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Heating

Boilers

“I don’t have a central unit for my heating.”

Most heating systems that employ “radiant” heat are propelled by a boiler—they are critical to the proper and efficient operation of many home heating systems. We’re the experts to call when you need boiler repairs.

What is a Boiler?

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A boiler is a natural gas, oil, propane or solid-fuel-burning appliance that produces hot water or steam which is circulated through pipes to heat-radiating devices in a room. Most homes in the United States are heated with either furnaces or boilers. The process that uses boilers to heat the home is called hydronics.

Boilers heat water, providing either hot water or steam for heating. Steam is distributed via pipes to steam radiators, and hot water can be distributed via baseboard radiators or radiant floor systems, or can heat air via a coil. Steam boilers operate at a higher temperature than hot water boilers, and are inherently less efficient, but high-efficiency versions of all types of furnaces and boilers are currently available.

Hydronic systems offer a host of advantages not found in other types of home comfort systems. Of all natural materials for conducting heat, water is best. Temperature changes of water can be accurately controlled and measured, so there is less “over-shooting” of thermostat settings and less wasted heat. And today’s compact boilers, with improved heat-transfer technology, high- efficiency burners and electronic controls are 30 to 40 percent more efficient than boilers installed ten years ago.

If your boiler is old, worn out, inefficient, or significantly oversized, the simplest solution is to replace it with a modern high-efficiency model. Old coal burners that were switched over to oil or gas are prime candidates for replacement. Newer systems may be more efficient but are still likely to be oversized, and can often be modified to lower their operating capacity.

A central boiler’s efficiency is measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). The Federal Trade Commission requires new boilers to display their AFUE so consumers can compare heating efficiencies of various models. AFUE is a measure of how efficient the appliance is in the energy in its fuel over the course of a typical year.

At One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® in St. Cloud, MN,  we can help you with any boiler repair service.


Furnaces

You rely on your furnace to  keep you warm in the wintertime and when it fails, there’s no time to waste. No heat can mean dangerously cold conditions in your home, and if the temperatures outside are truly frigid, every minute your heat is off also puts your pipes at risk of freezing. You can count on our trustworthy, reliable technicians to be there to help you stave off a winter emergency.

Furnaces are not DIY repairs. They are complicated machines, and it takes an experienced professional to detect why you’re being left in the cold. Our technicians can locate the trouble and take care of it, whether you need a simple repair, replacement parts or the installation of a new unit.

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Your furnace is full of motors, fans, belts and bearings, and even a small problem can degrade its performance or cause it to stop working entirely. Other possible trouble spots if your furnace isn’t operating properly include:

A dirty filter: If the air filter isn’t replaced regularly, it can clog and hinder the flow of air through the furnace. Not only can this prevent the hot air from circulating efficiently through your house, the added strain on your furnace can shorten its overall lifespan.

Problems with the pilot light: If your pilot or ignition control system isn’t working properly, the furnace can’t fire up to heat your house.

A faulty thermostat: The thermostat controls your home’s temperature, so if it isn’t working properly you could be too hot, too cold, or the whole unit may even shut down.

If the age and condition of your furnace mean purchasing a new model might be the best option, your One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating® technician in St. Cloud will guide you through the process of choosing a new unit, explaining the advantages and drawbacks of the available models so you can feel confident you are making the right choice for your home. We’ll also take care of any necessary permits and inspections to ensure your new furnace complies with local safety and building codes. Finally, we will handle the installation from start to finish to prevent problems that can stem from inexperienced workmanship.

You want your home’s critical systems to be safe and reliable, and scheduling furnace cleaning and maintenance can help you prevent a furnace emergency before it happens. Call your local Opie’s One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating in St. Cloud, MN to schedule an annual inspection and tune-up of your unit. We’ll give it the care it needs to have a long and productive life, and you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you’re in the hands of trusted experts.


Heat Pumps

“My home system doesn’t seem to work quite right.”

For heat pump installation and heat pump repairs, you can be sure that One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® will exceed your expectations. A heat pump is a device that moves heat from one location to another location using a mechanical means. There are two common types of heat pumps: air-source heat pumps and ground-source (geothermal) heat pumps, with variations on both. Both can keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. An air-source heat pump pulls its heat indoors from the outdoor air in the winter and from the indoor air in the summer. A geothermal heat pump extracts heat from the indoor air when it’s hot outside, but when it’s cold outside, it draws heat into a home from the ground.

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A heat pump’s refrigeration system consists of a compressor, and two coils made of copper tubing, which are surrounded by aluminum fins to aid heat transfer. The coils look much like the radiator in your car. Like in a refrigerator or air-conditioner, refrigerant flows continuously through pipes, back and forth from the outdoor coils. In the heating mode, liquid refrigerant extracts heat from the outside coils and air, and moves it inside as it evaporates into a gas. The indoor coils transfer heat from the refrigerant as it condenses back into a liquid. A reversing valve, near the compressor, can change the direction of the refrigerant flow for cooling, as well as, for defrosting the outdoor coils in winter.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

An air-source heat pump can provide efficient heating and cooling for your home, especially if you live in a warm climate. When properly installed, an air-source heat pump can deliver one-and-a-half to three times more heat energy to a home compared to the electrical energy it consumes. This is possible because a heat pump moves heat rather than converting it from a fuel, by exploiting the physical properties of the refrigerant.

Ground-Source Heat Pumps

A ground-source heat pump system is a central heating and/or air conditioning system that actively pumps heat to or from the shallow ground. It uses the earth as either a source of heat in the winter, or as a coolant in the summer. This design takes advantage of moderate temperatures in the shallow ground to boost efficiency and reduce operational costs.

But unlike an air-source heat pump a ground-source heat pump exchanges heat with the ground. This is usually more energy-efficient because underground temperatures are relatively stable through the year. Like a cave, the shallow ground temperature is warmer than the air above during the winter and cooler than the air in the summer. A ground-source heat pump extracts that ground heat in the winter (heating) and exhausts heat back into the ground in the summer (cooling).

Absorption Heat Pumps

Absorption heat pumps are essentially air-source heat pumps driven not by electricity, but by a heat source such as natural gas, propane, solar-heated water, or geothermal-heated water. Because natural gas is the most common heat source for absorption heat pumps, they are also referred to as gas-fired heat pumps. There are also absorption coolers available that work on the same principal, but are not reversible and cannot serve as a heat source. These are also called gas-fired coolers.

Refrigerants

A refrigerant is a compound used in a heat cycle that undergoes a phase change from a gas to a liquid and back, thus giving off heat or absorbing it. The two main uses of refrigerants are refrigerators/freezers and air conditioners. Since it was discovered in the 1980s that the most widely used refrigerants were major causes of ozone depletion, a worldwide phase-out of ozone-depleting refrigerants has been undertaken. These are being replaced with “ozone-friendly” refrigerants.

Questions about heating or cooling your home or business? Call us. We’re the experts in HVAC service, repair, and installation in the St. Cloud, Excelsior, and Clearwater areas of Central Minnesota.