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March 20, 2017

Your Home’s HVAC System Noises, When to Pay Attention


Your Home’s HVAC System Noises, When to Pay AttentionAt Aspen Creek Heating and Air, we know that when it comes to your home’s HVAC system noises, when to pay attention to those sounds is of the utmost importance to ensure proper and efficient functioning throughout the summer and winter months. Our experts can also help out with all your HVAC needs and keep your costs at bay as well. Of course, if you ever here system noises that indicate an issue, feel free to give us a call and we’ll come out to take a look.

What Was That Noise?

First off, as with all air systems, there is bound to be some sounds that are considered normal. HVAC systems, in general, are pretty quiet, but you will likely hear a low-level hum or fan in motion. This is nothing to be alarmed about. However, if you start to hear any of the following sounds, it’s time to call on the professionals:

  • Sudden loud rattle from the outside unit could mean a twig or branch has become lodged in the system.
  • An audible hissing sound could indicate a coolant leak or improperly sealed duct work.
  • Loud knocks or thumps are hard to determine but could mean a screw or belt needs replacement or is loose. It is advisable to immediately shut the unit off and call your local HVAC company in for a repair or maintenance.
  • Howling sounds may indicate blower compartment leaks, fan motor, pulley, or a failing compressor.
  • A thwapping sound may mean something is caught in the blower fan blades.
  • Repeated clicking sounds may indicate a relay is out, or an electrical control is causing the time out and delay.

Regarding Maintenance

A quick word on maintaining your HVAC systems: we all know that maintenance is an important part of almost everything we own, whether it is a car, a bicycle or our own bodies. HVAC systems, in particular, are constantly in motion, collecting dirt particles from the air and other allergens, with this constant influx of debris, filters, and fans can become riddled with gunk that is extremely hard on motors and working parts. It is always advisable to call on a professional, once or preferably twice a year, to do a complete inspection and service call on your HVAC systems.

What’s the Problem?

Here are some common problems with HVAC systems that you may run into. Some of these you can rectify on your own, but it is always best to call for professional help if you are unsure of the issue at hand. An HVAC system can be a technical situation involving:

  • blown fuses
  • worn contractor
  • capacitors
  • gas valve
  • filters
  • thermostat
  • clogged drain lines
  • refrigerant leaks
  • compressor
  • condenser coil
  • evaporator coil
  • electrical problems

A Routine Maintenance Service Call:

  • Gauges will be connected to the outdoor unit. This ensures ideal pressure and temperature are achieved. The technician will turn the system on to check for correct readings and that everything is where it is supposed to be.
  • Clean off the condenser fins and inspect for any debris that may have gathered during winter months.
  • Oil is added to the motor's oil ports.
  • Electrical connections will be examined for loose or corroded wires and replaced if necessary.
  • Inside, the unit will be thoroughly cleaned and checked for any bio growth. Mold is a health problem and needs to be immediately removed from your home if detected.
  • A new, good quality air filter will be installed in the unit if necessary. Regularly changing the air filter is essential to ensure smooth operation of AC and heating units. Energy efficiency can be adversely affected by running the unit for extended periods of time with a clogged filter, also leading to component failures, due to dirt and debris clogging the ports.
  • The thermostat is checked and calibrated when necessary. You may want to install a programmable thermostat if you have an older dial type model. Modern programmable thermostats offer significant savings with energy costs, and several wireless versions are available, controlled by smartphones and other devices.
  • The technician will check the operation of all system components. The blower fan will be inspected to ensure correct balance and minimal noise when operating.
  • If natural gas fuels your unit, the technician will check gas connections. Even though you're concerned with AC operation at this time, gas connections should be regularly reviewed to ensure safety.
  • The condensate drain will be inspected for clogs. Water leaks can damage the unit and most likely other areas of your home.

Ballpark Cost for a Service Call

Again, this depends on your area, but in general, a technician will charge anywhere from $40-$250. In addition to the service fee, you’ll also have to factor in the cost of labor and parts. Small problems such as fuses and circuit breakers will run between $50 and $200. Depending on the HVAC model you own, a new thermostat can cost between $80 and $300. Be sure to ask about yearly scheduled rates and HVAC service discounts, and be sure to get some quotes from several different companies.

