Is Your Furnace Worth Repairing?

With the average furnace costing thousands of dollars once you factor in parts and installation, most homeowners consider it a costly investment. It makes sense to hold on to your heating system in that light for as long as possible. At some point, however, the downsides of keeping your current furnace will eventually outweigh the benefits.

While your HVAC specialist can quickly tell you when to cut your losses, a quick self-assessment will help you decide between a furnace repair and a complete replacement. Ask yourself the questions below if you’re at a crossroads regarding your furnace’s future.

Are Your Furnace Problems Minor or Major?

The severity of your furnace’s problems can easily tip the scales toward either repair or replacement. However, simple issues like a faulty thermostat or a clogged condensate drain often require little effort or investment. You can even take the DIY route to fix minor problems like clogged air filters and vents at little to no cost.

However, when faced with a significant furnace problem, the time, effort, and repair cost can sometimes exceed the cost and effort of a new heating system, even when you add labor and other miscellaneous expenses. If the repair cost exceeds a third of the price of a new furnace, you’re better off replacing it.

Furnace problems that take a long time to fix or require extensive changes can make a complete replacement more worthwhile. However, some issues, such as a cracked heat exchanger, offer no choice except to replace the furnace.

How Long Have You Had Your Furnace?

Today’s furnaces are robust enough to offer 20 to 30 years of reliable service. However, most manufacturers recommend turning an eye toward replacement at the 15-year mark. Continual wear and tear over a decade or more of kindness can make any furnace feel its age, which increases the frequency of repairs.

Consider the following if you have trouble deciding whether a repair or replacement is a good idea for your existing furnace:

  • If your furnace is brand-new and already needs repair, consider replacing it under warranty, as it may have defects that affect its operation.
  • Don’t worry about replacement if your furnace is just a few years old. Your heating system has plenty of years of faithful service ahead of it.
  • If your furnace is over 15 years old but only needs the occasional repair, consider your replacement options and make plans if repairs increase in frequency.
  • If your furnace is over 15 years old and suffers from constant issues, prepare for a complete replacement.

Care and upkeep also affect a furnace’s long-term health and influence your decision to repair or replace it. Regardless of age, a well-maintained furnace won’t need as many repairs as a neglected system.

How Many Repairs Has It Had So Far?

Occasional repairs and quick preventative fixes are a fact of life for most furnaces. What’s unusual, however, is to keep your furnace on life support via frequent repairs. Unfortunately, funneling time and money to keep your current furnace in service quickly turns into a game of diminishing returns, with each repair offering less benefit and a shorter lease on life for your furnace.

Not only do the financial costs add up to nurse your furnace along steadily, but you also have to consider the personal cost. Instead of dreading the following breakdown or scrambling to cover yet another repair bill, you’ll rest more comfortably and have greater peace of mind with a brand-new furnace.

Is Your Furnace Right for Your Home?

Recent improvements can leave your furnace out of step with your home’s changing heating needs. New additions, such as an extra room or an enlarged ceiling, can add additional strain to your existing furnace, resulting in more wear, higher energy consumption, and shorter service life. Complete remodeling can change so many aspects of your home that a new system becomes necessary.

Changing technology can also make your existing furnace outdated. Recent advances, including variable speed motors and modulating gas valves, help modern furnaces use less energy while maximizing heat output. Although you can retrofit these features on some existing furnaces, only a brand-new unit will thoroughly and efficiently use the new tech.

If your furnace was oversized or undersized from the start, now is the time to choose the right-sized replacement. Modern methods like Manual J load calculation let HVAC specialists select and install furnaces based on precision on square footage, insulation levels, and other home data.

Whether you choose repairs or a complete furnace replacement, the experts at Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air are ready to help. Let us tackle your Central Valley home’s furnace repairs or help you choose the right upgrades to keep your home cozy. Contact us today if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

Not around here? Well, check out the 5-star Denver heating services our friends offer at Brothers Plumbing Heating Electric!

What Makes High-Efficiency Condensing Furnaces So Energy Efficient?

Suppose you’re serious about saving energy but don’t want to sacrifice indoor comfort. In that case, high-efficiency condensing furnaces offer a significant upgrade path. Condensing furnaces regularly achieve high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings, with some at 98 percent or more. The average conventional furnace is typically rated at an AFUE of 80 percent.

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to condensing furnaces and the impressive efficiency they offer. The following provides an in-depth look at the components that make the condensing furnace tick and how they save energy.

Electronic Ignition

Many older furnaces rely on a conventional pilot light for the startup. Pilot lights must always remain on, meaning your furnace constantly consumes a small amount of fuel to keep the pilot lit. This fuel usage can increase over months, resulting in higher long-term utility costs.

Condensing furnaces do away with pilot lights in favor of electronic ignition. In addition to eliminating wasted fuel, electronic ignition systems offer better reliability than standing pilot systems.

