What’s Involved In Professional AC Maintenance Services?

When You Receive Maintenance From The Pros, What Are You Paying For?

We all know that we should maintain all of our appliances. Still, we rarely find the time or motivation to do it ourselves. So should we pay someone to do the maintenance for us? Well, that feels like cheating. Most of us would rather have our AC break down than pay for someone else to do work we could have done ourselves.

But, can we do the job as well as the pros?

It turns out we can’t.

The average person can, at most, take care of simple maintenance procedures that will keep our AC chugging along. However, it takes a real professional to get our systems back into prime condition. Thankfully, Derek Sawyer’s Heating and Air Conditioning team are the people you need for all your AC maintenance needs.

Preventative Maintenance

Let’s face it, some of us can barely operate the toaster, let alone a precision machine like an air conditioner. The most an inexperienced consumer should ever perform on their air conditioner is essential preventative maintenance. Depending on your level of comfort, this may include:

  • Combing The Vent Fins
  • Replacing the Air Filter
  • Cleaning The Evaporator Coil
  • Cleaning the Condensate Drain

Maintenance of this level should be relatively easy to handle and will only help improve regular performance. If your AC is suffering from any serious problems, only a professional will be able to diagnose your unit.

Professional Service

If you find that your AC seems to be struggling to keep up with your demands despite being well maintained, you should look into calling an expert. A professional technician is perfectly capable of performing any of the regular maintenance you’ve missed and the more technical work that it needs. In addition to basic maintenance procedures, your service technician should, at the very least:

  • Calibrate Your Thermostat
  • Inspect The Unit’s Electrical Contacts
  • Lubricate Parts In Good Condition and Replace Worn Ones
  • Cycle The System On And Off
  • Recharge The Refrigerant And Fix Any Leaks

These few inspections are generally enough to keep your AC working and avoid costly breakdowns. However, most service technicians will perform a full 20-point inspection of your AC that should include:

  • Test Capacitors
  • Calibrate the Thermostat
  • Lubricate the Bearing
  • Examine Safety Devices
  • Clean the Indoor Coil
  • Examine the Fan’s Blade
  • Flush the Condensate Drain
  • Clean the Air Purifier
  • Examine the Ducts
  • Check the Condenser Coil
  • Clean the Condenser Coil
  • Examine the Service Valves
  • Test For Burnt Contacts
  • Check For Exposed Wiring
  • Examine Electrical Wiring Connections
  • Examine the Operation Of the Compressor
  • Monitor the Refrigerant’s Operating Pressures
  • Calculate Supply/Return Temperature Differential
  • Calculate the Blower Motor’s Amperage and Voltage
  • Inspect The Electrical Disconnect Box Proper Installation

If you’re not sure what all of that means, don’t worry. You don’t have to know everything about your AC because it is a professional’s job to ensure it is appropriately maintained.

Why You Should Have Your AC Maintained By A Professional?

We would all like to care for our repairs, but we have to leave some things to professionals. Unless you plan on joining an AC repair school sometime soon, there is no way for you to take proper care of your air conditioner.

Not to mention that maintaining an air conditioner can be a dangerous job! Between all of the refrigerants, electrical wiring, and fans, there is no shortage of ways that you can hurt yourself.

Instead, it is best to leave most AC maintenance to your local HVAC company. If you think hiring someone to maintain your AC is a waste of money well, then think again! Not only will regular maintenance help prevent breakdowns, but an efficient AC will also help you save on your utility bill. Altogether, you can be sure that maintaining your AC, especially with Derek Sawyer, will only keep your money in the long run.

Why Get Your Ducts Cleaned?

If pollen, dust, insects, or other pests have invaded your home, it may be good to have your ducts cleaned.

Achoo! You can’t seem to get rid of your allergies, even in December, no matter what you do! The truth is that not all allergies come from plant pollen. It is more likely that dust is triggering your allergies. Specifically, your home’s HVAC ducts are probably circulating dust, dirt, or worse through your home. To know what is going on behind your vents, you must have your ducts cleaned by professionals. Here are a few of the best reasons to have your ducts cleaned.

A Cleaning Will Improve Your Air Quality

If you’ve ever looked at a dusty bookshelf and wondered how it got that way, it was probably because of a nearby air duct. Your HVAC ducts are full of dust made up of pollen, dirt, and several other nasty substances. In small amounts, it isn’t noticeable, but as your HVAC system moves air around, things will get dusty.

