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Humidifiers

By | Indoor Air Quality, Residential

In the Miami Valley, it can get cold enough to turn your furnace on in October and keep it on until April. That’s 7 months of heated air. Cooler air holds less moisture than hotter air. That means when it’s cold outside the relative humidity is generally low as well. For the human body, dry air can cause increased allergy symptoms and other respiratory problems. For the house or office, dry air can draw moisture out of materials inside the house, such as wood floors, furniture, pianos, and walls. The most effective way to treat your building is to add a humidifier to the air furnace system if possible. Different installation types can be used depending on the location of your furnace to ensure the best performance from your whole house humidifier. Adding a whole house humidifier controls how much moisture is added so you feel comfortable, but ensures that the humidifier shuts off so that too much moisture isn’t added. With seasonal maintenance, whole house humidifiers need little attention. Humidifiers can also save on energy costs as warm, moist air feels more comfortable and the thermostat can be turned down a few degrees without a loss of comfort.

How it Works

There are different types of whole house humidifiers available for a home or business. Each whole house humidifier uses the same method to deliver humidity to the air though the duct work connected to the furnace. They require water to create humidity, a water collection medium such as a evaporator pad or cartridge, airflow through the medium to create evaporation, a water control valve, and a humidistat device to control the humidity level.

Types

  • Bypass, offered in a traditional flow through or water saving model, traditionally can be used in buildings up to 4,000 square feet. These models can be mounted on either the warm air supply or return air side of any forced air furnace. The traditional flow through model would need access to a floor drain, while the water saving model does not.
  • Powered, uses a built-in fan which pulls in heated air directly from the furnace through the humidifier and can be used in buildings up to 4,200 square feet. These models work better than bypass humidifiers in tight quarters and are more efficient at adding humidity to the heated air. Powered humidifiers also work better with multi stage furnaces.
  • Steam, the most efficient type of whole house humidifier at adding moisture to the building. There are several different types of steam models available. Some models require filtered water and some require a cartridge with electrodes that needs replaced after the heating season. Steam whole house humidifiers can cover up to 6,200 square feet. Since they use steam and do not require a bypass they can be installed in tight quarters as well. Steam whole house humidifiers work extremely well with multi stage and variable speed furnaces. Steam whole house humidifiers don’t need the furnace on to run, since they create their own heat, a properly installed unit is able to work by itself.

Comfort

Humid air feels warmer than drier air feels at the same temperature for most people, making them feel more comfortable when the air outside is cold. This allows the owner to adjust the thermostat down and saves money on utility bills without sacrificing how comfortable they feel. Keeping the air humidity level, the same during the heating season keeps the air you breathe healthier as well. Whole house humidifiers can help with dry skin, itchy eyes, chapped lips, snoring, dry throat, and can reduce sinus problems.

Efficiency

According to EnergyStar.gov, a steam whole house humidifier saves $47-49 per year on electricity over a traditional whole house bypass and fan powered humidifiers. Assuming you keep your building between 30% and 60% relative humidity, the thermostat can be reduced a couple of degrees without losing any comfort, which can save up to 5% on your total bill for your furnace utilities.

DIY

Properly maintaining your humidifier is a major key for its operational success. Make sure the water and power are off to the humidifier before servicing. Change the water panel at least once per season. Make sure the orifices are clear of debris. Make sure the supply and drain line are clog free. Make sure the humidistat or thermostat is operational and calling for humidity when the furnace is running. Ensure the solenoid valve is functioning properly. Visually inspect the water lines to make sure there are no leaks. For certain steam models, make sure to change the cartridge after the heating season. Ensure that at the end of the heating season the humidifier is properly shut down to prevent mold and algae build up. We offer these tasks from service and as part of our Platinum Home Comfort Protection Plan.

Service or Replace

Depending on how often it is used and how well it is maintained, the lifespan of a whole house humidifier can be 15-20 years with proper maintenance and inspections. Most manufactures offer a 5- or 10-year warranty on parts and a one-year warranty on labor. After about 20 years, the parts can be hard to find and/or expensive. Newer models tend to be much more efficient at adding humidity to the building and more energy efficient, especially the whole house steam humidifiers.