Modulating Burner Gas Valve

Burner gas valves are another area where the condensing furnace stands out from its traditional brethren. The average conventional furnace uses a burner gas valve with two states: on and off. This means that single-stage burner gas valves operate at 100 percent when activated. Unfortunately, single-stage burner gas valves are impractical when moderating the burner flame for improved energy efficiency.

Some furnaces get around the inefficiency of single-stage burner gas valves by offering dual-stage versions instead. Dual-stage burner gas valves provide high and low settings via electronic controls. These controls give dual-stage burner gas valves greater flexibility than their single-stage counterparts.

Modulating burner gas valves offer an even greater range of condensing furnaces. In addition, these gas valves can increase or decrease their output in single-percent increments. Such fine-tuned control helps eliminate drastic temperature swings while boosting the furnace’s efficiency.

Variable-Speed Blower Motor

Ever notice how most conventional furnaces seem to run at full blast? Traditional furnaces use permanent split capacitor (PSC) blower motors for air circulation. While these motors are simple, inexpensive, and robust, they’re also rated at a single operating speed.

The lack of variable controls makes it nearly impossible to moderate indoor temperatures on conventional furnaces without the blower motor stopping and starting repeatedly.

This is where the electronically commutating motor or ECM comes into play. Unlike PSC motors, ECMs can operate at various speeds without any penalties in energy efficiency. In addition, whereas conventional motors have no choice but to run at full blast, variable-speed blower motors can adjust their speeds in response to heating demands.

Variable-speed blower motors help condensing furnaces achieve efficient and highly versatile home comfort. For example, these motors can operate at extremely low RPMs to provide quiet, continuous air circulation throughout each room of your home.

Sealed Combustion Chamber

Conventional furnaces often use atmospheric combustion chambers that draw air from indoor spaces. However, the need for an indoor air supply leaves the combustion chamber exposed to the rest of the home. In addition, such a design leaves the furnace vulnerable to backdraft, where combustion gases are drawn out of the exhaust flue under negative pressure and back into the home.

In contrast, condensing furnaces use sealed combustion chambers entirely separate from indoor spaces. Instead, the combustion chamber receives its air supply from the outdoors. As a result, sealed combustion chambers are safer and more efficient since minimal heat is lost to the furnace’s immediate surroundings.

Secondary Heat Exchanger

In a conventional furnace, the hot exhaust gases generated through the combustion process travel through the heat exchanger. This metal tube series passes the heat between the passing exhaust gases and the circulating air that flows over the device. Any excess heat is carried away into the flue and vented outdoors.

Condensing furnaces prevent excess heat from being wasted by circulating exhaust gases through another heat exchanger. The secondary heat exchanger scavenges waste heat from the exhaust, boosting the furnace’s efficiency. This process also cools the exhaust gases so they can pass harmlessly through PVC pipes.

Heat Recovery Ventilator

Some condensing furnaces come equipped with a heat recovery ventilator. This device pulls fresh outdoor air into the stove and pulls heat from stale indoor air via a built-in air-to-air heat exchanger. The extracted heat is then used to pre-heat the incoming air before reaching the furnace.

HRVs are often necessary for tightly sealed homes since there aren’t any cracks or crevices that fresh outdoor air can be pulled through. Using an HRV also improves a condensing furnace’s overall energy efficiency.

Now that you know what makes condensing furnaces so energy efficient, call the experts at Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning and schedule your next heating system installation today.

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

Not around here? Well, check out the 5-star Denver heating services our friends offer at Brothers Plumbing Heating Electric!

4 HVAC Duct Problems to Address

Home HVAC systems can only deliver the performance their owners expect when they have clean, intact, well-designed ductwork. If the ducts that run through your home cannot deliver warmed or cooled air efficiently, you may experience everything from chronic health problems to elevated electric bills.

You might not suspect that your air quality woes relate to a duct issue if only because you rarely see or deal with these hidden sections of your HVAC system. Look at four potential problems that can plague your ducts and the measures you can take to alleviate them.

1. Dust

Even the most carefully maintained home will collect a certain amount of dust. In addition to the dust and debris tracked in from outdoors, humans and pets naturally shed hair and skin cells that settle onto surfaces, get kicked up into the air, and eventually get pulled into the HVAC system.

Fortunately, HVAC system vents accommodate air filters that trap much of this debris, removing it from general circulation and cleaning your air. Not so. Fortunately, these air filters have a finite capacity for collecting dust. When they become clogged, the dust settles in the ducts, where it accumulates over time.

Dust accumulation can also develop suddenly if your home undergoes construction or renovation. This work can fill the air with particulate matter, including debris that can trigger allergies or other respiratory issues. This extra burden can overwhelm your air filters’ and ducts’ ability to filter and clean the air.
If your home seems unusually dusty, no matter how often you clean it, check your air filters and replace them as needed. If the problem persists, you may need to have the ducts inspected and cleaned by professionals.

