installation in Urbana, IL can provide reliable advice and help you make the best decision possible for your condition. Every home is different, and a qualified technician can help you with specifics. But in general terms, here’s a few guidelines on how to plan for heating installation.

First, you need to determine the best type of system for your house. When most people think of heating systems, they think of forced-air furnaces or traditional boilers. But there are numerous other options out there – including heat pumps and geothermal systems– that might prove a better fit for your home. Some of these systems require no ducts (an important factor if your home doesn’t have a lot of crawlspace), while others suit places with larger tracts of property or homeowners interested in environmentally friendly alternatives. You need to decide which one suits your circumstances the best.

After that, you need inspect your space in order to size your heater. Heaters generate a set amount of power, which needs to match the size and conditions of your home accurately. If it’s too powerful, it will cycle on and off rapidly, costing you in wasted energy and increasing strain on the unit as a whole. If it’s too small, it will struggle to heat your home and similar problems will emerge. A good energy audit – taking such factors as square footage, insulation and sunlight exposure – will help you size your unit properly.

Finally, you need to select an installation company that knows their business, and stands ready to give you the best system for your circumstances. For heating installation in Urbana, IL the experts at Lanz Heating & Cooling are standing by to help. We know how to plan for heating installation and can help you get all your ducks in a row before installing your new system with professionalism and care. Give us a call today to set up a consultation, and let us show you what we can do!

Clean Furnaces Mean Efficient Heating

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Any heating or cooling system in your home requires a yearly maintenance visit from a professional. Maintenance encompasses different tasks: adjustments, checks, replacements, and cleaning. We want to draw your attention to the last of these, cleaning, and explain why it’s important to have clean furnaces in Urbana, IL. It isn’t only an issue of safety and longevity, but also an issue of efficiency: according to the Department of Energy, a furnace that receives a yearly cleaning during maintenance will cost less to run than a furnace that is neglected.

It’s never too late to start with furnace maintenance. To schedule the work necessary to keep your heating costs down and your furnace’s life expectancy up, call Lanz Heating & Cooling today.

How a Cleaner Furnace is More Energy-Efficient

There are a number of places in a furnace where cleaner components make an enormous difference in how well the furnace works.

  • Motors: Furnaces use a number of motors to operate. The key ones are the blower motors that power the fans. Motors that develop a layer of dirt over them will experience an increase in friction in their moving parts, which will make them strain harder and drain energy. Eventually, this level of stress will cause a motor to burn out.
  • Burner unit: For gas furnaces, it is important that the burner unit where the gas jets ignite remain clean so that the jets can draw the necessary oxygen. Should grime start to contaminate the burners, they will struggle to come on and will begin producing less heat and wasting energy.
  • Ventilation: In furnaces that use combustion from natural gas or heating fuel, the exhaust from the combustion must vent up a flue after the heat is transferred to the air. When dirt begins to form in the ventilation flue, the furnace’s efficiency will drop. (This is also a major safety hazard and will need immediate remedy.)
  • Heating elements: For electric furnaces, the coils of the heating elements must remain clean for them to easily transfer their heat to the air. Dirt not only reduces how well they provide heat, it can also cause the elements to burn out.

During a regular heating maintenance visit from a licensed HVAC professional, your furnace will receive an inspection of all its major components to find places where dirt and dust may have started to create problems. The technician will apply cleaning where necessary and recommend scheduling repairs if the dirt build-up has triggered the need for more work.

At Lanz Heating & Cooling, we are now into our second decade of providing residents with heating services in Urbana, IL. From installation to repairs and maintenance, we cover it all. Call us to start a maintenance program for your furnace.

Traits of a High-Efficiency Furnace

Monday, January 20th, 2014

The term “high efficiency” is enough to interest most homeowners in installing a high-efficiency… well, anything… in their house. Efficiency means performance with less energy drain, and in these times when people are more energy-conscious than ever, high-efficiency appliances are very popular.

At Lanz Heating & Cooling, we’re familiar with one of the most common of all high-efficiency devices: the high-efficiency furnace. In this post, we’ll explain exactly what a this type of furnace does and how it saves energy. If you’re interested in looking at options for high-efficiency furnaces in Champaign, IL, call our heating professionals today.

