Talking About Furnace Maintenance and Repairs

How Regular Maintenance Can Help You Save On AC Repairs

Most homeowners have heard that they need to have an HVAC technician check out their cooling system before the start of warm weather season each year. However, if you’re like most people, paying for a service call when your system seems to be working fine might seem like an unnecessary expense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Making sure to schedule that annual cooling system maintenance call can not only help make sure that your system keeps you cool and comfortable all season, but can even save you money in the long run. Ways your annual AC service call can save you money During the service call, the technician will check all of the moving parts and make sure that they are well lubricated. He or she will also clean the system and remove all of the dust and dirt that naturally collects in most units. Lastly, the technician will check on the power source to the system and make sure that the condenser has enough air circulating around the outside unit to work efficiently. 1. Help prevent expensive repairs. Catching a potential problem early is almost always less expensive to fix than when you wait until it causes the system to malfunction or shut down completely. 2. Reduce your monthly electric bills. One of the chief advantages to having your cooling system cleaned thoroughly each season is to help reduce your monthly cooling bills. A dust-filled system will generally use more energy, since it has to push conditioned air through all of that dirt and grime. 3. Help extend the life of your cooling system. A dirt-clogged system is also one of the major causes of cooling system failure. When the motor on your system has to work harder, it shortens its lifespan, forcing you to replace your system sooner than you may have liked. 4. Make sure that you and your family stay cool all summer. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, a well-maintained cooling system will insure that your system keep you and your household cool land comfortable during those sultry, humid days of summer. While that annual AC service call may seem like a luxury you can do without, having your local air conditioning and heating repair technician check out your system at the beginning of the warm weather season can help prevent expensive repairs later in the season, help your system to last longer and […]

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Air Conditioning Refrigerant Issues: How To Tell If You Need More Refrigerant, How To Fill It And What Costs To Expect

Most homeowners typically assume that any refrigerant in a central air conditioner is endless. Actually, it is not. Depending on the make, model, size and age of your central air unit, the refrigerant could last a couple years or it might last ten summers. It may also dissipate faster if you live in a state where it is fairly hot and uncomfortable all year round. The following helpful hints will alert you to when you need more refrigerant in your air conditioner, how to fill it, and what costs to expect. How to Tell If You Need More Refrigerant If, one summer, your central air conditioner is doing great, but the next summer you switch it on you suddenly have lukewarm air, the refrigerant may be quite low. This is especially true if you have never had any maintenance performed on your unit, and you have been living in the same house for many years now. If the air exiting your vents also wavers between breezy-cool and no cool at all, this is also a sign that the refrigerant is very low and struggling to do what you expect it to do. How to Fill It Refrigerant problems are only diagnosed by an HVAC contractor specialist. Additionally, only an HVAC contractor/specialist can fill the refrigerant because it is a very dangerous gas that can cause severe injuries to your skin and eyes if accidentally mishandled. Once your contractor diagnoses the problem with the refrigerant, he or she can then fill the low or empty refrigerant coils so that your air conditioning can keep running and you will not need any air conditioning repairs for a little while. What Costs to Expect When You Have Your Air Conditioner’s Refrigerant Refilled Usually, there is a cost for the contractor to just come to the house for an inspection. Then there might be a diagnostic fee, which varies from under fifty dollars to over one hundred dollars, depending on where you live and the type of central A/C unit you have. Finally, there is the cost of the refrigerant. Freon is the refrigerant of choice, since the EPA has all but banned many other refrigerant options for air conditioners. The price for this refrigerant is inconsistent, given a multitude of factors, but usually it costs anywhere from sixty dollars a pound to close to one hundred dollars a pound, and given that most […]

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Clean The Opening To Each Duct That Is Connected To Your Home’s Central Air Conditioning System

