Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Category: Heating

Heat Pump Problems

The heat pump is becoming a more and more popular option among homeowners in the market for new HVAC systems. It is not hard to understand why, considering heat pumps can function as effective air conditioners and also as highly efficient heating systems. What is a bit harder to understand for some users, however, is how this is even possible. The answer is that a heat pump is able to reverse its refrigeration cycle.

Because the refrigerant in these systems serves such an important purpose in both the heating and cooling process, it should be obvious that any issues with the refrigerant in the system are a serious problem. Refrigerant is not consumed by a heat pump, but rather operates in a closed loop and is just cycled through the system over and over. That means that low refrigerant levels indicate a leak, and that could spell big trouble for your heat pump in Loveland, CO.

 

How the Refrigerant Cycle Works

Refrigerant is such a great heat transfer fluid because it changes with ease from a liquid to a gas and back again. When cooling a home, refrigerant is evaporated in the indoor or evaporator coil. In a central AC this coil always performs this function, but heat pumps are able to flip the operation. As the refrigerant evaporates it absorbs heat from the air passing over the coil. Then it heads outdoors.

There, in the condenser coil, the refrigerant is condensed. This allows it to release its heat. The process is simply repeated over and over until the desired temperature is met. A heat pump can reverse the direction the refrigerant flows in, evaporating it outdoors and compressing it in order to heat a home. The warm refrigerant is then condensed in the indoor coil, which allows it to release its heat for use throughout the house.

Spotting Refrigerant Leaks

Have you noticed that your energy costs are starting to spike even though you haven’t been using your system any more than is normal? Is it taking longer and longer for your heat pump to adjust temperatures to the desired level, causing it to work much harder than it should have to? Is your system running in short bursts, overheating and short cycling? If so, then you may well have a refrigerant leak.

You may actually be able to hear refrigerant escaping from your refrigerant lines, as the pressurized gas can cause a hissing sound as it escapes the system. In the winter, your heat pump may ice over if refrigerant is low as well, and you may simply not be comfortable in your home.

Forcing your heat pump to run with a low refrigerant charge does not just result in decreased comfort and increased usage costs. It can also result in irreparable damage to the compressor. In that event, you’re likely going to be looking at a full replacement. If you suspect that you have a refrigerant leak, contact Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning right away.

Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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common furnace problemsModern heating systems are, generally speaking, reliable. Furnaces have been around for a long time, and manufacturers have had decades to work out their kinks and issues. As reliable as a furnace is—particularly when professionally installed and routinely maintained—it can never operate at 100% perfection. At some point, a furnace will run into trouble of some kind. When this happens to your furnace, you need to act quickly to prevent unnecessary damage to the system.

A bit of information goes a long way helping you spot the signs furnace repairs are necessary. We’ve covered such signs in previous posts. Today, we’re focusing on the more common furnace problems and what they may mean. If you come across any of these problems with your furnace in Red Feather Lakes, CO, call us right away. The sooner we repair your furnace, the better off it—and your comfort—will be.

 

Low Airflow

Is your furnace pumping out heated air, but at a lower than usual airflow rate? If so, you could have problems with your fan that are rendering your furnace less powerful. You may also have a clogged air filter, which can restrict airflow throughout the system. That’s a problem that you can resolve on your own by changing the filter.  If the low airflow seems to be an issue in just one area of the house, it is possible that the ductwork servicing that area may be compromised.

Short Cycling

This is an issue in which your heater will start up just fine, but run only briefly before cycling back down. In heat pump systems, this could be the result of a refrigerant leak, which is a very serious problem. In terms of your furnace,  though, it could again be something as simple as a dirty air filter. We’re always reminding our clients how important it is to change the filter as needed.

You could also have an oversized heater that adjusts temperatures too rapidly, which is more of a problem than it may sound. A faulty thermostat may be registering temperatures wrong and telling the system to shut down. Or,  it could be that the thermocouple is not sensing safe combustion temperatures, and the system is being shut down as a result.

Strange Sounds

We often receive calls about furnaces that are too noisy. Furnaces are not going to be silent when running, and, depending upon the layout of your home and the location of the furnace, you may hear it cycle on, or notice the sound of air moving through ducts.

Grinding, screeching, and banging sounds, however, are not normal. Don’t ignore them. Doing so can put your system at risk for damage. You may have worn belts, loose components, or an unbalanced blower wheel.

So there you have it. Three common problems, with a multitude of potential causes. That is why having the problem diagnosed by a trained professional is just as important as having it resolved by one.

