The Real Cost of Cheap Furnace Repair in Denver

How Much Cheap Furnace Repair Will Really Cost You in Denver

Many homeowners think that just because a service company has dozens of employees and is highly visible around town that the company is successful and can be trusted to perform quality work. A couple of recent incidents have proven that this is not always the case.

A couple of well-known, long-standing Denver heating and air companies have recently had to close their doors due to financial problems. This may have been a surprise to their customers; however, industry professionals around town could see the writing on the wall. These particular companies were well-known for offering prices for furnace repairs that were well below those of their competition. The owners of these companies were under the assumption that they could make up for their lower prices in volume. When this was not enough, these companies also started lowering their prices for furnace installations, air conditioning repair, and other services. This move eventually led to these companies having to shut their doors and their customers having to figure out what to do if they have issues with their furnace.

The following are a few of the reasons why price should not be your primary consideration in choosing a furnace repair and installation service:

Improper Repairs

Companies that promise prices that are far below the market average often cut corners when it comes to employee training and certification. This can result in poorly executed repairs that will not solve your original problem and may even cause new issues to develop with your system.

Return Visits

Many low-cost contractors do not guarantee their work. When you have to call the company back several times to solve the same problem, you are shouldered with the burden of the extra expense and wasted time.

Poor Advice

A reputable service company takes pride in educating its customers in how to maintain their HVAC system in order to prevent problems, how to know when service is needed, and how to make their home more energy efficient. Technicians from low-cost contractors typically do not have the training, experience, and knowledge to offer this kind of advice. Less scrupulous companies may even try to steer customers in the wrong direction in order to make more money.

Low-Cost is Often More Expensive in the End

Choosing the cheapest contractor will often cost you more in the long run when you take into account the repeated services calls, increased utility bills, and repeated system breakdowns.

No Guarantee of Follow-up Support

Even the best HVAC system occasionally needs service and repair. When this situation arises, you need to know that the company that performed the installation will be there for support. If you choose a low-cost contractor, you are taking a risk that the company will not be around to support the warranty on the equipment or that shoddy workmanship many even negate parts of your manufacturer’s warranty leaving you to pay the cost of the repairs.

Tips for Choosing a Furnace Repair Company

Your family’s comfort is dependent upon finding a skilled technician to diagnose and repair your furnace problem. The following guide can help you narrow the field.

  • Look for a company that is licensed and bonded and offers technicians with years of experience in the industry.
  • You should take the time to check out the company’s online customer reviews. It is also a good idea to ask for customer references that you can contact about their experience with the company.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if the company has a pattern of complaints.
  • Ask for in-person estimates from multiple contractors.
  • Make sure all estimates are in writing and provide a detailed breakdown of all charges.
  • If one estimate is significantly higher or lower than the others, ask the contractor for a justification. If the reason does not make sense, it is best to walk away.
  • Make sure that all work is guaranteed and that all equipment comes with a warranty.
  • Make sure that all warranties and guarantees are in writing and that the service contract clearly outlines your options in the event that you are dissatisfied or have a problem.

Why You Should Choose Swan Home Comfort Experts

We are family-owned and operated. Our customers are our neighbors, so we are dedicated to providing professional service to Denver homeowners using highly-trained technicians and quality parts and equipment. We ensure that all of our trucks are properly equipped to handle your situation correctly and efficiently. All of our technicians have Environmental Protection Agency and North American Technician Excellence certifications. Before being hired, all of our technicians also undergo drug screening and extensive background checks for your safety.

We stand behind our service by offering a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, and we will provide you with a straightforward, written estimate. Our team is available 24/7 for emergency calls, and we guarantee same day service.

At Swan, our mission is to be Denver’s most trusted HVAC service provider. If your HVAC system is in need of routine maintenance or emergency service, contact us for an estimate or to schedule a service call. We look forward to serving you and your family.

10 Fall Pro-Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter in Denver, Colorado

10 Fall Pro-Tips To Prepare Your Home for Winter

Fall is a great time of year. The hot days of summer are winding down and the leaves are beginning to fall. Fall brings some of our favorite holidays but it is also the time to begin thinking about ensuring that our homes are ready for colder temperatures. Here are some top tips that will keep your home cozy when the winter winds start to blow.

