Month: April 2019

Helpful Tips For When You’re Looking To Replace Your Houston HVAC System

3 Quick Tips To Keep In Mind When Replacing Your HVAC System In Houston

While there are several factors you need to consider when choosing an HVAC system, the process is not that complicated. What matters is picking the right HVAC because such an investment is not one that you will make regularly. As such, you should be familiar with what’s available in the market, the efficiencies of the different HVAC, their maintenance or repair demands, and price ranges.

We always emphasize on the need to call us and schedule an appointment for your heating and cooling systems to be examined by an expert. But even before you do this, you need to be aware of a few things that you should do so that make an informed choice when discussing with our technicians. It is more fun and way better to be informed before you handle matters or topics you are less conversant with.

1. Review the HVAC system types.

Some of the HVAC systems available include the duct-free split system, geothermal systems, split systems, and the hybrid heat split systems among others. Go over these to know as much as you can about them and be in a position to make an informed choice. You can also review the videos you find to have some practical knowledge or the workings of the HVAC systems.

When armed with such data, you will be in a position to have a lively and informed discussion with the HVAC technician about various issues such as the SEER rating, heat pumps, geothermal systems, and the recommended tonnage.

2. Make the smart choice, consider a smart thermostat

Most of the electrical tech available today is automated, and now is the best time to consider investing in the latest HVAC systems. It is about time that you automated the operations of heating and cooling in your home or office. Gone are the days of having to stand around as you click on buttons trying to program HVAC systems and having to reset them.

With the latest tech, you not only have it easy, but you also get to save money and energy. If what you have in your home is yesterday’s technology that is not yet obsolete, it soon will be, and there is no need to wait until such a time. Make the right investment today and start saving energy, time, and money. Moreover, the current HVAC look amazing and will be an addition to your home or office that will impress all that you welcome.

3. Maintenance plans are worth the money.

Would you buy that dream car and fail to check and change the oil or have it serviced? If not, then the same applies to your new HVAC. We know that some of the “specialists” out there will not be quick to recommend maintenance plans. Such a move would only see you planning to have a system starts to malfunction and stop working no sooner than it has been installed.

Do not be fooled into believing that maintenance agreements are self-serving for the HVAC experts. Such plans are customer-serving, designed to keep your HVAC units running smoothly. For us, they make work easier when we come to inspect the system and show that we are the guys to call for matters related to heating and cooling systems.

Find out more by visiting some related articles on our blog. Contact us or give us a call today for more information.

How To Troubleshoot Your Furnace Before Calling A Houston Heater Company

Troubleshooting Your Furnace: 4 Quick Fixes To Try Before You Call A Professional AC Man In Houston

Would you want to spend $100 and then be told the obvious? You wouldn’t?

We didn’t think so. However, that is what frequently occurs when homeowners in Houston call us about furnace repair. The “problem” is often caused by a minor problem that could have been repaired, which could save themselves the expense of a service call.

If your furnace is not working the way that it should be, wait on the service call. First, try out the following 4 simple troubleshooting tasks. If they do not fix the problem, then call us for assistance.

1. Check The Thermostat For Problems

Is your furnace not turning on? First, check your thermostat and then do the following tasks:

  • Make sure that your thermostat is set on “heat” and not on “cool”
  • Also, be sure the thermostat is turned 5 degrees higher at least than the room temperature is.
  • Replace the battery on the thermostat
  • Open up the thermostat and blow out any accumulated dirt or dust. If your furnace is sometimes blowing cool air, you should check your thermostat fan setting in order to be sure it is on “auto” and not “on.” A furnace’s “on” setting” causes the blower to run continuously even when the air is not being heated by the furnace.

2. Check Your Furnace Filter

Is the furnace randomly shutting down? Does it run for long periods of time and seem to not heat your house? Is it weak air coming out of the vents? If so, then the furnace filter may be dirty.

