Archive for the ‘Heating’ Category

Common Furnace Safety Malfunctions

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Gas-powered furnaces have a bit of an unfortunate and unfair reputation as dangerous heating systems. Furnaces did once present numerous hazards, but that was decades ago. Current furnaces come equipped with numerous safety precautions to make them as benign as possible. As long as you maintain your furnace with yearly professional check-ups and prompt repairs, it should pose little danger to you or your family. However, malfunctions can still occur, and you should be aware of what can go wrong.

General Air Conditioning has put together a list of the more common malfunctions that can occur with a furnace that might make it unsafe. Whether it’s an emergency or not, General Air Conditioning can handle all your needs for heating repair in San Antonio, TX.

  • Thermocouple failure: The thermocouple is a device used to detect if the pilot light of a gas furnace is burning. A simple device made of two different pieces of metal joined at one end that increase in voltage as the heat around them rises. Should the pilot light go out, the voltage in the thermocouple will cease, which in turn will shut off the gas valve. This prevents unburned gas from flooding the combustion chamber and creating an explosive hazard. If a thermocouple fails, an HVAC professional will need to replace it to make sure it’s the right type and that it goes in correctly.
  • Cracked heat exchanger: Heat exchangers are metal chambers where the temperature from the combustion gas transfers to the air that blows from the furnace. If corrosion weakens a heat exchanger, it could cause cracks to appear, which will allow exhaust gas to escape: toxic carbon monoxide. Heat exchanger cracks need repairs immediately before more carbon monoxide can get out of the furnace cabinet.
  • Loose front panel door: You should never operate a furnace without its front-panel door securely in place, as this can allow carbon monoxide leaks. This panel can become loose without you knowing it. Many modern furnaces have a special safety switch that will automatically prevent operation if the panel comes loose. If this switch also malfunctions, or if you have an older furnace without this safety precaution, have repairs done immediately.

It’s a smart idea to have carbon monoxide detectors in your house—the gas is colorless and odorless, so it is difficult for humans to detect—that will inform you if there is a leak coming from the furnace. When this happens, shut off the gas to the house and call in an HVAC technician to see what malfunction in the furnace has caused the problem.

Stay safe with help from professionals; don’t try to investigate or fix furnace safety problems on your own. Call General Air Conditioning when you need experienced technicians who will put your safety first. We take pride in our history of heating repair in San Antonio, TX.

Why You Should Replace Your Heater Even If It’s Still Working Well

Monday, November 18th, 2013

It seems like a waste of money to consider a heating replacement when your current heater appears to be doing an effective job of keeping you warm. In a climate like that of San Antonio, TX though, a replacing your heater won’t often seem like much of a priority because heaters only receive a short season of work.

However, there are some good reasons to consider getting a new heater, even if there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with your current one. We’ll go over a few of those reasons here. If you need technicians to come to your house and look over your current heater and then offer recommendations, turn to General Air Conditioning. Since 1997, we’ve served San Antonio with quality home comfort.

Reasons to consider having your working heater replaced

  • Take advantage of recent advances in heating: Although your current heater may work well, you might be missing out on a higher level of comfort and energy efficiency that a more advanced heater can provide. For example, the newer heat pumps are effective at both heating and air conditioning, solving two problems at once. Zone control systems give you greater control over different regions in your home. Ask an HVAC contractor what new systems can provide that your current one cannot.
  • Your heater is very old: No heating system will last forever, and if you have a heater in your home that has reached or exceeded its expected service life time, then you may want to send it out to pasture before it begins developing malfunctions or breaks down abruptly. If it reaches a ripe old age, then you’ve already gotten more than your money’s worth from it.
  • Your heating bills are higher than before: Your heater “working well” may partially be an illusion. The heating system might can deliver you the level of warmth you want, but at the cost of working harder. If your heating bills have risen sharply and remained at this new elevated level month after month, then your heater could be signaling that it needs replacement.
  • Switch to a different fuel source: If you are thinking of changing over from using oil, propane, or even natural gas in your home, then you will have to consider getting a new heating system to match with your new fuel source.

Don’t make a move yet without the help of professionals!

It is wise to consult with HVAC technicians regarding replacing your heater in San Antonio, TX. The professionals at General Air Conditioning can tell if you will benefit from a new heater, or if your older one will continue to hold up with regular preventive maintenance. You can trust us to give you an honest answer that will benefit you and your home.

