Who invented the Furnace?

Alice H. Parker was an African-American inventor who filed the first United States patent for the precursor to a central heating system. Parker was highly educated compared to most Americans during the early 1900s. She was a graduate of Howard University, a historically African-American university that accepted both male and female students since its founding in November 1866, shortly after the Civil War. While little is known about her life, her design for a heating furnace is a definite forerunner to what was developed decades later as a means of heating residential and commercial structures.
Parker was officially granted her patent on December 23, 1919, while she was a resident of Morristown, NJ. The drawings included in the patent filing show a heating furnace that was powered by gas. To heat an entire house, there were several heating units, each controlled by individual hot air ducts. The ducts were then directed to different parts of the building structure.
Although this design was never used in an actual structure, using gas to power a heating furnace was a revolutionary idea since coal and wood dominated at this time. This patent also marks the first time that a patent documents the idea that duct work could individually deliver heat to different areas of the house.

Fall Is the perfect time for Installing a New Central AC in Your NJ Home

As we adjust to the autumn weather in New Jersey, it’s easy to push the idea of installing a new central A/C to the bottom of your to-do list. After all, next summer is a long way off, and you have more pressing things to do with your time and money. But fall is actually the best time of year for having serious A/C work or installation done in your New Jersey area home. Keep the following things in mind as you plan your fall home maintenance projects, and consider moving installing a new central A/C system to the top of your list.

Why Fall Makes Sense for A/C Installation

Saving money is the best reason for upgrading to a new air conditioner in the fall. Manufacturers cut prices on this year’s equipment models to clear their inventory in time to gear up for meeting the demand for furnaces, boilers and related equipment as winter weather approaches. Your local HVAC contractor can get great deals from suppliers trying to clean out their warehouses, and can pass those savings along to you.
By early fall, your HVAC contractor is winding down from the summer cooling crunch and has crews and equipment available for installing a new central A/C system or performing other cooling and heating work around your house. The contractor’s calendar is no longer dominated by emergency A/C repair calls due to the heat of summer, so you don’t have to wait as long to schedule your air conditioning project.
Autumn weather is ideal for A/C installation work or other renovation projects that require having your HVAC systems shut down for a few days. Your family can stay comfortable with the window open and enjoy the fresh fall breezes moving through your home while the installation work is going on in your basement, utility room or attic.

Combine A/C Installation With Other Home Energy Upgrades

Work with your HVAC professionals to consolidate several energy projects around your home so that you can save money on labor costs and minimize the number of days your family has to deal with construction noise and other disruptions. You are probably making a significant investment in installing a new central A/C system that is more energy efficient than your existing cooling equipment. Get the most out of your money by improving the energy efficiency of the rest of your home at the same time.
If you reduce your home’s cooling and heating demand by tightening up your house, you will save money not only in installing a more efficient air conditioner, but also by having to run it less than you would otherwise. In addition, those energy improvements will reduce your winter heating costs.
Here are some ideas to discuss with your HVAC contractor for improving your home’s energy efficiency at the same time you’re installing a new central A/C system. You may want to do some of this work yourself, but much of it can be done more cost-effectively by your HVAC technicians while they’re already at your house installing your air conditioner:

  • Seal air leaks. Reducing the amount of air moving into or out of your house can reduce your energy bills significantly. Caulk around door and window frames and anywhere utilities penetrate your home’s exterior walls. Replace weatherstripping to ensure tight seals when doors and windows are closed.
  • Be sure you have adequate insulation. If your attic insulation is insufficient for our climate, upgrading it can reduce your cooling and heating loads significantly. Have your HVAC contractor inspect your ductwork, anywhere ducts run through unconditioned spaces and add insulation to those sections if they’re not insulated. You will recover the money you spend on insulation quickly via reduced energy bills.
  • Inspect your furnace and perform seasonal maintenance on it. During your A/C installation, have your technician clean your furnace burner, inspect the heat exchanger and lubricate the air handling equipment. Have your ducts inspected and cleaned, if needed, and have any leaking seams and joints sealed. Change your air filter so your system is ready to go when the first cold front arrives.