When your system has a dirty furnace filter it restricts the airflow over the heat exchanger over the furnace, which can cause a number of different problems:

  • The heat exchanger overheats and then shuts down.
  • Soot may accumulate on the heat exchanger, which reduces the efficiency of your furnace. This reduces airflow that comes out of the vents. Which means that the furnace is operating, but you are never comfortable.

The owner’s manual for your furnace should show where the filter is and direction on how to replace it. Your filter should be checked once a month at least and then change it, as necessary. So when is a filter considered to be “too dirty” for you to keep? Hold your filter up to a light. If you are unable to clearly see any light coming through, then replace the filter.

3. Check The Shutoff Switches & Circuit Breakers

Is your furnace refusing to turn on no matter what the temperature has been set to? It might be turned on. The following are a couple of places to check:

  • Standard wall switch close to the furnace. It may look like a regular light switch.
  • Circuit breaker panel. Search for the switch that has a furnace label close to it. When the switch is in the center position, that means it is tripped. Turn the switch to “off” and then “on.” If that results in the circuit breaker tripping again, then you have another problem that needs to be fixed (such as having to replace the air filter.)
  • The front panel that covers the blower. Be sure the panel is shut closed all of the way. Under the panel is a switch that must be depressed in order for your furnace to work.

4. Open Up Any Air Vents That Are Closed

Homeowners frequently close the air vents in the rooms they are not using in order to save money.

However, when vents are closed in any room it actually causes the opposite to occur: it actually wastes money – and may also cause your furnace to shut off.

How?

The size of your furnace is designed for heating up your whole house, including unused rooms. Closing vents will not reduce how much air is pushed out by the blower. It only increases the pressure inside the air duct system.

(Picture yourself attempting to run while breathing with just one nostril. You are still attempting to move around the same amount of air, but there is a lot more pressure that travels through only one nostril.)

The added pressure within the duct system can cause several of the problems that you might be experiencing:

Less comfortable – A majority of houses have air duct leaks, that allows for the escape of conditioned air. Extra air pressure inside of the ducts pushes out more air through the leaks – or creates even more air leaks. This means that less air is getting into certain parts of your house.

Furnace continues to shut down – The added pressure causes your blower to work at lower speeds. That decreases the air over your heat exchanger, which cause it to overheat and then shut down. That is like you have a dirty air filter.

Call or contact us today for more information.

Heat Pump Or Gas Furnace?

Should Houston Homeowners Get A Heat Pump Or Gas Furnace?

Houston homeowners often wind up asking the same question if they need to replace their home’s heating and cooling system. Should they get a heat pump, or should they get an air conditioner and furnace system?

There is a good rule of thumb to use when choosing between a heat pump or a more conventional AC/furnace combo:

If you live somewhere really warm, like Houston, that has electricity cheaper than gas, then seriously consider a heat pump. On the other hand, if your location has sub-freezing temperatures in winter and your electricity costs more than gas, use a combination of a furnace and air conditioner. Simple enough, right? Your utility rates and local climate should determine just which HVAC system is going to be your best bet.

We’ll go into why each of these factors matters as well as how they apply to Houston homeowners.

Why Climate Matters

To know why climate is so decisive as a factor, it’s important to first understand how heat pumps work.

The following is a simple explanation:

In the summertime, a heat pump will work like an air conditioner does, as it uses refrigerant to actually absorb the heat of your home’s air before moving it outside. In wintertime, it does the reverse, as it extracts heat from the air outside to move into the home. That’s different from gas furnaces that produce heat by burning fuel. So this is the point where climate factors in. If the weather goes below 40F, a heat pump isn’t able to heat a home up to the temperature setting the thermostat is at. So, it would have to have a backup heating system that can kick in and help out.

A gas furnace.