Signs Your Furnace Needs to be Replaced

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Your furnace is a key part of your household, and if properly maintained can give you years of reliable service.  Sooner or later, however, every appliance needs to be replaced, and you will eventually face the prospect of removing your old furnace and putting in a new one.  In Helotes TX, heating replacement services can go over your options with you, taking into account our local Texas conditions as well as the particulars of your house. Before you can call a technician, however, you need to make the tough decision to retire your old furnace, and it helps to know when that might be.

Here are a few signs your furnace needs to be replaced.

  • Higher bills. Slowly creeping bills mean that the wear and tear on your system is increasing and that parts are wearing out. This includes not only repair bills – which might become too frequent for you to want to deal with – but also monthly energy bills, which go up as the system has to work harder and harder. If you find yourself facing large monthly bills, even though you’re not using the furnace any more than normal, you may be facing the prospect of a replacement.
  • Inadequate functioning. Going hand-in-hand with higher costs is the fact that your furnace just isn’t doing the job. It may be breaking down quite often, it may be struggling to move air sufficiently, or it may not be generating the level of warmth that you need. In some cases, the issue can be fixed by replacing a single part, but if it persists, the replacement may be in order.
  • The furnace is old. This isn’t a make-or-break proposition all on its own, and some furnaces can last for quite a while before needing replacing.  But if an older furnace starts to suffer from some of the symptoms listed above – particularly one that is ten years old or more – it may be a sign that your furnace needs to be replaced.

Helotes, TX heating replacement services are provided by the trained experts at General Air Conditioning. If you spot signs your furnace needs to be replaced, pick up the phone and call us for a consultation immediately.

Common Winter Heating Problems to Watch For

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

When dealing with winter heating problems in San Antonio, you don’t need to worry about snow or extremely cold temperatures. But just because we enjoy a warm climate throughout much of the year and experience mild, short winters (dropping into the 40s at night is the average “worst” temperature we’ll probably experience), we still need to have reliable heaters in our home for comfort during those cooler stretches. And because we aren’t as used to dealing with trouble from heating as we are from air conditioning, it’s easy to let problems slip past us… until they turn into emergencies.

We’ve put together a short list of common problems you may encounter this winter with your heater. If you require heating repair in San Antonio, TX, contact General Air Conditioning and trust our 15 years of experience providing high quality home comfort.

Insufficient insulation

The insulation in the walls and ceilings of our home form a thermal barrier: it keeps heat outdoors during the summer, and traps heat indoors during the winter. If your home has poor insulation, heat will escape almost as fast as your heater can produce it, and you’ll discover cold rooms throughout your home. Your heater will start to overwork and soon require repairs. Make sure that you have good insulation in your walls and especially in the attic (the place where heat finds the easiest place to get out) before winter arrives.

Struggling heat pump

Heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling, but in extremely cold weather they can experience trouble with heating, since they must move ambient heat from outdoors. However, this problem usually only occurs at temperatures below freezing, and San Antonio rarely experiences this. So if you find your heat pump struggling to get you warm, it probably indicates a refrigerant leak, or troubles in the compressor that takes care of the heating process. Call in a professional to find out what is ailing your heat pump.

Poor air flow

Furnaces and heat pumps use forced air to send heat around your home. During the winter, you might start to experience a decrease in the air flow coming from the vents. The usual culprit for this is a clogged air filter. If you didn’t change the air filter after the summer cooling season, it will probably have too much dirt and dust trapped in it to allow for a steady air flow. Change the filter (and remember to change it every month for the rest of the season) and have a technician inspect your heater to see if it has sustained any damage from the excess debris.

When you need repairs, don’t leave the work to inexperienced technicians or amateurs. Hire professionals, like those at General Air Conditioning. We can take care of your San heating repairs so you’ll have a warm, pleasant winter ahead.

Why Get Heating Maintenance this Fall

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

Heating in San Antonio TX is a seasonal thing. We don’t use our heaters much in the summertime, when temperatures are warm, but winter nights can get pretty chilly. A good heater can make the difference between a warm, cozy night at home and an uncomfortable evening wrapped up in blankets. That’s why it pays to keep your heater properly serviced and maintained. A maintenance session entails a thorough cleaning, tightening any loose parts and generally sprucing up the unit so that it functions at maximum efficiency. That helps reduce the risk of a more serious breakdown later on.  The fall makes an excellent time to plan for maintenance. Why get heating maintenance in the fall? The answers are elementary.

