How to Reach the Maximum Life Expectancy of Your Furnace

The furnace in a household central HVAC system has an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. This will vary slightly depending on the type and quality of furnace you have. Here are four suggestions to help you reach the maximum life expectancy of your furnace. The best time to implement these practices is when your furnace is brand new, but it’s never too late to start.

Maintain Proper Airflow

The majority of household furnaces are built to circulate a specific volume of air in order to achieve the temperature set on the thermostat. Blockages and other issues that disrupt the air balance place additional effort on the furnace blower, resulting in higher energy consumption and faster wear and tear. Maintaining sufficient airflow allows for shorter cycle durations, which reduces blower wear. A blocked furnace filter is the most common airflow restriction in an HVAC system. It’s recommended that you change out or clean furnace filters every three months. Also check that your vent registers aren’t closed or blocked by furniture.

Avoid Using the “On” Setting

The fan settings on most thermostats are Auto and On. The blower inside the furnace air handler is directly controlled by this. The blower runs continuously on the On setting, whereas the Auto setting only runs when the furnace or air conditioner is turned on. In almost all circumstances, the Auto setting should be used exclusively.

Leaving your thermostat fan control on will use more energy by constantly running the blower fan. The fan bearings will wear out faster if the fan is used frequently, hence it is only advised for certain reasons. If you have a whole-house air purifier, for example, the On setting will make greater use of it by cycling air through it constantly.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat, allows you to have the most precise control over your HVAC system. You can save wear on the system by using the programmable settings to only run your furnace when it’s needed. Programmable thermostats can set a plan to run your system at specified times throughout the day, in addition to responding to temperature.

Setting your furnace to turn off in the middle of the night or while you’re out at work is a terrific way to cut down on runtime and extend the life of your furnace. Fortunately, this does not imply that you must forego comfort. You may program your furnace to turn on just before you get up or return home, ensuring that you never have to wait in a cold house for it to kick on.

Schedule a Yearly Tune-Up

During a maintenance visit, an expert will clean your furnace thoroughly, check for good operation of critical safety switches, and inspect internal components for signs of wear. These methods will maintain your furnace and will allow you to detect hidden issues before they become significant and cause damage to your furnace. Schedule Yours Online Today!

Technician performing maintenance for maximum life expectancy of a Bryant furnace.

The amount of effort you put into keeping your furnace in good working order influences how many years of comfort and convenience you will get out of it. Keep these suggestions in mind, and Contact Us for all your heating and cooling needs.

Fireman gives heating safety tips for winter.

Five Heating Safety Tips for Winter

Each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, the month of January sees a spike in residential fires caused by heating equipment. After cooking, heating is the second greatest cause of house fires. We’ve put together this handy list of heating safety tips for the winter to keep families safe. Any homeowner can keep their family safe and warm throughout the heating season with a little planning and a few simple procedures.

Heating Safety Tips for Winter

  1. Keep combustible goods away from furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and space heaters by at least three feet.
  2. Never heat your home with an oven or stovetop. Kitchen ovens were never intended to heat homes, only to cook food.
  3. Have your heating system inspected and cleaned by a skilled technician every year. Examine the area around your furnace or boiler for any signs of damage. Keeping combustible items and substances too close to the furnace causes many heating equipment fires. Garbage, paint, and other flammable objects should be kept away from your heating system.
  4. Never leave a space heater unattended or keep it running overnight while you sleep. Space heaters should be plugged into a wall. An extension cord or power strip should not be used since they can overheat and cause a fire.
  5. Once a month, test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke alarms that are powered by your home’s electrical service may not work during a power outage during a winter storm. Install a new battery in your smoke alarm at least once a year if it uses a backup battery.

Schedule a service appointment if you’re utilizing space heaters to warm areas in your house. Uneven heating is one of the most prevalent problems we hear from homeowners, and our knowledgeable repair specialists are eager to figure out what’s causing it.

Influential Women in HVAC

In terms of background, gender, and ethnicity, the HVAC field values diversity. Despite this, there has always been a lack of women who have chosen to make it their profession. To show how influential women have been in this industry, we’d like to talk about Alice Parker, Margaret Ingles, and our very own Olive Lewellyn.

Influential Women in Heating and Cooling History

 

Alice Parker

Alice H. Parker patented the natural gas central heating system. Natural gas as a fuel for a furnace was a breakthrough idea in the 1920s, paving the way for the central heating systems we use today.

