Posted by & filed under furnace repair.

It’s cold outside, and you want your furnace to run at its best. Even a minor mistake with your furnace can affect its performance. It can be helpful to know what the most common furnace mistakes are, and how you can avoid them.

Thermostat Set Too High

It’s a common misconception that cranking up the temperature on the thermostat will heat your house faster. In fact, doing this is a waste of energy. The bigger the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the harder your furnace works to reach the desired temperature. Setting your thermostat to 68°F in winter will help you to save energy.

Not Changing the Filters

If your air filters aren’t changed regularly, they can become blocked and impede airflow. This will lower both your furnace’s efficiency and your indoor air quality. How often your filters need changing depends on what type you have. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for how often to change your filters.

Running the Heat All Day

There’s no need to keep your furnace running when you’re away from home. Setting your thermostat back several degrees when no one is at home will lower your heating bill and reduce wear on your furnace. Install a programmable thermostat so you won’t need to remember to adjust your furnace every day. Set it to lower the temperature while you’re at work, and warm up your home just before you return.

Blocked Registers

A common mistake is placing furniture or other large items in front of your registers. Doing this can interfere with airflow and keep your rooms from properly heating. Make sure that you keep the registers clear in every room.

Skipping the Annual Maintenance

Not all furnace problems are easy to spot if you don’t know what to look for. Having an annual furnace inspection performed by a professional at Barrett & Sons Inc. ensures that your heating system works when you most need it. Your HVAC technician can check your furnace and fix any problems that arise before they cause a breakdown.

Contact us today to learn more and to schedule your heating service.

Posted by & filed under furnace repair.

While it may feel like the holidays just passed, the fact is that we are well into the new year and we are almost halfway through winter already. With much of the country feeling the chilling effects of winter, it is likely that you have been relying heavily on your furnace to keep you and your family warm in recent weeks. This makes it critical that you properly maintain your furnace and have it serviced if necessary so that it does not fail on you when you need it most.

How will you know if your furnace needs repairs? Here are a few of the lesser-known signs you can be on the lookout for in your home indicating that your furnace needs servicing.

Strange Smells

When you first turn on your furnace in the morning, you may notice a strange odor. This is usually nothing to be concerned about as it is likely that there is just dust in the system. However, if this smell does not dissipate quickly and is still noticeable after an hour or more, then there may be something wrong with your furnace. This odd smell could be the result of a broken electrical or mechanical part, particularly if the unusual smell reminds you of burning plastic or rubber. Regardless of the cause, you should take an odd smell seriously and call Barrett & Sons Inc. to inspect your furnace before it could potentially break down, or worse, start a fire.

Low Airflow

Does your furnace seem to produce less airflow than it used to? This can be a sign that there is either a blockage in your air ducts or that there is a problem with your fan or fan motor. Either way, reduced airflow from your furnace should not be ignored as this will result in your furnace having to work harder to heat your home. Not only will this mean higher operating costs, but this will also put an additional strain on your furnace, which could cause it to die prematurely. You should then have your furnace inspected as soon as possible if it seems to have a reduced airflow.

Knowing some of these lesser-known signs indicating furnace problems can help you to have issues with your furnace addressed before it stops working altogether. Contact us to find out more about what you should be on the lookout for and to schedule an inspection.

Posted by & filed under furnace repair, maintenance.

Summer is officially over and it’s time to turn those heaters back on. Before firing up your furnace for the season, be sure you take the proper preventative measures to ensure all is safe and in top working condition. Ideally, you should schedule an annual preventative maintenance for your furnace before the cold weather sets in, however it’s never too late!

Some Common Problems

Once winter arrives, and you start to experience problems, how do you know if your furnace needs repairs or just a tune-up? Here are some signs to look for and how to know when to call a professional.

