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Category Archives: Heating

Why is My Furnace Pilot Light Yellow?

A healthy functioning furnace should burn with a blue flame and a yellow tip. As a general rule around 90% of the flame should be a dark blue color, with only the top yellow or orange.  If your pilot light is more yellow than blue then there’s a problem.

In older furnaces the pilot light serves to ignite gas for the main burner; it burns constantly and steady to maintain heat to your home or business.

A pilot light requires the correct amount of gas and air to remain steady.  Too much or gas and not enough air and you may end up with a yellow or orange flame.  This basically means that the flame is starved of sufficient oxygen.  A deep blue color is the natural color of a flame that has sufficient oxygen to keep it burning.

What’s the cause of a yellow flame?

The most common cause is a clogged air intake valve which leads into the pilot light.  A yellow flame can also be caused by damage and a faulty installation.

When the flame is yellow, it means that there is incomplete combustion of the gas which can lead to harmful carbon monoxide being released.  The flame may go out completely due to insufficient conditions to stay ignited.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas, which makes it particularly dangerous.  The main symptoms of exposure include headaches, breathlessness, dizziness, nausea and even collapse.

If you think you have carbon monoxide poisoning call a doctor right away.

What to do about a yellow flame?

If the yellow flame is persistent,  or the pilot light keeps going out turn off the gas supply and call a heating professional.

 

Is it time to replace your furnace?

Furnaces with standing pilot lights were common up until the mid 90s when electric ignition started to replace them.  If you still have one of the old style furnaces it is likely to be nearing the end of its lifespan (typically 15-20 years).

If you would like help switching to a newer, more energy efficient model call Superior Comfort for a reliable replacement and installation in Ansonia, Shelton, Seymour, Woodbridge and the surrounding area.

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The Difference between a Boiler and Furnace

If you’re looking at choosing a new heating system, it’s important to know your options. Equally if you need a service or repair, it’s good to know what you’re dealing with.

You might assume, sure it’s easy I have a furnace… Most people who heat their home with oil will call their system a furnace, when in actual fact they have a boiler; the two are actually quite different.

A furnace heats air which is circulated through the home’s duct system. This is also referred to as a forced air system. The fuel source for a furnace can be gas, electricity or oil.

A boiler heats water which is then circulated through pipework and radiators or baseboard. A boiler also uses gas, electricity or oil to power it.

In short, a furnace heats air, a boiler heats water.

 

Comfort

Both systems are capable of providing reliable heating for your home, however variances in air flow can create drafts or cold spots with a furnace; boilers tend to be more consistent.

In some cases a furnace can increase humidity in the home and cause the air to be dry in the winter; in this case a humidifier may be needed. But a furnace makes it easier to cool your home, since the ductwork can be used for air conditioning. If you have a boiler and no ductwork you need to have two separate systems.

Another consideration is for people who have allergies. A furnace can blow allergens/contaminates throughout the house. However, the filters are designed to restrict this; allergen filters can help to reduce the chances of allergies flaring up. To maintain good air quality, ducts need to be regularly cleaned and filters need to be regularly changed.

 

Installation

It is generally considered that boilers are more expensive than furnaces to purchase and install, this is especially true if your home already has ductwork. In some instances, a furnace can be installed within a few hours, compared to a boiler which can take a full day, or more to install.

 

Maintenance

Both a furnace and boiler are capable of lasting between 15-20 years, but it is the maintenance in between that sets them apart.

A boiler has few mechanical parts and does not need much maintaining, beyond a yearly inspection. In contrast a furnace runs a motor and blower fan which pushes the warm air throughout your home. There are also the filters and ductwork which need regular cleaning every few months.
Boilers and furnaces come with their own list of pros and cons. A boiler for instance can also power hot water for showering, something that cannot be achieved with a furnace.

 

Ultimately you need to decide which is right for you and your situation.

 

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