If dust is blowing out from the vents in your home’s flooring each time that you turn on your central air conditioning system, the quality of the air inside your home may be diminished and it may take longer for your home’s interior to cool down. Clean the opening to each duct by completing the following steps. Afterwards, the air system may work more efficiently. Materials screwdriver bucket of warm soapy water handheld scrub brush water hose towel disposable gloves vacuum cleaner with hose attachment flashlight industrial strength cleaner lint-free cloths Clean The Vent Covers Turn off the central air conditioning system. Use a screwdriver to loosen and remove the screws from each vent cover. Place the dirty covers in a bucket of warm, soapy water. Use a handheld scrub brush to remove debris from both sides of each cover. Take the covers outside and rinse them off with a steady stream of water to eliminate any soapy residue or dust that remains on each one. Set the covers on top of a towel so that they can air dry. Remove Dust From Each Duct’s Opening And Eliminate Stains Put on a pair of rubber gloves. Insert the end of a vacuum cleaner hose as far as you can into the opening of one of the ducts. Shine a flashlight inside of the duct to help you locate any areas that are covered with dirt. Suck up loose debris while moving the hose around the interior of the duct’s opening. Once you have removed as much dust as possible in this manner, spray some industrial strength cleaner on a lint-free cloth. Wipe the cloth over the interior walls of the duct’s opening to remove any dirty residue or surface stains. Use a cloth that has been dampened with plain water to remove any of the cleaning solution that remains on the interior walls. Dry the interior with another cloth. Clean the openings to the remaining ducts by completing the same steps.  Secure The Vent Covers And Turn On The System Line up a covers over each duct opening and insert screws in all of them before tightening them. Turn on the power to the central air conditioning system and adjust the thermostat to one that you prefer. If cool air is emitted through each opening and you do not see any dust particles coming out from them, the cleaning steps […]

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Furnace Flame Burning , But The Heat Isn’t Turning

Are you in the odd predicament of having a furnace that has a pilot light that is clearly lit, but your heat will not activate when you initiate the thermostat? If so, you are likely concerned about whether or not a safety hazard is preventing you from operating your firnace or if another potion of the heating system is malfunctioned. Perhaps you furnace is showing signs that it is trying to come on, but it simply makes the sound and does not fully turn on. The following are examples of some things that could be causing your furnace not to come on. Pilot Light and Thermocouple Issues If you lit the pilot light yourself, it is possible that you did not perform the necessary step to ensure that the thermocouple and pilot light are “communicating” correctly. For example, some furnaces have a safety feature that involves depressing the pilot button for a set amount of time after lighting the pilot. Keeping the button pressed makes the pilot light warm the thermocouple, and this makes the components of the furnace “know” that it is safe to light the burner and make heat. If you have done the steps correctly, it is possible that the thermocouple has malfunctioned and needs to be replaced. Broken thermocouples cannot sense that the pilot light is lit, and therefore, heat cannot be initiated until the thermocouple is replaced.  Gas Pressure Issue If the thermocouple of your furnace is not receiving adequate gas pressure, then it will not initiate heat. The amount of gas needed to cause the furnace to turn on will vary due to size and other factors. This is a situation that will require professional analysis, but it may not involve a labor intensive repair. For example, a contractor might be able to fix a low gas pressure issue by adjusting the gas valve. If the issue occurs more than once or if it appears the pressure issue is valve replaced, the contractor might recommend replacing the current gas valve.  Faulty Ignition Board This is a portion of the furnace that could be considered the brain of the unit. It “tells” the furnace what other parts of the furnace are “doing.” When there are ignition board issues, the furnace will not know when it is safe to ignite. Replacing the malfunctioned board can get the unit back working properly.  An HVAC contractor is the best […]

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Can A Heat Pump Water Heater Save You Money?

If you’re like many families, having a ready supply of hot water — enough to allow multiple consecutive showers or the ability to shower and do a load of laundry or dishes simultaneously — helps keep the household humming along smoothly. However, the cost of keeping 50, 80, or more gallons of water heated to a consistently high temperature can cause your energy bills to skyrocket over time. Are there any energy-efficient ways to heat water in your home without compromising its temperature or supply? Read on to learn more about heat pump water heaters, as well as some other ways you can help reduce the amount of energy your water heater consumes. Are heat pump water heaters more efficient than standard electric or gas water heaters? While heat pump water heaters still maintain a constant supply of heated water, they’re more than twice as efficient as other water heaters due to the way they generate heat. Instead of using propane, an electric conductor, or natural gas to heat the water tank from the outside, heat pump water heaters remove heat from the air in the room and use this heat to warm the water supply. This efficient method of energy generation can help you cut the amount of electricity your water heater consumes by half to two-thirds — and because water heaters make up around 18 percent of the average utility bill (or even more if your current heater is inefficient), this simple switch can help cut your energy bills by more than 10 percent. What are your other efficient water heating options?  Heat pump water heaters won’t work for every home — in order for the pump to be able to gather the heat needed to generate hot water, the interior temperature of the room (or closet) in which this heater is installed has to be between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll also need at least 1,000 cubic feet of space around the heater to ensure a sufficient air supply. If a heat pump water heater isn’t a good fit for your lifestyle or home setup, you may want to look into a tankless or on demand water heater. Rather than keep a large amount of water constantly heated, these water heaters spring into action only when you turn on the tap. Most tankless water heaters are equipped to handle multiple demands on the hot water supply at […]

