Russell & Abbott Blog: Archive for the ‘Heating’ Category

Olive’s Top Tips on Heating Savings for the Coming Season

Monday, November 15th, 2021
money-saving-house

You may not know this, but I’m pretty good with number-crunching on a calculator. I need one of those large, old-style calculators because it works better with my large paws, but I can still whip up a good budget when I need to. But when it comes to finding ways to save money on heating bills during the winter, I don’t need a calculator: I already know all the right techniques you can use to cut down on the cost of staying warm! 

I’ve gathered some of my favorite tips on saving during the winter. A few of these will require the assistance of a team of Seymour, TN, HVAC professionals (by which I mean us!). Others you can get started on as soon as the temperatures drop. Let’s dive in.

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Did You Know Your Gas Furnace Need Electric Power Too?

Monday, October 4th, 2021
electrical-outlet-wall

Have you ever thought to yourself, “It’s a good thing I have a gas-powered furnace, because if the electricity goes out during the winter, I’ll still be able to keep warm!” If you have, I’ve got some important news for you: your gas furnace does burn natural gas to heat the air, but it also requires electricity to run. If you lose power to your house, your furnace will also lose power.

I don’t mean to be a downer dog here. I think gas furnaces are great! They’re one of the best ways to provide comfort to homes during our winters. Many of the negative things you hear about gas furnaces just aren’t true! Gas furnaces aren’t super dangerous and they won’t dry out the air in your house. They also need electricity to run, and I want to get into that in detail because the more you know about your furnace, the more you’ll know what help you need when it comes to heating repair in Walland, TN.

How a gas furnace relies on electricity

At one point, gas furnaces did run without electricity … but that was a long time ago when furnaces were massive cast iron creatures that lived in basements, burnt coal, and just let the heat rise up through a network of pipes. (These ancient furnaces have an appropriate name: octopus furnaces.)

Today’s gas furnaces are more complex, as well as more convenient, energy-efficient, and safe—and much of that comes from several electronic controls and devices that help them operate. Here are several ways a gas furnace relies on electrical power:

  • An electronic ignition system ignites the burners. This replaced the old standing pilot light, which was an energy waste and sometimes went out.
  • A furnace uses a blower fan to move air through it and then into the ventilation system. This is often the same fan used for the air conditioning system. 
  • Many of the furnace functions are regulated through an electronic control board. This board handles the ignition, the blower fan, the gas valve, as well as several important safety features.
  • Most homes use a digital thermostat to control the furnace, and these also won’t run in a power outage. 

The moral of my story here is that the electrical parts of a gas furnace may mean the heater won’t run in case of a blackout, but you wouldn’t want a furnace that didn’t have these parts. They make your furnace run better and keep your family safer. 

If you do have a power outage…

I want to drop in a short safety note at the end, in case you do experience a power outage during winter and your gas furnace won’t work. Please don’t attempt to fiddle with the furnace to see if you can get it working. You won’t be able to, and you may interfere with the safety features that shut off gas flow in case of an outage. If your furnace won’t come back on when power is restored, please call our professionals to investigate. They’ll make sure that all safety mechanisms are working and your furnace will run without hazard.

Stay warm and safe,

Olive

Russell & Abbott serves Maryville, Knoxville, and surrounding areas. Whistle and we’ll come running!

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Olive’s Big Fall Recommendation: Have Us Maintain Your Heating System!

Monday, September 20th, 2021
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Ah, it’s here: one of my favorite blog subjects of the year! It’s the Get Your Heating System Maintained blog post! 

Why do I love writing this post so much? Here are a few reasons:

  • Maintenance is the most important service we offer, and the wonders it can do for our customers are immense. 
  • I love writing about all the benefits customers enjoy because it reminds me why I’m in this business in the first place—to help people.
  • It means it’s almost fall and I can soon run and jump into piles of leaves.

I consider this post my annual fight for you to enjoy better heating! I hope I’ll get you super-enthused by the end of this post so you’ll call our team to sign up for the Comfort Club and get on the schedule for heating maintenance in Vonore, TN, or wherever you are in our service area. Fall is the best time to get this job done: take advantage of the slower season and the milder weather.

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Time for the Annual Furnace Performance Overview!

Monday, March 22nd, 2021
checkmark-green

When winter comes to an end, it’s time to think about how your furnace managed over the season. This will help you know if you need any important furnace service in Knoxville, TN (such as repairs or a full replacement) during the coming stretch of the year when you won’t need to rely on your heater daily.

This is when I get out my pen and help you go through a checklist “performance overview.” I’d love it if I could tuck the pen behind my ears, but I don’t have stand-up ears like German Shepherds, so I’ll just have to grip the pen in my mouth when not using it. Anyway, let’s get into this informal overview. 

Please note: This casual exercise is not a substitute for annual heating maintenance in fall. When you need actual heating work done, you’ll want our pros to be there to do it!

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Just What Is a Condensing Furnace?

Monday, March 8th, 2021
furnace-isolated-white

Part of my job is keeping track of developments in comfort technology. Most dogs are interested in only one type of heating technology, which is their fur. I love my fur, but I also love knowing about furnaces and the ways they keep making it easier for humans to stay cozy in winter.

