How Do Hybrid Heating Systems Work?

September 15th, 2014

It’s getting chilly outside, and that means one thing for your home: it’s time to start thinking about heating! Homeowners have multiple options when it comes to heating systems, and two major factors many consider when choosing a heating system are energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. If these factors are on your list of needs, you may want to consider a hybrid heating system. As many people know, heat pumps are very energy efficient and environmentally-friendly. However, heat pumps need a back-up heating system for regions with winter temperatures below 32 degrees, which is what we have in Colorado. A hybrid heating system combines two systems – a heat pump and a gas furnace – into one system to allow you the benefits of a heat pump while providing the back-up heating of a furnace. Professional heating installation is a must when it comes to hybrid systems, and Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning have the knowledge and experience to help you with all your heating needs.

How Does a Hybrid System Work?

As we discussed above, a hybrid system is the combination of an electric heat pump and a gas furnace. The heat pump is the lead source of heat and the gas furnace serves as back-up. The heat pump resides outside and the gas furnace stays indoors. The heat pump heats your home until the outdoor temperature reaches a designated degree; once this temperature is reached, the system automatically switches the heat source to the gas furnace.

The way the system knows to switch heat sources is by the use of an indoor, programmable thermostat that is equipped with a dual-fuel mode feature and a sensor on the outdoor heat pump. As the homeowner, you designate a “set-point” temperature in the thermostat, which becomes the trigger temperature to change heating methods from the heat pump to the gas furnace. This set-point temperature is determined by your regional climate. When the temperature outside falls below your set-point temperature, the system will automatically switch from the heat pump to the gas furnace.

If you’ve been looking for a way to gain the benefits of a heat pump, a hybrid heating system may be just the heating system you’ve been waiting for.

Call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning today and speak to one of our heating installation experts about hybrid heating options for your home.

Why Use a Professional Technician for Air Conditioning Maintenance

September 8th, 2014

There are many appliances around a home that require regular maintenance to keep them in proper working order and to extend their service life. For many of these devices, you can perform the necessary maintenance yourself through cleaning, adjustments, or replacing basic components that you can purchase in a store.

However, there are some appliances in your home that requires regular maintenance from professional technicians. One of the most important is the air conditioning system. There are some measures you can take to help improve the AC’s performance and extend its lifespan, but actual annual maintenance must come from a trained HVAC technicians. The best way to have this service done is to enroll in a maintenance program with a reliable local heating and air conditioning company.

When you contact Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning for maintenance in Fort Collins, CO, you’ll receive the high quality work from a company that has been in the business of comfort since 1934.

Here’s why you need a professional for AC maintenance

Air conditioners are intricate electro-mechanical devices that rely on a balance of electronic components, motors, the circulation of refrigerant, and drainage to work correctly. There are simply too many working parts for people without training to handle the necessary service.

When an air conditioning technician comes to a home for a maintenance visit, the inspection and tune-up work includes the following:

  • Removing and cleaning the condenser and evaporator coils
  • Lubricating and cleaning the motors
  • Testing the electrical system and making necessary adjustments
  • Checking the airflow
  • Establishing refrigerant is properly charged
  • Cleaning the condensate drain
  • Changing the air filter
  • Making any needed replacements for capacitors
  • Checking on thermostat calibration

With the exception of changing the air filter (something you should do every month while the AC operates regularly) all of these tasks require a professional to handle them. If you attempt to tinker around inside an air conditioner cabinet on your own, you could end up causing damage. Leave the cabinet shut and instead delegate the maintenance work to a technician with extensive experience.

Sign up for maintenance today

It’s easy to get started with air conditioning maintenance in Fort Collins, CO. You only have to sign up for the maintenance program available through Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide top-level technicians with NATE-certification, state-of-the-art technology, and ongoing training to inspect and tune-up your air conditioner.

Let Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning give you peace of mind that your cooling system will be ready whenever you need it next. Call us for maintenance today!

The History of Labor Day

September 1st, 2014

The official end of summer and the beginning of fall lands on September 23rd, which marks the Autumnal Equinox, when the plane of the Earth’s equator passes the center of the sun and the length of day and night are roughly equal. However, for most people in the U.S., the summer really concludes with Labor Day, the first Monday in September. Labor Day and Memorial Day (the last Monday of May) together serve as the bookends of the summer.

The Labor Day Holiday is a time that people in this country associate with a last summer blast: another reason for an outdoor picnic, a chance for a three-day vacation, family trips to amusement parks, and of course, taking advantage of numerous sales that retailers always offer. (Labor Day is often the second largest shopping day of the year after Black Friday in November.) It’s also the point when school traditionally goes back in session, although some schools start a week earlier and some a week later.

