HVAC Blog

Is your furnace working properly? Make sure it is running properly

Is your furnace working properly?

It is time to start your furnace and make sure it is running properly and starting when the temperature drops

Furnaces routine maintenance
Furnaces need routine maintenance and testing

Furnaces need routine maintenance and testing.  The igniter can go bad, the flame sensor can get corroded, and the induced draft motor can fail to start the furnace.  Make sure you turn on the furnace and let it start itself on by setting the temperature above what the thermostat is currently reading.  Let it run for awhile to make sure it is heating the house properly and that it is shutting off.

If it doesn’t start up make sure the furnace blower switch is turned on.  If this doesn’t solve the problem you might as well call a reputable firm for a fall furnace tune-up.  When the technician comes out they will do some tests for you and see if there really is a problem.  It might be something as simple as a fuse has blown or the spark igniter is not working properly.  These are quick inexpensive fixes and you will get a tune up while the technician is out.  If the company that comes out quotes you an expensive repair you might want to read reviews on the company and get a second opinion.  Not all companies are as trustworthy as Tobin air.

You should also change your furnace filter at this time.  The typical life of a furnace filter is 3 months. The best way to gauge how often the furnace filter needs to be changed is to check it often and see how dirty it looks compared to a new filter.

Do not let the  filter get to the point where when you hold it up to the light and 50% of the light is visible looking through the filter.

A good rule of thumb if you live in Denver, CO is to replace the filter in the fall when you start running the furnace. Replace it again at the end of January. If you forget to check it again at least you are changing it twice a year. This should be good enough to make sure it is relatively clean.  If you have central air conditioning, then it’s a good idea to check the filter monthly in the summer  to make sure it is clean as well.  Changing every 2-3 months is usually sufficient. Make sure you change your filter regularily and look at the filter as it has an arrow on it as to which way the filter should be placed into the filter box for correct air flow through the filter.

Call Tobin HVAC today to schedule a fall seasonal tune up and  inspection special through October 31st for $109.  Call  303.893.5675.

Furnace early season tune- up and check up for $109

Furnace early season tune- up
Furnace early season tune- up and check up for $109

Furnace early season tune- up and check up for $109 (M-F)  from 8-3pm arrival.  Sept 17-October 31.

Furnace tune- up and check includes:

  • Tech inspects ignition system
  • Inspects heat exchanger
  • Checks gas piping and valve for leaks
  • Checks blower and motor
  • Includes 6 pt. electrical safety check

Add on Hot Water Heater inspection $30 on this same visit only:

  • Check for Leaks
  • Remove drain rust off bottom of heater
  • Check pressure relief valve
  • Check gas piping and valves for leaks

Our technicians are trained to evaluate your furnace to make sure it is operating at peak performance in order to maximize the life of the system and minimize the cost of operation.

Crawl space, roof and attic systems $20 extra. (8am-3pm M-F only).

Dog owners be careful where your dog urinates as it can destroy  your air conditioner

We have seen several outdoor AC condensers through the years that the coils have been damaged from dog urine. A system we installed 12 years ago was recently found empty of refrigerant. After doing some inspecting we found the coils had been broken down in 2 corners due to a dog urinating on it for a long time. It probably takes years of exposure but due to the corrosive nature of the urine the copper/aluminum coil became brittle causing it to fail and the refrigerant leak out. The customer had no choice but to replace the system.

We recommend that you watch where your pet goes and if it is on or near your a/c unit then take steps so that the dog is not peeing on the unit.  Preventive maintenance is the best measure in this case so that you do not run into an expensive repair or replacement of your a/c unit.

 

 

 

How effective are swamp coolers in the Denver area?

