Items filtered by date: November 2020

Monday, 21 December 2020 13:31

Carbon Monoxide Safety This Winter

iStock 618738532Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas often called the silent killer. CO replaces oxygen in your bloodstream and causes symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, headache, coma and death. Every year in the United States, 400 people die from CO poisoning while 20,000 visit the emergency department and 4,000 people are hospitalized. CO poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the U.S. CO is produced when any kind of fuel is burned and sources include fireplaces, hot water heaters, gas or oil furnaces, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbeque grills, gas ovens/ranges, generators and fumes from car exhaust. The best defense against CO is prevention and alarms. Let's take a look.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The best defense against CO poisoning is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some prevention measures you can take to keep yourself and your family safe this winter. 

  • Install at least one CO alarm on each floor of your home and close to sleeping areas
  • Replace CO alarms every 5-7 years and check and replace batteries every 6 months
  • Have professional HVAC servicing at minimum once per year to have your system tuned up and inspected
  • Do not block or seal exhaust flues, vents or ducts used by water heaters, clothes dryers, ranges/ovens or fireplaces
  • Have fireplaces cleaned and inspected annually
  • Don't use stoves or ovens to heat your home
  • Never leave a car running inside a garage or attached carport - even with the door open
  • Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors
  • Keep generators at least 30 feet away from your home

If you or your family begin to experience symptoms of potential CO poisoning, take all people and pets and leave the home immediately. Once out of the home, call for help from the fire department/911. They can help determine if there is a CO leak in your home and where it is coming from. Do not re-enter the home until emergency responders tell you it is safe to do so. This might include waiting until after essential repairs can be made to gas lines, appliances, water heaters, HVAC or other systems in the home. CO poisoning can be deadly and with the increased furnace and heating use in the winter, this time of year is especially dangerous. If you suspect you might be experiencing symptoms of a CO leak, don't delay as time is of the essence. From all of us at Carolina Comfort Systems, we wish you a very happy and safe holiday and winter season.

Published in Blog
Monday, 21 December 2020 13:10

Troubleshooting an Iced-Up Heat Pump

BryantHeat pumps can often ice up during particularly cold weather. In most cases, this is not an issue to be concerned with. As the heat pump warms the air to distribute to your home, condensation can form on the coils that then freezes or causes a frost. Heat pumps have a built-in defrost cycle to combat this frosting action. The heat pump works in cycles, including the defrost cycle that should automatically switch on to ensure normal operation of the unit.

When an Iced-Up Heat Pump Is a Problem 

How can you tell when an iced up heat pump is a problem? Here are some ways to tell you have a frosty problem brewing with your heat pump:

  • It has been frozen for a long period of time
  • The heat pump is not operating properly or keeping temperature
  • The top of the unit and inner coil appear to be iced over
  • The defrost cycle is not activating
  • Air is not being pulled in by the fans of the unit
  • The entire heat pump unit is frozen over

Why Heat Pumps Freeze Up

There are some common reasons why heat pumps ice up or freeze up. These reasons include:

  • Dirty or clogged up air filter
  • Blower blades blocked up by debris or build up
  • The reversing valve is stuck
  • Low refrigerant levels
  • A component is malfunctioning such as the thermostat, refrigerant metering device or the temperature sensor

Troubleshooting a Frozen Heat Pump

There are very few things you can do to troubleshoot a frozen heat pump. These troubleshooting measures include:

  • Changing out the air filter for a brand new one
  • Removing leaves and debris stuck in the condensing fan of the outside unit that might be obstructing it
  • Call a professional

With the exception of a dirty filter or debris stuck in the fan on the outdoor unit, there isn't much you can directly do to fix a frozen heat pump. The best thing to do is call your HVAC specialist at Carolina Comfort Systems to come out and check the unit operation and diagnose the problem.

Published in Blog
Friday, 04 December 2020 15:12

Top 7 Common Cold Weather Heating Problems

woman with warm clothing feeling the cold inside house

When the temperature drops, your HVAC system goes to work keeping your home warm and comfortable. But how can you tell if there is a problem brewing? Whether you have a furnace or a heat pump, there are a common set of issues that can crop up when the temperature drops. Here are the top 7 most common cold weather heating problems and possible causes.

