Maintenance is the key to trouble free, efficient operation                                  

NO MAINTENANCE OR

POOR MAINTENANCE

CAN KILL

Boiler System Maintenance

Boilers use water or steam to transport heat thru pipes from the area where it is produced to radiators or other emitters located in the area you want heated.  Boilers require special care to maintain safe efficient operation. One of the most important safety features is the pressure relief valve.  If your relief valve is blocked or does not open at the designed pressure, the boiler becomes an explosive device that can totally destroy your home.

 

Boiler Maintenance Tips

  1. Clean the furnace. It’s always a good idea to keep the area around your boiler clean and free of debris since the boiler combustion air intake needs to be kept clear to ensure efficient operation. You can also remove the screws on the panel covering the burners and wipe it down with a damp cloth. 

  2. Operate the relief valve before the start of each heating season to be sure the water ways are clear.

  3. Clean baseboard radiators with a soft brush and vacuum cleaner.  Dust accumulates on the underside of the radiator elements

  4. Clean the condensate trap and pipe if you have a High Efficiency Condensing boiler

  5. Seasonal Inspection. Before the cold weather hits, it’s also a good idea to have your system inspected by one of our pros. This will help make sure that if any problems are present, you can take care of them immediately to avoid costly repairs or an interruption of service later on. 

Professional Furnace Maintenance

 While a few simple preventative measures can help your HVAC system run efficiently, you should always consult with our professional service technicians before performing any at-home HVAC system maintenance. For serious issues, we can send a pro to your home to perform a diagnostic check, or consider one of our Club Memberships that include PRIORITY on emergency service, DISCOUNTS on service fees and FREE MAINTENANCE visits 

Water Heater Explosion

What you dont know can Kill you! Here is a water heater with no relief valve exploding.  

It landed over 100 yards away after destroying the building it was in. 

Heat Pump Maintenance

Cleaning or changing the air filter is one of easiest and most cost effective ways to keep your heat pump in good working order. If you’re permanent residents and use your heat pump on a regular basis, you may need to clean or change the filter about once a month. However, if this is a second home and only use your system periodically, you can safely change it every three months. 

Below are a few other basic heat pump maintenance tips homeowners can use to keep a heat pump system running smoothly. Keep in mind that in addition to these home maintenance tips, you should also schedule a comprehensive annual maintenance checkup with one of our professional technicians

Heat pump maintenance checklist

To keep your heat pump running smoothly and efficiently, follow these steps:

  • Remove foliage and outdoor debris from around the outdoor unit.

  • Fresh water rinse outdoor coils once a week to remove salt and other deposits (except when below freezing)  

  • Clean or change your filters once a month or as needed.

  • Clean the supply and return registers in your home. 

Professional heat pump maintenance

For a comprehensive annual heat pump maintenance check, call and make an appointment for one of our professionals to visit your location. In addition to following these basic heat pump maintenance tips, our pro will look for issues like obstructions, refrigerants leaks, correct thermostat operation and the electrical wiring of the system, and can assess your entire HVAC system to make sure your home stays comfortable year-round.

While a few simple preventative measures can help your HVAC system run efficiently, you should always consult with our professional service technicians before performing any at-home HVAC system maintenance. For serious issues, we can send a pro to your home to perform a diagnostic check, or consider one of our Club Memberships that include PRIORITY on emergency service, DISCOUNTS on service fees and FREE MAINTENANCE visits 

 

Gas Furnace Maintenance

Regular gas furnace maintenance is the best way to ensure your home stays warm throughout the winter. Use the furnace maintenance tips below to keep your HVAC system running smoothly, and remember to call us for regular professional maintenance. 

Furnace maintenance tips

While it’s always best to have professionals inspect and perform maintenance on any part of your home’s HVAC system, there are a few things you can do yourself if you’re experiencing trouble with your system. Use this furnace maintenance checklist to help you troubleshoot your problem:

  1. Turn off the system. To avoid injury, always turn off the fuel source and the electrical supply before you begin to inspect your system. 

  2. Replace the air filter. An air filter that’s caked with dust and other particles can put a significant strain on your system. Clean or replace your air filter per the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid costly energy bills. 