As an alternative to a traditional air conditioning system, a swamp cooler uses the process of evaporation to provide cooling comfort. Swamp coolers are energy efficient and can lower an area’s ambient temperature by several degrees.
How a swamp cooler works:
The process is simple: when water evaporates, a large amount of heat from surroundings is absorbed. This is easily observed when you splash water onto your skin on a hot day, as this results in a cooling – almost chilling – sensation because of the rapid evaporation of moisture on the skin.
A swamp cooler is energy-efficient and an affordable cooling devices but they only work well in certain areas where there is low humidity. When the humidity level hits 30% l swamp coolers are going to slow up their cooling capacity, and when you hit 35% they basically stop cooling. On humid days l when there is already a lot of water in the air, you may think that you’re swamp cooler is broken as it’s blowing in warm air.
Swamp coolers become inefficient when it becomes too humid. In Denver, Colorado this begins to happen in July when the summer monsoon kicks in and the days are long and hot. That’s when the humidity begins to climb. Air conditioning is the only thing that works when you have humid days.
The best solution in Denver is to have an efficient air conditioning unit installed so that you can stay cool all summer long and not just in June and September.
Evaporative coolers cost about half as much to install as a central air conditioner but they are only guaranteed for five years. High efficiency HVAC systems last up to four times as long as a swamp cooler. Evaporative coolers have to be cleaned and drained regularly to avoid sediment build up. Otaherwise they can smell and cause roof damage.
The more a swamp cooler runs, the more maintenance it needs. In hot summers, where the cooler operates most of the time, the pads, filters, reservoir, and pump will need to be maintained at least once a month. Air conditioning systems need regular filter changes and yearly preventive maintenance to perform perfectly for years.
Swamp coolers drain through the ductwork into your house, distributing moist air into your living spaces. Moisture often leads to mold and odors. Upholstery can trap those smells. This air can eventually lead to respiratory problems like allergies or asthma.
The moisture in the ductwork causes it to break down over time, pushing metal particles out of the vents and into your home. Refrigerated air systems automatically clean and filter the air, providing a healthy clean cooling solution!

The chart below provides an approximation of temperature changes delivered by a swamp cooler:

*******Spring Special*******
Comprehensive A/C Check
and Tune-Up $109

Our technicians are trained to evaluate your air conditioning system to ensure it is operating at peak performance in order to maximize the life of the system and minimize the cost of operation. 

Crawl space, roof and attic systems $20 extra.
Refrigerant extra.

Rates are non-overtime ETA’s
(8am-3pm M-F only).

Weather permitting, must be at least 75 degrees ambient temp.

Good until May 31st

Emergency Furnace Repair Service

Furnace repair
Furnace repair

TOBIN’s been serving the metro Denver areas HVAC needs since 1954! If you are having issues with your furnace and you need a furnace repair please give us a call.  All of our technicians are clean-cut, uniformed, and licensed.  Tobin employs master technicians who are highly trained in their profession and are capable of performing their work at an entirely higher level than most technicians.

In most cases, we can respond to your service needs immediately, seven days a week.  Our trucks are stocked with the most common parts so we can hopefully save a trip to the supply shop.  When you call us let us know your brand of furnace and what you think the issue might be.  Our goal is to repair your furnace the same day if possible.

If the furnace is not repairable, we can replace it, providing many options in equipment.  Those options will range in efficiency and extended warranties available based on your wants, needs and budget.

We offer free in home estimates on furnace replacements.  This estimate will cover everything that needs to be done to remove the old furnace and replace it with a new one.  This includes the removal and recycling the old furnace.

Most furnace replacementsare covered with a 10 year parts and 1 year labor warranty.

All installs are up to code for the city or county that you are in.

We carry most brands of equipment.  Most installs are custom based on the needs and design of your home.

We  install traditional or state of the art wireless thermostats to enable and a/c to be added as well.

We value our customers and your satisfaction is our top priority.  We will schedule jobs as soon as possible, taking care of emergencies in a timely manner and taking them seriously.  Once we begin a job, we work until it’s complete.

Call your Denver Furnace repair and replacement experts at 303.893.5675

 

Replace your furnace with Great Rebates

NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO REPLACE YOUR FURNACE & A/C WITH UP TO $2000 IN REBATES.
ACT BEFORE March 31st

There currently is an Xcel rebate of $750 towards 95% or higher furnaces. If you upgrade the blower to a high efficiency ECM blower you get an additional $100 for a max of $850 total. The $750 for 95% or higher is good until March 31, 2018. After that it will go back down to $300. The $100 ECM blower rebate is good on any furnace that utilizes an ECM even standard 80% efficient models, and does not currently have a deadline.

Also the $1150 rebate for high efficiency AC’s is still available with no current deadline. To get this rebate the furnace has have a ECM motor. This makes it a good time to replace your entire heating/cooling system with a total of $2000 in available rebates.

Your Benefits

Rebates help with the initial cost of equipment

Buying a 95% efficient furnace with EC Motor protects you from the potential of future rising energy costs

EC Motors are less expensive to run than conventional furnace fans

Quieter operation thanks to a lower fan speed

Improved comfort with less temperature fluctuation, maintaining a more even temperature

Your Average Savings

These upfront rebates help you save on the cost of more efficient equipment. You are also expected to save energy and money every year for about 18 years – the average life of a furnace.

