Advice From the Pros

Heating Tune Up

Keep your Furnace Maintained!

furnace maintenance

We just had our first cold front of the fall therefore, the phone has been ringing non-stop with broken furnaces. We thought this would be a good time to remind everyone about our furnace maintenance and what all it entails. Proactive furnace maintenance is the best way to make sure you will be warm inside when the cold hits outside. Below are the items we inspect and clean when you have us out for a heating maintenance:

Inspect Air Filters

One of the keys to keeping your heating system in working order is by making sure the air filter has no problems passing air through it. A dirty air filter means your system has to work twice as hard to pull air, therefore, putting strain on the blower motor and other major heating components.

Inspect heating operation

We will inspect all of the integral parts of your heating system to make sure your home will stay warm this Winter.

Carbon Monoxide Testing

Carbon monoxide is a dangerous and odorless gas that can harm or even kill without warning. You should always have a professional ensure that any carbon monoxide is being sent outdoors and not collecting in your home. Having carbon monoxide detectors in your home is also a good idea! 

Check Heat Exchangers

How does carbon monoxide leak into your home? The most common cause is a broken heat exchanger. A heat exchanger is what creates the heat in most modern heating systems. It is a series of metal tubes that get hot when natural gas is forced through them, the air from your house blows over the hot tubes and this heats your home. If there’s a problem in your heat exchanger, then your home will not reach the desired temperature, or may take twice as long to get there! 

Clean or Replace Sensors

All heating systems rely on sensors to function properly, once one is broken or burned-out, it must be replaced by an HVAC professional. Gas-fired heaters use flame sensors to regulate the heat that is being put out by the heater. Just the slightest bit of build up can cause it to shut down or misfire.

Inspect electrical components

We ensure that all wires and fuses are connected properly, because blown fuses can occur with any voltage spike, or lightning strike. They protect the power surge from reaching the vital electrical components inside your heating system!

Inspect belts

If your system is struggling to keep your house warm, then there’s a good chance that your belts are stretched. A new set of belts could get it back to running like new!

Check Refrigerant levels for heat pump units

A new shot of refrigerant can give your heat pump the boost it needs to run more efficiently!

Check amp draws on electric heaters

If your electric heater is drawing too much or too little amperage, as a result, it will not function properly. We can come in and make sure everything is ready to go make sure you spend your night in comfort!

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HVAC Contractor

Tips for Hiring the Right HVAC Contractor

hvac contractor

Sooner or later we are all faced with replacing our air conditioner or furnace. As much as don’t want to believe it, our AC and heating systems are not built to last a lifetime. This is a big decision that will affect your comfort for years to come. You want to make sure the AC company you are hiring is fair priced, competent, and can follow-up with any HVAC needs you may need down the road. When you are hot or cold, price and time are of the essence, but doing your research and making sure you have the best HVAC contractor for the job is paramount.

Ask your friends and family for recommendations.

First of all, you will be surprised how many people close to you have an AC company that they highly recommend. Unfortunately, some may have nightmare stories of companies that you should avoid. After you talk to your friends and family, look up those companies to get a feel for who they are

Check online reviews. 

Online reviews are another great resource. They don’t tell the whole story, but from a broad perspective you can get a good look at the way they treat their customers. Visit sites like Facebook, Google Reviews, and Nextdoor to read up on what their customers have said about them and, consequently, what they have done to solve any problems that have popped up.

Ask Questions.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! A good AC contractor will be happy answer anything you need to know. Some good questions are: How long have you been in business? What brand of equipment do you sell and what are your warranties? How long will the install take? Did you see anything else in the attic that I should be concerned about?

Get your estimate in writing.

Sometimes it is an honest mistake, but getting everything writing helps eliminate mistakes later. 

Make sure your AC contractor is licensed and insured.

You want to make sure the AC company you are about to hire knows what they are doing, therefore, has the proper insurance to cover you if something does go wrong. 

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heating system

What Type of Heating System Do You Have?

What type of heating system do I have?

The heat of Texas Summer is over – mostly!! Fall weather is late but it is upon us again and Winter is just around the corner.  Many homeowners call us with heating issues and aren’t sure what kind of heating system they have. Below are the common types of heating systems in Texas that you will find in your home and how to identify them.

Gas Furnace:

Gas furnaces run of of natural gas piped into you home. A gas furnace is the most common, and in our opinion, the best form of heating equipment in the DFW area. Gas furnaces are less expensive to run because natural gas has been historically cheaper to buy than electricity.  Natural gas futures also show that it will be an affordable fuel supply for many years to come. Another option in some areas is to retrofit a natural gas furnace to burn propane gas. Unfortunately, if your home doesn’t have gas service, then this heating option is not available to you. To see if you have a gas furnace, go into the attic or closet where your indoor AC / Heat unit is located. A gas furnace will have two visible components:

  1. A thick metal flue vent that is 4″ or more in diameter
  2. A rigid, 1/2″ gas line running into the heating unit.

Electric Heat:

Electric heater systems are coils that are installed inside of air handlers that run off of electricity only. This heating method can be expensive to operate if you have a high heating demand. An electric heating unit can be identified a couple of ways:

  1. Look at your breaker panel and find the breaker labeled “heat”, an electric heating system will have one large breaker (100amp) or two medium sized breakers (30 amp or 60amp).
  2. Look at your indoor heating / AC unit – the absence of the 4″ flue vent or rigid gas line described for the gas furnace is another clue that you have an electric heater.

If you have electric heat don’t feel like you are destined to pay heating bills forever. Fortunately, you can pair electric heat with a Heat Pump unit that we will talk about next to keep the winter bills down.

Heat Pump:

The concept of a heat pump is something that can confuse customers if they haven’t worked with one before. Here is why: A heat pump creates heat by running your air conditioner in the winter time. How is that possible? A heat pump has the ability to reverse the cycle of refrigerant so that it makes hot air in the winter and cold air in the summer. Heat pumps run off of electricity also, but have the advantage of using less energy than most electric heat systems.

Heat pumps are designed for moderate climates like DFW, so they have trouble keeping up when the temperature dips below freezing. Because of this, heat pumps are usually paired with “emergency” heat systems to keep you warm in the extreme cold. Since heat pumps look like regular air conditioners, they are difficult to identify by the untrained eye. One way to check is to look at your thermostat. Go through the COOL/HEAT/OFF settings. If you come across a setting that says EM HEAT or AUX HEAT, odds are that you have heat pump.

So if you aren’t sure what is heating your home, take the information you learned today and go take a look to see what you have. Keep in mind that heating equipment is dangerous and easily burn or electrocute anyone who isn’t trained and being cautious. Always rely on an expert for your heating maintenance and repair needs.

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