All posts by Shawn L. Dowling

Owner of Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air in Loveland, CO.

hvac tips for home owners

furnace repair is expensive.  So here are some tips to help keep your expenses down and your furnace running efficient.

  1. Replace filters on your furnace often .  When it is running daily on cold days it is taking in all the dirty air and running through the blower motor.  Change the filter at least every 60 days or more often .  When you do remodels or any sort of home improvement the dust enters into the furnace and if the filter is not clean all this dust and dirt will pass into the motor and cause the furnace to shut down on high limit.  Not good.
  2. You should have your furnace and air conditioning inspected yearly. If not inspected your hvac system could shut down on the coldest winter day and you may be without heat for a long period of time .  We do a 15 point inspection.  We check gas pressure .  Amp draws.  We check for carbon monoxide.  We make sure the furnace is safe.  The average life span of a furnace is  10-15 years.  Inspections will help prolong the life of you hvac system .  Neglect shortens the life .   After that time we recommend replacing the furnace  due to part failure and parts wearing out.  The furnace also is not as efficient as it used to be when it was brand new . So an 80% efficient furnace installed 20 years ago is probably now about 50% efficient and is costing you alot more money on your gas bill .
  3. Senior man opening air conditioning filter in ceiling
  4. We recommend having your duct work cleaned every 5-10 years .  This depends on if you have pets and where you live.  If you do replace your furnace your duct work should be cleaned .  It will make the process of changing out the furnace a cleaner job .  Less dust blowing around.
  5. Replace batteries in your thermostat every year.  I recommend you do the battery change out when the time changes .  Programmable thermostats are great.  I recommend leaving the thermostat set at your favorite setting and leaving it. It is easier for the furnace to keep the house at the same temperature.  Instead of trying to bring the house to temperature on a cold day .  This causes alot of stress on the internal parts of the furnace .

Furnace replacement and repair

1)Replacing a furnace is a major expense.  Know the details about the furnace…. such as the quality of the product.  What the blower tonnage is.  Is it sized right for my home.  All these things are important to make your home more comfortable when it is heating or cooling your home .

Did you know that if your duct work is under sized you should really have at least a two speed furnace installed or a variable speed.  The blower will run at a lower speed on a warm day and make the house more comfortable .  Instead of turning on and off at one speed to blast heat into the home.

I have received some calls from homeowners who have installed their own furnaces.  Purchased them off the internet.  I would question if there was ever a problem with the furnace(fire) if insurance would pay a claim . This is something you should discuss with your agent and see if it is covered.  Sometimes it pays to have a licensed professional to change out your furnace or air conditioner due to  liability  .  Permits are required in alot of cities if you change out a furnace.  It also helps with selling the home .  Buyers like to have that guarantee that nothing is wrong with the installation.

amana_goodman_air_conditioner

Fire can catch anyone off guard .  Home fires are unexpected and move through the home fast.  Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor near every bedroom are a great idea.  Safety first. One exposed wire or improper installation of any gas fired appliance could become a huge mistake .

Guessing or practicing on your own furnace is probably not a good idea.

Hiring a licensed professional who has done the training is a better idea.  It may cost you some money….but isn’t it worth it for your peace of mind and your families safety?

Furnace inspections

It is important for furnace inspections every year.  The main reason is for you and your families safety.

An inspection involves at least 14 checks.

They check your gas pressure, temperature rise, clean flame sensor, check amp draws on the motors and igniters. The most important is they check for carbon monoxide.  This is an odorless gas that can leak out of the furnace heat exchanger when heating.  If it is left unrepaired the gas could make you sick or even kill you.

It is also important to change your furnace filter monthly.(one inch). Four or five inch filters need to be changed every 6 months .  Even if you have air conditioning.

Make sure to keep combustibles ,such as paint, away from the furnace .  Code requirements recommend thirty inches of clearance in front of the furnace and water heater .

Keeping you furnace running efficient is important and getting your car serviced.

 

FALL FURNACE MAINTENANCE

Fall is here and with that brings cooler weather. Is your furnace ready? When talking about furnace maintenance, standards and procedures vary from company to company. When having your furnace inspected annually by a certified technician, the checklist may include:

  • Vent system to be checked for blockage and/or leakage.
  • Combustion gases to be analyzed.
  • Blower access door to be checked to confirm a tight seal at the furnace.
  • Fresh air intake to be checked for blockage.
  • Heat exchanger to be inspected for corrosion or rust.
  • Burners to be checked for proper ignition.
  • Drainage system to be checked for blockage and/or leakage.
  • Blower wheel to be checked for debris and cleaned if needed.
  • Amp-draw test to be performed.
  • Wiring to be checked for corrosion and/or damage.
  • Static air pressure checks, gas pressure testing, and temperature rise checks to be performed.
  • Filters to be changed.  (This should be done by the homeowner more frequently than annually).

Not all HVAC companies or technicians perform all of the above services. When receiving a quote for the maintenance, ask what all the service includes. Furnace manufacturers all recommend annual inspections and maintenance by a qualified technician.  They also state in their warranties that damage to the units caused by improper maintenance is not covered under warranty.  This does not mean that an annual furnace check-up is required, but it is recommended to avoid the chance of voiding the warranty.