A gas furnace is certainly more efficient than an electric coil. As such, a lot of homeowners choose to pair up their heat pump with a gas furnace in order to have a ‘dual-fuel heating system’. Now, you might be thinking why would you get a heat pump and a furnace when you can just opt for an air conditioner and a furnace? The answer comes from how often a heat pump needs to rely on its backup heating system. In most of Houston, a heat pump only needs to rely on its backup gas furnace for only a very few winter days that get really truly cold. So, even though a heat pump/furnace combo might cost a bit more in advance than an AC/furnace combo, your utility rates could be lower across the calendar with the former over the latter. We are certainly implying that the heating rate of a heat pump doesn’t cost as much as a furnace’s. That topic is covered in the next section.

Why Electric Vs Gas Rates Are Deciding Factors

Heat pumps and air conditioners have similar cooling efficiencies. A 13 SEER heat pump will cool just as efficiently as a 13 SEER AC unit. That should simplify a few things for you. So, your only necessary comparison is the cost of using a gas furnace as compared to a heat pump. In the end, everything comes down to how much electricity costs versus how much gas costs. Per Entergy, a heat pump might save you around $300 per year. That makes heat pumps the better heating option in Houston in terms of cost-efficiency.

Find A Reputable Houston HVAC Contractor

Regardless of the particular heating/cooling system you choose, the caliber of the installation has a huge influence on how much efficiency you’ll get. Per ENERGYSTAR, the estimated savings potential of a good installation will range from 18 percent up to 36 percent for air conditioners or heat pumps, but 11 percent to 18 percent for a furnace.

Should You Repair Or Replace That Old Furnace?

Use These 3 Factors To Decide Whether You Should Replace Or Repair Your Gas Furnace

It’s sad to hear that your furnace is no longer working as it should.

The hard part howev, however,ves making a choice between spending your money on repairs or a new replacement.

Keep the three essential factors listed below in mind when making this decision.

1. How Long Has The Furnace Been In Use?

If your furnace doesn’t have a long life ahead, you don’t want to be spending too much money on repairs. Before you decide, make a comparison between its average lifespan and its current age.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average lifespan of furnaces is estimated to be somewhere between 15 and 20 years.

If you don’t know how old your furnace is, use the following tips:

  • Inspect the unit for a year of installation. This information is written on furnaces by some installation technicians.
  • You need to switch off the furnace and give it some time to cool down before you conduct the inspection. Check for a metallic identification plate, normally on the chamber door of the furnace. Copy the serial and model numbers there. To get a specific date on when the furnace was manufactured, contact the manufacturer using their customer service number.
  • You don’t have to replace the furnace if you find out that it was made more than 20 years ago. With proper maintenance many, furnaces deliver reliable performance long after the 15 to 20-year useful life.

2. Replacement versus Repair Costs

Make a comparison of these two costs while considering the age of your furnace:

  • Furnace repair cost.
  • Furnace replacement cost.

Remember the following to ensure that you arrive at the correct repair cost, Seek numerous quotes.

To find out if you can save on repair costs by paying for labor and getting parts for free, remember to find out what the warranty covers and whether it is still has some time before it expires.

Replacement costs are determined by:

  • Your preferred furnace size
  • Your desired Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency level
  • Single or two-stage and type of blower
  • You might have to spend anything between 1,100 and 6,000 dollars on a new replacement.

As a rule of thumb, if the repair cost of your furnace is a third, or more, of the replacement cost and it has already been in use for two thirds, or more, of its useful life, you should seriously consider having it replaced.

For instance, it is better to replace your furnace, in the long term, if it has been in use for 15 years or more and requires an 800 dollar repair cost, versus a 2,400 dollar replacement cost.

3. Your Current Situation

The most important factor to consider is your current situation. Some situations and issues may relate to you:

  • Your available budget: Your budget, at present, may not allow you to spend big on a new furnace, making repairs your only option. However, if you really need a replacement but can’t afford it, consider seeking financing.
  • Huge energy Bills: If you are looking to start making savings on your energy bills, consider getting a replacement. Depending on the energy efficiency of the new furnace you stand to make savings ranging between 10 and 25 percent off your energy bills.
  • Your Expectations: You might be better off having your furnace replaced if you it always struggles to meet your expectations.
  • Frequency of Repairs: It is best that you replace an old furnace that is always in need of some sort of repairs, regardless of how much they cost.

