You notice the house is feeling cool and you turn up the thermostat. When you hold your hand over the registers, no air flow! Now what? Here are a few things you can check on your own before calling for service, depending on the type of heat you have.
- Do you have power? Check breakers, fuses, and switches at the thermostat.
- Does your digital thermostat have a blank screen? Check to see if it needs new batteries.
- Is your filter dirty? If you say, “What filter?” You better give us a call! Seriously, an extremely dirty filter can cause your furnace to overheat due to lack of air flow and cause safeties to engage, which won’t allow your furnace to operate. As well, if your system uses a flimsy 1″ fiberglass filter and it gets clogged, the blower can actually suck in the filter and make a horrible racket or destroy your blower motor.
- Do you have fuel oil or propane? Yes, we get a few calls a year where tanks were empty. Even with natural gas, if temperatures are sustained in the single digits for very long, gas supply has dwindled whereby the gas flow diminished and safeties kicked in to shut down the furnace so be sure there aren’t problems in your neighborhood with the natural gas supply.
- Are your flues blocked for any reason? We have found flues blocked with ice, snow, heavy spider webs, wasps nests , and even toys and rocks (those grandkids!). If the flue gases can’t be vented, safeties will operate to shut off your furnace.
- For oil furnaces, could your oil filter or nozzle be clogged, or possibly could you have air in the line? Often, when oil is delivered, any sediment in the tank is agitated and can be drawn into the oil line and then clog the nozzle and filter or, when the last bit of oil was used, air was drawn into the line and it now needs bled.
- Is your outdoor heat pump making an odd noise or steaming? If steaming, it could just be in defrost cycle and you have simply not previously witnessed it. It can look like it is ready to take off like a rocket! But, that is normal if it discontinues after several minutes. If making an odd noise, ice could be building up on the fan blades if freezing rain is falling or you have a gutter dripping onto your unit and the water is then freezing on the blades. Simply pour a bucket or two of warm (not boiling) water over the fan blade area to free them of ice. Hopefully they haven’t cracked and you will be then be noise free but don’t forget to fix the gutter!
Maybe these suggestions will save you money in the future and get you up and running quickly; however, if you can’t safely perform these minor repairs or they don’t get you fixed, please don’t hesitate to call.
I just wanted to share our experience with a home warranty company so that you, the home owner, might look deeply into the fine print before purchasing one, or, if you buy a new house, understand what a home warranty might or might not cover.
First, some home warranty companies say you have to pay the first so many dollars. In this example, it was $75. Then the next $300 of approved repairs are covered. However, some items which were not covered are very common. For instance, this company would not pay for refrigerant to charge a system nor the cost to find and repair the leak. On an older R-22 system, this can be quite costly. They also would not pay for anything termed “maintenance” such as finding a dirty filter which wouldn’t let air flow and may have caused the indoor coil to clog. They also would not pay for anything that was deficient in the original installation such as not enough, improperly installed, or collapsed ductwork.
When a unit is unable to be repaired, sometimes the warranty company will just refund the cost of the warranty and the homeowner is still left with the total financial responsibility of the installation of the new equipment. At other times, they have an unprofessional crew come in whom you have never heard of nor will hear of again. Are they insured, drug tested, back ground checked, licensed?
Please read the fine print before purchasing a home warranty. If you bought a home with one, don’t assume all your break downs are covered no matter the problem Read and understand it. We have decided not to work with any home warranty companies at this time because we are often the one who gets to explain exactly what the policy says and the property owner is upset with us because we have to abide by the warranty companies’ policies. Often people think, “I have a home warranty. I am covered.” Not necessarily.
If you have had a good experience with a home warranty company, great! Just be sure you know what you own or what you are buying.
From a recent article on NPR:
While a shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in the skilled trades, the financial return from a bachelor’s degree is softening, even as the price — and the average debt into which it plunges students — keeps going up.
But high school graduates have been so effectively encouraged to get a bachelor’s that high-paid jobs requiring shorter and less expensive training are going unfilled. This affects those students and also poses a real threat to the economy.
Seventy-percent of construction companies nationwide are having trouble finding qualified workers, according to the Associated General Contractors of America; in Washington, the proportion is 80 percent.
There are already more trade jobs like carpentry, electrical, plumbing, sheet-metal work and pipe-fitting than Washingtonians to fill them, the state auditor reports. Many pay more than the state’s average annual wage of $54,000.
Read the full article on npr.org.
This time of year can be challenging for your heating system so here are some tips to keep it running and prevent an emergency service call.
