What to Look for in an Air Conditioning Maintenance Plan

April 18th, 2014

It’s that time of year once again: the season to schedule an appointment for maintenance on your air conditioner. In order for your AC to make it through the summer without losing its efficiency or cooling power, it must have a tune-up and inspection from a qualified HVAC professional. With a steady regimen of annual maintenance, an air conditioning system should last up to and even beyond its manufacturer’s estimated lifespan… a great payback on your initial investment.

Although most professional heating and cooling services offer regular maintenance, not all offer a maintenance plan that will deliver you the best tune-ups as well as additional benefits. Before you select a maintenance plan, look over all that it offers and see if it matches this list.

HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions has excellent plans for air conditioning maintenance in Columbus, OH that give you more than just an air conditioning tune-up. Call us today to sign up and start with your spring maintenance.

Criteria for a great maintenance plan:

  • It covers both your air conditioner and your heater. For life in Columbus, we need to have both systems in their best shape possible. A good maintenance plan will look after the air conditioning in spring and the heating in fall.
  • Discounts on repairs. A quality maintenance program will offer at least a 10% discount on any repairs you may need.
  • Priority scheduling. Repair services get busy during the height of the winter and the summer, and you may have a longer wait for repairs during these times. But a maintenance plan should offer you priority status so you can jump to the front of the service list like a real VIP.
  • No overtime charges. You shouldn’t need to worry about paying more if your AC or heater encounters trouble outside of standard working hours.
  • Extended warranties. The company offers warranty coverage on all service parts replaced beyond the warranty from the manufacturer.

Look over the maintenance plans from HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions

We take your comfort seriously, and we want to keep you as a customer year after year. We offer maintenance plans that go beyond expectations: air conditioner and heater service, 20% discount (not 10%!) on repairs, preferred scheduling, no overtime charges, and double parts and labor warranty on all parts replaced. Call our technicians today at HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions to find out more about our air conditioning maintenance in Columbus, OH—then schedule that spring visit!

3 Key Benefits to Air Conditioning Maintenance

April 10th, 2014

Spring is the season of warmer weather, blooming flowers, the leaves returning to trees… and air conditioning maintenance. With summer around the corner and the temperature already rising, keeping your AC in good shape should form an important part of your spring routine. Here are 3 benefits you’ll enjoy from scheduling maintenance every year for your air conditioning system.

Contact HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions to sign up for one of our plans for air conditioning maintenance in Columbus, OH. Our NATE-certified technicians will give your AC the treatment necessary to work its best throughout the summer.

The 3 major benefits of air conditioning maintenance

  • Fewer future repairs: Regular AC maintenance is often called “preventive maintenance” for a good reason: it lessens the stress on the system and prevents the need for many potential repairs. After a technician has made the necessary adjustments, cleanings, and replacements in the system, the air conditioner will operate will far less chance of developing expensive repair needs. Regular maintenance will keep repairs to a bare minimum until near the end of the system’s lifespan.
  • Reduced chance of a breakdown: A maintenance check will catch repairs that, if left untreated, could lead to the system breaking down during the summer. Of the 23 most common malfunctions that will cause an air conditioner to fail, 16 can be detected during routine maintenance. Maintenance also lowers the stress on the system, which will prevent more troubles from cropping up as the AC works throughout the summer. Your chances of getting stranded in the heat with a broken air conditioner waiting for emergency repairs to arrive will be much less with the annual maintenance taken care of.
  • Energy-efficient performance: The average AC works approximately 2,000 hours during the year, most of it in summer. This requires a significant amount of power. If an air conditioner is contaminated with dirt and dust, or has malfunctioning and deteriorating components, it will work far harder: even a 10% drop in efficiency will turn into a large energy waste over only 1,000 hours, and you’ll see the results on your power bills. With thorough maintenance, your air conditioner will work better and save you money all through the year.

At HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions, our maintenance plans not only take care of your air conditioner, they also see to your heater during the fall. You’ll receive extra benefits such as priority scheduling and 20% off repairs. Call us today for the air conditioning maintenance in Columbus, OH you need to save money and stay cool all through summer and beyond.

How to Get the Longest Lifespan from Your Air Conditioning

April 3rd, 2014

Air conditioning manufacturers such as York provide an estimated lifespan for their units. You can find the estimate on the cabinet of the AC in your home. This estimate is not a guarantee;  if you neglect maintenance and repairs your system might not last as long as you’d think.