Boilers

By | Boilers, Heating

In the Miami Valley, boilers still have a role to play in heating your house or business. Modern boilers heat and treat indoor air while being more energy efficient than older units. You can rely on the professionals at Hauck Bros., Inc. to install a boiler for the first time, replace an outdated or boiler, or service your current system. Since 1921, we proudly serve both residential and commercial customers with the industry’s leading equipment that will provide comfort for years to come.

How it works

A boiler is a sealed system that contains the combustion of fuel, including coal, oil, natural gas, and liquid propane to heat water. Boilers use hot water distributed throughout the building in pipes to provide heat a heat transfer. This allows for individual controlled heat to each room, or zoning.

Types

  • Fire Tube – Fire tube boilers confine the combustion process and gases in tubes and water circulates around these tubes. Some fire tube boilers have turbulators inside of the tubes to cause turbulence of the flue gases. This increases the heat absorption into the water which makes the boiler more efficient. They are generally used for medium to large boiler commercial/industrial applications. These boilers can be either steam or hot water boilers in low to medium pressure applications.
  • Water Tube – Water tube boilers have many different tubes inside of it that have water circulating through them. Hot combustion gases surround these tubes and an exchange of heat is realized. The heat exchange is between the combustion gases and the tubes and water. The water tube boilers can be built for higher capacities and pressures than the fire tube boilers because the steam and/or hot water is confined in the tubes. These boilers are generally found in medium to large commercial/industrial applications.
  • Steam Boiler – delivers hot steam to radiators and bring back cooled condensation into the boiler system to be reheated. Steam boiler need a pressure relief valve and a low water cutoff. Most steam boiler have manual valve to allow for added water to enter the system when needed.
  • Hot Water Boiler – use a series of pumps to circulate heated water through the building and into the radiators. Hot water boiler systems typically have an expansion tank.

Fuel Types

When it comes to boilers, the fuel type helps distinguish which type of boiler you may need and the features available to your setup as well. For most residential and commercial applications, natural gas, liquid propane, electric, and oil are the main source of fuel.

Comfort

Modern boilers have the ability to keep you comfortable during the heating season in a variety of ways. Some models are designed to be easy to service, with annual maintenance recommended on every boiler, having the unit easy to service makes it easier to repair a problem which could save you time and money. The more efficient the boiler the more it saves you on heating bills, especially over 15 years. Some models are quieter than others depending on the design and functionality.

Features

Efficiency

Older units have a rating of 56%-70% AFUE rating. Newer non-condensing units have a 80%-88% AFUE rating. Newer condensing units have an 89%-95% AFUE rating. Condensing units have a secondary heat exchanger for better efficiency. Based on the US National Average for 2017, an 80% AFUE unit would save over $7,500 vs a 60% AFUE over 15 years. A 90%+ AFUE unit would save over $10,000 over 15 years.

Combination Boiler

Traditional boilers and combination boiler share the same task of heating your home by going through your system to radiators or radiant floor systems where it provides heat to warm the air. Traditional boilers heat water in a tank on constantly, ready to provide heated water when needed. Combination boilers has no storage tank, it heats the water as needed and can provide hot water for the whole house, one source at a time. A combination boiler is great choice for a smaller building, with little need for constant hot water.

Ease of Service

Look for models that are easy to service to save time and money on annual maintenance charges. Make sure a certified technician proves annual maintenance to avoid breakdowns and extend the life of the boiler.

Heat Exchanger

When doing a replacement or refurbishment project, the existing heating design dictates what can and cannot be done. New construction or builds offer more freedom in the heating design, but can be more restrictive on building regulations. There are 4 different main heat exchangers to choose from.
1. Cast Iron, heavy, but not easy to break, cast iron feature a sectional heat exchanger design. Ideal for replacements due to their ability debris from the older system. Tend to not be energy efficient unless they have a secondary heat exchanger that enables the boiler to condense.
2. Aluminum, lightweight and excellent at heat transfers, they can be used with other materials to enhance their overall strength. Good water quality must be provided to avoid corrosion.
3. Stainless steel, heavier and able to take more corrosive water. Grade 316 is the most common type, which allows for good welding and heat transfer properties
4. Steel and Tube, used in higher output systems. They can corrode easily, and our not suitable for condensing without a secondary heat exchanger. Usually used in commercial and industrial type buildings.