Condensing Combi -boiler

Navien offers a boiler system for your home that will heat your home and hot water with one unit.  It is the first high efficiency condensing combination boiler on the market. It is capable of heating your home while you are using your shower and dishwasher all at the same time!

It uses less space than the traditional boiler and a tank water heater .  Saves energy and you can have endless hot water .

Navien offers many solutions in the boiler market.  Visit their website for more information or call Ace Hi @ 970-667-0300  for more information.

navieninc.com

 

AIR CONDITIONING FILTER

Many homeowners overlook the importance of air filters. They are continuously fighting to keep contaminants out of the air your breathe. So if you don’t have a really good filter, or one that is old, dirty, and isn’t functioning efficiently, you’ll be breathing air that is full of allergens. When shopping for an air filter, look for its MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The experts at Ace Hi Plumbing in Loveland recommend a rating that is at least eight, which is able to trap very small particles and keep them from your home.

Once you have an efficient filter, the next step is to check and replace them regularly. Filters should be replaced at least every three month, or even sooner (we recommend every two months) if they look dirty. Consider shopping for electrostatic filters, which can be cleaned and reused, or HEPA filters, which can remove up to 99.97 percent of contaminants.

SCHEDULE AN AIR CONDITIONING MAINTENANCE APPOINTMENT

Having a professional HVAC company inspect and clean your air conditioning unit is never a bad idea. They know exactly what to look for and the best methods of cleaning it.

Ace Hi Plumbing serves Loveland and the greater Front Range area with expert air conditioning maintenance, installation, and more. Whether you need a new system or just want it inspected and cleaned, after we leave your home (in the same condition as when we entered it, of course), you can be confident you’re breathing allergy-free air.

R22 Refigerant Phase Out – Environmental Impact

What does the R-22 Refrigerant Phase out mean for your Hvac system?

The current phase of of R-22 Refrigerant in residential and commercial properties leaves home and business owners with unanswered questions. As R-22 (Freon) is gradually phased out, alternative refrigerants are being introduced. One of these substitutes is R-410A, also known as Puron, a blend of hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs) that does not contribute to depletion of the ozone layer.

HCFC Phase out

Service to current HVAC systems

Production of new air conditioning units charged with R-22 ended in 2010, and by 2020, the servicing of R-22 based systems will rely solely on recycled or reclaimed refrigerants.

If your air conditioner was manufactured before 2010, it probably utilizes R-22. The good news is existing units using R-22 can continue to be serviced with R-22 as there is no EPA requirement for change or conversion of these units.

More than likely, your heating and cooling units will have sufficient R-22, unless a leak occurs. Since production is limited, costs to charge existing units leaking R-22 refrigerant have gone up and are expected to rise. We urge our customers to take the necessary steps to protect yourself from the rising cost of refrigerant. The best thing you can do properly maintain your unit to prevent leaks. You can do so by participating in routine tune-ups in the spring and fall. Remember, routine maintenance is far less expensive than emergency repairs.

Retrofits and Converting units

Retrofit units, converted R-22 units utilize a substitute refrigerant, are allowed if the alternative has been found acceptable for that type of use. Substitute refrigerant can work well in R-22 units with a few changes to system components. For example, simply replacing R-22 refrigerant with R-410A in a preexisting R-22 unit is not recommended due to its higher worker pressure. However, a certified professional can replace R-22 condensers with R-410A condensers, as long as the system coil is also updated. This provides consistency in the refrigerant  cycle, as one coil cannot be replaced without the other, and allows the retrofit to get you by for several more years.

The EPA warns of potential safety hazards related to the use of unapproved refrigerants in home air conditioning systems as they are not designed to handle flammable refrigerants.

Impact on the environment

Properly installed home comfort systems rarely develop major refrigerant leaks, and with proper servicing, a system using R-22, R-410A, or another refrigerant will reduce its impact on the environment. Remember to always select a reputable dealer to handle refrigerants.

Refrigerant R-22 is used in a number of refrigeration and air conditioning systems. R-22 is the halocarbon compound named monochlorodifluoromethane with chemical formula CHCIF2 and it is the hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). R-22 is one of the most popular refrigerant used in cooling system, but unfortunately, the halocarbons (chlorine and fluorine) present in these compounds have the potential to cause depletion of the ozone layer in the atmosphere leading to greenhouse effect. The ozone layer destroying potential of R-22, which is HCFC is much lesser than the other chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), still in the long-term they do have detrimental effects on the atmosphere.

The depletion of ozone layer from the upper layers of atmosphere results in ultraviolet rays of the sun to reach the surface of the earth. This leads to high temperature on the earth and the ultraviolet ray themselves are very harmful to the skin of humans. To avoid the long-term dangers of the R-22 and other CFCs, it has been decided to phase out the use and production of R-22 completely along with other CFC refrigerants.

ozone depletion

New units

A important thing a homeowner can do for the environment is to purchase a highly energy efficient system. Today’s air conditioners use much less energy, provide cost savings in maintenance an electric costs, and offer a green alternative to R-22 units. Rebates and tax credits also help to offset the cost of new systems.

The best time to switch is before your hit by the high costs of repairing a refrigerant system. Take into account the age of your current unit (as a general rule, systems should be older than 10 years) look for the energy star label to save up to 40 percent on utility bills and consider the minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) specification.

montreal protocol imagechlorine vs oxygen