furnace repair - 6 ways to improve your lafayette IN. heating system
If you’ve ever had to deal with a furnace repair mess, you have an insight into a very special brand of frustration. Those bills can be high (we know), and sometimes quite frequent, especially if your system has been neglected or is nearing the end of its natural lifespan. At that point, sometimes it’s easy to start thinking about replacing the whole thing. However, that is not always the answer. There is actually quite a lot that can be done to improve a lackluster heating system. Through the judicious application of even more heating repair appointments, as well as some actionable items that can be taken by you, the homeowner, it’s possible to improve the efficiency and performance of your home’s furnace. First, a warning: If you’re one of those people who kicks the heater on when the temperature drops, kicks it off when the temperature soars, and hardly ever thinks about it otherwise, you’re probably headed for a rude awakening. In fact, a gambling man would put quite a lot of money down on the likelihood that something in your furnace is already in dire need of a repairman’s soothing touch. With winter looming in the not-so-distant future, and fall already reminding us that Indiana can get pretty chilly, it’s not a bad time for you to be thinking about getting a jump on your furnace’s needs. Otherwise, you might find yourself on the phone late one night, begging a heating repair technician to come save you from the bitter winter winds howling outside the door. Even if you’re the type of person who changes your filters religiously and reads the owner’s manual cover to cover, you’re probably missing a few simple tricks that could keep your furnace humming along efficiently well past the warranty expiration. If you’re very smart and a little lucky, you could also see a sharp reduction in your monthly energy costs. So what are these magic tasks? Surprise, surprise – they’re all things you’ve probably heard of, and dismissed as no big deal. Let’s go over them in a little detail. 1.Tune-Ups, the annual inspection, and preventive maintenance. Oh, yes. The elephant in the room is always preventive maintenance. It sounds silly to some people, particularly those who find themselves thinking “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That blue collar adage falls flat in the face of Benjamin Franklin’s much wiser, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” What old Benji was getting at was this: There are no small problems. Small problems are just Big Problem Seeds. They’re going to grow. They’re going to get worse. It’s going to cost you money. That ounce of prevention represents nipping those seeds … in the bud … Mixed and clumsy plant metaphors aside, an annual inspection will help your furnace repair contractor avoid missing a little problem, and then coming back at a later date to fix the big problem it causes. Lots of folks ask us questions like: Do you really need one every year?What do the furnace repair techs actually do during a tune-up?Could I do this myself?Is it worth it? To answer those in sequence: Every contractor, company, and manufacturer agrees – annual is essential. Most of the time, your warranty will even have a clause that says that improper maintenance can void the warranty. That doesn’t, by itself, mandate an annual tune-up, but it’s a great reason to think hard about having one. It’s a lot like having the oil changed in your car – if you wait too long to do it, stuff has a tendency to go wrong. The tune-up varies based on company, price, and lots of other stuff. Typically, it includes leak checks, visual inspection, filter checks, burner/ignition checks, cleaning and sprucing up of the drainage, blower wheel cleaning, amp-draw test, wiring checkup, and a host of other little things. More “complete” tune-ups exist; so do low quality tune-ups that are apt to miss important steps. It’s best to find a company you trust and stick with them. Yes, you could do it yourself. However, that assumes you have the knowledge to do so; unless you’re a repair technician or a very specialized sort of DIY superstar, you probably don’t. You could vacuum dust and soot out of your furnace and change filters, but the odds are good that the full range of tasks required are going to be slightly beyond the average homeowner’s capability. Is it worth it? Oh, absolutely. In every way. It’s actually an absurdly inexpensive service, in most cases. Mostly because preventive maintenance often costs an awful lot less than emergency maintenance. 2. Owner maintenance tasks: filters, radiators, and so on. Most houses are either using a forced-air system or a hot-water radiator. The latter are often found in older homes. In either case, your furnace repair contractor will let you know that those systems require a little personal attention from time to time. Particularly, this is true at the beginning of the cold season. If you’ve got radiators, you’ve got to “bleed” them; that is, let the air out of the system so they run efficiently without making funny noises. Start your system up, let it run for a bit, then open the radiator valves and let that air out. If you’ve got forced-air (most newer or updated homes), filters are the biggest part of owner maintenance. Follow manufacturer guidelines or the judgment of a heating repair professional, but once you know how often your home’s filters need changing, stick to that schedule like Krazy Glue. By the same token, be sure to keep blockages away from the return vent – typically the largest grille in the home, located relatively near the furnace. Airflow works both ways – if your system has trouble getting enough air in, it’s going to work too hard to get that air back out into your home. Not taking care of your furnace’s filter needs will eventually lead to serious problems. The first and most obvious will be a distinct reduction in air quality and airflow. Dirty filters provide a great deal more friction for air to get through. That, in turn, makes your blower motor work harder. Eventually, the extra work hits every part of the furnace, which can lead to reduced efficiency due to constant cycling on and off, overheating, or outright breakdown of the entire heating system. A dirty filter will also fail at its basic job – filtering out unwanted particulates from the air. If there are residents in the home with asthma or allergies, they’re going to be able to feel the difference in the air. Failing to handle these simple tasks will lead to a whole host of repeating problems, from short-cycling and overheating to wear-and-tear or premature breakdown. At the very least, it’s going to drastically reduce efficiency and take more money out of your accounts each month. 