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.

Posted by & filed under HVAC.

The heat of summer is here, but you can protect yourself and your family by ensuring the efficiency of the home’s AC unit. An air conditioner that’s ready to break down should be taken care of right away, so you’re not forced to suffer through a sweltering season. Below are three signs that you need an air conditioning tune-up from a trained technician.

Higher Utility Bills

Check your power bill for an increase over last year’s rates. A unit that’s overdue for an adjustment or cleaning will work too hard, using too much power and raising your monthly utility bill. The longer you let your system go un-maintained, the more you’ll pay each month. On average, an improperly maintained system works 20% harder than one that’s been recently tuned up.

Diminished Cooling Power

If the unit’s putting out air that’s warmer than normal and you’re turning the thermostat lower to keep things cool, the AC needs a checkup to determine whether anything’s wrong. In most cases, a little fine-tuning is all that’s needed to get your unit running at peak efficiency.

Short Cycling

This term refers to a unit that turns off after running briefly, stopping before the cooling cycle is completed. Short cycling can occur for a variety of reasons, from a refrigerant leak to dirty coils. By getting service done right away, you can prevent short cycling from causing a significant energy drain.

You don’t really need to look for trouble signs to know when it’s time for an AC tune up. In most cases, AC units should receive yearly maintenance to run efficiently and meet their life expectancy. Even if there’s no apparent sign of AC issues, it may be time to call for maintenance.

Questions? Give Barrett & Sons Inc. a call today at (210) 659-5801. We complete air conditioning services in Alamo Heights TX.

Posted by & filed under HVAC.

As the temperatures in our area continue to rise, many of our customers are noticing the impact the summer heat is having on their utility bills. While running your air conditioning system is crucial to keeping room temperatures at a comfortable level, there are some effective steps homeowners can take to alleviate the stress on their units, which, in turn, may help reduce the impact air conditioning use will have on their wallets.

Step 1: Get the Air Moving

Moving air can give the impression that the air temperature is lower than your thermostat actually reads. Because most fans require much less electricity to operate than your typical forced air system, running your fan while concurrently running your air conditioner will ultimately reduce your energy usage, IF you set your thermostat a few degrees higher. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the results will be apparent on next month’s power bill.

Step 2: Prevent Leakage

Another great way to keep your indoor temperatures at a comfortable level is to prevent excessive air leakage. An inexpensive way to keep the cool air from escaping your home is to replace old, worn out, or missing weather stripping between movable elements of your home, such as windows and doors. Caulk is another inexpensive, yet appropriate sealant for preventing air exchange within fixed elements of your home.

Step 3: Prevent Heat From Building Up

As the summer progresses, you may find that not only are you battling the heat outside, but you are battling heat inside your home as well. Cooking and baking contribute to the heat that builds up in the kitchen. Taking hot showers and running hair dryers contribute to the heat that builds up in the bathrooms. As your air conditioner struggles to keep up, your home’s energy use skyrockets. Keep the air inside your home cooler by taking shorter, cooler showers, and blow drying hair on a low setting. That pot roast and those homemade cookies can wait for cooler weather.

These simple, yet cost-effective ideas can help keep your home cool, and keep your hard-earned money exactly where it belongs: your wallet.

To learn more about how you can improve your energy consumption, give Barrett & Sons Inc. a call today at (210) 659-5801. We’re air conditioning specialists in Bulverde, TX.


Posted by & filed under HVAC.

The high temperatures in Texas can make for some pretty uncomfortable summers, but did you know that it’s more than just the temperature that contributes to that hot and sticky feeling? It’s the humidity!

The humidity level represents the amount of water vapor that’s in the air, and needless to say, when the air is hot outside, the water vapor will be too! High levels of humidity can leave you feeling like you’re walking through steam on an especially hot day. The last thing you’ll want is to feel this way inside of your own home, and it’s important to know that some air conditioning systems combat humidity more efficiently than others. Not sure where your system falls on the list? Keep reading to learn more about humidity control and home comfort!

Have you had days where no matter how low you set your thermostat, you can’t get your home to a comfortably cool temperature? It’s likely that your system is running in overdrive trying to remove the humidity from the air, but it’s not able to handle the job! Your air conditioning system will do its best to remove the moisture and heat from the air, but if your system is older or not properly fitted for your home, it’s going to have to work longer and harder and potentially still not deliver the results that you’re hoping for. When your system is forced to work this hard to cool your home, it raises your utility bills and speeds up the process of wear and tear that will cost you in maintenance repairs in the long run, assuming you won’t have to replace your entire system!

If you’re finding that your air conditioning system doesn’t cool the way it used, it might be struggling to remove the hot air from your home. A few telltale signs that your home is too humid are moist-feeling surfaces, a musty smell and foggy windows. Do any of these sound familiar? If so, it’s time to invest in an air conditioning system designed to control temperature AND humidity!

While all air conditioning and cooling systems will, to an extent, control for humidity, there are systems out there that control humidity separately from heating and cooling. These systems will operate even when your home does not need to be heated or cooled, making them an intuitive and energy efficient option. It also takes the guess work out for you of trying to figure out why your home isn’t reaching the temperature you’ve set it to. A system that keeps your home at the proper level of humidity is going to save you in energy costs, keep the interior of your home and furniture in better condition, and save you money in AC service and repair over time.

Interested in learning more about a humidity sensing system? We’re air conditioning specialists working in Converse, TX, and we’d be happy to help! Give us a call today at (210) 659-5801 or visit our website to learn about all of the intuitive systems we install and service!