We don’t see much call for heating here in the summer time, which means your heating system likely sits idle for months at a time. When you’re ready to use it again, it’s probably accrued a great deal of dust and dirt, which creates friction in the system and increases overall strain. Similarly, bolts and other small components may have come loose last winter, but haven’t been dealt with since the heater hasn’t been used. Unless you address those issues, you’ll increase the chances of a more serious repair in the near future.

The fall makes a good time to deal with that not only because it reduces the risk of a breakdown just when you need the heater the most, but it gives the technician time and flexibility to do what he needs to do. It also leaves the heater in tip-top shape before it’s needed on a daily basis, which lowers your monthly bills in addition to adding a little insurance against a larger repair bill.

Why get heating maintenance this fall? Basically because it’s close enough to winter to matter, but not so close as to inconvenience you when you need it. The good people at General Air Conditioning are standing by to help you out. We handle all matters related to heating service in San Antonio TX and can schedule a fall maintenance session to keep your furnace running the way it should. Pick up the phone and call us today.

3 Ton XL15 I-Trane Air Conditioning System Installation

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Check out this beautiful new 3 Ton XL15 I-Trane Air Conditioning system we installed for one of our residential customers. As the video describes, we replaced the disconnect box along with the breaker inside, wiring whips to protect against animals chewing, insulation on the line, along with a new slab and gravel for a nice finish. The system has a 10 year parts and labor warranty and includes 2 regular maintenance visits in the first year after installation – once in the winter for heating and once in the summer for cooling.

Give us a call or request an estimate online for a new system today!

Why Consider a San Antonio, TX Ductless Mini Split Installation?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Heating and air conditioning costs can quickly spiral out of control if you are relying on an old, inefficient home comfort system. With the installation of a new air conditioning and heating system you can enjoy greater, more consistent comfort at a reduced cost. If you are in the market for a new air conditioning and heating system, contact the ductless mini split installation experts at General Air Conditioning. You may not be familiar with ductless mini split air conditioning and heating systems or their many benefits, but you may be interested in learning about how they can improve comfort and efficiency in your home.

Unlike traditional air conditioning and heating systems, a San Antonio, TX ductless mini split installation allows you to heat and cool your home without the use of bulky ductwork. If your existing home does not already have the requisite ductwork for a forced air heating and air conditioning system then a ductless mini split system may be the right choice for you.

An outdoor unit is connected to individual, wall mounted blowers within your home by a simple conduit containing refrigerant and power lines. These individual blowers heat and cool rooms directly. This eliminates the risk of energy loss that is commonly associated with air duct systems. It also makes utilizing zone controlled heating and air conditioning simple, allowing you to heat and cool different areas of your home to different temperatures.

Ductless mini splits are also a great option for homes under construction. Even at this stage of development, the installation of air ducts can be quite costly and inconvenient. Plus, the need for future repairs and duct sealing service will be eliminated with the utilization of a ductless mini split system. Why not skip the ductwork all together and heat and cool the rooms in your home more directly?

If you are interested in learning more about a San Antonio, TX ductless mini split system installation, call General Air Conditioning today. Our expert technicians can answer any questions that you may have. Let us handle your ductless mini split installation to make your home more comfortable more efficiently.

San Antonio Heating Tip: Benefits of a Heat Pump Tune-Up

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Even in a dry and hot climate like the one in San Antonio, having a working heat pump system that heats your home efficiently is important to many homeowners. During the summer, you may run your air conditioning system almost every day. But your heat pump system is just as important in the winter. If it breaks down, you don’t want to be left without it for very long.

One of the best ways to prevent repairs and generally take care of your heat pump is to get it inspected and tuned-up on a regular basis. That’s why at General Air Conditioning, we recommend that you have your heat pump tuned at least once a year. There are a number of benefits to heat pump tune-ups. Here are a few of them.

  • Less Repairs – When you schedule a tune-up for your heat pump, one of our expert San Antonio heating technicians will thoroughly inspect the equipment, and they will be able to detect any small problems and repair them as needed. This prevents those small issues from developing into larger, more costly repairs.
  • Increased Efficiency – Over time and with extensive use, your heat pump may begin to wear down. Some of the components may not work as well as they get dirty or start to deteriorate. But when you schedule routine tune-ups for your heating system, the technician is able to clean out any debris, replace worn out parts and lubricate moving parts. All of these things contribute to a potential increase in efficiency.
  • Extended equipment life – Many of the heat pumps that we replace for our customers were destroyed by a small problem that went unresolved for a long period of time. With regular tune-ups, those small problems will be detected and repaired. This can potentially extend the life of your heat pump system.

