Aurora Plumbing Company Blog: Archive for October, 2014

Why It’s Important to Correctly Size Your Heating System

Friday, October 31st, 2014

When you first go shopping for a home heating system, one of the first things you’ll likely notice is that there are many different sizes of heating units. At first, you may be tempted to buy and install the largest unit you can find. Larger units generate more heat, which is better for your home, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, a larger unit can generate a lot more heat. However, this is not always the best option for your home. Read on for an explanation of why it’s important to correctly size your heating system.

Short-Cycling

When your heating unit turns on and off rapidly throughout the day, that’s called short cycling. This is one of the most common side effects of installing an oversized heating unit. When a heating unit that is too big for your home is turned on, it very quickly exceeds the recommended heat output for your home. This leads the system to think that the central unit is overheating, which trips a safety feature and shuts the heater down. A short time later, the unit restarts and the whole thing starts over again.

Long periods of short-cycling are not only annoying, but damaging to several parts of your heating system. The constant stopping and starting causes vastly increased wear and tear on the burners and heat exchanger. This severely shortens the life of your system, as well as increasing the likelihood of major problems like a cracked heat exchanger.

Expense

Installing an oversized heater in your home is much like trying to outfit a car with a jet engine: they’re just not designed to work together. Along with problems like short-cycling, an oversized unit will burn more fuel and breakdown more frequently over time. This will lead to more expense, both in terms of higher heating bills and increased repair costs. The heater will also be less efficient at actually heating, due to its irregular heating cycle.

If you aren’t sure what the optimal size is for a home heating system, call APC Plumbing & Heating. We provide professional heating services throughout Denver.

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What Are The Benefits Of Ductless Heating?

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Ductless heating and cooling has been around for a while, but over the last few years has become very popular with homeowners. There are certain benefits you can get with a ductless system that you may not be able to get with other types of systems. To ensure that you gain these benefits, hire professional heating technicians to perform the installation. APC Plumbing & Heating has installed many ductless heating systems in Denver over the years, and our NATE-certified technicians are trained to offer comprehensive ductless service – call us today!

What Are the Components of a Ductless System?

With a ductless system, there is an outdoor unit that contains the compressor and condenser, and individual indoor blowers that distribute the air. The indoor blowers are connected to the outdoor unit via a conduit drilled into an exterior wall. Indoor blowers can be mounted on walls or hung from ceilings, and an outdoor unit can support up to 4 blowers.

How Does Ductless Provide Heating?

A ductless system that provides both heating and cooling uses heat pump technology. Heat pump technology involves the use of a component called a reversing valve. This valve reverses the flow of refrigerant, which allows the system to switch between heating and cooling modes. During the winter, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the surrounding air, concentrates it, and then blows it into your living spaces; in summer, the refrigerant absorbs the indoor heat and transfers it outside.

What Are the Benefits of Ductless Heating?

As the name states, you don’t need to install expensive ductwork with a ductless heating system. Here are some other benefits to consider:

  • Good energy efficiency – heat pumps need only a small amount of electricity to operate, making them very energy efficient.
  • Customized heating – each blower operates individually, allowing you to set the temperature as you want it for each one.
  • Easy installation – once the outdoor unit is installed, the blowers can be mounted indoors and connected to the outdoor unit via the conduit, making for an easy installation.
  • Easy expansion – because no ductwork is needed for this system, it can be easily expanded in cases of renovation or new construction to your home.

Interested to see if ductless heating is a good fit for your home? Call APC Plumbing & Heating today and make an appointment with one of our trained Denver heating technicians today.

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What are My Choices when it comes to Heating Installation?

Friday, October 17th, 2014

There are a number of great choices when it comes to heating installation, each suited to provide different benefits. If you don’t have much experience, however, the sheer number of factors to consider can be quite daunting.

Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most common options for heating, along with their pros and cons.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are heating systems that move thermal energy from one area to another. In heating mode, an outdoor unit will absorb thermal energy from the surrounding air and send it inside to the indoor unit. The indoor unit then heats the air using that thermal energy, before circulating it throughout the house. Heat pumps are more efficient than most systems, which saves you money on your utility bills. They also have the advantage of cycling between heating and cooling functions as necessary, so you don’t have to buy a separate air conditioner.

The downside to heat pumps is that they aren’t as efficient in extremely cold environments. The lack of thermal energy in the surrounding air forces them to work harder than usual to achieve the same temperature.

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating uses water to transport thermal energy instead of air. Since water is actually a much better heat conductor than air is, this system can get much more heat circulated throughout a house than a forced air system can. Rather than ductwork, pipes are installed either under the floor or in the walls of a room. A boiler heats and pumps water through these pipes, causing heat to radiate from them and into the room. Copper pipe baseboard and radiator heaters are also popular radiant heating methods.

