Furnace Maintenance Checklist for this Winter

Furnace Maintenance

Furnace Maintenance Tips to Avoid Heater Problems

HVAC professionals always recommend furnace and air conditioner maintenance programs and, since we say it so often, it might sound like background noise to your life. Each day, a massive amount of information clamors for the attention of American homeowners. However, technicians perform a variety of furnace maintenance tasks that are vital to keeping your furnace running strong all year long and for years to come. Furnace Maintenance tasks may include:

Changing the Air Filter

This simple chore is essential since the furnace requires the movement of air: the entire volume of air should move through your furnace about every 2 minutes of a heating cycle. A clogged filter can leave you feeling a little chilly on cold days. It also creates stress on your entire heating system.

Check the Ductwork

Only a portion of the network of ducts will be visible after construction is completed. However, observation of the visible portion can tell us:

  • How clean or dirty the ducts are. This is mostly an air quality issue.
  • Potential leaks in the portion that is visible. Repairing any leak that can be observed will improve efficiency and comfort.

Clean the Blower Fan

The amount of dust that collects on moving parts is crazy—how often does the ceiling fan need to be cleaned? The blower motor is a cylindrical fan that is responsible for moving air during heating and cooling cycles. Dust reduces the efficiency of the fan and reduces the amount of air movement.

Check Electronics Thoroughly

  • A series of sensors measure your indoor environment and send messages to the furnace system. The most noticeable sensor is in the thermostat; it measures air temperature and sends a signal calling for a heating cycle as needed. The thermostat needs to be tested and calibrated as needed. Other sensors are located throughout the system, sensing flame or the presence of smoke or carbon monoxide. These essential sensors need to be cleaned and tested regularly.
  • Beyond the sensors, a complex network of electrical switches and controllers manage the energy needed to keep occupants warm and comfortable. When one of these components weakens, it creates a cascade of stress on other system components. Simple voltage tests can detect stress or weakness, ensuring a small problem does not develop into a large problem.
  • Another set of safety controllers prevents damage or injury should a problem create an overload or short-circuit.

Gas System Furnace Maintenance

  • It is extremely important to regularly inspect your gas supply line and connections to prevent damage, injury, and death.
  • The gas pressure needs to be checked at the manifold to ensure adequate flow to the burner.
  • The most delicate part of a gas-powered system is the ignition/pilot light assembly. A pilot light should burn blue, with a hint of yellow at the base. This indicates complete combustion.
  • A flame sensor can accumulate soot and dust, interfering with burner ignition.
  • Rust and soot can develop on the pilot light and burner assembly and need to be cleaned away for good performance.
  • The heat exchanger and flue pipe need to be cleaned and inspected for damage regularly. Rust can weaken the walls of these structures, allowing carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide to leak into the home.

General Observations

Furnace Maintenance inspections will also test furnace function by measuring temperature changes during a heating cycle; these measurements will be taken from various spaces to ensure proper the system is heating efficiently.

Leave Furnace Maintenance and Repair to the Experts!

Schedule your furnace maintenance consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified furnace maintenance and heater repair technicians put their experience to work for you.

Why Furnace Repair is Not a DIY Project

Furnace Repair

Why You Should Leave Furnace Repair to the Experts

Many homeowners are pleased to do small jobs around the house but would not consider tackling projects outside their comfort zone. Other homeowners have a pioneering spirit and a penchant for frugality. They consider new challenges exciting. With a host of tutorial videos and several chains of home improvement centers, their independent, do-it-yourself attitude can push the limits.

Some home improvement projects should be left to professionals and making furnace repairs falls into this category.

Home furnaces are an integral building system that keeps the family comfortable, healthy, and safe. The components are complex, and may include:

  • Electrical sensors and controls
  • Refrigerant gas technology, the same gas used during the cooling season, and
  • Natural gas

There are a multitude of manufacturers, with several generations of innovation, so the chances of finding the right tutorial and the corresponding part for specific repairs are quite slim. So many things can go wrong . . .

Potential Electrical Hazards

The wiring that sends messages between the thermostat and furnace components carries 14 volts. The wiring that activates the heating element carries 220 volts. Other wires carry 120 volts. Someone accidentally contacting any of these wires will be shocked, but one better know the difference, since the resulting shock will be very different.

Accidentally crossing the wires can also develop a fire hazard. There is no substitute for proper training and experience when repairing furnaces.

Potential Gas Hazards

Being prepared to repair any furnace on the market requires familiarity with at least three gases, and rarely will homeowners have the necessary training to handle all three.

