Tag Archives: Combustion Air Infiltration

Avoid Frozen Pipes! – The Importance of Heat Tape – ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR

Before the cold season, you should do a yearly pre-season inspection to ensure that your heat tapes are plugged into a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet and that the outlet has power to it. You can also have a switch installed inside the home to turn on the heat tapes as necessary if you don’t already. Insulating your pipes is necessary but it is not always enough when the temperatures stay cold for days at a time, therefore, installing quality heat tape can be a lifesaver when water lines are exposed to freezing temperatures. If you have ever experienced frozen or broken waterlines, you know what a good idea it is to be prepared.

Types of Heat Tape

There are a few different types of heat tape that can be used on water lines. Knowing what options are available will help you make the best decision when winterizing your home plumbing.

  • Self regulating heating cable: This type of heat tape can be cut to any length for a custom fit. Quite a few brands make this relatively new type of heat cable that automatically varies its heat output with changes in the surrounding temperatures. Often this type of heat tape can even be overlapped safely (check the manufacturer’s instructions) and there is no temperature control required. You can buy self regulating heat cable by the roll and sometimes even by the foot in some hardware or home improvement stores. A connection kit with an end plug and outlet are required for this type of heat tape.
  • Non regulating heating cable: This type of heat tape is regulated by a thermostat. It can be purchased by the foot or in a roll as well. The heating cable can be custom fit to your application because it can be cut to any size that is needed and the ends are then added to the length of cable. This type of heat tape will require a connection kit with an end plug and outlet as well as a thermostat to regulate the temperature.
  • Heated water hoses: These are great for anyone who needs to use water hoses in the winter. Heated water hoses come in many lengths and they are made by many manufactures. Having a heated water hose means you can have reliable running water in freezing temperatures. Heated hoses have wires that are embedded into the hose wall. When they are plugged in the wires heat the hose all the way through to the end. These hoses will shut off automatically in warm weather to save on electricity and prevent overheating.
  • Automatic electric heat cable kits: Heat tape kits are now smarter than ever and probably come in just about any length you might need in an already pre-terminated complete package with a power indicator light at the plug. Most of these units come with a built in thermostat that will turn on and off saving electricity because it only heats when the temperature is cold enough. Installing the new complete package heat tape is quick and easy.

Mobile Home Skirting

The main reason behind the importance of mobile home skirting is that it can save you money on things like utilities and it can protect your home from environmental elements like flooding, provide support for the mobile home itself, and add insulation and protection from rodents, animals and pests which often use this space as a shelter. The effects of climatic factors can also be held responsible for the cracks and ruptures in flooring and the elements placed below your mobile home. Skirting can efficiently help to reduce ruptures and cracks thereby protecting your home.

Various Types of Skirting

There are many different types of mobile home skirting that exist, leaving you with a vast array of options. Some important factors you should also consider include what exactly you want to do with it including aesthetics vs saving money on heating and cooling, or both. Also, what type of budget you’re working with.

  • Vinyl is one of the most popular choices because it’s easily the cheapest one for mobile home owners. it is easy to install, flexible, very washable and durable. Although, compared to other materials, vinyl is quite flimsy and if you have any case of extreme weather or various animals getting under your mobile home, investing your money into something more durable or stronger would be wise.
  • Galvanized metal and aluminum are both economic and also come in an array of styles and color, with natural metal seen as beneficial, since it can help insulate your home with light-reflecting capabilities.
  • Concrete and stone are the least popular considering it is very costly and extremely hard to work with due to its lack of flexibility, since mobile homes tend to shift a lot, leaving holes and cracks. In general, when dealing with heavy material, you’ll have to understand that they usually do require things like ventilation and sometimes professional installation.
  • Brick is probably the best option in terms of aesthetic and attractiveness. However, brick is expensive and requires masonry equipment and mortar, so you might want to hire a professional to do this for you. It is also very reliable in extreme conditions.