Labor Day’s origins lie in the 1880s. In 1882 Matthew Maguire, a machinist in New York City who was secretary of the Central Labor Union (CLU) at the time, and Peter J McGuire of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), first proposed a celebration of the hard working men and women of the United States. However, five years would pass before the first state made it an official holiday, Oregon. Other states quickly followed this example, although not all selected a date in September.

By 1894, thirty states had started Labor Day celebrations. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a federal holiday only a week after Congress voted unanimously to approve the legislation. The date chosen for the holiday was the same one that Maguire and McGuire had originally proposed.

The U.S.A. is not the only country that celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of September. Canada observes the holiday as well, although they spell it “Labour” Day. In fact, Canada celebrated the occasion earlier than the U.S., and was an early inspiration in this country for the development of the holiday.

All of us here at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning hope you and your family—whether at work or at play—enjoy a relaxing and memorable Labor Day weekend and have a fantastic start to the fall.

The Benefits of a Zone Control System

August 28th, 2014

It can be a challenge to find one temperature that works for everyone in your home, but that’s what has to happen when your air conditioning system operates from a single thermostat. After a summer of struggling to find that one temperature everyone can agree on, it may have occurred to you (possibly more than once) that it would be great to have a system allowing for different temperatures in different areas of your home. You can do this – with a zone control system installation in your Loveland home.

Zone control systems offer some great benefits, as we’ll outline below, but to gain these benefits, it’s important to hire a professional for the air conditioning installation. Since 1934, Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning has been helping customers with all their air conditioning needs, and we can help you with a zone control system.

What Is a Zone Control System?

A zone control system uses a series of motorized dampers to control the flow of air in your supply ducts. The dampers are wired to the main control panel To maintain the temperature, the dampers open and close as needed.

What Is a Zone?

Zones are anything you want them to be – individual rooms, a group of rooms, a wing or floor of your home – as the homeowner, you determine what the zones will be.

What Are the Benefits of a Zone Control System?

There are multiple benefits to installing a zone control system:

  • Customized comfort – each zone operates independently, allowing you to set a different temperature without affecting another zone.
  • Energy efficiency – with a zone control system, you can turn off the cooling to an unused area; the system allows you to cool only what you need, which can save you both energy and money.
  • Less wear on your AC – when you use less cooling, your air conditioner runs for less time. This can help reduce the level of wear and tear on your system.

Call Fort Collins Heating and Air Conditioning to schedule a consultation about installing a zone control system in your Loveland home.

When Is Ductless Cooling a Viable Option?

August 21st, 2014

Ductless mini split systems were originally developed for commercial use, but they have become increasingly common in U.S. homes during the past two decades. Ductless systems work by using a series of blower units that are mounted in rooms throughout a home, each which connects to an outdoor unit through refrigerant and power lines. Instead of sending cooled air from an indoor cabinet into ventilation shafts to distribute conditioned air, a ductless system sends the cooled air directly from the blowers.

There are many benefits of these systems: zone control, cleaner air, space saving.

For more information about ductless cooling in Loveland, CO, call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. We can help you find out if going ductless is your top option for comfort.

The best situations for ductless mini splits

First, there’s almost never a situation where a ductless system is not an option. If you have space to mount the blower units in your home, you can have a ductless mini split installed. However, there are some scenarios where they are particularly excellent choices:

  • New home construction: Going with a ductless mini split means you don’t need to worry about constructing an intricate ventilation network for a new home that includes return vents and numerous branches running through the walls and ceilings. You will not only save room in your new home, but you will have more freedom of choice for designing it since you won’t need to take ductwork into account.
  • Add-on rooms: If you aren’t building a new home but adding onto your current one with a new bedroom, a study, play area, etc., then a ductless mini split can help you avoid problems with your current central AC. You won’t need to replace your current HVAC system with a larger one to accommodate the additional space, nor will you need to rework the ventilation system to connect to the new room. You only have to add a ductless mini split for the new space, and you’re done!
  • Remodeling: During an extensive indoor remodeling job on your house, you can have the old ductwork removed to give you more space, and then install a ductless system to replace it. This is the best opportunity for adding on ductless cooling to a home that has pre-existing ductwork.
  • Old and historic homes: Homes over fifty years old often were not constructed with a central air conditioning system in mind and so that do not have room for ductwork. Instead of using inefficient and inconvenient window units to cool down an older house, you can choose to have a ductless mini split installed. This may be the only option if you live in an historical house and are limited in the amount of remodeling you can do to it.

Even if it turns out that ductless cooling in Loveland, CO for your home is not the ideal choice, the experts at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning can find the right alternate system. We have eight decades of experience keeping homes in Northern Colorado comfortable, no matter the season.

