Choosing a Company for Property Management HVAC Services

January 22nd, 2015

The properties that you manage have a lot of maintenance needs, some of which may be met if you plan to hire or have already hired an all-around handyperson, such as changing out a door lock or replacing a showerhead. But repairing an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system requires a level of expertise and some special certifications in order to do the job correctly. When a tenant calls you with concerns over the performance of their heating and air conditioning system, it’s best to trust a heating and air conditioning contractor who knows the ins and outs of these systems so as not to allow the problem to worsen due to a botched repair job.

For property management HVAC services, you should choose a heating and air conditioning company with experience on many different kinds of heating and AC units, a history of excellent service, and one that offers a residential rental service agreement. This protects your investment and gives you peace of mind over the state of your property’s AC and heating system.

Enroll in a Residential Rental Service Agreement

When choosing a company for property management HVAC services, it’s best to enter into a service agreement with the contractor, although not every heating and AC service contractor provides this. A residential rental service agreement guarantees your rental property two visits each year (usually one right before the heating season picks up and one in the spring). At each visit, the technician will check the indoor and outdoor portion of your property’s HVAC system for any wear and tear. If there is a part that needs replacement, the technician will let you know so that you can schedule repairs. The HVAC unit will also receive a thorough cleaning and adjustment of parts that could struggle if they’re not in top shape. This can extend the life of your equipment, prevent repairs, and improve efficiency.

With Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning you will get a 15% discount on all repairs, fast response times on service calls 24 hours a day, convenient scheduling, and professionals who treat your property’s HVAC equipment with the utmost care. Contact us today!

When you choose the professionals at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning for property management HVAC services in Fort Collins.

When Is It Time to Replace Your Boiler?

January 15th, 2015

Boilers are pretty unique heating systems, especially when one considers how long they can last when properly maintained. There are boilers still in use today that are over a century old, with many more that are approaching 30 or 40 years of operation. Boilers last much longer, on average, than many other heating systems. Nothing lasts forever, though, and even boilers must be replaced at some point. Let’s take a look at the signs that it’s time to replace your boiler.

Heating Bills Go Up

Heating bills fluctuate from month to month, but there is a difference between a slight shift and a consistent rise in cost. When your heating bills start going up consistently, it’s a sign that your boiler is losing efficiency. This is often caused by excessive wear and tear from years of use. It’s a subtle sign, but a pretty reliable indicator of whether or not you should replace your boiler.

More Frequent Breakdowns

All heating systems are going to break down at some point. That’s just the way it goes. However, if your system is breaking down more frequently than in previous years it may be time to look at replacing it. As the wear and tear builds up on different parts, they all begin to fail in rapid succession towards the end of a boiler’s life. This is what causes the frequent breakdowns experienced by older boilers. You could try to keep replacing the parts as they fail, but the cost of doing so will very quickly eclipse the cost of simply replacing the entire boiler. If it seems like your boiler keeps breaking down every couple of months, you should seriously consider replacing it.

Age

Age is another reliable indicator of when it’s time to replace a heating system. Though boilers occasionally buck this trend, the rule of thumb is that if your boiler is older than 15 years, it’s time to replace it. Now, if your boiler is older and doesn’t have any other issues, feel free to keep using it. Keep in mind, however, that a newer boiler would likely be much more efficient than keeping the old one.

If you’d like to know more, call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide boiler replacement services throughout Loveland.

Contaminants that May Be Living in the Ducts

January 8th, 2015

It can be an annoying experience to clean your home from top to bottom, only to discover you missed an obvious spot like the stovetop or the ceiling fans. While you can try to keep your home as clean as possible, there are areas that are easy to skip over, and some areas that are difficult to reach. One spot in the home that most homeowners tend to neglect is the ductwork. And while you may attempt to clean the vents in order to compensate, this may not do much to eliminate contaminants that your family members may breathe in every day.

Air duct cleaning is a job best left to professionals with the expertise and the proper tools to get the job done. Heavy duty vacuums, soft brushes, and a steady hand can help to eliminate any of the following contaminants from your home.

  • Dust Mites: Dust mites tend to dwell in warm humid places, and can become kicked up into the air and settle at various places in the home. These trigger allergies and are a common source of asthma, especially in children.
  • Pollen: Many people feel their allergies are worst when there is a lot of pollen in the air, which can move into your home and settle in the ducts.
  • Pet Dander: Pet dander is another common source of allergies that may lay hidden in the ductwork. Don’t own any pets? Keep in mind that the person who owned the home before you very well could have.
  • Bacteria: Bacteria can move from the ductwork into the living space and affect those with respiratory or immune disorders, but they can also cause people to feel ill even if they have no preexisting health conditions.
  • Mold: Mold is a fungus that survives in damp areas, and can cause respiratory trouble for any person in the home. You may be able to keep mold out of the ducts by having an expert install a UV germicidal light system over your indoor air handler.