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Cold Weather Is On Its Way: 2 Ways To Prevent Heater Break-Downs

Winter is just around the corner and with it comes the cold weather. Before it gets too cold, you want to make sure your heater is working properly. If your heater has not been properly maintained, it could break down during the cold weather. Unfortunately, furnace repair technicians tend to get booked quickly during the winter. If that happens, you might have to wait a while before you can get your heater repaired. One way to prevent winter breakdowns is to inspect and service your heater before you turn it on the first time. Here are some easy-to-follow instructions that will help you avoid those cold-weather break-downs. Clean the Burners Dirt and dust can build up around the burners in your heating unit. That build-up can cause malfunctions and can reduce the air flow through your home. Here’s a quick way to clean the burners on your heater. Supplies You’ll Need Vacuum Hose extension Dust mask Clean paint brush Directions Put the dust mask on to keep dirt out of your nose and lungs. Carefully remove the front panel from your heating unit. Place the hose extension on your vacuum. Turn your vacuum on and clean the front on the furnace. Place the hose extension on the end of your vacuum nozzle. Use the hose extension to remove the dust from behind the furnace. Use your paint brush to brush away the dust that’s hiding in the grooves near the fan blades. Inspect the Fan Belts Your heating unit contains several different fan belts. Over time, the belts can wear out, get weak and break. While you have the front panel off the heater for cleaning, take a few minutes to inspect each of the heater belts. Look for cracks, breaks and areas along the edges that might be fraying. You’ll also need to check the tension on each belt. Place your index finger on each belt and press down firmly. Belts with proper tension should not move down more than the width of your finger. If the belts show signs of damage, or have decreased tension, you’ll need to replace them as soon as possible. You depend on your heater during the winter months. Unexpected break-downs can leave you in the cold until the heating repair technician can get out to your house. Before the cold weather sets in, use these simple instructions to help avoid emergency heater repairs. […]

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It’s Time to Change Your Air Conditioner’s Filter

As all the hot weather wraps up for the year, and you switch from using your air conditioning system to using your heating system, now is the perfect time to change out the filter on your air conditioner. That way, when the first hot day sneaks around next year, you won’t have to worry about changing your filter because you already took care of it! Changing out your filter at the end of the hot weather season is one of the best and easiest ways to take care of your air conditioning unit. Locate the Filter Compartment The first thing you need to do is find the filter compartment on your furnace. Generally, the filter compartment is labeled. It is also generally covered up with a sheet of metal that you can slide back and forth. If you can’t find the filter compartment, consult your owner’s manual. Once you find the filter compartment, remove the sheet of metal that is in front of it. Then, look at the sides of the filter that is already in place to determine what size replacement filter you need to purchase. Then, slide the metal sheet back into place until you purchase a replacement filter. Purchase a Replacement Filter Using the measurements you wrote down, purchase a replacement filter. If you live somewhere that is really warm and dusty, you may want to purchase a high-efficiency filter that is capable of capturing tiny dust particles and keeping them out of the air in your home. If anyone in your house suffers specifically from allergies, you may want to purchase a HEPA filter. These filters are specifically designed to kill bacteria that can trigger allergies. They also are great at keeping even the tiniest particles out of your house. Replace the Old Filter Once you have purchased a new filter, go back to your furnace and remove the metal sheet. Before you pull out the old filter, pay attention to the air flow marks. You’ll want the new filter to go in the same way the old filter was. If it helps, you can take a marker and mark the correct side that should face forward on your new filter before you pull the old filter out. The filter should be easy to remove if you just grab on it and pull. Then, take the new filter and slide it into place. Make doubly sure that […]

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Poor Airflow In The Home? Improve It Temporarily With This Helpful Tip

Even if there’s nothing wrong with your air conditioner, your home can still feel stuffy if it has poor airflow. Poor airflow develops when your home builds up with too much dust and other contaminants. These contaminants travel to each room in your home through your air conditioning system’s air ducts, which eventually break down from strain. Here’s what you need to know about your home’s airflow and how to solve your problem temporarily.     How Can Your Air Ducts Stifle the Airflow in the Home? Your air conditioning system depends on the air ducts in your attic and basement to circulate fresh air throughout the home. Sometimes, the ducts break free of the air vents connected to them in the ceiling or flooring. Instead of circulating cool clean air to your living quarters, the ducts seep the air into the hot basement or attic.  The air that does manage to circulate through your compromised air ducts picks up dust, pet dander and other debris and takes them back to your air conditioner. Over time, the evaporator coil inside your air conditioner clogs up and stops performing well. The indoor environment feels hot, humid and uncomfortable.  You can repair the loose air ducts temporarily with silver duct tape. How Do You Reposition and Seal Your Air Ducts? Metal foil tape is one of the best materials you can use for duct sealing. The tape is wide enough to cover small to medium sized holes, as well as strong enough to secure your ducts to their vents.  First, examine the air ducts in your attic and basement. Do you see small holes on the surfaces of the ducts or large tears? If there are small openings on the ducts, repair them with the tape.  But if the ducts have large, gaping tears or damages, contact an HVAC contractor (such as That Service Company) for services. Air ducts that have extensive damages may not perform well no matter what you do during your DIY repairs. Next, run your fingers along the sides of the ducts. If your fingers slip under the ducts, or if the ducts lift up or move, you need to reattach them with the tape. Realign the edges of the air ducts with the edges of the air vents before you apply tape. You want to keep as much air flowing inside duct system as possible.  Gently press the two […]