Combustion Air Infiltration & Carbon Monoxide Problems – ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING, & AIR


When a structure has a properly designed combustion air inlet system, the furnace enclosure has two dedicated vents communicating with the outside air, eliminating the need to obtain combustion inlet air from or through the living space. Residences with a non-dedicated combustion air inlet systems are the homes that are at risk. As a result of modernization, these homes may have worked fine since they were built, but can develop problems. This includes new high-efficiency window, weather stripping, and general sealing of the structure.. Anything that disturbs the pressure in the space can affect the operation of the furnace. The filtration rate may be diminished if a house is tied up for energy conservation. The house pressure drops as the furnace draws combustion air from the space and eventually the house pressure can drop enough to reduce the combustion air inlet pressure to a point that the flue will quit drafting.

Other things that can reduce combustion inlet air pressure can include the furnace blower return air drawing from the furnace enclosure, which should always be well sealed. Ductwork supply leaks can cause pressure in the structure, and the house pressure will drop, if the duct system pulls more air out of the house than it returns due to supply leaks. Closing the doors to rooms that have no dedicated return air grille can aggravate supply duct leaks. Exhaust fans drawing on the house can also reduce combustion inlet air pressure. This includes clothes dryers, bathroom fans, whole-house fans, range hoods, other gas appliances, and fireplaces. And finally, customers sometimes block furnace door vents to reduce noise, but whether a blockage of a furnace enclosure vent is intentional or unintentional, this can also cause the reduction of combustion inlet air pressure.


Combustion creates Carbon Monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly. CO produced by the combustion in your furnace is exhausted up to the chimney and out of your home. However, a furnace that is out of adjustment can leave CO in your home. You should install a Carbon Monoxide detector in your furnace room to help protect yourself and others from CO poisoning. It is also recommended to install detectors on every level of your home, especially in sleeping areas. If the detector indicates any build up of Carbon Monoxide at any time, immediately have your furnace professionally inspected.

A professional tune up every few years is a good investment and will help to keep your furnace running efficiently. Consider having annual tune ups and maintenance done on any oil-fired furnace, since they can quickly generate dangerous soot deposits and CO if not properly cleaned and adjusted. The professionals are the people who have the skills and equipment to ensure that any parts that may degrade over time are still functioning properly in your furnace.

Combustion Air

Effects of Insufficient Combustion Air on Draft and Heating Systems

Might sound like rocket science but no worries. For the correct operations and venting of gas and oil heating appliances, a good amount of outside fresh clean air must be supplied to the structure to make up for the air loss from venting heating appliances, fireplaces, dryers, fans and other air losses. Insufficient combustion air can cause major or even catastrophic problems for proper draft and operation of both gas and oil heating systems. For years it has been assumed that when a heating appliance was located in an unconfined area, there was sufficient air for both ventilation and combustion. Today, in most cases that is not at all true! With new construction, standards for building insulation and energy efficient windows and doors have reduced the amount of air changes per hour. The combustion and make up air requirements in the codes are based on 1/2 air changes per hour. For newer homes and conversion of electrically heated homes, the air changes could be reduced to 1/3 or less on the coldest days when heat loss is the greatest and there is a chance that windows or doors are closed for an extended period of time. When installing new equipment or troubleshooting problem equipment, the first determination that needs to be made is whether the equipment is located in a confined or unconfined space. According to the NFPA 31 and NFPA 54, an unconfined space is any space whose volume is equal to or greater than 50 cubic feet per 1,000 BTU.

This is calculated on the sum of the total input ratings of all fuel burning appliances installed in that space. Only areas connected to the space that have no doors or with fully louvered doors can be considered part of the unconfined space. If the actual free are of the louvers is not known, wood louvers are assumed to have a 20% to 25% free opening. Metal louvers or grills are assumed to have 60% to 70% free opening. According to NFPA 31 and NFPA 54, an Engineered system such as a CAS-3, 4, 4Jr., 6 or 7 may be used to overcome a confined space.