Imagine that the same dust that settled onto your bookshelf settled onto your lungs. It’s not a pretty picture. But with dirty HVAC vents, your lungs are processing this same dust as you breathe. Worse, if you have mold in your vents, you could be inhaling mold spores and mycotoxins! However, a duct cleaning will remove dust and mold from your HVAC ducts and leave you with nothing but fresh air.

You May Have Pests In Your HVAC Ducts

Dust is full of surprises, with animal feces being among them. Yup, that’s right. There is a good chance that your home has rodents or other pests living in your HVAC vents, and their excrement becomes a part of your home’s dust. Try not to think about it. Forget about it because cleaning your HVAC ducts will eliminate any pests you have.

Clean HVAC Ducts Are Efficient HVAC Vents

If you find your HVAC ducts clogged with dust and trash, you can be sure that they’re not working as well as they could be. Not only can blocked vents damage your HVAC system, but they also make it work much harder to do its job. An HVAC system that works harder uses far more energy than usual. Avoid the high costs of heating and cooling by having professionals keep your ducts in perfect working condition.

Derek Sawyer Keeps Your HVAC Ducts Clean

Suppose you suddenly realize that you have your worst allergies after using your air conditioner. In that case, you should contact Derek Sawyer at (209)247-1245. We specialize in making sure that our customers are healthy and satisfied. The last thing we want is for one of our loyal customers to suffer from poor air quality in their home. So don’t wait any longer! We specialize in all things home service and are too happy to help you get your HVAC ducts squeaky clean.

4 Strategies for Enjoying a Safer, Healthier HVAC System

Residential HVAC systems can provide homeowners and their families with essential health benefits and comfort. Efficient air circulation can reduce airborne irritants. Effective cooling systems and other components can help control moisture levels in the home while protecting residents against extreme temperatures.

Unfortunately, an HVAC system may fail to deliver these benefits if it develops mechanical or electrical problems, in some cases posing health and safety risks instead of mitigating them. Employ the following four strategies to ensure that your HVAC system provides a safer, healthier environment.

1. Find and Fix Standing Water Problems

HVAC systems dry the air as well as cool it. The evaporator coils contain cold, pressurized refrigerant that chills the surrounding air rapidly. The temperature drop causes water vapor to condense. The liquid water drops out of the air and into a drip pan. A hose then drains this water to a tub or other receptacle.
Any malfunction in this part of the system can cause water to accumulate instead of draining normally. In addition, the standing water can harbor mold spores, which may produce asthma attacks or allergic reactions when blown through the air ducts. Water can also spill onto electrical components, potentially creating short-circuits.

Standing water in your HVAC system can even present an injury risk. For instance, if an overhead service panel leaks water from a corroded or overfilled drip pan onto a slick floor, occupants could sustain slip-and-fall injuries.

Have your HVAC technician check any water spots or puddles that might stem from your HVAC system. You may need corroded parts replaced or unclog a blocked drain line. Ensure that none of the surrounding electrical or mechanical parts show signs of water damage.

2. Control Your Humidity

Standing water represents just one way a poorly functioning HVAC system might encourage mold growth. Mold can also develop throughout your home if humidity levels remain abnormally high. Check for an evaporator, blower, or condenser failure that keeps the system from removing airborne moisture.

If your humidity problem persists despite normal HVAC operation, ask your HVAC service provider whether you need a smaller system for your home. (Too large an air conditioner may shut on and off too frequently to dehumidify a home properly.) Your technician can also add a separate dehumidifier to your current system.

3. Bust That Dust

Dust, dander, and pollen can affect your respiratory health and comfort just as mold spores can. No matter how carefully you sweep and vacuum your home, new particles will migrate from pets and people onto surfaces. Your HVAC system can help control this problem, but only if it functions as it should.

Air filters placed at the ends of air conditioning ducts can block much of this material. So instead, these items feature a mesh or porous material that allows air to pass through while removing all particles of a certain size from the air.

Eventually, however, the filters become so clogged by dust and dander that they can barely move air. The resulting lack of air circulation means that dirty air no longer gets pulled into the ductwork for filtering instead of accumulating until you experience respiratory distress.

You can often avoid this health challenge simply by changing your air filters regularly. If your current filters don’t seem to get the job done, ask your HVAC service technician to recommend more specialized products such as HEPA filters, which can filter out much smaller particles than ordinary filters.

Your airborne particulate problem may require more than a simple filter change. For example, you may need to have your HVAC ducts thoroughly cleaned, or you may want to have an air purifier installed for more comprehensive air filtration.