Influential Women in HVAC - Alice Parker

People relied on coal or wood as their primary source of heat at the time. While furnaces and the concept of central heating date back to the Roman Empire, science made little progress in the years that followed, and the heating technologies used at the end of the nineteenth century were still quite primitive.

Parker’s patent for her heating system was filed on December 23, 1919. Cool air was taken into the furnace, then passed through a heat exchanger, which distributed heated air to individual rooms of a house via ducts. Parker’s design was unusual in that it used natural gas instead of coal or wood.

Alice H. Parker was inspired by the fact that her fireplace was ineffective at keeping her home warm during the chilly New Jersey winters. Her idea was useful since it eliminated the need for people to go outdoors and chop or purchase wood. By reducing the need to leave a burning fireplace on all night, it also reduced the risk of house or building fires caused by heating systems. Her idea that natural gas and ducts could be used to heat different portions of a house was a big step toward the heating systems used today.

She was an African American woman who succeeded at a time when black women had few opportunities to showcase their abilities. Her patent was filed before the Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation movements, making her accomplishments all the more remarkable because they knocked through countless barriers for black women of her generation.

Margaret Ingles

In 1920, Margaret Ingles became the first woman to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. She graduated from University of Kentucky. Ingles made a number of significant contributions to heating and cooling. The most significant was the development of the effective temperature scale for home comfort. It took into account humidity and airflow, going beyond just a figure on a thermometer, to provide a measurement of how the temperature actually feels. This was made possible by another of her inventions, the sling psychrometer, which detected moisture in the air and offered reliable humidity readings. Most new homes didn’t come equipped with air conditioning until the late 1960’s, but Ingles played a key role in the development of today’s air conditioning system.

Olive Lewellyn

In 1946, Olive Lewellyn took over Boonville Natural Gas Corporation with her late husband Lawrence Young. When her husband passed away suddenly a few years later, Mrs. Lewellyn was left with two small children to raise and a company to run alone at a time when there were very few women business owners and almost no women executives in the natural gas or heating industries, especially in the rural Midwest.

There were no air conditioners at the time, so the company started working on heating. It was just after World War II and there were coal furnaces everywhere. Using these coal furnaces got coal dust all over the house. But thanks to Alice Parker’s discoveries, Bryant had a solution. They created a cast iron conversion burner in order to retrofit coal furnaces to burn cleaner natural gas instead. Though these conversion burners did not have the efficiency modern natural gas furnaces have, Mrs. Lewellyn’s customers seemed to appreciate a break from the coal dust.

She continued to come to work every day up until her health started to fail in late 2004. Mrs. Lewellyn was an outstanding business owner and a woman well ahead of her time. Her commitment to excellent customer service was instilled in the company from the very beginning and is still our driving force today.

For more about how Olive Lewellyn’s legacy lives on in our family-owned and operated company today, please read About Us.

Why Does My Furnace Smell Bad?

Why Does My Furnace Smell Bad?

Chilly weather has arrived, and you’re ready to turn on the heat in order to keep your home warm. However, you may detect a strange odor coming from your furnace that wasn’t there before you turned it on. If you find yourself thinking, “Ew, why does my furnace smell bad?” then read on to find the answer.

It’s typical to notice a weird odor coming from your furnace, especially if you haven’t used it in a long time, but it’s crucial to distinguish between dust and debris or a significant problem.

You can always count on us if you have any concerns! Since 1946, BNG has provided heating repair, maintenance, and furnace replacement/installation services. When a furnace emits an unusual odor or you have questions about other frequent heater issues, we know what to look for.

Reasons for a Bad-Smelling Furnace

In general, if your furnace has been sitting dormant for some time, a little odor is not something to be concerned about. The following are the most typical causes of a funny-smelling furnace:

  • Dirty furnace – If a furnace hasn’t been cleaned out before it’s turned on, dust and debris burn off, so if the scent is slightly dusty and burning, it’s likely the result of the dust burning off.
  • Mold – If the stench coming from your heater isn’t only dusty, but also musty, like an old damp towel, there may be mold trapped in the furnace as well as dust. Mold can grow in a furnace’s filter, A/C coil, or humidifier panel, if one is installed.
  • Trapped toys or an unnoticed spill – If the burning smell is similar to that of burned plastic or an electrical short, it could be the result of a toy that became stuck in your vent or a spilt food or drink near a vent. If you’ve checked your vents for foreign objects but haven’t found anything, call us right away for assistance, as the electrical odor coming from your furnace could be dangerous! (812) 858-4000
  • Clogged furnace filter – An oily odor from your furnace could indicate a problem, such as a dirty filter that has to be replaced. If the smell lingers after the filter has been replaced, you should have our experienced professionals inspect your HVAC system to ensure the problem isn’t serious.