Many homeowners do not have any idea how their HVAC system function or what it entails to run properly. Despite the most enthusiastic Do-It-Yourself novice, one often finds central air and heating systems a bit beyond their grasp. Tampering with an HVAC system when you have no experience can lead to further damage or potential injury. It is best to leave this class of problems up to the pros. In addition to having the knowledge and tools to repair your HVAC system, a professional will usually be familiar with the newest products and techniques and suggest ways to enhance or update your systems.

These are the many sounds you may hear from your heating and or cooling systems throughout the years, but remember, the best medicine is prevention! Be sure to have your HVAC systems maintained yearly or more often if you are in high dust areas, or are using them more often than usual. The cost for maintaining will be much less than if you wait and allow parts to cease, in which case they may need replacement. Don't delay in contacting Aspen Heating and Air when dealing with your home’s HVAC system noises, when to pay attention could save you a bundle in the long run.

February 23, 2017

Controlling Your Heating Bill

Aspen Creek Heating and AirControlling Your Heating Bill knows that when winter comes, controlling your heating bill can be quite a chore. Kids and family, friends and visitors, all running in and out of the home, can really make keeping a house toasty and warm a difficult task. Let’s talk about some easy ideas to lower your heating bills while ensuring that your home is warm and as energy efficient as it can be. Take these steps, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the amount of leftover cash in your wallet this year!

To get started, here are some easy ideas for controlling your heating bill and overall energy use:

1. Let the sun shine in and warm your tootsies by opening the shades and drapes allowing the sun's natural heating to warm your home. Be sure to close them at sunset to keep the warm air in and insulate the home.

2. Relocate the furniture so you are sitting near interior walls, avoiding exterior walls and old windows because they are likely to be drafty.

3. Traditional fireplaces are energy suckers. It's best to avoid them as they pull heated air out of the house and back up into the chimney. If you are not using them daily, then make certain the damper is closed, also, ensure that you don't have any smoldering embers hanging around. Remember dampers don't shut fully without leaking.

4. Eliminate wasted energy. Turn off lights if not in use, unplug appliances in the garage if you don't really need them because this adds about 10-25 % to your heating bill. Turn off the kitchen and bath ventilating fans after use as these fans can blow out a lot of heated air if left on.

5. Shortening showers by a few minutes can potentially save up to hundreds of gallons of hot water each month for a family of four. Showers account for 2/3 of your water heating costs if you can believe it! Cutting down your showers in half may reduce your water heating costs by 33 percent overall. Huge savings!

6. Use appliances efficiently by only doing full loads when using your dishwasher, clothes dryer, and clothes washer. Use the cold water setting when possible and reduce your washer machine's energy by 75 percent. Clean the clothes dryer's lint trap after every use. Use the moisture-sensing automatic drying setting on your dryer if you have one for even more benefits.

7. Put your computer and monitor to sleep always. Most computers come with the power management features turned off, so be sure to turn it on. Those who use Macintosh computers, simply look for the setting in your Control Panel called "Energy Saver" and set it accordingly. If you leave it in sleep mode overnight, it will still be drawing a small amount of energy.

To really get a handle on controlling your heating bill, delve a little deeper into these energy saving tips and practices by going the extra mile and having some of your HVAC appliances looked at and inspected by the professionals.

• Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees or more. For every degree you lower the thermostat in the 60-70 degree range, you'll save up to 5 percent on heating costs. That just means wearing warmer clothing like a sweater and slippers during the day. Of course, health issues may interfere with this theory, so take that into account.

• Set the thermostat at 55 degrees or even off at night, and if you plan on leaving home for an extended period, that will give you a savings of about 5-20 percent of your heating costs.

• Replace or clean furnace filters as suggested by your local HVAC professional. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use.

• A furnace tune-up is a must at this time too. By keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted, you will reduce energy use by up to 5 percent of heating costs savings.

• Reduce the hot water temperature setting to the "normal" setting or 120-degrees Fahrenheit on your dishwasher, unless the owner's manual for the dishwasher needs an even higher setting.

• Seal up leaks and caulk around windows and doors. Be sure to look for places where you have pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the walls, ceilings or floors.

• Check the bathroom, the kitchen sink, pipes inside a closet, basement fixtures or anywhere you find a gap at the point where the pipes and vents go through the wall, and seal it up. Caulk works best on small gaps, and you should have products to close the larger gaps available at the hardware store.