1. Clean the gutters: This is important all year and particularly in the fall because of falling leaves which can clog drains and downspouts. Rain or melting snow, depending on where you live, can cause the leaves to clump together. When the gutters cannot drain the water has to go somewhere. Eventually it will end up running down the side of your home. This can cause the ground around the foundation to erode and moisture can seep inside. One solution many people are choosing to eliminate the need to clean gutters several times a year is the installation of leaf guards. They are made of a plastic mesh and they simply snap into the gutters to keep leaves from piling up and causing problems.

2. Have your HVAC system checked: Your heating and air conditioning system should be checked twice a year in the spring and fall. Preventative maintenance can save you expensive repair costs later. Filters should be changed on a regular basis. When they are dirty and dusty your system works harder to maintain the set temperature. Making certain that there are no leaks or loose joints around the ducts is essential to keep the warm air from escaping. A programmable thermostat can help as well. The temperature can be set a few degrees cooler when no one is home and programmed to come on and raise the temperature so it is warm and cozy when everyone gets home. This can result in a savings on your energy costs.

3. Turn the Water Heater Down: Most water heaters are set at 140 degrees when installed. Water heaters account for about 18% of your energy costs and setting them to 120 degrees can result in a big savings. It won't have to work as hard to maintain 120 degrees compared to 140 degrees which means it will last longer before it needs replaced. This can also help to reduce the risk of accidental burns for young children and the elderly.

4. Reverse the Direction of your Ceiling Fans: Most ceiling fans have a switch to reverse the direction of the blades. Instead of blowing down or counterclockwise set them to run on low clockwise during the winter. This will pull the cool air up and push the warm air that rises to the ceiling down to keep the room warm. This can help to reduce your heating costs as well.

5. Curtains and Blinds can Insulate: If you use heavy curtains or drapes that are insulated they can offer the added protection of stopping heat loss. The will reduce drafts that are often noticed around windows in the winter. Blinds can help as well. Both can be opened during the day to let sunlight in which helps to warm rooms. Lower them at dusk and the room will be warmer and it will help to save on heating costs.

6. Insulate Pipes: This is one of the most important things you can do to keep from paying thousands for repairs. There are various ways to do this including foam that is made especially for pipes. Insulating tape is another method. Don't forget inside pipes that are not in heated areas of the home such as the garage or a crawl space. Frozen pipes can burst and flood your home causing a lot of damage and costing a lot of money.

7. Drain Outdoor Hoses and Water Lines: Frozen garden hoses can cause an interior pipe to burst. The water that freezes in the hose will expand and this increases the pressure on the entire plumbing system. They need to be drained and disconnected. The faucets they are attached to should be drained as well. Faucet insulators can be installed to help protect them. Don't forget sprinkler lines. They should be blown out to prevent bursting and the need to replace them when summer arrives.

8. Check for Drafts: Under doors and around windows are the number one places you will feel cold air seep in when the weather turns chilly. In addition to making you feel cold, they can add to your heating costs. Caulking and weatherstripping can be used for cracks around windows and door frames to stop the cold air. Placing a rolled up towel in front of your door is one solution if you feel cold air coming from underneath. Since the door is used quite a bit, just tuck it firmly into place when you are in for the night.

9. Sweaters for Winter: A heavy sweater can actually make you feel 4 degrees warmer. Even a light sweater with long sleeves will result in added warmth of 2 degrees. Put on your sweater, turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees and you will still be cozy. A couple of throws on the sofa to snuggle under while watching television can help and save money on heating costs as well.

10. Heating System Upgrade: If your heating system is 10 years old or older you could be spending a lot more than you realize on heating. An old furnace can cost 50% more to keep your home warm than a new more energy-efficiency model. It will at least save you from 15% to 20% which is quite a bit when you consider how high heating costs can be in the winter. Additionally you reduce the risk of it breaking down in the middle of winter. If this happens your home is going to be at risk from the cold temperatures and since this is a busy time of year for repairmen you may have trouble finding someone to install a new one.

How to Easily Identify AC Refrigerant Leaks

An air conditioner refrigerant leak is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a system that is supposed to keep your house cool. Refrigerant is not consumed when you are running it during hot summer months. Instead, the refrigerant gets cycled back and forth as it removes heat from your house. The initial charge when the AC system is installed should last throughout the lifespan of the unit.

