What role does your air filter play in efficient heating this winter?

If you’re like most homeowners, replacing or cleaning your home’s air filter is probably pretty far down your list of priorities this winter. However, there’s certainly a case to be made for adding this to your to-do list. A clean air filter is critical to your home’s indoor air quality, energy-efficiency, and winter heating. In this article, we’ll review what you should know about your air filter and the role it plays in your home during the colder months of the year here in Chicagoland.

At King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we’re your go-to team for a wide range of heating services. Call us today to learn more about how we can improve the indoor air quality of your home, as well as the efficiency of your heating system.

Call our team for air filter replacement here in Chicago. Our Filter Club is a great, convenient way to save on new filters.

Call our team for air filter replacement here in Chicago. Our Filter Club is a great, convenient way to save on new filters.

A clean air filter is more important than you might think

While it tends to get overlooked, your home’s air filter plays a crucial role in your home’s air quality and energy-efficiency. Here’s how:

Energy-efficient heating

A dirty air filter can actually be costing you money every month on your utility bills. As the air filter clogs with dirt, dust, and pet hair (gross!), it becomes more difficult for the furnace’s blower to push heated air through the filter. This results in the furnace and blower having to work more to create heating for your home, which in turn can cause a spike in your monthly heating bills.

Prevent furnace problems

All the extra effort your furnace puts into pushing air through a dirty, clogged filter can lead to significantly more wear-and-tear. However, that’s only the start. Your furnace also intakes air through the filter. If it’s unable to take in enough air from your home, the blower and furnace will not be able to work properly. In fact, since gas and electric furnaces rely on the blower to push hot air out of the system, it could lead to the system either short cycling or overheating.

Even if the furnace is able to get air through the filter, that dust and other contaminants could head the other way into the system, leading to the inside of the furnace becoming dirty. This, in turn, can have other negative repercussions for the furnace’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Keep your home’s air fresh

Every time you turn on the furnace with a dirty air filter in place, you’re essentially having that dust and dirt pushed into the air of your home. Especially during the winter when windows and doors tend to be closed more often, this can have a negative impact on your indoor air quality as the trapped dust, dirt, pet dander, and more have nowhere to go.

Replace or clean your air filter regularly

Generally speaking, you should replace your air filter about every 90 days. However, if you have pets or suffer from allergies, you may want to bump that up to every 60 days or even every month. In truth, every home is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to indoor air quality. That’s why talking with a professional here at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is always a great play.

Join our Filter Club!

At King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we make it easy to keep your home’s air filter fresh. As a member of our Filter Club, we’ll deliver fresh filters, on-time, right to your door! No more hassle or having to remember to go to the store to get new air filters. Instead, we’ll deliver the right professional-grade filter, right on time. To learn more about our Filter Club and all of our HVAC and IAQ services, call us today.

What are the differences between gas and electric furnaces?

In this article, we review gas and electric furnaces, how each type of furnace works, and some of the key differences between them. If you need a new furnace in your home and you’re trying to decide between natural gas and electric models, call our team for a free in-home estimate today.

Gas furnaces

Gas furnaces generate heat for your home by combusting fuel (natural gas) in a combustion chamber and then transferring that heat to air through a heat exchanger.

A technician inspects a gas furnace after installation.

A technician inspects a gas furnace after installation.

Understanding gas furnace efficiency

When it comes to energy efficiency, gas furnaces are relatively efficient at generating heat for your home. The efficiency of a gas furnace is measured by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) score. AFUE is the measure of how much heat a furnace can pull from the gas as it combusts it. A gas furnace with 80% AFUE converts 80% of its fuel into heat, with 20% being lost in the exhaust. In other words, the higher the AFUE, the more efficient a furnace is, as it will use less gas to produce more heat.

Today’s furnaces have an efficiency floor of 78% AFUE, but many high-efficiency models are nearing 100% AFUE. For example, the Carrier Infinity® 98 Gas Furnace boasts a 98.5% AFUE score, making it one of the most efficient furnaces on the market today.

An important note before we move on: AFUE is less useful when comparing different types of systems. As we’ll review below, electric furnaces have 100% AFUE, but that doesn’t make them less expensive to run. The same thing goes for propane or oil.

A system for all seasons

Because they draw heating energy from natural gas and not electricity, many gas furnaces do not need excessive amounts of electricity to operate. This makes them ideal during power outages caused by storms since they can be run off of a backup generator in your home.

