Category Archives: Home Improvements

HVAC zoning resurrected

A comment posted under one of my older posts reminded me that it can be a good idea to resurrect and finish my HVAC zoning project I shelved some time ago. Main cause I did so was that I couldn’t get dz compiled. I didn’t have time to mess with it any longer then, but I decided to give it a try this time. It turned out that over last two years Ubuntu project went forward so much that this time dz compiled successfully the very first time I tried. So right now I have a spider web construction on my desk consisting of two 1-wire temp sensors and two servos run by phidget boards. And they work. Servos are opening and closing according to changes in the temperature of my office. They have no influence as they aren’t running registers yet, but they proved to work. Now it’s time to run wires around the house and motorize registers.

Stay tuned.

Rheem furnace repair

Last fall while replacing our water heater the technician made a quick look and said that our furnace is going to need some attention in the near future because of cracked igniter. It was still working then but he said it may need replacement any time. Of course I didn’t think about it much then but, as Mr. Murphy says, things always go wrong when you least expect them. So our furnace decided to start dying when we needed to reheat our house after last week ice storm power blackout. This time I didn’t wait long and ordered needed parts from Arnold Service. As quick as small business can be – they were sent immediately and arrived in two days.

Below you can see “before” state – flame sensor on the left and igniter on the right.

before-flame-sensor.jpg   before-igniter.jpg

It’s not that hard to see that igniter is not looking ok, although it’s much harder to recognize that flame sensor is not good either – it’s loose and not always correctly sensing flame which results in unnecessary furnace cycling.

The hole operation was quick and easy. First I replaced the flame sensor – disconnect one cable and unbolt one screw (both visible on above photo). When I took it out I could see that the ceramic holder is cracked and the sensor’s rod is free to move about 60 degrees resulting in incorrect readings.

pict3773.JPG   pict3776.JPG

A little harder task was waiting for me in with the igniter – first I had to disconnect the odd plastic connector, then two bolts.


After that I had to transfer metal bracket to the new one and carefully place it there without cracking the new one hitting other parts of furnace. It took me… well 30 seconds?

Below new and old one together and the new one installed in the furnace.

pict3779.JPG   pict3780.JPG

Some additional cleaning and our furnace works like new.

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HVAC disaster

We finally moved in to our new house. After couple of days spent on cleaning, unpacking and making ourselves comfortable we figured out one thing – the HVAC system is just a disaster.

First – the thermostat is in the worst place in the house. Simply first test shows that while the thermostats shows 1 degree differences, the actual temperature it that room floats more than 2 degrees in each direction.

Second – all registers are broken – none of them shuts completely and none of them works smooth

Third – the A/C unit and fan are probably undersized (I still have to make measurements) – it needs to work for more than 1h to cool down the room by 1 degree.

A lot of work is waiting but it only makes me more motivated to quickly finish that project.

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