Did you know that the word “furnace” is derived from the old Greek word “Fornax,” meaning oven? In the United States and Canada, a “furnace” is that particular HVAC component that heats your property. Yet, in the UK, a “furnace” is actually what they call the device for melting ore, while they call HVAC furnaces “heaters.”
In today’s post, we’ll be exploring some interesting facts about furnaces that you may not have known. Will these facts impress your friends? Probably not… but do they reveal some insights about the history of heating, how your furnace works, and tips for taking care of it better so it lasts longer? Absolutely.
Before we get to the list though, we’d like to thank you for considering Lion Home Service for all your Northern Colorado HVAC needs. We understand that there are lots of great HVAC companies around the region, and are grateful to have the opportunity to show you what 20 years and counting in the business can mean in terms of quality of service, professionalism, and care. If you have a furnace that needs repairs or it’s time for an HVAC system tune-up, our A+ rated (by the BBB) HVAC company is here for our local communities’ HVAC needs, 24/7. Contact us today to schedule a regular service call or to get emergency repairs!
5 Fun Facts About Furnaces (say that 10 times fast…)
As the temperature stays cold most days now that it’s winter here in Colorado, we spend more and more time inside. You probably don’t think about your furnace that often, unless it’s broken — in which case it’s a central problem, as you’re probably rather cold. Here are some things you might not have known about furnaces:
#1: Furnaces Last Longer Than You Think
One reason people don’t think much about their furnaces that much is that they tend to last a long time — up to or more than 40 years, actually, if they are taken care of. However, the average lifespan of a furnace is more like 15-25 years, depending on how well it is maintained and installed.
#2: There Are Only Three Active Components in Your Furnace
The furnace is comprised of only three actual “heating” components:
The burner, which produces the heat
The heat exchanger, which separates the combustion process from your breathing air
The blower, which circulates breathable air around your air ducts
#3: Your Furnace Manufacturer Probably Doesn’t Cover Product Failure
To save you from the shock of finding this out later, if you read the fine print of your furnace policy, you are likely to learn that the policy only covers inexpensive components, and not more expensive ones such as the heat exchanger.
#4: Furnaces Have Been Around for a Very Long Time
While the first modern central heating system was invented only in 1919, some form of heating system has been used since at least the times of the Ancient Romans, who used what they called a “hypocaust,” which pumped heated air through walls and floors.
#5: Furnace Installation Counts Just as Much as Furnace Quality
No matter the quality of the parts you get, having a trained professional install your furnace perfectly is just as important, in terms of ensuring that it lasts a long time and requires minimal maintenance.
Call the Experts at Lion Home Service Today For All Your Furnace Needs
If you are in Northern Colorado and need furnace repair, maintenance, or installation services, trust Lion Home Service to get the job done right. We serve many locations in Northern Colorado, including Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Greeley, and Windsor. Our customers’ complete satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us. All of our repairs are guaranteed for as long as you live in your home, and we never consider a job “finished” until you are completely satisfied. Our service experts also wear foot coverings and lay out drop cloths when working inside your home to prevent any damages. Have a question or want to schedule HVAC service? Contact us now!
Wondering about the safety of booking an HVAC service call during COVID-19 or if it is safe to have a furnace repairman in your home during the pandemic? Our team here at Lion Home Service gets these questions and related ones all the time. We have responded to these concerns by focusing on putting our customers’ safety first, while still providing 24/7 emergency services and more. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented a number of things to help reduce the spread of the virus.
Staff follows high standards of cleanliness, such as very regular hand washing, surface sanitation, and self-quarantine if they travel anywhere that has been exposed.
Strict travel policy for employees (no large gatherings, limited meetings, etc.)
Your furnace doesn’t stop needing to be repaired just because of the virus. In fact, staying warm and safe inside is more crucial than ever this winter, for your health and for your comfort in the face of these stressful times. If you are in Northern Colorado and want to get furnace repairs conducted by the best HVAC company in the region, contact Lion Home Services today to schedule a COVID-safe HVAC service call. We also offer discounts for veterans, seniors, and disabled.
