Welcome To Our 'Homes That Perform' Blog

Does Anyone NOT Know It's FOOTBALL Season?

Posted by John Sims on Tue, Sep, 05, 2017 @ 11:09 AM

Hope you had a great Labor Day Weekend!. Football season is in full swing, Football.jpgunless you've been under a rock. First was the High School kick off weekend, then the College Kickoff weekend and Thursday night starts the NFL season.

A lot of people get pretty 'consumed' with it all which can make for a pretty busy schedule. Fall of course, is the changing season which is an unbelievably, beautiful time of year. We all shift gears a bit.

The reason I bring this up, is you know how quickly the "heating season" sneaks up on you and I'm sure getting your furnace tuned up is not exactly as exciting as watching you favorite football teams. We get that.

We wish we could write the title of this article as "Does Anyone NOT Know It's Furnace Tune Up Season?" Not sure we'll ever get to that, but we will forever be trying to 'evangelize' the homeowners in the Battle Creek area about the importance and benefits.

If you can't remember, that's a sure sign you're probably wasting money and headed to a NO HEAT Emergency. The question to ask yourself, is your heating system ready for the heating season?

For every year of maintenance you skip, energy bills jump 5% to 10% because of reduced efficiency. 

Maybe you should ask your Facebook friends the same question. See what they say. You might be surprised.

Getting your furnace professionally serviced regularly will keep it running smoothly and help keep heating costs under control. Ideally, have your system tuned up in the fall so it's in top shape for the start of the heating season.

Too many homeowners take this approach “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That's usually a good rule—except when it comes to your HVAC system.

People Always Say That 'Peace of Mind' Is One Of The Primary Benefits

To begin with, having  your furnace checked ensures that your furnace is always in tip-top shape, and if it isn’t, it can be repaired before a disastrous failure. Homeowners rank peace of mind as an important issue; there are 2 major issues. 1. knowing that I’ll always warm in the winter and 2. avoiding the REAL threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Furnace Tune Ups Just Make Sense! Regular servicing reduces the risk of breakdowns and extends the life of your equipment. Plus, it saves you money!

Our schedule gets filled up quickly. So give us a call so we can get you on the schedule. Then you can go and enjoy the football season and Fall season

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Topics: Health Threats, HVAC Systems, Furnace Tune Up

The Average Home Collects '40 lbs Of Dust' Every Year

Posted by John Sims on Tue, May, 09, 2017 @ 12:05 PM

At least that's what this report said. The title of the article was a little for 'shock' value'. And' it's not just dust, it's dust mites, YUCK!!

A couple of weeks back, I happened to catch this short segment on network TV. A lot of times this represents the only information homeowners see and accept as being credible. Some of it's helpful. After you read this information and watch the video, I'll provide commentary on it and correct some of the misinformation.

TODAY - ROSSEN REPORTS - Investigative journalist Jeff Rossen reports on the latest news, common myths, survival tips and more.

Dust in your home can make you sick: Here's how to fight it

Apr. 27, 2017 at 8:24 AM Jeff Rossen and Jovanna Billington

The average home collects 40 pounds of dust every year. And living in it are microscopic bugs that multiply fast and can make you sick: dust mites.

"Dust mites are one of the biggest predators that live in your home," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital. Also lurking in that dust, according to a recent study by George Washington University, are more than 45 toxic chemicals linked to respiratory, behavioral and neuro-development problems.

Bust that dust! How to get rid of it (before it makes you sick)


TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen invited healthy home expert Lisa Beres to his own house to reveal the most common spots for dust mites — and how to get rid of them.

Toys: "This is where dust mites thrive," Beres warned in Rossen's daughter's room, where many toys collected dust. But she added a tip: "Put each toy in the freezer for 24 hours and it will kill the dust mites."

Mattresses and pillows are "one of the most prevalent areas that dust mites love," Beres said. But there's a simple solution: "Get an allergen barrier cover and put it over your pillows and mattress."



Jeff Rossen vacuums dust off his air vent.

