Houston Heater Repair - Prevention and Buyer's Guide

INTRO - Houston Heater Repair Prevention and Buyer's Guide

Yes we live in South Texas and most of the time companies like my own (Mission Air Conditioning) talk about ac repair (houston) which should be no surprise since HVAC companies in our great state of Texas spend something like ~80% of their workload through the year on air conditioning repair (houston).  By the time we get to heating season(winter) many companies are ready to rest instead of talking about furnace repair.

When the oppressive summer finally ends there is great joy ahead of us as we are met with such amazing winters.  Anyone want to join me in Chicago or Minneapolis on January 5th? Thought not.  Currently, we are in the middle of September with "winter" or as I like to call it "almost summer" or "late summer" is approaching.  Though our winters may be a brief relief from the heat we should still prepare ourselves and prevent unneeded expenses that might occur from October to March in our homes.

How do I prevent unneaded repairs?

Prepare yourself and prevent an unneaded heater repair (houston) by scheduling a bi-annual or seasonal tune-up.  Trained HVAC technicians can give a complete overview of the system while providing solutions to help the unit perform better and/or prevent bigger issues from occuring in your heater later on.  Consider having your system maintained on your own time rather than being freezing in the middle of the night without heat then having to take time off of work to have the problem fixed.

Further, would you go without taking your car to get the oil changed every 3-5k miles?  Then make sure you change your filters and call a qualified technician to help prevent needing a heater repair (houston).

Tune up and Change Filters Regularly

Clogged Filters - Be sure and change those badboys. Don't pay hundreds or thousands on your HVAC system for not regularly changing a $5-$10 filter.  If you can't break this habit consider buying a long term filter or electronic one.  Otherwise get with the program.  There are also programs out there that operate like 'dollar-shave-club' that once you sign up it brainlessly sends you the correct size filters every month.  OR you could go to the store and buy 6 filters at a time.  Install one and leave the rest in the hallway closet.  This is better than buying one at a time once every few months.  If you let the filter overfill it will restrict airflow and make your system work harder than it should. Don't worry about getting fancy disposable filters.  Typically cheaper ones work just fine and restrict less.     

NEED A REPAIR?  BE INFORMED.

SYSTEM OVERVIEW

Typical HVAC (Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning) systems contains three major pieces of equipment.  2 of these are primarily cooling related while the furnace or heater is the 3rd.  For more basic understanding go to our post on HVAC system being like the human body.

The primary function of the heater is to move air through the home and the secondary function is to provide heat to the house.  Yes, your furnace or heater does work in the summer time and from time to time you need a furnace repair in the summer.   

Common Houston Heater Repair items

Thermostat - If a thermostat malfunctions, this typically results in poor communication to the furnace (and possibly the condenser).  Though nothing may be wrong with the furnace the miscommunication can cause the home to be cooler than you desire.

Airflow - to move air you have a fan motor, belts, bearings etc that may malfunction and need replacing.  To heat (or cool) the home air needs to move.  Often times these will have to be purchased specifically from the manufacturer to ensure a perfect match.  

Pilot (ignitor) problems - In a gas furnace, which is average in Houston, the gas needs to be safely lit and regulated.  There are multiple parts involved in this process including the thermocouple, gas valve, limit switch etc.  Failures in this sequence of parts can sometimes revolve around from dirt/corrosion calling for parts to be either cleaned or replaced. - In an electric system heat strips are utilized in lue of gas.

Control Board - The brains of the furnace.  

Cracked Heat Exchanger - If these crack, its bad news.  Typically this results in changing the furnace entirely.   CHECK FOR MANUFACTURER WARRANTY. Often times the heat exchanger warranty is much longer than the rest of a furnace so make sure you check with the manufacturer even if the unit is 15 years old.  They may help you out.  

Should you're Houston Heater Repair result in replacing your furnace then consider these major variables before you purchase.

furnace diagram - Mission Air Conditioning and Heater

furnace diagram - Mission Air Conditioning and Heater

OPTIONS

Brand - There are countless furnace brands to choose from as there are countless air conditioning repair companies out there.  Many of which are very reliable with decent wanufacturer warranty.  Here are some elements to ponder when considering what brand of unit to buy.

Company Reputation - have you heard of them?  Are they newer or a storied company?

Manufacturer Warranty - Most have standard 5 or 10 year coverage but always check specifics.  Some can be longer or shorter.

Price - Be very careful with low price manufacturers.  Our experience is that manufacturers competing to have the cheapest equipment typically have the lowest quality and most problems.  Historically this includes brands like: Nordyne, Goodman(they are trying to get better), Airwell-Fedders, York, Payne etc.  Buyer beware.

The most well known brands include: Trane, Carrier, American Standard, Rheem, Ruud, Bryant. 

Consumer Reports in the last few years has had some difficulty rating central air conditioners.  They had previously stated that Brands like Trane and Ruud were amung the top rating for lowest repairs needed when compared to other brands.  Consumer Reports has since backed off on these ratings citing that they do not have enough proper data to make a full claim on the subject.

Efficiency - Furnaces efficiencies do not come in quite the variety as air conditioners.  Mostly, you will see either 80% or 95% available.  

Single or Variable(multi) Speed - Remember your HEATER WORKS IN THE SUMMER TIME TOO.  The furnace blower operate during the cooling cycle to help cool your house.  If the furnace has a variable speed motor it can save you more during the summer time if matched with the correct cooling equipment.  

For more questions call Mission Air Conditioning.