3. Efficiency is the silver bullet – and the key is making your system smarter. Alright, so you’re doing a decent job at replacing filters before they’re dirty, and you’ve got a standing annual appointment with a maintenance contractor to give your system a tune-up. Now you want to maximize how efficiently your system runs, and keep those ducts in your pocket where they belong. A smarter home system is a more efficient home system. Even if you don’t have a fancy multi-stage compressor furnace or some other ultra-high efficient heating superstar, you can make the most of what you do have by giving it a better brain. The Scarecrow method (Get It?) Programmable thermostats are better brains for your home. They’ve been around for a long time. Heck, maybe you already have one. However, the HVAC field is constantly evolving and a 2017 thermostat has capabilities that a 2010 thermostat couldn’t dream of matching. Programmable ‘stats are easy to install, and they avoid waste by only heating your home when it’s occupied and in need. Cheaper models need a little help with scheduling, but modern ones are often capable of a degree of self-improvement. Most new thermostats can also be controlled remotely through a smartphone. When shopping for a programmable thermostat, make sure you consider what you can and will actually use. If voice control through Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant doesn’t grab your attention, don’t spend the money on it. Do, however, give your furnace the best brain that you can. Oh, and as a side note: Please stop turning the heat up way too high to “heat the house faster.” That’s not how that works, at all. Your heater is either on, or it isn’t. 4. Moving air is your friend. Don’t turn your ceiling fans off once summer is over. On low settings, they’re fantastic at distributing heat. Every ceiling fan has a switch somewhere on the main body that reverses the direction of the turning blades. When they go in the reverse of their usual orientation, they blow air upward into the ceiling. That circulates air, but doesn’t cool things down. Hot air – which does that rising thing we learned in science class – will get blown down along the walls. It’ll warm things up a bit faster, and you’ll spend a bit less money as a result. Speaking of moving air … 5. Your ducts need attention, too. 9 out of 10 Lafayette IN. homes experience significant heat loss through the ducts. 9 out of 10! That’s crazy. It’s true though – ducts are often hidden from view, so it’s easy to forget that they might be developing leaks or cracks. Finding exposed ductwork and sealing all the joints with insulating tape is a great way to increase the efficiency of your system. However! Contrary to popular belief, duct tape is absolutely useless when it comes to actually sealing ducts. It has no insulating properties. Get the silver tape that’s actually intended for the job. You can also take the extreme route and have a furnace repair technician seal all of your ducts from within with a specialized aerosol. No matter which path you choose, the end result will be lower bills and a warmer home. Heat loss is at its worst in uninsulated spaces. In most Lafayette homes, that means attic, basement, and crawl space. While heat loss in living spaces exists, it’s not as damaging, because that warm air remains in the home. It may not be circulating ideally, but it’s still technically warming the home. In the case of crawl spaces and other uninsulated spaces, however, that warm air is simply being wasted, to the detriment of your comfort and your wallet. Some shocking news: When we talk about heat loss, we aren’t talking about a small number. It’s often as much as 20-30% of the total energy produced by the furnace. Between a fifth and a third of your utility bill could be leaking out into the cold. That does mean, by the by, that removing those uninsulated spaces (by insulating them, not by actually removing them) could also save you a great deal of money. Most contractors would be pretty open about the benefits of properly insulating and finishing your attic, for instance. Insulating those spaces, and your ductwork, is a home improvement that you can feel immediately, first in the form of a more comfortable and evenly heated home, and second in the form of lower utility costs every month. If you’re not sure how to go about insulating your ductwork, give us a call today – it’s one of the many things we know how to do very well. 6. Safety first, second, and third. Furnaces are usually in a basement or crawl space. It’s easy to forget sometimes that there is a constant fire burning in that thing. Keep flammables far away and keep the area free of obstructions so that intake and exhaust both function properly. Keep smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor and in every bedroom. Have any fireplaces professionally cleaned – and if you don’t use the fireplace, have it covered, because it’s sucking hot air right out of your house. Hopefully, these furnace repair Lafayette tips help you brave the winter cold while staying warm and cozy in your home! Questions? Call us today at 765-588-4400 for quick answers from our friendly staff!
