footer-logo

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, Allen, and Frisco.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

Ways To Minimize Early Failure Of A Furnace Control Board 

This Is Part 3 of a 3 Part Article:

  • Part 1:      Furnace Control Board – Purpose And Functions

  • Part 2:     Furnace Control Board – Power Surge Protection + Surge Protection For The Rest Of The House

  • Part 3:   Furnace Control Board – Other Ways To Help Minimize Early Failure

 

For Part 1 Of This Article, Click HereAlsPlumbing.com Furnace Control Board – Purpose & Functions (Part 1)

For Part 2 Of This Article, Click Here: AlsPlumbing.com Furnace Control Board – Power Surge Protection (Part 2)

 

Factors That Can Damage A Furnace Control Board

Click Here To See A Furnace Control Board That Failed Due To Corrosion: Failed Control Board Due To Corrosion

Frequency Of HVAC System Cycling

high efficiency gas furnace with two white pipes visible

Image Source: DreamsTime

  • The frequency of cycling (starting & stopping) is one of the largest factors in any HVAC System’s lifespan.  Each cycle creates wear on every component involved.  The furnace control board operates during both the heating and cooling cycles.  The more anything is used, the faster it wears out.
  • Example: A furnace’s heat-exchanger expands & contracts with each heating cycle.  This often causes the heat-exchanger to crack as it gets older.  Once cracked, the heat-exchanger or the furnace must be replaced.
  • Example: For Central A/C & Heat Pumps, the initial start-up is the hardest time on the outdoor unit’s compressor.  This is due to two things:
  • Lubrication is not as good at first.  Because the component moving the refrigerant moves very fast, it requires a lot of lubrication.
  • Initial Electricity Inrush is much higher, to start the compressor running. A central a/c consumes about 4 times as much electricity when it first starts.  It’s much like pressing a car’s accelerator further down to get it moving, then releasing some of the accelerator once the car reaches the desired speed.

One Definition Of ‘End Of Life’ For Any Mechanical Item Is:

It has been in operation for at least 2/3 of its expected life.

AND

It needs a repair exceeding 25% of its replacement cost

Some HVAC Systems need replaced years before the same system in another home.   This is primarily due to how much it runs & how it’s cared for.

 

Articles Showing How To Reduce HVAC System Cycling Frequency & Operating Times 

By Decreasing The Amount Of Time Your HVAC System Must Run

 

Monthly & Annual Maintenance Dramatically Affect Lifespan

Maintenance Of Your HVAC System Is One Of The Biggest Factors In How Long It Lasts

+ How Much It Costs To Cool & Heat Your Home

dirty air filter on left. New air filter on right.

Image Source: CanStockPhoto

The #1 HVAC System Maintenance Is Monthly Check & Replace Furnace Filter When Dirty 

  • If the filter looks dirty, it is, and it needs replaced. 
  • This will extend the life of every HVAC System component + notably reduce cooling & heating costs.
  • Dirty Filters Cause The System To Run Longer & Work Harder Than Necessary.  The longer & harder the system is forced to run = the fewer years it will last + you spend more to cool & heat your home.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) states “A dirty air filter increases A/C cooling bills by up to 15%!”

Annual Spring AC Outside Unit Cleaning & Inspection

photo of heat pump

Image Source: ShutterStock

  • Annual Inspection & Cleaning (if needed) Of The Outdoor A/C Unit will identify any failing components or low refrigerant level. 
  • This provides the opportunity to replace failing components, avoiding a breakdown during peak cooling season.  A refrigerant recharge helps ensure the a/c is cooling at its maximum efficiency.
  • Cleaning the outdoor unit’s c (as required) has a dramatic effect on both its lifespan & electricity consumption.
  • The US Dept. Of Energy states “A dirty A/C outdoor unit’s coil increases energy consumption by up to 30%!”

A Clogged Air Filter + Very Dirty A/C Outdoor Unit Has The Capacity To Nearly Double Your Cooling Costs!