But let’s look at the positive side: doing as much as you can to almost guarantee your system will live up to its lifespan, and perhaps beyond. We have some tips from our cooling professionals at HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions for ways to keep your system running for many years with minimal need for air conditioning repair in Columbus, OH.

Here’s how to expand your AC’s life:

  • Maintenance! Maintenance! Maintenance! – We can’t emphasize this enough. Your air conditioner requires annual attention from an HVAC professional to make sure it runs effectively and efficiently. During an inspection, the technician will tighten electrical connections, clean dirty parts, make adjustments and calibrations, and check on airflow and refrigerant level. You’ll know about repair needs before they become serious, and your air conditioner will run with the least amount of stress possible.
  • Repairs done on time – Whenever you think you need professional repairs, whether a maintenance technician told you about a potential problem or you noticed strange behavior from the AC, you can’t wait and hope the trouble will vanish on its own. It won’t, and it will likely worsen and cause problems for other parts of the system. The swifter you have repairs done, the healthier your AC will remain.
  • Avoid needless stress to the system – During extremely hot days, you’ll need to have your AC working as much as possible. However, you can reduce your usage during more moderate days with economical use of the thermostat. Keeping the AC running all the time on the same low setting is wasteful. Aim instead to raise the temperature to around 8°F during waking hours (72°–78° is a good target), and if possible shut it off during sleeping hours and open up windows to ventilate the house. Invest in a programmable thermostat so you can have the air conditioning shut off while you’re away from home and have it start to cool down the house before you return. All these methods will relieve stress from the AC’s components and make it age slower.

Sign up for a maintenance program to get started

You can begin stretching out your air conditioner’s lifespan today with a call to HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions. Ask about our different maintenance plans, which will deliver you annual maintenance for your air conditioner and heater. You’ll also benefit from discounts on air conditioning repair in Columbus, OH. Let us help you get the most from your AC this summer and many summers to come.

Getting Your Air Conditioning System Ready for Summer

March 31st, 2014

When summer comes to Columbus, will your air conditioning system be ready? It is important that you take the steps necessary to ensure that your AC is summer ready if you want to make it through the cooling season comfortably. At HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions, the comfort and complete satisfaction of our customers are our top priority. That is why we’d like to share a few simple tips to help you prepare your AC for the challenges that lie ahead. Contact us today with any questions. Do not turn on your AC when the heat arrives, only to discover that it is not able to cool your home effectively.

First of all, it is always a good idea to perform a simple visual inspection of your outdoor air conditioning system components. During the heating season it is possible that tree branches or other debris may have built up around your air conditioning system or even fallen within the unit. If this happens, the airflow to the condenser unit may be compromised or the fan within the unit may not be able to turn freely. In either case, the performance of your air conditioning system will suffer and you may wind up damaging your system by forcing it to operate in such conditions.

You should also take a walk throughout your home to check on your duct registers and returns. When you use a system of ductwork to distribute cooled air throughout your home, you really need to get the best performance possible from that ductwork. Your air ducts will have an easier time circulating conditioned air throughout your house if it is not trying to force that air through a sofa or armchair. Make sure that airflow is not disrupted in your home.

Finally, and most importantly, schedule routine Columbus air conditioning maintenance service with the qualified professionals at HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions. The best way to ensure that every component of your air conditioning system is operating properly for maximum performance and efficiency levels is to have your system inspected and tuned up by a well-trained technician. Contact us today to schedule service. We’ll make sure that your air conditioning system is indeed ready for summer.

The Mercury Sensor and Other Furnace Safety Devices

March 19th, 2014

Many homes in Columbus have a forced-air gas furnace as their heating system. Any system that uses natural gas needs a few safety devices to prevent any potential problems, which includes your furnace. Here’s a brief description of the mercury sensor and other furnace safety devices.

  • Mercury sensor. This is the principle safety device of your furnace. The mercury switch detects if the pilot light or ignition system is turned on, then opens the flow of gas to your furnace. If the ignition isn’t detected, the gas won’t flow. This is vital to the safety of your home because otherwise, the furnace may flood it with unlit gas.
  • Carbon monoxide detector. The burning gas may contain trace amounts of carbon monoxide, which is supposed to be vented through the heat exchange and safely out of your home. If troubles arise with this process, the detector will signal that carbon monoxide is leaking out of the furnace. Every home with a gas burning appliance should also have a CO detector.
  • Emergency shut-off valve. This valve exists in the event of an extreme emergency such as a breach in the gas line or the like. It allows you to safely shut off the heater and stop the flow of gas, allowing you to call a repair technician and handle the problem.