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Is Your AC Causing Your Circuit Breaker To Trip? Why It Happens And How To Deal With It

Is your air conditioner tripping your circuit breaker?  This might happen as soon as you turn on the air conditioner, or after having it run for a while. In addition to the air conditioner turning off when the break is tripped, other things that are plugged in will go off as well. There are many reasons this can happen. Once Every So Often, Or Frequently Does your AC trip the breaker occasionally? Or is it a frequent occurrence? If it occurs once, or every so often, then you can probably pinpoint the exact reason. Maybe you’re running another appliance that you don’t run regularly. Maybe you plugged in something new while the air conditioner was already running. These kinds of issues have less to do with your AC and more to do with your own home wiring and electrical capacities. There are three reasons a breaker will trip. Overloaded circuitry (more current than the circuit can handle) Electrical shorting (touching wires or broken/damaged wires) Grounding fault (wire touching ground wire or touching metal connected to ground wire) If you trip a breaker when you turn on your air conditioner, then there are HVAC related reasons for the breaker tripping. If the circuit breaker trips more frequently, then you should not reset it. The breaker represents a warning that something is wrong. If it trips, and then trips again right after you reset it, then leave it off. Continuing to reset can cause damage to the breaker, blow the fuse, or cause other damage. What Can Cause Your AC to Trip a Breaker? An AC can trip a breaker if it’s overheating. When your AC overheats, it can shut off. If it doesn’t, then it will draw in more electricity to operate at hotter temperatures. When it starts eating those extra amps, the circuit breaker will trip to prevent damage. But what’s causing your AC to heat up? There are several factors that could contribute to the problem: Dirty air filters Low refrigerant Damaged wiring Faulty compressor Dirty condenser coils There are also things that can happen with other internal components of your AC that can lead to it tripping the breaker. Occasionally, the fault may lie with the circuit breaker itself. A few of these things you can check out yourself, but you have to show care. For one, when investigating, you should leave the breaker switch tripped. Don’t turn […]

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Erratic Gas Furnace Pilot & Getting It Repaired

Has the pilot in your gas furnace suddenly starting going out a lot and interfering with the efficiency of heat in your home? Problems with the pilot can mean that it is time for you to get a new furnace, but you may only need to get a part repaired. Find out why a furnace pilot goes out, as well as how a heating contractor can get the problem fixed. What Causes a Furnace Pilot to Keep Going Out? The only way for a gas furnace pilot to ignite is via a part that is called the burner. The burner will not work unless the gas valve is functioning as it should. The gas valve releases gas into the burner so it can assist with igniting a flame, which is what comes out of the pilot. It is possible that the burner is rusty, dirty, or broken and causing the pilot to function in an erratic way. It is also possible that something is stuck on the pilot hole that is causing it to function erratically. For instance, dirt can get trapped in the hole and prevent the flame from coming out. The pilot can also become rusty and need a replacement before it will work right. If you have been experiencing a tripping circuit breaker that you constantly have to turn back on, it is possibly associated with the furnace. Your furnace will not work without electricity, although it is gas. There could be a short in the wiring to the furnace that is causing the circuit break to trip as a safety precaution. How Can an Erratic Furnace Pilot Be Repaired? A contractor can inspect the electrical cord to the furnace to make sure it is not damaged. Shorts in the cord will require that a new one is installed. The circuit breaker to the furnace can also be the root of the problem, so the contractor will have to inspect it. It may be necessary for the electrical panel to be repaired or replaced. If the burner or pilot is rusty, they will have to be replaced. If they have an accumulation of dirt on them, the contractor should be able to remove it to fix the problem. It is probably a good idea to get a new gas furnace if there are multiple things wrong with the one you have. Hire a heating contractor to inspect […]

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