Air vents harbored the biggest build-up of dust in Rossen's home. With Beres' guidance, Rossen climbed a ladder and vacuumed his. "Just do that every time you do a routine cleaning and it will keep your air fresh," Beres promised.

Another tip: Air purifiers, available in many different sizes at big box stores, capture dust and allergens floating in your air and make it easier to breathe and sleep.

Here's my critique/comments and what we want you to know.

First, dust and dust mites are health issues. Maintaining a healthy home is something an HVAC system either helps or makes it worse.

The second is some information isn't a little misinformation that we'd like to correct. Obviously, air vents are connected to your duct system and are responsible for delivering warm or cool air throughout your home and returns the air back to the furnace/air handler. When they suggest climbing up on a ladder and vacuuming our your air vents as the author does, that's what we call treating a symptom. A better solution is dramatically reducing the air leakage of the 'thermal envelope of your home' (the space you heat and cool), reduce the air leakage of your duct systemand either upgrade to a better air filtration system or change your 1" air filters regularly.

Home Air Filters


Topics: Dust Problems, Health Threats, Duct Cleaning, Indoor Air Qualtiy

The 'Winter Blues' and 3 Other Ways Winter Affects Your Health

Posted by John Sims on Tue, Jan, 17, 2017 @ 12:01 PM

Even though most of time we are dealing with heating and cooling your home or Winter Blahsreducing your utilities, we are concerned about having a healthy home.

The Sims Heating & Cooling Mission: Educating homeowners about achieving 'Ultra' Energy Efficiency & True Comfort with the highest level of Safety and Health.

Things like filtering the air, having the right moisture level and avoiding the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. They can all affect your family's health.

I ran across some information I thought would be helpful for winter when we're all inside a lot more. Cold weather can cause or aggravate several health conditions. There are lesser-known health risks that are associated with winter.

Here's the information from the article:

1. Are you an asthma sufferer? - Asthma is a condition in which the airways narrow and swell. According to Dr. Jeahan Colletti, an emergency medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic, extreme cold weather causes airways to tighten, making breathing even more difficult for individuals who suffer from asthma.

In addition, cold weather increases the respiratory rate, which leads many people to breathe through their mouths. As a result, cold, dry air enters the lungs and causes inflammation of the airways. 

Those who suffer from asthma should keep an inhaler close at all times, Colletti said. She also recommended that asthma sufferers wear scarves around their faces to avoid breathing through their mouths.

2. Are you prone to allergies? - Most people think of spring with its high pollen counts as prime time for allergies. However, according to WebMD, many warm weather irritants like pet dander, mold and mildew are around all year. 

Since people tend to spend more time indoors in confined spaces during the winter, Colletti said, their exposure to these elements spikes. To combat the spread of allergens, people should wash their hands and face frequently. She also advised vacuuming the house and washing bedding often.

3. Do you have arthritis? - There are many types of arthritis, all of which involve inflammation of the joints. “During the winter months, every single (arthritis patient) comes in with significantly more pain,” Dr. Houman Danesh, director of Integrative Pain Management for Mount Sinai Hospital, said.

According to Danesh, a rise in barometric pressure (the pressure exerted by the weight of air in the atmosphere) during the winter months exacerbates arthritis symptoms and other joint and spine issues. To counteract stiffness in the joints, he recommended stretching and conducting tension release exercises. He also said it’s important to use a humidifier and make an extra effort to stay hydrated in the winter, since heaters suck out the moisture in the air. Hydration is essential to maintain overall joint health. 

4. Seasonal Affective Disorder - About one in five (20%) Americans experience a form of the winter blues called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), according to fastmed.com. Symptoms include anxiety, irritability, fatigue, a lack of energy and thoughts of suicide.

The causes of SAD are still unknown, but some experts link the condition to an imbalance in serotonin and melatonin, the chemicals in the brain that regulate sleep, mood and energy levels. 

For people suffering from SAD, Colletti recommended getting outside during sunny days and participating in activities that boost mood. 