2. Mold

Mold represents a special kind of problem. Like dust, it can enter your home on shoes, clothing, pet fur, or other carried objects. However, unlike dust, this living organism grows and thrives in moisture and environmental conditions amply provided by air conditioning components and processes. The presence of dust only nourishes it further.

Mold commonly grows in receptacles for standing water, such as the evaporator drain pan in your HVAC system. Typically, the drain pan collects condensation and then expels it via a drainage line. If this drainage system fails, mold spores from the drain pan may rise into the air and enter your ducts.

Mold spores can cause numerous health problems as they float through the air and into people’s respiratory systems. If you have a mold problem in your HVAC system, your family may experience allergic reactions, asthma attacks, or other ailments. Other signs of mold include discoloration around vents and a musty smell in the air.

While you can often remove mold around vents, mold infiltrating your ducts or drain pan requires professional evaluation. Your HVAC technicians will either remove the mold themselves or recommend a mold remediation specialist. They can also repair drainage problems that create standing water in your system.

3. Air Leaks

HVAC ducts can direct air through your home in a precise manner because they function as a closed system. Installers seal individual sections of ductwork to ensure no air escapes on its journey through your home. However, the system can lose considerable efficiency if a hole, gap, or other air leak develops.

Duct air leaks can occur for a variety of reasons. For example, rodents can damage ducts as they chew their way into walls, while corrosion allows holes to form. Most commonly, however, simple thermal expansion and contraction over several seasons of use can weaken the seals connecting duct sections and vent registers.

Symptoms of a leaky duct system include uneven heating or cooling and hard-to-manage humidity, indications that cooled or heated air has escaped into the walls instead of circulating through your rooms. In addition, an inexplicable rise in your energy bills may mean that your HVAC system must run harder to compensate for the leakage.

HVAC technicians can check every inch of your ductwork for leaks. They can seal the leaks with metallic mesh tape, restoring your HVAC system’s functionality and energy efficiency.

4. Design Flaws

Sometimes, an HVAC system’s ductwork struggles with efficiency problems from its first operation. Even experienced contractors can make errors in the planning and construction phases, resulting in HVAC ducts that can’t do their job adequately. If your HVAC system has never worked well, suspect this possibility.

Common mistakes in HVAC duct installation include installing too small a system for the home’s needs, running the ducts over too great a distance for efficient operation, and not installing enough return vents to permit good air circulation. Your HVAC expert can recognize these flaws and make any recommended modifications.

If you believe a duct problem has limited your ability to enjoy your HVAC system, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning. Our HVAC experts can evaluate your ductwork and recommend the right action to improve your home’s air quality and energy efficiency.

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

Not around here? Well, then check out the 5-star Denver heating services our friends offer at Brothers Plumbing Heating Electric!

Managing Allergies With HVAC

Allergies can bring you down and leave you feeling too terrible to enjoy life. Whether you’re allergic to pets, pollen, dust, or other airborne allergens, a high-quality HVAC system can be one of your best allies. All you need to know is how to put your HVAC system to work for you. Follow these innovative strategies to use your HVAC system to relieve runny noses, dryness, hay fever, and more!

Add an Air Purifier

You may cringe when you learn about the common air pollutants inside your home. You may be breathing in microplastics, mold, pet dander, household cleaners, pollen, and worse. Unfortunately, the air pollutants that you inhale while relaxing at home can be the very things that trigger a variety of allergic reactions.

Consider adding a whole-house air purifier to your HVAC system. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, this can be one of the most effective things you can do to improve indoor air quality. When you use an air purifier, you reduce your exposure to common allergens. As a result, you may notice a dramatic difference after introducing the cleaner and start to feel better.

Keep the Humidity in Your Home Low

Mold allergies are common and can wreak havoc on your sense of well-being. The bad news is that mold can grow anywhere. The good news is that you can help prevent decay with your HVAC system. If you have a mold allergy, fight back and set the humidity in your home below 50 percent. Otherwise, the moisture can encourage mold growth.

If necessary, add a dehumidifier to keep your allergies at bay. A whole-house dehumidifier can be an asset that works with the HVAC system to create a suitable healthy climate within your home. In addition, it can continue to ensure humidity is removed from the air while your air conditioner is between cycles.

You should also make sure to ventilate your home correctly. If you don’t have proper ventilation, mold can grow and thrive. Pay incredibly close attention to the bathroom, kitchen, and basement. These areas often lack adequate ventilation and can be a hotbed for mold growth.

Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned

If you suspect that your air ducts may be causing your problems, make sure you have a professional clean them. A professional duct cleaning service is worth every penny if your air ducts contain mold or have accumulated a lot of dirt and grime. Often an entire HVAC system cleaning is combined with cleaning your air ducts. The cleaning service you need depends on your unique situation and the condition of your system.