Contact us now or call us today for more information!

HVAC Repair Specialists Troubleshoot Your Finicky Furnace

Furnace Blowing Cold Air: A Homeowner’s Troubleshooting Guide

Homeowners live in a huge range of climates, and every house is different. Turning on your furnace universal, though. No matter who you are or where you are, the last result you want is a blast of cold air.

What could be behind this sort of mechanical betrayal? Lots of things! There are many issues that can push down the temperature of the air your furnace emits, and some of them can be easily solved without professional assistance.

Before you get on the phone to your preferred HVAC experts, here are four solid pieces of furnace troubleshooting advice:

Check The FAN Setting On Your Thermostat

If your heating system seems to alternate between hot and cold air, the culprit might be a blower fan running full time.

Check your thermostat’s fan setting. If it’s turned to “ON,” your heating system’s blower will be running around the clock, whether or not your furnace is actually warming up the air in the system. This can easily produce chilly air currents at unwanted times.

To solve this problem, simply set the fan to “AUTO” on your thermostat. This will link the blower to the furnace so that it only pushes out air when the furnace is running.

Check The Air Filter Of Your Furnace

An old, dirty, clogged-up filter can cause your furnace to blow cold air.

This happens because your furnace relies on a steady flow of air over its heat exchanger. If that airflow is impeded by a clogged filter, an automatic filter may be shutting your burners off to prevent damage. Allowing the heat exchanger to get too hot could cause it to crack.

To fix this problem, check the furnace filter and replace it if it’s dirty. You’ll need to shut your furnace down (at the thermostat) first. Note that resetting the furnace may require professional assistance.

Check Your Pilot Light

In older-model furnaces, the burners need a standing pilot light to switch on. If the pilot light has been extinguished, the heating system won’t function.

You can relight your pilot with this simple procedure:

  1. Turn your furnace off.
    Switch your thermostat to the “OFF” position.
  2. Locate the plot light and reset switch.
    These pieces of equipment are usually at the bottom of the furnace. If you’re having trouble finding them, check your manual. The furnace reset switch is typically behind an access cover you’ll need to open. The switch will have three settings: PILOT, OFF, and ON.
  3. Set the reset switch to “OFF” and wait 5 minutes.
    This step shuts off the gas flow. You need to wait to let any remaining gas dissipate.
  4. Set the switch to “PILOT” and press it down.
    This restarts the gas flor to the pilot light.
  5. While holding the switch down, hold a lighter at the pilot opening.
    When the gas catches and the flame lights, you should see a steady blue flame. If it’s working properly, it should hit the furnace’s thermocouple (a small copper bar) right in the middle.
  6. Set the switch to “ON.”
    This will allow your furnace to function properly.
  7. Turn your furnace back on at your thermostat.
    Set the thermostat to “HEAT” again. Start with the temperature setting 5 degrees below your normal room temperature and check for hot air.

If Your Pilot Light Won’t Light Or Hold A Flame

If the pilot light isn’t functioning properly, you need professional help. The problem may be a broken thermocouple (which is a cheap, fast repair) or something more serious.

Check Your Condensate Line

If your home has a more modern, high-efficiency furnace, you may have a condensate line blockage. The blocked line will cause your furnace to shut down automatically. The telltale sign of a blockage is puddled water around the furnace.

High-efficiency furnaces produce water (the condensate) while they’re running. This has to drain out of the furnace, typically through a PVC pipe. If water can’t leave, it will trigger a kill switch and shut down the furnace so that the water can’t damage it.

Condensate lines can be blocked by dust, dirt, mold, or (if the line runs through an uninsulated area) ice. Your furnace may also suffer condensate overflow if its condensate pump breaks down. This is another problem that requires a professional fix.

You can use this in-depth Energy Vanguard tutorial to help you unclog a condensate line. If your line is being clogged with ice, use pipe insulation and heat tape to wrap it where it runs through unconditioned spaces.

Contact us now or call us today for more information!