Call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning for air duct cleaning in Red Feather Lakes by professionals who care about the quality of the air you breathe.

Tools Used During Professional Duct Cleaning

January 5th, 2015

For many homeowners, beginning a new year means it’s time to start over with a cleaner and more relaxing home. And while you may do all you can to dust, vacuum, and wipe down every surface of your home, there is one area that is very difficult for the average homeowner to get to: the ductwork.

Ducts are responsible for moving air into your home. While most standard forced-air heating and air conditioning systems have a filter that helps reduce the amount of particles that circulate through the air, most ducts still have some contaminants living in them.

While your home vacuum may be able to reach the area of the ducts leading out to the vents in your home, this is not the proper way to clean the ducts. Tiny organic or inorganic materials living deep in the ductwork can be forced out as the fan from the air handler of your heating and air conditioning system pushes air through, and your home vacuum cannot address most of these. With professional service, your ducts will be cleaner, which could reduce allergens in the home and the risk of illness.

The professionals at Fort Collins have the right equipment and expertise to perform a thorough duct cleaning in Severance, CO.

  • Access Tools: Professionals will use tools to access portions of the ductwork throughout the process. They may cut holes into the ducts and seal them afterwards or remove entire portions of ductwork.
  • Inspection Materials: A technician will also need some kind of tool to inspect the ducts. This may be anything from a handheld mirror to a video camera. In any case, they’ll look for any leaks that may affect the cleaning process and decide which type of equipment is best to use for your particular setup.
  • Vacuums: A high-pressure vacuum creates negative pressure in the ducts. Debris is then freed from the duct lining and it easily makes its way into the vacuum hose.
  • Brushes: However, some debris may still be stuck to the ducts afterwards. Professionals can use soft brushes before and after the process to scrape off any extra debris, taking extra care not to damage the ductwork.

The heating and air conditioning experts at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning can also provide professional duct cleaning in Severance, CO, for improved indoor air quality and peace of mind.

When New Year’s Day Was Not on January 1st

January 1st, 2015

Some holidays fall on shifting calendar days for every year, such as Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November) and Easter (the first Sunday after the first full moon to occur on or after March 21). Other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween, are fixed. No holiday has a more solid calendar date attached to it than New Year’s Day. It has to fall on January 1st because it celebrates the first day of a new year. That only makes sense…

…except that, like most things that at first appear obvious, there is a bit more to the story. The beginning of the year was not always on the first of January. As with an enormous numbers of traditions in the Western World, the establishment of January 1st as the inaugural day of a new year goes back to the ancient Romans.

The modern solar calendar is derived from the Roman model, but the earliest Roman calendars did not have 365 days in a year spread over 12 months. Instead, there were 304 days spread over 10 months. The Romans believed this calendar originated with the mythical founder of the city, Romulus. If Romulus were a real person, we can credit him with a poor understanding of the seasons, as this abbreviated calendar soon got out of sync with Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Numa, one of the Kings of Rome (probably also fictional) receives credit for creating a longer year with two added months, Ianuarius and Februarius, bringing the number of days in the year to 355. The new month of Ianuarius, named after Ianus (Janus in contemporary spelling), the god of beginnings, would eventually be known in English as January. But when this new calendar was instituted, January was not the first month. March, named after the god of war, remained the first month, and March 1st was New Year’s Day.

This extended calendar still did not keep in synch with the seasons. In 45 BCE, Julius Caesar instituted reforms to align the calendar correctly according to calculations of astronomers, with an additional 10 days distributed across the year. January also became set as the first month, and offerings to the god Janus on this day started the tradition we now know as New Year’s. The date still fluctuated during the ensuing centuries, with a number of Western European holy days treated as the beginning of the year instead. It wasn’t until the next calendar reform in 1582, the Gregorian Calendar, that the date of the New Year was fixed at January 1st.

However you choose to celebrate the beginning of the current calendar, everyone here at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning hopes you have a wonderful 2015!

Why Do We Hang Up Mistletoe?