Lion Home Services follows a number of other safety measures, to help keep you, your family, and our employees safe.
Daily check-ins — If any of our staff come into contact with someone who has become sick or shown symptoms, we direct them to stay home.
Client confirmations — Communication is key for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Before your service call, we call you in advance to make sure no one in the house is sick or is experiencing symptoms. If you are sick or have been in contact with someone who has the virus, we will make arrangements for a later service.
Face coverings — our service experts wear masks during all service calls to help decrease chances of the virus spreading.
Physical distancing — during an HVAC service call, our team aims to remain physically distant from you, as an extra precaution.
What to Expect During Your Furnace Repair
Beyond the aforementioned safety measures, you can expect the furnace repair to go more or less the same way that it normally would. A typical furnace tune-up takes about an hour, while furnace repairs are going to vary in time, depending on what is the problem. We only use quality, long-lasting parts, our service experts are all highly experienced, and we can repair any and all parts of your furnace. So don’t worry if it seems too complicated; we can handle it!
Lion Home Service has been doing our utmost to keep the residents of Fort Collins, Longmont, and other cities and towns in Northern Colorado comfortable in their living and working spaces for more than 20 years. Contact us today if you want to learn more about the ways that we can improve the condition of your furnace this winter!
If you have any questions, concerns, or special requirements for your HVAC appointment, please don’t hesitate to let us know and we’ll be more than happy to accommodate you.
“Out of sight, out of mind” applies to most of our home’s HVAC system. They’re usually in the basement and programmed to automatically heat or cool your home, so you probably don’t give them much thought. That is until yours stops working. The idea of a cold home in the middle of winter is enough to make anyone panic, but the experts at Lion Home Service know how to handle a heating emergency.
In fact, it may not be a serious problem at all, so take a deep breath, grab a sweatshirt, and go through our checklist to see if you can get your furnace up and running on your own. If these simple tips don’t get warm air blowing again, give us a call and we’ll help you get heat in a hurry with our emergency 24 hour service.
Also, be sure to clear leaves, snow, or debris from intake and exhaust vents restricted airflow can cause overheating or system damage. And make sure that curtains, furniture, and boxes are not blocking indoor registers and returns.
Check to make sure power to the furnace is on. Even gas furnaces need electricity to work. There should be a switch close to the furnace. Did someone bump it and turn it off? Check the fuse or circuit breaker at the electrical panel. Did the fuse blow or the breaker trip off? Replace the fuse or reset the breaker. If it happens again right away, it’s time to call in a company you can trust.
Check the settings on your thermostat. Make sure it is “On”, turned to “Heat” or “Auto” mode, and the temperature control selector is set higher than the current room temperature. The fan switch can be set to “On” or “Auto”. As a test, try raising the thermostat to its highest temperature setting to see if the furnace comes on.
4) Reclose Door
If your furnace was recently tuned-up, this could be the reason. There’s a safety switch on the furnace door that prevents the fan and burner from running while the access panel is being serviced so if the door isn’t closed properly, your furnace won’t work.
5) GAS VALVE
Make sure the gas supply to the furnace is fully open. You could also check to make sure the gas control valve inside the furnace is open. If you smell gas, don’t turn any lights or fixtures on or off, leave your home immediately and then use your mobile phone or a neighbor’s phone to call the gas company for emergency repair.
6) PILOT LIGHT
Finally, older model furnaces have a little flame that is always lit, which then lights the main furnace when your home needs heat. Has it blown out? Do you light it, but can’t keep it to stay lit? Then the most likely cause is a dirty or broken sensor, called a thermocouple. This small probe is mounted directly in the flame of the pilot light to tell the furnace whether the flame is lit or not. If that sensor is not working then there is no way to see the flame and the furnace shuts the gas valve to prevent gas from filling the house.