Big enough to serve, small enough to care. That’s the Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning promise.

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 Prompt Heating Repair

If your heater were to break down entirely, then chances are that you would not hesitate to contact a professional HVAC repair technician to come out and get it back up and running. After all, our winter weather can be very, very cold here in Colorado, and a broken down heater is a serious issue. However, we would also suggest that you should never wait for your heater to break down completely before scheduling repairs.

In many, though not all, cases, your heater is going to give you some warning signs that trouble is brewing. It is always in your best interest to take heed of these warning signs and to schedule prompt heating repair in Masonville, CO. The benefits of tackling these problems as early as possible far outweigh any perceived “benefits” of waiting for the problem to progress. Here are a few of the ways in which prompt heating repair can benefit you, your comfort, and your heater itself.

 

Save Money

How does scheduling a service that you need to pay for wind up saving you money, you may be wondering? Well, the fact is that it will cost some money to have an ailing heater repaired. Another fact is that the worse off your heating system is, the more money it will likely cost to repair it. If you want to get your heater back on track before relatively manageable problems have a chance to get much worse, then it is definitely in your best interest to have repairs completed as soon as possible. Of course, prompt repairs don’t just fend off further damages. They can help you to save money in another important way, too.

Save Efficiency

The efficiency with which your heating system works is far too important a factor to take any chances with. That is why a heater that is still up and running decently just isn’t enough. The fact that your heater is operational does not mean that it is operating at peak efficiency levels, and that definitely is not the case if you are ignoring operational issues just because your heater has not broken down entirely yet. Don’t pay more than you should you have to in order to keep your home comfortable this winter. Instead, schedule your heating repairs the moment that you notice something has gone wrong.

Save Your System!

Perhaps the greatest benefit of prompt heating repairs is the fact that they can help to prevent potentially catastrophic damages with your system. At a certain point, any heater can suffer enough damages to justify the replacement of the heater, even if that time comes well before the end of the system’s projected lifespan. We believe that you deserve to enjoy the best performance possible from your heater for the longest amount of time, and that is just another reason why prompt heating repairs are so vital. Contact us with any concerns you may have.

Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning is big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Furnace Installation

If you are thinking about installing a furnace in Loveland, CO, then you are already on a path toward great comfort! Furnaces have the potential to heat homes efficiently and reliably. However, this potential can only be fulfilled when that system is carefully chosen, designed for, and installed in your home. If you are serious about getting the best performance that your furnace has to offer, then it is important to take a few facts into consideration.

Our team wants you to get the most from your furnace, which is why we’re happy to use today’s post in order to help you focus on these facts. We are also happy to answer any questions you may have, so be sure to call our number and ask away. It gets far too cold for too long in this part of the country to take any chances with the overall performance of your new home heating system. 

Gas or Electric?

Natural gas is a great fuel source, and it is the preferred fuel of many homeowners when it comes to their ovens, water heaters, and, yes, furnaces. In order to use natural gas, however, you must have access to a gas line and you must have the hookups required for piping that gas safely to your appliances. If you don’t have access to natural gas, or if you just don’t want to pipe it into your home, you may consider the use of an electric furnace.

Electric furnaces are reliable, and they can heat air as effectively as a gas furnace. Because the cost of electricity is relatively high when compared to that of natural gas, though, using an electric furnace does typically cost more than it would to heat your home with natural gas.

Energy Efficiency

You should definitely look carefully at the energy efficiency rating given to your furnace. Furnace efficiency is measured with an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating. The higher the number, the more efficient the system. Because electric furnaces don’t lose any heat to flue gases, they tend to work near 100% efficiency.

That’s great and means that you’re really getting your money’s worth out of the electricity that you’re paying for, but the issue of cost associated with electricity raised above still means that, more efficient or not, electric furnaces may cost more to run. It is not the only factor to consider, but it is one to keep in mind.

Sizing

When it comes to a furnace, bigger is not always better. You obviously are not going to want to invest in a furnace that is too small to heat your home effectively. However, an oversized furnace is no better than an undersized one. You’ll be paying for a heating capacity that you’ll never need, and you’ll wind up with a system that short-cycles as it adjusts temperatures too rapidly. There is a perfect furnace for you out there, and we want to help you find it.

