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Is Forced-air or Radiant Heating the Best Option for Your Home?

Winters in Plainville, Illinois can drop well below zero. Several weeks of these temperatures explain why people are willing to spend a lot of money yearly on heating their homes.

Finding the most cost-effective heating system for your home will depend on the availability of fuel types in your area, your budget, and your personal preferences. The most common choices are natural gas, oil, propane, electricity, and wood.

Two common ways to distribute heat through the home are forced air heating and radiant heating. Here are some factors that can help you decide which one of these two heating processes is best for your home.

A Description of a Typical Forced-air Heating System

A forced-air heating system is a system that uses a blower to carry warmth throughout your home. Homes with central heating systems push warm air through a ductwork system.

A furnace is usually located at the center of the home or in the basement. Standard forced-air heating fuels include natural gas, electricity, and oil.

The Pros and Cons of Forced-air Heating Systems

One of the biggest pros of a forced-air heating system is that the same ductwork can be used to cool the home. The system works by pulling in air from the house, passing the air through a series of filters that improve the quality of the air, and then redistributing the warm air in the home. Central forced-air heating circulates air throughout the house, promoting healthy airflow.

The downside of a forced-air heating system is that it is prone to air leakage, which reduces efficiency. Uneven air distribution can happen if the system is not adequately sized or installed. Blowing air around in the home can stir up dirt, particulates, and allergens. And, finally, a forced-air heating system can be noisy to operate.

After mentioning a few cons associated with a forced-air heating system, you must know that the biggest downside of it is heat loss. The air from the furnace and air handler must travel through several metal tubes to reach its destination. This means that there are multiple opportunities for the hot air to leak out, even if there is a tiny opening in the ducts. In most homes, the ductwork travels through unheated attics or basements, increasing heat loss.

Another downside of forced-air heating is that since heat rises, higher levels of the home are warmer than the basement or first level. Additionally, you must run the furnace and heat the whole house to warm the basement or one room.

If a home does not already have air ducts, you will need to install them before using a central heating system. Installing a mini-split system could be more cost-effective to install in a home without an existing system of ducts. However, replacing parts on a mini-split system can be very expensive.

What Is Radiant Heating?

Radiant floor heating heats a surface directly using touch to transfer energy. Radiant heating is produced using electricity, air, or hot water directly contacting the surface it is installed in.

The produced heat is transferred to objects and people in the room via infrared radiation. In most cases, radiant heating is installed beneath the floor to heat the entire home.

The Pros and Cons of Radiant Heating

Radiant heating adds supplemental heat to rooms that are not adequately heated with a forced-air system. One of its biggest pluses is that radiant heat eliminates inefficient heat loss since warmth is not distributed through the air.

Radiant heating systems are allergy friendly compared to forced-air systems, which can distribute allergens throughout the house. When comparing the two heating sources, radiant heating is a lot quieter, more efficient, and allows you to adjust the heat level in individual rooms using a programmable thermostat.

You get the ability to customize a room’s comfort level independently of the rest of the house while at the same time saving significant amounts of money on energy. There is no point in heating rooms in the home that are not being used.

One of the biggest cons of radiant heating is the expense, especially if you install it in the whole house. Another downside is that radiant heating provides heat but does not condition the air.

Since radiant heating is installed underneath the floor, it isn't easy to access when it is time for repairs or maintenance. When adequately installed, electric floor heating requires little to no maintenance. If maintenance is needed, our technicians at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing have the troubleshooting tools and expertise to make the repair process not as overwhelming as it once was.

The Cost of Forced-air Heating Versus Radiant Heating

Radiant heating is more efficient, making it less expensive to operate. The price you will spend per square foot of radiant heating will depend on the size of the room or the size of the home you are looking to heat. When you talk to our technicians at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we can evaluate your home and provide you with an estimate of potential radiant heating costs. Depending on the size of your home, installing radiant heating could mean a significant financial investment. However, you could recoup some of your initial investment through utility savings each month over the long term.

Forced-air systems are also economical to install, especially if the home already has a ductwork system. If maintenance is needed, repairing a furnace is usually less expensive than repairing radiant heating, as the technicians can easily access the unit to make needed repairs. With radiant heating, technicians will need to rip open the floor to access the components that need to be repaired.

Radiant Heating Versus Forced-air: Which Is Right for Your Home?

