Hot Water Heater vs. Boiler: What’s The Difference?

Heating your entire home is a difficult process that requires multiple complicated systems. Most homes use a furnace to blow hot air through the vents and into the home, as well as a hot water heater to heat the water you may need for a shower, washing clothes, washing dishes, etc. But some homes use a boiler instead. Do you know what is used in your home? Here is the difference:

Hot Water Heater

A hot water heater is a storage tank that heats water by electricity or burning gas. Once water is heated, it is stored in the tank until it is needed. When this hot water leaves the tank, cold water refills it to be heated until hot water is needed again for a shower, washing dishes, or the like. If you’ve ever run out of hot water in your home, its because you have emptied the tank before it had time to fully heat the new cold water that refilled it as it was emptying. Some Hot water heaters are also tankless, meaning they heat water on-demand.

Boiler

A boiler can be used for both hot water needs and to heat the entire home so there is no need to install a furnace. Boilers heat water that is then pushed through pipes into the radiators, or they heat water until it creates steam to heat the radiators. Heat is created more instantaneous than with a hot water heater.

Curious about which option is best for your home? Talk to the knowledgeable and experienced professionals at Heatmasters! In more than six decades as an HVAC contractor, we have earned a reputation for outstanding heating and air products Chicago can trust, and award-winning service. Give us a call today!

With Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, and New Years right around the corner, entertaining guests in your home is often a common occurrence. While you obviously want to keep your home temperature comfortable, there are a few ways you can make your guest feel warm and welcome without cranking the heat and raising your utility bill. Here are some tips on how to cut energy costs this holiday season.

Build A Fire

If you have a fireplace in your home, make your living room cozy and warm by building a fire or turning on the gas fireplace. This will warm up the room without requiring you to turn up the thermostat. Just be sure that when the fire goes out, you turn the heat down so your furnace doesn’t work overtime to replace the warm air.    

Lower The Thermostat Temperature

Let the heat run in your home before your guests arrive, but once they get there you can lower the temperature a few degrees. Your home will then feel warm when they walk in but the natural body heat from having multiple people in your home will continue to keep the temperature comfortable. 

Target Your Heat with Space Heaters

Space heaters are a great investment if you want to warm up a certain area of the home without cranking the heat. They are typically inexpensive and work quickly to heat small bedrooms, bathrooms, and home offices. 

Install An Energy-Efficient System

If you’re looking to save money year-round and not just during the holidays, call Heatmasters today to install an energy-efficient heating and cooling system! We offer several makes and models so you can find the perfect system for your home.

Courtesy of Woman’s Day Magazine

 A leaking furnace is never a good sign. This could happen for a multitude of reasons, but no matter the cause, it’s important to get your furnace repaired as soon as possible. Leaks can cause serious damage not only to your furnace, but to the rest of your home as well. The most likely reason for a leaky furnace is a condensation leak in high-efficiency furnaces, but lets consider all possible options.

Furnace Condensation

Most high-efficiency gas furnaces produce condensation that is directed to a floor drain. If the tubing or pipes that lead to this drain are clogged or damaged, the water in them may begin to leak onto the floor. You can determine if you have a high-efficiency furnace by looking at its vent pipe – an HE furnace has a plastic, usually PVC vent pipe. A standard furnace has a metal vent pipe and should never have condensation. If it does, you may want to ask your technician if your flue pipe is the correct size.

Humidifier Issue

Your humidifier could potentially be leaking inside your furnace. However, scheduling annual maintenance for your furnace and HVAC system should help to avoid this issue.

Internal Drain Clog

In some HVAC systems, the air conditioning unit and furnace share an internal drain. If this is the case in your system and your AC is still running, a clogged internal drain could be sending the water from the AC unit into the furnace instead of down the drain.

If your furnace is leaking and you need it repaired, call Heatmasters today! We’ve got you covered 24/7 and are known for our award-winning service.