• Consider replacing your old gas appliances with an ENERGY STAR® water heater or furnace.

• Invest in some high-efficiency windows. This will help decrease your heating in the winter cost, and cooling in the summer cost by up to 15 percent. A great option if you are looking to upgrade older windows.

• Increase the amount of ceiling insulation or upgrade to R-38.

One of the best ways to make life easier when managing heating costs is by using a programmable thermostat to turn on the heating or air-conditioning per a pre-set schedule. They can store and repeat multiple daily settings that you can override without altering the rest of the daily or weekly program. This is a great option for busy lives and will not make you a slave to controlling the temperature.

Maintenance of your heating systems is one of the best things you can do to control your home’s heat and comfort level. Proper furnace maintenance and service should be performed at least twice a year. Your systems need to be cleaned, and the worn-out parts replaced if necessary. In the long run, this small expense can save you many headaches and lost money to major unnecessary repairs. You can expect to spend on average approximately $40-$250 for a service call. If replacement parts are required, you can tack that on to the cost as well. Never attempt to handle your heating systems on your own, the damage could be irreparable.

As you can see, controlling your heating bill is not rocket science! With the help of a qualified HVAC company like Aspen Creek Heating and Air, you can keep your heating costs as low as possible because we take the time to provide excellence service and complete, thorough inspections throughout your home's heating and cooling systems. Give us a call today for more information.

February 13, 2017

Aspen Creek Heating & Air Earns Esteemed 2016 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Aspen Creek Heating & Air Earns Esteemed 2016 Angie’s List Super Service Award, this Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Angies List AwardAspen Creek Heating & Air has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of customer service to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2016.

This achievement is particularly significant as Angie’s List experienced unprecedented member growth in 2016. More than 1.6 million consumers, many of whom were eager to quickly hire highly qualified service pros, joined Angie’s List after the company added a new, free membership tier.

“Companies that can meet higher demands without missing a beat in their exemplary performance standards truly do stand apart from their peers,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “Only a fraction of the Heating and Air Conditioning Service companies in Broomfield CO and surrounding areas were able to do it.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade. The SSA winners must also be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Aspen Creek Heating & Air is a family-owned and operated HVAC business with over 15 years of experience.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

For more than 21 years, Angie’s List restricted access to its verified reviews to consumers who paid membership fees. When the company removed that barrier, some companies worried that the new, non-paying members would not be as engaged as members of the past. Experience has shown, however, that these newly added members are just as engaged – across all age groups – as prior members. Also, because the company continues to adhere to its review verification process, there has been no degradation of review quality.

“The biggest change at Angie’s List is that we are connecting even more consumers to high quality service professionals,” Hicks said. “And that’s good for everyone.”

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Angie's List helps facilitate happy transactions between more than 4.5 million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly rated service providers in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of more than 10 million verified reviews of local service, Angie's List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

January 25, 2017

Keeping Your Air Quality High During the Winter Months

Aspen Heating and Air Keeping Your Air Quality High During the Winter Monthsknows all about keeping your house air quality high during the winter months. So, why is it so important? When the weather gets cold, we spend more time indoors and typically have all the windows closed up tight. All that stagnant air can lead to odors, mold and mildew growth, and so much more. It also breeds viruses, which is why your entire family might come down with the same flu.

Now that you’re thoroughly grossed out, let’s move on to what could be causing air quality issues and what methods work best when it comes to keeping your air quality high during the winter months.

The usual culprits:

  • DIRTY OR FAULTY CENTRAL HEATING is a bad thing so be sure to have your central heating systems cleaned and looked at by the professionals on a yearly basis.
  • DIRTY AC UNITS need to be cleaned at least yearly. Have the filters changed out and/or replaced with the latest pleated, electrostatic and electronic filters available.
  • DAMAGED FLUE PIPES AND CHIMNEYS should be dealt with and cleaned.
  • EXCESSIVE HUMIDITY produces more dust mites and mold, so it needs to be monitored and eliminated if possible.

