Posted by & filed under furnace.

Combustion analysis is one of the most important diagnostic tools in a furnace technician’s skill set. It allows them to accurately measure the amounts of various chemicals in the exhaust stream. With this information, they can then make subtle adjustments to improve your overall home heating experience. This blog post will explain three ways a combustion analysis can benefit you.

Improved Fuel Efficiency

The most important thing an HVAC technician can learn from your furnace’s exhaust is how efficiently combustion is occurring. An elevated level of certain exhaust substances–carbon monoxide, for one–is indicative of incomplete combustion. By making adjustments to the gas valve and other components, a technician can ensure that the maximum amount of gas is being combusted, thus providing more heat while lowering your overall gas consumption.

Less Toxic Exhaust 

The sorts of substances present in incompletely combusted exhaust are highly toxic. In addition to carbon monoxide, such substances may include the highly corrosive sulfur dioxide, which has been shown to have grave environmental impacts. Combustion analysis will ensure that the levels of such substances are as low as possible, thus reducing your home’s carbon footprint and helping contribute to a healthier earth.

Safer Home 

As you surely already know, exhaust fumes aren’t just a threat to the environment. They also pose a much more immediate threat to the safety of your family. Should your heat exchanger develop a crack, those gases could begin entering your home, with potentially deadly results. Combustion analysis will ensure that, should that scenario develop, the amounts of deadly gases present will be as low as possible.

We encourage you to call Barrett & Sons today with any questions or needs you may have.

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning Installation.

Just as air conditioning systems are complex, the process of choosing a new AC unit should be viewed as more than just a simple decision. There is more that goes into AC installation than just picking out a new unit, and it’s important to consider all aspects of replacing your current system. Here are three important things you need to know about air conditioning installation.

There are many types of air conditioners

There are many types of air conditioners to choose from, depending on the needs you have. It’s important to note that the type of air conditioner you choose could influence price and installation costs, depending on the complexity of the system.

The size of your house matters

The last thing you want is to have a new air conditioner installed, only for it to not be the right fit for your home. It’s important to remember that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution for air conditioning. If your air conditioner isn’t strong enough, your home may never reach a comfortable temperature. Likewise, if your air conditioner is larger than your home needs, you may spend more on utilities than you need to. When choosing a new air conditioning system, it’s important to take into consideration the size of your home.

Get a good contractor

Before you make the final decision, you should ensure the contractor you hire has a solid reputation. Look for reviews online and ask for a list of past clients you can contact as references. The effects of a new air conditioner can quickly be diminished if the contractor does not install the system properly.

We’re air conditioning professionals in Schertz, TX – we encourage you to give us a call!

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning.

Air Conditioning 101 – 3 Signs Your Unit Requires Servicing

Your air conditioner often displays warning signs before breaking down. Unfortunately, if you don’t know what to look for, the symptoms will likely go unnoticed until your system stops working. Being aware of some of the less obvious signs can alert you to a problem and save your air conditioner from a complete break down on a hot summer day.

Warm Air Blowing From Your Vents

When your A/C is running, but your house isn’t getting cool, hold your hand over one of the supply registers. If the air coming out is warm, your unit is most likely malfunctioning. However, before you grab the phone to call a HVAC technician, check your thermostat to ensure it’s set to cool and not heat. Once you’ve determined that isn’t the problem, there may be a number of other issues affecting your system, such as a clogged outside unit or dirty evaporator coils. Having your system serviced by a professional will get your air conditioner the care it needs to avoid a more significant malfunction.

Your System Short Cycles

If your air conditioner repeatedly turns on and off quickly, it’s short cycling. Running in such short bursts puts a lot of wear and tear on your unit, meaning parts will give out prematurely if the problem is not taken care of. Short cycling is due to a variety of issues. Luckily, recognizing the pattern early on and having your system inspected can stop your A/C from short cycling and save the components in your unit from wearing down.

Puddles Around Your Outside Unit

Finding moisture around your outside unit suggests your air conditioner is leaking. Oftentimes, the malfunction is with a blocked or cracked drain line. Fortunately, this issue isn’t too serious, however, allowing the leak to continue can lead to mold growth and other more serious problems.