Never try to clean your air ducts yourself, and don’t ask a knowledgeable neighbor or friend to try their hand washing them. Instead, hire a licensed National Air Duct Cleaning Association-certified professional to perform the cleaning. Only a professional will know the ins and outs of cleaning ducts. In some cases, duct cleaning requires cutting holes in the system, and a professional can cut and seal the ducts properly.

Keep the Area Around Your HVAC Clear

Keep the area around your heating and air conditioning unit clear of debris, dust, and other items. If you have children, make it a family rule that everyone keeps their stuff clear of the HVAC unit inside and outside the house. A clear pathway will help increase the airflow. It also helps the system work most efficiently to regulate the air inside your home and protect you from allergies.

Avoid fancy landscaping in the outside area around the HVAC unit, too. Trees around the unit can provide shade as long as they don’t block airflow. Otherwise, the best practice is to keep the grass mowed and clear of the team. You don’t want common allergens or other outdoor debris to brush up against the heating and cooling system where they may cause problems.

Don’t Open Windows During Any Season

Keep your home protected from the allergy triggers often found in the great outdoors. Although you might want to open the windows during beautiful weather, resist the temptation. Even though allergens are less prominent at night, keep windows closed to protect yourself and your children.

Replace Old Units

Newer HVAC systems tend to offer the best protection against indoor allergens. However, a total replacement may be best if you have had your air conditioning and heating system for a decade or if it malfunctions. The United States Department of Energy recommends regular maintenance of your plan to get the most out of its ability to fight allergies.

Finally, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning today for any questions about a new heating and cooling system. We can advise on improving your home’s air quality with the best equipment. Since we strive to be the best in the Sacramento area, you’ll enjoy the highest quality systems and a pleasant, professional installation experience.

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

Not around here? Well, then check out the 5-star Denver heating services offered by our friends over at Brothers Plumbing Heating Electric!

Holiday HVAC Tips

The holidays are fast approaching, which means one thing: family gatherings. Aside from all the food, drinks, and other fun you’ll have this year, there’s one more thing to consider. That’s right; you need to start thinking about your HVAC system! There’s nothing more critical to your guests’ comfort than your home’s heating system. After all, enjoying your holiday dinner in -30° weather is hard without your heater running full blast. For this reason, you must ensure that your HVAC system is in good and working order long before your relatives knock on your door.

Not sure where to start? Follow these few simple tips from the HVAC experts at Derek Sawyers and get your system into shape today!

Replace Your Air Filter

If you regularly replace your air filter, congratulations ahead of the game. However, if you’re like most people, chances are you haven’t replaced any air filters all year. Well, now is a great time to take care of this piece of maintenance. A new air filter will help improve your home’s airflow and reduce the dust and allergens in your air. The last thing you want this year is anyone to start sneezing up a storm.

Some filters can even capture viruses and help protect your guests from otherwise nasty colds or other illnesses. That means a new air filter isn’t just an investment in the health of your guests; it can help you stay healthy all year round. Plus, now is an excellent time to replace your filter and start the New Year with fresh air.

Clean House

It may not be spring, but the holiday season is a great time to start tidying your home. A cleaner home reduces indoor air pollutants and makes breathing easier without filtering your air. That’s right, cleaning up all of the dust, pet dander, and other allergens can have a profound impact on your home’s air quality!

More importantly, cleaning your HVAC system can have an even higher impact on the air inside your home! Removing all of those same allergens from your ducts ensures that they’ll never make it into your perspective, to begin with, and cleaning the vents help air flow freely throughout your home!

Fix Air Gaps

Gaps in your air ducts are inevitable, but you don’t have to live with them. Any company offering professional HVAC services can help you seal up existing gaps and identify issues that may lead to new ones forming. Your newly sealed vents will thank you with more effective temperature control and lower energy costs too! Just make sure to call your local HVAC professional early in the year, as this process can take a fair amount of time for technicians to complete.

Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Chances are, you’ll have more than one heating appliance running this holiday season. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure the integrity of your fire protection equipment, like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You might even want to ensure your fire extinguishers aren’t past their expiration date. This way, you’ll be ready for whatever accident comes your way this holiday season.

Keep Your Thermostat Close…

The holidays are a time of temperature extremes. Snow may fall outdoors, but you could quickly roast inside your home without watching your thermostat closely. That’s why you must be sure you’re always closely watching the climate around you. For example, if your kitchen is operating at total capacity, chances are you won’t need to run your furnace or other heating appliances quite as hard. Likewise, you might need to run your system extra hard in the morning if your guests stay the night. The game’s name here is to be aware of your surroundings and react accordingly to keep your guests comfortable.

…And Your HVAC Repair Service is Closer!