Electric furnaces

Electric furnaces work like a super-sized hair dryer or toaster. Electric current is run through heating elements, heating them up to high temperatures. Cold air is then forced through those elements, rapidly heating the air before it is pushed out through your air ducts to the living spaces of your home. This process continues until the air temperature in your home matches what your thermostat is set to.

More efficient, but costs more to run

On the surface, this feels like a paradox, right? How can an electric furnace with 100% AFUE cost more to run than a gas furnace with 93% AFUE? While electric furnaces are far more efficient at converting their energy source (electricity) into heat than other types of furnaces, this efficiency is counterbalanced by the market prices of each energy source. Natural gas is typically far less expensive than just electricity, so even the most efficient electric furnaces may be more expensive to run.

Of course, the exception to this rule applies to homes with electric-generating solar panels. By pairing an electric furnace with rooftop solar, you can defray some of the costs associated with heating your home in the winter.

No need to vent

Unlike their gas-burning cousins, electric furnaces do not need to expel combustion gases from the home via a flue pipe. This means that an electric furnace only needs to be connected to ductwork, allowing it to go in more places in your home.

No gas combustion also means that electric furnaces do not have a flame sensor, a heat exchanger, or other components found in a gas furnace. There’s no risk of a gas leak or a carbon monoxide leak, although such events are relatively rare in a gas furnace, as well.

Other types of furnaces

There are also furnaces fueled by propane and oil. While these furnaces—like electric furnaces—are often more efficient than gas furnaces, their fuel types are more expensive. If you’re considering either of these types of furnaces, be sure to talk to your local HVAC company about energy costs in your area and what you can expect to pay to heat your home in the winter.

Learn more about gas and electric furnaces

If you’re deciding between gas and electric furnaces, calling us is actually a good place to start. At King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we offer free in-home estimates on new systems. Our technicians can meet with you to review your home’s heating needs, and then help you find the right system for your house and your family. Contact us today to schedule your free in-home estimate.

Common AC problems and what you can do to prevent a breakdown

No one wants to be stuck on a hot and humid summer night with an air conditioner that isn’t working correctly. One important way to prevent a breakdown is to catch issues as soon as possible. Here are a few common AC problems to keep an eye on.

If your air conditioner is running into trouble, call King for 24/7 emergency AC repair service. We’re ready to help! Plus, we don’t charge you extra for work on evenings or weekends.

You can keep your air conditioner running right throughout the summer by keeping an eye out for these common AC problems.The most common air-conditioning problems

Here are some of the most common AC problems and what they could indicate. Remember: King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing offers 24/7 emergency service here in Chicagoland!

  • The house doesn’t feel cool: You hear the fan running and air is flowing, but it doesn’t feel cool. This problem can have many different causes, from dirty air filters to low coolant levels.
  • The fan isn’t working: When you set the thermostat to “cool” or “fan,” nothing happens. A common cause of this issue is a tripped circuit breaker. If the unit has power, the fan may have a worn belt.
  • The AC doesn’t turn on: If the AC doesn’t turn on at all, there may be a thermostat issue or a power problem. If the compressor doesn’t engage, the start capacitor may be the problem.
  • The AC won’t stop running: Sometimes fan or condenser problems cause the air conditioner to run continuously. This behavior isn’t normal, even if it’s hot outside.
  • There’s a weird smell or sound: Among the most noticeable problems are strange noises coming from the air conditioner, such as grinding, squealing, or popping sounds. Burning smells are also serious signs of trouble. Turn off your system and call the professionals at King.

What you can do to keep your AC in great condition

To prevent a breakdown, it’s essential to act quickly when you notice something odd. This means calling professionals ASAP. Our expert AC repair technicians can find the underlying cause immediately, preventing long-term damage to costly components such as the compressor.

In addition to emergency repairs, it’s a good idea to schedule preventative maintenance that focuses on cleaning and system analysis. Annual inspections can find issues before they become a problem. You can also contribute to a long-lasting air conditioner by replacing your air filter every 2–3 weeks and clearing away any dirt or debris.

At King, we’re always on call

You don’t have to take care of air conditioner maintenance and repairs alone. At King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we help you from the very beginning, offering recommendations for the perfect air-conditioner for your home. Whether you need a seasonal AC inspection, maintenance tips, or emergency repairs, reach out to our team right away.

Why you should replace your air conditioner filter regularly

Your air filter is an essential part of your summer cooling, and keeping yours clean is a must. If you need your filters cleaned or replaced, call us. King specializes in air conditioning repair in Chicago and the other communities of Chicagoland. In this article, we’ll review just a few of the reasons that clean air filters can be the difference between a struggling cooling system and one that’s running better and saving you money.