- If you have a high efficiency gas furnace, make sure your plastic flues are free of ice and snow. If they get blocked, your furnaces safety controls will prevent it from running.
- In the case of a heat pump, freezing rain or a drippy gutter can overcome your outdoor unit with ice. If ice builds up on your heat pump condenser fan, it can be out of balance and cause the blades to crack. Should you experience this, just pour warm (not boiling) water over the fan area to melt the ice.
- Some digital thermostats take batteries, so if you have a blank screen check to see if your batteries need changed.
- If you have an oil furnace, and moisture has entered your fuel oil system, and the temperature drops far enough, that moisture will freeze and block the flow of oil. Be sure your fill cap is in place and tight and that your gauge glass isn’t cracked. Those are the two most common places water enters a system. As well, you are better off to keep your tank full in the summer so that the tank doesn’t condensate, which causes rust, which flakes off and can also block your fuel line, filter, and/or nozzle. When you have oil delivered it often stirs up sediment and can clog the oil line filter and nozzle so have extra on hand.
- Ensure all inside drains are not blocked by mold. This can cause water to run into your furnace or your safety may engage to shut down your system . Flush with a bleach/water solution.
- Check your air filters. Keeping them changed or cleaned goes a long way toward preventing overload of components.
- Power fluctuations often occur during extreme weather so check fuses and breakers to make sure they haven’t blown or been tripped.
- If you have the old type standing pilot furnace, make sure to have an extra thermocouple on hand.
- Since oil and gas has hit the area, many people have free or reduced priced gas from wells on their property. These well supplied systems can also freeze, so check to be sure that hasn’t happened before assuming you have a furnace problem.
- Have a secondary source of heat available whether that be an electric heater, kerosene heater, or vented or unvented natural or propane gas heater. Follow manufacturer safety instructions for their use. They won’t heat your entire house but may prevent water lines from freezing.
Hopefully these tips will be helpful in resolving or preventing simple issues and thereby save you money.
Did you know your home heating and air conditioning system operates approximately 3,300 hours per year?
To put this run time in perspective, a car driven for the same 3,300 hours at 65 miles per hour would travel over 214,000 miles! Would you travel that far without having routine maintenance to assure the efficiency, safety, and reliability of the vehicle?
Is your home or business air conditioning system tuned up and ready for the coming season?
Make a comfortable decision. Call Rumer-Loudin, with offices in St. Clairsville and Barnesville, to schedule a central air conditioner check up.
You can view our maintenance checklist and see what is done during your checkup.
A maintenance agreement is available for two checks per year, one for the heating season and one for the cooling, or we can just check your air conditioner.
Remember the old adage, and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Have you been nursing your old air conditioner along? Maybe adding refrigerant every year or two because you have a refrigerant leak? You may want to finally replace it and here’s why.
In 1987 the US signed the Montreal Protocol, which calls for the phase out of R-22 refrigerant by the year 2020. If your air conditioner was installed in 2010 or earlier, this is probably the type of refrigerant in your system. As the year 2020 approaches, the price of R-22 refrigerant will sky rocket. Already it has more than doubled over the last year.
There is something called a drop-in refrigerant to replace R-22; however, it can reduce your cooling capacity about 3 to 5%.
Newer systems use a much less expensive refrigerant called 410A. As well, new systems usually have at least a 10 year parts and warranty and are more efficient.
Rumer-Loudin offers financing applied for via our website. For a free estimate on a new cooling system, call the Barnesville (740-425-3134) or St. Clairsville (740-695-2487) office, or contact us using our website.
Rumer-Loudin, Inc., is excited to announce that we will be expanding our customer’s choices with the addition of Napoleon Heating and Cooling products.
Headquartered in Barrie, Ontario, Napoleon has been named one of Canada’s Best Manged Companies and has operations in both Barrie, Ontario and Crittenden, Kentucky. Despite being a multi-national company, Napoleon is not a huge conglomerate who is out of touch with their customers and dealers; their founder, Wolfgang Schroeter, is still very much involved within the company, which now employs the second generation of the family.
Napoleon provides excellent warranties for their product, however their track records show that these are not often needed. They have innovative patents across all of their product divisions, which include a line of wood / hybrid line and some models so attractive you could put them in your kitchen.
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us by calling at our St. Clairsville office (740-695-2487), our Barnesville office (740-425-3134), or by contacting us here on our website.
“It took a great deal of planning, research and decision-making to reach a determination on the best approach to returning heat and providing cooling to a house that had never had a central climate control system,” says Nila Chaddock, board chair of the Cockayne Historic Preservation Committee. “It was very important that we have a vendor with excellent credentials to install the geothermal system. It was the experience and reputation of Rumer-Loudin that made the decision for us.”
