Air conditioner

The Cost of Repairs-Common Services and Emergencies

Homeowners on the Front Range know what they’re up against in the winter months, and are often proactive about scheduling maintenance and fixing issues before they turn into costly problems. But common services do occur, especially in the fall that could end up costing more than most bargained for.

Here are some related costs and tips to avoid these common pressing HVAC needs:

A Home Serve study in 2015 showed that a quarter of households have no saving set aside for home heating and air conditioning system repairs or replacements. At Bauer Mechanical, we want to assure you’re able to feel safe and comfortable during the heating season while also being able to afford services we provide.

Some of the most common problems we at Bauer Mechanical deal with during service calls are cleaning and replacing dirty vent systems and air filters, repairing or replacing ignition and pilot lights, diagnosing and repairing generalized system decline and wear, and changing or reprogramming a thermostat that’s not performing.

There are multiple things you can do to avoid these simple services from becoming full-on replacements (at least premature ones), and the first is to actually schedule maintenance inspections and walkthroughs annually. It’s better to spend less money on preventative services than a whole lot more on costly repairs and replacements after the fact, especially when most problems can be avoided. Another way to save is by monitoring your own air filter and vents by dusting them where you can reach and asking your HVAC technician to show you where to find your air filter and how to inspect it. Next, learn the ways of programming your thermostat after upgrading to a digital interface with Bauer Mechanical services. We’re big fans of thermostats that give more power to the homeowner in managing their airflow needs as seasons in Colorado change.

While you’re taking a more proactive approach to maintaining your home’s HVAC system, work on saving up an emergency fund for repairs and replacement across the various sectors of home improvement. We’re happy to work with you on naming a fair price for our services that won’t break the bank, but it’s all a less stressful process when there’s a little cash set aside for life’s setbacks and emergencies. You can also look into warranties that come along with your home’s HVAC components like your air conditioning unit and furnace, as well as duct system parts and your thermostat. Ask one of our techs about your system’s warranty information.

Space Heater Safety

Space Heater Safety

If your home lacks central heating or you find yourself using a space heater to supplement regular airflow through your home, there are a number of ways that very device offering temporary comfort can cause large safety concerns in the home. At Bauer Mechanical Services, we want our customers to have access to warm air during winter’s coldest months on the Front Range, no matter what. We’ve put together a few do’s and don’t’s for space heater safety this winter:

Don’t Run It All Night

If you’re looking for some extra coziness to get to sleep at night, be sure to only run your space heater on a timer system, so it turns off automatically after you fall asleep and does not run through the entire night time. If your heater does not have an automatic timer capability, simply remember to run it and set a timer or alarm on your phone to remember to unplug the heater or switch if off before bed. The reason to avoid running a space heater all night is two-fold; one, a space heater may inadvertently cause a fire hazard or a burning smell overnight. If you overuse your space heater it’s more likely to break prematurely, costing you money and warmth as you work to replace it. Second, overheating the air in your home will tend to dry it out, putting you and your family at an even higher risk for dry skin and dehydration in the winter months.

Avoid Carpets and High Places

This one is pretty common-sense, but is worth reiterating. Do not place your space heater on a counter or table, and avoid carpeted areas. This is to avoid damaging the heater unit itself and to limit fire hazards in your home.

Do not share outlets

If you plug your space heater into an outlet, avoid using that outlet for any other electronic devices. Space heaters use a lot of energy, and demanding too much of one outlet in your home can cause a shortage to the system. If this does happen, simply unplug find your electricity panel and reset the breaker switch related to that outlet. It’s also safe to unplug electric items in that general vicinity, since they will most likely be reset as well.

Stay warm this winter with central heating repair and installation from Bauer Mechanical. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment or service!

Insulating Your Home

Insulating Your Home – and Wallet

Save Cash through the Winter with Bauer Mechanical Services

Leaves are changing on the aspens over Independence Pass, and those final days of summer have come and gone. And just like that, cooling season turns to heating season in the HVAC business.

Ever heard of Murphy’s Law? Well, the idea that ‘when things go wrong, they go really wrong’ applies to our line of work too. The reality of living in Northern Colorado is that temperatures change quickly and weather moves in and out of our region fast. Snowstorms come on strong and melt with ease, but those big swings in temperature between dusk and dawn in the fall season can put a big strain on your furnace and duct system. To avoid your unit or system breaking down at the worst moment, it’s best to get out ahead of Mother Nature and put in a call to Bauer Mechanical for a scheduled maintenance appointment.

