Steve's Blog 
Winter 2019

*Note, I am not a licensed heating/HVAC contractor, just a homeowner passing down helpful tips and hints.

Now that it's winter, there are bound to be some cold nights ahead of us, so it's is the perfect time to check on our heating systems and do some preventative maintenance as needed.

Always check your air filter and replace as needed. A dirty air filter can block the air flow.

Clean/vacuum around the furnace and blower fan as needed.

Most homes generally have a central gas fired furnace.

Check the gas piping and make sure it's not kinked nor cracked/dinged, which could lead to gas leaks.

For a gas furnace, turn it on via the thermostat and check the flames when it's on. Check the height, strength and color of the gas burner flames. They should be steady with no trace of yellow coloring. If there is yellow, call a technician, they might need to adjust the flame height to get it burning properly.

Some homes in the area have hydronic heating systems, such as The Orchards in Tustin Ranch.
A hydronic heating system uses hot water from your water heater and circulates that through the same plenum coil system that works with your AC. As the hot water flows from your water heater into the AC plenum coils, it transfers the heat from the water to the coils, and the air handling unit (the fan part) blows air over the coils, which heats up the air. It doesn't heat up as fast as a gas furnace would, but it's a simpler type of furnace.

If you turn on the heater on your thermostat, and the air coming out isn't warm, even after a while, check the temperature setting on your water heater. You may want to turn up the temperature on the water heater if it's set low.

If that doesn't solve issues after a few minutes, you might have air trapped in your hydronic heating system. Air trapped in the system keeps water from being drawn up to the coils, preventing the heat from reaching the coils.

To bleed the air from your system, there is a drain spout on the system you can attach a hose to. 
With the system OFF, and a bucket positioned under the drain spout, remove the drain spout cap, but DO NOT turn it on. Securely ttach a hose to the drain spout and run it to the nearest drain. Sometimes that might be your washing machine drain. I have a hose long enough to run to my bathtub, so I did that. Plus I wanted to see what came out. Make sure the drain end of the hose is secure and won't pop out of whatever it's draining to.

CAREFULLY and slowly turn the drain spout handle counter clockwise to loosen it. Turn it slowly as there is a rubber stopper inside the drain spout might get brittle over sitting in one position over the decades, and you don't want to crack it. 

When I opened up the drain spout, all I heard was a hissing for the first 15-20 seconds, telling me it was air being drained out of the system. Finally water came out of the hose, black at first, and eventually turning clear, with a few chunks of deposits coming out. The water coming out of the hose won't be hot, maybe just lukewarm, as the heat was already transferred to the coils. You can touch the water pipe going into the system and feel that it's much warmer as it's coming straight from the water heater. I kept the drain spout open for 3-4 minutes before closing it.

Careful not to drip water inside, I removed the hose and replaced the drain spout cap, then replaced the inside cover.

I ran the heating via the thermostat, and within 30 seconds, warm air came out of the ducts. We got heat! Problem solved.

* We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accurary of this information. Any action you take upon the information in this website is strictly at your own risk, and we will not be liable for any losses and damages in commection with the use of our website.