Chances are, you’ll run into an HVAC problem you can’t solve sooner rather than later. It’ll pay to know a repair company that will help you set things right when this time comes. An excellent company can help you plan for and take care of the other items on this list! So, if you take nothing else from this list, at least take this; a good HVAC service provider can help you prepare for the holidays better than you ever could on your own.

So, what are you waiting for? Not sure where to go? Why not start will a call to the service professionals from Derek Sawyers? Well, we give you the best service for your HVAC system and help you ensure the comfort and safety of your guests this winter! So, contact your local HVAC team today and get started on getting your system ready for the coming holidays.

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

Not around here? Well, then check out the 5-star Denver heating services offered by our friends over at Brothers Plumbing Heating Electric!

How Important Is Furnace Maintenance

If you’re the kind of person that forgoes maintaining your equipment and appliances, well, you’re not alone. Every year, millions of people decide it’s not worth their time to perform essential maintenance services on their furnaces, and every year millions of furnaces break down. The connection isn’t hard to make here.

Furnace maintenance is the key to successfully prolonging the lifespan and conserving the energy efficiency of your system. But, more importantly, it ensures that your home is protected from the major disaster that often befalls homes with poorly maintained furnaces. High utility bills, carbon-monoxide poisoning, and fire are some dangers of failing to meet your system’s maintenance needs.

Thankfully, scheduling regular maintenance with qualified professionals is easy to take care of any issues you may have. Here’s why and how you should keep up with your furnace maintenance.

Let A Professional Handle These Jobs

Every company delivers a different experience during its maintenance services. However, you can count on most companies to offer, at a minimum, these services:

  • Filter Inspections and Replacements
  • Gas Lines and Heat Exchanger Inspections
  • Burner and Flue Pipe Cleaning
  • Thermostat and Wiring Connection Testing
  • Pilot Assembly Cleaning

These services ensure you’ve protected your system from many issues that furnaces often experience. This protection is part of what makes maintenance so valuable.

Professional Maintenance Helps You Avoid Issues

Not every issue is preventable, but when you have professionals take care of your furnace, you’ll be sure to avoid the worst problems. As such, your furnace will sustain a higher performance throughout its lifetime. More importantly, you’ll know well in advance if you’re having issues with your heat exchanger or other dangerous components of your furnace.

As your primary heating appliance, there’s always a chance that your furnace can lead to a fire outbreak or the venting of carbon monoxide into your home. That is unless it receives monthly maintenance. When a professional HVAC company maintains your furnace, you reduce the chance that your system will experience any serious issues. Furthermore, if your system does begin to exhibit signs of complications, you’ll be poised to handle the case before it becomes something serious.

However, the benefits of maintenance don’t stop here.

Conserve Energy Efficiency With Regular Maintenance

No system is perfect, and your furnace is guaranteed to lose some energy efficiency over time. However, using a maintenance service can minimize the effect that years of operation have on your system’s efficiency.

With consistent general maintenance, your furnace will receive the care it needs to ensure that there are no steep drop-offs in efficiency. Even if you’ve never had a professional perform maintenance on your furnace, you’ll find that a single visit will have your system running cleaner.

Of course, better efficiency doesn’t just affect performance; it saves you money. For example, an efficient furnace uses less energy to maintain temperatures than one with dirty filters or other issues. These energy savings translates directly into more money in your pocket.

Let Derek’s Experts Optimize Your Furnace

If you wanted to, you could run your furnace all day and night without caring. However, your furnace would live a concise life in this scenario. Not only would that force you to replace your furnace regularly, but it would put your entire property at risk!

However, you can avoid that if your system receives regular maintenance from a professional HVAC technician. Furnace maintenance preserves your system and protects your property from fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and more! If that wasn’t good enough, system care helps you do all this while saving you money on overall operating costs.

Why wait any longer? Call Derek Sawyers Heating & Air Conditioning today at (209) 247-1245 or contact one of our service representatives through our web portal for help maintaining your furnace!

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

Not around here? Well, then check out the 5-star Denver heating services offered by our friends over at Brothers Plumbing Heating Electric!

Switching From Air Conditioning To Heating

Central California residents enjoy relatively comfortable temperatures for most of the year. However, as the calendar advances toward the final weeks of the year, nighttime temperatures can get pretty chilly. This change prompts many homeowners to switch their HVAC systems from cooling to heating.

As you transition in your home, you should know what to expect. You should also know how to make the transition as easy as possible for your equipment and what to do if the change from air conditioning to heating causes trouble. Check out the answers to these frequently asked questions on the topic.

How Do Your HVAC System’s Air Conditioning and Heating Processes Differ?

An HVAC system uses many components for heating and cooling, with a thermostat regulating the air temperature and ducts distributing warmed or cooled air throughout the rooms. However, most HVAC systems get their cooling power through electricity and heat through natural gas.

