HVAC Maintenance

Inside our Lion HVAC Maintenance Assessments

 

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.

Heating

  • 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
  • Check humidifier/dehumidifier

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.

Cooling

  • 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 capacitors
  • 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
  • Check humidifier/dehumidifier

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HVAC Maintenance

5 Tips to Reduce the Effects of Wildfire Smoke With Your Home’s HVAC

This year has brought unprecedented wildfires to the Western United States, and Colorado has been no exception. The fires here have created a blanket of smoke and ash over our Northern Colorado communities and many of our neighbors are concerned about what this means for their indoor air quality. Today, we’ll share some ways your HVAC system can help stave off the harmful effects of the outside air when wildfire smoke causes a sharp increase in pollutants.

1 – Close Windows & Doors

While it may seem obvious, keeping your home’s windows and doors sealed as often as possible is the best way to keep the harmful air from circulating in your home. While this likely isn’t always possible for your household, ensuring that nobody in the family is sleeping with the window cracked or frequently coming and going, for instance, can go a long way toward ensuring the entire home is exposed to as little outdoor air as possible and allows the HVAC to cycle cleaner air throughout the home.

Another thing to consider is sealing any known cracks or gaps in your home’s windows or doors with a damp towel. In ordinary times, we’d recommend upgrading your windows or doors to new energy-efficient models, but letting the smoke in during the replacement process would likely cause more short-term harm than good when compared to waiting until after fire season.

2 – Keep Exhaust Fans Off

One aspect folks rarely consider connecting their home to the outdoors is the exhaust fans often found in kitchens or bathrooms, as well as whole-house fans. Any system that requires pulling indoor air out will eventually need to balance out with outdoor air coming in. So, by running the bathroom or above-the-oven exhaust fans, you’re inadvertently inviting in outdoor air.

In general, one of the best defenses your home has against harmful air pollutants outside, such as allergens, pollution, or even wildfire smoke is to keep air sealed inside. If your family can go without using the gas range stovetop or taking lengthy showers through the worst days of the fires, you’ll be thankful for the higher air quality that keeping the exhaust fans off will afford.

3 – Seal AC Intake Vents

In a similar vein, your home’s forced-air HVAC system would typically utilize air intake vents to bring fresh air from the outdoors into your home while your air conditioner is running. During days with particularly bad wildfire smoke, these vents can work to bring in pollutants and cause more harm than good in addition to overworking your system.

If you’re unsure about where to find your system’s air intake vents or whether or not you should disable them, get in touch with the team at Lion Home Service for advice or a service appointment.

On a related note, there is typically no way to disable air intake on an air conditioner window unit, so our team does not recommend the normal use of window units during poor outdoor conditions.

4 – Change the Air Filter (More) Frequently

If you’ve read our other posts, you’ll likely understand that we often recommend checking and changing air filters on your home’s HVAC. During a fire, we strongly suggest that Northern Colorado residents check and change air filters far more frequently than normal. Since many of the harmful air particles in wildfire smoke are very fine, a worn-out air filter could only show minor discoloration compared to the norm.

If you notice anything other than a great-looking air filter in your furnace, check to ensure that your home is sealed as much as possible and prepare to regularly change your air filter. Even if your filter does look pretty good, it wouldn’t hurt to change it once or twice more than normal during long bouts of wildfire smoke in our area. A dirty or clogged air filter will cause your system to overwork and could allow particles to cycle through the system repeatedly, which pumps that air into your home.

5 – Incorporate an Upgraded Filter

If you’d like to know for sure that your home’s air is as purified as possible, we recommend a germicidal and oxidizing UVC air filtration system. This add-on to your furnace will work round-the-clock to filter out particles floating in the air within your home. During a wildfire, this added protection will make a noticeable difference in your home’s indoor air quality.

These systems work to remove common air particles, such as particles, allergens, germs, airborne diseases, chemical gases, odors, pet dander, smoke, and more. So, you can rest assured in knowing that your air filtration will provide lasting value even when the outdoor air is back to normal.

Check out our indoor air quality products and services and be sure to let us know if you have any questions on the best system for your home or would like a consultation appointment with one of our Northern Colorado HVAC service experts.

HVAC Maintenance

Tenant or Landlord? Who Takes Care of HVAC Maintenance?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  • Setting up HVAC maintenance plans in advance with the team at Lion Home Services by setting it up yourself or allowing the tenant to book a time that works best for them.

3 – Follow Through

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!

HVAC Maintenance

The Total Care Club by Lion Home Service

Taking care of the systems in your home is a must in order for them to continue to work. Given that many of these systems within our homes are investments worth thousands of dollars, it makes sense that you’d want to have a reliable, qualified company be the ones to come and work on them. Lion Home Service fully understands the importance of quality maintenance on the HVAC, electrical, and heating systems in your home. That is why we created a club where members could enjoy high-quality service, for a fraction of the cost.

Lion Home Service wanted to make routine care for these crucial systems affordable, that is why we created the Total Care Club. This program has countless benefits that help homeowners, like yourself, with the routine care their electrical, HVAC, and heating systems need. Our Total Care Club membership is one of the most affordable ways that you can take control of the efficiency and security of your home and the systems within it.

Total Care Club Benefits

As we mentioned, the Total Care Club is designed to provide high-quality maintenance services to homeowners at an affordable price. With the cost of the membership comes a handful of incredible benefits for you to take advantage of including:

  • Free estimates
  • Priority scheduling
  • 15% member rate discount
  • Money-saving coupons
  • High-performance checkups
  • 24/7 Great service discount
  • Fast, free financing
  • And more!

We’ve worked hard to create a program that our customers not only benefit from, but that they can utilize frequently. The benefits that we’ve included above are designed to not only save you some money, but to save you time and make it possible for you to feel confident in the systems within your home.

Importance of Routine Maintenance

Many people think that companies suggest routine maintenance because it’s a source of income, but that’s simply not the case. Routine maintenance is actually one of the only ways that you can save money with these high-end investments. How, you may be asking? Well, for starters, when you have a professional inspect and tend to the systems within your home regularly, you’re more likely to catch — and hopefully prevent — bigger problems early on. This can save you from having to repair or replace any of this systems in your home. So there alone you’ve saved a couple thousand!

Aside from that, having a professional inspect your systems can help to ensure they’re working as intended. When a professional checks out your systems, they’re going to make sure that they’re running efficiently. This could be in the form of a leaking pipe, an outdated wire, or something of the support. Ultimately, their maintenance is going to catch any small problems that, over time, are costing you some serious cash. This will in turn lower your bills and increase your home’s efficiency — double win!

Become a Member Today

The Total Care Club is a fantastic way to maintain your home and the quality of living it provides you. If you’re interested in becoming a member or you have questions regarding the club or the benefits, feel free to reach out to our team. We would be more than happy to assist you.