The proven solutions:

  • HOME FILTRATION SYSTEMS may be a good option, especially if you suffer from allergies. UVGI cleaners use ultraviolet radiation that may destroy biological pollutants such as viruses, bacteria, allergens, molds, and more that are airborne or growing on HVAC surfaces, such as the cooling coils, drain pans, or ductwork. PCO cleaners destroy gaseous pollutants by converting them into a harmless substance but are not designed to remove particulate pollutants.
  • PUT YOUR THERMOSTAT to "fan on" mode to boost air quality.
  • CLEAN YOUR HOME regularly to eliminate dust and pet dander.
  • REPLACE FURNACE FILTERS regularly. Your furnace filter is working hard during winter to keep the air clean.
  • UPGRADE YOUR FILTERS to Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) filters. They are a bit more expensive but may be worth it.
  • TEST FOR RADON. Check the EPA's website for more information on cancer-causing effects of this toxic substance. Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. You cannot see, smell, or taste radon, but it may be a problem in your home that is lurking.
  • BUY A CARBON MONOXIDE detector to help detect this odorless substance. It could save lives.
  • USE NON-TOXIC CLEANING PRODUCTS, from laundry to personal care.
  • LOOK FOR LOW VOC PRODUCTS and use them in every part of your home when possible.
  • AIR OUT your home whenever possible by taking advantage of a sunny but cool winter day.

Keeping Your Air Quality High During the Winter Months
The key to saving money and your health with the above tips is to have a yearly maintenance program set in place to ensure your HVAC system is running properly and functioning at its best. The time and investment you put into that will ensure your health, as well as ensure your equipment lasts longer than if you were to neglect the safety and maintenance checks altogether. Because they’re machines that constantly filter airborne dust and dirt particles, they need to be cleaned often.

Keeping up a maintenance program will protect you throughout the winter when roaring fireplaces, wood stoves and even idling vehicles, all add to higher levels of matter (smoke) and carbon monoxide (vehicle emissions) in our air. How does this work? Well, cold temperatures and stagnant air create a build-up near the ground. That’s because cold air is trapped by a layer of warm air which acts like a lid holding down the toxic substances. When smoke can’t rise, carbon monoxide reaches unhealthy levels.

Wind, rain and snow storms that blow through then act like a "cleaning house" session because they help clear out and get rid of unhealthy air. It can be a big relief.

Proper HVAC maintenance also reduces your risk of "sick home syndrome". Indoor air pollutants are the most guilty of making the air in your home unhealthy include. The list certainly includes wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, as well as water heaters, dryers, stoves, perfumes, scented products, paint, air fresheners, glue, carpeting and cleaning products. Outdoor sources such as dust and particles, radon, mold, pesticides, building chemicals, and pets all contribute to poor health in the home.

Try to be aware of the source of these pollutants and if possible do your party to eliminate them. There are a host of natural remedies you can easily use for your home. Here are just a few: plants, air purifiers, essential oils, diffusers, herbs and open air windows to allow for a breeze. For more info on sick home syndrome and sick building syndrome, read here.

Remember as a kid, when our parents constantly told us to go outside and play and get some fresh air? Well, they had a good reason. Young kids and the elderly are highly susceptible to indoor air pollutants, so if you are noticing an increase in breathing issues or more colds and cases of flu than usual, you may have a serious problem with your home’s air quality. Do your part by following some of the advice listed above. And if you have an older home that needs some upgrading on its HVAC system, just give us a call.

Your health is important! So, don't take chances. Keeping your home air quality high during the winter months can save you from countless visits to the doctor for respiratory issues, headaches, fatigue, viruses and much more. By creating a healthy environment for your family, friends, loved ones and even pets, you can spend more quality time together. And that’s always a good thing.

Allow Aspen Heating and Air to attend to all your air quality concerns and give great advice on ways to keep it that way. We are the experts in the field, offering expert service and maintenance, as well as a full line of popular brand name HVAC units to choose from if a replacement or upgrade is ever needed.

December 16, 2016

Why is My Furnace Making a Loud Noise?

Why is My Furnace Making a Loud Noise?The cold weather has arrived, and it’s time to warm up a chilly house. You click on the thermostat and wonder, why is my furnace making a loud noise? Aspen Creek Heating and Air is here with some great advice on what could potentially be causing a noisy furnace, as well as what is normal and what is not.

Most furnaces, especially older ones, will make the occasional pinging sound or hum, especially when initially turned on. This is usually just the ducts expanding or the blower fan warming up. However, if your furnace keeps you awake during the night or you cannot carry on a conversation, it is time to call Aspen Creek Heating and Air immediately for service or repair.

Here are some important sounds NOT to ignore.