Several factors need to be considered when answering this question. Radiant heating systems are likely your best bet if the sky is the limit with your budget. Radiant heating offers even and energy-efficient heating.

You want to consider the upfront costs versus the operational costs of radiant heating versus forced-air heating. Think about the systems' versatility, your personal indoor air quality needs, and the level of comfort you want.

Deciding on a heating system for your home can be stressful, especially since it is a significant financial investment. Our team of experienced technicians and installers at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing will be happy to take the time to evaluate your current system and your home to help you determine which heating system is best for your budget and your household.

Trusted Plumbing and HVAC Services in Plainfield, Illinois

Our experienced, licensed technicians and plumbers have served the greater Chicago area since the early 2000s. As a family-owned company, we have generations of experience providing emergency service, offering straightforward pricing, and using the latest technology. We are members of the ACCA, and our technicians are NATE certified.

Our services include HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance, as well as indoor air quality services. We offer burst pipe repair, clogged toilet repair, water leak detection, gas leak detection, and more. Contact TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today to learn more about our unique products and services.

Everything You Need to Know About SharkBite Fittings

When it comes to plumbing, there are a lot of different fittings that can be used. If you're a plumber, you likely know that SharkBite fittings are the way to go. But why are they so popular? What makes them better than other fittings? Keep reading to learn the reasons why most plumbers use SharkBite fittings.

SharkBite Fittings Are Quick and Easy to Use

One of the most significant benefits of using SharkBite fittings is that they are quick and easy to use. Unlike other fittings, installing them doesn't require special tools or training. The plumber simply needs a wrench, and they can quickly tighten or loosen the fitting as needed. This makes them perfect for emergencies that require the plumber to quickly fix a leak.

SharkBite Fittings Seal the Pipes

SharkBite fittings provide a tight seal because the fitting bites into the pipe, creating a snug fit. This prevents leaks and protects the home from water damage. Suppose a regular fitting was to loosen: It could cause a lot of water to leak out, leading to damage to the home. On the other hand, the SharkBite fittings provide a much more secure connection that is less likely to come loose.

There's No Need for Soldering

Soldering is a common plumbing technique that involves using a torch to heat metal pipes so that they can be joined together. However, it can be dangerous and is not always necessary. With SharkBite fittings, soldering is unnecessary because the fitting bites into the pipe, making the whole process much safer and more accessible.

SharkBite Fittings Are Durable

SharkBite fittings are made from high-quality materials that withstand a lot of wear and tear. This means they will last for many years, even with heavy use.

They're Easy to Find

The plumber can purchase them online or at the local hardware store. This makes them convenient and accessible for everyone.

SharkBite Fittings Are Affordable

SharkBite fittings are also very affordable, making them a substantial option for those who want to save money on their plumbing needs.

SharkBite Fittings Are Versatile

SharkBite fittings can be used on various pipes, including copper, PVC, and PEX, making them perfect for any plumbing project the plumber may have. For instance, if the plumber is replacing their client's old copper pipes with new PVC pipes, the plumber can use SharkBite fittings to connect them.

They Can Be Installed on Wet Lines

Unlike most regular fittings, SharkBite fittings can be installed on wet lines even under full flow. This is why they're recommended when the plumbers have urgent repairs to work on.

How Do SharkBite Fittings Work?

SharkBite fittings are a type of push-fit fitting. They are designed for copper, PEX, CPVC, and PE-RT pipe and tubing. The fitting has two jaws that grip the pipe when it is inserted. A release collar on the fitting allows you to remove the pipe if necessary. The jaws of the fitting bite down on the pipe when you insert it and create a seal. This seal is what prevents leaks.

Factors to Consider When Getting SharkBite Fittings

Plumbers keep several things in mind when choosing the right SharkBite fitting for the project, including size, material, price, installation, and return policy. Let us explain.

The Size of the Fitting

When choosing a SharkBite fitting, it is vital to consider the size of the fitting. The plumber must ensure that the fitting is the right size for your pipe. If it is too small, it will not create a tight seal and may leak. It will be challenging to install if it is too large and may not bite into the pipe properly.

The best way to choose the right size fitting is to measure the outer diameter of the pipe and compare it to the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer.

