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The Most Common Furnace Problems

It’s getting into the colder months of the year, and it’s important to make sure your heating system is working correctly. We’ve put together a list of the most common heating system problems. Knowing what they are and how they occur can help you possibly avoid them in the future.

Common Problems

Below are some of the common causes of furnace problems.

  • Lack of Maintenance – If you fail to keep up with annual inspections, you may run into unexpected problems. Regular maintenance can help keep your heater working at maximum efficiency.
  • Dirty Filters – Clogged filters block airflow, forcing your system to work even harder. Replace them according to the manufacturer’s schedule.
  • Mechanical Wear – Mechanical parts wear down and need replacing over time. Parts failure can cause overheating and poor performance.
  • Thermostat Issues – It’s possible it’s not the furnace that’s malfunctioning, and it’s actually the thermostat. This can lead to no heat, intermittent heat, or blasts of hot air.
  • Ignition Control – A faulty ignition or pilot can create heating problems. A specialist can determine the cause of the outage.
  • Noisy Unit – There could be a mechanical issue at play. Rumbling and rattles are not typical.

What to Do

Regularly change your air filters. This will prevent at least one problem from coming to the surface. Follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Double check your thermostat. Sometimes the battery simply needs replacing; other times the fan or heat setting may not be where it should be.

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Reduce drafts where you can and make sure the unit didn’t blow a fuse. If those at-home checks don’t change anything, it’s time to call a specialist.

If you’re having a problem with your heater, contact Total Comfort Heating & Cooling. We can send one of our expert technicians to your home and assess and fix your problem. Don’t get stuck in the cold!

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How Swamp Coolers Work

The evaporative cooler, colloquially known as a swamp cooler, is a type of air conditioner that works well in the hot, dry air of Colorado and the Southwest. This method of pushing air over water to create a cooling effect has even been used by ancient Egyptians who hung wet blankets over doors or had servants wave fans over jugs of water.

Location Matters

Swamp coolers, despite the name, do not perform well in swampy conditions, but rather in drier climates. The name may come from the fact that they add humidity to the air.

The Evaporation Process

Liquid evaporates by releasing molecules into the air, which is then converted into gas form. The hotter, faster-moving molecules are likely to dissipate quickly, cooling off the remaining liquid and thus cooling the warm air.

Swamp Cooler Mechanics

So we know the process of water evaporation causes the air to cool, but now there needs to be a way to circulate that air in your home. The swamp cooler contains damp pads that stay moist thanks to a small pump. A blower sits at one end of the box and pulls air from outside across the damp pads and pushes the now cooled air into the house.

The A/C Difference

An air conditioner works by recirculating air through a unit that passes over a set of coils cooled by a refrigerant or coolant, such as Freon. Air conditioners are different from swamp coolers not only in their mechanics but their output—swamp coolers humidify the air while air conditioners dry the air, making the swamp cooler ideal for dry climates.

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Winterization Checklist

Even though summer is over, your unit still needs maintenance. Denver Total Comfort can help you make sure your evaporative cooler is properly stored for winter. Give us a call or contact us through our website and set up a winterization appointment today.

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HVAC Systems—When to DIY and When to Call a Professional

Whether you live in the sweltering heat or in a veritable icebox, maintaining your HVAC system is critical to staying comfortable. There are a lot of things you can take care of yourself with regards to maintenance, but there are some things you should leave to a professional. Here are some tips for when to DIY and when to give us a call.

Do-It-Yourself Projects

Armed with the right knowledge, there are some basic tasks that you can complete to keep your HVAC system running at its peak.

  • Changing air filters – Air filters need to be replaced periodically, usually every few months depending on use. This is easy to do yourself—locate the filter located at the return intake and measure. Depending on the size of your home, you may have multiple filters and they may be different sizes.
  • Taking care of obstructions – Make sure all of your vents are clear of obstructions, including furniture and curtains. In addition, you can make sure the outside condenser unit is clear of dirt, debris, and vegetation—clear at least two feet around the unit.
  • Insulation – Proper insulation maximizes your system’s efficiency—check for air leaks, particularly around windows.

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Call a Professional

It’s time to call a professional when you have any system installation or you encounter a situation where you can void your warranty. This includes electrical work and physically opening the unit—check your warranty details.

Beyond standard maintenance, any major repairs should be done by an experienced technician. In addition, your HVAC system needs an annual tune-up, for which you should also contact a pro.

Convenient Service

At Denver Total Comfort, we can send one of our experienced technicians to your home to make HVAC system repairs. Contact us, and we’ll take care of your maintenance issues right away. Let the professionals handle the things you can’t DIY.

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Tips For Buying a New Water Heater

So, it’s time to buy a new water heater. Perhaps it’s past its recommended lifespan, or maybe your energy bills are too high. Either way, when you’re shopping for a new water heater, there are a few factors to consider.

Types of Water Heaters

You’ll find three main types of water heaters, each with their own set of benefits.

  • Conventional tank – This is the most common type of heater and consists of a storage tank that is constantly heated and stored until needed.
  • Tankless/On-demand – There is no storage unit for this type of water heater. Instead, water is heated via heating elements as it passes through the unit.
  • Hybrid – Uses a heat pump to pull heat from the air and heats water at a faster rate than other types.

Energy Efficiency

Water heaters can consume up to 20% of a home’s energy use, and there are many energy-efficient models on the market. Every water heater has an EnergyGuide label that features the national average operating cost. What may cost the least up front may have higher annual expenses, so pay close attention. Also look for units with the Energy Star label. This label is a certification that verifies the appliance is energy efficient.

Capacity

The question for many is “How big should the water heater be?” The size will depend on how frequently and in what volume you use hot water. A family of four uses considerably more water than a single resident. Look for:

  • First-Hour Rating (FHR) – This is used on conventional tank models, and measures how much water can be heated in an hour. The higher the rating, the higher the capacity.
  • Gallons Per Minute (GPM) – For tankless units, this measures how many gallons can be heated per minute.

Installation

Water heaters should be installed by a professional. Contact us for more information about water heaters and the installation process and one of our experts will help you out. Denver Total Comfort is available to serve all of your heating and cooling needs.

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Winter is Coming—Check for Your Home for Air Leaks

Heating and cooling your home is a necessary expense to maintain comfort, so it’s important that the expense is not wasted. When the house is not sealed up properly, warm air can come in during the summer, and cold air will come in during the winter, causing your energy bills to skyrocket.

Fall is the perfect time to check for air leaks so that your home is comfortable and energy efficient by the time winter arrives.

Home Evaluation

A significant portion of leaks come from small cracks and holes in the home. An HVAC technician can conduct a home assessment and make recommendations for alleviating the problem areas, which usually include doors, windows, and attics.

DIY Approach

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors has a unique solution for finding leaks in your home. Burn an incense stick and walk around the home, paying close attention to doors, windows, and outlets. If the smoke from the incense starts to drift sideways, you’ve likely found a leak.

Look for Cobwebs

It may sound strange, but looking for a cobweb is one way to spot potential leaks—spiders like to put webs nears points of airflow.

Repairing Leaks

Depending on the nature of the leaks, weather stripping or caulking might work to limit airflow. Replacing windows or doors is another idea.

Attics

It’s possible that there is inadequate insulation in the attic, as it’s a prime location for warm air to escape to, forcing your heating system to work that much more to keep the household temperature stable.

Control Your Energy Costs

Don’t make your heating system work harder than it has to this winter—find and fix those air leaks. If you have any questions or need a home evaluation, contact us at Total Comfort Heating and Cooling. We can help you with all of your HVAC concerns.