December 25th, 2014

Of course, you probably know part of the answer to this question already. You hang up mistletoe so that the people standing underneath can share a romantic holiday kiss! But what you may not realize is that the origin of this longstanding ritual predates many of the other holiday traditions we celebrate today. Why would a plant that has many poisonous varieties (most types sold for use in the home have few negative effects, but you can wrap it in netting to prevent children from consuming any fallen berries or leaves) be used as a symbol of holiday affection?

There are a couple of ways to explain the positive associations of (potentially hazardous) mistletoe. For one, this semi-parasitic plant has long been hailed as a treatment for illnesses and pain. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to cure cramps, epilepsy, and more. Even today, mistletoe extracts are one of the leading alternative medicines studied for their effectiveness in killing cancer cells. And because the early Celtic Druids saw it as a sign of healing and life, they may be the first to bestow upon the plant its romantic associations, deeming it worthy of treating the infertile.

But it is Norse mythology that is likely responsible for a majority of the modern traditions associated with this small hanging bunch. One of the powerful Norse god Odin’s sons, named Baldur, was said to be invincible due to an oath his mother took to protect him from harm. But Loki, a god who often set out to make trouble for the gods, set out to find the one thing that could do some damage, and eventually discovered that Baldur’s mother Frigg had never included mistletoe in her invincibility oath. When mistletoe was finally responsible for her son’s demise, the grieving Frigg vowed that the plant would never again be used to hurt another living thing, and that she would plant a peaceful kiss upon anyone who walked underneath it.

And that is one of the reasons that, today, kissing under the mistletoe is viewed as a source of good luck. From our family to yours, we wish you a safe holiday season, and we hope that you and your family are full of joy and good fortune—mistletoe or not! Happy holidays from Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning!

 

3 Common Repairs for Heat Pumps

December 18th, 2014

Because heat pumps run year-round, it is likely that at some point your heat pump in Windsor, CO will need repair. This isn’t because your heat pump isn’t a sound device; it’s simply because heat pumps offer both heating and cooling, and as a result, operate twice as much as individual heating and cooling systems. There are some repairs that our Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning technicians see more than others, and to give you an idea of what these repairs are, we’ve listed them out below.

Common Heat Pump Repairs

It’s always recommended that your heating system be maintained and repaired by a trained technician, and your heat pump is no different. Here are some of the more common repairs you may see with a heat pump system:

Compressor Issues

The compressor is responsible for compressing the refrigerant in your system. As such, it operates under a great deal of stress. Like your heat pump system, the compressor is made to work with an exact amount of refrigerant. Should the refrigerant level be too low or too high, the compressor can overwork and also overheat. Other common problems that can develop are issues with the capacitors and problems with the motor. The compressor can be complex and may require full replacement, so it’s best to have a professional handle all issues with your compressor.

Stuck Reversing Valve

The reversing valve is the component that allows your heat pump to offer both heating and cooling. The valve slides back and forth in order to change modes, but sometimes it can get stuck and won’t move. A reversing valve can become stuck in a specific mode (heating or cooling) or in between. Sometimes a reversing valve can be repaired, but sometimes it may need to be replaced.

Refrigerant Leaks

As mentioned above, there is a set amount of refrigerant in your system. Refrigerant facilitates the transfer of heat, so having the correct amount in your system is critical to operation. Refrigerant leaks can develop in a number of places, and finding a leak can be challenging. Additionally, refrigerant leaks can only be handled by certified technicians. Refrigerant leaks should be repaired right away as they can cause multiple problems for your system.

If you need heat pump repair in Windsor, CO, call the people you can count on: Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning.

What to Do If Your Heat Pump Struggles During Winter

December 11th, 2014

One of the major benefits of a heat pump system is that it provides both heating and cooling for your home. But when the temperature dips below 32 degrees, there can be some concern about an air-source heat pump being able to provide your home with enough heat. What are your options? Consider the installation of a hybrid heating system.

Why Is There Concern with a Heat Pump?

During the winter months, heat pumps absorb the available heat in the surrounding air, concentrate it and disperse it into your living spaces. However, as the air temperature cools, the amount of available heat in the air decreases, especially when the temperature dips below 32 degrees. When there is less available heat in the air, your heat pump may struggle or have to work harder to achieve your set temperature. But with a hybrid heating system, this isn’t a problem.

What Is a Hybrid Heating System?

A hybrid heating system uses a heat pump as its main source of heat, but has a gas furnace back-up for cold days. In a hybrid system, the heat pump is equipped with a sensor that monitors the outside temperature. At a pre-set temperature, which is typically a few degrees above freezing, the heat pump will automatically switch to the gas-furnace back-up. The switch is seamless, and works in conjunction with the dual-fuel thermostat in your home. There is also a pre-set temperature at which the system will switch back to the heat pump, so you don’t have to worry about having to switch the system manually at any stage.

