(770) 455-6722

Serving Metro Atlanta & Surrounding Areas

Cunningham Associates
Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

Making Indoor Heating Systems More Effective

Many people are making their heating systems less effective during the colder months without even realizing it. People who try to find ways to save energy around the house will certainly spend less money on heating in general. However, heating systems in these households will tend to last longer as well.

1. Install energy-efficient windows.

There are lots of energy-efficient windows on the market today. Certain types of windows are much better at providing adequate insulation. As such, people won’t lose as much of the heat that they’re paying for in the first place.

2. Leave as many interior doors open as possible.

Many people are told to close their interior doors in order to make the heating systems work more effectively. However, keeping all of the interior doors closed will just interfere with the airflow between rooms.

In fact, people might end up spending more money on energy during the winter if they constantly keep all of the interior doors closed, regardless of what they’ve been told. The air quality of all rooms will also improve in the process of leaving the doors open.

3. Make sure the floor stays insulated.

Lots of people forget to make sure that their floors are insulated. In fact, a household can lose as much as ten percent of its heat through the floor. People who have carpeted floors might not have to worry about this as much. Placing blankets and rugs on hardwood floors can make a big difference for the people who are trying to conserve as much heat as possible indoors.

Indoor heating systems will be more effective and efficient if people counteract some of the heat loss that can occur throughout a household. Give Cunningham Associates a call with any questions or HVAC service needs you may have – we are happy to help!

 

Furnace Flame Sensor Problems

There are a multitude of different components inside of a gas furnace, all of which have to be kept working to ensure that your house stays heated. When things do go wrong, it pays to be able to understand the various roles of the components in your furnace. This will make it easier to diagnose potential problems, thus saving your repair person the trouble of starting from scratch. In this article, you will learn about what the flame sensor is used for–and what can cause it to stop working.

The Flame Sensor 

Flame sensors are found in gas furnaces that utilize hot surface igniters rather than pilot lights. A hot surface igniter utilizes electrical energy as a way of sparking the combustion at the heart of your furnace. The flame sensor’s job is to test for the increased heat that should accompany this combustion. If it does, gas is allowed to continue flowing into the combustion chamber. If it does not, it will shut down the gas flow, thus preventing the risk of explosions and gas poisoning.

Problems 

As you can see, the flame sensor is a vital piece of your furnace’s safety system. Yet it can lead to unwanted problems if it loses its ability to correctly assess the temperature inside the furnace. This will cause the sensor to cut off the gas flow even when combustion is taking place–thus keeping your furnace from warming up your home.

By far the most common cause of a malfunctioning flame sensor is that it has become excessively dirty. As layers of soot and other combustion by products build up, they make it harder and harder for the sensor to detect heat. Fortunately, this problem can be kept at bay by having your flame sensor cleaned on a yearly basis.

Questions? Call Cunningham Associates, we’re a heating repair company in Atlanta GA, today at (770) 455-6722.

The Basics of Furnace Combustion Analysis

Hiring a professional furnace technician to perform regular maintenance can do much more than simply keep your furnace running. Thanks to the technique known as combustion analysis, a trained HVAC professional can also improve your energy efficiency and your family’s safety. Read on to learn more about what combustion analysis is–and what it can do for you.

The Basic Idea

The reaction taking place at the heart of your furnace is both complex and difficult to measure accurately. The ratio of air and fuel being mixed in the combustion chamber, as well as other factors, can directly influence how much heat your furnace is able to generate. Combustion analysis is a technique that allows you to get a better picture of how efficiently your furnace is working by taking measurements of the chemical substances present in your exhaust gases.

The Tools

Combustion analysis is performed using a tool known as a digital combustion analyzer. This tool has two components. First there is a probe that is inserted into the flue pipe coming out of your furnace. This probe is capable of measuring the amounts of various exhaust substances. This data is then sent to a hand-held analyzer, which allows the technician to understand the amounts of the various exhaust substances being produced.

Benefits of Combustion Analysis

When the levels of unwanted substances such as carbon monoxide and sulfur monoxide are too high, this is generally a sign that the combustion taking place in your furnace is incomplete. By altering the amount and/or the pressure of the fuel entering the chamber, a furnace technician can help your furnace reach peak efficiency. Such adjustments will also act to decrease the levels of toxic substances, thus protecting both your family and the environment.

 
For more information about furnaces contact Cunningham Associates today at (770) 455-6722.

Common Problems Requiring Heating Service

Having problems with your furnace is a major concern, especially with winter quickly approaching! A broken furnace isn’t an option or something you can just live without for a while. Below are three common problems with furnaces that require service. If you have one of these problems, you may need to contact an HVAC specialist you can trust.

