What every homeowner should know about their heater

Every year, people fall victim to carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a heaters’ combustion byproducts silently entering the home instead of going out the chimney. The silent enemy is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. The tragedy? In most cases, early detection and regular maintenance could have prevented the problem. It often boils down to whether or not you have a bad heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is the metal passage the heater’s combustion products pass through, separating the flame’s harmful gases from the indoor air being heated. 

In fact, 1 out of every 10 heaters over 15 years old, where annual maintenance has been neglected, will probably have a breached heat exchanger and potentially dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning. The odds increase as the equipment ages. 

Even though most heaters don’t have a problem, you can’t afford to guess. If you truly have a cracked or failed heat exchanger it is serious, and in some cases, can be fatal. This is why your heater should be regularly maintained and have the heat exchanger inspected annually- especially if you’re not absolutely sure of its condition. Unfortunately, this is where trusting homeowners can also be misled into replacing their heater, without accurately verifying their heater even has a real problem. Knowing up front what a bad heat exchanger is, and how to verify this problem may someday save you from unnecessary expense and grief. 

Here are the top questions we get, and what you need to know about bad heat exchangers:

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 1. How long will my heater last? 

 First, it is important to know that every heater, no matter what the age, can become unsafe – but the average life of a heater is about 10 – 15 years. If a heat exchanger has cracks and holes, it can be dangerous. Many are surprised to find out some heat exchangers that Wighton’s has inspected over the years contain cracks and holes — even those that were installed within the last ten years.

2.  What causes a heat exchanger to fail? 

Homes now retain more humidity and airborne pollutants, which cause longer life-spans and more productive cycles of microbial activity within the home, such as mold, germs, bacteria and viruses.

 3. Is there a foolproof way to verify a heater is still good?

 The only true way to know for sure if your heat exchanger is cracked is to visually see the crack. This can be accomplished by either removing the blower housing or cutting an access into the ductwork on the top of the heater and then inserting a light into the burner area where the flame usually is. If the heat exchanger is cracked, you will see light shining through the cracked heat exchanger. 

If you don’t feel confident checking your own heat exchanger, the surest & safest way to know if you have a breached heat exchanger and potentially dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning is to hire a professional. A reputable company will always personally show you the crack or hole, so there is no doubt in your mind about their integrity or honesty. Mr. Schorer of Wighton’s Heating and Air Conditioning agrees that people should always be cautious when this diagnosis is given because the repair or replacement can be quite an investment. Your heater should be regularly maintained and your heat exchanger should be inspected annually — especially if you’re not absolutely sure of its condition. 


 Wighton’s goal is to keep you and your family healthy! We encourage you to have your Heating, Air Conditioning & Indoor Air Quality checked by one of our professional technicians.

What you should know about Indoor Air Quality

Since the onset of COVID-19, we’ve all been hearing a lot about the importance of indoor air quality. One of the top ways to improve your indoor air quality is through Ultraviolet (UV) Lighting, Filtration, and clean ductwork (your environment’s indoor air distribution system). At Wighton’s Heating & Air Conditioning, we’ve been helping homes & businesses improve their indoor air quality for over 60 years. Since we’re all spending more time indoors, and working to prevent the spread of airborne viruses, we’ve put together this report to help you learn more about improving your indoor air quality.

The truth about indoor air quality…

Your Home CAN Make You Sick:

There are many cities throughout the world that have become grossly polluted – but most people don’t think about the pollution that can be occurring right inside their home, no matter WHERE you live! Your health can be severely affected by particulates and biological matter that you may be breathing…without even knowing it. Here are 2 things you need to be aware of when checking your home’s air system:

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It’s in the AIR You Breathe!

1. Critters:

Dirt, mold, bugs, mites, and other “stuff” are all living in your duct system. The peskiest are Dust Mites. For creatures you can’t even see, dust mites can stir up a lot of trouble. About 20 million Americans are allergic to these little bugs. You may feel as if you have an endless cold or even asthma.

2. Mold (Bacteria):

Homes now retain more humidity and airborne pollutants, which cause longer life-spans and more productive cycles of microbial activity within the home, such as mold, germs, bacteria and viruses.