80 Years in Business!

August 14th, 2014

Spring of 2014 Fort Collins Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. celebrated 80 years in business! This anniversary was a special one for this family owned business that dates back to 1934. Fort Collins Heating and Air Conditioning has a long history in Fort Collins and has been family owned and operated for 4 generations dating back to 1964 when Hollis Frank and his son Vic moved to Fort Collins and purchased the company then named Fort Collins Sheet Metal Co. The name was later changed to Fort Collins Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. in 1996 when Glenn Frank, grandson of Hollis Frank purchased the company. “It was sort of like starting over at that point” says Glenn describing how his Grandfather had retired several years prior to this acquisition after his father Vic Frank had moved on from the family business due to disagreements on the future of the company back in the early 80′s.

Currently the company is led by Glenn Frank with his father Vic Frank playing a key role in the company for the past 17 years. Glenn’s son Jesse Frank also joined up in 2012 after graduating from Fossil Ridge High School as a lead installer. The company culture really has a family feel to it and considers everyone on the team a part of the Fort Collins Heating and Air family that is proud to be the premiere heating and air conditioning company serving Fort Collins and surrounding areas in residential & light commercial HVAC sales & serviceGlenn said “I am humbled and honored to be leading this company at this stage, and I am very grateful of the ground work that was laid before me along with the loyalty we have with both our employees and customers. I would not be here if it were not for all of them.” 

With this announcement, we would like to thank Fort Collins and the surrounding communities for their support. We focus on customer satisfaction and we could not have gotten this far without you. We look forward to continuing to offer you the best in HVAC service in Fort Collins for years to come!

Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning

 

Should You Replace Your Air Conditioner This Late in the Summer?

August 13th, 2014

If your air conditioner has been struggling lately, you may not be sure whether replacement is the best option. You’ve had your air conditioner for many years, but it may seem too late in the summer to purchase a new one. However, older systems are more likely to break down with little warning, and it is often more expensive to replace a broken down air conditioner in the spring than to replace your unit now.

When you decide on air conditioning replacement, a technician measures your home and takes into account many factors to help you choose the perfect system. Air conditioning replacement is a great opportunity to have peace of mind knowing you will need fewer repairs and that your new system is energy efficient. If you need reasons to schedule replacement today, we’ve put together a list of some of the benefits of replacing an older system now.

Fewer Repairs

A new air conditioner will likely need fewer repairs than an older one. If you simply patch up frequent major repair needs by replacing or repairing parts individually, you may spend more money overtime than you would spend purchasing an entirely new system.

Reduced Risk of Sudden Breakdowns

An older air conditioner is far more likely to fail suddenly than a new system. Purchasing a system and choosing professional installation gives you peace of mind knowing that you will have a high-performance system that may not break down or need major repairs for years to come with proper care and maintenance.

Energy Efficiency

Finally, an older air conditioner usually has worn down parts that may cause the system to work harder to cool your home. This uses more energy, costing you significantly, but a new air conditioner won’t have this problem. You can also ask your air conditioning technician about the ENERGY STAR program. This distinguished label marks systems that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s strict guideline for high efficiency and performance.

For professional air conditioning replacement in Loveland, trust the experts at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Give us a call today!

The Principles Behind UV Germicidal Lights

August 6th, 2014

Air cleaners, both mechanical and electronic, can do a great deal for your indoor air quality. But when it comes to biological pollutants like bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew, algae and fungi, mechanical and/or electronic air cleaners may not be able to capture the biological particles you need them to. A great solution for not just removing, but eradicating, biological pollution is the installation of UV germicidal lights in your Loveland home.

What Are UV Germicidal Lights?

UV germicidal lights are lamps that emit UV-C rays. These types of rays destroy the DNA of biological particles, which not only kills the particles but destroys their ability to reproduce. So, unlike air cleaners, UV lights don’t capture biological pollutants: they destroy and eradicate them.

What Can UV Lights Do?

  • Stop mold and mildew growth inside your AC
  • Eliminate odors
  • Destroy VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
  • Generate negative hydroxyl ions, a natural compound that helps destroy pollution
  • Kill bacteria and viruses

The effectiveness of UV germicidal lights is virtually unmatched, as they kill over 99% of the pollutants that come into contact with the rays. They are easily installed and can be placed in a number of locations throughout your system, including the evaporator coils and the ductwork. The cost to run UV lights is minimal, about 1 cent per day.

Limitations

UV lights do not filter anything; as such, they do not capture and remove particles like dust, dirt or pollen. This is why it is highly recommended that UV lights be paired with an air cleaner so that your air is both filtered and purified. In addition, micro-organisms must be within site of the UV rays in order to be affected.