For more information on the mercury sensor and other furnace safety devices, contact the experts at HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions. We offer comprehensive Columbus furnace repair services, and we can discuss the mercury sensor and other furnace safety devices in detail with you. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

Benefits of a Two-Stage Furnace

March 12th, 2014

Furnaces have always come in a variety of models. Today, you not only have a choice of size and fuel source (natural gas, electric, propane), but also a choice of advanced technology systems that include high-efficiency condensing furnaces and two-stage furnaces. We’re going to look at the latter in this post and explain what a two-stage furnace does and the advantages it provides.

HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions can help you with your furnace in Columbus, OH, whether you want to install a two-stage model or if you need repairs and maintenance for the one currently keeping you warm. We’re ready whenever you need us with 24-hour emergency service.

Two-Stage Furnaces

A standard furnace has a blower motor that only runs art one speed. This isn’t something that normally will cause you comfort issues: the fan runs as long as necessary and then stops. It does, however, cause long term wear and tear on your system from continuous stops and starts.

A two-stage furnace, however, has a variable speed motor. The blower can run in low-fire and high-fire modes. During mild cold periods, the motor will run at a low-fire speed that will not send as much air through the ducts or combustion gas through the flue. The thermostat will automatically increase the blower fan to high-fire mode when the temperature becomes cold enough.

There are three main benefits of this system. The first is that your furnace will have a longer lifespan with fewer repairs because the more consistent operation of the fan reduces wear and tear. The second is you will have a reduction in your energy bills: the lower speed performance with fewer starts-ups (which require the most energy of any stage in heating) mean an more energy-efficient system. Third, you can expect superior comfort with a more even temperature in your home that doesn’t swing between extremes.

Two-stage furnaces are usually more expensive to install, although they earn back their extra cost through their energy efficiency. You will need to consult with installation experts to see how effective a two-stage furnace will be for your home and how it fits your budget plans.

HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions can assist your with the installation of your furnace in Columbus, OH, no matter the model or brand you decide on. We’ll always be there for the repairs and maintenance necessary to keep your furnace running for many years.

Potential Problems with Electronic Ignition

March 3rd, 2014

For many decades, the way gas-powered furnaces lit their burners was with standing pilot lights. Although an effective method of starting the heating cycle, using a standing pilot light drains additional power and lowers a furnace’s efficiency. Most contemporary furnaces have an electronic ignition system instead of a pilot light. Electronic igniters either use a spark (intermittent pilot) or a heating element similar to a light bulb filament (hot surface ignition) to turn on the gas jets along the burner.

Although electronic ignition systems are generally more reliable than pilot lights, they can still encounter problems that will require professional heating repair in Columbus, OH to prevent a loss of heating power. HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions is ready to help you any time of the day or night when you have problems with your home’s furnace.

Common electronic ignition issues:

  • Improper handling: You should only let professionals handle electronic igniters. Improper handling can cause oil from your skin to get on the heating elements, which will cause them to crack.
  • Bad wiring or outlets: Electronic igniters can suffer from the same troubles as any electric system; crossed wiring at the junction box or issues with the outlet powering the ignition can cause it to stop working.
  • Integrated circuit board failure: The integrated circuit board monitors the operation of a furnace and controls the electronic ignition. These circuits can fail and prevent the electronic ignition from coming on. Fortunately, LED readouts on your furnace can alert you when this happens and provide a failure code that will help your repair technician find out what is wrong with the circuit board and fix it.
  • Age: The ignition system for a furnace is not expected to last as long as the furnace itself, and age will eventually cause it to break. Igniters tend to last about 3–5 years before they stop working because of cracking.  The best way to prevent this from causing trouble is with yearly maintenance visits from a technician. Maintenance technicians are trained to detect when an ignition system is near to failing and so they can replace the igniter.

Rely on professionals

Working on an electronic ignition system for a gas furnace combines two areas you should never work in without training and the right equipment: electricity and natural gas. HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions has the right kind of professionals for heating repair in Columbus, OH: NATE-certified technicians with training that goes above and beyond to make sure you stay warm and safe with your electronic ignition gas furnace.