Why Consider a Hybrid Heating System?

  • Keep the benefits of a heat pump – with a hybrid heating system, you keep the benefits of a heat pump, such as heating and cooling and great energy efficiency, without losing needed winter heating.
  • Convenience – the system’s automation allows you to enjoy the heat of your gas furnace or heat pump without needing manual assistance.
  • Never worry about having enough heat – with a hybrid heating system, you won’t have to worry about having enough heat, even on the coldest days of winter.

If a hybrid heating system in Loveland sounds like a good fit for you and your home, contact Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning today.

Heating without Ducts: Boilers vs. Ductless Mini Splits

December 4th, 2014

Not too long ago, if your home didn’t have ductwork, you were pretty much limited to heating your home with a boiler. But with the advent of new technology and products, homeowners have multiple choices for heating their homes, whether the homes have ductwork or not. Today we’re going to look at two systems that can heat your home without the benefit of ductwork: boilers and ductless mini splits. Each system has its own benefits, but knowing how each works can help you decide which one will be a better fit for your home.

Ductless Heating

Ductless mini split systems have two main units: the outdoor unit, which contains the compressor and condenser, and the indoor blower. A single outdoor unit can support up to 4 indoor blowers. The indoor blowers are equipped with coils, a fan and a filter, and are connected to the outdoor unit via a conduit drilled into an exterior wall. The conduit holds the condensate drain pipe, a power cord and the refrigerant line. The way a ductless system can both heat and cool your home is by utilizing heat pump technology. Heat pumps are equipped with a component called a reversing valve that can change the directional flow of the refrigerant. This change allows the heat pump to provide both heating and cooling. Heat pumps do not use any fossil fuels and a small amount of electricity, making them very energy efficient.

Boilers

Boilers heat your home using hot water or steam. The system generates the hot water or steam by combustion. The 2 most commonly-used fuel types with a boiler are natural gas and oil, but propane and solid fuels can also be used. Boilers heat the water in a vessel; when the water reaches the correct temperature, it is pushed through a system of pipes by circulating pumps (steam flows under its own pressure). Boilers can use radiators, baseboard heating or hydronic radiant floor heating to heat your home. Today’s boilers are quite energy efficient and provide very comfortable heating.

Which Is Best for You?

The answer to this question lay in large part with your needs. Working with a trained professional, like the ones at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning, can help ensure you choose a system that is good for you and your home for years to come.

If you are ready to discover what a new heating system can do for your home in Fort Collins, contact us today.

The Mother of Thanksgiving: The Story of Sarah Josepha Hale

November 27th, 2014

Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a holiday in 1863, with a proclamation that made the last Thursday of November a national day of thanks. But would you believe the person who wrote the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” played a major role in setting this precedent? Sarah Josepha Hale was the prominent writer, magazine editor and a strong supporter of female education who is often credited as the “Mother of Thanksgiving.”

Thanksgiving had long been celebrated in the United States before 1863, but there had not yet been a national day set aside as commemoration. Many of us have heard that the common mythology that the first “Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621. For years, many Americans had celebrated their own version of the holiday, but it was often a religious event rather than a stable annual gathering. An increasing interest in a national holiday grew in the mid-19th century, but the holiday was much more sporadic. States celebrated the tradition anywhere from October to January, and it remained largely unobserved in the South.

Sarah Josepha Buell was born in 1788 to Captain Gordon Buell, a Revolutionary War officer, and Martha Whittlesay Buell, both of whom believed in the right to equal education for women and made sure their daughter was well-read. Hale married in 1813 but became a widow nine years later, left to care for five children on her own. She supported them with her passion for writing, establishing a literary reputation before becoming editor of the Ladies Magazine, which would become renamed as the popular Godey’s Ladies’ Book ten years later.

Hale believed that there were “too few holidays” and that there was a need for a national holiday that would allow people to set their differences aside and bring families together. For nearly 17 years, beginning in 1846, Sarah Hale wrote editorials urging readers to seek support for this idea. She wrote to five different presidents on the matter: Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and, finally, Abraham Lincoln. While her first attempts at establishing this holiday were unsuccessful, about a week after receiving Hale’s letter, Lincoln appointed Secretary of State William Seward to draft a proclamation which Lincoln hoped would bring people together and “heal the wounds of the nation.”

From all of us here at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning, we hope you have a joyous Thanksgiving this year. Happy holidays from our family to yours!