Topics: Health Threats, Safety, Air Filters

Unfortunately, 87% Of Homeowners Will Miss These Benefits

Posted by John Sims on Tue, Sep, 27, 2016 @ 13:09 PM

We figure somewhere in the neighborhood of 87% - 95% of homeowners are Sad_Emoticon2.pngwasting $$money or running some unnecessary risks with their health because they haven't understood the facts about furnace tune ups.

Our goal is to lower that percentage of homeowners who don't understand the value. Even if it's one house at a time!

A furnace tune up  should be common sense; but unfortunately, many homeowners never get their hands on the right information to properly educate themselves. A furnace Tune Up is really in your best interest. 

What we've found over the years of servicing 1000's of homeowners in the Battle Creek area, is they fit into 4 general categories: 

  1. Those who understand a furnace tune-up and already have one performed each year for the reasons this report will explain.
  2. Those who have heard about it, but they're not sure it's worth it.
  3. Those who have no idea or don't really understand it.
  4. Some think it's a potential scam.

So for most homeowners a furnace tune-up is a service they don't necessarily think about. No one has properly explained the importance or the value; especially the risk they are taking. Some homeowners think it's a gimmick to get in the door to sell something you don't need.

People always want to know, "what's in it for you?" Here are the four key benefits:

  • Avoid The Threat Of Carbon Monoxide. It's a real!
  • Eliminate The 'NO HEAT' Emergency. Of the 1000's of emergency calls we've serviced, every home owner tells us, "It was working fine the day before!"
  • Ensure Efficient Performance. Odds are you losing dollars for one reason or another.
  • Prevent Premature Failure Of Your System. In most homes, heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are typically ignored until they malfunction. That doesn't make sense to us.

If you'd like to educate yourself on the other 6 benefits or reasons to schedule one. CLICK HERE

One tune up, is an easy way to avoid the threats, extend the life of your equipment, and save money this heating season. We call it Peace Of Mind.

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Topics: Health Threats, Furnace Tune Up, Heating Costs

Spring Cleaning 'Oversights' Affect Indoor Air Quality

Posted by John Sims on Mon, Apr, 18, 2016 @ 14:04 PM

Ok, I admit, I'm a little out of my element about this topic. Hopefully you'll see how this ties in with what we do; it has to do with maintaining a healthy indoor air - a healthy home. Instead of writing about spring cleaning tasks that are more common sense, I found a list of things that are more likely to be overlooked.

6 Spring Cleaning To-Do's So You Can Avoid Spring-cleaning oversights. Here are six to avoid:

1. De-Clutter First?

If you don’t de-clutter first, it may sabotage much of your spring cleaning efforts Clutter is the great dust and pollen collector. 

I wasn't going to mention this last one but decided not to exclude it. You decide for yourself if you 'buy' it.

2. Look Up The High Places

Always look up to see what needs dusting before you start cleaning at eye level. Tackle hard-to-reach places like the tops of bookshelves, crown molding, and window ledges.

3. Don't Overlook Your Vacuum's Crevice Tool

The crevice tool, Use it between your wall and refrigerator to get out the accumulated dust that’s otherwise unreachable, and run it around the edge of your baseboards to clean where standard upright vacuums can’t reach.

4. Your Mattress

If ya don't know what dust mites are look them up. Your mattress harbors millions of dust mites, which cause various respiratory conditions including sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes, and skin rashes. Dust mites food source is human skin scales, so they love your bed. 
At the very least, sprinkle your mattress with baking soda and let it sit for awhile. Then (using the attachment mentioned above) vacuum it up.

5. Cool It On The Strong Cleaners

Many commercial cleaners have ingredients that are toxic; which can drive your allergies and asthma crazy. Moldy bathrooms can use a little bleach. I've always heard making your own solution of water and vinegar in a 50-50 mix works pretty well to keep most surfaces clean and kill germ.

6. Have Fun Doing It?

 Crank up your best playlist and have fun. Get the body moving, burn some calires and treat yourself when you complete the job.

Then enjoy living in a clean home, enjoying better indoor air quality and feeling healthier! 

Topics: IAQ, Indoor Air Problems, Health Threats, Indoor Air Qualtiy

Furnaces: The Potential Danger of Combining Gas and Electricity.

