Chances are, you don’t give much thought to the system that warms your home in the winter and cools your home in the summer.
And why should you? You leave it to the experts to take care of it for you; meanwhile, you focus on more important things in your life—like family, work, etc. As long as everything runs normally, you shouldn’t have to give it a second thought; just sit back and enjoy the temperature and air flow as everything works as it should in the background.
But what happens if it doesn’t work as it should?
With winter here, you don’t want to get cold or uncomfortable as you discover it doesn’t work. And if there’s an emergency, you want to be able to act fast to deal with it.
So, here are some tips to help you be “HVAC aware” this month… to give your HVAC system a little bit of love so it will continue to keep you and your family comfortable.
Tip #1. Let’s start with the word HVAC itself: It stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, and it’s the name given to the entire system that heats and cools your home. It often includes your furnace, your air conditioning unit, as well as the ductwork that runs through your walls.
Tip #2. Find out what kind of heating system you have. Is it electric? Propane? Natural gas? (Note: even systems that run on oil and natural gas may also be plugged in to your home’s electrical system.) You should also know the brand, the year it was installed, and the company that installed it. Keep this information on the HVAC system but also keep it handy in a drawer somewhere else so that you can make a quick call to that company if you ever need more information in a hurry.
Tip #3. Find out how to turn your furnace and air conditioner off and on, including any switches ON the system itself as well as how to turn it on and off at your circuit panel. If there’s ever a fire, you’ll want to be able to turn off your HVAC system at the circuit panel if you can’t get to the system itself.
Tip #4. If your system is fed from a municipal supply (such as natural gas), learn where those pipes are and if there is a place to turn off the supply. If there’s ever a leak, know how to turn it off fast.
Tip #5. Look for exhaust pipes. Depending on your system, your HVAC system might use a chimney or an exhaust pipe. Keep these free from blockages. For example, make sure that leaves or snow don’t block up the exhaust pipe, and make sure that small animals don’t get into your chimney.
Tip #6. Even though you can’t see most of the ductwork, you can see the vents! Know where they are and see which vents blow OUT warm (or cool) air, and which vents take in air to circulate it back to the system. Keep an eye on these vents and keep them free from being blocked by furniture.
Tip #7. Know where the filters are. Different systems use filters in different ways. Those filters help to remove particles from the air that you would otherwise breathe. Clean those filters regularly and replace them regularly too.
Tip #8. Use all your senses to monitor your HVAC system. If it starts to sound unusual or smell unusual, take action right away. Turn it off and call an expert HVAC company and get their help.
Your HVAC system is an important system in your home and it works 24/7 to keep your family safe and comfortable. But if it suddenly stops working the way you want, your March can very quickly go from warm and cozy to cold! Use these tips to be HVAC Aware this month and throughout the year.
We know that keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter is important to you and your family. After all, you can’t live your best life when you’re too hot or too cold. That’s why we work hard to make sure you have everything you need to keep your home running just the way you like it.
Some people like to call us in, as professionals, to do everything when it comes to their HVAC system. Others like to do some of the work themselves. Either way works for us, as long as you take care to do the right things at the right times of year to care for your home. Here are some of our favorite tips.
Clean Your Coils
Before you turn your A/C on each year, take the cover off and clean your coils. These can get covered and/or filled up with dust and other debris. When this happens, your unit has to work extra hard to cool the air that it pulls in, which means that your motor can die earlier than expected. You can usually spray off the buildup with a hose, or even take your vacuum on a gentle setting to make sure you get all the dust out.
Replace Your Air Filter
In many Colorado homes, this is located in the furnace, though the exact location will depend on the details of your particular system. Make sure you take the old filter out before you go to buy more. That way, you can match it at the hardware store to be sure you purchase the right one. Once you’re home, follow the directions on the package to get it installed correctly. You should do this once a month during seasons where you’re using your furnace or A/C every day, to make sure that dust and allergens stay out of your home.
Inspect Your Unit Visually
Before you turn on either your furnace or your A/C, take a few minutes to inspect the unit visually. Make sure you can’t see any loose wiring, uninsulated wires, water where water should not be, or broken/bent fan blades. All of these can hinder the functioning of your HVAC system, and may cause it to stop working entirely. If you see a problem, assess whether you can fix it. If you can, get on that. Otherwise, call in a professional to keep your system running well.
As always, feel free to give us a call if you get in over your head or you feel like your system needs some extra help. We’ll find a convenient time for one of our friendly, experienced technicians to come take a look at your system. He or she will assess your system’s functioning, your family’s needs, and your current unit. Once our tech has all the data, he or she will go over your options with you. We’ll always let you know what is cheapest, what is best, and what we would do if we were making the decision for one of our own families.
We know that you count on your air conditioner all summer long. After all, it gets hot here, and you need to stay cool to function well and enjoy those warm days.
Did you know that a tune up can help keep your A/C running efficiently all summer long? You might think it’s a waste of your time and energy, but a simple tune up can help you avoid problems and troubleshoot issues before they cause your air conditioner to stop working altogether. Since we know you don’t want that, here are a few signs that it’s time to give us a call and get a tech to tune up your A/C.
1. It’s been more than a year since the last tune up.
Air conditioners should be tuned up at least once a year. If you can’t remember the last time a technician looked at yours, or you know when it was and it was quite some time ago, it’s probably time for a tune up now. Your tech will take a look at the unit and let you know if there’s anything that’s not working quite right. He’ll also perform regular cleaning and maintenance, so your unit will run strong all summer long.
2. Your A/C never turns off.
Ideally, an air conditioner will run for a while, turn off when your home reaches the desired temperature, then turn back on again later, when things warm up again. If your unit is running all the time, or doesn’t stay off very long, then it isn’t running as well as it should. Give us a call, and we’ll come figure out what has gone wrong. It’s quite possible that some simple, routine maintenance will get things going again soon.
3. Your A/C blows lukewarm air.
Maybe the air your unit blows starts out really cold, only to get warmer and warmer the longer the unit runs. Or maybe it starts out lukewarm and stays that way. Either way, a unit that isn’t blowing really cold, all the time, needs some love and care from a technician. Our techs will come out, perform the required maintenance and cleaning, and see if that takes care of the problem. Many times, all you need is a clean filter or a cleaner unit to make your air colder again.
4. Your A/C is more than 10 years old.
While being older in and of itself doesn’t mean that your unit needs a tune up, it does mean that it could benefit more from regular tune ups than newer units could. Since older units usually aren’t running as efficiently as newer ones do, cleaning them up and making sure everything is up to the manufacturer’s standards can help them cool your home better. It can also help them last longer, both by minimizing wear and tear and by catching problems before they become catastrophic.
When you’re ready to have your A/C tuned up, give us a call. We’ll come out at a convenient time, take a look at your unit, perform any required maintenance, and let you know what we find. We hope to see you soon!