Barron Heating AC Electrical & Plumbing Blog: Archive for the ‘Furnace’ Category

6 Tips to Keep Your Wallet Happy This Winter

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Don’t let your winter heating costs get you down


Sure, in the short walk from your heated car to your heated office the cold winter air may be refreshing, but I’m sure there are few among us who don’t appreciate the comfort of a well-heated house at the end of the day. I’ll also bet there are few among us whose energy bills don’t see some kind of spike in these winter months either. That part’s not so comforting.

But before you scramble to take up residence someplace more tropical, we’ve put together 6 tips to help keep your house warm and wallet happy this winter.

1. Go smart (with a smart/programmable thermostat)

Automatically control the temperature of your house when you’re working, sleeping, or otherwise occupied with a programmable thermostat, and you can save from 5 to 20% on your heating bill. No need to worry about remembering to turn your heat down when you leave the house–programmable thermostats take the hassle out of heating.

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Does Your HVAC System Suffer From High Blood Pressure?

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Your furnace, heat pump or air conditioner is the heart of your comfort system.


It’s often said that your furnace, heat pump or air conditioner is the heart of your comfort system. Following the analogy further, your air ducts are its veins & arteries.

And just like high blood pressure is bad for your heart, high “duct static pressure” is bad for your heating and cooling system, your comfort – and your wallet.

When you go to the doctor for a check-up, common practice is for the doctor or nurse to measure your blood pressure. Our service technicians now have the instruments and training to do the same for your ducts when we do the seasonal tune-up, or a home and duct performance assessment.

We’ve been doing this for a while now, and the results are often eye-opening. The heating and cooling equivalent to 80 over 120 is “half an inch” of water column pressure for most systems. When we test the duct pressure, we now routinely find pressures significantly higher than this –often over double!

Why does this matter?

Higher Utility Bills: High pressures in the ducts leads to lower airflow. Lower airflow means lower efficiency. Lower efficiency means higher monthly utility bills.

Comfort: Lower airflow leads to poor distribution of conditioned air throughout the home, contributing to hot and cold spots, or the system not keeping up on the hottest or coldest days.

Noise: High static pressure is often a clue as to why a system is excessively noisy – the same repairs to reduce static pressure usually decrease noise as well.

Repairs: Low airflow causes furnaces to overheat internally, and air conditioners and heat pumps to not function smoothly. Many common expensive repairs – or premature total failure – are directly attributable to low airflow.

The good news is that identifying high static pressure allows us to prescribe the right medicine to make your system and your home happier! Each system is different – but most common airflow improvements are fairly simple and economical. And best of all, they pay for themselves through more efficient operation and lower utility bills.

Next time your HVAC contractor visits your home, ask your technician to take the time to check your ducts static pressure and explain the results. If you are having any comfort, dust or high utility bill issues, give a home performance trained contractor a call and they’ll explain your options for home & duct performance assessments.

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Heating Emergency or Scheduled Upgrade – 5 Things to Expect from Your HVAC Comapny

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014


Recently my Facebook feed has been full of posts beginning “We woke up to a 50 degree (or thereabouts) house! What a time to be left in the lurch!” Murphy’s law says that many families will experience heating problems on the coldest days of the year. However unfair this may seem, I’ve found myself commenting that not all HVAC companies are created equal! Here are a few things to look for and a few services I’ve come to expect (It’s okay to expect the best!):

  1. 24/7 Emergency Service
    Any time of the day or night, the service crew should be ready to help. A large number of trained technicians on staff is key, so your wait time is minimized. One motto: “Your emergency is our emergency,” is a comforting idea when your family is cold and time is of the essence! And just in case you’re in the midst of one such emergency, Here’s a heating company who happens to fit all the criteria in this blog post.
  2. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    There’s not much more to say about this one, except that this is a rare thing for a company to commit to, and those who have are elevated to a separate level of business in my mind. It makes me think of other stand-outs like Costco, Nordstrom, and REI, who have similar policies. I feel so confident buying from these places, because if something goes wrong: They will fix it. Period. Customer satisfaction is THE core of everything they do.
  3. Building Performance Certified
    These nationally certified staff are trained to take the health, efficiency, and comfort of the entire home into account. Only one local company has much of their team go through this rigorous training and testing to earn their titles as BPI Certified Professionals. BPI is the Building Performance Institute. They “develop standards for energy efficiency retrofit work using an open, transparent, consensus-based process built on sound building science….and quality assurance services that help raise the bar in home performance contracting.” Read more about BPI, and check out their Guide for Homeowners on how it all works and how to find the best contractor for your needs.
  4. Lifetime Guarantee and 1 Year Warranty
    Although these might sound like oxy-morons, they actually apply to different areas of the HVAC experience. The Lifetime guarantee refers to the Workmanship on installed ductwork, sheet metal, and piping. The 1 year warranty (for parts and labor) is in addition to any manufacturer warranties. The company should come out after the first year of use (free of charge) to make sure everything is working as it was when the equipment was installed. YES, this can happen with the right company. These safety nets and guarantees are some of the best and most comprehensive in the industry.
  5. Official Designations from the Manufacturer
    Look for certifications. Some heating companies will have their awards, designations, certifications, etc., on their website. These matter. One example: Carrier has a very selective process to designate Factory Authorized Dealers. They use these criteria: the job is done Expertly, Efficiently, Professionally, Right Technically, with the Right Parts, and Right for the Environment. Not all companies meet these standards. Just one more safety net to look for!

I hope explaining these 5 areas of service has given you insight on your search for a new heating system, repair, or upgrade. Now, if you or your neighbor are cold, you know what to do!

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Have you changed your furnace filter?

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

No matter what type of furnace you have, it’s important to remember to change or clean the filter on a regular basis. This is a relatively straightforward process and doesn’t require any professional help. However, if you’re not sure how to go about doing it, you can always have your heating technician demonstrate the process for you on their next regular maintenance visit.Indeed, changing or cleaning out the furnace filter is an important part of regular furnace maintenance. However, it often needs to be done more than once a year. The specific amount of time that you can go between filter changes depends on many things, but typically it’s good to check on it once every three months or so.

If you have a lot of pets or if anyone in your family has severe allergies, it may be worth it to check and change the filter even more often. Check with the manufacturer to see what their recommendations are as well. Some high performance furnace filters can last up to six months or even a year, but you should still check on the filter periodically to make sure that too much hasn’t built up on it in between replacements or cleanings.

You’ll need to make sure you have the right type of filter to install as a replacement as well. You can get this information from the owner’s manual of your furnace, from the manufacturer or by taking out and examining the current filter in your furnace. Some furnaces also have filters that are meant to be cleaned and then put back in and the cleaning instructions are usually located near the filter itself.

Of course, in order to change your filter you’ll first have to be able to find it. Most of the time, the filter will be located near the blower towards the bottom of the furnace. However, if you’re not having much luck finding it, your owner’s manual should be able to tell you quickly where it is and how to remove it. Before you go to open the chamber and take the filter out, however, be sure you’ve turned off the power to the furnace.

Changing your furnace filter can help improve the air quality in your home and it is also very important when it comes to keeping your furnace running efficiently and effectively. The filters are there to trap airborne particles that can get into the blower and clog it up. When that happens, the performance of your furnace will likely drop and you’ll need to have a professional come out and complete the necessary repairs.

Posted by Wes Diskin

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