The basics of the high-efficiency furnace

Let’s first shine the spotlight on how efficiently these furnaces can perform. The energy efficiency of a furnace is measure as AFUE, a percentage rating that indicates how much fuel a furnace converts directly to heating. Standard furnaces have AFUE ratings between 78% and 85%. But high-efficiency models can reach 95% or even 98%, which means almost no wasted fuel. The energy savings in just a single year when you convert to a high-efficiency model can be tremendous.

What differentiates a high-efficiency furnace is the power of condensing. Instead of one heat exchanger, a high-efficiency furnace contains two. The first heat exchanger does the standard job of any furnace: it collects high-temperature combustion gas from the burners and transfers the heat to the exchanger walls, where they in turn heat up the air blown across them. This process leaves behind a liquid vapor, which the furnace then vents out.

However, in a high-efficiency furnace, the liquid vapor moves to the second heat exchanger, where the liquid is condensed and releases more heat to supply to the air. The energy of the vapor isn’t wasted, but used. This is the primary trait of a high-efficiency furnace: condensing excess vapor to provide additional heating power.

High-efficiency furnaces cost more than standard furnaces, as you might expect based on their higher complexity. However, they will start to pay for themselves with their energy savings. Whether this is the best choice for your home and budget is something you will need to discuss with an installation specialist. In some cases, a standard furnace might work as well or better for you than a high-efficiency one. In other cases, high efficiency is the clear way to go.

For advice on high-efficiency furnaces in Champaign, IL, call Lanz Heating & Cooling. We install, repair, and maintain a variety of different furnaces, as well as boilers and heat pumps. Let our experts find the ideal heating option for your home.

Why Does My Home Have Hot and Cold Spots?

Friday, December 20th, 2013

It can be a troubling question: why does my home have hot and cold spots? That usually depends on the kind of heating system you have. Providing heating services in Mahomet, IL most always includes servicing a wide variety of systems, including heat pumps, boilers and traditional furnaces. Hot and cold spots tend to arise from systems that use fans or a centralized duct system to distribute heated air to your home. The issue can be repaired, but it usually takes an expert to do it.

Systems that use radiant heat tend to warm rooms evenly, which is part of what makes them so efficient. Fan-driven heat is less efficient, though it costs less to install and can often be simpler to repair when trouble arises. It blows air through your home, which generally heats the house but is dependent on the currents created by the air flow to do so. If those currents aren’t perfect, they can create temperature variations, leading to hot and cold spots.

The ideal solution is to shift the position of the vents, moving them to a spot where they can distribute the air more evenly. Alternately, you can shift to a zone control system, which lets you tailor the temperature in individual rooms. They won’t solve localized hot and cold spots, but can direct air to rooms that are usually hotter or colder than others.

If you have a boiler system, the problem may be caused by a faulty radiator somewhere in the hose, or a problem with the flow in the pipes. Again, a professional can take a look at the problem and address if by fixing the radiator or opening the clog in the pipelines.

Regardless of the cause, you shouldn’t have to ask why your home has hold and cold spots. Heating in Mahomet, IL, is the purveyance of the experts at Lanz Heating & Cooling. We can hunt down the cause of your spotty heating, and take steps to address it in a real and lasting fashion. Pick up the phone and give us a call today. You’ll be glad that you did!

What is the Worst Possible Repair for a Furnace?

Friday, November 8th, 2013

“Worst” is in the eye of the beholder, especially when it comes to heating repair in Fisher, IL. We have our share of cold winters here, and any heating repair which interferes with our ability to keep warm is likely to feel like the “worst” when it happens. Objective criteria beyond that is extremely difficult, though measuring the cost of a given repair might be the best place to start. What’s the worst possible repair for a furnace? Likely the one that addresses the furnace’s complete inability to function.

In some cases, a furnace that won’t turn on is easy enough to fix. It may be caused by an improperly set thermostat, or a circuit breaker that trips after an unexpected surge. But more substantive damage can cause the furnace to turn off as well, and it will take more than a few flipped switches to fix. If the fan motor is overloaded, it may trip the circuit breakers, as can a problem in the wiring or electrical system itself.

