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!

Why You Should Enroll in Our Energy Savings Maintenance Program

November 17th, 2014

Winter is just about here in Loveland, and one of the best ways to ensure that your system runs optimally through our coldest months is to schedule maintenance. There are several benefits maintenance provides for your system, as we’ll outline below, but when you enroll in our Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning Energy Savings Maintenance Program, you’ll gain even more benefits. It’s recommended that you schedule maintenance annually, so if it’s been more than 12 months since your last maintenance appointment, call us today!

Benefits of Annual Heating Maintenance

  • Better energy efficiency – your heating system was designed to operate at a specific level of energy efficiency. When it is dirty, dusty and worn out from last season, it will have a hard time operating as it should. This means it can use more energy, which will drive up your energy costs.
  • Prevents repairs – during a maintenance appointment, your system is thoroughly inspected so that the technician can detect any existing or developing problems with your heating system. Minor issues, like frayed wiring or a worn belt, will be repaired during the appointment. Should a bigger issue be discovered, you’ll be alerted so that you can schedule repair. Maintenance allows you to get ahead of problems before they can turn into big and potentially costly ones.
  • Extends life of the equipment – maintenance helps keep your system in good working order. As such, it operates optimally, which helps prevent wear and tear and premature aging.
  • Improves comfort – a worn system can have a hard time achieving the temperature you set on your thermostat. With maintenance, your system will run as it should, so your comfort won’t be compromised.

Additional Benefits from Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning

When you sign up for our Energy Savings Maintenance Program, you’ll receive the following additional benefits:

  • Discounted repairs
  • Never pay overtime
  • Priority service/same day service guarantee

Maintenance for your heating system is good for both you and your system.

Contact Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning and talk to one of our specialists about how joining our Energy Savings Maintenance Program can help your home in Loveland!

How a Zone Control System Benefits Your Heating System

November 10th, 2014

It’s chilly here in Colorado, and you’ve probably started running your home heating system. Are you already hearing complaints about your thermostat setting? Are you struggling to maintain energy efficiency while making everyone comfortable? There’s a great solution for both of these problems: a zone control system. With a zone control system, you are no longer fighting the battle of thermostat while trying to maintain your energy efficiency. Zone control systems are complex to install, so it’s important to hire a trained professional. Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning has been servicing customers since 1934, so if you are looking to install zone control heating in Fort Collins, call us today!

How Does a Zone Control System Work?

With a zone control system, you divide your home into different zones. They can be individual rooms, a group of rooms, or an entire floor – the decision is yours. Once you’ve designated these zones with your technician, motorized dampers are installed into the supply vents of your ductwork and thermostats are installed in each zone. The dampers and thermostats are wired to a main control panel, which manages the opening and closing of the dampers to maintain the temperatures set in each zone.

How Can a Zone Control System Benefit My Heating?

There are a few ways a zone control system can benefit your heating:

  • Better energy efficiency – with a zone control system, you use only the heating you need. A zone control system allows you to shut off the heating to areas you don’t need it – you can’t do this with regular ductwork. Using only the heat that you need results in less operation of your system, which helps reduce your energy usage.
  • Less wear and tear – with a zone control system, your heating system will most likely run less, helping to prevent early wear-and-tear issues to your system.
  • Extends the life of your system – the amount of work your heating system has to do can be reduced with a zone control system; less work means less wear, which can help extend the life of the system.

Zone heating in Fort Collins allows you to customize your heating while improving your home’s energy efficiency.

If you are interested in seeing what a zone control system can do for you, call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

The Exceptional Efficiency of Ductless Heating Systems

November 3rd, 2014

At first, it may be difficult to understand what would make someone choose ductless heating for their home. Central heating just seems so much more convenient. There’s just one thermostat that controls the whole house. You can be at the same comfortable room temperature no matter where you are in your home. Why give that up for a unit that can only heat one room? Well, read on to find out what you’ve been missing.

Why Ductless Heating?

A ductless heating system is essentially a heat pump. It consists of two units, one inside and one outside. The outside unit siphons heat from the air, while the inside one circulates that heat through the room. It’s called a ductless system because it is installed directly in the room that you want heated, rather than piping in the warm air from elsewhere in the house.