Courtesy of Angie’s List

If you just can’t seem to figure out why your furnace isn’t functioning properly, your thermostat could be to blame. When something causes your thermostat to malfunction, it is unable to properly notify and communicate with your heating system to regulate your home’s temperature the way you want it to. Here are a few reasons your thermostat may be culprit behind your furnace issues:

Power Problems

If your thermostat doesn’t seem to be working correctly, it may just be a simple power problem. Try replacing the batteries, checking the power switch, or examine the fuse and circuit breaker. If it is just the batteries, try switching to lithium batteries rather than Alkaline so they will last longer. 

Faulty/Loose Wiring

Faulty and loose wiring can cause your thermostat to lose connection to the rest of the heating system. If your furnace stops working, be sure to inspect the wiring and tighten or replace if necessary. Hire a professional to do this if you aren’t sure how to handle wires on your own.

Mismatched Components

In order for the thermostat and heating system to work together properly, they must be matched correctly according to the system type and capacity of your furnace. If the thermostat and system are not set up together, there is opportunity for a miscommunication among the components.

Inaccurate Temperature Reading

Sometimes when a thermostat is installed it can be placed in a location that doesn’t allow it to get an accurate reading. If your furnace fails to kick on when it’s supposed to, this may be the issue. Make sure that your thermostat is placed away from outside windows and doors, as well as heat sources like fireplaces, direct sunlight, radiators, and kitchen heat emissions.

Courtesy of The Spruce

As the cool weather approaches, homes and businesses everyone are beginning to wonder when its time to start turning on the heat. Many people put this off until the last minute or try out other tips and strategies to stay warm without the heat to save money on their energy bill, but do these money-saving techniques actually work? Here are a few heating myths that aren’t quite as helpful as you may think.

Cranking the heat will make your home or business warm up faster

If you’re cold, the first thing you want to do is warm up. Many impatient people believe that cranking up the temperature on the thermostat will make your home heat up faster, however this is not the case. When it does heat up, it will heat for longer periods of time and if you forget to turn it down, you will soon be too hot rather than too cold. 

Its cheaper to run space heaters than turn on the heating system

To try and save money on their energy bill, some people believe its more cost efficient to use space heaters than to turn on their heating system. However, paying for electricity is typically much more expensive than paying for gas. This way you are only heating a few rooms in your home for the same cost as turning on the heat for your entire home.

Ceiling fans are only for summer

Many homeowners use their ceiling fans as a way to cool off when they come inside from the hot outdoors in summer, but don’t think to use them in winter. If you turn your fan on so it rotates in a clockwise direction, it will keep warm air from rising and make your home feel warm throughout without increasing the temperature on the thermostat.

Courtesy of Fox

As gross as it sounds, its very important to remove any bird droppings or feathers that have fallen into your outdoor HVAC units. Not only can they increase the likelihood of mechanical errors in your systems but they can carry harmful bacteria that often cause illness in building occupants. Bird fecal and feathers usually contain microorganisms such as Salmonella, so when blown through the ducts and vents into your home, can initiate significant health problems. These droppings can also clog the fresh air intake and evaporator coils within the heating and cooling system, and decrease the airflow from the fan.

The last thing you want is to be breathing in dirty, germ-filled air. To prevent these health risks from impacting you and your home, an HVAC professional should check the areas in and around the unit or system for bird nests and droppings on a regular basis. If a nest, droppings, or feathers are spotted, the nest should first be moved while the birds are away. Then, any other remains and debris should also be removed, but be sure your HVAC technician is wearing gloves or other protective gear to avoid touching any harmful microbes and germs. Next, the ducts and cooling coils should be given a thorough environmental cleaning. This will kill any bacteria or microorganisms that the birds may have left behind and will help to eliminate any clogs in the system. Your unit should then be back in business to keep you cool and ensure your system is working properly.