5 Ways to Clean the Indoor Air in your Home or Office

1) Clean or replace your ducts:

The ductwork in your home or office distributes all of the air for your indoor environment.According to the largest flexible duct manufacturer in the United States, all flexible ductwork manufactured prior to 2009 is inferior to today’s flexible ductwork in both strength and insulation value. Nothing is cleaner than brand new ductwork. Daily, Wighton’s Champion Technicians measure high static pressures in undersized ductwork and find many improperly sealed duct joints. Our technicians also find duct layouts that were designed & installed improperly. As a result, the system will perform extremely inefficiently, pull dirty air from the attic or basement areas of your home, and will not deliver the comfort you expect from your heating and air conditioning system. Contact Wighton’s to find out if your home (or office!) would benefit from duct cleaning or duct replacement.

2) Install a UV Light Air Scrubber:

Wighton’s has found the most successful way to eliminate airborne mold spores, viruses, bacteria, and the accumulation of mold on AC coil surfaces is with Ultraviolet (U.V.) germicidal lights; originally designed by the US Navy for maintaining the air quality in submerged submarines and currently used by NASA. For most people, the original motivation for installing U.V. germicidal lights is to abate indoor air quality complaints and / or allergies. However, they are also pleased to learn that many airborne viruses & bacteria are also eliminated with U.V. technology. An Ultraviolet Light Air Scrubber mounted in your supply ductwork kills nearly 100% of airborne viruses & bacteria!

3) Install a High-Efficient Air Filter Cabinet:

Most heating and cooling systems still use a basic air filter in the return air grille or inside the furnace. These filters were designed to protect the equipment and not the people served by the equipment. However, there are several types of filter cabinets available in various efficiencies that can help you filter the air you breathe in your home by removing airborne particulates. If you suffer from allergies, asthma, hay fever or other breathing difficulties, there is a high efficiency filter cabinet than can help you. Wighton’s can even provide you with the same type of air
filter used in hospital surgery rooms.

4) Indoor Moisture Management:

Excess moisture can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Exhaust ventilation, humidification and de-humidification are all ways to help manage the indoor moisture of your home or office.

5) Consider the Outside Air:

Most often, the outdoor air on the Central Coast is in the top tier of air quality in the nation. Bringing that outdoor air into our homes can work miracles on our health! Fresh air ventilators, Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV), and for Commercial HVAC / ducting systems are all great options.


Wighton’s goal is to keep you and your family healthy! We encourage you to have your indoor air quality checked by one of our professional technicians.

The Top 6 Secrets You Need to Know Before Buying Solar

 1. Your Savings With Solar Are Changing

 The current program, NEM 2.0, allows Central Coast solar owners to sell excess energy back to PG&E. That extra energy is then used to offset your total electric bill, saving you money. If you don’t own a solar energy system yet, you should secure your install sooner, rather than later!

 2. Your Home Value Can Increase

 Installing solar panels can significantly increase your home’s market value. The average increase of resale value for a home with a solar energy system equals $4,020 for each 1kW of panels installed. In California, a 3.1 kW solar panel energy system has the potential of adding an average of $12,462 over the price of comparative homes in a middle-class neighborhood.

 3. Battery Updates And How They Affect You

 Backup batteries can store excess solar power so you can use it when your system isn’t producing energy. While Tesla Powerwall shipments are delayed due to semiconductor shortages, A.M. Sun Solar is working to ensure new and retrofit solar customers have access to other backup battery options. Learn more about Enphase storage by connecting with us today!

 4. You Have Plenty Of Financing Options

 Whether you’re buying your solar energy system with cash, through a loan, a Solar Energy PPA/Lease, or through a PACE Loan, our financing options are very flexible. We strive for creative financing solutions that make sense for you, so you can start saving money right away.

 5. The Solar Tax Credit Has Been Extended!

 If you’re in the market for getting solar, you’ve most likely heard about the federal tax credit, otherwise known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This tax credit grants homeowners and businesses a tax deduction equal to 26% of the total cost of a solar energy system through the end of 2023. 

 6. You Can Estimate Your Solar Savings

 With A.M. Sun Solar, you can estimate your solar savings in seconds. We use satellite technology to analyze your roof and also get to understand what your current energy bill looks like. To estimate the amount of money you could be saving with solar, scan the QR code below! 


Your Local Solar Experts

To learn more on saving money with solar, connect with A.M. Sun Solar today at amsunsolar.com or call (805) 772-6786.