Newer model furnaces don’t have a pilot light that is always lit, but automatically light each time the furnace needs to heat your house. These furnaces are more reliable, but also more complicated to fix. One simple step to try yourself is to turn off the power to the furnace for about a minute, and then turn it back on. That may reset the controls and let the furnace start up. Still nothing? Time to call in the professionals!
THE LION GUARANTEE
100% SATISFATION GUARANTEE- We agree to accept responsibility for your complete satisfaction with the materials we use and the workmanship we provide. During the first year, if you are dissatisfied with our service or our people for any reason, we will do whatever it takes to make it right and correct the problem to your satisfaction.
Lion is HERE TO HELP!
If you’ve checked everything mentioned above and you still have no heat, give us a call at Lion Home Service and we’ll be happy to help you! We can help 24 hours a day for Furnace Repair, Furnace Maintenance or Furnace Installation. We serve Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder, Windsor, Wellington and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with an expert you can trust 970-399-9940
Whether it’s a cold winter morning or a hot summer afternoon in Northern Colorado, your HVAC system is working hard to keep you comfortable.
There is a lot of well-intentioned and good advice out there on the internet, along with a lot of misleading myths that can end up costing you time and money. Fortunately, Lion Home Service is familiar with all of the most common HVAC myths, and we have the facts to debunk them.
Myth #1: Crank up the T-Stat
Truth: Thermostats send information to your system that tells it when to turn on and off based off of the temperature you want to maintain. Your heating system will deliver air at the same constant rate no matter how high the temperature is set. The only difference it will make is that it will run longer until it reaches the setting you have set. So cranking up the heat or turning the temperature way down, generally wont speed up the process, just cost you more money in the long run.
Myth #2: Close those vents and registers
Truth: This myth makes sense in theory—if you’re not using a room in your home, why not close the vents so you won’t have to pay for heating or cooling an empty room? However, closing vents can actually cost you more money in the long run by damaging vital components of your HVAC system. Even if your vents are closed, air is still circulating through your ducts. This increase in pressure can damage your ductwork, and damage your blower fan by causing it to leak or overwork. Bottom line, it’s best to leave all of the vents in your home open so that air can circulate throughout your home properly. If you have hot and cold spots in your home, talk to one of our experts about zoning and duct sealing.
Myth #3: Fixing an old furnace repeatedly
Truth: Maintenance matters! Just as you schedule routine maintenance for your car, and annual checkups for you and your family, your HVAC system needs an annual check-up as well. While it may be tempting to skip a routine maintenance appointment to save some money, this decision can have negative financial impacts in the long run. This is due to the fact that routine maintenance gives a service expert the opportunity to spot and fix small problems before they become more serious, and more expensive.
Having your system assessed annually can save you from costly repairs down the road or worse. The systems fatigue will trigger damages in the furnace’s firebox, which increases the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Myth #4 High Efficiency system solves all
Truth: It takes a combination of various insulations, such as sealing your doors, windows, attic space, plumbing pipes, duct work and any leaks and cracks, Together, with the air produced by your efficient system will in and keep you comfortable and save money.
Myth #5: The larger the system, the better
Truth: Bigger can actually be worse. The size, or power, of a system is carefully measured to properly heat and cool your home. A more powerful system can occasionally be fine, but most often ends up short-cycling (shutting off and on prematurely), which can cause long-term damage to the system, costing you more money to operate and shortening its lifespan.
Be careful when choosing the contractor because some will convince homeowners to make a bigger purchase than necessary and pay for power you don’t need. When it is time for you to replace your HVAC system a Lion Expert will measure your home and offer you a system with the exact specifications you need to ensure you receive the most energy efficient system available.
Myth #6: Only changing filter once a year
Truth: Your filters are your home’s first line of defense against all the dirt, dust, and other contaminants that can circulate throughout your HVAC system. Because of this, it’s important to change your filters much more often than once a year. Dirty filters can constrict the amount of air that flows through the system, causing the system to work harder—which can lead to a possible breakdown. Dirty filters can also have an overall negative effect on the air quality in your home.