Courtesy of HVAC Insider

Many people try to use their A/C as little as possible to keep their utility bills low, but when the summer heat becomes too hot to handle, it is almost impossible not to turn on your air conditioning. Here are a few strategies to help you save both money and energy even when its one of those days where the A/C is a must.

Service Your Unit

Basic HVAC maintenance is the best way to ensure your air conditioning unit is always performing its best. If it is working properly, your unit won’t need to use unnecessary energy to keep it going and will thus keep your energy bill down.

Check Your Ducts and Vents

Make sure that your air ducts are properly insulated so you aren’t losing any cool air as it travels through the parts of your home that don’t use the A/C. In addition, be sure that all of your vents are open and your furniture is arranged in a way that doesn’t block the airflow that is coming out of the vents.

Turn Off The Lights and Close The Blinds

Turning off lights when you don’t need them can help to reduce the heat in your home, as well as closing the blinds when you leave a room. This will eliminate any extra heat that your air conditioning system has to compete with, and will allow you to cool your home faster and more efficiently.

Try 78 Degrees

The closer your indoor temperature is to the outside temperature, the less strain put on your air conditioner to try to keep your home cool. 78 degrees is a good point to set your A/C so it doesn’t have to compete with the outside heat and can run at optimal performance. When the air is on, 78 degrees is cooler than you think!

Use A Fan

A fan can act as extra help for an air conditioner to keep a room cool. Fans circulate the cool air that comes out of the vents much faster so not us much air needs to be pumped into that room.

Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

HVAC experts recommend a yearly furnace inspection to prolong the life of your system and to keep it working as efficiently as possible. An annual inspection can also help to decrease any health risks that could occur from an outdated and ignored furnace. One of the most common reasons for furnace issues in the winter are due to lack of maintenance. A yearly checkup with keep you and your family from being left in the cold.

What Is Usually Done During A Furnace Inspection?

– Clean the heating system to increase efficiency
– Check all controls for safety
– Make sure the system is running at peak performance
– Check thermostat settings to make sure the system is running correctly
– Inspect electrical connections and test voltage to prevent future component failure
– Lubricate and moving parts
– Make sure the condensate drain is unobstructed
– Ensure start-up and shutdown controls are operating properly
– Change the filter

Benefits of Furnace Inspections

– Reduces energy consumption
– Saves you money
– Eliminates air quality-related health hazards
– Helps prevent future furnace breakdowns
– Reduces risk of possible fire or explosion
– Eliminates fuel waste
– Keeps you and your family comfortable during cold winter months
– Gives you peace of mind that everything is working properly

Courtesy of Angies List

The American Residential Services (ARS) has marked Thursday, June 22nd as National HVAC Tech Day to note the efforts and hardwork of the technicians we rely on but often take for granted. Most people don’t think about their air conditioning until it stops working the way it is supposed to, so as the first official week of summer has begun, take a moment to appreciate the HVAC technicians that help keep us cool and comfortable all summer long.

What Do HVAC Technicians Do?

HVAC technicians help to keep us cool in the summer and cozy in the winter. Whether they need to get up to your attic, down to your basement, into a tight crawl space, or fit into some other claustrophobic location, these pros combat the dust, debris, and bugs to find your HVAC unit and make your home as comfortable as possible. HVAC technicians can also help you save money by choosing the most energy-efficient system for your home and your heating and cooling habits.

How You Can Show Your Appreciation

– First and foremost, take care of your HVAC system. Make sure your home is properly insulated and change your air filter when necessary to make your technician’s job a little easier.

– Let your HVAC tech know how much you appreciate them with a handwritten card or thank you note. Being told you’re doing a good job can make anyone’s day.

– Make your technician a goodie bag of things they could use throughout their workday, whether it be a water bottle, sunglasses, or some on-the-go snacks.

– Recommend your HVAC tech or company to your friends and family. Everyone loves new business.

– Post about National HVAC Tech Day on your social media to let your followers know how much you appreciate your tech and to encourage them to recognize their technicians as well.

Courtesy of HVAC Tech Day