The Material of the Pipe

The plumber must ensure that the fitting is compatible with the type of pipe they are using. If they use a different type of pipe, they will need a different type of fitting. It is important to remember that SharkBite fittings are incompatible with galvanized steel pipes. If the plumber uses this type of pipe, they will need to use a different type of fitting.

The Price

The price of the SharkBite fitting is also an essential factor to consider. The plumber will need to make sure that they choose an affordable fitting that fits within their client's budget. SharkBite fittings are generally more expensive than other fittings, but they are worth the investment because they are durable and easy to use.

The plumber can find SharkBite fittings at the local hardware store or online. When shopping online, comparing prices from different retailers is essential to ensure that the plumber is getting the best deal. It is also important to keep in mind that the fitting price will vary depending on the size and material of the fitting. The larger and more durable the fitting is, the more expensive it will be.

The Installation

The installation of the SharkBite fitting is also an essential factor to consider. The plumber will need to make sure they choose a fitting that is easy to install. SharkBite fittings are designed to be installed quickly and easily. Most kits have everything the plumber needs to install the fitting, including a template and instructions.

It is key to remember that the fitting installation may vary depending on the size and material of the fitting. The larger and more durable the fitting is, the more difficult it will be to install. If the plumber is unfamiliar with how to install a SharkBite fitting, it may be necessary to enlist help from other plumbers with the required experience.

The Warranty

The warranty of the SharkBite fitting is also an important factor to consider. The plumber will need to ensure that they choose a fitting with a warranty so that their client is covered if the fitting breaks or leaks.

The Return Policy

The return policy of the store the plumber purchases the SharkBite fitting from is also essential. The plumber will need to make sure that they choose a store that has a good return policy. This will ensure that they are able to return the fitting if it does not meet their expectations.

Your Trusted Plumbing Team

Plumbing is vital to any home, and choosing the right fittings for your needs is important. SharkBite fittings are an excellent option for many plumbers, so it is essential to consider them when deciding. It would be best to consult a professional plumber to get advice for your home plumbing needs.

TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is a full-service plumbing, heating, and cooling company serving Plainfield, IL, and the surrounding areas. We are a family-owned and -operated business dedicated to providing our customers with the best possible service.

Our plumbers are licensed and insured, and our work is guaranteed. We offer various services, including plumbing repairs, installations, and replacements. We also offer a wide range of products, including SharkBite fittings.

If you are in need of a plumbing or heating/cooling service, don't hesitate to get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you!

Most Common Causes of AC Short Cycling

Short cycling occurs when your air conditioner shuts off before it can complete its entire cooling cycle. When your AC turns on, it will usually need to run for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to cool your home completely. If the AC turns on and quickly shuts off again within a couple of minutes, there might be a major issue causing your unit to short cycle. Short cycling often happens due to overheating, but it can also occur due to faulty, malfunctioning, or worn-out components, this is where our AC repair services come in.

Short cycling is a serious issue for several different reasons. Not only will it affect your AC's ability to keep your home cool, but it also stresses the entire system. This can result in major repairs or cause your AC unit to burn out entirely. To ensure this doesn't happen, let's take a closer look at some issues that can cause an AC to short cycle and how to address them.

HVAC Air Filter Is Clogged

The least-complicated reason your AC might short cycle is that you need to replace your air filter. If the filter is clogged, there won't be enough airflow to keep your AC working properly. This results in heat getting trapped inside the system, which can cause the condenser to overheat.

The AC condenser outside your home has a safety mechanism that will automatically trigger if it overheats. When this trigger is activated, it instantly shuts the system off to ensure the high heat doesn't damage any of its components. If the air filter is extremely dirty, it sometimes takes just a few minutes for the AC to overheat on hot days.

A dirty air filter is also one of the many reasons your evaporator coil might freeze. If this happens, it can also lead to the system overheating or failing to produce any cold air. The only thing you can do in this situation is to turn your AC off until the coil completely thaws out.

Evaporator or Condenser Coil Is Dirty

Your AC system has two different coils that work to absorb or release heat. Inside your home is the evaporator coil, which uses refrigerant to remove heat from the building. The unit outside your home houses the condenser coil, which disperses this heat into the outside air. These coils often become caked with dirt and dust, preventing them from working as they should. This happens because the caked-on grime insulates the coil and prevents air from reaching it.

A dirty evaporator coil will usually freeze quickly. If no hot air can reach the coils, the refrigerant stays too cold, and the pressure drops. This results in the condensation on the coil turning into ice before it can drip away.