AtFort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning, we’re big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Need Heating Repair

Winter in Colorado is something that a lot of residents look forward to all year long. Whether you’re excited about hitting the slopes or you want to get out on the ice for some winter fishing, there’s a lot to enjoy around here during this part of the year. Of course, it is a lot easier to get out and enjoy the winter weather when you know that you have a warm, comfortable home waiting for you at the end of the day.

That is why having a quality heating system is so important. Unfortunately, having a quality heating system in your home does not mean it will always function 100% reliably. No mechanical system can truly make that claim. Because it is always going to be better for you to schedule any necessary heating repairs in Loveland, CO as soon as possible, we’d like to share some tips with you for spotting signs of trouble early on.

 

Watch Your Utility Costs

If your gas or electricity bills really start to spike when you’re running your heater, you may want to compare them to those of previous seasons. Obviously, you are going to be paying more for such utilities once you put your heater into action for the year. However, you should not be seeing spikes that cannot be explained by regular usage.

Just about any problem with your heater will negatively affect its efficiency. Sometimes, the solution to the problem may be as simple as changing a dirty air filter. In other cases, you may need actual repairs to get your heater back on track and functioning efficiently. We’ll diagnose the problem and resolve it.

Feel for Cold Spots

There are a lot of different reasons as to why your home may develop cold spots. First of all, you may have issues with air leaks and/or subpar insulation in your home. These will need to be located and resolved by trained professionals. However, these cold spots could also be the result of problems with your heating system itself.

An undersized system may result in cold spots in those areas of your home farthest from the system. You may also have leaky ductwork running to an area of your home, in which case you’ll experience hot spots in the summer season, as well. Professional installation by an experienced technician will help you to avoid sizing issues. We also offer professional duct sealing services.

Listen for Strange Sounds

Depending upon the location of your heating system in your home, you may hear some noise as it kicks on or as air starts moving through the ducts. There are a lot of sounds that you also should not be hearing from your system, though. These include screeching and grinding sounds, as well as loud banging, clanging, or booming sounds.

We are more than capable of handling just about any heating repairs that you may need. Before we can do so, though, we’ll need you to alert us to the problem to begin with. A bit of attention paid to these warning indicators will give you the information that you need to do so.

Big enough to serve, small enough to care. That’s the Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning way.

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Furnace Repair Needs

Your furnace is really going to be put to the test during our long, cold heating season. While there is no way in which any furnace can truly be 100% reliable, there are certainly steps that you can take to help avoid any problems developing with your furnace. Do not overlook simple practices that can help to minimize the occurrence and severity of trouble with your furnace. Today, our team has put together a few tips for you to keep in mind.

The best thing that you can do for your furnace once you come to realize that a problem has indeed developed is to schedule prompt, professional furnace repairs. The longer that you wait before doing so, the worse off your furnace problems are likely to be. Once issues manifest,  you should never, ever attempt to fix them on your own. Preventive measures are one thing, but actual furnace repairs in Windsor, CO really need to be handled by experienced professionals.

 

Maintain a Clear, Clean Space Around the Furnace

It does not matter who made your furnace or how well it was installed, allowing clutter and debris to build up on and around the unit is going to increase the risk of problems developing with your furnace. For its sake, as well as your own safety,  you are want to maintain a clear barrier around the furnace cabinet.

When dust and dirt build up around the furnace, those materials can wind up being pulled into the system and building up on integral components within. When that happens, the furnace may be overstrained, and operational problems can develop. Never stack items on or around the furnace, no matter how tight storage space in your home may be.

Change the Air Filter

There isn’t any visible dust blowing out of your air vents, so your furnace’s air filter must be in okay shape, right? Wrong. While a very dirty air filter may cause so much airflow resistance that air is forced around it, resulting in pollutants making their way into the ductwork, issues will start well before then.

Typically, these filters are going to need to be changed every 1–3 months. If they’re not changed frequently enough, they will clog up. That leads to reduced efficiency, excess strain on the system, and eventually problems such as short cycling. Changing the air filter regularly is very simple, and very beneficial.

Schedule Routine Maintenance

If you have visited this blog or read through our website before, then you probably saw this one coming from a mile away. There is nothing—nothing—that you can do for your furnace that is more beneficial than scheduling routine maintenance. It’s just that simple.

Our technicians will thoroughly inspect your furnace, going over the system as a whole with a fine-toothed comb. We’ll tune it up meticulously, ensuring that every component of the system is able to pull its own weight in order to benefit the system at large as much as possible. We’ll also keep an eye out for problems in the early stages of development, resolving them before damage can be done.