    1. LOUD BANG OR POP is not a good sign and could indicate that the furnace burners are dirty. If these burners are dirty, it will delay the igniting, causing excess gas build up, hence the loud bang when the gas finally ignites. The heater exchange may crack or cause a small explosion, and this part is expensive to replace. A regular service from the professionals is all it will take to rectify the situation and should be dealt with promptly to avoid fire hazards.
    2. EXPANDING AND CONTRACTING AIR DUCTS, especially metal ones will make noises as the blower turns off and on, usually because there is a clogged filter, undersized ducts, or a closed vent. Have Aspen Creek Heating and Air look into it, if you are uncertain where the issue lies.

    3. HIGH PITCHED WHINING NOISE could be shaft bearings that need oil, or it could be a loose, slipping or frayed blower belt, which will need to be adjusted or replaced. Worst case scenario, the blower motor may need replacement.

    4. RATTLING NOISES may be caused by ducts that have come loose. You can either duct tape them or tighten any loosened screws. You can also put a mat of some sort underneath the heater to stop vibrations from occurring.

    5. MOTOR NOISE could mean worn out bearings and is best addressed by an HVAC specialist.

    6. CLANGING NOISE is probably caused by the pipes, as opposed to the furnace itself. They will make noise when they cool down, and this issue is usually found in older style homes.

    7. METAL HITTING METAL SOUND is likely the blower wheel coming loose from the motor shaft, and hitting the blower housing. Turn the unit off immediately and have a specialist inspect and or tighten. Also, the blower wheel or motor mount may have broken and will need replacement.

    8. LOUD HUMMING NOISE is most likely just a noisy transformer. There will always be some degree of humming with the transformer, but if it is unusually loud, it could be a bad fan or capacitor. Have an HVAC specialist look at it promptly.

    9. RUMBLING NOISES (gas and oil fired systems) call immediately for service and turn off the unit. This could be a serious problem with your burner and may also be a fire hazard.

    10. FAULTY THERMOSTATS will sometimes make a clicking sound over and over. If that is the issue, try changing the batteries or ensuring that the wires behind are not frayed or disconnected. Only do so, if you feel competent enough to do so safely. If none of this works, then call the professionals.

    11. DRY BEARINGS will need to be lubricated, and an HVAC specialist is the best options to do so.

    12. PILOT LIGHT may require adjustment. You can easily do this yourself.

    According to the True Cost Guide, the average homeowner will spend $135-$422 for furnace repairs depending on the brand, where and how the unit was first installed. That is not a bad price for peace of mind and warmth during the winter. If you do have parts that need replacement on your unit, check the manufacturer's warranty to see if it is covered. Most come with a 5-year warranty and a 10-year warranty on the heat exchanger. Read the fine print, of course, to ensure you get all the details of what your warranty entails.

    If you find yourself in the predicament of a furnace that has finally called it quits, we can help with that too! We carry an extensive range of high-efficiency furnace makes and models that suit everyone's budget. We will thoroughly advise you and assist in determining which unit best suits the needs of your home, family, and usage. We also specialize in providing thorough installation, yearly maintenance, and tips on how to get the most from a furnace.

    Remember, many older houses have outdated furnace systems. Most likely, they will not be pumping out the proper amount of heat, not to mention the noise factor that may go along with it. Consult with Aspen Heating and Air about a "quiet" furnace for your next purchase. There are so many options on the market and many things to consider when buying a new, modern and energy efficient furnace. Do your own research too, by checking out Consumer Reports for all the latest, up to date information on furnace trends, including brands, energy sources, reliability, efficiency, size, cost and more. Review this valuable information when making a large purchase such as a furnace.

    So how many years can you expect to get out of your new furnace? Many, especially if the furnace is well-maintained. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the year 2000, the average lifespan is about 18 years, and some are between 15-25 years, depending on the amount of usage and the starting and stopping of the unit. That is why regular inspection is important to prolong the life of your furnace. Parts and electronics will need to be changed out with wear and tear, but the nuts and bolts of the system should remain strong.

    With winter upon us, it’s important that your heating system is up to par. Call Aspen Creek Heating and Air if you have to ask yourself why is my furnace making a loud noise. We are a family-operated business with over 15 years of experience in the HVAC industry and can help with installations and repairs on all brands of furnaces, heating systems, and more. Get in touch today for fast, friendly service!

 

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