Energy Efficiency

For residential units under 300,00 BTUH of input, boiler efficiency is measure by AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). AFUE is a calculated efficiency which attempts to estimate how well the boiler coverts the energy in its fuel to heat over the course of one year. Simply put, older furnaces had as low as a 56% AFUE rating, there are models today that can get above a 95% AFUE rating. The higher the AFUE the more efficient the unit is, this saves money on utility bills in the future. Based on the US National Average for 2017, an 80% AFUE unit would save over $7,500 vs a 60% AFUE over 15 years. A 90%+ AFUE unit would save over $10,000 over 15 years.

DIY

Boilers need regular maintenance to prevent breakdowns and, in some cases, to keep the warranty valid and active. There are some simple checks you can do to make sure your boiler stays out of trouble.

  • Make sure all air vents are working, not blocked, and clear of debris around them on the interior and exterior of the building.
  • Make sure to check the water level, if it operates without water the boiler could be seriously damaged.
  • Make sure the pilot light is light (if applicable)
  • Check for leaks and cracks
  • Keep the room the boiler is in as dust free as possible

If you are uncomfortable doing any of these tasks, please contact us at 937-325-0636 or fill out this form and we will reach out to you within 24 hours.

Service

Boilers need regular maintenance once a year. There are two great reasons to have a boiler maintained annually. First, having an annual maintenance check done helps prevents sudden failures. Second, some manufactures require annual maintenance to keep their warranties valid. During the inspection our technician will check shut off valves to ensure they are working properly, check the refractory, check for cracks, check the controls, check indicators, and safety devices to ensure they are all working properly. The technician will also inspect the fuel feed systems and clean the burners to ensure they are working properly.

Signs your boiler may need replaced

  1. Increased failure rate of the boiler
  2. Yellow flames on gas burners and black soot on oil boilers, indicates the fuel is not burning properly, this can create carbon dioxide.
  3. Leakage, if the boiler needs more water to run than it might have a leak. Consider replacing before flooding occurs.
  4. Age, most condensing boilers last for 15+ years, cast iron 20-30 years, with proper annual maintenance by a licensed technician.
  5. Energy use, older boilers are not as energy efficient as modern boilers
  6. Comfort, if your building starts to have hot or cold spots in areas that it didn’t before, it could be that the unit is not operating as efficiently as it once did.

Furnaces

By | Heating

In the Miami Valley, a reliable furnace is a necessity.  Modern furnaces’ equipment heats and treats indoor air while being more energy efficient than older units.  You can rely on the professionals at Hauck Bros., Inc. to install a new furnace for the first time, replace an outdated furnace, or service your current system. Since 1921, we proudly serve both residential and commercial customers with the industry’s leading equipment that will provide comfort for years to come.

How it works

Depending on the fuel type, natural gas, liquid propane, electric, or oil, a furnace operates using forced air to transfer heat to air.  The blower then sends that air throughout the connected duct work into the house or business, and then out through the vents.  In a natural gas, oil, and liquid propane furnace, a pilot light ignites a series of burners inside the combustion chamber. The heat created from the burner enters the heat exchanger and transfers the heat to the air while raising the temperature set at the thermostat. The blower then takes the air and sends it through the ducts.  An electric furnace uses an electrical ignition source instead of a pilot light to start the heating process. An electric furnace has conductive coils that work to heat the air for the blower to use in heating.