But it’s not all about your duct system. It’s also about how well your home is insulated to hold in that warm air your furnace produces and keep out chilly air on a cold morning. If windows are not properly sealed, insulation is damaged or breaking down, and structures or add-ons remain unfinished before winter comes, your HVAC system could be rendered completely useless. This costs money that we know you don’t want to spend on home improvement, especially once the days begin to stretch out again.

So what is insulation anyway? Well, it’s really just a material that has what’s called ‘thermal resistance’. It’s measured as an R-value, and tells consumers and contractors alike just how well the material can keep heat in or out of an area. High R-value means heat would escape an insulated room very slowly or not at all—and that’s what we’re going for in the Colorado winter.

Ask a Bauer Mechanical Services technician about your home’s energy efficiency and whether your insulated spaces are ready for winter. Trust us, you’d be surprised at how much money homeowners waste on extra heat cycles because it’s escaping their home through small cracks and crevices right under their noses!

Get ready for winter by taking charge in the fall. Call Bauer Mechanical Services for maintenance and inspection services today.

furnace-leak

What’s with all this Water?-Common Leak Questions and Easy Answers

As we start heating season, the star of the winter is your furnace unit. Furnace units, despite being bulky and overwhelming, are actually pretty simple when it comes down to their basic functions and parts.

A commonly Googled question about furnace units is ‘Why is my furnace leaking water’?

Well, look no further for the answer, since it’s most likely one thing. When you upgrade to a high-efficiency model, the home humidifier is often incorporated into your furnace unit, causing condensation along with that already caused by the furnace itself. Luckily, all you’re having is a drainage problem when a furnace leaks water. A drainage pipe is installed when the furnace itself is, and if that drain is not properly sealed or forms a leak anywhere, then water will seep out to occupy the floor around your furnace. If you notice a leak, call a professional right away to determine if it’s a minor problem or something that needs immediate and distinct attention ASAP.

Another common question is why water is coming from the heat pump. Well, heat pumps work to draw moisture from the air as well as produce heat, just like a furnace unit. It’s common for these pumps to produce some condensation, especially since they’re designed to heat and cool your home as the seasons change. So to this, we’d say treat it like a furnace leak, where you keep an eye on the problem and contact a professional for their two cents immediately.

For an air conditioning unit, the culprit for a leak is most likely a dirty air filter. If airflow is restricted by a fifthly filter, the air condenser will actually freeze the moisture that builds up near the filter area. When the air conditioning unit is not in use and those frozen water molecules melt, they’ll form a pool resembling a leak near your A/C unit. To help this, check your filters and get new ones replaced by a professional at Bauer Mechanical Services.

Backup Generator

Backup Generator Do’s and Dont’s

If all else fails this winter, you and your family may default to using a backup generator. Of course, with regular maintenance and the right amount of preparation before peak heating season, your home’s HVAC system is built to last through the coldest nights and most intense storms the Front Range has to offer. But, as we know from living in Fort Collins, Colorado, nothing is guaranteed—especially the weather!

If you do find yourself operating a backup generator this winter, there are a few key do’s and don’t associated with the equipment.

1-Never connect a generator without the correct electric isolator device. An isolator device is basically a switch that disconnects your home from power lines while the generator is running. This is partially for your safety, but also for the safety of technicians who work to restore power in city power lines. Isolator devices also work to keep circuits from shorting out from too much energy running through them at once. If you don’t have an isolation device, an electrician can easily install one or provide feedback on whether your home has a device you weren’t aware of.

2-Keep the generator outside. This includes keeping it away from openings like windows and doors, as well as any space that’s partially enclosed. The generator should be located out in the open. This tip seems like common sense, but is more than worth reiterating as we head into a season where a power outage can quickly become an emergency for your home and family.

3-Use fans or other means to direct the generator’s exhaust away from your home. And to mitigate any potential harm from exhaust that enters your home, make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are all functional inside your house.

4-Keep the generator away from wet conditions, even if the ground outside is covered in snow. This is because generators pose a large risk for shocking or electrocuting those operating them. To avoid this, start and place the generator on a totally dry surface and dry your hands and clothes before operating the generator itself.

5-Do not attempt to power indoor appliances or ‘home wiring’ by plugging your generator into a wall socket. Use special extension cords made for outdoor use only. Do not store generator fuel indoors, and keep it dry and do not refuel unless the generator is powered off.

At Bauer Mechanical Services HVAC, it’s important to us that you and your family stay safe, warm, and comfortable throughout the upcoming heating season. To schedule a service appointment or ask questions about your home’s system, call us today.

Home HVAC

Do’s and Don’ts of Home HVAC Care

Fall is approaching, but those warm temperatures continue to linger in the Front Range. At Bauer Mechanical, our job is to maximize your home’s comfort, airflow, and energy efficiency year-round, but many residents still struggle to stay cool between maintenance appointments.