How to Fix a Bad-Smelling Furnace

To alleviate an unpleasant odor emanating from your furnace, you can perform the following general maintenance:

  1. Before turning on the heating unit, clean any dust or debris that has accumulated on the coils, heater exchange, or inside.
  2. Replace the furnace filter.
  3. Check for trash and dust in the ducts. You can use a vacuum cleaner to clean out your ductwork.

Smells That Indicate a Major Furnace Issue

Although most smells from a furnace do not indicate a problem, you should keep an eye out for a handful that could indicate a greater problem. The following are a few scents to be wary of and address right away:

  • Electrical burning odor or metallic odor – Heat accumulation in your furnace might cause an electrical burning odor or a metallic odor. Internal components of your furnace may be damaged, such as electrical wires or worn rubber pieces, and the heat from the furnace is increasing the odor. To avoid further damage or a fire, turn off the system immediately and contact us as soon as possible.
  • Smoke coming from the furnace — If your chimney or vents are blocked, you may notice smoke or hear a smoke detector go off as a result of smoke coming from the heater. The best course of action is to turn off your furnace and then call us for a professional diagnosis.
  • Rotten egg odor — If you smell rotten eggs after turning on your furnace, you may have a gas leak. This could be a mild or strong odor; nevertheless, if it persists, turn off your system and contact the gas supplier. They may send someone to assist you.
  • Chemical odor from furnace – Do not disregard a chemical odor in your home after turning on your heater. If you detect a formaldehyde-like odor, the heat exchanger component may be broken. This requires your rapid attention to avoid a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

We can help you!

If you smell dangerous odors when you first switch on your heater, it’s time to figure out what’s wrong and fix it as soon as possible. BNG’s skilled specialists can assist you! To learn more about our maintenance and repair services for homeowners and businesses in the Boonville, Evansville, Newburgh, and Richland areas, contact us now.

Should You Turn Off Your System During a Mild Winter?

Let’s face it. The winters in Evansville, Indiana can go from one extreme to the next in the blink of an eye. Sometimes the snow comes early in the season and doesn’t stop, and other times it feels like the fall weather never left. There may be years where you feel like you don’t even need your heating system. However, there are days when it is cold enough that you need to warm your whole home. This sort of climate can make it hard to utilize your system productively. There are times when you are not exactly sure if you should keep the heater off or use it intermittently. Here are a few focuses to consider when concluding how to utilize your HVAC system during winter in our general area.

TEMPERATURE VARIATIONS

In Indiana, winters may bring 20-degree evenings and 60-degree days. Certain weeks can see temperatures in the 50s with the next week creating temperatures in the low 10s. In addition to the fact that you have to stress over temperature fluctuations from everyday or week to week, you need to consider thermostat settings for wide temperature swings inside a 24-hour time frame. This sort of variety can make it important to have cooling in the first part of the day and warmth around evening time. Or then again you might have the option to kill the air during the day yet need heat during the evening. On those ideal occasions, you can do without heating and cooling your home altogether

However, it is those occasions that you continually need to control the system that you fear most. You’ve heard that it is best not to turn off the system except if it is for broadened periods. Nonetheless, this may not generally work in all circumstances. The best arrangement is to utilize the system wisely.

PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT

You may be worried that in the event that you turn off your system during the day and walk out on around evening time, you may burn-through pointless energy. The heater should run longer to arrive at the temperature at which you set your thermostat. A programmable thermostat is maybe perhaps the best instrument you can utilize. Setting temperatures for a minimum of eight hours is considered to be effective. More specifically, you can set the thermostat to reduce cycling times (turning on) when you are away or snoozing. Numerous thermostats permit you to program for a whole week. Those that give gauges can assist you with programing your thermostat all the more precisely.

You will have the option to program your thermostat to progressively arrive at the ideal temperature at the perfect time. At the point when the mild temperatures keep going for a few days, turning off the HVAC system is a smart thought.

DUCTLESS HEATERS

At the point when your house is cold however you can’t legitimize turning on the heater, ductless heaters can be a decent other option. One preferred position of utilizing ductless heaters is the capacity to warm the specific zones in your home. This assists with giving the solace you need without squandering energy. The central heating system will heat even areas that don’t need heat, resulting in wasted energy.