Causes of Rust on a Furnace

February 24th, 2014

Since furnaces do not use water as part of their heating cycle, people don’t expect them to develop rust or corrosion. However, furnaces can rust, and when it happens it either indicates a need for repairs or that it’s time to replace the whole unit. We’ll examine why rust occurs on a furnace and what you should do about it.

HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions can help you when rust becomes a problem for your furnace. Whether you need repairs or new furnace installation in Columbus, OH, you can trust to our years of experience and our NATE-certified technicians to bring you quality service.

Why Furnaces Rust:

  • Humidity and moisture: Your furnace may not use water to create heat, but water can still come in contact with it through the return air ducts. During humid weather or after rain, water moisture inside the ventilation system can enter into the furnace and start the chemical reaction with metal that results in rust. This problem will grow worse if your ducts have breaks in them that draw in humid air from other parts of the house. Call for repairs right away when you see rust anywhere on your furnace.
  • Leaking air conditioner: In most HVAC set-ups in homes, the air conditioner unit sits above the furnace so both units can use the same blower. Air conditioners create water condensation, which drains away from a condensate pan. If the drain becomes clogged, the condensate pan will overflow and force water to drip onto the furnace and promote rust. This situation calls for repairs for both the furnace and the air conditioning.
  • Combustion gas reaction: With a gas furnace, the combustion gas in the heat exchanger turns into a liquid vapor as it cools down in the heat cycle. The reaction of this vapor with the metal of furnace can cause rust, although proper ventilation of the exhaust will prevent it. If your furnace has ventilation problems, rust is often a sign of the problem. However, years of combustion gas exposure will eventually cause rust, so if you have a furnace that has been in operation for over 20 years, the appearance of rust usually means you should have new furnace installed.

Repair or Replace?

Always consider the age of your furnace when you debate whether you should have repairs or schedule new furnace installation in Columbus, OH. For younger furnaces that have received regular maintenance, repairs are usually the answer. An older furnace may require replacement. Contact an HVAC professional for an informed opinion on your best course.

Our excellent technicians at HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions are available 24 hours a day when you need emergency service on your furnace. We can also help you select, size, and install an excellent replacement furnace if necessary.

Is It Legal to Attempt to Repair a Furnace Myself?

February 18th, 2014

Whether it’s legal or not to repair appliances connected to natural gas lines is a question people often ask around the country. The answer changes from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Local codes sometimes prohibit non-licensed repairs to any main gas line or appliance connected to it, while others only restrict installation. Other local codes will permit non-licensed individuals to perform repairs, but strongly caution against it.

For Columbus, OH, local codes do not prohibit you from working on your gas furnace, but the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) urges all homeowners to call professionals for this work because of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning as well as explosions.

We agree. From our many years of training and experience working on gas furnaces, we understand how complex repairs can be, and our NATE-certified staff at HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions takes special precautions on every natural gas heating repair in Columbus, OH that they perform to make safety the top priority. The potential trouble from non-professional work on a gas leak ranges from immediate fire and explosive dangers to more insidious slower leaks of carbon monoxide, which can lead to multiple health problems.

What about an electric furnace?

Electric furnaces have no laws restricting non-professional repairs either, nor do they pose the same health risks. However, they still can be dangerous if handled incorrectly: poor wiring can lead to fire hazards. We would never recommend anyone but a trained professional to work with electrical systems.

It’s not just about safety—it’s also about performance

Although the potential dangers of amateur repairs should be enough to warn you away from attempting it and instead call a professional contractor, we need also to point out that untrained repairs are rarely effective and will lead to a furnace, whether gas or electric, performing poorly. A mistaken repair job will often make whatever was wrong with the furnace worse. There’s rarely a good outcome for repairs done to furnaces without the proper training or equipment.

Remember to schedule professional maintenance

In addition to recommending you stay away from repairs to your gas (and electric) furnace, PUCO advises that homeowners “Have appliances that use natural gas inspected by a qualified repair person once a year.” This is one of the best ways to avoid concerns over repairs: keep the furnace in the best working condition possible. With a yearly visit from a professional maintenance technician, you can keep your gas furnace working efficiently and safely.

HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions has the training and experience to handle all your needs for heating repair in Columbus, OH so it is done correctly and without any dangers to you or your family. Call us any time of the day or night for service.

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at HHR Heating & Cooling Solutions hope you have a pleasant February 14th.