However, there are instances when a leak occurs, depriving the system of the vital fluid it needs to operate efficiently. When this occurs, a number of problems can accumulate and eventually causes your air conditioner to break down. Before you and your family get into a hot situation, let’s look at ways to identify refrigerant leaks.

Drops in Refrigerant Output

Your air conditioner cannot remove heat from your house when the refrigerant level is too low. Most leaks start small, so the rate of losing refrigerant from the system is slow. Over time, the output of your air conditioner begins a slow but steady, decline. If you notice a difference in the unit’s performance in keeping your house cool, you might have a leak.

Strange Noises Coming from Air Conditioner

Listen for any strange noises in the unit. This is one of the best ways to determine whether your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant or on the brink of breaking down. Air bubbles can form in the refrigerant line as coolant leaves your air conditioner unit. Some noises make a hissing sound; others sound like bubbling noises whenever the unit is running.

Identify Dirty Spots on Refrigerant Line

It is not unusual for refrigerant to attract dirt, so leaks in the line may appear dirty or oily. Examine the line to detect whether there is a leak. If there appears to be a problem, call a professional to thoroughly inspect the refrigerant line.

Apply the Bubble Method

One of the oldest ways to detect a leak is by using the bubble method. To do this, apply a soap solution to areas where you suspect a leak has occurred with a brush squeeze bottle or dauber. Typically, any escaping refrigerant produces bubbles at the leak points. The only way this method proves ineffective is if it is windy outdoors or a leak is very small.

Use a Corona-Suppression or Heated Diode Detector

Two basic types of electronic detectors can be used to identify AC refrigerant leaks.

The first is the corona-suppression detector. This technology is used to measure varying conductivity of how gases pass between two electrodes. An instrument is used to create a high-voltage spark from one point of the sensor to another point. This is done to establish a baseline between both points.

If there is a drop in the current between these two points, an insulating gas is present a higher concentration is identified when there is a tremendous current drop.

The other electronic method is using heated diode technology. This method involves using a ceramic element to heat the refrigerant to break up molecules. When this occurs, chlorine or fluorine ions are left positively charged, which attracts center collection wire that is negatively charged.

The ions flow to the center collection wire to create a small current. As refrigerant increases, so does the current level to set off an alarm. Generally, this method provides a more accurate detection than the corona-suppression method.

Add Fluorescent Dye to Refrigeration System

The fluorescent leak detection requires the addition of a fluorescent dye into the refrigeration system. This is done for the dye to mix with the lubricant to circulate throughout the air conditioner. If there is a leak, dye will come out with a bright yellow-green color to help you pinpoint where the leak is located. Typically, this also requires scanning the system with a blue light or UV lamp.

Generally, this method may require a contractor who will use an OEM-approved dye compatible with your system’s lubricant. Dyes that contain co-solvents should be avoided. These can have a negative effect on the lubrication makeup of the system’s oil. Destroying these qualities may cause the compressor to fail prematurely.

A blue light or UV lamp that has a high-intensity output is preferred when using the fluorescent leak detection method. Greater light intensity produces a brighter dye glow so you can easily find any leaks.

This detection method also works well as a preventive maintenance technique. Periodic checks of the system is best so small leaks are identified before losing substantial amounts of refrigerant from a larger leak.

Repairing the AC Refrigerant Leak

Repairing a refrigerant leak in your AC unit usually requires hiring a skilled technician. For the DIYers, repairing a refrigerant leak in the air conditioner unit can be inexpensive if all that’s needed is to tighten a fitting or replace a valve core. At the same time, it can be very pricey if it repairs involve replacing the evaporator coil or copper line set.

Whether you try to repair the leak or hire a technician, there are some common sites to watch for leakage. These include:

  • Copper tubing
  • Shipping valves
  • Filter canisters
  • Weld joints
  • Valve cores

As mentioned previously, technicians may use an electronic sniffer to identify AC refrigerant leaks. Bigger leaks typically require using soap bubbles or the black light method.

The black light method requires installing a liquid tracer into the system and let it circulate for a couple of weeks. During this period, the tracer will ooze out slowly from places where there is a leak.

It is common knowledge that refrigerants are very expensive. Time and effort spent to locate leaks, plus repairing AC equipment makes it imperative for preventive maintenance of systems. The best way to begin repairing to select a method that can quickly pinpoint leaks. This will not only keep loss of refrigerant at a minimum, but it will also help you avoid headaches and scorching heat.