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Houston Heater Repair - Prevention and Buyer's Guide

September 17, 2013 | Blog

Yes, we live in South Texas, which means it’s no surprise when AC companies report that about 80% of their workload throughout the year is AC repair. By the time we get to winter, many companies are ready to rest instead of talking about furnace repair.

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. We want the break as much as you want to not pay for heating repairs!

How do I prevent unneeded repairs?

Tune-Ups

The best way to prevent an unneeded heater repair is by scheduling a seasonal tune-up. A trained HVAC technician can give a complete overview of the system while providing solutions to help the unit perform better and prevent bigger issues from occurring in the future . Consider having your system maintained on your own time rather than being caught off-guard by an unexpected breakdown on a cold night.

Change Your Filters

Furthermore, you can easily prevent problems by taking care of your system year round. Change your filters every two to three months, more if you have shedding pets, to avoid restricting airflow and making your system less efficient. This will also cause problems in the future. Paying a few bucks for a new filter every few months is much better for your wallet than a major repair. If you have trouble remembering to change your filter, you can:

  • Set a reminder in your phone
  • Write it in your planner
  • Get a longterm or electronic filter
  • Subscribe to a program that sends you new filters on time

Need a Repair? Stay Informed.

System Overview

Typical HVAC systems contain three major pieces of equipment: two cooling components and a third heating component. 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 summertime, and you may need a furnace repair in the summer from time to time.

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 heat your home you must move air, which requires a fan motor, belts, bearings etc. These may malfunction and need replacing and often need to be ordered specifically from the manufacturer.
  • 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 and limit switch.  Failures in this sequence of parts can sometimes result from dirt/corrosion, calling for parts to be either cleaned or replaced.
  • Control Board: The brains of the furnace.
  • Cracked Heat Exchanger: If these crack, it’s bad news.  Typically this results in changing the furnace entirely. Remember to check for manufacturer warranty if this happens! The heat exchanger warranty is often much longer than the rest of a furnace, so make sure you check with the manufacturer even if the unit is 15 years old.

Mission Air Conditioning and Heater

Heater Replacement Options

Should your heater repair result in replacing your furnace, consider these major variables before you purchase.

Brand

There are countless furnace brands to choose from, as there are countless air conditioning repair companies out there. Many of them are very reliable, with decent manufacturer warranties.  Here are some elements to ponder when considering what brand of unit to buy:

  • Company Reputation: Have you heard of them? Are they a newer or storied company?
  • Manufacturer Warranty: Most have standard five or 10-year coverage, but always check specifics.
  • 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 the most problems. Historically, this includes brands like Nordyne, Goodman, Airwell-Fedders, York, Payne, etc.

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

Efficiency

Furnace efficiency does not come in quite the variety that air conditioners do. Mostly, you will see either 80% or 95% available.

Remember that your heater works in the summer, too. The furnace blower operates during the cooling cycle to help cool your house. If the furnace has a variable speed motor, it can save you more during the summertime (provided it’s matched with the correct cooling equipment).

For more questions, contact Mission AC.

 

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Mission AC has gone above and beyond in assisting us with repairs to the HVAC unit in the house we are renting. Jose C., Jose’s family and Louis M. were wonderful during their visits! We truly appreciate their dedication and hard work.

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