If the condenser coil is dirty, it won't be able to release heat as easily. This can cause the condenser to overheat and shut down. In either case, the best solution is to have a technician clean the coil and test it to see if a good cleaning solves the problem.

Condenser Unit Is Clogged with Debris

The sides of the condenser unit often become clogged with leaves and debris, which prevents it from getting proper airflow. If there isn't enough air to help cool it down, it will again overheat and shut down. To fix this, simply inspect the sides of the unit and vacuum or brush away any debris.

Refrigerant Level Is Low

All AC systems require a specific amount of refrigerant to function well. If the refrigerant level is too low due to a leak, it puts much more stress on the compressor and can cause it to overheat. A refrigerant leak is also one of the main causes of a frozen evaporator coil. Your only option in this situation is to have a technician check the refrigerant level and the system for leaks. After fixing any leaks, they will recharge the system with more refrigerant.

Thermostat Is Malfunctioning

Your short cycling issues may not have anything to do with your air conditioner. Instead, they could be caused by an issue with your thermostat. Over time, thermostats may start to malfunction and no longer measure temperature accurately. When this happens, it might signal the AC to shut off too soon because it registers that the home is cooler than it actually is. A malfunctioning thermostat could also cause your AC to run much longer than it needs to and your house to become too cold.

Short cycling might occur if the thermostat is too close to a vent. In this case, the cold air from your AC vent will make the thermostat register a lower temperature than the rest of the house. This can also happen if your thermostat is in part of the home that is always colder. In either case, the only real solution is to have a professional move the thermostat to a better location within your home.

Low-Pressure Control Switch Is Faulty

Inside your AC condenser, there are control switches that shut off the unit if the refrigerant pressure gets too high or too low. Either issue can put a massive strain on the compressor and potentially cause it to burn out. In some cases, the low-pressure switch stops working correctly and will signal the system to shut off when the pressure is normal. The only way to identify this problem is to have an AC technician inspect the control switch to see if it works correctly. If it doesn't, your technician will need to replace it to eliminate the short cycling.

Compressor Motor Is Starting To Wear Out

If your compressor motor isn't working well, you will likely need to have a new AC unit installed. Compressor motors fail due to normal wear and age. Short cycling can also speed up the rate at which the compressor motor wears out due to the added stress. Unfortunately, this problem will eventually prevent your AC from turning on at all.

If your AC unit was installed in the last five years, the compressor motor might have warranty coverage. If this is the case, you might want to proceed with a compressor motor repair. While you will still have to pay labor costs for the job, using your warranty should still be cheaper than installing a new AC unit.

If your AC isn't under warranty, it's almost always better to replace the entire unit instead of just the motor. In most cases, you'll pay approximately the same price for either.

Award-Winning AC Services

At TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, our technicians will quickly get to the bottom of your short cycling issues. We service all makes and models of air conditioners, and our skilled staff performs the most complicated AC repairs. We are also ready to help if you need to replace your old AC with a new model, and we carry a wide selection of highly efficient units for any size of home. We also repair, install and maintain residential heating and plumbing systems in Plainfield and throughout the Greater Chicago Area. Give TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing a call to schedule your HVAC service!

BTU Measurements and HVAC Units: How They Work Together

Heating and cooling power for HVAC systems is measured in BTUs, or British Thermal Units. Similar to watt and voltage measurements for electricity, the BTU is a unit for measuring the addition and subtraction of heat from a space.

The BTUs are listed with all the other technical specifics on each HVAC system you shop for. More BTUs translates to more heating and cooling power.

As you shop, you will notice that HVAC systems have a tonnage calculation as well. The tonnage is the BTU tonnage. This is shown as BTUh, which is British Thermal Unit per hour. Many people know that 2,000 pounds is also a ton. When tons are calculated for heat, one ton is equivalent to 12,000 BTU.

Residential HVAC systems typically range from 18,000 to 60,000 BTUh. A 60,000 BTUh system is also called a five-ton HVAC system. Any system over five tons is considered a commercial system.

Most commercial systems range from two tons to 30 tons. These have a completely different structure from residential systems, which are stand-alone units. The modular nature of commercial systems means that each subsystem can be modified independently. Some commercial HVAC systems can even simultaneously heat certain parts of the building and cool another.

