Wednesday, 30 September 2015
Your Furnace Can Kill You!
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Every year, many deaths are attributed to home heating hazards which cause fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other calamities. Here are some very important steps you can take to reduce or eliminate some heating safety hazards:

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Steps You Can Take

First, check the area around your furnace. Is there adequate clearance all around the system?  Or are you using the area for storage, thus limiting the system's air intake? 

Next, notice any leaks or moisture sources near the furnace, or signs of rust in the furnace.  Something as simple as condensation dripping from a cold water pipe onto the furnace can cause rust.  Rust on the inside or outside, or along any of the vents is a carbon monoxide hazard.  Other potential carbon monoxide hazards include animal or bird nests obstructing the flue, soot build-up, improper venting, and damage or deterioration to any vents.

Carbon Monoxide Dangers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an average of 430 deaths per year in the United States from unintentional, non-fire-related carbon monoxide  poisoning.  The older the furnace, the more likely there could be a problem. Carbon monoxide is a sneaky problem for many reasons.

  • First, carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless… it's not like natural gas which has the smell of rotten eggs!  Thus, it is difficult to know that you've developed a carbon monoxide leak. That's why it's nicknamed "the silent killer."
  • Second, your heat may be operating (keeping the house warm) so you do not know that your heat exchanger or vent is beginning to rust out and building up the deadly gas..
  • Lastly, low-level carbon monoxide poisoning mimics the symptoms of common winter ailments - such as the flu, or an over-indulgent night out, or even seasonal depression - so many cases are not detected until permanent damage to the body has occurred.  
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and eventually, loss of consciousness.  

Tips for Prevention

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, recommends these tips:

  1. Have all fuel-burning home heating systems inspected and serviced annually by trained service technicians.
  2. Install CO detectors with battery backup in hallways near each sleeping area and in the garage.  Test the CO alarms and replace the batteries every year.

Test your knowledge.

Following these important tips can keep illness or death from claiming your life or the lives of your loved ones.

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Posted on 09/30/2015 11:53 PM by Tony Anderson
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Tuesday, 15 September 2015
Are HVAC Service Contracts Worth the Money?
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Well, the short answer is, "it depends."  Ask yourself these questions:

What is included?

If the contract is very cheap, it may be just a ploy to get a technician into your house and try to sell you something you don't need.  However, if the contract entitles you to a discount on parts or labor, or priority service or emergency/after-hours support, then it might be very well worth it!  If a system is going to break down, it will typically do so at extreme temperatures: the air conditioning will fail on a very hot, humid day, or the heat will fail during a prolonged stretch of frigid weather.  These are times when you can ill afford to be without a working system and when all HVAC companies are inundated with calls.  Without having a company that will put you to the front of the line, you might find the wait with any company you call will be measured in days, not hours!  Additionally, most HVAC companies will charge extra for after-hours support.  You could wind up paying up to twice the labor charges for getting your system serviced on a Saturday versus getting it serviced on Monday.  But in extreme temperatures, you may not be able to wait until Monday!  So, if your service contract entitles you to no additional up-charges for after-hours emergencies, the savings in the labor on just one visit could be worth it.

How old is your unit?

If you have a brand new unit (less than 6 years old), the chances of it breaking down might be less than if you have a unit that is more than 10 years old.  Also, if the unit is still under warranty, then it could be that some portion of parts and/or labor may be covered by the warranty.  But be aware that manufacturers may not honor the warranty if they think the unit has not been properly maintained by the homeowner. Having a service contract where you can prove the unit had regular preventive maintenance might make all the difference.  Certainly, if you have an older unit, or a unit with a history of previous failures, having a service contract might be a smart move!

How diligent are you in doing preventive maintenance?

If you're following the tips we provide on our HVAC News page, videos, and in our Fall Maintenance eBook, and are diligent about changing filters on time, cleaning the coils, keeping the condensate line clear, and doing other recommended tasks yourself, then you might not gain that much from having a service contract, especially if it only includes these same types of services.  Of course, some preventive maintenance tasks require special equipment, measuring devices, certifications or licensures (such as adding refrigerant to a unit), so there's no such thing as never needing service.  But if you're pretty handy and diligent about doing all you can, you certainly will lessen the chances of some things going wrong.

Consider Potential Savings

Annual maintenance is vital to keep your HVAC system in good working condition and at peak efficiency, so you'll benefit by (a) avoiding big repairs bills, since minor problems could be spotted before they escalate, (b) lowering your utility bills, since your unit will be running more efficiently, and (c) extending the life of your system, so purchasing a new system can be delayed. Like your car, it is cheaper to maintain it in good working order than to deal with large repair bills when it breaks down.   

Read  the Fine Print

Always read the contract, so you understand exactly what's included, and what's not.  For example, if you purchased a service contract from the gas company thinking it will cover your furnace maintenance, you may find it only covers repairs to the gas lines from the street up to the furnace; the gas company won't be coming out twice a year for tune-ups and regular preventive maintenance on your HVAC unit.

 

Consider the Company, Not Just the Price

Remember, the service contract is only as good as the service provider backing it up. Are they honest, trustworthy, and reputable? Are their technicians trained, certified, licensed and insured?  Do they have experience with the type of equipment you have?  Do they treat their customers with respect?  Do they have good online reviews by homeowners (or business owners) and by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?  Have they been in business a long time?  If you base your service decisions solely on price, you may not be getting a good value for your money.

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Posted on 09/15/2015 7:39 AM by Tony Anderson
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Important Tips & Advice

 

 

You often don't think about your heating or air-conditioning system until something goes wrong. But there is so much you can do to help keep your system from breaking down. We regularly post information to help you learn what you can do to keep your system running, to save money and energy.  Search our many posts, videos, and podcasts, for valuable information that is never a sales pitch. Subscribe to receive an email when something new is posted, so you won’t miss any important tips.

Choosing a Repair Company

Whether you’re talking about heating or cooling, repairing or replacing a system, you want a company that can advise you reliably based on what is in your best interest, not based on what is convenient or what earns them the most money (commissions). We'll help you choose the best solution to fit your needs. Check out our many posts at HVAC News You Can Use and our podcasts.

Going Green

We're concerned about the environment and know all the latest technologies - such as geothermal systems, LED lights, and smart thermostats - that can reduce energy and put more "green" in your pocket!  We've provided HVAC systems in certified LEED buildings and written many posts on ways to Go Green.

The Sign of Service

We are a repair company performing a full range of commercial and residential heating, air conditioning, energy management and comfort products service, maintenance, and installation. We are a locally-owned company serving Nashville-Davidson County and the surrounding counties including Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Sumner, Robertson, and Cheatham.

Who We Are

Our service technicians are fully trained and experienced.  We can tackle the most complicated system to the simplest of systems – from large commercial plants to single-family homes.  Our ownership group of Eddie Hutton, Tony Anderson, Roger Eldridge,  Swaney Powers and Alan Seilbeck have over 125 years combined experience as leaders in the HVAC industry.

Dispatch

We are proud of our dispatchers that respond to your telephone call. When your system is down they make things happen. Our trucks are loaded with most parts needed for a quick repair. You can call day and night 7 days a week. Our normal weekday hours are 7:00AM to 5:00PM. Click on the button below to schedule a service call online. Emails and forms can only be answered weekdays from 7-5.”  

615-832-8500 Online Service Call

Maintenance

Did you know you should service your HVAC on a regular schedule – just like you would your car?  We have specialized maintenance programs to ensure the clean, energy efficient and safe operation of your HVAC systems.  This helps minimize service interruptions/breakdowns and maximize your equipment's lifespan.  All maintenance contract customers are assigned a primary technician that will get to know your facility and equipment and will treat it like his own.  You’ll receive discounts on repairs or new installations, and get priority service when it is cold or hot outside and you need service promptly.  Plus, maintenance contract customers are never charged overtime rates for emergency services after-hours, weekends or holidays. We’ll teach you how to save on maintenance costs by showing you things you can do yourself and when you need a technician. Here are some good posts:  Repair vs. Replace, Things to Try Before Calling for Service, Springtime Tips that Pay Off.

Commercial

Our team takes on HVAC projects for office, school, retail and industrial facilities. Check out these case studies:

Replacement of a 250-ton Cooling Tower

Ductless HVAC at Brentwood Middle School