Posted by John Sims on Fri, Feb, 27, 2015 @ 14:02 PM

I saw a video on the news the other day and had to share it with homeowners in the Battle Creek area. I'm not Furnace Repair Battle Creek trying to scare you or exaggerate the dangers involved when working on a gas furnace.

When we say it's one of the most dangerous appliances in your home because it combines electricity and natural (propane) gas, this video gives a great example of the reason why. The danger is present.

We hope the video makes two impressions on people:

  1. If you smell a gas leak, take it seriously. Call us or your gas company.
  2. When you need someone to work on it, hire a qualified, professional technician from a company that has a track record.

Look for a contractor who can provide proof of applicable business documents: mechanical license, business license, insurance, and bonding.

Also, if you haven't had your furnace checked, you may want to take a proactive approach and have its performance evaluated by a professional. Someone who is trained, qualified and has the right diagnostic equipment.


It's Amazing, Watch The Video Here: New Jersey Home 'Disintegrated' in Gas Explosion

At Sims Heating and Cooling, we take pride in the people that make up our company. Have one of our heating professionals perform a thorough safety inspection of your heating equipment in your home. Outdated, poorly maintained, misused, or damaged heating equipment can lead to a DEADLY disaster.

Just a Reminder: Leave It to the Professionals. Request an appointment.

Topics: Health Threats, Furnace Repair, Furnace Failure

# 2 of the TOP 10 Reasons For A Furnace Tune Up

Posted by John Sims on Fri, Nov, 28, 2014 @ 16:11 PM

# 2 of the Top 10 Reasons For A Furnace Tune Up is " Avoid taking family health and safety risks" which Carbon monoxide poisoning in the homeis part of our mission statement: "To keep your heating and cooling costs to their absolute minimum--while maintaining comfort, safety and a healthy home."

Carbon Monoxide(CO) is a poisonous gas often referred to as a silent killer, and for good reason. You can't see it, taste it or smell it. Many people tend to mistake the sickness they feel from carbon monoxide poisoning with seasonal illness like the flu. Thousands of people across the country become sick from carbon monoxide each year, and tragically, hundreds will die from it..

Moderate levels of exposure can result in death over a period of time. High levels can be fatal within a few minutes!

Here's what the Center For Disease Control states: CDC Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO poisoning. Fatality is highest among Americans 65 and older.

Too Many Homeowners Are Taking Unnecessary Risks!

Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill without warning, as your family sleeps. This information is to inform every homeowner what they need to know; what it is and how it occurs.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill everyone in your home.  It kills most people while they're sleeping.  They simply never wake up.

Signs or Symptoms: How you may feel if you're being poisoned by CO.

Individuals in the home could be exposed to lower levels of carbon monoxide poisoning and be completely unaware of the risk. CO poisoning can be difficult to detect, because its symptoms are the same as those of many other common ailments. For example, you may experience mild nausea or headaches, tiredness, difficulty thinking clearly and simply feeling sick all the time. Sometimes it may feel as though you have food poisoning or that you are coming down with flu. 

Beyond installing detectors, additional precautionary measures should be taken to help in protection. It is highly advisable to have the entire home heating system checked by a qualified technician (preferably each year)

We hope this alone will impress upon homeowners the importance of having a Furnace Tune-Up.

Topics: Health Threats, Furnace Tune Up, Safety, Carbon Monoxide

Combustion Analysis Protects Battle Creek Area Homeowners.

Posted by John Sims on Mon, Feb, 24, 2014 @ 15:02 PM

Heating contractors all have different approaches to inspecting furnaces. Some invest in the best equipment to do the job right while others just guess. Combustion problems comeSafetyFirst in various sizes and shapes, and individual tests may not by themselves prove if the house is actually safe.

As we mentioned in previous articles, it's critical to understand the signs, and know what and when to test, in order to ensure that a small oversight does not result in a long-term health problem for homeowners.

To understand the risk of carbon monoxide to you the homeowner we recommend you watch this video.