When you set your HVAC system to air conditioning mode, an electrically powered compressor quickly turns hot refrigerant gas into a cold liquid. As this cold liquid passes through coils, the air surrounding them becomes cool and dry. A fan blows this cooled air through vents to lower your home’s interior temperature.

When you set your HVAC system to heating mode, you activate a gas-power furnace that receives air through the aid of an electric fan. The gas rises through a heat exchanger, which heats the surrounding air. The heated air then circulates through your home’s ducts before returning for another pass through the system.

What’s That Funny Smell When You First Engage Your Heater?

If you have not engaged your heater for several months, you may smell a strong, musty, or burnt odor in the heated air. This odor commonly occurs as the heat exchanger and other components burn tiny bits of dust and other debris accumulated on their surfaces. It may smell alarming, but it does not indicate a problem.

That musty odor most likely comes from mold and mildew accumulation. These substances may accumulate if you let your home’s humidity levels get out of control or if your condensate pan doesn’t drain properly. Like dust and debris, mold and mildew may burn away after you run your heater for a few minutes.

How Can Switching From Air Conditioning To Heating Cause Trouble?

An HVAC system can usually handle a transition from air conditioning to heating with no trouble. However, this does not mean you should switch between the two modes as frequently as you like. If you ask your HVAC system to go from one mode to another too rapidly, it may shut down altogether.

HVAC systems require a few minutes of rest between heating or cooling cycles for the pressure in their components to settle and normalize. Therefore, if you try to reactivate your cooling mode or switch modes too quickly after a cycle has completed, the compressor may draw extra power to attempt to comply, breaking the circuit and shutting the unit down.

Why Might Your Heater Refuse to Work After a Long Dormant Period?

When you have a clear and present need to start your heater for the first time in months, its failure to operate correctly may come as an unwelcome (and uncomfortable) surprise. This malfunction may stem from avoidable maintenance issues, or it may mean that one of the heating system components has reached the end of its life.

Dirt often plays a crucial role in heater malfunctions. For example, the heat exchanger can overheat and fail if your heater has a blower motor. A dirty flame sensor can prevent the furnace from igniting. A filthy burner may not run at peak efficiency, while a clogged filter may keep air from circulating through the system.

Furnaces in HVAC systems depend on a device called a capacitor to ignite their gas. A weak or dying capacitor may have trouble starting your heater if it can manage the feat at all. The wrong amount of gas (or refrigerant in a heat pump system) may also lead to poor heater function.

Why Should You Schedule an HVAC Inspection Before Cooler Weather Arrives?

Proper maintenance can help you ready your HVAC system for an efficient, uneventful transition from air conditioning to heating. A skilled HVAC technician can inspect the entire system for dust, mold, incorrect fuel or refrigerant levels, a capacitor that needs replacing, and any other issues that might affect performance.

You can often tell whether you need HVAC maintenance services simply by checking for various potential trouble signs around the house. For instance, if your windows constantly host condensation or your home’s vent pipe looks rusty, you may have a mechanical problem that affects the system’s operation.

Derek Sawyers Smart Energy Heating & Air can help you nudge your HVAC system from air conditioning to heating mode as effectively as possible. Contact us today to schedule a seasonal inspection or schedule any needed repair services.

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

Check out the 5-star Longmont plumbers at Service Pros Plumbers today!

Program Your Thermostat For Winter

As winter approaches, many of us turn up the thermostat to stay warm and comfortable. But what can you do to keep warm without running up your heating bills? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the quick and easy way to maintain an energy-efficient temperature at home is to set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. At this temperature, your heater doesn’t have to work as hard because the temperature indoors is close to the outdoor temperature. Sixty-eight degrees is warm enough for most people to stay comfortable while saving energy.

But there are also additional ways to keep warm while cutting costs. At Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air Conditioning, we suggest using the following energy-saving tips for programming your thermostat in winter:

Take Advantage Of Your Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat allows you to pre-set varying temperatures at different times of the day. With a manual thermostat, however, you can only raise and lower the temperature on a moment-to-moment basis. Although manual adjustments work fine for some people, strategic programming saves time and money. So we recommend setting up an automatic schedule that maximizes savings and comfort for the winter.

Adjust Temperatures When You’re Away From Home

For example, consider lowering the temperature when nobody is at home. While you’re out of the house for work or activities, you don’t need the heater running at maximum output. Instead, program your thermostat to start heating before you wake up and get ready to leave, but set it to a lower temperature when you know you’ll be away from home. That way, you’ll feel warm by the time you awake but can save money while you’re gone.

You can even schedule your heater to start working a few minutes before you return so that it feels warm and cozy inside. Setting your thermostat back by 7-10 degrees, 8 hours a day, can result in significant monthly energy savings.

