Frequently Asked Questions
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, practically odorless, and tasteless gas or liquid. It results from incomplete oxidation of carbon in combustion.
- Burns with a violet flame.
- Slightly soluble in water; soluble in alcohol and benzene.
- Specific gravity 0.96716;
- Boiling point -190oC; solidification point -207oC; specific volume 13.8 cu. ft./lb. (70oF).
- Auto ignition temperature (liquid) 1128oF.
- Classed as an inorganic compound.
Source: “The Condensed Chemical Dictionary,” 9th ed., revised by Gessner G. Hawley, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., NY, 1977.
Sources of Carbon Monoxide
Unvented kerosene and gas space heaters; leaking chimneys and furnaces; back-drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces; gas stoves; generators and other gasoline powered equipment; automobile exhaust from attached garages; and tobacco smoke. Incomplete oxidation during combustion in gas ranges and unvented gas or kerosene heaters may cause high concentrations of CO in indoor air. Worn or poorly adjusted and maintained combustion devices (e.g., boilers, furnaces) can be significant sources, or if the flue is improperly sized, blocked, disconnected, or is leaking. Auto, truck, or bus exhaust from attached garages, nearby roads, or parking areas can also be a source.
Health Effects Associated with Carbon Monoxide
At low concentrations, fatigue in healthy people and chest pain in people with heart disease. At higher concentrations, impaired vision and coordination; headaches; dizziness; confusion; nausea. Can cause flu-like symptoms that clear up after leaving home. Fatal at very high concentrations. Acute effects are due to the formation of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood, which inhibits oxygen intake. At moderate concentrations, angina, impaired vision, and reduced brain function may result. At higher concentrations, CO exposure can be fatal.
How often should I clean or change my furnace filter?
How often you change your furnace filter depends on the type of filter and how you use your furnace. Select the type of filter from the list below to find out what you should be doing?
DISPOSABLE FILTERS – Disposable filters should be changed every 6 to 8 weeks. Disposable filters are not very efficient and provide only a basic amount of air cleaning. If your furnace fan runs continuously, cleaning should be performed every 3 to 4 weeks.
ELECTROSTATIC AIR CLEANER – Electrostatic air cleaners must be cleaned monthly. To clean them vacuum the nylon media and then rinse the filter with water. Rinse in the opposite direction of the air flow. The older the filter, the more difficult to clean.
ELECTRONIC AIR CLEANER (EAC) – EACs work very well until the cells get dirty. When cleaning the cells be careful not to break any of the thin wires on the outside of the cells. If one of these wires break, it will not work. Clean the prescreens as well.
HAMMOCK – Hammock filters should not be washed and replaced every 8 to 10 weeks. When you purchase a replacement hammock filter it may be a little larger than the metal frame it’s attached to. Install the filter on the frame and then trim off the excess.
LARGE PLEATED MEDIA FILTER – Replace the media cartridge annually. Arrange to have your cartridge replaced at the same time as your annual maintenance.
WASHABLE FILTERS – Washable filters should be cleaned every 6 to 8 weeks. If you run your furnace fan continuously, wash filters every 3 to 4 weeks. If there is visual degradation, please replace.
How long does a Air Conditioner last?
This will vary widely from location to location. Air conditioning units that are used frequently will need to be replaced more frequently. Generally an air conditioner should last 11-18 years.
Is annual maintenance really necessary?
YES! Annual maintenance on the unit extends the life and reduces the annual operating costs. Annual maintenance inspections often spot small problems before they become large, and very expensive repairs.
Weatherizing my heating system.
Most heating systems are quite reliable and will provide you with quick, comfortable heat when you need it, providing you take good care of the system. If you have air conditioning you should shut it down and cover it for the winter. Follow these prior to use:
- Clean or change your furnace filter
- If your furnace or boiler has a pilot light, make sure it is on.
- Set your furnace to the “heat” position and turn up the thermostat.
- Allow your furnace to run through a couple of cycles to make sure it is working properly.
- Do a quick visual inspection of the furnace area to make sure there are no items that could interfere with air flow or combustion.
Call us at Franzen Heating and cooling located in Oswego to arrange for a professional cleaning, inspection and precision tune up takes time and should be performed with care
What to look for when buying an air conditioner?