Far more serious than that is a systematic overload of the heater itself, caused by too much strain on the system compounded by worn or overly used parts. In this case, the breakers will trip repeatedly again and again, preventing the heater from working consistently and necessitating a repair call before you can get reliable heat again. Circumstances vary, but if the heater itself is more than ten years old, you may need to replace the entire unit, instead of just repairing or replacing individual components within it.

The worst possible repair for a furnace doesn’t matter as much as the person you call to make repairs. If your service technician is qualified and trustworthy, he’ll discuss all the options with you before going forward and look for ways to mitigate the cost if he feels the issue can still be addressed. For heating repair in Fisher, IL, you can count on Lanz Heating & Cooling for help. We’re dedicated to your complete satisfaction and will talk about solutions before moving forward.

Pick up the phone and give us a call today.

How Does My Furnace Heat My Home?

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Heating in Ogden, IL is most often conducted with gas furnaces, a common and comparatively simple form of warming the home. They’re very important in towns like ours, where winters can get extremely cold and temperatures routinely drop below freezing. You may be curious about the process by which the furnace works, which can help you understand what happens when it breaks down. “How does my furnace heat my home?” you ask. The process is actually very simple.

Gas furnaces contain a combustion chamber, fed by gas lines. When your thermostat drops below the level you have set for it, gas is released into the combustion chamber and lit with an igniter. That increases the heat in the chamber dramatically; it then moves into a heat exchanger which heats the surrounding air. A blower fan then circulates the air through a series of ducts into your home, heating the air there and warming the temperature in the process.

It’s easy to see how the system works, but also to understand how normal use and wear-and-tear can cause problems. It starts with the pilot light and thermocouple. If the light goes out, the gas won’t ignite and the heat won’t be created. Similarly, a problem with the thermocouple (which regulates the flow of gas) means that the entire system will shut down. Other issues won’t affect the creation of heat, but can impact the flow of hot air into your home. A damaged blower fan, for instance, won’t be able to circulate the air, while a leak in the ducts will suck hot air out that should be going into your home. Blockages and ruptures will cut off the flow of air entirely, and if there’s a power outage then the furnace in your home won’t turn on at all.

All of these conditions can be addressed by a qualified representative, who understands the ins and outs of your system. Proper heating in Ogden, IL is a serious matter and if you know how your furnace heats your home, you know enough to spot when something’s wrong. The experts at Lanz Heating & Cooling are ready to help, so give us a call today!

Is Your Heater Broken? Here Are Your Options

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

A reliable heater is a godsend when temperatures plummet and the snows start to fall. Heating systems are as important to a good home as electricity, and when it breaks – especially in the winter – you need to get it dealt with quickly. Contractors performing a heating installation in Fisher, IL must do their job efficiently, lest the homeowner be stuck without adequate warmth just when he needs it the most. But replacement might not be what your heater needs when it goes down. Is your heater broken?

Here are your options, which basically boil down to two general solutions.

Heating Repair

Repair services mean that the heater is still generally functioning and that a qualified technician can restore it to its fighting shape. Repairs usually cost less than replacement, and if your heater has functioned well for a period of time, probably make for the best solution. In cases where your heater is more than ten years old, however, or has experienced a number of problems before, a repair call may just be throwing good money after bad. Also, keep an eye on your monthly heating bills. If they remain higher than you would like, especially after calling for multiple repairs, it may be time to think about your second option.

Heating Replacement

Replacement means taking out your broken heater and putting in an entirely new one. The downside is that installation invariably costs more than repair, and may leave you without a heater for however long it takes to set up the new unit. The benefit is that new heaters almost always perform with more efficiency than old ones, saving you money in your monthly heating bills. Replacing a broken heater also means a chance to use an alternative form of heating, such as a heat pump, as well as looking into upgrades such as zone control systems.

