News

4 Types of Furnaces. Here’s what you need to know.

There are four category types of furnaces: natural gas, oil, baseboard, and propane. 

Furnaces are a necessity in Alaska, so when yours breaks down, it becomes an urgent problem, fast. Rest assured, Mountain Mechanical is a group of certified technicians, always on call, to handle any of your HVAC needs, no matter what type of furnace you have.  

There are four category types of furnaces: natural gas, oil, baseboard, and propane. 

Natural gas (forced air furnaces) are a highly economical and efficient choice. These furnaces are becoming a more popular heating preference because they offer high energy efficiency, making them cheaper in the long run.

  • Life Expectancy: The life expectancy of a natural gas furnace is 15 to 20 years depending on furnace use, maintenance checks, and proper filter use. 
  • Energy-Efficiency: Natural gas furnaces often range from 80% to 98% efficient. A furnace with an energy efficiency rating of 98% will require less natural gas to heat your home than a unit with a lower rating. 
  • Maintenance: Natural gas furnaces require an annual inspection but also monthly/quarterly air filter changes. (If you have indoor pets, you may find that you need to change filters more frequently.)
  • Cost: Initial purchase costs are dependent on the size of the furnace you need to purchase to adequately/correctly heat the size of your house, as well as the energy efficiency rating. Natural gas furnaces often have a higher initial purchase cost but offer a cheaper heating option over time. 
HVAC ANCHORAGE

Oil furnaces. In terms of BTU, oil furnaces provide more heat than any other heating source. Oil furnaces require an on-site oil storage tank with ease of access for oil delivery.

  • Life Expectancy: The life expectancy of an oil furnace is up to 25 years depending on furnace use and maintenance checks. 
  • Energy Efficiency: Oil furnaces are slightly less efficient than natural gas furnaces. These furnace options typically range between 70%-90% efficiency. 
  • Maintenance: Oil furnaces require regular and preventive maintenance checks, an oil storage tank, and oil deliveries. 
  • Cost: The upfront cost of an oil furnace is around 25-30% cheaper than a natural gas furnace but has lower efficiency and higher oil fuel prices.

Baseboard Heating Options – Electric and hydronic (water)

Electric Baseboards

  • Life Expectancy: The life expectancy of an electric furnace is 35 years but dependant on furnace use and maintenance checks.
  • Energy Efficiency: When purchasing an electric furnace option, you can reduce utility costs by buying an energy-efficient unit with a higher Energy Star rating. This rating gives certification for energy-saving and eco-friendly products.
  • Maintenance: One advantage of electric furnaces is longevity and durability. The furnace units often need fewer repairs. However, electric furnaces still require annual maintenance checks. 
  • Cost: Electric furnaces are the cheapest heating option to purchase and have installed. These units can be upwards of 50% cheaper than gas and oil furnaces. However, the cost of electricity is much higher than gas, which can have you comparing your furnace options.

Hydronic Baseboards

  • Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy of a hydronic baseboard heating system is 20 years. With proper maintenance, we can help you extend the life of your unit.
  • Energy Efficiency: Hot water baseboard heaters offer high energy efficiencies and provide long lashing heat, once the system is heated up. 
  • Maintenance: Hydronic baseboards require less maintenance but can bring costly repairs if not maintained. We advise a yearly maintenance check of your heating system to check your boiler, floor pan, and radiator system. A system flush is suggested every 3 to 5 years. This will help remove any sludge or build-up that may occur within the pipes. Clogged pipes can cause cold rooms, and in some cases cracked and leaking pipes. 
  • Cost: Hydronic Baseboard installs can cost up to four times as much as electric but is a less expensive heating option to operate in the long run. 

Propane Heating Propane heating options are available if gas and oil are not readily accessible in the area. We currently do not service propane heating equipment.

HVAC ANCHORAGE

Make sure you know the age of your current heating unit. Knowing the age of your furnace will help you minimize unexpected furnace repairs and emergency furnace replacements. If your furnace is nearing life expectancy, you should begin shopping for a replacement so that you can make the best decision for your heating unit replacement.

Call us if you need an HVAC technician in Anchorage or Eagle River, Alaska.

Our team can properly assess the condition of your furnace. We can make recommendations for maintenance repairs and provide furnace replacement cost options.

Please note that we do not service mobile home furnaces.

Follow us on FACEBOOK

Furnace Filters: Which one should you buy?