Call King for air filter cleaning and replacement, as well as air conditioner repair in Chicago.

An air filter that is completely clogged with dirt and dust can completely obstruct air flow into your home, making your air conditioner work that much harder.

Why does replacing your air filter matter?

#1. Energy-Efficiency

If your summer electric bills are painful, you aren’t alone. Air conditioning systems use a lot of electricity, which is why squeezing the best-possible efficiency and smooth operation out of your system is essential. One of the biggest culprits in decreased efficiency is a dirty, clogged air filter, as this means the air conditioner has to work harder to cool your home, burning through more energy as it does so.

#2. Extend your system’s lifespan

An air conditioning system represents a significant investment, which is why it’s in your best interest to arrange regular AC maintenance appointments. Not only does a clogged filter decrease the unit’s efficiency, but it also puts additional and unnecessary stress on the system. By working harder to keep your home cool, you’re putting extra wear-and-tear on your air conditioner that, cumulatively, could mean that it lives a shorter life and you have to replace it all that much sooner.

Our recommendation? Take care of your air conditioner by having the air filter cleaned or replaced regularly, and make sure you keep up with our tune-up service.

#3. Keep your house clean

Your filter’s job is to collect the dust and debris that accumulates over time, but those impurities have nowhere to go if the filtration system is full. Until you replace your filter, the air conditioner will simply circulate this unwanted material around your home, which means you’ll spend more time dusting than not. It’s better to have dust, dirt, and other contaminants caught up in the filter than entering your lungs.

#4. Protect your family’s health

Along with dirtying your house, all of those harmful particles can also cause health problems for your family. Along with dust and dander, your HVAC system can also circulate any mold particles throughout your home without them getting caught up in the filter. If any member of your household suffers from respiratory ailments or allergies, frequent filter replacement is even more important to their comfort in the home.

Call King for filter replacement and air conditioning repair in Chicago

These are just a few reasons why it’s important to frequently replace your cooling system’s filters. Call the team of experts here at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing and have us work with you and your home on a complete maintenance and upkeep strategy for your air conditioner. To schedule an appointment for filter replacement or air conditioning repair in Chicago, call us.

How air duct cleaning can improve your IAQ and help you breathe easier

It can be distressing to learn the air you breathe inside your home may be worse than the air outside. Thankfully, a quality air duct cleaning from King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can help improve your IAQ (indoor air quality), making it easier for you to breathe while inside your home.

To schedule your air duct cleaning here in Chicagoland, contact your friends at King.

Here’s why indoor air quality matters

Air duct cleaning can help improve your IAQ, helping those in your home who suffer from allergies.

Air duct cleaning can help improve your IAQ, helping those in your home who suffer from allergies.

Your home’s previous owner may have been lax in duct cleaning

Depending on your home’s previous owner, she or he may not have done a great job of keeping it clean. That means there’s no telling what may be up there that you and your family are breathing in. Duct cleaning allows you to inhale and exhale with ease and confidence that the air isn’t just dust and other contaminants blowing around in an endless, trapped loop.

Pests can leave behind contaminants

If you’ve ever had cockroaches, mice, or other pests in your home, they may have moved through your ducts and left behind a little gift. Droppings and other contaminants can linger long after the pest has gone, leaving you with yet another infestation to deal with—and some nasty, foul-smelling indoor air to breathe in.

Mold and mildew may be lurking in your ducts

Homes that have moisture issues are likely to have mold and mildew issues, as well. Musty smells that seem to have no source could be coming from your vents due to mildew or mold growing inside. These contaminants can do more damage to your healthy than just simply making it hard to breathe, so take care of them as soon as possible.

Your air filters may be clogged

Over time, your HVAC system’s air filters can become clogged with trapped dirt and debris.

Dust, pollen, and the like can blow through your ducts and out your vents into the air you breathe. It’s best to have your filters cleaned at the same time as when you clean your ducts to truly take care of the issue.

Reduce unnecessary spending

If it turns out that it’s your ductwork that’s making it hard for you to breathe, you may visit your doctor or buy medicine to feel better. Your doctor and a prescription may make you feel better, but—in our book—your money is better spent on a final solution rather than temporary relief.

Improve your IAQ by calling King

Do you feel like your breathing is restricted when you’re in your house? Know that the experts of King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing offer professional air duct cleaning. Contact us to learn more about the many benefits of having your ducts professionally cleaned by NATE-certified technicians.

Here’s what it means to be HomeAdvisor screened

King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is a HomeAdvisor Screened & Approved business. But, just what does that mean? In this blog post, we’ll review what HomeAdvisor is, what it means to have their approval, and what that says about King.