furnace repair - Tips to avoid costly heating repair bills
To the average homeowner, furnaces aren’t exactly predictable. Why would they be? Think about it: It’s a machine with thousands of parts that cost thousands of dollars. In most homes, heating and cooling systems are the single largest investment and the largest contributor to monthly expenses. It’s the nature of something that large and complex to be … well, complicated. But that doesn’t mean you have to be caught off guard. We’re in the business of providing furnace repair, so it’s not like we’re trying to put ourselves out of business. But in our perfect world, our customers can avoid unnecessary repairs, and trust us to keep their systems running for years. It’s a win-win. Lafayette Indiana winters can get pretty cold. Other parts of the country might be colder (we’re looking at you, Alaska) or warmer, but we know a blizzard. The coldest night on record around here was a pretty terrifying -36 degrees. Could you imagine losing your heater on a night like that? We don’t want our customers to have those kinds of worries. Unfortunately, extended cold snaps are the time when our customers need us most, as their equipment works harder than usual to maintain a comfortable temperature. Not only can this lead to higher monthly bills, but it can lead to emergency heating repair, or leave you and your family in a dangerously cold situation. Keeping up with basic maintenance tasks is a great way to limit the risk factors facing you each winter. Avoiding those dreaded wee-hours calls to the 24-hour service line of your local furnace repair contractors means staying vigilant. The best part about maintenance is that it comes, most of the time, with a little foreknowledge. At the end of the day, it comes down to your bottom line, and we’re here to help. No one can guarantee that your furnace won’t bite the dust on you one day, or act up when you least expect it, but we can help you keep a weather eye out and avoid the costliest repairs. So: let’s dive in, shall we? Here are our suggestions for keeping your equipment on the up and up. Start by having the right equipment. That will make everything else a whole lot easier. We’ve had a lot of customers asking us to service heating systems from the dark ages (or at least the 1980s) and it baffles us. The technology has come so far since then that a newer, more efficient system could pay itself off in just a couple years. The monthly savings you could enjoy are, frankly, staggering. If you’re ever in a position to replace your heating system, make that opportunity count. A few factors to keep in mind. Go with the most efficient system you can reasonably afford. Minimum-efficiency furnaces today are already light-years ahead of the old stuff, but there’s a wide gulf between an economy model and a super-high efficiency unit, as well. There are furnaces available on the market operating at efficiency ratings as high as 97% of the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). Choose the type of system that makes sense for your home. A furnace repair and installation contractor can, of course, advise you, and we highly recommend seeking that wisdom. What fuel source do you want? Natural gas is the most economical. Oil and propane are flexible, especially for older homes, but have economic and environmental drawbacks. Electric heat can run up your electric bill, but they’re an available alternative, especially for homes with ductwork limitations. Furnaces affect air quality. Make sure you choose a system with the correct filtering and make sure that you can breathe easy in your own home. The installation is everything. Let’s repeat that. The installation is everything. You can buy the most expensive system, but it will still do you absolutely no good if it’s installed by some shady fly-by-night joke of a contractor who lacks the skills, knowledge, and patience to do the job correctly. A furnace installation is complex and requires a great deal of thought, experience, and hard work. This is one area where you can’t afford to skimp. Make sure the unit is sized for your home. That means that a professional has to perform a heat load calculation at your home. If you have an existing furnace, you can have your heating repair technician do an energy audit and load calculation to find out whether or not the system you have installed is sized correctly. Oftentimes, we find that corners have been cut in this area. Get a great warranty – it will cover our bills without reaching into your wallet. Ask about rebates and incentives. Many highly efficient furnaces qualify for those! Your air filters are one of the most important components of your entire system, and they need to be changed regularly. That’s another thing we repeat often. So many of our customers fall victim to the “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon, to the detriment of their equipment. Dirty, clogged filters are, almost certainly, the most common cause of heating repair issues. Do you know what happens when your filter is dirty? Let’s break it down for you. The filters exist to grab particulates from the air as it circulates throughout your home. A filter does this by trapping the particulates, usually in a mesh or pleat. When a filter goes unchanged, the particulates it is trapping continue to build up and eventually clog the airflow. That makes your blower motor work overtime, as it’s now competing with the added friction that blockage causes. Wear and tear on your entire system is exponentially affected. Motors and other components will eventually overheat; if you’re particularly unlucky, they will break down. Your bills go up when the filter is dirty, as well, because the system has to work harder to achieve the same result. On top of that, the air quality in your home is dramatically lowered, because the filter can no longer collect particulates. Suddenly, your overworked fan is sending air loaded down with contaminants and allergens through your home. If