If your air conditioner is showing any of the above warning signs, please contact Barrett and Sons, we’re an hvac repair company in University City TX – we’ll be happy to help diagnose and fix the problem.

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning, maintenance.

Don’t wait until the summer heat is already here to start thinking about getting your air conditioning units ready to keep you cool without sending your energy bills sky high. Consider these suggestions for lowering your AC costs this summer.

  • Schedule Regular Routine Maintenance: A semi-annual maintenance program for your HVAC system is the best way to keep your system operating safely and efficiently. Call an HVAC company to come out to inspect and clean your unit every fall and spring.
  • Clean the coils: Good for you if you’re changing your AC filters regularly, but indoor and outdoor coils also get choked up with dust and debris. Have an HVAC pro give them a spring tune-up.
  • DIY Tips: There’s a lot you can do to lower your bills. The Department of Energy says window coverings like awnings and shades can reduce heat gain by up to 77%. They also point out that you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.

Since we’re talking about staying cool, what’s actually in the forecast for summer 2017? Sounds like it’s hot but there will be more rain and less heat in much of the US compared to 2016. AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok says, “I think we’ll have some hot weather, but it won’t be as prolonged as we saw last year a couple of times.”

Questions? Give Barrett & Sons Inc. a call today at (210) 659-5801. We’re an air conditioning maintenance company in Schertz, TX.

Posted by & filed under AC Replacement, Air Conditioning.

Unfortunately, air conditioning units won’t last a lifetime. Homeowners have a tough decision to make when it comes to their household, and knowing when it’s time to replace their air conditioning unit is one of them. With that said, here are 4 signs it’s time to replace your air conditioning unit:

  1. If your air conditioner unit is over 10 years old: All air conditioners will stop performing to the best of their ability at some point. However, if you need relatively expensive repairs, and your air conditioning unit is over 10 years old, you should consider replacing your unit.
  2. Your repairs are expensive: It comes to a point where you need to consider whether the repairs you have are worth the cost. A temporary fix is tempting, but when you have to continuously repair your unit to keep it running, you will end up spending more money in the long-run. A one-time replacement cost will save you money and stress in the end.
  3. Extreme temperatures in your home: If you notice that some rooms in your house are either too hot or cold, you need to consider a replacement. The cause of this could be improper equipment operation, bad insulation, or duct problems.
  4. Your energy bill increases: No one wants the stress of a high bill that they don’t need. If you start to notice a steady increase in your utility bills, but your air conditioning unit loses efficiency, upgrading to an efficient unit will decrease your energy bill drastically.

When it comes to air conditioners, it’s best to replace them as soon as possible. Many homeowners wrestle with the idea of this, but it will certainly save you money if you are facing some of the problems mentioned above.

Questions? Give Barrett & Sons Inc. a call today at (210) 659-5801. We’re an air conditioning repair company in New Braunfels, TX.

Posted by & filed under furnace, furnace repair.

While summer may be right around the corner, this does not mean that you should shut off your furnace and ignore it for the next several months. Having your furnace serviced now will help to ensure that your furnace is ready to go again come fall. Yet, how will you know if your furnace is in need of maintenance and repair? If your furnace exhibited any of the following signs this winter, then you may want to have it professionally inspected and repaired this spring.

You Couldn’t Keep Warm

One of the clearest signs of problems with your furnace is if you and your family were unable to keep warm in your home this winter, even when the heater was running. If your heater seemed to be blowing weakly, was blowing cool air, and/or it was running constantly but not providing heat throughout your home, then there is likely a problem with your furnace that needs to be fixed before next winter.

Your Furnace Makes Strange Noises

Furnaces will make a certain amount of noise when they are operating. Older furnaces in particular tend to be loud when running. However, your furnace should not suddenly begin operating louder than usual, or begin making strange banging, clanking, or scraping noises. These noises are not normal, and should not be ignored. They likely indicate a failing or broken part within your furnace that will need to be repaired or replaced.