What is HomeAdvisor?

HomeAdvisor is a trusted source for reviews, recommendations, and awards for home service companies, ranging from remodelers and upholsterers to plumbers and electricians.

Whether they’re connected to HomeAdvisor through helpful blogs, reviews for local companies, or the (very cool) “True Cost Guide,” homeowners trust this site, and others like it, as part of their decision-making process.

The King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing team accepts the 2017 BBB Torch Award for Ethics.

What does being “screened and approved” say about King?

We’re a licensed business

HomeAdvisor screens all businesses it works with to determine that they have state-level licensing, and that they’re qualified to work in the service areas (in our case: HVAC, plumbing, and other home services) that they claim to work in.

We only hire the best

HomeAdvisor checks the company’s ownership to determine that all the owners / principals are free of any criminal records. They also confirmed that we’re in good standing with the state of Illinois.

We’re a company you can trust

In addition to being a HomeAdvisor Screened & Approved business, King is a HomeAdvisor Top Rated business. This means that we’ve received a top rating of trust from our customers.

We’re an award-winning company

While we’re proud of our great standing with HomeAdvisor, King also has many other awards. We’re the 2017 recipient of the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics. We’ve also won the “Best of Chicago’s Southlands” award seven times, and we’ve matched that total with seven Carrier President’s Awards.

King: Proud to be your heating, cooling, and plumbing company

Despite all these awards, here’s what we’re most proud of: that you, our customers, have consistently given us such great reviews. It means the world to us that you think we’re one of the best HVAC and home services companies here in Chicagoland.

If you need service, turn to the experts at King. Contact us to get started, or give us a call at (708) 687-6898.

What is the furnace coil, and what are things that can go wrong with it?

Split systems—combination HVAC setups that contain both heating (typically a furnace) and cooling (either an air conditioner or heat pump) components—have something unusual not found in ordinary furnaces: a furnace coil. But, just what is a furnace coil, and how do they work? In this article, we’ll explore this little-understood part and explain why it’s a big part of your split system’s performance—and why keeping it clean matters.

First, a quick note: if you need furnace or heating services here in Chicagoland, you’ll want to call the team here at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Our techs know their way around all kinds of furnace setups and installs, and we can help address your maintenance, repair, and installation needs. We always recommend having us do a seasonal furnace tune-up in the fall to clean the furnace coil and other parts of your system.

What exactly is the furnace coil?

This type of furnace coil is commonly known as an "A Coil" because of its distinctive shape.

This type of furnace coil is commonly known as an “A Coil” because of its distinctive shape.

Commonly known as “evaporator coils” or “A Coils” due to their distinctive triangular shape, furnace coils play an important role in your split system.

Air conditioners and heat pumps both work by moving heat from one location to another. For both systems in the summer, this means taking heat from inside the house and moving it outside. This is accomplished with refrigerant. As the refrigerant moves through the evaporator coil inside your home, it absorbs heat. That refrigerant then travels outside, where the heat is expelled and the refrigerant is then cooled, starting the cycle over again.

Heat pumps, of course, are able to reverse that operation in the winter, pulling heat energy from outdoor air (it might not seem like it on a cold Chicago night, but there’s some ambient heat energy there!) inside and expelling cold air.

Why is the evaporator coil installed with the furnace?

During the winter, as your furnace uses gas or electricity to generate heat energy, the furnace coil acts as a heat exchanger, absorbing that heat so that the blower can distribute it through your air ducts.

Why is cleaning the coil so important?

Furnace coils are not only typically inside the furnace assembly, but may be in their own casing, as well. Most of the problems associated with dirty coils come from the lack of access homeowners have to clean them.

Dust and dirt

The buildup of dust and dirt can cause problems. Dirty furnace coils are not as good at transferring heat energy, and you’ll start to see your system’s energy-efficiency dip. In severe cases, extremely dirty coils can trap heat inside your furnace, causing the system to overheat and trigging temperature failsafes that shut off the system entirely.

Mold and mildew

When the air conditioner or heat pump is in use during the summer, the cold refrigerant stored in the heat exchanger, reacting with the warm air in your house, can cause the exterior to generate liquid condensate. This can lead to ideal conditions (warmth and water) for mold and mildew to develop. For obvious reasons, you’ll want to deal with this before it negatively impacts your indoor air quality.

Cleaning the furnace coil

As previously mentioned, it’s nearly impossible (and certainly not advisable!) for a homeowner to reach the furnace evaporator coil. The best time to get your coils cleaned is during your seasonal heating tune-up, which we recommend scheduling in the fall before the first truly cold days of winter. The earlier you book your tune-up, typically the easier it will be to schedule you in.

