Furnace Noises Have You Concerned? What Those Bangs, Clangs and Pops Really Mean

Just like any other type of mechanical equipment, a gas furnace makes certain noises when it’s running. Some sounds are completely normal, but others can signal trouble. Here are some common furnace noises and what they could mean.

  • furnace inspectionPopping in the ductwork – When the thermostat signals the furnace to start up, the blower fan responds and starts to pump warm air through the ductwork. The resulting increase in air pressure inside the ductwork can cause a popping or pinging sound. When ducts are new or recently cleaned, these sounds are more noticeable, but they’re not a cause for concern.
  • Clanging inside the blower compartment - When the blower motor fan belt is badly worn or has slipped out of place, it can make a clanging noise. If you’re not comfortable replacing a furnace fan belt, it’s best to call for professional help. Don’t wait until the belt breaks, as it can flap around and damage other furnace components inside the compartment.
  • Loud clicking noises - A loud clicking that originates from inside the furnace cabinet can be deadly serious. It can indicate a cracked heat exchanger that’s letting carbon monoxide (CO) escape. If you suspect this is the case, shut the gas valve, turn the furnace off at the thermostat and call your HVAC contractor.
  • Squealing or grinding sounds – Both of these noises can point to worn or dirty motor bearings inside the furnace. If the bearings aren’t replaced, the motor can overheat and burn out, so it’s best to have the problem taken care of before you face a costly component replacement.
  • Booming and rumbling in the burner compartment – If a furnace isn’t serviced and cleaned regularly, dirt and grime will build up on the gas burner and cause a booming or rumbling sound when it ignites. This dirt buildup can block the gas jets and prevent ignition, so have the burner cleaned and tested by an experienced pro to ensure its safe operation.

If you’re concerned about unusual furnace noises in your greater Cincinnati home and you need expert advice, contact us at Apollo Heating, Cooling and Plumbing today.

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Gas vs. Oil Furnaces: Which One Would Work Best in Your Cincinnati Home?

Comparing a gas vs. oil furnace to determine the best replacement for your current heating system often rests on the fuel availability and a personal preference for heating. Because it’s so widely available, the majority of heating systems in the U.S. use natural gas.

gas furnaceWhen you’re choosing between one or the other, these factors are likely to come into play:

  • Fuel availability - If you have gas to your property already, choosing a gas furnace may be the better option, since it’ll save the expenses associated with having an oil storage tank on your property. Unlike fuel oil, gas is delivered in underground pipes on demand.
  • Cost of fuel – Most natural gas supplies originate in the U.S. or Canada, while most of the fuel oil is imported. The price of natural gas is usually relatively stable compared to imported oil, whose price is influenced by the impact of worldwide supply and demand.
  • Thermal preferences – Often the decision between a gas vs. oil furnace is made on the basis of comfort. Fuel oil burns hotter than gas and will warm your home faster than natural gas.
  • Price and efficiency - Oil furnaces are typically less expensive than gas furnaces and usually last longer. The price of both is influenced by their annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), a rating that describes how efficiently the system uses fuel. Higher AFUE ratings for either will cut the cost of heating your home.

    A system that has an AFUE of 83 converts 83 percent of the fuel it uses for direct heating, while wasting 17 percent, most of which goes up the chimney as heated water vapor. An 80 AFUE system wastes 20 percent of the fuel it uses.

  • Maintenance – A gas furnace burns fairly clean and may only need annual professional maintenance. However, an oil furnace requires much more attention and most oil providers build maintenance into the cost of fuel, changing the oil filters and removing soot whenever they refill the oil tank.

For professional help deciding between gas vs. oil furnace, contact Apollo Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We provide top-notch HVAC services to greater Cincinnati homeowners.

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The Whys and Hows of a Heat Pump That Freezes Over

If your heat pump freezes over, you could be in for a miserable time. While it’s normal to see a little frost now and then, having a heat pump sheathed in an icy tomb can cause damage to the entire system and prevent it from heating and cooling your home effectively.

home heat pumpWhy Does It Happen?

In a nutshell, it’s all about the water vapor. Even the cold, dry air outside your Cincinnati home contains small amounts of water vapor. When it reaches its dew point, the water vapor undergoes a phase change into liquid form.

Now consider your heat pump’s refrigerant runs up to 20 degrees colder than the air outdoors. If the weather is just right — around 20 to 40 degrees with a relative humidity above 70 percent — there’s a good chance that frost will form all over the condenser coils.

To prevent frost formation, a heat pump occasionally undergoes a defrost cycle. This essentially takes all of the heat that’s being transferred inside your home and instead sends it back outdoors through the condenser coils, thus melting the ice that forms around the unit.

Unfortunately, this may not be enough to remove severe ice formation. In some cases, an underlying problem may prevent the defrost cycle from working.

How You Can Fix It

Here are a few quick steps you can take if and when the heat pump freezes over:

  • Turn the heat pump off at the circuit breaker. You don’t want it to suddenly energize while you’re working on the problem.
  • Next, grab a garden hose and spray the heat pump with water until the ice melts. Hammering or chipping away the ice could cause major damage.
  • If it’s warm enough, you can reactivate the heat pump and run it on “fan” mode until the ice melts.

The next time your heat pump freezes over, contact the trusted professionals at Apollo Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. Since 1910, we’ve helped greater Cincinnati area homeowners with their home heating and cooling needs.