Here are a few things you may be doing wrong when it comes to your home cooling system.

1- how low is too low?

A hot day may tempt you to crank your thermostat down into the 60’s, but setting your indoor temperature too low can lead to faster wear and premature maintenance on your air conditioner and cooling system. When you set the thermostat to cool or heat your home, it essentially tells your home’s HVAC system to cycle air through the house at a rate that will bring each room down to (or up to) the desired temperature. A few degrees do not make much difference when it comes to our comfort inside the house, but they can cause your system to cycle far more than it needs to each day. This will shorten the life of your HVAC system and cost you money in energy bills and maintenance appointments in the future.

2-dirty air filters=bad air flow

It’s a tip we repeat over and over at Bauer Mechanical—replacing your air filters maintain your home’s energy efficiency and your HVAC system’s integrity season to season. It’s important to have a service technician check out your system annually, preferably before peak temperatures arrive in thes summer and winter seasons, but changing your air filter doesn’t always require an expert. Ask us how to change and check your home cooling system’s air filter quarterly to keep it running at peak efficiency year-round.

3-Limiting Daytime Sunlight

Believe it or not, your home’s air conditioning system cannot do all the work necessary to keep your home comfortable 24/7 on its own. If your home lacks blinds or curtains in windows that let in daytime sunlight, you could be limiting the efficiency of your air conditioning system. And with over 300 days of sunshine on average in the Front Range, limiting those rays from flooding air conditioned rooms with unnecessary heat could be costing you extra money.

Call Bauer Mechanical Services today to schedule a maintenance appointment for you home’s HVAC system as summer turns to fall. We’ll make sure your system’s running smoothly and efficiently to save you money in the long run, and get you and your family set up for the winter months to come.

Furnace Repair

Fall Honey-Do’s for your HVAC System

In the HVAC industry, Fall = Furnace. It’s time to prepare for winter and possibly consider a furnace upgrade, beyond expected maintenance. Here’s what you need to know.

First, understand what can save you money and improve your home’s efficiency. The industry standard for furnace units has increased, requiring a certain efficiency level for modern homes. Regarding electric and gas furnaces, the choice comes down to cost and preference. Gas costs less as a utility overall, and electric units tend to pose a larger initial investment. But, electric units are generally more environmentally friendly, and do not require a pilot light burning at all times to light your furnace unit and set off a heat cycle.

Second, make sure the time is right to invest in a new furnace unit. If yours is on its last season, don’t wait to pay for costly repairs on the coldest days of winter. Investing in a new unit can save homeowners money over time, despite the bill up front. Plus, newer heating and cooling systems instantly increase the value of a home. Save yourself a headache during the holidays and speak with our experienced service technicians today about your options for furnace replacement in Fort Collins.

Last, understand how to manage your heating system before it’s time to turn up the heat. From programming your thermostat for the winter months to figuring out which rooms need the most attention in your home, it’s important to think ahead and understand how to maximize your heating system and its capabilities to meet your family’s needs this winter. Have questions? At Bauer Mechanical, we have answers.

Schedule a fall service appointment today with Bauer Mechanical Services HVAC, and feel more prepared for the Colorado winter ahead.

Pet Owner’s Guide to HVAC

A Pet Owner’s Guide to HVAC

In Fort Collins, we sure do love our furry friends. But they can make heating and cooling the air in our homes a little harder with their hair and fur. For those who just can’t get enough puppy love, we’ve put together a few important tips to get the most out of your home’s HVAC system, pets and all.

It’s always important to keep your air filter clean, regardless of whether you own pets or not. But with four-legged housemates around, it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on the state of your air filter. Generally, air filters should be changed every few months, but pet ownership could cause air filters to become blocked much more quickly, calling for more filter changes per year.

Plus, your home’s HVAC system is full of electrical components that could cause harm to your pets if mishandled or neglected. Watch for any exposed wires or parts of your system that may need maintenance, and schedule a service appointment right away. Homeowners often leave pets at home for certain amounts of time during the day, and we want to ensure that all runs smoothly when you’re away.

Be sure to maintain your outdoor units, coils, and indoor vents by training your pets to avoid clawing, chewing, or licking them. After all, pets cannot initially tell what might be dangerous for them, or what might cost you the most cash in repair services.

Last, keep your home comfortable for your pets too. For example, dogs cannot perspire anywhere but through their paws, so keeping the indoors comfortable for them in the summer is important. It’s also key to make sure you don’t heat up your space too much for your dog or cat in the winter months. Even if you prefer the house a cozy, toasty temperature, they may not enjoy the heat as much as you do.