Types

Fuel Types

  • Oil, with AFUE ratings up to 86.6% efficiency, and some other models offer variable speed operation. Oil furnaces provide dependable heat and can be paired with a heat pump or an air conditioner to provide maximum comfort throughout the year. Offering flexible installation options, oil furnaces come in traditional multi-poise models or low boy models.
  • Gas, Natural Gas or Liquid Propane, with AFUE Ratings up to 98.3% and a model with modulating gas valves and a variable speed fan, gas furnaces provide dependable heat and can be paired with a heat pump or an air conditioner to provide maximum comfort throughout the year. These models can be installed vertically or horizontally to accommodate various installation needs.
  • Electric, available as an all-electric furnace or an air handler with electric strips paired with a heat pump. These models can come with Variable Speed operation and paired with a heat pump can provide maximum comfort throughout the year. These models can be installed vertically or horizontally to accommodate various installation needs. Heat strips can be used in an air handler paired with a heat pump to serve as a back up to the heat pump for extreme cold situations.
  • Available in:
    • Single Stage
      • A single stage unit turns on when indoor temperatures exceed the temperature setting on your thermostat. Once the temperature set on the thermostat is reached it turns off again. Single stage furnaces always operate at 100% capacity.
    • Two Stage
      • More efficient than single stage units, these units vary their output between two levels: high and low. Ideally, the low stage would satisfy the thermostat most of the time. When necessary, the high stage would turn on. This helps eliminate temperature swings and helps to better condition the air, making you feel more comfortable for longer periods of time.
    • Variable Speed
      • Variable speed units precisely control the airflow throughout your home in order to maintain the highest level of comfort. This allows the unit to run continuously, while consuming far less electricity than a single stage unit. The constant airflow has some key benefits, maximum conditioning and treatment of the air, less hot and cold drafts, and quieter operation.

Comfort

Furnaces play a big role in keeping home and businesses comfortable during cold days. Being able to raise the temperature inside allows for people to stay warm and comfortable.

The temperature that feels comfortable may be different for everyone. With variable speed furnaces, having the air move constantly allows for better dehumidification during the cooling season when paired with an air conditioner or a heat pump and better humidification when paired with a humidifier during the heating season. Variable speed fans help better filtration and the lessening of hot and cold spots as well. Even with two-speed operation, having the low speed on the majority of the time makes the treated air feel more comfortable.

Features

Variable speed ECM Blower, the variable speed electronically commutated blower precisely and efficiently controls the flow of heated or cooled air throughout your home via ductwork. This allows for better airflow that reduces temperature swings as well as constantly treating the air for filtration and humidity management.

Multi Speed ECM Blower, the multi speed electronically commutated blower can also adjust airflow like a variable speed blower but less precisely.  They have up to 5 speeds available that change based on your airflow needs.

PSC blower, the permanent split capacitor blower does not adjust airflow. It is set to one speed and operates at that speed 100% of the time.

Modulating Gas Valve, found in the most efficient gas furnaces, the modulating gas valve allows for better comfort by turning on more frequently but at a lower stages to condition the air before 100% capacity is needed.

Energy Efficiency

The efficiency of furnaces is measured by Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). AFUE is a measure of how efficient the unit is in converting energy from its fuel source to heat over the course of a typical year. AFUE is the ratio of annual heat output of the furnace compared to the annual fossil fuel energy consumed by a furnace. An AFUE rating of 95% means that 95% of the energy in the fuel type becomes heat for the building and the other 5% escapes to the outside of the building through the ventilation system. Electric furnaces installed inside a building have zero loss.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires all new furnaces to display their AFUE ratings so consumers can compare their different efficiencies.

Older units have a rating of 56%-70% AFUE rating. Newer non-condensing units have a 80%-83% AFUE rating. Newer condensing units have an 90%-98.5% AFUE rating. Condensing units have a secondary heat exchanger for better efficiency. Based on the US National Average for 2017, an 80% AFUE unit would save over $7,500 vs a 60% AFUE over 15 years.  A 90%+ AFUE unit would save over $10,000 over 15 years.

DIY

  • Check to make sure the furnace pilot light is on, if not lit re-light according the manufacturer owners manual.
  • Make sure all return and supply registers are clean and unobstructed.
  • Make sure to check and change or clean the air filter, on some models at least once a month.
  • Make sure the area around the furnace is clear of debris and combustible materials.
  • Check your thermostat and turn to heat to make sure it comes on.
  • Check to make sure your Oil or Liquid Propane tanks are full. Generally, they are cheaper to fill during the cooling season than the heating season.

Service

With normal maintenance and care, furnaces can last over 20 years!  Our experienced technicians can help you maintain the life of your equipment by performing a Home Comfort Protection Plan check on your furnace. Some inspections the technician will perform are checking the air filter, blower motor, blower wheel, transformer, gas leaks, flame sensor, thermostat, and more!

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