Sleep Better With Lower Temperatures

Some people know that things like blue light from our devices and eating late at night can impact our sleep. But did you know that the temperature in your bedroom can also make or break your sleep? Believe it or not, maintaining a cool environment at night is one of the best ways to achieve a good night’s rest. That’s because the drop in temperature signals our bodies to prepare for sleep.

So consider lowering the thermostat at night to fall asleep easier while saving money on heating. Of course, nobody will benefit from freezing temperatures, but you can experiment so that it’s cool enough without freezing your tail off. If you need additional warmth, get cozy under some extra blankets or layers. Once you’ve programmed a heating schedule that suits you just right, you can sleep better without wasting energy.

Lower The Temperature While On Vacation

Considering the above tips, you might try to turn off your heating system while on vacation. But turning it off altogether could put your pipes at risk of freezing. So we recommend adjusting your thermostat by 5 degrees or lower while you’re away (but no less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit). You can also keep the windows closed to prevent the cold temperature outside from making your heater work harder.

Contact Derek Sawyer’s Today

At Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air Conditioning, our technicians can help with any of your thermostat or heating issues. So whether you need your thermostat calibrated or a new heater installed, contact us today for help. We even provide 24-hour emergency services for your urgent needs. So call today at (209) 247-1245 to get started!

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

Looking for help with Longmont AC repair? Well, then check out our friends over at TNT Home Services! They’d be happy to lend you a helping hand. They have offices in Longmont and Firestone, plus offer their services all over Colorado, including:

Pregnancy and Your HVAC System’s Maintenance

Can your home’s HVAC system impact your pregnancy? If you’re expecting, take a look at what you need to know about residential home heating, cooling, and air ventilation.

HVAC Maintenance Increases Home Safety

You want to create a safe, nurturing environment for your baby — even before they’re born. This means you need to decrease indoor home risks. Poor indoor air quality, natural gas leaks, and carbon monoxide (CO) leaks are HVAC-related issues that can affect pregnant women and their babies.

Anything from dust to chemicals and leftover cigarette smoke can pollute your home’s indoor air. As you inhale the toxins, they may pass through your system to your baby. This can cause health issues that range from minor respiratory or eye irritations to major concerns.

Along with indoor air pollutants, you also need to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and natural gas exposure now and after your baby arrives. CO is an odorless, colorless gas that is toxic to you and your unborn baby. Unlike CO, natural gas (used in some types of heating appliances) has a strong smell. This combustible potential fire hazard is scented with a rotten egg or sulfur-like odor.

Get A Full System Checkup

You may not have had a furnace or full system checkup in years, or you may just want to increase home safety during your pregnancy or in preparation for your baby’s arrival. In any case, a professional maintenance service will:

  • Include CO leak inspections. The March of Dimes organization recommends putting carbon monoxide (CO) alarms outside of all bedrooms. Along with alarms, a professional HVAC checkup can reduce this leak risk.
  • Include natural gas detection. If you have a natural gas leak, it’s likely you already know. The rotten egg smell is pungent and requires immediate attention. But if you don’t detect this smell, the HVAC technician can still inspect your system for a leak during routine maintenance services.
  • Provide repair recommendations. If your furnace has a natural gas or carbon monoxide leak, the HVAC technician will do more than just detect the problem. They can repair the wear or damage, giving you back a safe home heating system.
  • Clear the air. A dirty furnace filter and clogged air ducts can push dust and indoor pollutants around your home — especially if you clean with chemicals, use chemical air fresheners, or recently painted the nursery. An HVAC contractor can check and replace your furnace’s filter and clean the rest of your system.

Discuss pregnancy-related indoor air quality concerns with the HVAC technician before or during your maintenance appointment. The contractor may have suggestions for ways to better maintain your heater or tips to improve indoor air quality through an air purifier or a better quality system filter. The technician can also help you to create a maintenance schedule that works for your growing family’s needs.

HVAC Maintenance Can Increase Your Comfort Level

Physical comfort isn’t always easy to achieve during pregnancy — especially the closer it gets to your due date. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can slightly raise your body temperature. This can cause general sweating or night sweats. If your HVAC system isn’t in top shape, the indoor air could add to your discomfort. To get the most out of your home’s heating and cooling capabilities, you can:

  • Schedule a tune-up. Regular maintenance won’t only improve your system’s safety. It can help it to work at peak performance. This allows you to easily adjust the temperature and keep your home as warm or as cool (depending on your pregnancy comfort level) as you want it.
  • Change the filter. Again, this service doesn’t only impact indoor air quality. A clogged filter forces your system to work harder and may limit its heating or cooling capacity. If you’re not sure where the filter is or how to replace it, ask the technician during a maintenance appointment.
  • Replace the thermostat. Your third-trimester body needs a major cool down. But what if the temperature doesn’t drop when you adjust the thermostat? Talk to the HVAC technician about this issue or schedule a replacement service with your regular maintenance.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. Instead of replacing your older thermostat with a manual model, choose a programmable or smart option. This allows you to adjust the temperature during specific times of the day, making it easier to combat night sweats.