 

Click Here To See “Before & After” Photos Of A Neglected A/C Outdoor Unit: Very Dirty A/C Outdoor Unit

 

Annual Fall Furnace Inspection & Cleaning

high efficiency gas furnace with two white pipes visible

Image Source: DreamsTime

  • Annual Inspection & Cleaning (if needed) Of The Furnace will determine if it’s operating correctly and safely.
  • Testing of exhaust-gasses will identify if the heat-exchanger is cracked.
  • Inspection of all components will identify if there are any that are nearing failure.  This allows replacement before the furnace quits.

 

Top Causes Of Furnace Circuit Board Failure

photo of furnace control board

Image Source: Pexels.com

There are numerous reasons why components fail.  Some failures are slow and graceful  This allows time to identify the failing component and replace it before it quits working.  Other failures are rapid and unexpected.

The Most Common Reasons Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) Like A Furnace Control Board Fail:

  • Age
  • Over or Under Voltage (power surges & sags)
  • Excessive Heat in the PCB’s immediate environment
  • Change in operating environment
  • Contamination
  • Exposure to Dust, Water, or Moisture
  • Corrosion:  Oxidation occurs when oxygen bonds with metal.  Since printed circuit boards are largely made of metal, they can easily corrode.
  • Chemical fumes: Fumes from certain chemicals are corrosive. If a PCB is in close proximity to these fumes (such as from some cleaning solutions) the fumes can contribute to corrosion. **

** SOURCE: https://rushpcb.com/rushblog/?p=961

SOURCE: https://www.lifewire.com/component-failures-818821

HVAC System Life & Corrosive Contaminants In Indoor Air

Furnace Control Board Failure Can Be Accelerated By Corrosive VOC’s Within Indoor Air

Many products, such as cleaning solutions, give off fumes known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s).  If the PCB is operating in close proximity to the fumes, they can contribute to corrosion of the circuit board.  We discuss this below.

The furnace control board is near the blower fan.  It’s subjected to enormous amounts of air each time the furnace cycles.  The furnace will move 1,000 Cubic Feet Of Air Per Minute (CFM) for a 2.5 ton a/c.  That size a/c cools an 1,800 to 2,000 square feet home.  The effects of contaminants within the air can be magnified due to the amount of air passing through the HVAC System.

Knowing corrosive VOC’s can damage a furnace control board, of much more concern is their heath impacts on your body.  We discuss VOC’s in detail below.  We also describe a solution to nearly rid your home of  VOC’s within indoor air.

Click Below For An EPA Article On VOC’s And Their Effects On Your Health:  EPA.gov Indoor Air Quality & Volatile Organic Compounds

 

Your First Thought May Be “There Are No Corrosive VOC Producing Products In My Home.” 

In Fact, There Are Likely Several!

photo of cleaning products

Many Cleaning Products Emit VOC’s During Use

 

  • VOC’s are airborne compounds emitted as gases. VOC’s are released from many commonly used household products and building materials
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) within indoor air can create a host of health issues.   The most common reactions to indoor air VOC’s are: irritation of eyes, nose, throat, and skin.  Also allergies, asthma, and related respiratory health symptoms can be magnified.
  • VOC’s Off-Gassing Occurs When New Items Release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) & Other Chemicals Into Surrounding Air.
  • Anything That Has A “New Smell” Is Off-Gassing VOC’s.  They Are The Source Of The Odor.
  • Example Of VOC’s Off-Gassing:  Some new vinyl shower curtains have a strong smell when you first hang them.  The smell is VOC’s releasing into the air.  As the shower curtain  ages, it continues to release VOC’s until they are gone.  Once the VOC’s are gone, the shower curtain no longer smells.  TIP:  Keep the door closed and run the bath vent fan until the odor is gone.  This may take several days.

Note: VOC’s Tests Are Available To Determine The Amount of VOC’s In Your Home’s Indoor Air.  Here is a link to one: HomeAirCheck.com  ***

*** We do not endorse any specific brand of VOC’s Tests, only because we don’t have first hand knowledge of all products available.