Knowing some simple facts about combustion will make analysis easier. The problems with combustion appliances, like furnaces are not simply with the equipment themselves, but how they work within the home or building.  

The safety of the units depends on their installation, operation, and maintenance.Other concerns such as competing air sources, house tightness, and effects of remodeling all can be important to the overall operation of your furnace.

The policies and procedures at Sims Heating And Cooling were designed to use the most advance testing equipment to check for the safety of furnaces and boilers.

Homeowner Safety - The concern is for the short- and long-term safety of homeowners. Visual inspection of the house and the furnace mechanism is extremely important in this analysis.

Checking for Carbon Monoxide - Are there any signs of carbon monoxide being created? Is there any carbon in the burner area, flue or vent? How are the flames burning? Are there any visible signs of a problem, such as flames burning erratically, no flames visible on part of the burner, weak flames, or white tips on the flames? Regardless of the visual inspection, a test must be performed to verify that there is no CO in the combustion gases.

The sample should be taken from each flue (where the exhaust leaves the home), before additional dilution air is added to the gases. In a furnace with four burners, at least four tests should be taken.

Our field experience has shown that problems with most units that create carbon monoxide(CO) in excess of 25 ppm in the flue can be corrected. Most field standards are higher than this (less than 100-200 ppm).

One of the key components of this step is to determine why CO is being created, since CO is a symptom of something being wrong with the home or the heating system.

In a previous article, we discussed the heating process is chemical equation and CO was one of the potential by-products when something wasn't working right; which is what creates the threat to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Draft and Venting - The draft of the furnace measures the power of the venting system to exhaust. Is it getting enough air(O2). The measurement of the draft is coupled with a visual inspection of the venting system to determine the probability that all of the combustion gases are getting out of the home. If the draft is measured in cold weather, it can provide an indication of the ability of the appliance to exhaust in warmer weather (if the draft is weak in cold weather, it will be weaker in hot weather). The standard we use was developed from both technical analysis and field testing .

Cracked Heat Exchanger

There's the potential for contractors to condemn a heat exchanger which creates all sorts of emotional reactions by homeowners and the BBB warns homeowners about this.

Examining furnaces for a breach or hole in the heat exchanger is potentially significant, but of lesser importance than the previous tests. Checking for cracks is done by examining the flames for interference when the blower is operating and by direct inspection of the heat exchanger.

Bacharach is the manufacturer of our testing equipment. This is what they say:

Combustion testing today is no longer an option. It’s a necessity.

It used to be that fossil fuel-burning home appliances could be adequately serviced by conducting visual tests. But with today’s regulatory, environmental and safety concerns – as well as the risk residential service technicians now face with possible liability – “eye-balling the flame” is no longer a sufficient way to test. The truth is, an appliance that shows a nice blue flame is probably not burning efficiently. It could, in fact, be burning more fuel than is necessary, adding soot to the system, or more importantly, emitting toxic gases that could eventually put your customers, you – and your business – in real danger.

Here are their guidelines:

To test for cracks using a combustion analyzer, after drilling a hole in the flue, we simply watch the O2/CO2 readings and the CO reading when the blower comes on - usually several minutes after the burner(s) ignite or fire up.

Typically, the O2/CO2 or CO readings will stabilize within 30 to 60 seconds after ignition. If a crack is present, when the blower energizes, air (at 20.9 percent O2) may be blown through the crack in sufficient quantities to raise the O2 (or decrease the CO2) reading on the combustion analyzer.

Using a combustion analyzer to test for cracks in a heat exchanger has limitations; however, there are some distinct advantages:

  • It tests under actual operating conditions.
  • It may provide additional information as to how dangerous a crack is. For example, if a crack is visually observed and a combustion test finds that when the blower comes on the carbon monoxide reading rises to excessive levels, a service contractor can be more confident that a dangerous situation exists and has the documentation that the unit needs to be immediately condemned and taken out of operation.
  • It can be easily done during the normal course of a service call where combustion testing is performed.
  • It is important to keep in mind that changes in combustion test readings may also be caused by other factors:
  • Depressurization of the mechanical room due to leakage in the return side of the distribution system may be sufficient to change the readings when the blower is energized.