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7 Tasks to Leave to Your Experienced, Trusted Handyman

While some household projects are suitable for do-it-yourselfers, tasks for a handyman generally require a higher level of expertise, physical effort or perhaps specific tools not in most homeowner’s collection. When issues arise around the house that you can’t take on yourself or simply don’t have time for, a professional handyman can fill the gap and get the job done.

handymanWhen it’s not doable for the do-it-yourselfer, here are examples of some of the tasks for a handyman.

  • Simple plumbing issues – Leave the major plumbing projects to a licensed plumber. However, when you need a leaky faucet fixed or a water connection made to a new fixture, a handyman can handle it.
  • Caulking and weatherstripping – Is your home leaking warm air out or hot air in and raising utility bills? A handyman can take on the tedious task of sealing cracks and gaps in the structure with caulk and weatherstripping doors and windows.
  • Refinishing decks and porches - We know how sun exposure fades and degrades these outdoor add-ons. Also, how laborious refinishing can be. A handyman can spend the time and trouble required to restore them to like-new appearance.
  • Cleaning gutters - It’s messy and dangerous, but it’s got to be done. Let a handyman scale the ladder and roof to clean the gutters before overflowing water infiltrates exterior walls and causes interior water damage. He can also install gutter guards to make cleaning less frequent.
  • Exterior chores - Got a missing shingle or an awning that needs repair? A handyman’s got the tools and experience to repair outdoor essentials you may not have the time to get around to.
  • Small painting projects - While the bigger jobs are for crews that charge by the project, a handyman’s per-hour rate is perfect for getting a garage door painted or touching-up indoor spots.
  • Wall hangings – Need a picture or mirror hung or curtains installed? Maybe you’re up for it yourself or maybe you’d rather let a professional handyman deal with the nuisance and details while you enjoy the results.

To schedule tasks for a handyman around your home in greater Cincinnati, contact Apollo Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

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Tips for Hiring a Professional Handyman to Tackle Work Around Your Cincinnati Home

If you want your household to run smoothly, one of the most important tasks you can take on is finding the perfect handyman to tackle home improvement needs. But hiring a professional handyman can sometimes be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. We suggest that you follow these simple tips that will help you make the right choice:

  • handymanDon’t stop at the first one – Even if the first handyman you interview seems great, it’s always advisable to interview at least a couple more for a true comparison. There’s no reason to shortchange yourself.
  • Know your project – It’s important to remember that a handyman isn’t the same as a contractor. A handyman is better suited to smaller projects that don’t require a permit, such as installing light fixtures, replacing a toilet, and painting interiors.
  • Be cautious – Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous handymen out there who would rather take advantage of you than do a good job. First and foremost, question any handyman who comes to your door or calls you to solicit a job. Also be wary of anyone who wants payment before the job is completed.
  • Ask for a guarantee – Any reputable handyman will have no problem with guaranteeing his or her work, usually for a period of one year.
  • Get everything in writing – Before any job begins, you should have everything in writing, including the aforementioned guarantee. This will protect you in the event that something goes wrong or isn’t exactly how you expected it to be.
  • Inspect the work – After a project is completed, don’t just pay the handyman and let him or her go on their merry way. Before any money has exchanged hands, take a look at the handyman’s work and make sure it meets your expectations. If not, have the work corrected, inspect it again, and then pay for the work.

For more expert advice on hiring a professional handyman or for any other home comfort concerns, please contact the friendly professionals at Apollo Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We’ve been serving the HVAC needs of the greater Cincinnati area since 1910.

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How Cincinnati Homeowners Can Prepare Their Home Water Heater for Winter

prepare your water heater Taking the time to prepare a water heater for winter can save you money and prevent daily hassles with your hot water tap. The cold Cincinnati winters make it harder for your water heater to do its job. If you don’t help it out a little, it will use more energy than necessary trying to keep your water hot and it may not provide enough hot water at all. Continue reading

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Advanced Features Give Heat Pumps Some Major Advantages

heat pumpsWhen it’s time to replace the HVAC equipment in your home, it pays to look at the advances made in heat pump technology. The features available on today’s heat pumps offer greater comfort, enhanced energy efficiency and longer equipment life. Continue reading

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Does Your Cincinnati Need Attic Insulation Help? Call a Trusty Handyman

attic insulationIncreasing the amount of insulation in the attic is an effective way to boost home comfort and energy savings year round. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) advises that homes in the Cincinnati area should have a minimum of R-49 installed on the attic floor. To reap the full benefit of adding more attic insulation, it’s essential that the job is done correctly. Continue reading

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Keep Your Property Protected and Private With Fence Maintenance and Repair

fence repair and maintenanceYour home is your sanctuary and as such, you desire privacy, safety and quiet. A privacy fence keeps neighbors out of your business, gives children and pets boundaries, and adds to your overall landscape appeal. With fence maintenance and repair, you insure that your privacy fence lasts for years. Continue reading

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Add Energy Efficiency to Your To-Do List With These Home Improvement Projects

energy efficiencyFinding ways to reduce your home’s energy bills is always a challenge. There are dozens of home improvement projects for energy efficiency in the home — things to be upgraded, improved and implemented that can make an impact. To make the best use of your time, identify any problem areas that you know of and focus in on fixing those first. Continue reading

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