BEYOND TEMPERATURE REGULATION

In addition to heating and cooling your home, your HVAC system also circulates the air, which can improve indoor air quality (IAQ). It also controls humidity levels. If you turn off your HVAC system entirely, you won’t have these benefits, so pay attention to how your home feels. If you notice unpleasant odors, when outdoor temperatures are mild enough, be sure to open windows or doors to let fresh air inside.

UTILIZING YOUR HVAC SYSTEM

Freezing weather is still very common in Evansville. During these occasions, your furnace doesn’t just keep you warm and cozy, it also prevents your pipes from freezing. Burst pipes can result in thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, so you’re better off leaving the HVAC system on if lower temperatures appear in the forecast. In this case it is wise to use recommended thermostat settings so you provide just the right level of heating.

However, for mild winters, how you use your HVAC system will depend on the needs and preferences of occupants as well as characteristics specific to your home. Pay attention to the weather forecasts so you can know what to expect. Generally, weather patterns in our area will allow you to keep your system off for certain periods. On any given day, the best solution involves using your thermostat wisely.

If you are not sure about the best way to manage your HVAC system, consult the pros at BNG Heating and Cooling at (812) 858-4000. We can provide the solutions and systems to help you to manage your energy bills and indoor comfort. Call us today!

Is a Heat Pump Right For My Home?

warm home

We’re seeing an ever increasing number of inquiries from homeowners about heat pumps. What are heat pumps, and how do they work? Are they right for me? While heat pumps are more commonly utilized in the warmer areas of the country, they are becoming more widespread in all states.

What is a Heat Pump?

Heat pumps are an energy-effective option in contrast to furnaces and air conditioners. They give both heating and cooling utilizing heat transfer and electricity, the characteristic inclination for heat to move from spaces with higher temperatures to those with cooler ones.

In the colder time of year, a coil of tubing loaded up with refrigerant urges thermal energy from the outdoor air. After warming and vaporizing into a gas, it is brought inside to the pump’s inside unit and warms encompassing air that is then fanned all through the home.

Home Heat Pump

In the summer, heat pumps can cool your home by reversing this same cycle. Coils pull thermal energy from within the home to cool the inside and push warm thermal energy outdoors. This cycle utilizes thermal dynamics and eletricity to warm and cool the home, rather than coal, oil or flammable gas.

heating pump

Heat Pump Benefits

By having one framework that gives heating and cooling you can save money on upfront equipment costs by not having to buy a furnace.

Consolidating the mechanical proficiency with off-peak seasonal electricity rates in the cold weather months implies lower energy costs for heating.

Since heat pumps use power productively instead of consuming non-renewable energy sources, they are for the most part cleaner and environmentally friendly.

Heat Pumps with Secondary Heating Sources

While heat pump innovation is turning out to be increasingly more proficient at heating and cooling, there are still conditions where a furnace or optional heat source will be important. In zones of the U.S. that regularly get beneath 15°F for extended times, it may be valuable to utilize the heat pump with a helper heating arrangement, for example, a traditional gas furnace. Get some information about the most recent high-effectiveness heat pumps and double fuel frameworks accessible for your area of the nation.

With appropriate upkeep and support, a heat pump climate control system that does both heating and cooling can provide a low-cost, high-efficiency and environmentally friendly answer for your heating needs throughout the year.

Furnace Maintenance 101: The Basics

So, you know that you have a furnace and you hope that it’s working properly, and, until it stops working properly, that’s just about all you know about your furnace?

You should know the basics of your furnace so that you can know when schedule a tune-up BEFORE it breaks down!

Some are gas-operated and some are electric.

That’s the first thing you should know! If you have a gas furnace and haven’t been keeping an eye on it regularly, you could be missing some signals of serious trouble.  

What’s the difference? Electric units are usually less expensive to install, quieter, and have a longer lifespan than gas furnaces. They do, however, contribute to higher electric bills during cold months.

Gas furnaces can reach much higher temperatures in severely cold temperatures and can usually achieve warm temperatures throughout the home much faster than an electrical unit can. They require much more regular maintenance and pose the risk of exposing the home’s inhabitants to low levels of carbon monoxide.

Though it may seem that a gas furnace could operate even if a winter storm shuts down electricity to your home, that is not the case. Both gas and electric furnaces require electricity to operate.

There are pros and cons to each option – depending on factors like your climate, the size of your home, and what you’re able to afford.

If one part malfunctions, the whole system malfunctions.

…which is why it’s so important that you clean your filters! If your filters aren’t clean, not only will unclean air be dispersed throughout your house, but it will inhibit the efficient flow of air through your system.