  • If the unit smells like something is when you first turn it on, or the blower is running but not delivering any heat, turn it off and check the filter. If it appears dusty or clogged, replace and restart the unit. The burning smell should dissipate quickly. If the smell is still strong after 15-20 minutes, shut the unit off and contact a professional to discuss your problem and schedule a technician.
  • Strange noises: You know the normal “noises” your house makes best. If your furnace is making strange sounds, such as a low hiss or loud banging noise, it’s time to get a professional to check it out.
  • Low temperatures: If your furnace is not heating up to your thermostat setting or blowing cold air, your thermostat may need to be replaced.
  • Trouble at start-up: If your experience a problem starting your furnace, do not attempt to force it. Instead, contact us and we will schedule one of our trained technicians to come out and take a look.
  • Short-cycling: If your furnace is starting up, running briefly, and then coming to an abrupt stop, you should have it looked at immediately to avoid major repairs. Again, the problem may be that the thermostat or a thermocouple is not functioning correctly. One of our trained technicians can determine the cause and get your furnace up and running again.

Carbon Monoxide

One final thought to keep in mind is that repairing your furnace is imperative to reducing your risk of carbon monoxide exposure. Increased exposure can cause illness and even fatalities if not detected in time.

If for any reason you don’t feel safe starting your furnace, call Barrett & Sons Inc. for help.

Posted by & filed under heating, maintenance.

Now that winter is right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of ways to save money on heating. Keep reading to find out six ways to keep your home warm this winter and in turn, keep your heating costs down.

Turn Down the Thermostat

By lowering your thermostat down 7 – 10 degrees F for eight hours per day, you can save up to ten percent per year on heating and cooling costs. Wear warm clothing (especially socks!) instead of cranking up the heat and your bank account will thank you.

Plug Potential Air Leaks

Heat escapes most often through doors and windows. Caulk windows and weather strip to keep warm air inside your home and keep cold air out. Warm air can also escape through your chimney. If your home has a fireplace, make sure to keep the damper closed when it’s not being used.

Use Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans aren’t just for cooling. In the winter, set your ceiling fan to spin clockwise. This will create an updraft and push the warmer air near the ceiling downward, making the room feel warmer. This way, you can feel more comfortable while keeping that thermostat turned down.

Replace Your Air Filters

Dirt particles in your air filters block airflow and force your furnace to work harder to warm up your home. Dirty filters also lower your indoor air quality. Always replace your air filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat lets you “set it and forget it.” Schedule your furnace to cool down when you’re away and warm up when you return. The convenience and energy savings make the cost of a programmable thermostat well worth the investment.

Schedule a Check-Up

Like any appliance in your home, your furnace needs routine maintenance to perform at its best. Contact us today to schedule a heating system inspection so you can be sure your furnace stays in optimal condition throughout the season.

Posted by & filed under heating, Heating System.

If your heating system is making odd noises or your energy bills are skyrocketing, it may be time to consider upgrading. With these tips, we can help you determine if it’s time that you contact us to look into the heating service in your home for a replacement.

Humidity Problems

If your equipment is outdated or functioning poorly, it can lead to a humidity imbalance in the home. Leaky ducts can cause overly dry air in the winter and too much humidity in the summer. A new system will balance these two issues to make you and your family comfortable in extreme climates. When air is too dry in the winter, it can cause a myriad of health issues that range from dry skin to irritated sinuses. Too much humidity can cause issues with the materials in the home and at worst can cause mold growth in the walls.

System is Over Ten Years Old

Heating system manufacturers are constantly researching and developing new products to make systems work efficiently on less energy. Having that said, a very old system can be as little as 50% efficient whereas a new system can be as much as 99% efficient. This means energy bills will be much lower.

Outdated Duct Work

If you feel a temperature imbalance in your home throughout the year as you move from room to room, it is time to have your air ducts examined. Modern ducts are designed to force air through the home efficiently without leaking air to keep the rooms at the same consistent temperature regardless of where you are in the home. Additionally, if your ducts have leaks in them, it can cause dust to get into the system which can cause irritation to those with sensitivities to dust allergens.

If you find that your system is experiencing any of these issues, give us a call here at Barrett & Sons to set up an appointment to schedule a heating service system upgrade.

Posted by & filed under heating.