  1. Complete loss of heat. If you turn your heater on and nothing happens, there could be a number of problems. Is your furnace getting electricity? If not an electrician is the right person to call. Is the pilot light igniting? If not, there could be an issue with the gas. And although it seems like a no-brainer, it is always important to double-check that your thermostat is turned on, turned to heat, and set at a temperature that will trigger the heat to turn on.
  2. Partial loss of heat. When your furnace is turning on but you aren’t getting all the heat you want, you could have a problem with your ducts. If you have radiators, they may need to be bled to release trapped air.
  3. Malfunctioning thermostat. If your thermostat is doing all sorts of crazy things like misreading the temperature and not running when it should, you will need to contact a professional to recalibrate your thermostat.
    For more information about heating service contact Cunningham Associates today at (770) 455-6722.

3 Reasons Why the “Wait and See” Approach to Heating Repair or Replacement May Cost You More Money

As you think about the upcoming winter season, you may have some concerns when it comes to your heating system. Perhaps your furnace worked fine last winter, but it is older, and you’re not sure how long it will last. Maybe you saw signs of problems towards the end of last year, such as increasing noises, or poor performance. Some homeowners are determined to keep an old furnace until it completely dies, but there are several reasons why waiting on heating repair or replacement may cost you more money.

  1. Emergency fees. Unfortunately, when your heating system fails you on a cold day, you need to call for service immediately, even if it is on a weekend, holiday, or during the night. Most contractors will charge extra fees for service calls during those times.
  2. Alternative heating options. It isn’t an option to have no heat during the winter, so homeowners will need to work out another plan. Often that means investing in space heaters, and sometimes even staying in a hotel until the furnace is fixed.
  3. Damage to pipes. When your furnace isn’t working, the house can get extremely cold in some areas, which can lead to frozen pipes. If they burst, the pipes will not only need repair, but there can be damage to walls, floors, ceilings, and belongings.

If your heating system is older, or showing signs of not performing well, it’s best to get it checked out now before the coldest weather arrives. The “wait and see” approach often ends up costing homeowners more money in the long run. Contact Cunningham Associates today – we complete furnace installation in Atlanta, GA.

Want to Avoid High Heating Bills This Winter? Install an Energy Efficient System Now

The weather is still beautiful here in Georgia, but colder temperatures are just around the corner. And if you are one of the homeowners who are still paying off last winter’s heating bills, it’s time to be proactive.

 
In many cases, if your heating system is older, it’s a better decision to put your money into a more energy efficient system than keep paying those high utility bills. In time, the savings will pay for the system itself, and having a newer furnace will give you peace of mind that your heat will not suddenly stop working mid-winter.

 
If you’re considering a new furnace, but aren’t sure where to start, there are several factors to consider. First, look at energy efficiency. All furnaces have an efficiency rating, often referred to as AFUE. AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, and each unit is assigned a percentage of how much fuel it can convert into usable heat. A furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 means 90 percent of the fuel is used to heat, and 10 percent is lost. Most furnaces sold today have AFUE ratings of 80 percent, all the way up to 98 percent.

 
When choosing a new furnace, the higher the AFUE, the lower your utility bills will be, but some of the very high efficiency furnaces are also very expensive, so homeowners must weigh their options. When looking for other features that might make a furnace more efficient, electronic pilot, condensing gas furnaces, two-stage gas valves, and variable speed motors are other items that might save on bills.

 
While the options can be confusing, an experienced, reliable heating contractor can help you evaluate your current system, and give you an idea of how much you will save with a variety of new furnaces. This can help homeowners make an informed decision about which one to choose when it is time to replace the furnace. Contact Cunningham Associates today – we complete furnace installation in Atlanta, GA.

Heating Service: Five things to Consider

With temperatures in the eastern United States around 90 degrees F, you’re probably thinking about your AC rather than your heater. But, fall is the time for heating service. Here are some questions to ask in order to get your furnace or head pump ready for the cooler weather.

  1. Can I do any service myself? Yes–you can check your air filters. Typically, you should change the filters once every 3-6 months. If you aren’t sure about how to do this, a professional technician will be happy to help.
  2. When should I schedule the heating service? This fall. You’ll want to schedule a service visit ahead of the cooler weather.
  3. What if I skip heating service? Angie’s List reports that approximately 75% of winter service calls occur because the owner did not do annual maintenance.
  4. Will it extend the life of my heater? It can. Typically, HVAC units last 10-15 years. Annual service calls can help forestall major problems and keep the unit operating at its peak efficiency. This in turn, will help save you money over the life of the unit. In addition, annual maintenance can help address any safety or health issues that may develop around your heater.
  5. What if I need a new heater? We’ll be happy to help you assess whether you should repair or replace your heater. If you do need a new heater, we can discuss replacement options with you through our company.

Because you can prolong the life of your heater, improve your energy efficiency, and prevent emergency winter visits, make sure that you take the time to schedule annual maintenance within the next few weeks by calling Cunningham Associates today at (770) 455-6722.

Is it Time for the Installation of a New Heating System?

Furnaces last for years, and in many cases, it can be hard to tell when it’s time to get a new one. The most obvious sign, a complete failure, is actually the end stage of a long process of deterioration. It’s better to get a new heating installation long before this point. When is it a good time to go ahead with the upgrade?