I know this is a little technical in nature, but it is a key to the testing equipment we use and the training of our technicians. 

Topics: Health Threats, Selecting A Contractor, Testing, Furnace Repair

Improving The Energy Efficiency Of My Furnace.

Posted by John Sims on Thu, Feb, 20, 2014 @ 16:02 PM

The topic is Combustion Analysis. Here's what it is and why it's important. 

We are among a few select contractors who do combustion testing on each service call and new furnace certification. A combustion analysis is basically a measurement of yourCombGasAnalyzer system’s flue gases to determine the completeness of the combustion process. Fuel combustion is the first step toward maximizing your furnace’s fuel efficiency, and as a result it’s extremely important to fully understand it before your furnace is installed.

Now, most furnaces use either natural gas or propane to create heat, both of which are made up mostly of carbon and hydrogen. Basically, the more hydrogen the fuel has, the more excess air it’s going to need. The excess air combines with the oxygen from the combustion air to create perfect, efficient combustion. Too much or too little fuel combined with the available combustion air could result in unburned fuel and inefficient heating at best and, at worst, carbon monoxide production!

To explain it in simplest terms: We drill a hole in the flue of your furnace and then using a combustion gas analyzer, we measure O2, CO2, CO, stack temperature, pressure, efficiency, and excess air. These measurements determine the efficiency of every dollar you spend with your gas supplier and the safety of your family.

A combustion analysis is performed for five primary reasons:

1. To verify the safety of the appliance prior to and after service

2. To calculate the combustion efficiency of the appliance

3. To determine the amount of pollution the appliance is producing

4. To review operation in conformance with the manufacturer's guidelines

5. To assess equipment longevity/warranty issues (eg. Improper fuel pressure or airflow settings may cause excessive CO production, or burned out heat exchangers, etc.)

Combustion testing provides numerous benefits to homeowners:

  • Saves money
  • Saves time
  • Avoids callbacks
  • Maintains equipment warranty
  • Provides increased comfort
  • Provides increased safety
  • Increases energy efficiency
  • Lowers environmental emissions (Pollutants)

There are 2 types of HVAC contractors: those that use state of the art combustion gas analyzers (10%) to determine energy efficiency, performance & health threats and the others who don't (90%) humm...

Every contractor in the area offers a high efficiency AFUE 95-95% furnace; delivering that performance when installed has a lot to do with testing and fine tuning using sophisticated instruments like a combustion gas analyzer.

Combustion Analysis for Efficiency

When we talk about a furnace needing to be “properly installed” in order to be as efficient as possible, we mean it has to be installed with special consideration paid to combustion analysis. As you may know, every furnace comes with an AFUE rating – annual fuel utilization efficiency. This is the maximum rating possible for a specific furnace. The only way to tell the actual fuel utilization rate of your specific furnace is by performing a combustion analysis!

Here's what the leading manufacturer of combustion analyzers has to say --Testo.

Making and interpreting measurements is a crucial part of any job involving service, installation, design verification, engineering, or factory support of HVAC/R equipment. When it comes to verifying proper operation of the installed equipment it is critical that measurements made in the field are just as accurate as those made the laboratory. At Testo we believe that we all have an obligation to assure that the equipment is operating at peak performance levels for the benefit of consumers or end users of HVAC/R equipment, equipment manufacturers, utilities, the nation's energy future and the environment.

Combustion analysis is only part of the equipment installation and commissioning procedure. A complete installation includes but is not limited to proper equipment selection and sizing, proper airflow and fuel pressure, verification of proper draft, combustion and ventilation air, verification of proper operation of all limit and safeties as recommended by the manufacturer and as outlined in the International Fuel and Gas Code, and a final combustion analysis along with written and printed verification of the commissioning procedure.  