Schedule your furnace services withFort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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HVAC Efficiency Tips

Our Loveland, CO HVAC technicians are here to help you get the most from your heating system. It can get extremely cold for long stretches here in Colorado during the winter, and guaranteeing that your heater is in prime working condition should definitely be a top priority. But you don’t just want to heat your home effectively. You want to do so in an efficient manner as well, right? Today, we are going to focus our post on ways in which to improve HVAC efficiency this winter.

While investing in a brand new HVAC system with a high energy efficiency rating is obviously going to get you some great results, doing so comes at a considerable expense. That is why we want to cover some of the simpler ways in which to improve the efficiency with which you heat your home without replacing the entire system. Read on, and be sure to contact a member of our team if you have any questions or if you want to schedule any HVAC services.

Take Advantage of Natural Heat Gain

When you leave the house in the morning, or if you are at home on the weekend, make sure that you don’t forget to draw the curtains back and let the sun in. It sounds simple, and it is. However, allowing heat to enter into your home naturally through this type of solar heat gain is a very efficient–free, actually–way to take some of the strain off of your home heating system. A bit of glare on the TV is probably worth the benefits of warming up your home with some much-needed sunshine in the winter season, don’t you think?

Upgrade That Old Thermostat

We said that you don’t have to replace your entire HVAC system to enjoy better heating efficiency. What about simply upgrading your thermostat, however? If you are using a manual thermostat with dial or slide controls, upgrading to a digital thermostat can give you more accurate control over temperature settings, and that can help you to reign in heating costs a bit.

For further savings, however, you should consider the use of a programmable thermostat. That way, you won’t have to decide between fully heating an empty house all day long, or coming home to an uncomfortably cold environment. A programmable thermostat can be programmed around your own personal schedule. Smart thermostats take things even further, and we can determine if one can be integrated into your existing HVAC system.

Schedule Routine Maintenance!

Yeah, yeah. We’ve said it before. Many times. But we’re going to keep saying it: scheduling routine heating maintenance is far and away the best thing that you can do for your home heating system. Not only does routine heating maintenance keep repair needs at bay while helping you to live more comfortably, it also keeps your heater working at peak efficiency levels. You don’t have to drain the budget just to live in the level of comfort that you deserve!

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Heating Problems

The warm, sunny days stuck around for a good stretch this year, and we still have some pleasant weather to enjoy. But you’ve no doubt noticed how chilly it is getting at night, and the days are cooling off, too. The air conditioning season is behind us once more, and you are going to be depending upon your heater more and more for the next few months. Make sure that your heater is up to the challenge.

The best way in which to do so is, of course, with routine heating maintenance. Even the best heaters will run into trouble from time to time, though, regardless of how well-maintained they are. When that happens, it is always in your best interest to have the problem resolved as soon as possible. Here are a few common heating problems that you may run into. If and when you do, be sure to let the pros on our team handle your heating repairs in Masonville, CO.

 

The Heater Is Blowing Cool Air

Aside from a heater that will not start up at all, this is about as obvious as a problem with your heating system can get. If your heater is blowing cool air from its vents, there are a number of different problems that you may be experiencing. In fact, this is true of many heating problems. That is why a professional diagnosis is so important.

If the air throughout your house is cool, then it is possible that the heater is only running the fan. This may be a mistake in thermostat settings, or it could be a malfunction. If it’s the latter, we’ll make sure that your heater is generating sufficient heat once more as soon as possible.

The Heater Is Making Strange Sounds

Chances are that you hear noise of some sort coming from your heater, from the whoosh of air through the ductwork to the hiss of steam boilers to clicking sounds as the furnace cools down. However, you may also hear new noises, or noises that are much louder than usual. If this is the case, then you may require professional heating repairs.

The worst thing that you can do in the event of strange sounds coming from your heater is to ignore the problem just because the heater is still, well, heating. Just because your heater is running does not mean that all is well. It is only a matter of time before you learn that the hard way if you run into strange sounds with your system.

The Heater Keeps Shutting Down

If your heater is starting up but then shutting down again very quickly, it is short-cycling. This wastes energy and winds up costing you more money for a lesser performance from your heater. Let us know if your system is short-cycling right away.

It could be the result of something as simple as a dirty air filter increasing airflow resistance to the point the system overheats. You may also have a refrigerant leak in a heat pump, though. The best way to ensure that the right problem is resolved the right way is to hire our team for the job!

Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning is big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Heating Maintenance

We wouldn’t bother writing an entire blog post on the subject if the answer were “yes,” would we? If you’ve been to this blog before–and we do hope that you’ve taken in some of the information and tips to be found here–then you know that we are huge advocates for annual heating maintenance. You may also know that it’s not so much about the timing of the maintenance within the calendar year, as much as it is that it happens once during the year.

With that in mind, no, it is not even remotely too early for heating maintenance in Loveland, CO. Daytime temperatures are beginning a decline into the 70s, and on the lower end of that range in the days to come. Nighttime temperatures, meanwhile, are dropping into the 40s and even the 30s! You may be turning to your heating system before you know it, and it is best to have it ready for action when that time comes.

Make Sure Your Heater Is Running Reliably

Imagine that you’re a marathon runner (if you’re not in real life, that is; if you are, feel free to skip this step). You train and train, complete your marathon, and then take some well-deserved time off. Now, would you just jump right back into a marathon without getting yourself back into that level of shape again, regardless of how well you performed in the previous marathon? Of course not!

Just because your heater made it through the last heating season successfully does not mean that it is going to do just fine being thrown into another one. Remember, not all issues with your heater are going to result in it breaking down. If you allow the wear and tear on your heater to stack up, though, that is a real possibility over time.

Heat Your Home Affordably

Now, routine heating maintenance is not somehow going to make your heater more efficient than its efficiency rating allows for. What it will do, however, is keep your heater working at or as close to its peak efficiency level as possible. Even if your heater is effectively heating your home, it may be costing you more to run it than it should.

Problems like insufficient lubrication and loose components may not be something that you’d immediately realize. They are the types of issues that can result in reduced energy efficiency, however. Scheduling annual maintenance will allow your heater to work not only as effectively, but also as efficiently, as it can.

Maintain a Good Lifespan

Every time a homeowner pushes a heater through another season of service without the maintenance that it needs, they are effectively shaving some time off that system’s lifespan. No heater is going to last forever, obviously. There is no mechanical system out there that can make that claim. With an annual heating tune-up each and every year, though, you can make sure that your heater gives you the best it can for as long as it can.

Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning: Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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Heating Tune-Up

Chances are that, if you have perused our site or read our blog before, you’ve noticed that we really like singing the virtues of annual heater maintenance in Loveland, CO. We are not always suggesting this service and reminding our clients’ of its importance to line our pockets. We’d make much more money doing constant repairs and replacements if that’s what we wanted. No, we like to remind our clients about routine maintenance simply because it is in their best interest.

If you have any doubts about why routine heating maintenance is so important, or if you’ve just always wondered what actually goes on during this service, then today’s post is for you! Read on, and be sure to let the professionals on our staff complete your heating tune-up. That way, you’ll have no doubt about the job being done right every time, and every step of the way. When we get your heater ready for the winter season, you’ll be able to enjoy the comfort that you deserve. 

What You Can (and Cannot) Do On Your Own

Okay, let us start this off by saying that this is absolutely not intended to be a DIY guide. There is no way in which you can hope to successfully tune up your heating system on your own. All that we are doing here is pulling back the curtain a bit so that you can understand just how involved and nuanced a true heating tune-up really is.

That being said, we’ll also take a moment to remind you that there is, in fact, an incredibly important maintenance task that you can and should handle on your own. This is the regular cleaning or replacing of the air filter. Typically, this standard filter will need to be changed every 1–3 months. It is simple to do, but can have major benefits for your system. It should not be left for a once a year maintenance visit.

What We’ll Do

Now, the exact steps taken during a routine maintenance service are going to vary a bit from system to system. A boiler will require different checks and adjustments than a heat pump, after all. That being said, here is a general guide of what a heating tune-up looks like:

  • Clean/inspect the blower assembly in the indoor unit.
  • Inspect ignition systems.
  • Inspect flue/ventilation.
  • Check all electrical components and contacts.
  • Inspect and clean outdoor units as applicable (heat pumps).
  • Test starting and running capability.
  • Check thermostat.
  • Check gas pressure.
  • Inspect/clean burners.
  • Test voltage/amperage.
  • Listen for abnormal sounds/monitor of strange odors while running.

And much, much more. From ruling out refrigerant leaks in heat pumps to changing out the aforementioned air filter in all forced-air heating systems, there is a lot for our technicians to cover during your maintenance service. When it comes to ensuring that your heater is functioning at peak performance, efficiency, and safety levels, there is really no such thing as being too careful.

Schedule your heating services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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