The first reason you’d want a ductless heating system is energy efficiency. Systems that use ducts often lose 20-30% of their heat on average to leaks in those same ducts. That translates to a substantially higher heating bill for you. Ductless systems essentially have no travel time between the heater and the destination, meaning that no heat is wasted in transit between locations. Making a switch will likely cause an appreciable decrease in your heating bills as a result. Since ductless systems are only meant to really serve one room, you can also save money by only heating rooms that need heating. What’s the point of heating the guest room if no one is occupying it?

The second reason to consider an upgrade to a ductless system is flexibility. Each ductless unit is operated by its own thermostat. This not only allows you to ignore rooms that you aren’t currently occupying. It also allows different occupants of the house to pick a room temperature that is most comfortable for them. No more fighting over the single thermostat that controls the heater because you have different comfort levels than your spouse, relatives, or roommates!

If you are thinking about upgrading to a ductless heating system, call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. We install ductless heating throughout the Loveland area.

How a Whole-House Humidifier Protects You and Your Home

October 27th, 2014

When people think of humidity and feeling uncomfortable, they usually think about high humidity. High humidity levels above 60% will make warm temperatures feel far less comfortable because the moisture in the air restricts the body’s ability to release heat through sweating. High humidity will also create problems from mold growth and water damage.

But low humidity is as serious problem a problem as high humidity: it also causes discomfort, damage, and health issues. During a winter in Northern Colorado, the air can get very dry indeed, and there are times when a home will benefit from a whole-house humidifier to balance the humidity. Although you can purchase small portable room humidifiers, these are poor solutions for solving general comfort and building damage dilemmas.

How you and your home can benefit from a whole-house humidifier

  • Comfort: High humidity makes hot temperatures feel hotter; the reverse occurs with low humidity. With low moisture in the air, the heat leaves your body much faster, and cold temperatures feel sharper and less pleasant. A dry winter cold can be quite miserable, but a humidifier will give you a pleasant indoor moisture level that will make everyone in the house feel cozier. (And you’ll save money because you won’t need to run your heater as often.)
  • Health: Dry air causes cracked skin and itchy, irritated eyes. But it can do even worse than this. Low humidity will dry up sinuses and mucus membranes, which are an important defense against the transmission of airborne illnesses like flus and the common cold. A number of dangerous viruses also thrive in dry environments. You’ll experience a reduction in common winter-time ailments thanks to a whole-house humidifier. (And you’ll have fewer pains from static electrical shocks too!)
  • Building damage: Dry air sucks the moisture from surfaces as well—and that’s bad news when it comes to wood, which will begin to crack. Low humidity will cause surfaces to peel, and you don’t want valuable possessions like musical instruments and antiques to suffer damage. Installing a whole-house humidifier will help keep all parts of your home safe from the ravages of dry air.

You must have professionals do the work for installing whole-house humidifiers in Fort Collins, CO. A humidifier that’s too powerful or installed improperly will end up giving you high humidity—a whole other problem you don’t want! Look to the many decades of experience at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning when you want the right balance of humidity for your home.

Call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn more about humidifiers in Fort Collins, CO and how they can help your indoor comfort levels.

The Importance of Properly Sealed Ductwork

October 20th, 2014

If some of the rooms in your home never cool quite as quickly as you’d like, it could indicate a problem with the ductwork. Many homeowners take their ducts for granted, forgetting that a component so hidden from view could be so vital to the performance of an HVAC system. Ducts must be in top condition in order for your HVAC system to deliver cool or heated air into your home as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, ducts may develop cracks and holes over time that keep them from delivering their best work.

Sometimes, faulty ductwork seems like a tolerable problem. For instance, you may adjust to the fact that it takes your home longer to reach a certain temperature, or you may simply vacate the rooms where heating or cooling seems to be uneven. But duct sealing offers more benefits than simply making your home more comfortable. Here are a few reasons prompt duct sealing is so important.

Help Your HVAC System Perform at Its Best

When your ducts are leaking, air cannot reach your home as quickly as it should. This is a given, but have you thought about how this might affect your air conditioner or furnace? When air cannot enter your home with ease, your HVAC system will work harder to reach the proper temperature. This means that parts can become worn down and may eventually fail.

Besides, all the extra work does a number on your energy bills. You spend extra money every month for all of the work your system does, as it must run for longer periods of time to reach the temperature you’ve set.