If your heater is broken, your options should always involve a call to Lanz Heating & Cooling. We offer all kinds of heating services in Fisher IL, as well as upgrade options if you decide that your existing heater isn’t ready to give up the ghost.

Call us today to set up an appointment.

Which Is Better: A Boiler or a Furnace?

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Question:Should I get a boiler or a furnace to heat my home?

Answer:It depends.

That sounds like a frustrating response, but it’s the wisest one. No two homes have the same heating requirements: differences in size, the number of people who live there, the access to power, the insulation, etc. You have to consider all these factors and more to make the choice between these two popular heating systems. We can provide a brief comparison of the good and not-so-good aspects of both to help you narrow your choice. However, you will eventually need an expert opinion. Lanz Heating & Cooling offers excellent solutions for Mahomet, IL heating problems, so when you’re ready to make a choice, give us a call.

Furnaces

Furnaces come in a variety of sizes and can use different sources of fuel. Electric and gas furnaces are the most common, although a few use propane. All models operate on a similar principle: heat air, then send it through ducts to a home’s living spaces.

The Good: Furnaces have great flexibility; it’s easy to find a furnace to fit a home. They have lower initial costs than many systems, and for homes that already have existing ducts, they present few installation difficulties. Since they have no water inside them, furnaces won’t freeze up in cold weather, a trouble heaters using pipes sometimes encounter.

The Not-So-Good: Because furnaces have many moving parts, such as motors, they will wear down fast without regular maintenance. Those moving parts can also mean more repairs. Furnaces produce more noise than boilers, and although inexpensive to install, they can cost more to run. Because they use forced-air, furnaces might be a bad choice for homes with people with sensitive allergies.

Boilers

Although they rarely “boil” anymore, contemporary boilers still use heated water to bring cozy temperatures to homes. Water heated in a tank (using gas, electricity, or oil) moves to baseboards or radiators to send heat into a home.

The Good: Boilers can have exceptionally long lifespans with the proper care. Since they have few mechanical parts, they usually require fewer repairs than furnaces. They provide some of the most even heating of any system. Because they use heat that radiates from objects instead of blowing air from vents, they won’t lower air quality.

The Not-So-Good: Because boilers must heat up a tank of water before they can distribute heat, they work slower than furnaces. It’s difficult to convert from a boiler to a different system should the boiler not work out. Water leaks and pipe freezes can also become issues.

Now that we’ve got you debating pros and cons, it’s time to give us a call so you can get farther down the path to an answer. Lanz Heating & Cooling is here to bring you great heating services in Mahomet, IL.

Common Needs for Heating Repairs Caused by Dust and Dirt

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

There are plenty of things that can go wrong with your heater. As winter approaches the Urbana, IL area, however, you need to make sure that your furnace or heat pump is in good working condition so that it does not falter. Residents know how much their home comfort during the winter depends upon the integrity and reliability of their heater, so take any warning signs seriously. If you suspect that your heater is no longer functioning as it should or that it has broken down completely, do not wait for snow fall to get in touch with your HVAC professional. There are some common heating repairs in Urbana, IL homes, many of which are caused by dust and dirt. Let’s take a look at a few.

  • Damaged motor bearings. One of the most important parts of your heater is the blower motor that draws air into the air handler from the living space, and sends it back after it has been heated. Obviously, your heater cannot function properly if your blower motor has accumulated enough debris to get inside the bearings and dry them out.
  • Clogged air filter. You probably already know the importance and value of changing your air filter on a regular basis throughout the year, especially during peak usage times. When dust, dirt, and other debris clog your air filter, it can lead to a host of issues, including inefficiency, and even system damage. It’s important to ensure that your system is clean so you can avoid such repair needs.
  • Dirty coils. If you own a heat pump, then you depend on coils to circulate refrigerant. The entire thermal transfer process depends on the ability to absorb and dissipate heat. When your coils become covered by dust and other debris, then you may find that your heat pump can no longer effectively heat your home. You may also waste more energy in the process.

While some heating problems can be prevented with routine maintenance, others are inevitable. Make sure that your heater is professionally fixed by a specialist. Call Lanz Heating & Cooling today for all of your heating repair needs in Urbana, IL.