4. Minimize Fire Hazards

Homeowners should always guard against any conditions or malfunctions that might cause a fire. In addition to obvious dangers posed by lightning strikes or combustion of flammable materials, HVAC system problems can also present fire hazards.

Your HVAC system depends on electricity to operate its moving parts and regulate its processes, from proper thermostat function to power for motors, fans, and belts. As smoothly as this arrangement normally operates, electrical systems can still present potential hazards, including the risk of fires, if they suffer damage.

HVAC electrical damage can occur in gradual or subtle ways. For example, rodents can chew their way through electrical wiring, stripping the wiring of its protective insulation. Wiring connections can even come loose for no apparent reason, posing a fire risk every time they receive electrical current.

Regular HVAC inspections can catch these problems in time to prevent disaster. However, if you smell burning plastic or smoke near your HVAC wiring, shut off the system and seek immediate professional assistance.

Furnaces and heat exchangers can also play a role in household fires. The heat radiated by these items can ignite nearby chemicals, paper products, or other debris. Keep the areas around these components clean and free of garbage and other flammable objects.

A little awareness and some proactive strategies can help you keep your HVAC system (and your family) safe and healthy. Contact Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air for evaluations and repairs.

How Often Should You Change Your HVAC Filter?

Your may need to change your filter more often than you realize!

Air filters are a crucial component of your HVAC system. Air filters not only keep your air clean, they improve the efficiency of your system.
Many people don’t realize that air filters also protect the inner workings of their HVAC system. Filthy filters make it easier for dust and dirt to settle on components that need to stay clean in order to work correctly. To ensure optimum performance, your HVAC system’s filter need to be replaced regularly. However, there are a number of factors that may affect how regularly replacements need to be made.

What Are Air Filters?

Air filters can be made of many materials, such as fiberglass and polyester, but their primary purpose is always the same. Air filters prevent dirt, dust, pollen, and other debris from entering your HVAC system. Depending on your system and filter’s rating, your filter may even capture bacteria and viruses. Make sure to check your unit’s requirements when choosing new filters to ensure they are made of adequate material and have sufficient filtering capacity.

How Should Air Filters Be Replaced?

Air filters should be replaced at least once every six months, but most filters will need to be replaced much sooner. The regularity with which you should replace your air filter depends on several factors, including:

  • How often you use your HVAC system
  • Whether or not you have pets
  • The air quality in your neighborhood
  • The size of your home
  • Allergies in your home

If you have a fiberglass filter, then you may need to replace it as often as every month. On the other hand, air filters made from higher quality materials often last much longer.

How Do Air Filters Affect Efficiency

A dirty air filter forces your HVAC system to work much harder than it should to move air around. Dirty filters also tend to release some of the debris they have picked up if they are left in your system for longer than they should be. However, certain HEPA filters may also cause your HVAC system to work harder even while clean. HEPA filters provide superior filtration at the cost of making it harder for air to move through them. When choosing a replacement air filter, make sure you choose a level of filtration that is right for your home and budget.

Professional Maintenance Services Will Take Care Of Your Filters

The easiest way to replace your air filter will be to have a professional do it for you. Most HVAC companies will clean or replace your air filter as a regular part of their HVAC maintenance services. They will know what filter is best for your system and when its next cleaning or replacement should occur. You may not need a full maintenance service performed on your HVAC every single month. Still, an occasional check-in with a local HVAC company like Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning will set you up for continued performance from your HVAC system.

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 furnaces rated at 98 percent or more. In comparison, 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 you energy.

Electronic Ignition

Many older furnaces rely on a conventional pilot light for the startup. Pilot lights must remain on at all times, meaning your furnace constantly consumes a small amount of fuel to keep the pilot lit. This fuel usage can add up 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 it comes to 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 a greater level of 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 overall efficiency.

Variable-Speed Blower Motor

Ever notice how most conventional furnaces seem to run at full blast? That’s because traditional furnaces rely on 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 their 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

On a conventional furnace, the hot exhaust gases generated through the combustion process travel through the heat exchanger. This series of metal tubes pass 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 passing exhaust, boosting the furnace’s efficiency. This process also cools the exhaust gases to the point where they can pass harmlessly through PVC pipes.

Heat Recovery Ventilator

Some condensing furnaces come equipped with a heat recovery ventilator. This device not only pulls fresh outdoor air into the furnace but also 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, give the experts at Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning a call and schedule your next heating system installation today.

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.