Since we are just getting into the cooler months it’s time to think about your heating system. The team here at Barrett & Sons Inc. will come to your home and get your system ready for the hard work ahead. When you call for service before the heating season goes into full force, it will be much easier to resolve any outstanding issues you may have in a timely manner.

Prevent Big Repair Costs with Maintenance

While you can’t stop every repair, you can cut down on the number of emergency repairs your heating system needs when you get routine maintenance done. One of our highly-trained technicians will come to your home and look for mechanical problems with your system. Air filters will be changed, and your system will be ready to work hard in your home to keep you warm. With a well-maintained system, you will have less of a chance of a system breakdown when you need your heat the most.

Keep Your System More Efficient

Yearly heating service allows your heating system to run more efficiently. If your filters are clogged or your ductwork is leaking, you can end up spending extra money on trying to keep your house warm. Over time, a system that isn’t maintained is going to cost you way more than system maintenance routinely. Keep your heating system running well all year long with a tune up each heating season.

Get the Most from Your Heating System

Your heating system is an expensive component in your home. Poorly maintained heating systems break down faster, and need to be replaced sooner. If you get your heating system serviced of each year, you are going to prolong the life of your entire system.

As the weather gets cooler, it’s time to call for heating service. Keep your system in good working order with yearly maintenance before the heating season begins. Give us a call today to schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment!

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning.

You don’t want to wait to replace your air conditioning unit until you have no choice but to do so. It’s easy to leave well enough alone but it’s best to be proactive if you know your unit is getting old. Once you’ve decided to make the call to a professional HVAC company, you should also take the time in which you call into consideration.

Timing is Key

For instance, the start of summer is unquestionably the most hectic time of the year for air conditioning repairs and installation. For that reason anything related to your HVAC needs may be delayed, plus the majority of deals in pricing or promotion specials have most likely expired. If possible, we suggest you plan for your air conditioning installation either early on or late in the year.

Thinking that Price is Everything

Air conditioning will be a lifelong “necessity”, so thinking about short-term thriftiness over long term reliability isn’t exactly in your long-term’s best interest.

Also speaking of long term reliability, usually a company that’s been in business longer is a better choice. Getting into business does not always mean staying in business, so knowing that a company has several years of local service speaks volumes when it comes to building confidence before you request service.

Not Having a Maintenance Agreement

Not to be confused with a warranty, a maintenance agreement for HVAC is similar to checkups for vehicles scheduled at regular mileage intervals (30,000 miles, etc.). This type of program not only extends the life of your air conditioning system, it can lower your energy costs and offer savings on necessary parts and labor. It’s an investment, not a cost.

Presence of Due Diligence

It’s important to do your research so that you know you’re making the choice that’s best for you and your unit. Trying your luck by choosing a random company will most often prove unlucky in the long run. Therefore, considering the influence air conditioning installation has on our lives for years to come is a decision that should not be taken lightly.

In addition, while you can’t trust everything you read on the internet, online reviews can serve as a good reference while trying to gain a better understanding of how a particular company truly operates. However, the constant and tradition way of hearing about a company, if not by your own experience, is by “word of mouth”. A straight forward testament from someone who we know and have trust in is sure to speak volumes.

Barrett & Sons is a leading provider of commercial, industrial, and residential HVAC services for San Antonio and the surrounding tri-county area. We hope you decide to give us a call with any questions and/or service needs you may have.

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning.

There are certain signs that your air conditioner needs to be looked at by an air conditioning contractor. These signs might include a strange noise coming from the air conditioner, a weird smell emanating from the air conditioner, too much cooling or not enough cooling, and even ice formation.

These are things you need to look out for, even if the air conditioner is performing to your expectations. It’s best to call the experts right away, before the situation gets any worse, and your air conditioner breaks down completely. Here is some more information for the signs we previously mentioned:

Strange Noise.

Your air conditioner should emit a low, steady hum which you should be able to ignore completely. If the sound of the air conditioner is bothering you, it could indicate that something is wrong. The loud sound might be continuous or it might come and go; either way, keep an ear out for it and call your contractor as soon as this problem occurs.