you or anyone else in your home has allergies or pulmonary issues, the situation can quickly become untenable and unhealthy. Good news, though: Filters are cheap and easy to change out. Seriously, it takes about two minutes. Depending on your furnace model, the change may need to happen as often as once a month. If you aren’t certain, and your owner’s manual isn’t clearing things up, ask your friendly neighborhood Lafayette furnace repair technician next time you have your system tuned up. To avoid the “out of sight, out of mind” issue, set calendar alerts in your mobile phone to make sure you don’t forget this incredibly simple (but crucial) part of owning a furnace. Your furnace will try to warn you when something is wrong – but you have to pay attention or you’ll miss the signs. A furnace in need of a repair technician’s touch is potentially a serious issue. Obviously, a dying furnace could have financial repercussions, but your health and even life could be on the line, depending on how serious things have become. A heater in good working order heats your home as efficiently as possible, does not compromise the air quality within your home with allergens or carbon monoxide, and isn’t a fire hazard. A furnace in need could fail on all three of those. Each year, over 400 people die from exposure to carbon monoxide. Furthermore, heating equipment accounts for over 15% of all reported house fires. The most commonly cited cause of furnace-related fires? Failure to clean and maintain equipment, of course. It’s even true if your furnace simply doesn’t work very well, but isn’t otherwise a hazard. Why? Because people then depend on space heaters. Space heaters figure in 2 out of 5 home heating fires, usually because they’re too close to flammable materials. All of that can be avoided by paying attention to your home’s heating repair needs. Here are the warning signs you should be paying attention to: The age of your equipment. As we stated above, older equipment is (of course) at greater risk of malfunction or premature breakdown. The national average expectancy of a furnace is anywhere from 12-20 years. If your furnace is approaching or exceeding that age, you should be paying particularly careful attention to it, and scheduling regular preventive maintenance. Your monthly bills. If those start to climb, but your utility provider hasn’t raised their rate, it’s a sure sign that something is going wrong somewhere within your equipment. The moment you notice that heating your home is getting more expensive, you’ll want to reach out to us and have a furnace repair technician comb over your equipment to find the cause and rectify it. Other repairs. Like your automobile, furnaces start to wear out, and you’ll eventually find repairs getting more and more common. If you’ve had to see the furnace doctors twice in one year, it could be a sign that you need a more serious overhaul, or some components replaced entirely. Burner flame color. Not all furnaces have a pilot light, but some do. The ones that don’t are using electronic ignition. If you do have a burner, it should be burning a bright blue color, not yellow. If it’s yellow, like a candle, something is wrong, and the system could be producing carbon monoxide. Call us immediately. Strange smells or noises. This one is pretty obvious. If something smells wrong or sounds wrong … something is wrong. If you’re hearing any squealing, rattling, creaking, wheezing, hissing, banging … really, any onomatopoeia at all, then get a repair technician to hunt down the cause. It sounds a bit paranoid, perhaps, but it’s cheaper to fix a small issue than, say, the blower motor or compressor. It’s also a lot cheaper than buying a new furnace. Your own health. Older furnaces can develop issues, such as cracks in the heat exchanger. That increases the likelihood of carbon monoxide being released into your home. Regular headaches, nausea, fatigue, vertigo, and flu-like symptoms are all potential signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you think this might be happening in your home, open a window and call the emergency hotline. It’s even better if you can leave the home until you’re sure it’s safe. Don’t forget to have carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home. Keep a regular recurring maintenance appointment. Over the years, some of our customers have initially asked us if the “tune-up” we are always recommending is some kind of hustle to keep us working. We get a good laugh when that happens. The truth is much simpler: the tune-up is for your benefit. If contractors wanted to hustle a little extra money, the tune-up would be a terrible way to do it. First off, it’s not an expensive service. Second, it only happens once a year – or twice, in some cases – for each customer. What it’s good for is making sure we (and therefore you) are never caught off-guard by furnace problems. It allows us to attend to all those little warning signs. We get to keep your monthly bills low, keep your home toasty, avoid developing health hazards, and save ourselves the trouble of excessive and unnecessary heating repairs. Everyone’s lives are better when things are running smoothly. A tune-up for a furnace is pretty similar to an automotive tune-up. We inspect all the components of the furnace, tighten stuff up, replace anything that’s wearing out, make sure your filters are clean, check for leaks in the ducts and drainage, make sure all the electrical wiring harnesses are in good shape, and diagnose and repair small problems before they have a chance to grow up. If we spot ways to improve your heating system while we’re in there tuning it up, we’ll make a note of that and advise you of our recommendations. All in all, it’s an inexpensive service with an immensely favorable cost/benefit ratio. You’ve got practically nothing to lose, and years of cozy winters to gain. If you have any questions about heating repair, contact us today at 765-588-4400
Lafayette Furnace Repair - How To Avoid Scams and Hire the Best Heating Repair Contractors
Do you need Lafayette furnace repair?Is your heat pump on the fritz?Are you overdue to have your ducts cleaned? Regardless of your specific needs, there are dozens of companies out there in the world vying to be the one who gets your business. So how do you, as a homeowner, sort through all the candidates and choose the best one? Here’s a hint: think it through. A poor furnace repair can be exceptionally dangerous, for a number of reasons: Out in the cold. Indiana winters can be bitter and unforgiving. Elsewhere in the country this is also true. You shouldn’t have to risk your family’s health (or your own) in a home that can’t keep you warm enough. Fuel leaks and combustibles. Most heaters – from natural gas to propane – use a combustible fuel. In natural gas furnaces, leaks are extraordinarily dangerous, and can lead to explosions. If you think your heater has a leak, don’t investigate it. Remove yourself to a safe location and turn that job over to professional heating repair contractors. Fire hazards. A heating system in need of repair could be a fire risk, and this isn’t just for gas heaters. Even geothermal heat pumps and air-sourced heat pumps can potentially run into issues with bad wiring or an overheating motor. Mold. Your HVAC system, whether it’s in cooling or heating mode, is always potentially at risk of mold growth in the ductwork. That is unsanitary, and unsafe to breathe. It presents a very serious health risk for you and your loved ones. If these and other risk factors aren’t enough to get your nerves up, it’s possible that you aren’t giving it enough thought. Furthermore, even if you are interested in making sure that your heating and cooling system is in peak condition, you still need to find the right contractors. That can be tricky. There are a lot of operations out there cutting corners to try to make a buck, and they always do it at the customer’s expense. Unfortunately, most people aren’t trained in heating and furnace repair, and so they can’t tell when a company is installing or repairing their furnace or heat pump incorrectly. That’s where we come in. This article is all about defending you against that kind of thing. We think that it’s important that those shady and unlicensed contractors be put out of business – there’s enough work around here to keep the reputable services busy. Dishonesty has no place, and we’d like to teach you how to recognize the red flags that mark a scam artist. They give all of us in the industry a bad name, and you deserve better. So before you fall pretty to aggressive salesmen, poor repairs, unnecessary scare tactics, we have a suggestion: Read on to find out more. HOW TO AVOID SCAMS Watch for “too good to be true” pricing.It’s competitive out there, and profit margins are shrinking, but if you’re looking for heat pump or furnace repair, and you’re being offered a price that is noticeably lower than the competition, you’re probably dealing with someone disreputable. Low prices like that usually come with strings attached. Perhaps the most common tactic employed by shady contractors is what we call the “bait and switch.” They bait you with an unbelievably attractive price for the work – the lowest bid you’re likely to receive. Then they hit you with the switch, which usually takes the form of unexpected additional charges, work delays that cause overtime, or specialized parts that must be ordered through them. Want another example? We’ve got you covered. Dishonest heating repair companies also engage in a much simpler method to increase their profit margins while offering you low prices: they cut corners. They do this by failing to obtain proper licensing and insurance, and by borrowing tools or trucks. Plus, by using subpar equipment, by illegally repurposing used equipment and passing it off as new, and by rushing through the work. Does that sound like something you want happening in your home? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Beware of contractors who give estimates without information. What do you think happens when a person calls a Lafayette furnace repair company and says “How much will you charge for my furnace repair?” Allow us to give you a hint: the honest company is going to say, “That depends.” That’s because it’s impossible – not just difficult, actually impossible – to give an accurate estimate for a job without seeing the specifics. There are too many variables that can’t be accounted for. Every job is different, every heater is different, and every contractor who says otherwise is simply not being honest. Off-the-cuff pricing typically implies either a person who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or a person who is willfully misleading you in order to get your business. They have no regard for how you will respond when their estimate turns out to be wildly inaccurate. The easiest thing to do is simply to avoid the companies who offer quotes without a site inspection. Avoid contractors who use “rule of thumb” approaches. Lots of contractors swear by little “rules” that they use to estimate the size and power of heating and cooling systems for your home. The same holds true in scenarios where repair of a furnace or heat pump is involved. No one should be able to ask you your square footage and then tell you what equipment you need. No one should be able to make any assumptions about your home or your equipment without seeing it. And any contractor who does is, quite literally, dangerous. The equipment that heats your home is too sophisticated and too potentially hazardous to be trusted to anyone who will be cavalier about it. Learn to recognize some of the more common scams. There are things that shady contractors will say or do that should throw up some immediate red flags. Things like: Telling you a part is broken beyond repair even though there was no evidence of that, or that it was involved with the repairs you agreed to.Using technical jargon and condescension to sell you things you don’t need.Recommending tune-ups more than twice a year (we’ve heard of guys recommending them monthly, which is crazy. Once a year is almost always enough!)Offering to install a used part that they already have on their truck to “save you time.”Claiming affiliation with a reputable brand or company without evidence, such as a branded vehicle. Generally, if something is happening that sets off an alarm bell in your head, you should take it seriously. Now: On the topic of red flags, we’ve covered some ground. That’s great, and you can use all of that information to weed out some bad eggs. But it’s equally important that you know how to hire the very good eggs, instead of the just-okay ones. Here’s how you manage that neat trick. HIRING THE BEST They need to be licensed. Period. This is a no-brainer. There are “contractors” out there using borrowed trucks and offering unlicensed repairs. They draw you in with pricing or promises of fast work, but they leave you with higher bills, damaged equipment, or worse. Not all states require specific HVAC licensing, but local permits and credentials almost always apply. Also, heating and furnace repair technicians – especially those who deal with more than just furnace repair – have to handle refrigerant, which requires a certification from the EPA. With the growing demand for high quality contractors, many are seeking to capitalize by employing a “fake it ‘til you make it” approach to heating repair. Dealers and manufacturers don’t sanction these DIY handymen; and they are far too likely to skip important steps. Great contractors will not only have those things, but they’ll advertise that they have them on their website, and they’ll have them ready to show you on first meeting. They may even bring it up without being asked. Certifications are evidence of hard work completed in order to be the best, and contractors are proud to show those off. They also need to be insured. Great contractors are carrying comprehensive insurance. If they or one of their crew members is hurt on the job, that won’t be on you. If something goes wrong and your property is damaged, their insurance will cover that, as well. Insurance represents a company’s commitment to more than just heating, air conditioning, and furnace repair. It means they’re committed to safety; your safety, and their own. A company that isn’t carrying up-to-date insurance paperwork, or isn’t willing to prove it, should never be allowed to begin work. However, once again, the good guys aren’t going to make this hard on you. It’s a part of the initial conversation before work begins. At the inspection stage, a reputable company will make sure you know that they’re prepared to assume responsibility for everything that happens inside your home. Experience is important – but so is innovation. We recommend choosing a company or contractor with no less than five years of experience in the heating and air conditioning game. That’s important, because they’ll have the benefit of knowledge and the wisdom that comes from having done many tasks before. They’ll also have learned how to work around problems, and figured out how to roll with the many punches that come from working with such sophisticated machinery. However. It’s also important to make sure, as best you can, that the company you hire is innovative, as well. The technology in this industry is advancing quickly, and you don’t want a contractor who isn’t up to speed with the latest equipment. Homeowners using geothermal heat pumps or other cutting-edge technology will want to be absolutely certain they aren’t hiring an old dog and expecting it to do new tricks. There are companies out there who’ve been in business for thirty years or more. That’s a very fine selling point – unless you’ve been doing things the same way for that entire time period. This is a technology-driven industry. Hire experienced technicians, but also hire people who are hungry for knowledge and focused on staying on top of their game. Don’t work with companies who don’t guarantee their work. There are plenty of contractors, who offer attractive hourly or day rates, or even fixed job rates. That’s fine – we’re among them. That’s not where you run into trouble. Trouble rears its ugly head when you’re working with a very reasonably priced contractor who turns out not to have a satisfaction guarantee. If work is not done properly, you have to make sure you’re protected. Let’s say you hire a contractor because their quote was very reasonable, and all their paperwork seemed in order, and you got a good vibe. If they don’t offer 100% work guarantees, and a mistake is made, you’re still on the hook for that bill. Heck, you’ll have to pay them to come fix their own mistakes. That’s hardly fair, but it happens. It isn’t enough to just see a “Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed” badge on their website, either. Any agreement you sign must contain language that will ensure that your contractor will finish any AC, furnace, or heater repair completely, and that they will return to fix any errors made free of charge. It should also explicitly state that you will get your money back if they can’t live up to their end of the bargain. Check their references. You won’t be sorry you did. Online reviews are a goldmine. Sites like Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and even Yelp can separate quality furnace repair from guys with vans who care more about your money than your comfort. Before signing on with a company, it is wise to Google them and read reviews from past customers. You may also ask them for references directly, as any company should be more than happy to provide those. Following up with satisfied clients is a great way to gain some real insight into an HVAC repair company’s methods. And don’t forget – when in doubt, you can always call Royal Comfort Heating & Air in Lafayette Indiana. Call us today at 765-588-4400 for fast reliable service and helpful answers to your questions!
Lafayette Furnace and Heating Repair - 8 red flags indicating You Need to Call For Service
Here’s a good piece of advice: Don’t wait on heating repair services. It would be difficult to understate the importance of Lafayette furnace repair and maintenance. During the inhospitable Indiana winter climates to which many of us are subjected, your heating system is quite literally saving your life. And guess what? By the same token, a malfunctioning furnace is capable of quite literally endangering your life. Because of the dangers associated with a poorly maintained furnace, you have to stay firmly on top of things. A furnace is a complex piece of machinery. Its components include motors, electrical wiring, fuel sources, and lots more that require a practiced and well-trained eye to service. And that isn’t really the part where people run into trouble. The most common furnace issues arise from people not being truly aware of when they need furnace repair in the first place. When a furnace starts to fail, the owners don’t always notice. That’s because some of the warning signs aren’t obvious. We at Royal Comfort Heating & Air would like to take this opportunity to help. In this article, we’re going to go over – in some detail – the many different ways that your furnace could be telling you there is something wrong. Many of these warning signs can also apply to heat pumps, geothermal heating, or even electric heat, as well. First off, before we get into specifics, though, let’s talk about when most failures happen. Extreme temperatures are the time to pay the most attention. In the dead of winter when it’s working hard, your furnace is, unfortunately, also under the most stress. You also need to watch for the period of the year where it gets turned on for the first time after its summer vacation. We also want to give you a little heads up about being proactive. Here’s a phrase to live by: There are no small problems in furnace and heating repair.. Big problems typically start small. If you ignore the little things, you could be facing an emergency before long. But alright! That’s enough of the ominous language. Let’s get into specifics, and make sure that you always know when it’s time to call for a Lafayette heating repair specialist. 1) When there is a new or unpleasant smell. Heat pumps are odorless; furnaces are occasionally not. But most homeowners should be tolerably familiar with the specific scents emitted by your furnace. Typically, the first couple of times it’s turned on during the winter, you’ll get a slight burning smell as dust and dirt accumulated during the off-season are burned away. Other than that, you may occasionally be able to detect a “heat” smell. However: Consistent and persistent burning smells are a bad sign. They could indicate serious buildup of sediment, blocked air intakes, clogged supply or exhaust vents, or worse. Left unattended, every single one of those things could lead to a fire. Furnace repair to locate and fix the source of smells will often entail accessing the internal workings of the machine, as well; that means this isn’t a DIY project. If you smell something burning, call a heating repair expert immediately and let them get to the bottom of things. 2) When your carbon monoxide detectors give you a warning. Most carbon monoxide deaths occur in homes that do not have proper monitoring. Sometimes, it’s batteries that haven’t been changed in carbon monoxide detectors. Other times, people choose to ignore warning signs and deliberately unhook them, thinking they’re like an oversensitive smoke detector that goes off every time you use the toaster. That could not be further from the truth. Carbon monoxide is naturally emitted during the combustion and burning of fuels in your furnace. However, this is always carried safely out of your home through an exhaust vent system when things are working properly. If there is an issue with that venting system, lethally toxic levels of this gas can gather in your home and endanger your families. Exposure is impossible to notice without working carbon monoxide detectors, as well, because the substance is odorless and colorless. Furnace repair technicians will always advise you – quite strongly – to install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, and especially close to your furnace. If they ever give off that warning beep, you only have two jobs: Get your family somewhere safe, and call in the cavalry. 3) When your heater is making strange or alarming noises. Whether you have a geothermal heat pump or high efficiency furnace, whether you’ve got baseboard heating or a propane system, a little noise is part of the package. Typically, you’ll hear the little clicks or hums of the machine cycling on and off. Furnaces give off a peaceful deep rumble as they combust. Blower motors make a little noise when they begin operation. These aren’t necessarily cause for concern. On the other hand, when you’re hearing louder noises, or noises that aren’t a familiar part of your system’s daily operation, it could be a sign that something is seriously wrong. Oftentimes, those noises are your system’s way of telling you that it has a few components in need of replacing or repairing. A few examples: A blower motor has belts, gears, and bearings, which, if in need of lubrication or replacement, may squeak, grind, click, or screech.A misaligned pilot or gummed-up filthy burners may make noise even when the furnace is not active.Clicking sounds in the thermostat may (not always, though) represent damaged electrical relays or other connection issues.A whining sound may indicate ignition issues. None of these issues present a problem that a homeowner should feel confident taking on. Particularly in regards to furnace repair, it’s just too dangerous. Even for the skilled handyman or woman, it is not advisable to mess with a machine that operates on combustible fuels. 4) When your old thermostat settings don’t seem to cut it anymore. On particularly bitter evenings, it’s common to crank the thermostat up a bit. However, if your general settings – the ones you leave as default all winter long – aren’t cutting it, even though the temperature outside isn’t worse than usual, it could be a sign that there are problems in your heating system. Potentially, insufficient heating when your temperature settings are at their ideal could mean you’ve got a leak in your ducts, heat loss in the furnace or elsewhere in the home, or a problem with the furnace itself. That could be caused by fuel issues, air blockages, dirt buildup, or failing parts. In any case, those are all potential fire hazards. 5) When your furnace or heater is short cycling. A common issue with heat pumps, air conditioners, and your furnace is short or rapid cycling. This is among the most serious issues that can plague a cooling or heating system. Furnace short cycling refers to a system’s tendency to rapidly turn on and off throughout the day. If you’re wondering why this is a problem … Outside of the obvious annoyance and distraction that comes with the startup/shutdown noises, short cycling places an unwanted burden on the system. Furnaces use far more energy to start and stop than they do to hum quietly along mid-cycle. Essentially, this cycling issue will decrease the effectiveness, efficiency, and lifespan of your furnace and the components that make it work. If you’re wondering what causes short-cycling … Lafayette Furnace repair technicians point to the following common causes: Airflow restriction, most commonly caused by dirty air filters.Blocked intake registers, which can be caused by excess dirt or pet hair, as well as furniture, causing further airflow restrictions.Thermostat location issues, which can cause the system to misread the ambient temperature in your home.Overheating.Circuit board issues.An oversized furnace or heating systemThermostat connection issues.Faulty or fritzy inducer. And this list could continue on for a while. Sadly, it would only get more technical and jargon-filled, and that won’t help you. Even savvy DIY-oriented homeowners lack the technical expertise and hours of training required to understand all of the potential causes of cycling issues and how to diagnose and repair them. If your furnace is exhibiting signs of this hazardous behavior, you should call for heating repair today. 6) When your monthly energy bills are suddenly much higher than they used to be. Your monthly bills are perhaps the most effective bellwether of impending problems. Generally, there are only two reasons that your bills would increase that shouldn’t raise a red flag: your utility company is charging you more, or it’s colder and your system is running harder. If the weather is within the range you’re used to, and your energy providers are not extorting you, a marked and sudden increase in what you’re spending to heat your home each month should be considered a warning. If you’re seeing an increase without a rate change, you should have your system checked for other possible symptoms of failure or damage. 7) When you’ve got cold rooms and warm rooms in the same house. Uneven heating throughout your home is a surefire sign of airflow issues. Most commonly, the problem will lie somewhere in your ductwork – although there are other potential causes, as well. If you’ve got a cozy living room, but your bedroom is a frozen wasteland … well, that’s no way to live. Have a furnace repair technician come to your home and find out way. Perhaps it’s a furnace issue, or perhaps your home has developed a draft in that room. Either way, you can’t afford not to know. Why? Well, first off, because the most common solution among homeowners who neglect to call professional service companies in is space heaters. Space heaters are not intended to be a long-term solution and are exponentially more dangerous to use than your furnace. They’re also much more expensive. If you don’t believe us, check the warning label. You aren’t supposed to use electric space heaters at all while you’re sleeping, and they aren’t supposed to be within three feet of a wall or anything remotely flammable. They use a ton of energy, comparatively, because they’re not built for efficiency. They’re work-site solutions, not home heaters. Kerosene heaters are no better – they can’t be safely used indoors without a vented window nearby, which can nearly defeat the entire purpose. Instead of looking for band-aids, get stitches – in this analogy, that’s professional heating repair. They’ll inspect your heating and cooling system and your ductwork and find out why some rooms aren’t getting the heat they need – and you’ll save a pile of cash in the long run. 8) When it’s not working at all. This doesn’t seem like a point that needs to be made, but it does: Don’t wait. If your furnace actually stops working, you’ve got a good probability of a serious issue on your hands. This applies to heat pumps and electric heaters, as well, of course, but in the case of furnaces, the potential risks could be higher. Furnaces use combustible fuels and emit carbon monoxide. If it stops working, something is wrong, and trying to fix that on your own is risking fires and worse. Obviously, one major risk is going without heat. We here at Royal Comfort think you should never be forced to do that, especially in the cold Indiana winter. Why, when we offer 24-hour emergency service and quick responses, should you ever shiver in your own home? Now, before you panic: There ARE a couple things you should try before you call us. One, mainly, just because failing to do so could leave you feeling foolish. Go reset the breakers. Occasionally, they’ve been tripped by a minor power surge. You certainly don’t want to call a furnace repair contractor only to have them come out and flip a switch. They’ll even have to charge you the hourly rate – it’s a lose-lose scenario. However! If your breaker trips again after resetting and shuts your furnace off a second time, don’t reset it again. That’s a sign of a more pressing issue – and that means it’s time to call us. Remember: no one wants to get left out in the cold. That’s especially true when you’re in what should be the comfort of your own home. We've got skilled specialists standing by in the event you need service. Call us today at 765-588-4400 if you have questions or need a quick repair!
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