  • Some furnace units use a heat pump component, which utilizes the same refrigerant gas (commonly referred to as Freon) as the air conditioning process. The air conditioning process is reversed, bringing heat from the outside indoors.
  • Some units use natural gas or propane as fuel to warm a home. Service requires knowledge of gas supply and there can be no mistakes with these explosive gases. A leak is serious, potentially leading to asphyxiation and an explosive fire.
  • The burners for gas furnaces need careful cleaning and inspection. The ignition source and mixture with oxygen must be precise and getting it right can be extremely frustrating.
  • Don’t forget the exhaust from burning natural gas. This gas enters a heat exchange chamber, and the radiant heat warms the air which eventually warms the home.

A portion of the exhaust is steam which causes rust to form on the walls of the heat exchanger; the heat exchanger must be inspected regularly. If the exhaust leaks into the home, the colorless, odorless carbon monoxide will asphyxiate occupants.

A video tutorial cannot cover the vocational furnace repair training and years of experience. Call a professional technician to service and repair your furnace this heating season.

Leave Furnace Repair to the Experts!

Schedule your furnace repair consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified HVAC maintenance and furnace repair technicians put their experience to work for you.

Energy Efficient Heating Tips for Winter

Energy Efficient Heating

Energy Efficient Heating Tips for Homeowners

When the utility bill arrives, there is often a quick twinge of panic and a desire to find Energy Efficient Heating methods to result in energy lower costs. Oh, and if we could find some Energy Efficient Heating hacks that cost absolutely nothing, that would be even better! Well, hang on, because we have a few real Energy Efficient Heating tips. You might not be able to use them all, but see how many will help.

Energy Efficient Heating: Solar Energy Hacks. The sun delivers 10,000 times more energy to the earth than the amount of energy that people use. If you stand in front of a window on a cold, sunny day and you will appreciate passive solar gain. Capturing a portion of the sun’s energy inside your home will save you money.

  • Winter sun is low in the sky during the winter and high in the sky in the summer. A low sun pours more sunlight into your home on winter days.
  • The sun allowed inside warms the flooring, the furniture, and the walls. This energy radiates into the air in your home, raising the temperature by as much as 150 on a sunny day.
  • Windows are the key to solar gain. New double-paned windows trap heat in the space between glass panes and that costs nothing. Open the drapes and blinds during the day on South-facing windows between 9 am and 3 pm on sunny days. Close the drapes and blinds after the sun sets to reduce the amount of heat escaping into the cold, dark night.

Energy Efficient Heating: Fan Hacks. To maximize solar gain, move the free solar heat with ceiling fans. The wintertime setting for ceiling fans turns the fan in a clockwise rotation; this pulls air up and pushes the warm air toward the outside of the room, and potentially into other areas of the house. Set the fan at the lowest speed and move this air around. Also, use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans sparingly. The air being pulled outside is warm, air—the kind of air you are trying to keep indoors.

Energy Efficient Heating: Thermostat Hacks. The thermostat is a switch that turns the heat on or off based on a pre-determined temperature setting. All but the oldest thermostats are programmable; that is, you can program the switch to change the temperature on a timed schedule. How does that help?

  • Be slow to switch the heat (or AC) on at the season change. Develop a little tolerance for a cooler temperature setting. Set the temperature at the lowest comfortable setting for your family.
  • The EPA has demonstrated that if you lower your thermostat setting by 7 to 10 degrees for a minimum of 8 hours, you will save 10% on your heating bill.1  That does not cost a thing and you enter the scheduled changes only one time.
  • There are two ideal times to program a reduction in temperature for 8 hours: overnight, while everyone is sleeping, and during the day, while the whole family is away from home. Try a few different schedules to see which works for your family.

Energy Efficient Heating: Appliance Hacks. Some of your household appliances create significant heat for cleaning and cooking. Wash dishes and clothes later in the day to fully appreciate the heat they generate. Exhaust the hot, moist air produced by showers during the summer, but retain it in the winter as much as possible. Cook and bake to your heart’s content on cold days; exhaust only the most disagreeable cooking odors.

Energy Efficient Heating: Maintenance Hacks. Make sure to follow your manufacturer’s user guides concerning regularly scheduled preventative maintenance visits; annual maintenance is usually the guideline. Be sure to change your air filter regularly, at least every three months. These steps keep your HVAC system functioning efficiently and this saves you money.

Have questions about Energy Efficient Heating? We can help!