If you would like to know more about the benefits of a heat pump maintenance in San Antonio, call the heating professionals at General Air Conditioning any time. We can also schedule your next service if it is time for your annual tune-up. Contact General Air Conditioning today!

Common Heating Repairs in San Antonio

Monday, January 21st, 2013

None of us enjoy having to repair the components of our home. At General Air Conditioning, we have been providing heating repairs in San Antonio for many years. We get heating repair calls for all different types of heating systems and we thought it would be helpful if we put together a short list of some of the most common repairs that we see. If your heating system isn’t working, it’s always best to call your local San Antonio heating contractor. Some problems can be indications of much larger and more dangerous issues.

The Air Filter

If you have a forced air heating system like a furnace or a heat pump, you should always try to remember to change the air filter regularly. The air filter is, by far, the most common culprit of heating repairs in San Antonio, TX. The air filter is often located near the return air duct for your heating system. It keeps dirt and dust from getting inside your heating system. But without regular changing it can get clogged and restrict the flow of air into your heating system. This can cause a bunch of nasty problems including low heat, no heat, overheating, short cycling, heat exchanger cracks and much more.

Strange Heating System Noises in San Antonio, TX

Another common heating repair call that we get is for homes whose heating system is making a strange noise. Here are some of the most common heating system noises in San Antonio.

  • Squealing – This is most common with forced-air systems like heat pumps and furnaces. Normally, this is caused by a fan motor or fab belt that is worn out. This fix is easy and can almost always be done in very little time.
  • Rumbling – If you have an oil boiler, rumbling can indicate unburned fuel left over in the combustion chamber. In furnaces, rumbling can be from the ducts expanding at the hot air or it can be a dirty burner.
  • Rattling – This is one of the most dangerous problems. It can sometimes be caused by a cracked heat exchanger which might mean that carbon monoxide is leaking into your home’s air supply. The heat exchanger is responsible for exhausting all of the harmful and toxic combustion gases.

No Heat or Not Enough Heat in San Antonio, TX

Finally, this is another common heating repair that we do in San Antonio, TX. If your heating system isn’t putting out any heat, it could be caused by a faulty thermostat. It could also be that the pilot is out or that the thermocouple has mistakenly shut off the flow of gas into your furnace or boiler.

If you need any kind of heating repairs in San Antonio, contact General Air Conditioning today!

San Antonio Heating Tip: Getting Year Heater Ready for the Winter

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Even though Texas isn’t really a state that is known for its harsh winters, there are a few months when a good heater is critical. When you need your heater, you want to know that it will work. There are a few things that you can do in order to make sure that the heater at your home in San Antonio is ready to keep you comfortable. At General Air Conditioning, we specialize in making sure that each and every one of our customers is comfortable all year round. If you need any kind of heating services in San Antonio, make sure that you contact General Air Conditioning. We thought that it would be a great idea to put together some of the basic tasks that you can do to make sure your heating system is ready to work.

Regular Heating Maintenance in San Antonio

Probably the best thing you can do to make sure that your heating system is ready for the winter is to get regular maintenance for it. We all know that regular maintenance for our cars is great, but few people actually do it for their heating system. One of the main benefits of regular heating maintenance in San Antonio is that your heating technician will be able to detect small problems before they turn into larger ones. This has the potential to reduce repair costs, increase efficiency and extend the life of your heating system.

Change Air Filter

One of the most common causes of heating problems is one of the easiest to fix: the air filter. Most furnaces and heat pumps have an air filter that sits at the return air duct. If it isn’t changed regularly it can clog with dirt and dust and cause a bunch of problems including overheating, short cycling, low air flow and more.

Check Attic Insulation

Another good thing to do is to inspect the insulation in your attic. The quality of insulation in your attic is critical to your comfort and to the energy efficiency of your home. If the insulation in your attic is old, thin or rotted, you could be losing valuable heat into your attic. Making sure that the insulation in your home’s attic is a great idea before the heating season.

If you’re interested in scheduling heating maintenance in San Antonio, call General Air Conditioning today. We have experienced and trained technicians who have worked on many different types and brands of heating systems throughout the San Antonio area. Call us today!