Your Utility Bills Jumped This Winter

Many homeowners will notice that their utility bills are higher in winter due to the fact that they are running their furnace. However, when compared to previous years, your winter heating bill should not jump drastically. If your heating bill seemed abnormally high this winter, then your furnace is not functioning efficiently, and it is likely in need of maintenance and repairs.

Noticing any problems with your heater now, and having it repaired this spring, will make for an easier fall and winter next year. Contact Barrett and Sons today, we’re a furnace repair company in Schertz TX, to learn more about furnace repair, including more signs indicating that your furnace needs servicing this spring.

 

Posted by & filed under furnace, gas leak, maintenance.

Poorly installed, poorly maintained, and old natural gas furnaces can do more than break down and inconvenience you. They can explode. If they have a big enough natural gas leak and the gas is sufficiently concentrated, it only takes an ignition source such as a spark to cause an explosion.

When you smell gas, you must take it seriously and get yourself and your family out of the house. Call 911 and the gas company, and shut off the gas main to your house. Gas contains an odorous chemical that has a rotten egg smell. The chemical is intentionally placed in the gas to warn you of a leak.

How to Turn off Your Gas Main

Don’t wait until an emergency before learning how to shut off your gas main. Gas main shut-off valves are usually near your gas meter on a pipe that comes out of the ground. The valve will have a rectangular projection or “handle” that you can only turn with a wrench. When the handle is parallel to the pipe, the valve is open. Close the valve by using an adjustable wrench to turn the handle until it is crosswise to the pipe.

How Gas Can Leak from Your Furnace

Although gas can leak from other sources such as a gas stove or oven, your furnace is also a likely suspect. Some of the ways your furnace can leak gas include:

  • A cracked heat exchanger. Hot combustion gases from the furnace flow inside the heat exchanger, which heats fan-blown air across the heat exchanger’s outer surface. This heated air flows into and warms your home. A cracked heat exchanger allows combustion gases into the same air that warms your home. When the furnace initially starts up, unburned natural gas can enter your home through the cracked heat exchanger along with combustion gases. Note that this situation potentially exposes you to carbon monoxide as well.
  • A back drafting furnace. When furnace exhaust gases flow into your home instead of up the flue, it’s called back drafting. Back drafting can be caused by a clogged flue or by running too many exhaust fans in an airtight house. Unburned natural gas and possibly carbon monoxide will also back draft into your home.
  • A gas line or valve leak. Gas lines may corrode or their fittings can become leaky. The furnace gas valve is another potential leak source. Leaks from fittings or the gas valve may be caused by age, improper installation, or accidental damage.

The above aren’t the only reasons your furnace may leak gas. Sometimes the reasons are more complex. However, the best way to insure gas leaks never happen to your heating system is to have your furnace repair work, installation, and maintenance done by certified professionals. We’re furnace repair professionals in Schertz, TX – we’d be happy to help! Call us today at (210) 659-5801.

 

Posted by & filed under heating system breaks, HVAC.

During winter, heating costs are likely to go up since everyone in your home must be kept comfortable. It is during this time that homeowners complain the most about heating costs. However, these costs can be kept low if only the heating systems were efficient enough. Here is how to know if your system is efficient enough or if it requires replacing.

You are experiencing higher utility bills

If you notice an increase in your energy bills, then it is likely that your heating system is not efficient enough. On the other hand, if there has been no notable increase in the heating bills, then you can rest assured that your heating system is okay.

Your system is old

Heating and cooling systems were not receiving Energy Star ratings until the mid-1990s. Thus, if your system is older than 1995, then you need to replace it. Also, if your system is over 15-years old, consider replacing it. Many people may assume that since the system is working, it is okay. However, it may be working but not energy efficient thus requiring replacement.

Your rooms vary in temperature

When you are heating your premises, the temperature must be consistent in the whole house. If you realize a difference in temperatures within your rooms, the distribution of air within your rooms may not be appropriate. The irregular distribution of air in the rooms may make the system try to compensate for the difference, which leads to an increase in your energy bill.

Your system requires frequent repairs

If you have to keep fixing your heating system, then it is not working as it should. Mechanical breakdowns result because of a strained system. Thus, the repair is not the actual sign of inefficiency, for it became inefficient ages ago.