The most important thing to look for when purchasing a central air conditioner is the contractor who will be installing it. The best piece of equipment, if installed incorrectly, will not give you the comfort you deserve.
HVAC equipment, and Air Conditioning equipment in particular, requires that great skill and care be taken during the installation process. If just one braze or solder joint is not correct it could lead to leaks of refrigerant in to the atmosphere, and potential contamination in the refrigerant system. These items could be costly to repair, not to mention time consuming and an aggravation for you. Please contact your Franzen team in Oswego IL. for professional assistance.
What does AFUE stand for?
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. If you get a bill for $100.00 for using just your furnace, which is 50% efficient, you put $50.00 worth of heat in your home $50.00 worth of heat outside.
We are having trouble getting cool air upstairs in our two story home, what can I do to make the upstairs more comfortable?
This temperature variation is caused by the fact that cool air is heavy. Heavy air requires more effort to move, especially upwards. Your furnace fan has to work much harder to get the air up two stories. Additionally, cool air, unlike warm air, tends to fall, so that once you actually manage to get the air upstairs, it will naturally fall back to the first floor.
- Make sure your furnace fan is on the highest possible setting. Most furnaces installed today will have a multi-speed, direct drive fan motor. Have your service contractor check to make sure that the highest speed is being used for air conditioning. If your fan motor has belts and pulleys, check with your contractor about installing a larger pulley.
- Adjust the balancing on your ductwork to force as much cool air upstairs as possible. If your ductwork is accessible from your basement, and has dampers installed in each of the supply air runs, make sure the dampers for the upper floor are fully open. You can also close any dampers for rooms on the first floor that do not get much use, or are very small. Some examples may be a powder room, formal living or dining room. You should keep the dampers fully open for the kitchen and the main living or family area. If the ductwork is not accessible, or doesn’t have any dampers, don’t despair. You can balance the air flow by opening and closing the dampers in the supply air registers. If you cannot get a register closed, we have been told that covering the register with a telephone book works well. Don’t forget to re-balance the ductwork system when you switch over to heating. During the heating system you want most of the warm air delivered to the first floor, it will rise on its own to the second floor.
- Use fans to help move cooler air. Placing a large fan at the top of the stairway can help to draw the cooler air up. A ceiling fan installed on the second floor can also be a big improvement.
- Check the return air grills. Make sure they are clean.
- Consider installing “High Wall” return air grills on the second floor.
- High wall return air grills are installed near the ceiling, not near the floor. This enables the furnace to draw the warmest air from the top of the house back into the system. Your service contractor can give you more information and let you know if it is possible to install high wall grills on your system.
Is it necessary to have my air conditioner maintained regularly?
Yes Annual maintenance on your air conditioner could mean annual savings you up to 30% on your energy bills. A well maintained unit will also last longer and break down less, saving you more money in the long run.When choosing to perform your tune-up there are some things you should keep in mind.
- Can the contractor service your entire system? Having one contractor for your heating and one for your Air Conditioning system leads to confusion.
- Make sure you get a written checklist of the work performed.
- A comprehensive tune-up should take an hour to perform, anything less and you may not be getting value for your money.
- Ensure that your contractor is licensed to work with refrigerants. Most states and provinces now require that technicians take special refrigerant training.
In addition to professionally performed annual maintenance you also play an important part in keeping your system operating efficiently by making sure your furnace air filter is kept very clean. A dirty filter will affect the efficiency of a central air conditioning system much quicker than a furnace. Clean or change the filter regularly! Please call Franzen in Oswego IL for an air conditioning maintenance.
I have had several quotes for air conditioning and the contractors are recommending a 2 ton unit for my home. Should I have a 2½ ton unit installed, just to be sure?
If the air conditioner is too large, the air is super cooled before the humidity is removed. This will make you feel cool and clammy. An oversized air conditioner will also come on more often for shorter periods of time. When this happens it is very hard on the compressor which can lead to premature burnout and it will use more electricity costing you more money on energy bills. You do not need a larger than necessary CAC unit. Please contact your Franzen team in Oswego Il. for a professional quote.
What does SEER stand for?
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER number on your equipment, the less money you give the electric company.