1. Dirty filters - Dirty filters restrict airflow, add to wear and tear, make your HVAC work harder and lose energy efficiency and can cause damage to various components over time. Ideally, it's best to change your filter every other month or monthly if you have pets. This is one of the most common causes of cold weather heating problems. 
2. Cracked heat exchanger - The most common cause of a cracked heat exchanger is a lack of regular maintenance of the system. A cracked heat exchanger can also result in a carbon monoxide (CO) leak that can cause serious illness or death. While this is a costly repair, it's important to have it taken care of immediately because of the CO danger. 
3. Cycling too frequently - Cycling too often can be a result of a dirty or clogged air filter, most commonly. If the air filter is new, the problem is more likely to be an issue with airflow or a faulty thermostat setting. 
4. Loud bangs or sounds during the heating cycle - Loud noises most often indicate airflow problems. If airflow isn't the issue, it could also be a clogged burner. In either case, a visit from a professional is required. 
5. Air continuously blowing - The most common cause of an HVAC system that is constantly blowing, whether or not the heating element is producing heat, is a faulty limit switch. This is a repair you'll need an HVAC professional to perform for you. 
6. Faulty pilot light - There are a few ways the pilot light can be faulty. It should be a small, bright and blue flame. If the flame is another color such as yellow or orange, or doesn't burn brightly or not at all, the most likely cause is a dirty or damaged flame sensor. Sometimes this issue can be remedied by cleaning the flame sensor while other times, it requires a new flame sensor. 
7. Frozen pipes - Just like regular plumbing pipes in your home, some HVAC systems can experience frozen pipes and coils during especially cold weather. Also like your plumbing, frozen pipes and coils can burst or crack. The most common way people notice this problem is if their HVAC isn't keeping up to the set temperature. Calling in a professional ASAP can help prevent cracks or breaks in the coils or pipes inside your HVAC system. 
Your HVAC system works hard in both the hot months and the cold months to keep your home comfortable. Knowing about these top 7 common cold weather heating problems helps you quickly recognize when there is an issue and call in a professional to help fix the problem before it becomes a major breakdown.  
Published in Blog
Friday, 04 December 2020 15:02

Schedule Your Fall/Winter HVAC Tune-Up!

sofa cuddles with mum picture id637767068

Right now, as fall and winter weather approaches is the optimal time to have your HVAC professionally tuned-up and serviced. Regularly scheduled tune-ups keep your HVAC system working as effectively as possible and also helps prevent a breakdown by finding small problems before they become major issues. Check out some of the core services your HVAC tune-up includes.

 HVAC Tune-Up

Your HVAC tune-up will include an inspection of several areas and servicing of many moving parts. Here are just a few of the things that take place during an HVAC tune-up.

  • Visual inspection of all moving/working parts
  • Inspection for wear and tear of motors, belts and bearings
  • Lubrication of all moving parts
  • Replacement of filter (Note: You should replace your filter at least every other month, or monthly if you have pets)
  • Inspection and adjustment of pilot light and gas pressure
  • Test and tighten electrical connections and switches
  • Inspect drain lines for clogs of dirt or debris
  • Inspect vents for blockages
  • Test and check for any carbon monoxide leaks
  • Written professional maintenance suggestions that list any parts that should be replaced, extra services suggested and suggestions to improve efficiency or safeguard the lifespan of your HVAC system.

A professional tune-up improves the function of your HVAC system and increases energy efficiency which can reduce your utility bills and the cost of heating or cooling your home. Proper maintenance also helps reduce wear and tear by keeping moving parts lubricated, your system clean and all switches and connections tight and secure. A regular maintenance schedule for your HVAC tune-ups also helps increase the lifespan of your system. If you haven't scheduled your HVAC tune-up yet, give Carolina Comfort Systems a call and we will take care of all of your HVAC tune-up needs and give you the peace of mind that your system is in good working condition for the winter temperatures.

Published in Blog