Ideally, you should clean or replace your filters every six weeks. If anyone in your home has asthma, allergies, or other respiratory conditions, you should change your filters monthly. This also holds true if you have pets, as their hair and dander can contribute to your filters getting dirty faster.
Take advantage of our Filter Subscription program and have filters delivered conveniently to your home.
Myth #7: Keep the temperature the same
Truth: If you’re not at home, you can save money by raising or lower the temperature on the thermostat. Rather than remembering to do this before you head out the door in the mornings, you can set a programmable thermostat to do it for you. For example, if you’re home in the mornings, but away at work during the day, you can program the thermostat to automatically increase or decrease the temperature as needed. According to the EPA, homeowners can save around $180 a year by using a programmable thermostat.
Myth #8: Using you HVAC system in short bursts saves money
Truth: Your HVAC unit actually uses the most energy during the first 3-5 minutes after you switch it on. If you continuously turn your unit on and off, you’ll end up using a lot more energy than necessary, which will be reflected in higher energy bills.
To heat or cool your home more efficiently, try toggling the switch on your HVAC unit to “on” and then leave the system to run uninterrupted. This allows the fan to blow air constantly, helping to maintain the temperature in your home and reducing the amount of energy that’s used.
Myth #9: If its not broke, don’t fix it
Truth: If you’ve been holding out on replacing your HVAC system, it’s time to see how technology has changed. When it comes to comparing older and newer HVAC systems, the differences are clear. Newer systems are exceptionally energy-efficient, allowing you to save on your monthly energy bills. Newer systems are also generally quieter, easier to operate, and less prone to breakdowns. Additionally, older systems may use defunct parts or equipment, such as R-22 refrigerant, which can make repairs costly. Rather than continuing to pay for a system that’s past its prime, replacing the system altogether is a better investment overall.
If you need help with Furnace or Air Conditioner maintenance or repair, We serve For Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder, Windsor and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with an expert you can trust. 970-399-9940
What separates Lion Home Service from other HVAC companies, and positions us as experts in our field, is our comprehensive Maintenance programs. Unlike other companies that only perform a simple check for loose bolts or dirty filters, we check the entire system from top to bottom—to help it work efficiently all year long.
To help you understand what our maintenance assessment entails, we’ve compiled a list of the major points for both the heating and cooling season. In this article, we’ll explain what each major point is, and how it benefits your system.
HVAC Maintenance for the Heating Season
Every year we find ourselves turning up the thermostat to keep our homes warm—especially when Northern Colorado temperatures really starts to drop! During a heating maintenance assessment, our service expert will inspect your home’s heating system and ensure that it’s ready to keep you comfortable in the winter months.
Check all the burners for proper operation
Check thermocouple for proper operation
Check the flue pipe
Check the inducer and blower motors
Check and tighten all electrical connections
Check the safety switch and controls
Check the pilot assembly
Check temperature and pressures
Check thermostat for proper operation
Check drain lines and traps for proper function
Testing and labeling of emergency shut-offs
Check gas valve
Check zone valves
Check expansion tank
Check aquastat, relay and water regulator
Check air flow across indoor coil and blower wheels
Check duct work for leaks
Start and test operation and cycle of unit
Check air flow
Here are the top 4 services you can expect during a heating season maintenance assessment and why we do them.
1. Check gas valves and connectors
The gas valve of your furnace supplies the gas it needs to allow combustion. Since it’s an important part to a fully functioning furnace, it should be thoroughly checked out to ensure that everything is in good working order. The service expert will inspect your furnace’s gas valve to make sure it’s allowing combustion, as well as inspecting all connectors to make sure they’re doing their job of powering the furnace.
2. Check burners
Burner flames should be a bright blue color. Yellow flames indicate dirty burners or that the gas is not completely lit, which can impact your unit’s heating performance. Problems with the burner can also indicate a potential gas leak, which could be dangerous. Since burner fixes are best left to the professionals, the service expert will inspect them and alert you to any problems during your maintenance assessment.
3. Check duct connection
Ensuring that your ducts are free from damage, debris, and leaks will improve the air quality in your home and keep your heating system operating at its best.