HVAC ANCHORAGE

You’re standing in front of all the furnace filters at the store what you thought was an easy task has left you with questions. You start looking for the furnace filter size you need but now have questions about what brand to buy. Then you start looking at filter thickness, what type of filter, and what price point. How do you know what furnace filter to buy? Don’t worry you’re not alone. 

Honeywell, 3M, Lennox, etc,.. all familiar names, so which one do you get? Each furnace filter offers something a little different, and all of those differences can help improve or change the air quality that your furnace blows through your house. Here is some advice to help you feel confident when it comes time for you to pick up a new furnace filter. 

Furnace Filters: brands & types:

FILTER SIZE [Dimensions]: Every furnace manual comes with the filter dimensions your furnace will need. Double-check your filter size, as they vary, furnace to furnace. Your furnace filter cabinet is the chamber located between the return air and supply air sections of your furnace. Your furnace filter must fit snuggly in your furnace. Any loose gaps will allow unfiltered air to get to your blower fan. 

FILTER THICKNESS [Thickness]: The thickness of your furnace filter can range from 1″ to 5″. As a general rule of thumb, a thicker furnace filter will last longer and be more efficient. However, these filters often come with a higher price tag. We suggest a thicker filter for those with furry pets in the house, but only when your furnace allows. The average furnace filter thickness we see used is 2”-3”. Consult your HVAC Specialist to determine the thickness of the filter that you can use.

FILTER PRICE: Furnace filters come at all prices. Pricing doesn’t always seem to reflect quality. Overall, if price dictates your purchase, make sure you are changing your furnace filters regularly if you choose a budget-friendly option. Otherwise, think about your home and consider furnace filter types based on your living atmosphere.

FILTER TYPE: 

Basic Filters: Help capture the dust, lint, hair, and debris from getting into your blower fan. These filters offer the first line of defense for furnace maintenance. 

Allergen Filters: Help capture dust and lint, airborne dust mite debris, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, bacteria, microscopic allergens, and most smoke. Allergen Furnace Filters help provides cleaner air quality as it circulates through your home. 

Odor Reduction Filters: Helps neutralizes common household odors by eliminating offensive odors and reducing harmful allergens, dust, mold spores, and more. This furnace filter option is for those who smoke or cook greasy foods in their home. 

Filter Rating: [MERV] It is wise to understand MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings when buying your furnace filters. You will see ratings range from a low of 1 to a high of 20. The lower the MERV rating, the less protection you will get from your furnace filter. On the contrary, the higher the rating, the more particles the filter can remove. However, this also allows less airflow, which can cause an issue with your furnace. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, air furnace filters with a MERV between 7 and 13 will be adequate for most homes.

HVAC ANCHORAGE

We suggest you check your furnace manual or get advice from your HVAC Specialist to see what MERV rated furnace filter will work best with your heating unit.

Remember that when changed and maintained regularly, furnace filters can extend the life of your heating system. They can also help keep maintenance costs down.

The primary purpose of a furnace filter is to protect HVAC equipment, with the added benefit of improving indoor air quality. Regular duct cleaning also plays a critical role in your furnace and home air quality.

If you are looking to significantly improve indoor air quality talk to us about a quote for installing an air cleaning and filtration system. Always on Call, Mountain Mechanical, Call us Today!

Furnace Filters: The Ultimate HVAC Equipment Defender.

Furnace Filters. What you need to know about the filter in your heating unit.

Homeowners often believe that the furnace filter’s primary job is to clean the air in your home.

Your furnace filters will help aid in improving air quality, by remove particulates and contaminants from the recirculated air, but their main purpose is to protect blowers and other internal components from damaging build-up.

HVAC ANCHORAGEFurnace filters keep your HVAC system clean and efficient by removing dust, dirt, hair, and other particles from being pulled into the blower from the return air ducts. This makes them the ultimate HVAC equipment defender.

One way to prevent your heating system from becoming bogged down is by scheduling regular filter checks.

Pay attention to the furnace filters you are buying and understand the recommended duration of use for the filters you choose. Buying the correct size for your furnace ensures that you are maximizing filtration in your heating system.

CHECKING YOUR FURNACE FILTER

KNOW YOUR FILTER: The two most common variations of furnace filters are pleated filters and semi-permanent reusable/washable filters. Knowing which filter is in your furnace is the first step.

Pleated disposable filters are the most common, with various sizes and types available at local stores like Fred Meyers, Target, Home Depot, Etc.

