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.

 

Posted by & filed under HVAC.

If your power bill is out of control in the winter, you might need to get your kids on board when it comes to efficient heater usage. There are things you can do as a parent to facilitate this, from educational moments to monitoring usage. Here are three things you can do to help your kids stop running up the heat in the winter.

1. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

 
If you are worried your kids are cranking up the heat when you are at work or in the middle of the night, a programmable thermostat can take away this option. If you can set it and forget it, your kids won’t be able to control the heat levels, especially if you are set up with a remote program you can control via computer or smartphone.

2. Home Projects to Keep the Heat in

 
If you can involve your kids in energy-saving projects, they can learn through example how to save energy and keep your home insulated throughout the winter. This might involve sealing doors and windows to keep out drafts. If kids can see first-hand the importance of energy efficiency, they will be less likely to overuse the heater or letting heat out.

3. Invest in the Right Alternatives

 
While your heater will still be needed on cold nights or through storms, there are some alternatives you can incorporate into your home. If you can ensure your kids have ample access to sweaters, socks, heavy blankets and a working fireplace, you won’t need to have the heat on just for slight chills. Your kids might just need to be steered towards bundling up here and there rather than making the entire home balmy.

 
Sometimes even the best efforts put into place might not lower your energy bill. If you think that there might be something bigger going on with your heating unit, contact Barrett and Sons, we complete hvac repair in Cibolo, TX, today to take a look and get your home back on track for efficient and cost-effective heating throughout your home.

Posted by & filed under HVAC.

If you’ve decided it’s time for a new furnace, you may be thinking of how you can cut costs. Some handy homeowners may try to convince themselves that they can install a new furnace to save on labor expenses, but it’s usually not a good idea. A furnace isn’t like a refrigerator, that you just plug in after you muscle it into place. There’s a lot more to it, and there are several reasons why heating installation isn’t a DIY job.

1. Furnace installation requires a lot of specific skills. From pipe cutting and threading, to furnace venting, there are a lot of steps that have to be done correctly. Otherwise, you will end making a large investment in a furnace that doesn’t work efficiently, or requires follow-up repairs, which, in the long run, costs more.

2. This job requires expensive, specific equipment. You have to use the right tool for the job, and most homeowners don’t have the specialized tools to complete a furnace installation. Since the equipment needed is costly, it’s a better idea to hire a licensed contractor who already has the right tools.

3. Sometimes, installing a furnace yourself will void the warranty. Many manufacturers insist that licensed contractors take care of the installation, or the warranty will be cancelled. With such a large investment that is supposed to last you at least a couple of decades, you want to make sure that warranty is in place.

4. Safety first. There are a lot of little things that can go wrong, but they have big consequences. A pipe not connected properly can result in a gas leak, or an improper vent can lead to carbon monoxide issues in the home. Your family’s health and safety is top priority.

5. Municipalities require a permit be acquired by a licensed company and that an inspection is conducted for proper installation as a safety precaution.

There are some jobs that homeowners can tackle themselves, saving a little bit of money along the way. But certain tasks are best left to experienced professionals, and installing a furnace is one of those. If you are in need of a new hvac system installation in Converse, TX contact us today at (210) 659-5801.

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

A common misconception that many homeowners harbor is that the most powerful air conditioner is always the best option. Many of these people learn the hard way that a high-capacity air conditioner is not only pricey upfront, but it can also lead to unnecessarily expensive energy bills. Here are a few tips that will help homeowners properly size their air conditioner for comfort and economic practicality.
Do the Math
In order to properly size your air conditioner, you need to know the entire square footage of your home. If you don’t know the total square footage, you can calculate it yourself by multiplying the length and width of each room and finding the sum square footage of all the rooms. Then, you can multiply the total square footage of the home by 25 BTUs to find the BTU capacity needed for your air conditioner.
Consider Other Factors
While math will point you in the right direction when it comes to properly sizing your air conditioner, it is important to consider other factors. Some factors you should keep in mind when sizing your air conditioner include:
• If your house is in a sunny area, increase the BTU capacity by 10 percent. The BTU capacity for a heavily shaded house should be reduced by 10 percent.
• Add 4,000 BTU if you use your kitchen frequently all-year-round.
• If a room is occupied by more than two people regularly, add 600 BTU for each additional person.
Properly sizing an air conditioner will boost comfort and cut down on energy costs. For more information about how to properly size your air conditioner, don’t hesitate to contact Barrett & Sons Inc. today Questions? Give Barrett & Sons Inc. a call today at (210) 659-5801. We complete air conditioning installation in Cibalo TX.
Disclaimer: The suggestions in this blog post aren’t based on science rather they’re based off of a few ideas / rough estimates. It’s important to keep in mind that for proper heat load calculations, a manual J load calculation needs to be conducted by a contractor.