Furnace Being Indecisive? AC Man Of Houston Can Help!

What Causes A Furnace To Turn Off And On Frequently

Short cycling is when a furnace stops and starts more often than it should. Your furnace can suffer a lot of damage if it’s short cycling. Not only that, but your utility bills can increase.

What Causes Short Cycling

Overheating can cause it. So can issues with the thermostat. Also, an over-sized furnace could be the reason. We’ll go into these in more depth and how you can take care of them.

Overheating

If your furnace is shutting down, then the exchanger could be the culprit. The furnace shuts itself down when the exchanger overheats. This is to protect it from cracking.

Eventually, the heat exchanger can crack. It is very expensive to replace an exchanger, and it is sometimes better to replace your entire furnace than replacing the exchanger. Unless you have a parts warranty, then you’ll want to consider replacing the furnace.

What Causes Overheating

A dirty air filter can cause the heat exchanger to overheat. What you should do is check the air filter 1-2 times per month. Make sure to change it if it looks dirty.

Blocked Off Air Vents

An exchanger can overheat if air vents are blocked off. When you close the vents or if they are blocked off, then the air ducts are subjected to more pressure and this can lead the blower not blowing out as much air as it should. When the airflow is low, then less heat is exchanged and this can lead to more heat to build up. If you want to fix this problem, then keep the vents open and do not block them.

Blocked Exhaust Vents

Certain gases gave to be exhausted, which your furnace does via its exhaust vents. However, there are a number of things that can block these vents, and this includes leaves, nests, and debris. This can lead to furnace overheating, which is dangerous. Furthermore, carbon monoxide could end up being released into your home.

Do you know where your furnace’s flue pipe is? If so, then inspect it to make sure nothing is clogging it up. Be careful if the vent is located on the roof.

Thermostat Issues

Thermostats let your furnace know when to turn on and when to turn off. If short cycling is happening, then the thermostat might be faulty. There are two common issues that affect thermostats, and this includes:

  1. Malfunctioning- A thermostat that malfunctions need to be replaced. It might be able to be repaired. A professional can help you out here.
  2. Improper Placement- The thermostat might be tricked into thinking your home is warm enough. This can happen if it’s installed near a heat register, direct sunlight, the kitchen or other heat sources. This is why you want to make sure the thermostat is installed in a proper place.

Oversized Furnace

Did you install a new furnace recently? If so, it might be too big. A furnace that’s too large can heat your home up very fast, but this can actually cause your energy bills to skyrocket.

What you need to do is contact the professional who installed your furnace. Tell them what the problem is. They should be able to correct the problem, such as reinstalling a furnace that is a suitable size for your home or they will offer another solution.

Contact us now or call us today for more information!

What Sort Of Questions Should You Be Asking Your Houston HVAC Repair Company

HVAC Questions That You Should Ask Your Service Provider (And The Answers You Should Get) Part 1

Do you trust that your contractor will answer the HVAC questions that you have honestly? When you are looking for an HVAC service provider to repair broken equipment, do preventative maintenance or install your new unit, we know you will have some questions that you need answers to. Over our many years in business, we have been able to figure out the top HVAC questions that people are wondering about but are not comfortable to ask. That might be due to the fact that you don’t think you will get an honest answer from a service provider who only wants to sell services to you.

So today we will be giving you honest answers to some of the toughest HVAC questions that people ask. AC Man of Houston is the Houston metro area’s biggest HVAC service provider. We have been providing these services for over 60 years. Therefore, we have plenty of information about everything we are telling you. So go ahead, ask your HVAC company these questions and find out if they give you the same answers that we are giving you today.

Reliable answers to the main 5 HVAC questions

1. How long is my new air conditioner expected to last?

A majority of light commercial systems have been built to last for approximately 15 to 20 years. However, there are various conditions that may shorten their life expectancy. When rooftop and outdoor units get exposed to salt air and smog, since they are in Houston, build-up and corrosion of debris may damage the parts. This is also true when it comes to corrosive chemical exposure as frequently occurs in manufacturing plants.

