Stack Effect May Be What’s Causing Your Heat To Escape Your Home

heating contractorWith cold weather fast approaching, your furnace should be tuned up and ready to go. However, even after your heating contractor tunes up the furnace and installs clean filters, you can experience issues. This is especially true if your furnace is heating your home but you’re not feeling the heat.

Improper equipment installation can cause your home’s heating to decline in efficiency by up to 30%. But another cause for a decline in heating efficiency could very well be your own house. Common in multi-story homes, this heat-stealing problem is known as the “stack effect.”

What is stack effect?

The stack effect is most common in commercial buildings and large, multi-story warehouses. However, it can also affect two-story houses. The stack effect is, essentially, when the home acts as a chimney would by grabbing the warm air and hoisting it upward toward the highest ceiling until it leaves the home.

This effect typically happens when the outside temperature is significantly lower than the temperature inside the building because the cold air is more dense. Therefore, the air attempts to balance the density between the two areas. This can cause airflow in your home with an especially intense draft. The stack effect becomes a problem when your heating system loses its efficiency and your utility bill racks up in an attempt to keep the warm air in.

How can I stop stack effect from happening?

Stack effect happens because your home has a place at the highest point of the house where the warm air can escape. The best way to keep this from happening is through insulation. The most important area to insulate is the space between your top floor and your attic. Once the warm air reaches your attic, it’ll escape through the smallest of cracks or air ducts. Therefore, while it’s important to ensure you have proper insulation throughout your house, it’s the attic you need to pay the most attention to.

If you feel the heat is still escaping from your home after maintaining your insulation, it may be in your best interest to contact your home heating repair services or heating contractor. Your heating contractor will be able to professionally monitor the heat in your home and to figure out just what is causing your heating system’s lack of efficiency and where the insulation in your home may be faulty.

Common Signs It May Be Time To Get A New Furnace

furnace repair serviceWith the leaves starting to change color, it’s time to pull out the furnace for another chilly season. However, depending on how long you’ve had your furnace, you may want to consider installing a new one before winter swipes through.

Old furnaces can be dangerous if they’re not working correctly. According to a survey, up to 28% of residential fires caused by heating was the result of failing to clean solid-fueled heating equipment. To keep you and your family safe and warm with fall and winter approaching, here are the warning signs to begin investing in furnace installation.

Even with furnace repair, your heating system is costing you
One of the biggest signs it may be time for a new furnace is if your heating system isn’t generating enough heat. This can be caused by a number of things including clogged and dirty filters, dust in the air ducts, or even stack effect if you live in a two-story home.

However, if a furnace repair service has looked at your furnace and insulation and determined everything to be working as well as it could be, your furnace may just not be cutting it anymore. Even if you’re not feeling the reduced heat in your home, your utility bill may be unusually high if your furnace is working double-time to keep the temperature warm in your home.

Your furnace has made it to retiring age
Once a furnace has reached the age of 15, it’s in your best interest to begin considering a replacement. With proper maintenance from a furnace repair service and heating contractors, you may have a furnace that can last anywhere between 20 to 30 years. Yet furnaces that last this long aren’t as energy efficient as newer models and there’s a likelihood it’ll be eating into your utility bill.

If you purchased your furnace second hand or if it came with your home, you can find the age of the furnace by looking for the heating system’s label. The label should be located along the bottom within the removable door on the outside of your furnace. The label should contain the furnace model as well as a serial number. Additionally, it may also show the manufacturing date.

With colder weather on its way, choosing to install a new furnace may be in your best interest especially if it’s been proving to be less energy efficient over recent years. For advice on fuel types and heating capacity, you may want the additional assistance of a trained furnace repair service professional when buying a new furnace. For home heating repair you can trust, contact Pioneer Heating and Air today for a consultation.

Comfortable Living: Pioneer Heating & Air’s Fall 2017 Newsletter


THERMOSTATS 101

Imagine living in the early 19th century. Fall is here and you’ve turned on your furnace. There’s only one problem: your house keeps swinging from cold to hot. And every time it goes too far in one direction, you have to walk down to the basement to adjust valves, dampers or the furnace itself. Not an ideal situation! Fortunately, this changed with the invention of the thermostat. This is where we can help!

How Thermostats Control Temperature
The basic way that thermostats control temperature is by sensing to make changes until the temperature matches the set point. How the thermostat does this depends on what it’s connected to.

For furnaces, the thermostat might turn the fan and burner on to increase the temperature and turn it off when the temperature is just right. Some thermostats are connected to valves that open and close to allow hot water into a radiator when the temperature drops. Air conditioning control works by turning on the fan and unit when the temperature gets too high.

Types of Thermostats
Thermostats come in three types: programmable, non-programmable and smart.

Programmable thermostats allow you to save multiple set points for daytime, nighttime and weekends (depending on the thermostat itself). This allows you to save on energy when you don’t need as much heating or cooling while you’re at work, for example. A thermostat set to a lower temperature at night (known as night setback) is a common way to save on energy as well, without having to remember to manually turn down the temperature before bed.

Non-programmable thermostats are your basic manual thermostats that you set and change as needed.

They can be dial type where you turn a dial to set the temperature, or digital. If you want to lower the setting on a winter’s day while you’re out of the house, you’ll have to make sure you do it manually before you rush out the door.

Smart thermostats give you the benefits of programmable thermostats with added features. Many of them learn your habits and change settings according to your inputs and whether you’re home or not. You can control the temperature in your home from an app so you save on energy when you’re away but come home to a comfortable temperature. Wi-Fi thermostats feature improved energy efficiency and feedback, geofencing, learning, and alerts like carbon monoxide and smoke. Still, there are some thermostats that work with Alexa and smart devices like lights, TVs and yard sprinklers.