A duct system helps deliver and remove air from your home through a controlled path. This path begins at an outlet connected to your HVAC system, and runs throughout your home. As part of your maintenance call, the service expert will inspect your duct connection and ensure that it’s in good shape and free of any leaks. If there are any leaks, the service expert will let you know how to improve efficiency.
4. Check furnace belt
In most cases, the air fan that provides heat for your home is powered by an external motor. If the belt between the motor and the fan breaks or is worn out, problems can arise—including less efficient heating and higher energy bills.
A worn furnace belt can create a squeaking noise, while a belt that is too loose will keep the fan from turning as it should. The service expert will inspect the belt for signs of wear and tear, and let you know how its operating.
HVAC maintenance for the Cooling Season
During the cooling season, your AC system should be serviced to ensure it’s ready to withstand the blazing summer heat. We’ll inspect the unit to make sure you won’t have any unwelcome surprises when the temperatures start to rise. As part of your maintenance assessment, a service expert will examine your air conditioning system and alert you to issues on components such as refrigerant levels, condenser coils, and more—which are typically overlooked by other HVAC companies.
Even if you had a maintenance assessment the previous winter, it’s still important to schedule maintenance for the summer. This is because the two assessments differ and address different elements of the HVAC system.
Check condenser coil
Check evaporator coil
Check blower motor
Check refrigerant charge
Check and tighten all electrical connections
Check temperature and pressures
Check thermostat for proper operation
Check and labeling of emergency shut-offs
Check controls and safety devices
Check condensate drain
Check relays and contactors for proper operation
Check duct work for leaks
Check proper amperage and voltage of A/C system
Start and test operation and cycle of unit
Check air flow
Here are the top 4 services you can expect during a maintenance assessment on the Cooling system and why we do them.
1. Check refrigerant levels
One of the first things our service expert will do on a maintenance assessment is check your AC unit’s refrigerant levels. Refrigerant is a compound that absorbs heat and generates cold air when combined with components such as compressors and evaporators. If your refrigerant levels are low, a leak is mostly likely to blame. Without any refrigerant, your AC system won’t work at all, and you’ll quickly notice a hot and uncomfortable home. It’s our service expert’s responsibility to check for any leaks and alert you to any needed repairs, to ensure your unit will be set to run all summer long.
2. Check condenser coils
Condenser coils absorb the heat from inside the house and release it outside. If the condenser coil is dirty, this process is interrupted, and the system doesn’t function as it should.
A dirty condenser coil can cause problems including:
Higher energy bills
Uncomfortable room temperature
A system breakdown
During a maintenance assessment, the service expert will clear any debris, that may be surrounding the unit. They’ll also alert you if any additional cleaning is required.
3. Check thermostat calibration
If your thermostat is out of sync with your unit, your home may never actually reach the temperature you set it to. Your air conditioning may also show signs of short cycling, meaning it turns on and off frequently. This can wear down your system and result in higher energy bills. If the service expert notices your thermostat is reading wrong, they’ll re-calibrate it to make sure that it reads accurately.
4. Check air flow and filter size
Even the best air conditioning system won’t be able to cool your home effectively if your filters are clogged, dirty, or the wrong size. Additionally, filters that are too big or too small can let unfiltered air into your home, increasing your exposure to allergens and pollutants. The service expert will check the filters in order to ensure that they’re the right size, and that air is flowing correctly. If there’s a problem with the filters, they will either replace them during the maintenance assessment or schedule a follow-up.
It’s important to perform regular annual maintenance on your units to make sure both your air conditioning and heating systems operate at peak performance well into the future. Just as you take your car in for regular maintenance, regular maintenance is required of your HVAC units to ensure they operate effectively and efficiently.
Your manufacturer’s warranty will not cover maintenance visits. However, most manufacturers require your unit to be maintained annually to protect your warranty and keep your part warranty up to date.
When to schedule maintenance
We recommend scheduling your maintenance calls in the Spring and in the Fall, before the Summer or Winter temperatures start. That way, any problems with your unit can be addressed before you need to rely heavily on heating or cooling. We will even call to remind you!