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 get real relief from 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 such things as microplastics, mold, pet dander, household cleaners, pollen, and worse. 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 your 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 purifier and start to feel better.

Keep the Humidity in Your Home Low

Mold allergies are common, and they 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 mold with your HVAC system. If you have a mold allergy, fight back and set the humidity in your home to be lower than 50 percent. Otherwise, the moisture can encourage mold growth.

If necessary, add a dehumidifier as a tool 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. It can continue to ensure that 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 especially close attention to the bathroom, kitchen, and basement. These areas often lack the proper 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. If your air ducts contain mold or have accumulated a lot of dirt and grime, a professional duct cleaning service is worth every penny. 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 at cleaning them either. Hire a licensed National Air Duct Cleaning Association certified professional to perform the cleaning instead. 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, both 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.

Try to avoid fancy landscaping in the outside area around the HVAC unit, too. Trees around the unit can provide some shade, as long as they don’t block airflow. Otherwise, the best practice is simply keeping the grass mowed and clear of the unit. 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 that are 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 you and your children.

Replace Old Units

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

Finally, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning today for any questions you may have about a new heating and cooling system. We can offer advice on improving the air quality in your home 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.

If you find that you’re outside of our service area, then, by all means, contact one of our many friends in the HVAC industry like Done Plumbing & Heating. Done provides a variety of Denver heating, cooling, plumbing, and other related services for the people of Colorado. If you have the opportunity to work with them, we know they’ll live up to their stellar reputation.

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 basic 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 for your system. 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 of the dangers of failing to meet your system’s maintenance needs.

Thankfully, it is easy to schedule regular maintenance with qualified professionals 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 that you’ve protected your system from a large portion of the issues that furnaces experience most often. 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 is sure to sustain a higher level of performance throughout its lifetime. More importantly, you’ll be sure to 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 the outbreak of a fire or the venting of carbon monoxide into your home. That is unless it receives monthly maintenance. When you have a professional HVAC company maintain 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 issue 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 practically guaranteed to lose some of its energy efficiency over time. However, you can minimize the effect that years of operation have on your system’s efficiency by using a maintenance service.

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. An efficient furnace uses less energy to maintain temperatures than one with dirty filters or other issues. This 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 for it whatsoever. However, in this scenario, your furnace would live a very short life. Not only would that force you to replace your furnace regularly, but it would put your entire property at risk!

However, you can avoid all of that if your system receives regular maintenance from a professional HVAC technician. Furnace maintenance not only preserves your system but also 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!

For our friends to the east of our service area, we recommend the services of Done Plumbing & Heating when you need help with furnace maintenance. Done has provided HVAC services to Colorado for years, but specializes in Denver heating services. As such, they help the greater Denver area whenever it needs help maintaining furnaces.

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 mode to heating mode.

As you make this transition in your own 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 of the same components for heating and cooling, with a thermostat regulating the air temperature and ducts distributing either warmed or cooled air throughout the rooms. However, most HVAC systems get their cooling power through electricity and their heat through natural gas.

When you set your HVAC system to air conditioning mode, an electrically powered compressor turns hot refrigerant gas into a cold liquid very quickly. As this cold liquid passes through coils, the air surrounding them becomes cool and dry. A fan then 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 that you should switch back and forth 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, if your heater has a blower motor, the heat exchanger can overheat and fail. A dirty flame sensor can prevent the furnace from igniting. And 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 mode to heating mode as effectively as possible. Contact us today to schedule a seasonal inspection or schedule any needed repair services.

Is Your Furnace Worth Repairing?

With the average furnace costing thousands of dollars once you factor in parts and installation, most homeowners consider their furnaces a costly investment. In that light, it makes sense to hold on to your heating system for as long as you can. 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 also help you decide between a furnace repair and a complete replacement. If you’re at a crossroads when it comes to your furnace’s future, ask yourself the questions listed below.

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 to no effort or investment to fix. 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 cost of repair 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 cost 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 other choice except to replace the furnace altogether.

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 service 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.
  • If your furnace is just a few years old, don’t worry about replacement. 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, then get ready for a complete furnace replacement.

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

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 living in dread of the next breakdown or scrambling to cover yet another repair bill, you’ll rest easier and have greater peace of mind with a brand-new furnace.

Is Your Furnace Right for Your Home?

Recent home 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 extra strain on 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 a necessity.

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 make full, efficient use of the new tech.

If your furnace was oversized or undersized from the start, now is the time to choose a 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.

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