Estimating BTUs for Your House Size

Professional estimating methods are exceptionally reliable. Asking your HVAC installer and sales team about their estimates regarding the efficiency of your ductwork, the placement of the vents, and other details will always help you get better results.

Many homeowners also rely on a professional Manual J assessment to get detailed calculations for their HVAC needs. The Manual J will include estimate factors like:

  • Sun exposure
  • Family size
  • Insulation
  • Square footage
  • And more

Your HVAC services professional can complete a Manual J for you. You can also get one from an energy auditor. The energy auditor will inspect your home to do the Manual J.

Professionals who calculate how much heat goes in and out at certain times also use BTUs in those measurements. They may assess things like the insular value of a window, whether the sealing around windows and doors is efficient, and how well the insulation in the walls is working. These measurements will help you assess the amount of time your HVAC system runs each day as well as the BTU requirements for the AC and furnace. In the case of the AC system, the amount of heat absorbed and taken out of the house per hour is measured in BTUh.

Getting the Right Number of BTUs

Buying a system with too many or too few BTUs causes technical HVAC difficulties. You run the risk of wearing a system out early if it is too small.

A small system is likely to run all the time without achieving the heating or cooling level the home needs. An undersized AC unit will experience strain and won't be able to get enough electricity stored inside the capacitator, wearing things out quicker. You'll also have a lot of noise from the system's longer run times. Undersized furnaces may turn on and off frequently without effectiveness. In some cases, they will run 24 hours a day without heating the building up.

An oversized system will use much more energy than is advisable. It will also be highly likely to turn off before the system has completed a full cycle. The early shutoff will cause the compressor in the AC unit to turn off early, resulting in high humidity. Your air conditioner will also turn on and off constantly instead of doing a thorough job of working through the air throughout the house.

In the end, this will also wear your air conditioning unit out early. It's important to get the right size unit!

Using Kilowatts and BTUs to Estimate Potential Energy Costs

A professional can help you estimate the amount of electricity you will use with each system you look at. The BTU calculation does help you estimate the kilowatt usage. You'll need to consider the amount of power you have flowing through your whole house and assess the breakers and circuits to find out your capacity on a new unit.

It's not uncommon for people to add more breakers and circuits to their home as they install HVAC systems. You may even encounter some wiring that needs to be redone to keep things efficient.

Once you've assessed the electrical capacity, you can start with the estimated average requirement of 20 BTUs per square foot of space inside the home. This won't do the whole calculation in detail. However, it's a great starting point when assessing your kilowatt usage. Many people work off the local average energy costs using this number.

Things That Will Impact Your System Requirements

One of the major influences is the ceiling height. Between houses with similar or the same square footage, the one with higher ceilings will typically have higher energy bills. Houses have been built with 8-foot ceilings as a standard measure since about 1900. But many people like higher ceilings in at least one part of the home.

You will need a larger to heat and cool the house if the ceilings reach the 12-foot range.

Windows tend to expand in size as ceilings rise, which can raise the BTU requirement for your system. Windows have a large amount of variance in regard to their insulation capabilities. It's important to look at the SEER rating on your windows as you assess your HVAC power needs.

The SEER rating will give you a good idea regarding how much heat the window lets in and out. This includes the extra heat that comes in from direct sunlight, which can be a significant source of heat in many areas. Note that the quality of the installation on each window, whether it has damage, and the sealing condition will affect the final insulation value heavily.

The insulation values for the walls and roof are also a huge factor. Many people have sections of their home that don't heat or cool evenly, and better insulation will help even the temperature out. The ductwork and usage of things like fans inside will also be part of the energy assessment.

Experienced Professionals

TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is a third-generation family company serving the Plainfield, IL area. We repair and install HVAC units, including mini-splits, central units, boilers, radiant heating, and furnaces. We also provide UV air filter systems, filter changes, and air handlers. Our plumbing services include slab leak repair, sump pumping, burst pipe repair, gas leak detection, toilet repair, drain cleaning, water heaters, and tankless water heater installation. We received an Angie's List Super Service Award as well as a Customer Care Excellence Award. We have also been named an American Standard Dealer of the Year. We offer straightforward pricing for all our customers, and we work on all brands. We provide emergency repair services, and we are proud to stay up to date on the most cutting-edge technology.

Call TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today to find out how we can help you.

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