Contact us at “Green Apple Mechanical NJ” for installation, repairs and maintenance of your cooling and heating equipment. We serve customers throughout the New Jersey area. Call us toll free at 888-611-7191

9 fall heating maintenance tips

As the winter fast approaches, it’s time to start thinking about heating your home. Before you just turn your system on, performing proper maintenance can ensure that it runs efficiently, so you don’t spend any more than you have to heating your home. Here are nine tips to make sure you heating system is ready for the winter:

  • Thermostat. Check your thermostat to make sure it’s operating properly. If it’s defective or older, consider upgrading it to a newer, programmable one. Not only do they provide better temperature readings, but they can be set to go on or turn off at specific times, ensuring you only pay for the heating that you use.
  • Air filter. Air filters make sure the air that is pumped throughout your heating system is clean. Clogged or used filters can hinder that process, adding air contaminants into your home. In addition, because they are dirty, your heating system will have to work harder to pass air through the filter, using more fuel and costing you more money. Replace the filters as needed.
  • Vents. Walk through your home and check all of the air vents. Blocked air vents will make your system work more than necessary, and will also prevent rooms from getting warmer. As you’re clearing the vents, remove the vent cover and clean both it and directly inside of the vent, as dust and sediment can gather there when not in use.
  • Ducts. As ducts age, gaps can form in joints, causing air to escape from the system, which is another cause of inefficiencies. Inspect the ducts thoroughly. Get some metal tape or high temperature silicone and plug any holes you find.
  • Dampers. If your home uses the same ducts for both heating and cooling, make sure to reset the damper during your duct inspection. This is especially important in two story homes. Because hot air rises, the dampers regulate airflow to send more cold air upstairs in the summer and more warm air downstairs in the winter. Set the damper to the proper season.
  • Burners. Turn your furnace’s electrical system off and remove the door of your furnace and inspect the burners. Once you find where the burners are, turn the electrical system back on and slowly raise your thermostat until the they come on. The flames should have an even consistency and be blue. If the flames are yellow, that indicates the burners are dirty and need maintenance. For safety, contact an oil furnace repair professional.
  • Blower. Use a ratchet and appropriate sized socket to remove the blower so that it can be cleaned. Once removed, clean with a vacuum and small brush. Be very careful when cleaning around the blades, as it is possible to cause an imbalance and damage the fan.
  • Bearings. Typical furnaces require the internal motors be properly lubricated annually. Clean around the oil caps before removing them. Then, apply two to three drops of lightweight machine oil in each motor. Be careful not to add any more, as over lubricating is just as bad as not using enough.
  • Fan belts. Over time, fan belts may shift or become damaged, causing them to break or work less efficiently. Locate the fan belts to see if they are properly in place and check them for any cracks or frays. If they look like they’re in good shape, simply readjust them. If damaged, install a replacement.

9 fall heating maintenance tips

As the winter fast approaches, it’s time to start thinking about heating your home. Before you just turn your system on, performing proper maintenance can ensure that it runs efficiently, so you don’t spend any more than you have to heating your home. Here are nine tips to make sure you heating system is ready for the winter:

  • Thermostat. Check your thermostat to make sure it’s operating properly. If it’s defective or older, consider upgrading it to a newer, programmable one. Not only do they provide better temperature readings, but they can be set to go on or turn off at specific times, ensuring you only pay for the heating that you use.
  • Air filter. Air filters make sure the air that is pumped throughout your heating system is clean. Clogged or used filters can hinder that process, adding air contaminants into your home. In addition, because they are dirty, your heating system will have to work harder to pass air through the filter, using more fuel and costing you more money. Replace the filters as needed.
  • Vents. Walk through your home and check all of the air vents. Blocked air vents will make your system work more than necessary, and will also prevent rooms from getting warmer. As you’re clearing the vents, remove the vent cover and clean both it and directly inside of the vent, as dust and sediment can gather there when not in use.
  • Ducts. As ducts age, gaps can form in joints, causing air to escape from the system, which is another cause of inefficiencies. Inspect the ducts thoroughly. Get some metal tape or high temperature silicone and plug any holes you find.
  • Dampers. If your home uses the same ducts for both heating and cooling, make sure to reset the damper during your duct inspection. This is especially important in two story homes. Because hot air rises, the dampers regulate airflow to send more cold air upstairs in the summer and more warm air downstairs in the winter. Set the damper to the proper season.
  • Burners. Turn your furnace’s electrical system off and remove the door of your furnace and inspect the burners. Once you find where the burners are, turn the electrical system back on and slowly raise your thermostat until the they come on. The flames should have an even consistency and be blue. If the flames are yellow, that indicates the burners are dirty and need maintenance. For safety, contact an oil furnace repair professional.
  • Blower. Use a ratchet and appropriate sized socket to remove the blower so that it can be cleaned. Once removed, clean with a vacuum and small brush. Be very careful when cleaning around the blades, as it is possible to cause an imbalance and damage the fan.
  • Bearings. Typical furnaces require the internal motors be properly lubricated annually. Clean around the oil caps before removing them. Then, apply two to three drops of lightweight machine oil in each motor. Be careful not to add any more, as over lubricating is just as bad as not using enough.
  • Fan belts. Over time, fan belts may shift or become damaged, causing them to break or work less efficiently. Locate the fan belts to see if they are properly in place and check them for any cracks or frays. If they look like they’re in good shape, simply readjust them. If damaged, install a replacement.