Schedule your free Energy Efficient Heating by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Energy Efficient Heating

1 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/programmable-thermostats#:~:text=Thermostat%20Operation&text=You%20can%20easily%20save%20energy,asleep%20or%20away%20from%20home

Furnace Maintenance: 6 Tips to Energy Savings

Furnace Maintenance

Energy Efficiency Requires Furnace Maintenance

Whoa! Energy costs are way up and paying your heating bill this winter is tough, with a capital T! If only there were some low-cost or no-cost options to lower that nagging utility bill. Here are a few things to try:

  1. Make sure you change your air filter regularly. The air filter constantly cleans airborne particles from your home’s indoor air. Air filters tend to be very effective, so the dust builds up rather quickly. However, once the filter is clogged, it restricts airflow. That seems like a small thing, but heating and air conditioning depends upon good airflow.
  2. Speaking of good airflow, check all of the supply vents and return air registers to make sure they are not covered. Occasionally a drape or piece of furniture gets moved and covers the opening.
  3. If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when not in use. Remember, heat rises and when it is open heat is escaping from your home.
  4. Learn to appreciate solar gain and begin a habit of opening and closing window treatments to heat your home. Opening the drapes and blinds on the south side of your home during sunny days can warm your home by 100 Be sure to close them after the sun goes down since they can prevent heat loss.
  5. Use the existing ceiling fans in your home to enhance your comfort. The wintertime setting for ceiling fans is clockwise; this draws air up and pushes the warm air trapped in the ceiling out and down. For your comfort, keep the fan on the lowest setting.
  6. Pay attention to your thermostat and learn how to program it for energy/cash savings. Newer thermostats are either programmable or have smart capabilities, with a cell phone app to customize your programming. Find agreeable times with your family members to lower the thermostat for several hours. Ideal times for lowering the temp include while everyone is asleep or away at work or school. Reducing the temperature by 6 or 80 for at least eight hours per day will make a discernable dent in your utility bill.

Don’t forget that you are also heating water; check the temperature setting on your hot water heater to make sure it is not set too high.

  • Whenever possible, take the opportunity to add insulation, caulk, and weather stripping to prevent heat loss.
  • Schedule a routine preventative Furnace Maintenance visit with an HVAC professional annually. Keeping the system clean and in proper repair will ensure your furnace is functioning at peak efficiency. This does reduce costs as much as possible.

Have questions about Furnace Maintenance? We can help!

Schedule your free Furnace Maintenance consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.



Heater Efficiency: Warming Your Home Naturally

Heater Efficiency

Increase Heater Efficiency By Tapping Natural Resources

As winter approaches days grow shorter and the temperatures will be cooler for a few months: it happens every year like clockwork. However, we have seen the cost of fuels increase at an unexpected clip this year; energy costs for heating are projected to be higher than this time last year. Before an increase in heating causes you to break out into a sweat and your blood pressure rise, let’s look at some Heater Efficiency tips you can implement to make your home more comfortable with little to no cost.

Since it has been a few years since your last Physical Science class, let me remind you of this principle about the physics of energy. Heat always moves towards cold. Scientists will state it differently, but for practical purposes the statement is true. When you remember this principle, consider all of the adjustments you can make to keep your home warmer and to increase your heater efficiency this winter.

Heater Efficiency: Learn How to Keep Your Heat

Since you have already paid to heat your home, it is in your best interest to keep that warmth from moving to the cold outdoors.

  • Fireplaces lend an atmosphere of warmth and beauty, especially during winter holidays. A fireplace might also come in handy when an ice storm takes out electricity for an extended period. However, unmodified fireplaces are energy hogs and if used day-in and day-out, result in a less comfortable home and high energy costs.

    A roaring fire pushes more than 20,000 cubic feet of hot air and gases through the chimney every hour. That air must be replaced, and your home will draw outside (cold) air through every opening available to replace the lost air. The result is cold, drafty rooms away from the fireplace.

  • If you make your fireplace a normal source of heat, make energy-efficient modifications to keep your home comfortable. Make sure to keep the fireplace flue closed when it is not in use. If open, it is a channel for warm inside air to move to the cold outdoors, the equivalent to leaving a 48” square window open.
  • Insulation and weather-stripping is the MOST efficient measure to prevent the movement of warm air to the cold outside. You have heard the old adage “warm air rises.” It is true. Do a quick check of your attic insulation with a ruler or tape measure.

    Expect 10 to 12” of insulation evenly spread across the surface. If insulation is deficient, adding insulation will improve comfort and efficiency. Make sure that the attic opening is properly sealed.

  • Improved building materials and techniques result in energy-efficient wall construction, but age and settling can create gaps for air to move freely. Here are some things to inspect:
    • Windows and doors can allow air to freely move. Caulk and weather-stripping are quite effective. When you feel a cold draft coming in, know that an equal volume of warm air is leaving the building envelope.
    • Put your hand near electrical outlets. If you feel a draft, faceplate insulation is available to reduce the amount of air movement.