CORRECTLY INSTALLED: Dirty or soiled filters and incorrectly installed filters have a lot in common. They can both add more resistance to airflow, which makes the system work harder, become less efficient, and in turn more expensive to operate.

Always make sure your furnace filters are correctly installed. The chamber that houses your filter is between the return air section and a supply air section of your furnace, and there is usually a panel where your furnace filter can be easily accessed.

CHECK FOR EXCESSIVE DEBRIS & REPLACING WHEN NEEDED: In between replacing your furnace filters, we suggest regular filter checkups. Pulling out your filters regularly, to see how dirty they are, can help you get an idea of how often they need to be changed.

While checking the filters you can remove any chunks of debris, hair, or dust balls that you may find loose in the compartment and/or on the filters.

You will want to replace your filters primarily based on how quickly they get dirty or at least based on what the packaging recommends; 30 days, 90 days, etc. However, if your furnace filter appears full of dust and debris at the time of checking, it is recommended to replace your filter.

HVAC ANCHORAGE

You may find they get dirty faster during the colder months, requiring more frequent changing or cleaning, due to the furnace running and cycling heat more frequently.

Older homes and homes with pets generally require the filters to be changed or cleaned more frequently.

When changed and maintained regularly, filters can extend the life of your heating system. They can also help keep maintenance costs down.

The primary purpose of a furnace filter is to protect HVAC equipment, with the added benefit of improving indoor air quality. Regular duct cleaning also plays an important role in furnace lifespan and home air quality.

Read our blog about the benefits of duct cleaning, when to get it done, and why it’s important to your heating system and household air quality.

If you are looking to significantly improve indoor air quality, talk to us about a quote for installing an air cleaning and filtration systems.

If you are experiencing allergies while inside your home, air cleaning and filtration systems might offer you some relief.

We service homes in Anchorage and Eagle River, Alaska. If you have any HVAC, heating, or plumbing questions, don’t hesitate to call.

Always on Call, Mountain Mechanical, Call us Today! 907-344-0700.

Follow us on Facebook 

Baseboard Heaters

Winter Start-Up Inspection: Hot Water [Boilers] Baseboard Heaters

Even, steady and smooth heat distribution is one thing that people love about this heating option. Baseboard Heaters [boilers] are often viewed as a low-maintenance heating option making them a popular choice, and with advancements in boilers and baseboard systems, these heating systems are becoming just as efficient as forced air systems. However, there is still a level of maintenance that is required to ensure you are maximizing your heating system’s efficiency. Our Winter Start-Up Inspection special can help give you peace of mind.


HVAC ANCHORAGE

What are the common reasons that baseboard heaters [boilers] break or stop working?

#1: Pumps, controls or thermostat components stop working

#2: Low water pressure caused by air in the pipes impacting radiating heat

#3: Frozen pipes due to cold drafts, freezing temperatures, and inefficient systems


A Hot Water or Baseboard Heaters require a boiler to heat the water that is then dispensed into tubing that resides in the baseboard units or flooring of your house. This heating system relies on various valves to let water in and out of the system. During our inspection, a certified HVAC Specialist will check your heating system to make sure that it is operating at its best.

The following are some of the items that will be inspected:

Pressure gauge

Pipes

Valves, including relief valve

Check for leaks or standing water

Circulating pump & motor

Gas supply, burners, and control valve

Inspect Boiler

Pilot Light/Electronic Ignition

Vent Connection

Draft Hood

 

Our HVAC Specialist will make notes of any possible concerns with your heating system, that they may uncover during the inspection. This preventative measure may help to identify issues before they require costly repairs or even replacements.

For example, it is often advised to get your heating system purged. Purging your heating system allows the boiler and pipes to be flushed clean of air, which can help prevent lockouts and other heating system failures. It is advised you consider getting your heating system purged by an expert once every three to five years, or as recommended.

Don’t wait too long to get your Winter Start-Up Inspection scheduled. We book up fast. Lock in your spot today! 907-344-0700. 

Follow us on Facebook

A Winter Start-Up Furnace Inspection.

Should I have my forced air furnace inspected?

We designed our start-up furnace inspection to put your mind at ease! Our winter start-up inspections take a deeper dive to look at what’s going on behind the walls of your furnace. Just like any preventative maintenance, we advise you to have an inspection yearly, and here is why.

Forced Air Furnace inspections are most popularly scheduled at the end of summer as the weather shifts and require the use of home heating systems to be turned on to keep families warm around the house.

All inspections are performed by qualified, trained, and experienced Mountain Mechanical licensed journeymen. These inspections help to extend the life of your heating systems by identifying preventative damage to critical heating components.