Some Of The Most Common Corrosive VOC Producing Products Are:

ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL  

Used In:

  • Drugstore type rubbing-alcohol for home use
  • Solvents
  • Cleaning fluid

STYRENE:

Used In:

  • Foam cups
  • Rigid plastic products such as cups, plates, trays, utensils
  • Packing peanuts

BENZENE 

Used in:

  • Detergents
  • Furniture wax
  • Inks
  • Glues
  • Paint, Lacquer & Varnish Removers
  • Paints & Paint Thinners
  • Gasoline

TOULENE

Used in:

  • Nail Polish
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Dry Cleaned Clothes
  • Shoe Polish
  • Thick Line Coloring Pens & Markers
  • Household Cleaners — Both Liquid & Aerosol
  • Floor Polish
  • Furniture Polish
  • Caulk & Sealants
  • Paints & Paint Thinners
  • Gasoline

SOURCE: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226524199_Corrosion_of_electrodeposited_copper_by_exposure_to_volatile_organic_compounds [accessed Feb 13 2018].

UV Lights Nearly Eliminate VOC’s & Many Other Indoor-Air Pollutants

photo of uv light

 

There Are 2 Types Of UV Lights For HVAC Systems

For The Indoor Cooling Coil (just above or inside the furnace and can’t be seen):  A “stick type” light is installed near the A/C Cooling Coil — to kill & prevent mold growth.

 

Click Here To See A UV Light Designed For A/C Cooling Coil:  UV Light For A/C Cooling Coil (evaporator coil)

Click Here To See An A/C Coil Covered With Black Mold:A/C Cooling Coil Covered With Black Mold.

The indoor cooling coil (inside the furnace or ductwork and not visible at a glance) is wet all summer, as it’s what removes humidity from the air.  This coil is located in the ductwork just above the furnace, or inside the furnace.  The HVAC Term for it is “evaporator” coil.

Over time, this coil will collect some dust from air moving through the furnace.  The combination of dust and water is all mold needs to establish and grow.

Al’s Sells & Installs

 The APCO MAG — UV Light For Indoor Cooling Coil

 

Whole House Air PurificationA UV Light System To Purify Moving Air.

Airborne Contaminants Can Be Divided Roughly Into Thirds

  • Particulates —  household dust or pollen.  These are removed by air filtration.
  • VOC’s & Odors — Odors generated by Volatile Organic Compounds, or biological odors (cooking odors).
  • Biological Contaminants — such as Mold & Germs.

Air Filtration Removes Particulates From The Air.  It cannot reduce or eliminate VOC’s. 

Air Filtration Can’t Reduce Odors (though carbon pre-filters may help absorb odors). 

The APCO UV Light System Purifies Air As It Passes By.  This Is Done With The Process Called Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO)

Photocatalytic Oxidation

PhotoCatalytic Oxidation (PCO) occurs when UV light rays shine upon a Titanium Oxide coated surface.   This process creates highly reactive electrons that aggressively combine with indoor-air contaminants such as; Volatile Organic Compounds, Bacteria, Mold & Fungus.  The PCO process disintegrates these indoor-air contaminants, leaving only harmless water vapor & carbon dioxide.

Odor Control

APCO cleanses the air by transforming odor-causing VOC’s into harmless water vapor & carbon dioxide.

The UV-C light in APCO works just as well at keeping AC coils clean as non-PCO products (when it can be located to do both jobs).  Mold clogs the indoor cooling-coil.  This shorten HVAC System lifspan + wastes energy.  UV-C light kills the mold and prevents new mold growth.

Germ-Killing 

For over a century scientists have known about the germ-killing properties of UV-C light. Because this frequency of light is filtered out by the Earth’s atmosphere, mo microorganisms have defenses against it.  It works by scrambling germs’ DNA, preventing germs from reproducing.

 

Al’s Sells & Installs The APCO UV Light Whole House Air Purifier.

Click Here To See An Apco Brand Furnace Light For Whole-House Purification: APCO Whole-House UV Light System

footer-logo

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in northeast Dallas, Richardson, and Garland.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.