If your HVAC system has serious wear and tear or significant damage, you may need to replace your heater, air conditioner, or both. While regular maintenance can improve efficiency and lead to increased indoor comfort, it won’t have a major impact if the system is past its prime or overly expensive to repair. Even though this is an added expense, the investment can keep you and the rest of your family comfortable for years to come.

Contact Derek Sawyers Heating & Air Today!

Do you need to schedule HVAC system maintenance before your baby’s due date? Have you skipped this service for the past few years? Contact Derek Sawyers Heating & Air for more information.

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

Looking for help with Longmont AC repair? Well, then check out our friends over at TNT Home Services! They’d be happy to lend you a helping hand. They have offices in Longmont and Firestone, plus offer their services all over Colorado, including:

5 Common HVAC System Mistakes

If your HVAC system isn’t used or maintained correctly, it may fail over time. Below are some of the most common mistakes you might make when caring for or using your HVAC system. Correcting these mistakes can help you take care of your HVAC system and can also help you maintain a better quality of life in your home.

1. You Closed Off Vents to Save Energy

It’s a common assumption that you can save money and reduce the burden on your HVAC system by closing off vents to rooms that are not regularly used throughout the day. Many people do this because they believe fewer rooms to cool off or heat means less work for the furnace or air conditioner. While this does seem logical, it’s not necessarily true.

Your HVAC system was designed for your house, calibrated to its size and duct design. However, cutting off rooms can throw that system off. Also, added pressure in the ducts can cause air leaks, leading to inefficiency.

Besides, if your air conditioner can cool your home in less time because it’s cooling less space, your home could become humid. Your air conditioner needs to run for a while to remove moisture from your home. Overall, it’s better to leave your vents open throughout the year.

2. You Set a Higher Temperature to Heat Your Home Faster

When you set a temperature on your thermostat, you don’t set the rate at which the HVAC system does its job; you only set the temperature the HVAC system is trying to reach. So turning your furnace to a high temperature in winter to warm up faster doesn’t work because your home will warm up at the same rate no matter what temperature you set. The same is true of air conditioner use in summer.

Plugging in a more extreme temperature than the temperature you want only wastes energy. Instead, set the thermostat to the temperature you want and be patient; your house will soon be comfortable if your HVAC system works properly.

3. You Decided Not to Get That HVAC Tune-Up

HVAC tune-ups aren’t wasted money! During an HVAC tune-up, your HVAC contractor will do things like:

  • Check the thermostat
  • Examine the mechanical parts
  • Ensure operating safety
  • Clean the coils (if necessary)
  • Examine wires for wear and tear
  • Test and/or inspect all moving parts
  • Identify potential issues like a mechanical failure

If you can get a tune-up at a time of year when you don’t use your HVAC system as much, your HVAC system should be ready to run at times when it’s needed. However, if you don’t get a tune-up, you may not be catching problems that your HVAC system is experiencing. This could lead your HVAC system to work harder throughout the year or could lead to a breakdown at a time when you need your HVAC system to function.

4. You Didn’t Notice Your HVAC System Was Exacerbating Allergies

Your HVAC system spreads dust and even germs throughout your house. Your ducts blow dust into the rooms of your home. However, during this process,  allergens are transported from one room to the next in a stream of air. If you or your loved ones suffer from allergies, you may be able to reduce allergy symptoms at home by making some changes to your HVAC system.

And, if your HVAC system is negatively impacting your allergies, one of the ways to tell is to notice what happens when your HVAC system turns on. If you start to cough, sneeze or experience other allergy symptoms when your furnace or air conditioner begins to run, this is a sign that your HVAC system is spreading dust. Pay attention to the behaviors of other family members and watch for these same signs.

There are many things you can do to improve indoor air quality. First, have your ducts cleaned by an HVAC professional? If you or someone you live with is very sensitive to allergens, have an air purification system installed in your home. Talk to your reputable HVAC contractor to get a quote.

5. You Didn’t Get a Safety Inspection

During a home safety inspection, your HVAC professional will identify dangers like gas leaks, asbestos in the ductwork, mold, and too much humidity. Failure to catch one of these problems can impact the health and safety of your family. So get a safety inspection to catch issues as soon as possible.

Contact Your HVAC Professional

Overall, don’t fret too much over avoiding common HVAC system mistakes. Instead, maintain your HVAC system and improve the quality of life in your home. For more information about getting a safety inspection, improving indoor air quality, or getting a tune-up, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll be happy to schedule an appointment.

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

Looking for help with Longmont AC repair? Well, then check out our friends over at TNT Home Services! They’d be happy to lend you a helping hand. They have offices in Longmont and Firestone, plus offer their services all over Colorado, including:

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