So today I want to talk about one of the best developments in furnace technology, the condensing furnace. Sort of a funny name, but it’ll make sense when I explain it. If you are considering getting a new furnace in Louisville, TN, a condensing furnace might be on your list if it suits your home and current needs.

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Combustion Analysis—It’s Important, But Not Everyone Does It!

Monday, February 22nd, 2021
gas-jets-in-furnace

If I wanted to go on the road as the World’s First and Best Psychic Dog, I know just the trick to pull to amaze my viewers: my assistant would ask someone in the audience to stand up, and I would announce (through special barking code) that they use a gas furnace to heat their home. And I’d be right … most of the time. (If I’m wrong, I’ll just tell them they may have a gas furnace in the future.) 

So I’m guessing you have a gas furnace. And if you do, you’ll need occasional combustion analysis for it to help make sure it’s keeping your family safe. Our team is great at combustion analysis, and we’re proud of that because far too many other HVAC contractors don’t do it at all!

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Olive Explains: Why Your Furnace’s Burners Aren’t Lighting

Monday, January 25th, 2021
gas-jets-in-furnace

Here’s an irritating problem: you set your thermostat for something comfy during winter. I recommend 68°F, even though my nice fur coat lets me set it lower than you would. It’s a cold day, so that means setting the thermostat to that temperature will cause the furnace to come on. But it doesn’t. The fan might turn on, but not warm air. When you go to the furnace, you discover that the customary blue glow from the burners isn’t there—they haven’t ignited. What’s going on?

Well, I can list a few possibilities…

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Trying to Heat Your Home “Faster” With the Thermostat? That Won’t Work

Monday, December 14th, 2020
cold-man-and-woman-in-parkas

We’ve all been there on a winter night: The house feels awfully cold, and you want to get the rooms warmed up as fast as you can. You look at the thermostat on the wall and see that it can go as high a 90°F. That’s far too hot, of course, but if you crank the thermostat up that high, it will at least mean the house will warm up faster. The heat will come roaring out of the vents!

Except … that’s not how home heating works. And trying to get “faster” heating by pushing the thermostat up so high can be bad news for an HVAC system in Knoxville, TN

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The Heat Load Calculation With a New Furnace—It’s Super Important

Monday, November 30th, 2020
calendar-scheduling-book

This is the time to start bundling up. I have my permanent fur coat and don’t need to worry much about that, but I know that humans have it much harder when temperatures start dropping. You might be in the situation where you know you need new heating in Knoxville, TN and you’re ready to schedule a furnace installation.

That’s great—just make sure you call our team because we take all the vital steps to ensure you have a furnace that works effectively and safely. 

There’s one part about our installations that I like to point out, because it’s what sets us apart. It’s the heat load calculation. We take this part of installing a furnace seriously, because if it’s done wrong, you’ll end up with a furnace that either doesn’t heat the home enough or wears down rapidly from strain.

What’s a heat load, Olive?

It’s the HVAC term for the amount of heat a space needs to create a comfortable temperature. When we know the heat load of a house, we know how powerful a furnace to put in. 

A heat load calculation can be done several ways. Many of those ways are bad, I won’t sugarcoat it. Plenty of contractors do a heat calculation quickly and leave in guesswork. There should never be guesstimates when it comes to heat load calculations! There are multiple factors that must be figured, and if a contractor makes a guess at most of them, the chance of getting the final result wrong is high. 

Just to give you an idea of what goes into this calculation, here are some factors we need to know: the size of the house, number of windows and the direction they face, the insulation amount, number of people who live in the house, number of heat-producing appliances, number of lights, and more. We make sure to do this precisely so you’ll have a heater that’s the right size for your home.

What happens if the calculation is done wrong?

You get a furnace that is either too small for your house or too large. I think you can figure out why a furnace that’s too small is trouble: you won’t have the amount of heat you need to stay warm, and the furnace will run and run and run as it tries to reach the temperature you have set on the thermostat.

What about one that’s too big? That can’t be that awful a problem to have. Well, yes it is. An oversized furnace will short-cycle, which means it will shut down early, then turn back on, then shut down early, and on and on. This can lead to early repairs and an early replacement. It can also create uneven heating because the furnace doesn’t run for long enough.

We don’t “guesstimate,” we do it right!

You deserve a furnace that does the exact job you need it to do, and our Russell & Abbott team will see that you get it. Call us for heating options for a new installation, and we’ll do our best work to make sure you have the right heating system for this winter and many more.

Stay warm,

Olive

Russell & Abbott serves Blunt, Knox, and Loudon Counties and surrounding areas. Contact us today if you’re looking for better home heating.

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The Furnace Filter: If Left in Place, Your Furnace May Malfunction!

Monday, November 16th, 2020
air-fliter-cu

One of the big jobs I take on as an HVAC blogger dog is to fight the misinformation and misconceptions out there about residential heating and cooling. I know I’m only one dog in a big world of the internet, but I think I can make an impact in helping people with the best info so they get the performance they deserve from their HVAC equipment.

And that’s why it’s once again time for me to talk about the furnace filter. The lowdown: You need to change the furnace filter yourself during the coming months at regular intervals, or it will cause trouble for the furnace!

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