Get started today
Whether you’re looking to schedule a maintenance assessment, or have no heat, no cool, or any other HVAC, Furnace, or Air Conditioner repair need, contacting Lion Home Service is the best place to start. With more than 20+ years of experience, we’ve remained dedicated to providing quality service you can trust. No matter what time of year, Lion Home Service is here to help with all your heating and cooling needs. We serve For Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder, Windsor and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with an expert you can trust. 970-399-9940
If you just turned on your furnace for the first time since last winter, there are some things you may want to watch for as the colder months roll in. We typically find that problems are likely to pop up right when we begin using our heating and cooling systems for the first time in a while.
Here are 10 common issues your furnace may face and what you’ll want to do about them.
1 – Air Filter Change
This is the bare minimum of furnace maintenance. We can’t stress highly enough how important it is to change your furnace’s air filter regularly. While it varies from home to home, we typically recommend checking your filter monthly and replacing it quarterly (at the least). Some homes can get away with more time on their filters, but many homes will actually require less.
Air filters are easy to diagnose and obtain. You can order them online or pick one up at the local hardware store. Not sure which size you need? Check the current filter to see if the size is listed or try searching for your furnace’s model number online to see what filter sizes are accepted by your system.
2 – Wear and Tear
Furnaces get old and need to be replaced. While many systems will last upwards of 15-20 years, there’s no guarantee that your furnace will perform well for that long. For instance, furnaces made just 10 or 15 years ago are noticeably less energy efficient than their present-day counterparts.
If your furnace requires regular repairs or is just getting up there in age, you may actually save a good deal on your monthly utilities by replacing the system before it goes out. Similarly, if you have an outage, it may be best to consider upgrading your system as opposed to a costly repair on an older model that may just go out soon anyhow.
3 – Thermostat Issues
Sometimes, the problem doesn’t lie with the furnace at all. We often get calls for furnaces not working properly, only to find the actual issue is that the thermostat was off. Ensure your thermostat is set correctly and has working batteries before attempting to diagnose your furnace.
Likewise, it could be that your thermostat just needs to be replaced. This is often a simple matter that can be a DIY job. If you’d like the team at Lion to help, we’d be happy to take care of it as well and check for other issues at the same time.
4 – Power Problems
Occasionally, clutter or activity around a furnace will lead to it getting unplugged. Many homeowners don’t actually even know their furnace plugs in at all, but they certainly do.
Likewise, it is possible that you need to reset the breaker associated with your home’s furnace, which could especially be the issue after a power outage in your area. Before calling an HVAC specialist, it never hurts to check if your furnace is actually receiving power or not.
5 – Not Hot Enough
If you find that the air coming from the vents just doesn’t feel very warm or that you’re constantly adjusting the thermostat to get the house warm enough, there could be a few potential problems.
In most cases, it will require HVAC maintenance to ensure that there aren’t technical issues with the furnace. If you’re new to the home, it could just be that the furnace isn’t actually powerful enough to properly heat the entire home. Other common issues, such as a clogged air filter or blocked air intake vents, could also be the culprit.
6 – Not Hot At All
There’s a big difference between not very hot and not at all hot when it comes to your home’s heating system. If your furnace isn’t producing even warm air, you likely have an issue with the pilot light or ignition. This could be problematic, especially if the furnace is continually trying to create warm air and failing.
In this instance, we suggest you give our team a call right away to ensure that nothing dangerous is going on. It’s likely best to shut off the system while we work on troubleshooting or getting a service expert your way.
7 – Turning On & Off Frequently
If you’re noticing an on-again, off-again problem with your furnace, this likely has to do with improper air flow coming from or into the system. Since your furnace works on a forced air system that requires cycled air from within your home to push heated air through the vents, you should first check if air intake vents are blocked or otherwise obstructed.
It could be that you need to get your vents cleaned or a new thermostat, as well. The first place to check should be the thermostat, then air intake vents, and finally the furnace itself, likely with an HVAC service expert.