If you’ve never done it before – here’s how to clean your air filters.

In addition to clean filters, here are the four other, most basic ways that you should regularly maintain your furnace:

  • Keep the furnace itself clean.
  • Get to know your pilot light. Sometimes, all you need to do is turn it back on for your system to start working again!
  • The thermostat. Seems silly, we know. But thermostats do go bad and you should know how to tell if yours has. Here are some tips!
  • Get regular inspections. We know that this just sounds like an HVAC company telling you to use our services, but we promise this is the best move. We take care of furnaces every day and can spot trouble in a cinch!

Are you worried about your furnace?

Making life easier for homeowners is what we do best. Go ahead and call us today to schedule your inspection, before it’s too late!

What’s Broken? Thermostat or Furnace?

Ask yourself:

  • Is the temperature unsteady?
  • Rapidly changing from cold to warm and back again?

Is the thermostat reading a temperature that’s not matching the room’s actual temperature? Bring in a secondary thermometer to test this one!

Is the heat not turning on when you raise the temperature considerably?

Try this:

  • Change the thermostat battery. We know – so simple! But it should be the very first thing you check because it’s the easiest fix! Here’s how.
  • Flip your circuit breaker. Be very careful when dealing electricity, but do give this a shot! The circuit that your thermostat operates out of may just need resetting.
  • If you notice that the area outside of—or maybe even inside of!—the thermostat has collected dirt and dust, you may want to call an expert to dig into the situation for you. The thermostat is a very sensitive instrument, and trying to clean it yourself could be harmful.

Nothing’s working?

It’s time to call in the professionals at BNG Heating & Cooling for an expert inspection. You may need a more serious thermostat repair – OR – it could be time to upgrade to one of our energy-efficient, wi-fi-enabled thermostats!

And if we find that the thermostat is just fine how it is, your furnace may just need servicing. Give us a call, so that we can get your home back to a comfortable temperature as quickly as possible!

How Homes Kept Warm Before Central Heat

It happens at the worst times: your central heat goes out right before or during the coldest storm of the year. While you wait for your HVAC repair savior, you light the fireplace (if you’re lucky enough to have one), you bundle yourself, your kids, and your pets in layer upon layer of sweaters and blankets.

You make soup!

You do all you can, and you’re left to wonder: How did our ancestors survive without central heating?

As this article explains, homes built before modern conveniences like air conditioning and heating were designed in a way that promoted self-heating and energy conservation – it was simply necessary for survival!

Of course, fireplaces (and other ingenious mechanisms like the hypocaust) played a big part in creating warmth inside the home, but the home still had to be constructed in a way that maintained that warmth.   

Here are a few of the structural prerequisites for homes providing cold-weather shelter:

Low Ceilings

We’ve all heard that “warm air rises,” but we don’t usually feel the effects of that until we’re in a high-ceiling room in the winter, feeling too much open air.

In homes built in cold climates (before modern heating comforts), you’ll find lower ceilings and smaller rooms – less space for warm air to escape!

If you have trouble keeping warm in a high-ceiling room, even in your modern home, try turning your ceiling fan settings backwards, so that it will pull warm air back down into the room!

Minimal Windows

Windows are really great for pulling heat into houses in the summer, but run the risk of pulling heat out of the house during the winter!

Because of this, old homes in colder climates usually kept windows small, and southern-facing, so that the home could pull in direct heat from the southern sun.

Thicker Walls

While we have space-age efficient insulation to keep our homes warm, our ancestors relied on thick walls of stone or brick to hold the heat from the sun and keep the home warm from that heat into the night!

They also had their own methods of insulation, often in the form of mud and straw.

Overhangs

Overhangs were an important element of homes that existed in climates that experience both freezing and warm climates, and are still a popular element for modern homes designed for passive heating and cooling.

The overhang is positioned in such a way that it provides shade from direct sunlight coming from the higher-positioned sun in the summer and creates an opening for direct sunlight from the lower-positioned sun in the winter.

In some climates, a trellis covered with leaves is sufficient to shade the home in summer, and those leaves fall away to provide sunlight in the winter!

Interested in owning an historic home with central heat?

If you already own or are looking to buy a home built before modern heating and air conditioning, you may have potential for energy savings as a result of these architectural elements.

You should consult both an architect and an HVAC professional, like BNG Heating & Cooling, to learn more about the ways you can maximize the energy efficiencies of historic homes with modern materials, all while maintaining the home’s original style.