(770) 455-6722

Serving Metro Atlanta & Surrounding Areas

Cunningham Associates
Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

Short Cycling Furnace Causes: Dirty Flame Rod

Ever wonder what causes a cycling in a furnace? We encourage you to read this article to learn how a dirty flame rod can lead to short cycling.

The Flame Rod 

The flame rod is part of a furnace’s built-in safety system. Its job is to help regulate the state of the gas valve. The idea is that, when ignition is successful, the burner flames will heat up the flame rod, causing it to send a signal to keep the gas valve open. If, however, combustion does not occur, the cold flame rod will soon shut down the gas valve, thus keeping raw gas from leaking out.

Problems 

This is all well and good–so long as the flame rod can do its job correctly. The problem is that, over time, contaminants build up on the surface of the rod. Such contaminants hamper its ability to detect heat. Eventually they will keep it from being able to do its job at all, meaning that the rod, failing to detect heat, will close the gas valve down even when combustion is occurring.

Fortunately, a furnace technician can often resolve this issue simply by giving the flame rod a thorough cleaning with sandpaper or steel wool. If your furnace has been short cycling, it is important to have your flame rod inspected as soon as possible.

Give Cunningham Associates a call today with any questions or service needs you may have.

Furnace Repair Expert Offers Four Tips on Improving Winter Home Air Quality

Many homeowners today keep their heating bills down over the winter by insulating their homes against the cold and sealing off cold air drafts entering from the outside. However, without the influx of fresh outside air, the air inside becomes stale and unhealthy.

Dust, pet dander, and other allergens build up. Combustion gases from gas stoves, and heating systems badly in need of furnace repair also contribute to the unhealthy air. While opening the windows isn’t an option in the winter, there are other ways of solving this problem. Here are four suggestions:

  • Use your fan hood when cooking. While in use, your gas stove releases combustion gases into the kitchen air. You may not see or smell them, but they are there if you don’t use a fan hood. These combustion gases include nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde.
  • Keep your house clean. House dust contains skin cells, human hair, pet dander, cloth fibers, paper fibers, mold spores, and plant pollen. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which filters out small particles that would otherwise get blown back into the air. Have your HVAC ducting system cleaned of dirt and debris buildup and get it sealed to prevent it from drawing in contaminants.
  • Use heat recovery ventilators. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) draws in fresh outside air with one fan, and exhausts stale indoor air to the outside with a second fan. The heat from the outgoing air is extracted and transferred to the incoming air. HRVs use heat exchangers that allow heat from the warm outgoing air to flow into and warm up the cool incoming air. HRVs also use filters to remove particulate matter.
  • Keep up with your furnace maintenance. An inefficient and poorly maintained furnace can produce and possibly release carbon monoxide and other combustion gases into your home. A furnace has many components that age and become filled with dirt over the years. Like all mechanical systems, it requires regular maintenance.

To prevent your furnace from breaking down or contributing to air quality problems this winter, call Cunningham Associates, we’re a heating repair company in Atlanta, GA, today at (770) 455-6722.

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.

DIY Maintenance Tips for Furnace Owners

The last thing you need this winter is to keep paying to get your furnace repaired so that you don’t have to suffer in the cold weather. In order to keep your furnace up-to-date and well maintained, Cunningham Associates provides two Savings Plan options, both of which include semi-annual inspections of your heating and air conditioning equipment. Whether you have one system or multiple systems, the Cunningham Savings Plan offers exceptional value. In between official system inspections, here are some tips that you can do in order to get the most out of your furnace!

Change Your Filters: After a long hot season, you’ll want to change the filter. Standard filters should be changed every 6 – 12 months as needed. To change, replace the filter with the correct size and follow all manufacturers’ instructions. Contact Cunningham Associates for filter upgrade options or any questions about replacing the filter.

Pilot Light: Check your pilot light. If your pilot light isn’t burning, follow your system’s instructions to relight it. If you’re not sure where your pilot light is located and unsure of how to relight it, give us a call. We’d be happy to help!

Fanbelt: Test out your fanbelt. If you see any glazing, fraying or cracking, it could be time to replace it. You should also push down on the fanbelt to check for any tension; too much tension means you need to tighten the fanbelt.

Duct System: Your duct system is another place that should be cleaned often to give you the best air quality. Less dust, mold, and allergens will be the result of you cleaning your duct system regularly.

Yearly Inspection: If you haven’t had your yearly inspection yet (and you’re not signed up for one of our Savings Plans), give us a call! In order to keep your system in top shape, a yearly inspection is a must. Also, if you’re looking to replace your furnace – we can help with that too! We are a Lennox Premier Dealer, and offer many of their products to our customers.

As always, if you have any questions about maintaining, repairing or replacing your system, give us a call! We’d be happy to answer your questions and help you make the best choices for your home and family.

When You Should Consider Replacing Your Home’s Furnace

Going into the winter months, you may be thinking about how well your heating system performed last year. Before committing to a new system, it never hurts to have a HVAC professional (like a Cunningham technician!) come to your home for a check-up on your HVAC system. You might have forgotten something small like cleaning the filters or replacing the caulk on doors or windows. If you think you may need a new furnace, this checklist might help you decide:

Is Your Furnace Reaching Retirement?
The average time that a furnace can work properly is only 18-20 years, even if the furnace has been professionally maintained!

Weigh The Cost of Repairs and Maintenance
Have you been making frequent repairs or has the cost of maintenance increased? This could be a sign that your furnace isn’t working as efficiently as it used to.

Have Your Heating Bills Risen Dramatically?
It may not be cost effective to keep your current furnace even if it does technically have a few more years left in it. Call us in to take a look at your furnace if you’re unsure about how your heating bills compare to similar homes in your area.

Are Some Rooms in Your Home Too Hot or Too Cold?
This could be a sign of your unit’s waning health. The furnace could be operating at a lower efficiency. If this is the case, call an HVAC professional to come and take a look at the unit and do a walk-through of your home as improper insulation could also be the case!

Is Your System Excessively Noisy?
This could be a sign that the furnace isn’t working correctly. You could have a problem that could be found and resolved during routine maintenance or it may be time to invest in an updated unit.

Consulting one of our HVAC professionals at Cunningham Associates Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. could help you decide when to invest in a new furnace. Don’t forget to schedule your installation, walk-through or maintenance appointment today!