Weird Smell.

Sometimes, when there is a gas leak in the air conditioner, there might be a weird smell in the air coming into the room. In such cases, it is best to turn the air conditioner off and call your contractor right away, even if the smell seems bearable. Getting the problem fixed right away will keep your air conditioner working better for longer.

Too Much Cooling.

This might happen if something is wrong with the keypad or remote control of your air conditioner. It might get stuck at a very cold temperature or it might get stuck in “turbo” mode. Make sure to call your contractor right away because it can be very uncomfortable to be in a frigid room.

Not Enough Cooling.

This is usually the thing that prompts most people to call their contractor. If their AC is not giving them enough cooling, they get uncomfortable and want to get it repaired. Obviously, you should call your contractor when this happens and get it fixed but don’t ignore the other problems.

Ice Formation.

Sometimes, you go to clean out the filter of your air conditioner and you notice that ice has formed behind it. This is not normal. Your air conditioner is not supposed to be full of ice, no matter what temperature you set it on. So if you see ice forming, it’s time to call your contractor right away.

We encourage you to contact us with any questions and service needs you may have. We’re here to help, and hope to hear from you!

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning.

A lot of homeowner’s take pride in being able to fix things around their home. However, if the problem you’re having is with your air conditioner, you’re better off letting a professional handle it. Here are three jobs you should leave to an air conditioning contractor, rather than trying to do it on your own.

An Air Conditioning Contractors Knows Repairs

A lot can go wrong with your system. If you don’t know what to look for, you could find yourself spending hours trying to figure out the problem. Not only is that a waste of your time, but while you’re fooling around in there, you could make the problem worse, or even hurt yourself. An expert air conditioning contractor will know what to look for and will be able to diagnose the problem in no time.

Install a New System

Unfortunately, sometimes an AC unit is beyond repairs, and it makes more sense to replace it. This isn’t a job you’ll want to do on your own. A good air conditioning contractor can help you to pick out a new system, and then install it for you. This is a big job, so you’ll want to leave it to the experts.

Maintain Your AC System

Finally, you can have your air conditioning contractor maintain your system. AC maintenance is the best way to prevent the need for future repairs, and keep your system running efficiently for a long time to come. By working with a contractor, you don’t have to waste your weekends maintaining your AC system; instead, you can rest easy knowing the job will get done right.

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to working with an air conditioning contractor. Not only can they get your system running again, but they can keep it running well, or even install a new one if it’s needed.

We encourage you to contact us at Barrett & Sons with any questions or service needs you may have.

Posted by & filed under Air Conditioning.

If you notice that there is an issue with your air conditioner, the first thing that you should do is call an air conditioning contractor. There are so many reasons why it is in your best interest to hire an air conditioning contractor to handle these repairs. Here are three of those reasons:

They Are Licensed, Insured, and Certified

When you hire an air conditioning contractor to repair your air conditioner, you have the comfort of knowing that they are licensed, insured, and certified. Their license and certifications indicate that they have the proper training and experience to correctly diagnose what is wrong with your air conditioner and repair it. The fact that they are insured protects both you and them when it comes to the actual repair process.

Save Money on Misdiagnosed Repairs 

If you try to figure out what is wrong with your air conditioner on your own, there is a good possibility that you may misdiagnose what is wrong. If this happens, you may spend money on unnecessary repairs. This can add up quickly if you do this more than once. In contrast, when an air conditioning contractor comes to repair your air conditioner, the chances of them misdiagnosing the issue are very low because they have so much experience.

Keep your Air Conditioning Unit Running at its Best

If an air conditioning contractor is the only person that works on your air conditioning unit, you have the comfort of knowing that it is in good hands. They will likely make sure that all issues are fixed and will also inspect your air conditioner to see if there are any other underlying problems or even maintenance issues that you should be made aware of. This ensures that your air conditioning unit is always running as it should and that its life expectancy is also increased.

Hiring an air conditioning contractor to fix your air conditioning unit instead of fixing it yourself is in your best interest. We encourage you to contact us at Barrett & Sons today!