Ohio-based mechanical contractor Rumer-Loudin — which is run by the husband-and-wife team of Sid Loudin, president, and Kellie Loudin, vice president — worked on several aspects of the project, including the installation of the air ducts, geothermal system and steam humidifier. Sid Loudin was the estimator on the project, as well as liaison between Cockayne and general contractor Centennial Preservation Group of Columbus.
The full article can be found on Plumbing and Mechanical Magazine’s Website.
We told you previously about upgrading the Cockayne Farmstead with geothermal technology. Now, the Farmstead and Rumer-Loudin, Inc., have been featured in Green Builder Magazine:
General contractor Centennial Preservation Group chose Rumer-Loudin, Inc. to install the geothermal system. Based in Barnsville, Ohio, the company installed some of the first geothermal systems in the region in the 1990s, and has installed some 400 systems in the tri-state area to date, says Sid Loudin, the company’s owner.
“We had to be careful not to destroy any parts of the house, and we didn’t want any exposed ductwork,” says Loudin. He came up with a unique solution to distribute conditioned air, running flexible stainless steel ducting through several of the fireplace chimneys. The chases end just before coming into view.
The full article can be read on the Green Builder Magazine website.
Cockayne Farmstead, originally named Glen Dale Farm, located in Glen Dale, West Virginia, was originally an internationally prominent American Merino sheep farm covering over 300 acres in the 1870’s. When the reclusive final heir, Samuel A. J. Cockayne, passed away in 2001, he left his home and contents to the city of Glen Dale. The Marshall County Historical Society and The Town of Glen Dale set about to preserve the farmstead.
The Cockayne Farmstead Preservation Committee was formed and one of the first things they did was make application for the Farmstead to be placed on the National Registry of Historic Places, which occurred in December of 2002. They developed a master plan, conducted an archeology survey, and began preserving the exterior of the home using various grants and donations. That phase was completed on November 3, 2009.
When preservation of the interior began, one of the first tasks was to log, tag, and remove over 1500 items accumulated over three centuries such as art, glassware, furniture, and correspondence. When the interior work was completed and the items returned for display, their preservation as well as that of the home was of utmost importance and climate control with energy conscientiousness was a primary factor.
Original “green” technology for the home included strategically placed windows, attic dormers and doors for ventilation and light, fireplaces in every room, and a wrap-around porch. Current “green” technology was going to be a bit more sophisticated with a remotely monitored and controlled temperature and humidity system , a geothermal heat pump and steam humidifier. All of this new technology needed to be installed with little structural impact.
For the geothermal heat pump portion of the project, Rumer-Loudin, Inc. was chosen because of their 24 years of experience installing geothermal systems in residential and commercial properties. As well, due to the property’s proximity to the Ohio River, Sid Loudin, President, knew there would be challenges drilling the wells. During a commercial geothermal installation on the Ohio side of the river, ancient riverbed was encountered, consisting of primarily gravel until bedrock was struck. The gravel keeps falling in and filling the holes so Sid knew the driller had to be able to case the wells until gravel was no longer an issue. Dillan Drilling from Darlington, PA, a West Virginia licensed driller, was chosen to complete that portion of the loop installation. Because dirt was being disturbed at an historic site with an Indian burial mound nearby, an archaeologist had to be available to examine any artifacts which may have been unearthed.
Another challenge was how to configure the loop. Over the years, the farmstead had been reduced to the home plus 1/2 acre of ground. To accommodate the linear footage necessary for the 6 ton loop, four 320 foot wells were drilled rather than fewer and more shallow wells.
To move air without disturbing walls with duct installation, the fireplace chimneys were used as chaseways and lined with stainless flex pipe. Insulated ductwork was installed in the attic. The geothermal compressor bearing unit was accommodated by a second floor bathroom, but the pumps to circulate the loop water were installed in the cellar. The brand and model used was a Bosch 6 ton 2-stage model TA071 with a high pressure Bosch flow center model 7738. The system went into operation in October of 2013.
The architect was Heritage Architectural Associates. The general contractor was Centennial Preservation Group. The control system was installed by Quantum Controls Group. 2Funding for the interior preservation, including climate control, came from a federal Transportation Enhancement grant and through a Cultural Facilities Capital Resources Grant awarded by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts as well as donations from many citizens and businesses.
Why preserve such a place? As the Farmstead website states, “The house and contents are a living museum, representative of the lifestyles, values and work ethic of those Americans who helped to build this State and this Nation.” Read more about this project on the The Intelligencer/Wheeling News Register website.