If we uncover any repairs needed during your inspection, we will provide you a quote and answer any questions you may have.

There are several benefits to a furnace inspection, your safety is one of them.

HVAC ANCHORAGE

Benefits of our Winter Start-Up Furnace Inspection

  • Home Safety – Inspections allow professionals to check for cracks, corrosion, or broken seals that may allow the omittance of unhealthy gas fumes, and lethal carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Extend Furnace Life – When a furnace is properly maintained, it extends the life of the furnace. It also reduces the cost of unexpected repair bills, or cold nights trying to figure out why your furnaces aren’t producing any heat.
  • Lower Annual Heating Cost – When a furnace is operating efficiently you will maximize the benefits of your heating system. Some of these benefits include reduced fuel and energy waste as well as lower annual heating costs.

During our Winter Start-Up Inspection, our HVAC specialists check various parts of your heating system, noting any possible concerns they may see along the way. This preventative measure may help to identify bigger issues that may require costly repairs or even replacements.

Here is the list of the items that we examine during our inspection:

  • Run a furnace start up cycle
  • Check the vent system
  • Look over the heat exchanger
  • Inspect blower, blower wheel & blower access door
  • Inspect all belts
  • Inspect electrical connections
  • Perform an amp-draw test or analyze combustion (depending on the unit that the furnace inspection is being performed on)
  • Check that all air intake and grills are free from obstructions
  • Inspect your furnace burner
  • Check pilot light/electronic ignition (depending on the unit that the furnace inspection is being performed on)
  • Check all fuel lines (if gas unit)
  • Check the flue Pipe & a flue cap
  • Examine safety switches
  • Check your furnace filter. (Furnace filters should be replaced as instructed on each individual filter. Most furnace filters need to be replaced every 1 to 3 months. If you have pets, you may need to be replacing your filters more. Read our blog about furnace filters for additional information.

During our inspection, we will want to examine your heating unit during and after a heating cycle to make sure that it is operating correctly.

Because of the areas we check during your forced air furnace inspection, we will need to have access to your heating unit, as well as your thermostat.

There’s a reason we’re always on call! We do our Winter Start-Up Inspection year-round. It’s never too late, and never a bad idea to get a professional inspection on your unit.

If you feel like your furnace is not producing warm enough heat, or is bogging down while running, call us for an inspection today.

If you live in the Anchorage or Eagle River area, call us to schedule a maintenance check. We book up fast. Lock in your spot today! 907-344-0700.

Follow Us on Facebook 

3 Benefits of a Professional Duct Cleaning

Duct Cleaning: Should I Have Mine Done?

Over time, it is natural for ducts, fans, and registers to accumulate dirt, dust, pollen, and particles. If moisture becomes present, there is potential for musty odors or mold to grow. Many people call asking questions about the process of duct cleaning; when to get ducts cleaned, allergies associated with air ducts, and associated costs.

Duct cleaning is done to remove dust, debris, and allergens from various heating and cooling system components of a forced-air system.  During our cleaning process, A Mountain Mechanical Tech, will scrub and vacuum out your ducts using a high-powered suctioning system. Supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles, diffusers, heat exchangers, heating and cooling coils, drip pans, fan motor, fan housing, and the air handling unit housing are all cleaned during this process.

It is highly advised to also have your dryer vents purged to remove lint build-up and dust from your drying system.

HVAC ANCHORAGE

Mountain Mechanical: Duct Cleaning Services

Benefits of Duct Cleaning

  • Preventative Maintenance – A clean system will run smoother and more efficiently making your furnace work less while extending the life of your system. In a case where furnace filters are not being changed regularly, a cleaning maybe even more pertinent for preventative maintenance.
  • SafetyFire Risk: A clean system, including dryer duct cleaning, helps to minimize potential fire hazards and risks. Dust and lint catch fire easily and can increase the speed of which fire spreads through your house.
  • Health – Air Pollution: A clean system helps minimize air pollution, dust, and pollen, that is pushed into your home environment. Dirty ducts may be a cause of indoor allergies or have other effects on your health.

We suggest you consider getting a duct cleaning every 5 to 10 years.

The cost and time associated with a duct cleaning are hinged on the square footage of your home and the number of registers you have. The level of contamination, access to the heating system, and the request for dryer vent cleaning may also change the quote.

Contact us today! Our quotes are ALWAYS free. 

Follow Us on Facebook