Understanding the needs of your pet and how it relates to your home’s cooling system can be the key to maintaining an energy-efficient home while keeping all members of your family- whether two-legged or four- happy all year long.

HVAC

Scheduled Maintenance with Bauer Mechanical

Our beloved Front Range offers an array of heating and cooling challenges for Northern Colorado’s homeowners. Bringing the indoors to the right temperature and the right level of humidity for peak comfort year-round is a difficult task, but our experienced team at Bauer Mechanical Services knows how to get the job done.

We’re equipped to fix even the trickiest of home HVAC problems, but regular maintenance is key to preventing costly repairs and replacements, and drawing longevity out of your current air condenser and furnace units. That’s where our knowledgeable technicians come in.

Scheduling a maintenance check-up or service call at the start of the heating or cooling season could save homeowners from unexpected costs and headaches throughout the year. We’ll identify problems and general wear before they manifest into major damages with a quick and thorough inspection, and walk you through your best options when it comes to HVAC repairs. We’re also happy to give tips on self-care and year-round maintenance for homeowners.

Oftentimes, your home heating and cooling system will face problems if a thermostat is broken or programmed incorrectly, or if a home system’s hardware (vents, condenser units, air filters) is dirty or clogged. Think of your home’s thermostat as the brain center for the HVAC system, and defects in it may throw off your home’s comfort and cause extra costs to come down from utility companies. A quick reprogram or thermostat replacement can fix this kind of issue, and oftentimes, introducing a digital thermostat or zoned system to a home can provide extra savings over time to any Colorado home.

Our landscape on the Front Range makes for beautiful scenery, but also forces homeowners to deal with a higher amount of pollen and dust in the air. Culprits like these are often at fault for dirty air condensers, and make the indoor components of your home’s heating and cooling system work a little harder to keep your home’s air clean and allergen-free. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on your home system’s hardware and make sure to either clean these components regularly or call Bauer Mechanical Services to do so.

Cleaning a condenser seems like an easy task, but tougher jobs should be left to the keen eye of an expert technician. It’s better to avoid unnecessary damage to your unit than pay to repair or replace it.

Dirty condensers and air filters greatly affect airflow through your home, making your system work harder to effectively heat and cool the space. It’s important to check your air filter once a month and keep an eye on whether it’s time to replace it. Our technicians can replace dirty filters, show you how it’s done, and give recommendations about independent maintenance.

If you have questions about maintaining your home heating and cooling system or want to schedule a regular maintenance inspection, call Bauer Mechanical Services today.

Pilot Lights 101

Pilot Lights 101: Understanding your Home’s Furnace Unit

If you’re home features a gas furnace unit, you’ve probably seen the pilot light inside, waiting to set your home heating system in motion.

Gas furnaces are common in Colorado’s homes, and every homeowner should understand exactly how they work. In a nutshell the pilot light serves as an ignition mechanism for a home furnace. The furnace is connected to a gas valve, which supplies fuel to the unit and the pilot light, which burns a constant flame. When it’s time to heat your home the pilot light ignites a larger flame with the gas coming from the connected valve. This heats the air circulating through your home.

Because gas furnaces utilize natural gas, they’re not as environmentally friendly as an electric model. They’re also not as energy efficient. But, they tend to save homeowners a lot of cash, since gas is significantly cheaper than electricity to use.  Units built in the past decade adhere to federal energy efficiency standards, regardless of their fuel source. In the case of pilot lights, electric furnace units do not feature them, since they have their own unique mode of ignition. Electric furnace models are continuing to evolve and become competitive with gas furnaces as far as cost. Talk to an expert at Bauer Mechanical Services about your home’s needs and what type of unit might be best for your Front Range home when it comes to comfort and your budget. 

If you’ve never re-lit a pilot light before, it’s best to leave the task to an expert. It’s possible to do alone, since all you need is a flame to re-light the pilot light, but safety is the first priority when it comes to quick repairs like this. And, you’ll want a technician to identify the cause of the outage. Something as small as a light draft can cause a pilot light to flame out, but another reason could be a thermocouple that needs repair or replacement. That’s the panel that helps the pilot light’s flame burn all day and all night. With over two decades of HVAC experience, Bauer Mechanical Services techs can figure out exactly what kinds of repairs your furnace unit needs within minutes.

If your home’s furnace unit is in need of an upgrade, replacement, or regular maintenance check, don’t hesitate to call Bauer Mechanical Services. It’s our priority to assure quick, friendly service to our neighbors along the Front Range that’s precise, knowledgeable, and fair.