Maintenance

UV lights last about a year, so it is recommended that they are changed every 12 months regardless of whether or not they are still working. They can also attract dust, so you may need to wipe them off every few months to maintain their effectiveness.

If you have concerns about biological pollutants affecting your health and indoor air quality, it may be time to consider the installation of UV germicidal lights in your Loveland home.

Call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our air quality installation experts.

3 Warning Signs That You Need Heat Pump Replacement

July 30th, 2014

A heat pump or hybrid heat pump takes care of your needs for comfort throughout the year: strong cooling during the summer, effective heating in the winter. But you can’t expect a heat pump to last forever, especially when you consider how much work it needs to perform throughout the year. Proper annual maintenance from a professional will help a heat pump last as long as possible, but eventually you will need to consider replacing it with a new system. We’re here to help you identify the warning signs that it’s time for a heat pump replacement in Loveland, CO.

You need an experienced team to handle the new heat pump installation.

You will find few companies with more experience in heat pump installation than Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve served Northern Colorado with comfort since 1934.

Warning signs of an ailing heat pump

  • Reduced heating and cooling ability: Because a heat pump uses the same operation to work as a heater and an air conditioner, when it begins to fail, both modes will suffer. If you have a heat pump that is over older than 15 years, or if it has gone beyond its manufacturer’s expected lifespan, and it begins to struggle reaching the temperatures you set for it, then it’s time to call a professional to look into replacement options.
  • Elevated electrical bills: The heat pump probably uses more electricity per year than any other appliance in your home. When the heat pump reaches the point where it will no longer function as well as before, it will cause your electrical bills to begin to rise. If no amount of repairs can bring these bills down, it’s time to retire the heat pump.
  • Too many repair bills: Most home comfort systems require the majority of their repairs during the final two years of their service, so when the repairs for your heat pump start arriving on a regular basis, it’s a strong sign that the system is near its end. Look over your repair bills for the past year, and if they exceed $500, it is no longer worth the money to keep it running.
  • Noisy operation: A single odd sound from a heat pump can point toward a repair need. But when the heat pump starts to make more noise in general to do its job, with groaning, rattling, and other mechanical sounds, then you should have it checked to see if it needs replacement.

If you feel nervous about making a definitive choice about your heat pump, don’t worry: you can always call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning and schedule an appointment with one of our NATE-certified technicians. Our staff will help you make the best choice. If it turns out that you need a heat pump replacement in Loveland, CO, trust to our experience to perform the job so you will have a system that will heat and cool your home for many years.

Advantages of Installing a Humidifier

July 22nd, 2014

People are usually more concerned about overcoming humid air than dry air. A “dry heat” means a more comfortable heat, after all. However, humidity levels that are too low can cause as many health and comfort problems as humidity levels that are too high. You can purchase small portable room humidifiers to deal with the low humidity trouble on a small level, but to take care of dry air throughout a home, you need to contact professionals in indoor air quality and have them install a whole-house humidifier.

There are a number of good reasons for you to consider humidifiers in Fort Collins, CO. If you think that a humidifier is the right choice for you, contact Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. We have many decades of experience finding comfort solutions for homes and businesses in Northern Colorado, and we’re ready to help you find the ideal balance of humidity in your home.

Some benefits of installing a humidifier

  • Increased comfort: High humidity makes you feel hotter because the moisture in the air slows down your body’s ability to release heat. Low humidity does the opposite. It draws water—and therefore heat—rapidly from your body, making you feel cooler. This is an advantage during the summer, but a severe handicap during a rough Colorado winter. A humidifier will give the balanced “just right” moisture level to keep you comfortable.
  • Decreased health issues: Low humidity causes problems from dried-out skin, causing itching and flaking. It will also lead to eye-irritation, nose bleeds, and sore throats. In addition, the dry environment makes the transmission of illnesses easier, and a number of viruses thrive in arid atmospheres. You can eliminate these discomforts and dangers with humidity raised to a safe, balanced level.
  • Protect you home and furnishings: When the air in a home becomes excessively dry, it will begin to cause cracking and splintering in wood. This will not only damage your floors and wooden furniture, but it can ruin precision devices such as wooden musical instruments. Low humidity will also cause paint to peel and chip and wallpaper to peel. Keep all this from happening with the right humidifier working to keep the humidity at a safe level.

A whole-house humidifier goes into your HVAC system, and a professional installer will make sure that the unit will function well with your heater and air conditioner and not make your home too damp.

Call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning today and one of our specialists will help you out with humidifiers in Fort Collins, CO and the surrounding areas.