A radiant heating system can save quite a bit on heating bills, due to its efficiency compared to forced air systems. It tends to also heat rooms much more effectively, by relying on transferring thermal energy directly instead of using air as a medium. The downside is that it requires a bit more of an upfront investment, and a more involved installation.

If you are thinking about installing a new heating system, call APC Plumbing & Heating. We conduct heating installations throughout the Denver area.

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What is Radiant Heat?

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Radiant heat is a term used for any system that transfers thermal energy using a delivery system besides forced air. A common example of this is hydronic radiant heating, which uses hot water piped through the house to circulate heat to each room.

The process of installing hydronic radiant heating begins with installing small, pipes between the floor and subfloor of each room you want to be heated. Occasionally, pipes are also installed in concrete floors. Other options include baseboard heaters, metal radiators, and pipes installed in the walls. A boiler serves as the core of the system, heating water and circulating it throughout the house. As the hot water runs through the pipes, the heat radiates from them and out into the room. This indirect transfer of thermal energy is why the heating system is called “radiant heating.”

So why do people choose radiant heating over more traditional forced air systems? There are a number of reasons to upgrade to a radiant heating system. Water serves as a better conductor of thermal energy than air does. The pipes used to transport the water are also far more resistant to leaks than their ductwork counterparts. As a result, more heat is transferred to its destination instead of being lost in transit.

Radiant heating is also arguably more effective at evenly heating a room. Since forced air systems vent warm air directly into a room to heat it, that warm air will rise to the ceiling. As it cools, it will sink to the inhabited areas of the room. This is counter-intuitive at best, preventing anyone in the room from actually benefiting from the warm air. By contrast, radiant heating distributes thermal energy through solid objects like floors and furniture. Since it is not relying upon air as a medium, the heat does not rise nearly as quickly. Radiant heating transmits thermal energy through solid objects and surfaces, keeping it where it can more effectively warm the room

Of course, installing radiant heating does require a bit more time and effort to install than traditional duct systems. Be sure to call a professional to evaluate how easily you can upgrade your heating system.

If you would like more information about radiant heating and its advantages, call APC Plumbing & Heating. Our HVAC technicians are heating installation experts. We cover the entire Denver area.

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What Are the Signs of an Incorrectly-Sized Furnace?

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Having a correctly-sized heating system is critical to your indoor comfort during the cold months. While it may seem that “bigger is better” when it comes to home heating, it isn’t. The best way to avoid installing an improperly-sized heating system is to work with a trained professional. Since 1984, APC Plumbing & Heating has been installing heating systems in Denver, and our NATE-certified technicians can help you calculate the correct heating load for your home, and then install a heating system that fits.

Calculating Heating Load

There are several factors that go into a heat load calculation:

  • Orientation of your home
  • Daytime heat gain
  • Level of insulation
  • How many windows and doors you have, and what type they are
  • Number of occupants of the home
  • Square footage
  • Floor plan
  • Temperature difference between indoors and outdoors (indoors is typically between 68-72 degrees)

How the air moves in your home, the number of people and how the sun affects the temperature of your home during the daytime are all important factors that have to be part of the calculation in order to truly ascertain how much heat you need. Simply calculating by square footage alone isn’t enough.

Problems with Sizing

So what happens if your heating system is too big or too small? Let’s take a look:

Too Small

When your heating system is too small, it can’t achieve the set temperature; this can be particularly troublesome at night, when the temperature drops. Unfortunately, your heating system will keep trying to reach the set temperature, so it keeps running – constantly. Constant operation isn’t good for the system because it can lead to accelerated wear and tear, overheating of components and possible breakdown of the system. In addition, your energy bills will go up and you’ll most likely be cold. It can be tempting to install a smaller furnace because it may cost less initially, but it can wind up costing you in the end.

Too Big

A system that is too big will heat your home so fast that it won’t be able to complete the full heating cycle. This can have several effects:

  • You’ll be uncomfortable – your home will heat up so quickly it may get too hot too soon, and then it will also cool down quickly, possibly making you cold again.
  • Your system will short-cycle – short-cycling occurs when your heating system is in a continuous cycle of turning on and off. This can cause with excessive wear-and-tear and prematurely age the components.
  • Your energy bills may go up – the constant on/off of short cycling uses more energy, especially at start-up, and the constant running requires more energy use.

When you work with a heating expert, he/she will perform a heat load calculation using the factors listed above to determine exactly how much heating your home really needs. This allows the technician to professionally install a heating system that is the right size for your home. Call APC Plumbing & Heating and schedule an appointment with one of our installation experts.

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