Making the Right Choice
If you need help choosing the right thermostat, and installing it, give Pioneer Heating and Air a call and we’ll help keep your home at just the right temperature day and night, season after season.

5 Benefits of Having a Maintenance Agreement

Most people go into a panic when things go wrong with equipment at home. One way to reduce the panic and keep your house in order is to have a maintenance agreement with a professional company. For a fixed monthly or annual fee, a professional will keep your equipment in top working order.

Here are some reasons why you should have a maintenance agreement in place for your home:

1. Lower cost over time. When you maintain your equipment, the repair cost tends to be lower, and failure happens less frequently. Your equipment operates more efficiently when well maintained, saving money on operating costs like your utility bills. This may also reduce the pressure on emergency funds for sudden breakdowns and repair.

2. Peace of mind. Besides saving you money, regular maintenance will reduce the chance of you getting stuck in the heat with no air conditioning or taking cold showers for days while your water heater is being replaced. A maintenance agreement will also lengthen the lifespan of the components in your equipment. This postpones replacement and allows you to maximize the use of your equipment.

3. Keeping Your Warranty. Some manufacturers won’t replace a part if the unit has not been maintained by a professional. Rather than having to remember to book and keep up with maintenance yourself, having an agreement in place ensures that you keep the added protection of a warranty should your parts fail.

4. Relationship. You can count on your regular service company who will want to keep your business rather than one-off servicing by a stranger. If there are any ongoing issues, a maintenance agreement will provide you with better follow up on work done. The technicians who take care of your home will also become familiar with how everything works and will be better able to make suggestions and pick up on issues early on.

5. Safety. For routine maintenance, you may be able to take care of it yourself. You might even be tempted to do more complex maintenance on your own. However, a professional will know the safest way to carry out the work. Protect yourself and your family by having a professional do regular, planned maintenance on your equipment.

Get your home’s maintenance in order. To find out more about maintenance agreements, and whether it’s the right fit for you, give Pioneer Heating and Air a call to discuss.

Pioneer Comfort Wins Contracting Business Magazine “National Residential HVAC Contractor of the Year” Award

Pioneer Comfort President and founder Gordy Noe and General Manager Mike Conley accepted the National Residential HVAC Contractor of the Year award this month at the Contractor Leadership LIVE event in Cleveland, OH.

The award is presented to the company that represents the best that the residential HVAC industry has to offer and best embraces innovative ways to better understand and serve customers.

Since founding the company in 1981, Noe has continued to run the company with the same mindset: the customer always comes first.

“It’s our policy that we take care of the customer’s needs no matter what it takes, and money is secondary. If we do the first one, we’ll make the second one,” Noe says.

This is not the first time Noe and the company have been recognized for excellence. Noe was awarded the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association (PHCC) Contractor of the Year award in 2013. The award is presented to the HVACR contractor who best represents the ideals of the profession. Nominees are judged on professionalism, merchandising and management skills, innovative techniques, trade involvement and community service.

Pioneer Comfort continues to be the HVAC company Knoxville residents trust. After more than 30 years in business, Noe is still looking towards the future.

“I can’t wait to get up and go to work every day. I expect I’ll probably keep doing that for the next 10 years, I hope. I’m 60 now and I hope I’ve got another 10 years in me.”

Why You Should Be Getting A Tune Up On Your Furnace Before Winter

furnace repairAs summer hits the road and autumn hangs its coat on the door, it’s about that time of the year to begin looking at your furnace. Your furnace may not have been at the forefront of your mind during the sweltering heat, but with winter quickly approaching you’ll want to ensure that your heating system is up to par.

It’s essential to perform an initial maintenance check on your furnace before turning it on the season; nearly 50% of all residential heating fires occur between December and February. Think your furnace will be okay without a checkup? Here’s why you may be wrong.

Catching malfunctions before they happen
One of the best things about performing a maintenance inspection on your heating system before winter rolls in is that you’ll be able to catch the smaller malfunctions before they become big problems. A small furnace repair is far cheaper and far easier to take care of than an entire furnace overhaul. By providing your furnace with a maintenance checkup throughout the year, but especially as autumn trickles in, you can keep your furnace going strong for years.

In addition to saving money, making a small furnace repair here and there because of something you caught during a maintenance inspection will also help to you and your family safe. Larger amounts of damage such as a cracked heat exchanger can very well lead to a carbon monoxide leak. Quick repairs made due to early detection will help keep your furnace functioning and your family safe from dangerous gases.

Maintaining energy efficiency
Without routine cleaning and maintenance, your furnace can eat away at your utility bill because it’s overworking itself when it shouldn’t have to. Before you turn your furnace on to warm your toes after pumpkin picking, clean out its filters which have been collecting dust all summer. The last thing you need during the cold season is a summer’s worth of pet dander giving you a respiratory illness.

Cleaning your filters improves our energy efficiency because it makes the air ducts of your home easier for the warm air to move through. Getting a tune up on your furnace in the late summer or early autumn can also help contribute to energy efficiency and generally longer furnace life. A furnace tune up every year could make your furnace last as long as 20 years. That’s as long as a home’s roof.

Having furnace repair services take a look at your furnace every year is a great idea. But it’s also a great idea to have your furnace checked out right before winter when it’s been out of use for a while. Not only will it improve your furnace’s general efficiency, but it can also help protect your family against leakages and dust. For a furnace repair service you can trust, contact Pioneer Heating and Air today.