8 – Always Running
We occasionally get the call from folks that feel they have to manually control their furnace by turning the heat entirely off to get it to stop running. There are a couple of potential culprits here, but the root issue should not be left unaddressed any longer than necessary to avoid excess wear-and-tear on the other systems within your furnace.
For instance, if the limit switch is faulty, it could cause your heat exchangers to remain active longer than necessary, which can cause a far more expensive (and potentially dangerous) problem for your furnace.
9 – Heat Exchanger Issues
While not the most common issue to run into, problems with the heat exchanger are usually the end of a furnace’s life. There are a few reasons for this:
First of all, noticing something wrong with this system often comes after the problems have progressed to a serious level.
Next, a faulty heat exchanger system is the root cause of many carbon monoxide poisoning cases nationwide, so a DIY repair is certainly not recommended.
Finally, the heat exchanger system is built to last the life of your furnace. If it’s going out, your furnace may not be worth repairing anyway; this is doubly-true for the expensive heat exchanger system. For this reason alone, most serious heat exchanger issues lead to a furnace replacement being the best-case scenario.
10 – General Lack of Maintenance
It is no surprise to local homeowners that furnaces are not inexpensive purchases and should be taken care of as a future investment in the home. All too often, we meet homeowners who regret not having regular maintenance performed on their system over time, as a more costly repair or replacement looms over their head.
Nearly every issue listed here could be caught and prevented or repaired during a routine maintenance inspection of your furnace. Before the really chilly months hit Northern Colorado, it’s best to get your maintenance planned and scheduled to go into the winter with peace of mind.
According to the City of Fort Collins’ Rental and Occupancy study, about 46% of Northern Colorado families are renters — and the demand for more rental homes is still outweighing the supply. Since so many local residents are renting from a landlord or property management company, it is important to ask: who takes care of the furnace?
For Tenants: What You Need to Know About HVAC Maintenance
First, we’ll look at the tenants’ need-to-know items to maintain their home and living situation while still protecting their financial interests and also those of their home’s owner.
1 – Read Your Lease
The best advice for any tenant maintenance question is to first read your lease agreement. If you do not have an active lease agreement with your landlord or property manager, it is critical that you either get one as soon as possible or search for a new place to live.
Your lease is essentially your protection against the claims the property’s owner could use against you. This protection takes the form of outlined agreements made between yourself as the tenant and the landlord or manager on behalf of the owner.
Basically, if your lease says you need to maintain or worry about the lease, then it is your responsibility to understand what that means and ensure that the maintenance gets done; if your lease isn’t clear or obviously states that isn’t necessary for your property (as is the case with some multi-family homes), then you shouldn’t have to worry about HVAC maintenance.
2 – Understand Your Responsibilities
If your lease does indicate that you’re on the hook for some maintenance responsibilities of the HVAC system, it is very important that you understand exactly what those are.
In many cases, this will be limited to regularly changing out the furnace air filter and reporting anything else to the landlord. However, it is possible that regular AC unit or furnace repairs, annual maintenance, or even replacements could ultimately be your responsibility — especially if your normal outlined responsibilities aren’t met.
Talk with your landlord or property manager about your responsibilities and ask questions sooner than later to fully understand the scope of their expectations. It’s best to do this at the time of lease signing, if at all possible.
3 – Get It In Writing
Another great piece of general advice when dealing with your property manager or landlord is to get things in writing and HVAC maintenance expectations are no different.
If possible, get their expectations clearly written out if the lease doesn’t do a satisfactory job. You can email or text them your questions or, for verbal conversations, send an email recap and then save the correspondence in your records for your future reference and protection.
Once you have the routine down, anytime you change the air filter or perform your end of the agreement, be sure to let the landlord know via text or email so that your good-faith effort is well documented.
For Landlords: How to Protect Your HVAC System
As the owner or manager of a rental property, your goals are often aligned with, but different from, that of the tenant. It is in your best interest to ensure that the property generates solid monthly cash flow, which means keeping capital expenditures — such as an untimely furnace replacement — down. We’ll assume you know all about that and talk about the specifics behind setting up systems to protect your investment property’s HVAC.