Practical Steps to Increase Heater Efficiency

  • Solar gain is free! Glass is a poor insulator and allows heat to travel from the warm side to the cold side reducing your heater efficiency. Solar gain is radiant energy coming from the sun, even on cold winter days.
    • Open the curtains during sunny days on the south side of the house. While the sun appears to move from east to west, it will always shine on the south side during the winter months. Plenty of heat will radiate through the windows, moving inside, even when it is cold. It makes the space cheery and bright. Be sure to protect sensitive materials from UV light.
    • Once the sun sets, close curtains and drapes to prevent the warm indoor air from traveling outdoors.
  • Take note of appliances and activities that warm your home. Appliances that clean typically also generate heat. Adjusting your schedule slightly can contribute warmth at the right time.
  • Use the clothes washer, dryer, and dishwasher during cold, evening hours and take advantage of the residual heat from these processes. If you prefer not to hear the noise, set a timer to begin cycles as the family is getting ready for bed.
  • Remember that baking and cooking will contribute substantial heat during the winter months. Plan accordingly, but NEVER use unvented gas appliances as a heat source.
  • Consider skipping the bathroom exhaust vent during showers to keep warm, moist air indoors instead of sending it outside. Indoor air tends to be drier during the winter months, so that might be a bonus.
  • Learn to use ceiling fans appropriately for the season to improve heater efficiency. Look for the switch on each ceiling fan that changes the direction of the blades. Which way should it turn? Simply remember—cool down/warm up. Warm air moves up and is trapped near the ceiling. A slow setting with the blades moving in a clockwise motion will pull cold air up and push warm air down.

Need help with improving your heater efficiency?

Let us know how we can help with your furnace and heater efficiency, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Heater Efficiency




3 Easy Furnace Maintenance Fixes

Furnace Maintenance

3 Easy Furnace Maintenance Fixes – Common Furnace Problems & Solutions

During the winter your family relies on your furnace to maintain comfort and heat your home. As the temperature drops, you do not want to face a breakdown and potentially lose your furnace’s ability to heat your home.

A commonly asked question is, “What are furnace problems to look for?” Most homeowners are looking for furnace maintenance tips to minimize the need for large furnace and HVAC repairs.

Here are the 3 most common furnace problems we’ve witnessed below and proactive furnace maintenance solutions to keep your heating system running at its peak.

Clogged and Dirty Air Filters

Clogged and dirty air filters put unnecessary strain on your furnace. In addition, a dirty air filter will reduce the air quality inside your home.

Replacing your air filter based on your furnace maintenance specifications prolongs the life of the unit and can drastically reduce your energy consumption.

The most effective way to avoid a clogged or dirty HVAC filter is regularly scheduled furnace maintenance. One of our NATE Certified Technicians can inspect your air filter and replace it if needed.

We will also provide a schedule for you to change your air filters based on several criteria such as the number of pets inside the home, tobacco use, chronic allergies or other conditions, and if you have elderly or infant family members.

Most filters provide replacement specifications and many modern thermostats provide an alert when air filters need to be replaced.

Ductwork Design Or Damage

Sometimes the original installation of your HVAC system can be causing your heating and/or cooling system to face challenges to keep up with the demand of your desired temperature settings.

Improperly installed or designed ductwork can lead to inefficient HVAC effectiveness.

Damaged ductwork could come from rodents, normal wear and tear, or damage caused by attic storage. Through the repetition of cycling back and forth from heat and then cold, ductwork experiences fatigue which leads to leaks.

Leaking ductwork is one of the leading causes of loss of energy efficiency in your HVAC system.

This repair is typically easy and one of our furnace maintenance professionals can repair or reconfigure ductwork quite easily.

Reduced Efficiency

As we have discussed, routine furnace maintenance is highly suggested to keep your heating system performing at its best. We highly recommend furnace maintenance twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall.

This maintenance will keep your HVAC system running at its optimal efficiency level.

There are reasons why you will lose efficiency that cannot always be prevented with maintenance. An aging heating unit will gradually lose its ability to maintain the desired comfort levels within your home.

Time will eventually cause a breakdown of the system’s mechanics, leading to costly repairs and the inevitable replacement.

Modern units promote an efficiency level of about 90%, an older unit may only be able to perform at 60%.

Not only does this minimize the comfort level, it inconveniently adds to your utility bill. Learn more about HVAC efficiency ratings here.

Want more information about Furnace Maintenance? We Can Help!

If you are considering preventative Furnace Maintenance services to better your HVAC Efficiency and prepare your home for cool weather, call us at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

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Furnace Maintenance