Improve the Indoor Air Quality

One less obvious reason to schedule duct sealing is improving the quality of the air you breathe. Your ductwork runs through some of the dirtiest areas of your home, the parts that you can’t reach as part of your normal cleaning routine, such as a small crawlspace. As air flows through a leaky duct, it may suck up some of the dust and debris in the crawlspace as well as hazardous particles from insulation.

For professional, quality duct sealing in Loveland, call the indoor air quality experts at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning today!

The Benefits of Packaged HVAC Units for Commercial Heating

October 13th, 2014

Maintaining a comfortable temperature in your business space year-round is very important. As such, you’ll want to consider the different types of commercial HVAC systems available for business owners, one of which is a packaged unit. As the name indicates, a packaged unit contains all of your commercial HVAC components in a single, large metal cabinet. There are a number of benefits to having your HVAC system in one unit, as we’ll outline below, but for any commercial heating and cooling installation in Fort Collins, be sure to hire professionals who have commercial experience. The technicians at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning bring 80 years of experience to every job they have, including commercial work, so call us today.

What Is a Packaged Unit?

As mentioned above, a packaged unit is a large, metal cabinet that contains all the components needed for your commercial heating and cooling. The cabinet is connected to your building’s ductwork so that the air can be delivered to your business space. Packaged units can have a few configurations:

  • Hybrid cooling/heating units
  • Gas furnace/air conditioner
  • Heat pumps

What Are the Benefits of a Packaged Unit?

In addition to providing both heating and cooling, a packaged unit also offers:

  • Easy access for technicians – having all the components housed in a single unit makes it easier for technicians to access the unit for repairs and maintenance.
  • Can easily heat and cool large spaces – packaged units are designed to heat and cool large spaces; the tonnage for a packaged unit can range from 3 tons to over 20 tons.
  • Saves space – you won’t lose any indoor square footage by placing your packaged unit on the roof.
  • Safer from damage – placement on the roof means your packaged unit is safer from debris and potential vandalism.

Our Colorado winters call for reliable heating no matter where you are, and a packaged unit can help you achieve the commercial heating and cooling you need in Fort Collins.

Call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment with one of our expert commercial installers.

3 Advantages of Radiant Heating Installation

October 6th, 2014

Radiant heating is the movement of heat from one heated object to another, traveling through the space in between without heating that space. When you stand on black asphalt in the sun and feel the heat coming off the surface, that is an example of radiant heating.

In a home, a radiant heating system in any system that doesn’t rely on forced air distributed through ductwork or wall-mounted blowers, but instead sends heat to warm up objects inside the rooms, which then radiates the warmth to the rest of the objects in the room—particularly the people. The most common form of radiant heating is hydronic: water is heated in a boiler, then sent through pipes set down in the floorboards. The floorboards warm up and radiate waves of heat up into the rooms. This type of heating has been popular for years in Europe, and is now appearing more frequently in the U.S. because of its numerous benefits.

Here are 3 of the primary advantages of radiant heating installation in Loveland, CO. We will answer all your questions and help you discover if radiant heating is a good choice for your home.

3 benefits of radiant heating

  1. Clean heat: Because radiant heating does not use ductwork, there is no chance of the heat entering the rooms to pick up dust, dirt, and other contamination. Your home won’t suffer a drop in its indoor air quality with radiant heating. This is especially beneficial if there are people in your household who have allergies or asthma.
  2. Energy efficiency: Radiant heating moves rapidly through a room, rising from the floor and filling up the space more efficiently than forced-air heaters, which blow out the air from vents that then gathers at the ceiling. You will need to run radiant heating much less often than a standard furnace or heat pump, and that makes them long-term money savers.
  3. Cozier heat: Although it’s harder to define, radiant floor heating simply feels better than forced-air heating. There are few sensations more comforting than to have toasty warmth under your feet on a chilly morning, and people who have radiant heating often describe the feeling as like receiving direct warmth from the sun. (The sun itself is a good example of radiant heating.)

Installing a radiant heating system works easiest for new home construction, but it is also possible to retro-fit a current home to enjoy these benefits. Talk to the Loveland, CO radiant heating installation experts at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning to find out further details. Even if radiant heating isn’t the best choice for your home, we will find an efficient and cozy alternative that is.

To find out more about the practicality of installing radiant heating in your home, call our experts at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning today.