To make sure you stay on top of your furnace maintenance on an annual basis and avoid any problems, we recommend joining our maintenance program. Known as the King Royal Treatment Plan, this program includes regularly scheduled tune-ups and a number of other perks. Probably the best part of this plan is that we call you to schedule the service appointment. Nifty, right?

Why can’t I clean my own coils?

Beyond how difficult they are to access, we don’t recommend diving into your own furnace. You run the risk of voiding your manufacturer’s warranty when you open up your own system, and there’s always a chance that something can go wrong or get broken, making our 24/7 emergency repair a necessity. Worst case scenario, if not done right, you run the risk of harming yourself.

Honestly, take it from us: when you don’t have the right tools or the right training, it’s just not worth the trouble. It doesn’t even guarantee that your furnace will run any better!

Replacing the furnace coil

In the event that your furnace coil has stopped functioning altogether, you’ll need to have it replaced. The part you’ll need is dependent on your system’s manufacturer, the model, the system’s orientation, and more. For instance, Carrier—the brand King installs—has several types of coils, both in cases and out-of-cases. We recommend giving our team a call so that a technician can match you to the right part you need for your specific system.

Call King and get help from expert technicians

Our advice? Let our experts handle your furnace repair and maintenance—including cleaning your condenser coil. Contact King today for 24/7 repair.

Here are the 5 big benefits of a fall furnace tune-up from King

The idea of not having a working furnace during a cold, dark Chicago winter is ridiculous. Yet, by not scheduling a fall furnace tune-up, many Chicagoans risk exactly that fate. Here’s the facts: your furnace requires a tune-up to keep it running right. By not scheduling one, you’re increasing your risk of a breakdown that will leave you and your family in the cold.

In this blog post, we’re going to run through 5 of the top reasons you should schedule heating maintenance before winter arrives here in Chicago.

Your top-5 reasons to schedule a fall furnace tune-up

A fall furnace tune-up can be the difference between a comfortable and cold home.Here are five main benefits of scheduling a furnace tune-up here in autumn:

1. Reduced risk of an emergency breakdown

Here’s the reality: all mechanical devices undergo wear-and-tear over time—your furnace included. However, you can reduce the attrition rate by scheduling a regular tune-up of the system.

When you schedule a fall furnace tune-up with King, one of our expert techs will verify that your system is ready to go for the winter. We’ll also address potential issues before they turn into big problems for your heating system.

2. Longer furnace lifespan

If you never took your car into a mechanic for an oil change, how long do you think it’d last? Never having your furnace looked at by a professional technician is a similarly bad idea. In fact, regular maintenance can help your furnace last longer and run better as it ages.

This is just one of the ways that a fall furnace tune-up from King can actually save you money in the long-run. The other, of course, is…

3. Lower monthly energy bills

A furnace that is not properly maintained will use more energy than one that is regularly checked and cared for, resulting in higher energy bills. Having a tech from King inspect your system can lead to lower energy bills. Here’s how.

As a furnace fills with dust and parts begin to wear down, it needs more energy to push heating to the living spaces of your home. This is a vicious cycle: as it uses more energy and works harder to heat your home, those parts wear down even faster.

By having a King technician inspect your furnace as part of a fall furnace tune-up, you can rest assured that your heating system is ready for a full winter of energy-efficient operation.

4. Ensure the safety of your household

Your furnace needs to be checked annually to ensure that it can still operate safely. A chief concern: a cracked heat exchanger can result in carbon monoxide—a colorless, odorless, and deadly—gas getting into your home’s air. Known as the “Silent Killer,” carbon monoxide is not to be trifled with.

If you suspect that something is wrong with your heat exchanger, call the fire department and then give King a call for 24/7 emergency furnace repair.

5. Peace of mind for you and your family

An emergency furnace breakdown on a cold Chicago night is a stressful event for you and your family. By reducing your risk of a breakdown or safety problems, a fall furnace tune-up can provide you with something you can’t put a price on: peace of mind. It’s one of the reasons we provide this service to south Chicago homeowners and renters.

Trust King with your fall furnace tune-up

We’re a local HVAC business that you can trust. That’s because we’ve been serving south Chicago, Joliet, Oak Forest, and surrounding communities since 1968. For many homeowners here, “King” is the name they trust for their heating, cooling, and plumbing needs.

To learn more about our services or to schedule your tune-up, give King a call at (708) 687-6898 or contact our team online. We look forward to speaking with you!