Probably the most common thing that causes the early demise of an air conditioner is neglect. Your system needs to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis to get the maximum life expectancy from them. that means twice per year at least (once before starting it up in the spring and then again in the fall when the system is shut down), you will need to have a certified HVAC professional to come out and tune up and thoroughly clean your air conditioner. Having an annual maintenance contract means you will receive the best price and get reminders.

2. Does it really pay off to spend money on maintenance on a regular basis?

As previously discussed, AC Man of Houston repairs and maintains thousands of HVAC systems each year (sometimes during the busy season it is every month) so our answer is based on our extensive experience. I promise that our customers who have a preventative maintenance contract, with well cared for equipment, experience few costly repairs and breakdowns compared to those who neglect replacing worn parts, tune-ups, and cleaning. Preventative maintenance not only helps you save money on repairs but also helps your equipment to last for a longer period of time.

It can also help save money on your energy bills also. When deposits and debris build up in your air conditioner’s fan blades, coils, and other parts, it results in the metal corroding, which can lead to refrigerant leaks and finally system failure. This results in a drain on your system, which forces it to constantly run to keep the area cool and to use more electricity during the process. If you clean the unit on a regular basis it will help to ensure that it runs at its optimal efficiency and will keep its parts in good condition in order to last longer.

3. Can Your Maintenance Staff Do HVAC Cleaning?

There are some cases where this is possible. If you have an air conditioner that has a heavy load, your cleaning crew could be able to dust the soils and remove debris from around the unit. However, you need to ensure that they do not use any liquids around the electrical components.

While this is possible, you will still need to have the system cleaned by a professional twice a year. Professionals have special chemical cleaners that will remove any scale and other buildup from the coils. They are also able to clean parts of the system that would be dangerous for the maintenance staff to work with including the fan blade.

Drain lines will also be kept clear by a professional cleaning and drip pants will be emptied to prevent mold. If you work with a certified HVAC technician, they will be able to check the electrical connections and refrigerant while inspecting the whole system for any wear. Potential signs of trouble will also be picked up by a professional and these are all tasks that you do not want to leave to the maintenance team.

4. Your Air Conditioning Unit Keeps Breaking Down, Should You Repair Or Replace?

There is no simple answer to this and you will need to take a number of factors into account when you make your decision. You need to consider how old the unit is. If it is older than 10 years, it would be better to replace the unit instead of repairing.

The maintenance that has been done on the unit is also important. If the system was regularly maintained, cleaned and serviced, you could probably keep it going for longer. This is particularly true if the parts are still in good condition.

What is broken will also need to be looked at. If you have a problem with the compressor or the coils ate leaking, you should replace because repairing will be expensive. If it is an electrical problem, you should consider repairing because this may be simple and inexpensive.

If your unit is using R22 refrigerant, you should look at replacing it. This refrigerant is being phased out by the EPA and you will need to replace the unit at some point.

5. How Can You Reduce The Expense Of The Air Conditioner In The Summer?

There are a number of ways that you can improve the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system. Some of these ways are easy such as replacing the filters and using a programmable thermostat. You should also ensure that all maintenance is being done including the cleaning of the coils and fan blade. This will keep your system running correctly and reduce energy waste.

You should also look at adjusting the temperature by a few degrees. You might be surprised at the amount that you can save by doing this. This is generally something that you should do when there are fewer people in the building.

Replacing your old system with a new one can also help you save money. A new unit will often use less electricity which enables it to pay for itself through your energy savings. If you know the SEER rating of your current unit, you will be able to calculate how much you can save. If the unit has a SEET rating of 8 to 10, a new unit with a rating of 18 will save you up to 50% on your energy bills.

How Do You Know You Can Trust Your HVAC Service Provider?

Unless you have worked with the provider for a number of years, it can be hard to determine if they are trustworthy. There are some companies that will show you what they are doing during their maintenance visits and this can help you trust them.

Contact us now or call us today for more information!