Since there is always 20.9% oxygen in normal air, this can be used a measure of combustion efficiency. Ideally, a flue gas analysis of 0% combustibles would be achieved with no excess oxygen in the flue gas. Manufacturers of residential appliances normally require a minimum of 20-40% excess air (5-9% O2) to assure enough air is available for complete combustion and dilution of the flue gasses even if an appliance is dirty and suffering from neglect. If homeowners had their appliances checked on a regular basis, excess air requirements could be more tightly controlled, provided there is ample air for dilution to avoid condensing in the stack. Where clean air is taken from the outdoors as in a two pipe 90+ furnaces, air requirements are more tightly controlled. Additionally, 90% efficient appliances are condensing appliances and the air normally used for dilution of the flue gasses is undesirable for maximum efficiency of the appliance. In all cases the higher excess air requirements and the associated losses in efficiency and cost to the consumer are outweighed by the increase in safety and product reliability.

At Sims Heating and Cooling, our technicians are trained to run full combustion analysis before and after they clean and certify each furnace so as to provide actual tangible data to our clients. Our clients can see the improvements that our techs made during the cleaning process. 

One of the most important reasons we've invested in combustion analyzers(they're not cheap); finding a safety issue BEFORE it ever becomes dangerous. That means peace of mind for you!

Topics: energy efficiency, Health Threats, Testing, Furnace Repair

How Does A Furnace Work Most Energy Efficient?

Posted by John Sims on Fri, Feb, 14, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

It's easy to assume too much when educating homeowners about the heating and cooling systems in their homes. So we thought we'd tackle something a little more technical in nature.ChemReaction

Producing heat in your home is a chemical reaction using gas(natural or propane) supplied by your gas company or utility. The problems occur when the chemical reaction isn't complete or correct. It can lead to life threatening situations and it will be less energy efficient.

I know for a lot of people, chemistry may not have been you best subject in school or maybe you didn't take it at all.

So just humor me a little to satisfy the 'Curious George's' out there. We want to cover how heat is created; keeping you warm in winter. This winter has proven to be a cold one!

Having some working knowledge may help you better understand the value of regular maintenance; and when you need repair, having the most qualified contractors work on your furnace.

So Here Goes Your Chemistry Lesson

Combustion (which occurs in your furnace) is a chemical reaction of rapid oxidation started by the correct mixture of fuel, oxygen and an ignition source.


Most common fuels have carbon (C) and hydrogen (H) locked up and ready to heat. Add a consistent ignition source and some oxygen and we have combustion. Breaking apart the carbon-hydrogen bond produces heat and releases carbon and hydrogen to find a new bond. On a good day, this will produce water (H20), carbon dioxide (CO2) and a bunch of hot air (what heats your home and keeps you comfortable). This means that the carbon had to find some oxygen. To do this, the combustion products must stay hot, and oxygen has to be available.

The chemical reaction for natural gas is: CH4 + 3O2 = Heat + 2H2O + CO2 + O2


CH4 = 1 cubic foot of Methane Gas (Natural gas supplied to your house from your utility like DTE Energy, Consumers Power or Great Lakes Energy or of your in a more rural are propane)

3O2 = 3 cubic feet of Oxygen

Heat = 1027 BTU's of energy produced from the chemical reaction(the result that blows through your duct system to each room)

2H2O = 2 cubic feet of Water Vapor

CO2 = 1 cubic foot of Carbon Dioxide

O2 = 1 cubic foot of Excess Oxygen

Most homeowners are familiar with the threat of Carbon Monoxide. It's produced when there is insufficient oxygen, and the carbon has no choice but to remain carbon or become carbon monoxide (CO).

The formula for incomplete combustion in a gas fired furnace is

CH4 + 3O2 = Heat + 2H2O + CO (carbon monoxide)

I know I may have lost many readers at this point, but keep in mind a nuclear bomb is a chemical reaction. We're not trying to compare the same threat. We just want to point out the importance to homeowners for their safety and getting the best performance from their furnace. Essentially, getting the most heat from every dollar spent on your gas bill.

Also, we'll relate some of this information to future blog articles. If nothing better, maybe you can impress your friends in some board game you're playing that tests your knowledge.

Topics: Furnace, energy efficiency, Health Threats, Heating

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