1 – Know Your Property
Whether you have one investment property or one-hundred, it is critical that you have records and/or knowledge of each property’s HVAC system.
Here are some ways you can keep track of your property’s HVAC:
Keep good records – Most experienced property managers will tell you that the secret to keeping track of your investments is through good record keeping. Keep the manuals to all of your furnace and AC units and store them with your files on the property, at the very least.
Inspect the system regularly – There are multiple ways you can inspect your HVAC systems. You can do routine inspections or visits during tenant occupancy (if your lease allows for this), schedule maintenance inspections with a service expert, and/or look into your units during vacancy periods. We recommend all of the above.
Understand the maintenance needs of your system – Once you fully understand how to maintain the system as if you lived there, you can then set up your tenant’s for success in maintaining the system with you. Until you know how it should work, it’ll be tough to expect that process to happen smoothly.
2 – Make Expectations Clear & Easy to Achieve
Every property manager should have two basic goals: happy tenants (low vacancy) and well-maintained units (low cap-ex). One of the best ways to ensure this is your path is through clear expectations and communication with your tenants.
When building your lease and meeting with your prospective tenants, make your expectations on home maintenance, including the HVAC, known. Structure your lease to support the type of HVAC care you’re hoping for and deliver that clearly to the tenants from day one.
Many local landlords will take this a step further to make things as easy as possible for the tenants. Some things you could try include:
Purchasing common maintenance items, such as air filters, in bulk for your tenants to use. Remember, a few air filters is a lot less expensive than a new furnace!
Sending your tenants a text or email whenever an air filter needs to be changed or when another maintenance item should be taken care of.
The relationship between tenant and landlord is one that should be built first and foremost on a foundation of trust and mutual respect for the care of the property. They want to live in a clean, safe place and you want happy tenants with well-maintained units.
At the end of the day, the property is ultimately the responsibility of the owner or manager. It is your job to ensure that your tenants follow through on their end of the bargain and that the system is cared for, easy to maintain, and works well for your tenants. As a health and safety item, heating is not an optional fixture in Northern Colorado units, which absolutely makes it your job to ensure that the system works at all times.
If you’d like to take some of the questioning and guesswork out of the equation, you can entrust regular care and maintenance of your furnace, air conditioning, and ventilation systems to the team at Lion Home Services.
Contact us to learn more or schedule a consultation today!
Your furnace is a highly important piece of equipment. You rely on your home to keep you protected from the outside elements, and your furnace makes sure that everyone stays warm when temperatures dip low. The best time to get ahead of problems is before they become serious.
Electrical problems aren’t always as scary as they sound, especially when addressed early. There are three common reasons behind your furnace electrical problems. By identifying your problem, you can determine what action needs to be taken.
1. Clogged Filter
We understand. It can be scary to confront furnace problems. After all, the cost can range significantly depending on the problem. That’s why it’s best to start with the common, inexpensive options first.
When your filter gets clogged, dust and debris can ultimately end up in your blower motor, and this can lead to your fuse burning out. If your filter has gotten this dirty, it’s best to have a professional do the following:
Change the filter
Change the fuse
Clean the system
2. Issues with the Transformer
Larger homes or offices often have a furnace system that uses more than 120 volts. In this case, a transformer is needed to convert the voltage to run the necessary systems and to keep everything working properly. When things go wrong, this can cause the furnace to short circuit.
Here at Lion Home Service, our staff is skilled in professional furnace maintenance, and we’re here to apply the repairs needed to put your transformer issues behind you for the long-term.
3. Faulty Thermostat Control Wire
To protect your furnace from overheating, there’s a special fuse on your control board. If you have recently worked on yours, there’s a chance you could have accidentally caused a short that damaged this fuse.
Here for All Your Heating Needs
Whatever you’re facing in Fort Collins, the team at Lion Home Service is here to help. We specialize in: