Advice From the Pros

Getting The Most Out of Your Furnace

As the weather outside continues to get colder, you can be sure that your furnace, along with the rest of your heating system, will have to work harder to ensure you’re comfortable in your home. To be certain that your home will be kept warm, it’s a good idea to do some basic maintenance on your furnace. If any adjustments need to be made to your furnace, or any major work, we recommend you go with a pro. Before you get started, be sure to disable the fuel supply and electrical power. Be sure you know how to do so before tackling this project. After you have completed the following steps, turn the fuel line and electricity back on. Always check user guides for further instruction.

    1. Examine fiberglass filters once a month regardless if the weather is hot or cold.
      • Pleated filters can last up to three months.
      • Permanent filters should be washed monthly.
      • Electronic air-cleaner filters should be cleaned every other month.
    2. Make sure the pilot light is burning. Some units will have to be lit by hand, if it does go out. Always follow guidelines for relighting a pilot light. These can often be found on the access door.
    3. Inspect the blower and vacuum for any dust or debris. Check the filter every 30 days or so, and replace as needed. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow, and cause the unit to work harder than it needs to.
    4. Lubricate the blower motor.
    5. Check the burner for corrosion.
    6. Ensure flue is venting properly, and inspect for any dents or gaps.
    7. Clean the air registers around your house by vacuuming all the dust up.

Take a little extra time to go through these steps, and you should be a able to get a little more life out of your furnace. If you are have any issues beyond basic maintenance, or if you would rather a pro take care of the steps above, you can always call us at 817-488-6733. We take your comfort personal.

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Keeping Your Heating Bill in Check

Keeping Your Heating Bill in Check

The cold weather has arrived, even though we’re sure to have some warm days this winter – this is Texas after all! We had our first freeze here in the DFW area a few weeks ago, so you’ve probably already used your heater at least a few times this season. Most of us probably are used to a higher bill in the summer than the winter. However, as it gets colder that electric bill can still be a bit daunting. So, let’s take a look at some things that will help make that bill more bearable.

Be sure your furnace is up to par. Each year you should have it inspected to be sure that it’s running properly. The money you save by having an efficient heater will outweigh the cost of a typical tune up.

Let the Heat In. Open up those curtains or blinds on a sunny day, and let the solar heat help warm your home. Plus, it’s a good way to fight off any winter-time blues. .

Don’t Let the Heat Out. Check those windows and doors for any cold air coming in. If there’s cold air coming in, then there’s warm air going out. One way to check this is by holding a candle near the seals of your windows. If the flame flickers, you know you have likely found a problem area. You can buy some inexpensive caulking to fill those leaks. If you have this issue in any of your doorways, then weatherstripping will usually resolve that issue.

Use a programmable thermostat. Like the furnace inspection, a programmable thermostat won’t take long to pay for itself. This allows you to determine what temperature your home will be at what time. The less work your heater has to do the more money you will save, but you don’t have to sacrifice your comfort. A few degrees can go a long way. Set your thermostat for about 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re out of the house, and around that same temperature while you’re sleeping (adjust for comfort). Of course, you can manually adjust a non-programmable thermostat, it just requires a little more attention.

Dress for the weather. Put on some warm, comfy clothes and enjoy some hot chocolate, coffee, or tea. You don’t have to break out your parka, but again, a few degrees can make a big difference in the cost to heat your home.
We hope these tips help you make your heating bill more manageable each month. If not, it may be time to give us a call at 817-488-6733. Stay warm and comfortable this holiday season.

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residential hvac maintenance

5 Common HVAC Terms Simplified

residential hvac maintenance

5 Common HVAC Terms Simplified

Tell me if this has ever happened to you; You’ve hired an ac service company to do a service call to tell you what is going on with your ac unit and as the service technician is using their “trade terms” you slowly start to go into hypnosis. I know this happens to me at the auto mechanic, and don’t feel bad if it happens to you, because air conditioning is something most people on think about when it isn’t working. Below are some simplified explanations for common AC terms that get people stumped.

1) SEER – Think of SEER in air conditioning just like you think of miles per gallon(MPG) on a car. It is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it all boils down to you air conditioning efficiency. The higher the SEER, the lower your energy use will be. And unlike cars, the higher the SEER, the higher the price.

2) Tonnage(Ton) – If SEER equals gas mileage, then Tonnage equals the size of your car. Capacity is what we are talking about here. Tons can also be broken down into BTUs and there are 12,000 BTUs in each ton. Air conditioners are measured in tonnages of 1-5, with ½ sizes usually available as well. A properly sized air conditioning system is important for your comfort, and bigger isn’t always better. You don’t need an 18-Wheeler to deliver a pizza.

3) R-22 vs R-410 Refrigerant – R-22 has been the most commonly used refrigerant in residential air conditioning for a very long time. The EPA has started to limit the amount of R-22 refrigerant that is produced in the United States each year until it is completely phased out. The reason for this phase out is that R-22 contains CFCs and is damaging to the atmosphere when released into the air. Consequently, R-22 prices have sky rocketed, and replacement parts configured for R-22 are becoming harder to come by as well. All of this is driving prices up and moving people towards the new and greener replacement refrigerant, R-410a. R-410a is a great product, but it has many different properties that make it incompatible with existing R-22 air conditioners. If you want R-410a, you will at least have to replace your outdoor air conditioner and most likely your indoor unit as well. New air conditioning systems can be configured for several environmentally friendly refrigerants, but R-410 is the industry standard today.

4) Heatpump – Think of your typical outdoor air conditioning unit: it only runs when the AC is on. A heatpump looks and behaves just the same, but can reverse the process and will heat your house by running in the winter time. You still need a backup heat source in the indoor section of your central air system, but the heatpump can carry a lot of the load at relatively low energy level. A gas furnace has shown to be the most cost effective way to heat your house for many years, but if you don’t have gas available at your house, a heatpump is another option to consider. 

5) CFM – This term refers the amount or volume of air that the indoor section of your air conditioning system can move in a minute or Cubic Feet per Minute. CFM can also be measured at individual outlets or grilles. CFM is important because if not done correctly, too much or too little CFM can make you uncomfortable. Ever been sitting beneath a vent when the air conditioning comes on and it blows your hair back? That would be too much CFM for that grille. A situation with too little CFM could be if you had a room that never cools in summer or heats in winter.

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