Average sized 95% efficient furnace savings are shown here, compared to the baseline 80% efficient new furnaces. Here’s a breakdown of the savings:

$5.24 per dekatherms (unit measure for natural gas)
x $19.73 dekatherms per year for an average sized 95% efficient furnace
$ 103.39 per year
x 18 years
$1,861 in savings if energy prices remain the same

In addition, a new EC Motor in a new furnace could provide savings for about 18 years. If you put a new EC Motor into an existing furnace, the savings last for an average of seven years. That’s an estimated total of $585 if energy prices remain the same.

$0.103 per kilowatt-hour (unit of measurement for electricity)
x 812 kilowatt per year for an average sized furnace and AC system
$83.63 per year
x 18 years
$1,505 in savings if energy prices remain the same

* Project must be invoiced/installed between October 15, 2017 to March 31, 2018 to qualify for a bonus rebate. Deadline to submit an application is April 4, 2018.

https://www.xcelenergy.com/programs_and_rebates/residential_programs_and_rebates/heating_and_cooling/heating_equipment_rebates

Xcel Energy is offering rebates for new furnaces this includes residential and businesses

We just received notice Xcel is doing bonus furnace rebates.

Give us a call if you have any questions.

Here is the home owners rebate information:

We’re going to help your/our customers buy down the cost of purchasing a high efficiency furnace with a great big bonus rebate.

  • $300   regular rebate for 95%+ AFUE gas furnace (residential gas heating customers eligible)
  • +$450   BONUS rebate for     “                    “                               “
  • $750  total furnace rebate
  • +$100  EC Motor rebate (residential electric use customers eligible)
  • $850  possible total furnace/EC Motor rebate

 

 

 

 

Fancy Furnace with two stage gas system and ECM motor

We are servicing many “fancy furnaces” with 2 stage gas system and/or ECM motors and we are finding many installed by competitors that are failing to utilize and set up the furnace features, in particular the dip switches to advantage of all these features.
An ECM (electronic commutated motor) is a brushless DC motor with a permanent magnet rotor and a built in inverter.
DC motors are more efficient than AC motors.

Lennox fancy furnace
Lennox fancy furnace

The ability to move air rapidly and efficiently in HVAC systems is essential to achieving a cost-efficient comfort system. The electrical motors that were traditionally used in HVAC applications were AC induction style motors that were either single-or multi-speed — they’d run at one speed for heating, another for cooling, and sometimes a third speed for two-stage systems.

The problem with these types of motors is that they use a lot of energy because they run at full amp draw at all times. Also, since the motors run on high speed all the time, the noise levels are also high.

To address these two concerns — efficiency and noise — the electronically commutated motor (ECM) was developed. According to GE, an innovator in ECM technology, the wide range of the ECM motor, high efficiency, and programmability gives it a virtually unlimited range of performance characteristics.

ECMs (Electronically Commutated Motors) manufactured today are the best they’ve ever been, and can provide unprecedented airflow delivery to match the required BTUH of a heating and/or cooling system.

There are, however, some serious downsides associated with improper application of these motors in new and existing HVAC systems.

The Good:
When a furnace or air handler with an ECM is installed on a good duct system, coil, and filtration system with static pressures within proper design parameters, it can perform flawlessly. These systems can deliver precise airflow to match two-speed condenser designs and multi-stage gas furnace firing rates to deliver quiet, draft-free comfort in virtually any configuration.

These issues can be avoided with good pressure and airflow testing, both before and after equipment is replaced, and on every system you service. When you measure, you know. When you don’t measure, you’re just guessing that it will turn out OK.

Additional benefits of these brushless DC motors include low electrical consumption when operating within design TESP (Total External Static Pressure). When installed properly, systems with ECMs can improve dehumidification, reduce register noise, save energy, and provide trouble-free operation.

The Bad:
In marginal systems with higher-than-design static pressures — for example a .5–in. TESP rated furnace with ECM on a .8–in. TESP system — the motor still may be able to maintain airflow close to design. The tradeoff is higher velocities often cause a noisy system and some coil blow-off. The extra torque often required to overcome the higher statics results in higher electrical consumption. This reduces actual equipment EER, which means your customer won’t get the savings of the higher efficiency matchup.

High velocities and pressures created by ECMs on systems with dirty evaporator coils can also blow moisture off the coil surfaces into the supply ductwork. This can reduce the system’s dehumidification capability and cause numerous moisture-related indoor air quality issues.

The Answer:
These issues can be avoided with good pressure and airflow testing, both before and after equipment is replaced, and on every system you service. When you measure, you know. When you don’t measure, you’re just guessing that it will turn out OK.

Of course, there is more to this in terms of troubleshooting and solving these issues. The bottom line is that while the ECM is a great motor, as the servicing or installing contractor it’s your responsibility to make sure its application does not cause unintended consequences detrimental to the health and well-being of your customers’ homes and HVAC systems.