 
Your old furnace has become a pain in the neck.
Old furnaces become troublesome because their parts wear out over time. Whichever parts are the most worn-out will likely show problems first. Things like pilot lights that constantly go out, blower motors that need frequent adjusting, safety switches that repeatedly shut things down for no apparent reason, and similar issues all point to the fact that the furnace has gotten too old to function well. While individual parts can be replaced, the other parts in the furnace will be just as old and likely to cause hassles. Save yourself the trouble and expense of repeated repair calls and get a new furnace.

 
Your gas bills are rising faster than can be explained by inflation.
Assuming your house or building hasn’t suffered draft-causing structural damage, this means that your furnace has lost a significant amount of efficiency. If it’s also an old machine, chances are good that it’s time to get a new and efficient replacement.

 
Your furnace is more than 10-15 years old.
Constant advances in technology mean that new ones are more efficient than those made years ago. This is true even if both units are brand new, so if one has been in use that long, the difference is even greater. This efficiency difference means that you can often make your money back in fuel savings over the next few years.

 
If you think it’s time for a new furnace, give us a call – we can talk through all of your options and help you pick the best system for your home.

Answers to Three Commonly Asked Home Heating Questions

It’s often said that technology isolates humankind from nature. If it does, it’s only by a thin margin. The only things separating the person indoors from the elements outside are a home’s walls, roof, and its heating system. Should the system fail, the cold outdoor temperatures will soon make their way inside. That’s why it’s best to have an understanding of how your heating system works. Here are the answers to three commonly asked home heating questions.

 
What is a heat pump?
Heat normally flows from a warm space to a cold space. However, a heat pump forces heat to flow in the opposite direction. Doing this requires energy, much like how it takes energy to pump water up out of the ground against gravity. The heat pump that warms your home uses electrical power to force heat to flow from the outdoors into your much warmer home. While this seems odd, it isn’t any more unusual than a water pump using energy to force water to flow uphill.
Another interesting fact is that your air conditioner is a heat pump that runs backwards. That is, it forces heat to flow out of your cooled home to the outside on a hot summer day.

 
Why is my heating bill so high?
There are a number of possible reasons for this:

  • Your thermostat is set too high. The greater the temperature difference between the indoors and outdoors, the faster your home loses heat.
  • Your home is poorly insulated. A poorly insulated home has less resistance to heat flow through its walls and roof.
  • Your home heating system is inefficient. An inefficient heating system can sometimes be repaired to increase efficiency, but sometimes will need to be replaced entirely, depending on what is wrong and how old the system is.

 
What does AFUE mean?
AFUE is an acronym for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.” It’s the fuel efficiency of your heating system. It’s the percentage of energy in your heating gas that actually warms up your home. An AFUE rating of 95 percent means that 95 percent of the energy in the gas you pay for goes into heating your home. A low AFUE means higher heating bills because more of the heat energy in the gas you pay for is wasted. AFUE ratings for heating systems typically range from 80 percent to percentages in the upper nineties.
If your heating system isn’t up to par, give us a call – we’d be happy to come take a look at it and make suggestions for improvement.

What Homeowners Should Know About Furnaces And Furnace Installation

There’s nothing more frustrating than waking up to a cold house because the furnace has stopped working. No matter what you do, you just can’t get warm and your family starts to suffer. Sometimes, repairs are possible, but if your furnace is older, it might just be time to replace it. There’s more to it than just picking out a new one and putting it in the same place. Furnace installation is a complicated process that is best handled by professionals.

The Right Size Furnace
When it’s time to replace your furnace, you have to choose a new one that’s the right size for your space. If it’s too small, it will not heat the entire space without running continuously. Not only is this inefficient, but it also makes the furnace work harder, which means it will wear out sooner. Conversely, if the furnace is too big, it will run in shorter cycles, which is also hard on the unit. A reputable heating company will help you choose the right size furnace for your home.

The Right Type of Furnace
The type of fuel is another important consideration when choosing a new furnace. These days, the most popular type of furnace fuel is natural gas because it is inexpensive, clean burning and readily available. Liquefied propane (LP) is a common choice for fuel in areas that do not have natural gas lines. Although not as common, coal, oil, electricity and wood are some other fuel options. Again, consult your heating company to find out which fuel type is the most appropriate for your application.

Furnace Installation
Once you’ve worked out the details about the type and size of furnace, you’ll have to arrange for installation. It’s not a simple matter of bringing the unit into the space and plugging it in, especially if the fuel source is changing. In some instances, new ductwork is necessary in order to accommodate the new furnace. Additionally, a proper exhaust system is imperative to avoid potentially fatal issues with improperly vented exhaust. The only way to assure these vital issues are addressed properly is if licensed HVAC professionals with a proven track record install your new furnace.

If your furnace is more than ten years old, has been repaired several times over the past couple of years or your heating bills are rising, it may be time for a new furnace installation. Contact us today and one of our certified technicians will be happy to come out and take a look.