We’re Barrett & Sons, Inc., we offer prime residential cooling and heating installation. We have many years of experience thus you can be assured of top notch service. If you suspect that your system is not efficient, contact us so that we can recommend an energy-effective system for your household.

Posted by & filed under heating, heating system breaks.

When your heating system breaks down, it won’t take long before you feel winter’s cold inside your home. Living in the cold is uncomfortable and can cause health problems for the very young and the elderly. If there is no simple fix to get your heating system running, contact your heating repair service person for emergency repair. While waiting for their arrival, stay warm and protect your plumbing with these seven tips:
Prevent your plumbing from freezing. Turn on your water faucets just enough to allow a steady drip. A small water flow through the pipes inhibits freezing. This simple precaution prevents water damage from burst pipes and expensive repair work.
Seal up air leaks through windows and doors. If you haven’t installed extensive weather-stripping, cold air drafts from leaks will quickly cool your home. If you can see daylight at the bottom of your door or can feel a draft, place rags or towels along its bottom. Do the same for drafty windows.
Let in the sun. When sunlight is shining on a window, open the drapes to allow in some natural solar heating. Keep the drapes closed on shaded windows to prevent heat from radiating outside through the glass.
Put on extra clothing layers. Layered clothing keeps you warm because it traps air between the layers. After layering up, wear a heavy coat on top. Don’t forget to wear long underwear and a hat or hood. The head and legs radiate a lot of heat.
Do some cooking. Use your stoves and oven to cook a hearty meal. The heat generation will warm the kitchen and the activity will keep you and your helpers warm. When finished, the hot food will warm you further. While waiting for the meal to cook, serve hot drinks. Don’t use your cooking appliances as a long-term heating system. It may cause a fire, or health problems if you use gas.
Close the doors to unused rooms. Closing off unused rooms reduces the size of your living space. Small spaces are easier to warm up.
Stay busy. If there are any unfinished projects or housework, now is a good time to finish them. Activity generates heat in the body. You can also do indoor exercises or go for a walk if the weather permits.
To avoid a heating system breakdown this winter, call Barrett and Sons at (210) 659-5801. We’re heating repair professionals in Schertz, TX – we’d be happy to help!

Posted by & filed under ducts, HVAC, Indoor Air Quality.

If your home heating system hasn’t been checked or had basic maintenance performed on it for ages, it can cause problems beyond fuel inefficiency. Even if your heating system seems to be working OK for now, there’s a good chance that its filter and possibly its ducts are filled with dirt and dust. Here is how this can affect you:

Dirty Filter

A dirty air filter can no longer remove particles, allergens, dust mites, and pet dander from the air you breathe. This reduces your air quality. Instead, these contaminants get into the components of your furnace. While this makes them run inefficiently a dirty air filter also reduces airflow through your heating system. One noticeable effect of this is the reduced flow of heated air into your home, which leaves you feeling cold.

Heat that doesn’t flow into your home gets backed up in the furnace instead, and overheats critical components such as the heat exchanger. With enough overheating, the heat exchanger can crack and release furnace exhaust fumes into your home. These fumes could include deadly carbon monoxide if the furnace isn’t burning fuel efficiently. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and invisible gas that causes serious health effects and fatalities. Its effects are especially serious in the winter when the home is sealed tight against the cold weather.

Dusty Ducts

Over time, the same kinds of allergens, irritants, and dust that clog your filter can build up in greater quantities in your duct system. These contaminants form a dense mat-like covering on the duct’s internal surfaces. The air that continually blows over these “mats” delivers their particles into the air of your home. This problem is especially severe in the winter when little fresh air gets into your house. In the summer, mold growth within the ducts contribute to health problems, especially for people with asthma and allergies.

If you see puffs of dust coming out of your heater vent when you turn on your heating system, it indicates high levels of dust accumulation in your duct system. Return air registers with dusty buildups on their outer surfaces are another indication.

In addition to the potential health and safety issues discussed, the reduced airflow caused by both dirty air filters and ducting is also hard on the mechanical health of your home heating system. Play it safe by getting your home heating system periodically inspected – call us today at (210) 659-5801 for more information! We’re an indoor air quality company in Bulverde, TX.