5 Tips to Extend the Life of Your HVAC System

colorado springs hvac repair

Your home’s HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Condition) system runs ’round the clock, 24/7, all year long. You can’t expect it to last forever, but you can expect your furnace to last for about several years—depending on the model, you may get 15-20 years out of your furnace and 10-15 years out of your air conditioner. It’s a big investment to replace your furnace or air conditioner, so we have five tips for you to try to extend the life of your HVAC system.

  1. Schedule two HVAC tune-ups per year: Contact a home services company to give your furnace a tune-up in the fall and your air conditioner a tune-up in the spring. This preventative maintenance usually includes a good inspection, cleaning, lubrication and any necessary adjustments.
  2. Change the air filter regularly: Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced every 30 days, but check your filter and furnace manual to see how often you should be replacing the filter. A dirty filer will make your HVAC system work harder to circulate air and that can cause extra wear on the system.
  3. Clean your ducts: Be sure to keep the return air vents clean and prevent the build-up of dust and debris. You might also want to have your ducts professionally cleaned so that your system is delivering the cleanest air possible.
  4. Give the HVAC system a break sometimes: Does your HVAC system really need to be running almost 24/7? Can you give it a break when you’re on vacation? On a cool evening could you open the windows and give the a/c the night off? You’ll be saving energy and giving the system a break.
  5. Upgrade your insulation: The better your home is insulated, the less your HVAC system will need to run to maintain the temperature. The first place to check for sufficient insulation is your attic.

When to Replace Your HVAC System

Even if you follow these tips and take good care of your HVAC system, eventually it will need to be replaced, but when? If you’re approaching the projected end of life for the unit, you can’t go wrong replacing it because you will be saving money with the new, more energy efficient replacement. But if you want to prolong the system as long as possible, contract with a reliable home services company for your annual tune-ups and then ask the HVAC tech for their input on when to replace. Be honest with them about the maintenance you’ve carried out on the unit—even if that means confessing that sometimes you didn’t replace the air filter for a season or two. Hopefully you can get to know the techs from the home services company and get to where you can trust their input on when to replace your furnace or air conditioner.

Summary

Take good care of your HVAC system and it may well last longer than the average lifespan, but also know when to replace it before it becomes unreliable or so inefficient that it’s costly to keep it running.

Want A Comfortable House Where Every Room Is The Right Temperature?

person laying on couch with blanket

Do people in your home fight over the thermostat setting? In many homes, especially split-level homes, someone is too hot, someone is too cold and no one is happy. 

Even in a home with adequate central air conditioning, mom or dad may find the temperature to be fine in the kitchen or living room, but their daughter is in the basement game room with her friends passing out sweaters for them. But then upstairs, their son is home from college wanting to study at his desk, but he can’t because the desk surface is hot enough to fry an egg! This is a house that might benefit from a zoned HVAC system.

What is a zoned HVAC system?

A zoned HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system allows the homeowner to set different temperatures in different parts or “zones” of the house. Rather than one thermostat for the entire house, each zone can be regulated with its own thermostat. A zone can be as small as one room or as large as an entire level of the house or an addition to the house.

How does zoning work?

In a home with an existing forced air heating and cooling system (and one thermostat), it may be possible to install an automatic damper system into the HVAC ductwork that would divide the home into zones.

The better way to set up a zoned HVAC system is with ductless mini-split units. These units come in a variety of styles and models, but basically it’s a rectangular heating and cooling unit that is mounted high on the wall (or into the ceiling). That’s actually the first part, the indoor air-handling unit (evaporator). It’s hooked up to the second part, an outdoor compressor/condenser. Several of the indoor units can be hooked up to one outdoor unit. Each indoor unit is controlled with its own thermostat.

Reasons why you might want a zoned HVAC system

Ductless mini-splits are a great solution for a newly constructed house, but also a good retrofit for houses with non-ducted heating systems (like hot water heat or electric heating). They also work well for new additions to a house that lack ductwork or separate buildings like a garage or shed converted into offices or hobby rooms. Why might you want to looking into installing some ductless mini-splits?

  1. To solve the multi-level home heating/cooling problem (described above).
  2. To balance the temperature in homes where one side of the house gets more solar heat than the other side.
  3. To heat/cool only the parts of the home in use. (Why heat/cool a huge house if you’re mostly only using a few rooms?)
  4. To get heating/cooling in new house additions / separate buildings without installing ductwork.

Summary

To find out how a zoned HVAC system could work in your home, call a heating and cooling expert at your preferred home services company. With this surprisingly simple solution, you’ll never fight over the thermostat in your home again!

6 Sounds You Don’t Want To Hear From Your Air Conditioning or Furnace

old rusty hvac system that needs repair in colorado springs When summer is coming on, it can be surprising how quickly we adjust the thermostat from giving us a little heat in the morning to take the chill off the house to switching on the air conditioning to combat the afternoon heat. Even if the furnace has been working well throughout the winter, if you start hearing one of these seven sounds, you may have a problem and need to contact an HVAC professional before it turns into an even larger repair bill.

Scraping Sound

A loud scraping noise, a grating metal-on-metal sound, coming from inside your furnace could be a serious problem with the blower wheel. Maybe the wheel is coming apart from the shaft and scraping the casing or in some other way the motor is causing the wheel to scrape the casing. Turn off the air conditioning and/or furnace immediately and call an HVAC service company.

Fast Clicking/Flicking Sound

Remember that sound when you were a kid and attached a playing card to the spokes of your bicycle wheel? If you hear that kind of fast thwapping sound from your furnace, something might be stuck on one of the blower wheel blades or one the housing around the wheel. While your air conditioning (or heat) may be working just fine, this stuck object is causing resistance and it will cause excessive wear on the motor. Get it cleaned up by a furnace technician.

Squealing Sound

A squealing noise from the blower motor could be caused by a belt wearing out. That’s normally not an expensive repair and best taken care of before the belt stretches further or breaks.

Grinding Or Metal Groaning Sound

A bearing problem in the blower motor will make a dull repetitive groan. Some blower motors have ports for adding lubricant, but some are sealed. Adding lubricant will often eliminate the groaning sound, but you have to use the correct oil, not WD-40. An HVAC company doing an annual maintenance inspection on your furnace would like do this kind of lubrication.

Rattling Sound

If you hear a rattling sound from your central air conditioning unit outside of the house when the air conditioning is coming on, the hardware around the compressor could be loose. An air conditioning service repair person should be contacted.

Popping Sound Or Banging Sound

If you turn on the furnace for heat and you hear popping sounds or a distinct banging sound (like from a cap gun), the furnace probably has dirty burners that need to be cleaned. The gas is not being ignited right away. Instead it’s building up and then igniting in a mini-explosion. You’ll want to get this serviced by a professional immediately.

Summary

When operating properly, your HVAC system should be fairly quiet, but if you’re hearing one of these seven sounds you really should contact One Source Home Services in Colorado Springs to come in and repair the problem before it turns into an even bigger problem.

Cold Spots In Your Home? Here’s What You Can Do.

Woman warmly clothed in a cold home | colorado springs hvac service Do you find yourself wearing a sweater in some rooms of your house but just a t-shirt in other rooms of your house?

Or maybe you walk from one room, through a central room, to another part of the house and find that one spot is just a bit chillier.

These “cold spots” in your home are especially noticeable when the temperatures are cool — during fall, winter, and spring — but it’s possible in some areas that they may exist all year ’round.

So, what are “cold spots” in your home, anyway?

Your home’s HVAC system works on a simple premise: Air is drawn through vents (internal vents and/or external vents) and pushed into your furnace. From there, the air is warmed and then forced out through the ductwork in your walls, through vents, and into the rooms of your house.

But here’s the thing: air is invisible but it acts a lot like water: It flows in easy, meandering ways around a room, invisibly bouncing off of walls and furniture. In fact, if you could see the air flow from a vent, you’d notice that it moved and flowed from vents outward throughout the room but it stops and redirects when it hits an obstruction.

Therefore, some areas of your home may not get air flow. The air just sits there. And, depending on the air flow and air pressure in the house, the ambient temperature (and temperature fluctuations) inside your home and outside, as well as other factors, cold spots can be created. Simply put, warm air isn’t flowing there; it flows around or is stopped.

You may especially notice cold spots by windows or exterior doors (no surprise there) but you may also notice cold spots near exterior walls, which could indicate that the insulation has degraded slightly. Or, you may notice cold spots in unusually shaped rooms, or rooms where the HVAC ducts aren’t venting into the center of the room.

These are just a few of the reasons, and it really depends on a number of factors.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do about it. If you want a simple, temporary solution, add a small fan nearby to circulate the air more effectively in the room. Another option, in rooms that are larger but not too unusually shaped, consider a ceiling-mounted fan.

However, some homeowners want more effective fixes for challenging cold spots, especially in hard-to-reach places. For these scenarios, you may consider installing extra vents to get the air flowing into that area.

There are other options of course but this is a great starting point.

Your home should be comfortable — you shouldn’t have to avoid one area of your home just because it’s colder than other areas!

If you notice cold spots in your home, there’s lots you can do about it so take a walk around your home and make note of all the cold spots… and see if you can’t transform them into comfortable warm areas! For more info on your home’s HVAC system, call your Colorado Springs electrician at One Source Home Service today!

This March, Give your HVAC System A Little Love

technician replacing hvac filter Chances are, you don’t give much thought to the system that warms your home in the winter and cools your home in the summer.

And why should you? You leave it to the experts to take care of it for you; meanwhile, you focus on more important things in your life—like family, work, etc. As long as everything runs normally, you shouldn’t have to give it a second thought; just sit back and enjoy the temperature and air flow as everything works as it should in the background.

But what happens if it doesn’t work as it should?

With winter here, you don’t want to get cold or uncomfortable as you discover it doesn’t work. And if there’s an emergency, you want to be able to act fast to deal with it.

So, here are some tips to help you be “HVAC aware” this month… to give your HVAC system a little bit of love so it will continue to keep you and your family comfortable.

Tip #1. Let’s start with the word HVAC itself: It stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, and it’s the name given to the entire system that heats and cools your home. It often includes your furnace, your air conditioning unit, as well as the ductwork that runs through your walls.

Tip #2. Find out what kind of heating system you have. Is it electric? Propane? Natural gas? (Note: even systems that run on oil and natural gas may also be plugged in to your home’s electrical system.) You should also know the brand, the year it was installed, and the company that installed it. Keep this information on the HVAC system but also keep it handy in a drawer somewhere else so that you can make a quick call to that company if you ever need more information in a hurry.

Tip #3. Find out how to turn your furnace and air conditioner off and on, including any switches ON the system itself as well as how to turn it on and off at your circuit panel. If there’s ever a fire, you’ll want to be able to turn off your HVAC system at the circuit panel if you can’t get to the system itself.

Tip #4. If your system is fed from a municipal supply (such as natural gas), learn where those pipes are and if there is a place to turn off the supply. If there’s ever a leak, know how to turn it off fast.

Tip #5. Look for exhaust pipes. Depending on your system, your HVAC system might use a chimney or an exhaust pipe. Keep these free from blockages. For example, make sure that leaves or snow don’t block up the exhaust pipe, and make sure that small animals don’t get into your chimney.

Tip #6. Even though you can’t see most of the ductwork, you can see the vents! Know where they are and see which vents blow OUT warm (or cool) air, and which vents take in air to circulate it back to the system. Keep an eye on these vents and keep them free from being blocked by furniture.

Tip #7. Know where the filters are. Different systems use filters in different ways. Those filters help to remove particles from the air that you would otherwise breathe. Clean those filters regularly and replace them regularly too.

Tip #8. Use all your senses to monitor your HVAC system. If it starts to sound unusual or smell unusual, take action right away. Turn it off and call an expert HVAC company and get their help.

Summary

Your HVAC system is an important system in your home and it works 24/7 to keep your family safe and comfortable. But if it suddenly stops working the way you want, your March can very quickly go from warm and cozy to cold! Use these tips to be HVAC Aware this month and throughout the year.

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