  3. Clean the furnace. It’s always a good idea to keep the area around your furnace clean and free of debris since the furnace air intake needs to be kept clear to ensure efficient operation. While the air filter captures most of the dirt and dust, you can also remove the screws on the panel covering the filter and wipe it down with a damp cloth. 

  4. Clean the condensate trap and pipe if you have a High Efficiency condensing furnace

  5. Seasonal Inspection. Before the cold weather hits, it’s also a good idea to have your system inspected by one of our pros. This will help make sure that if any problems are present, you can take care of them immediately to avoid costly repairs or an interruption of service later on. 

Professional Furnace Maintenance

 While a few simple preventative measures can help your HVAC system run efficiently, you should always consult with our professional service technicians before performing any at-home HVAC system maintenance. For serious issues, we can send a pro to your home to perform a diagnostic check, or consider one of our Club Memberships that include PRIORITY on emergency service, DISCOUNTS on service fees and FREE MAINTENANCE visits 

 

Air Quality and Humidifier Maintenance

The SERVICE Department has a variety of ways to keep your home comfortable for everyone in your family. Our line of air quality solutions ensures that your air stays cleaner so that allergies are kept at bay and the air is humid enough during the winter months. Keep everything working just as it should with these humidifier maintenance, air ventilator and air filter maintenance tips.

Humidifer Maintenance

Because a humidifier is evaporating water and blowing it into the air, it’s important to remember that humidifiers require regular cleaning in order to reduce the risk of bacterial and fungal growth.

  • Consult the product manual before performing any cleaning or humidifier maintenance as there may be special instructions on how to do so. Also, be sure to use an antibacterial/antimicrobial solution and do not use the humidifier again until it completely dries.

  • Evaporative media should be replaced at leats every other year,

  • Water supply valve and overflow tube checked for leakes and or blockage

  • Bypass damper open in winter Closed in summer.

Air filter maintenance

Regularly changing the air filter on any HVAC system is essential for its longevity, but it also helps your system work more efficiently. The purpose of the air filter is to trap unwanted allergens, dust and particles from circulating through the air you breathe in your home, so it makes sense that when the filter is dirty, your air will also become dirty. Changing the filter on your air cleaner may also help save on energy costs.

To perform air cleaner maintenance by changing the filter, follow these easy steps:

  • Buy a new filter – Check your owner’s manual before buying a new filter—using the right filter is essential, otherwise you run the risk of potentially causing damage to your system.

  • Turn off the unit – Be sure the unit is completely off before attempting to change the filter. If you’re unsure of how to turn it off, turn the breaker off in your electric breaker box.

  • Remove the old filter – Most filters are located on the right side of the system and are easy to slide out. However, some filters may be found internally in your home’s vents. Please contact us if you cannot locate your filter as they may need to be replaced by a professional.

  • Insert new filter – Once you’ve removed the old filter, simply slide the new filter into place by using the arrows as an indicator as to which direction the air flows

Air ventilator preventative maintenance

Of course, it’s always best to stop a problem before it starts. Keep an eye on things in your home with these easy DIY tips and tricks: 

  • Check the unit for noise and vibration

  • Clean filters

  • Check air supply

  • Lubricate and grease motor and blower bearing

  • Ensure the fan blades are working properly

  • Check the air inlet register(s) and clean if needed

  • Clean supply fan unit.

Professional humidifier and air ventilator maintenance

If you sense any of these issues may be happening with your air cleaner or humidifier, contact us to diagnose the problem.  While a few simple preventative measures can help your HVAC system run efficiently, you should always consult with our professional service technicians before performing any at-home HVAC system maintenance. For serious issues, we can send a pro to your home to perform a diagnostic check, or consider one of our Club Memberships that include PRIORITY on emergency service, DISCOUNTS on service fees and FREE MAINTENANCE visits 

 

Ductless/Mini-Split Maintenance Guide

Ductless air conditioning systems offer the convenience of central air in places where ductwork isn’t available, like in older, radiator-heated homes. But aside from the lack of ductwork, ductless air conditioning systems require much of the same types of maintenance as standard central air conditioning systems. This guide to general ductless maintenance will help ensure that your system is operating efficiently, saving you money and lowering your carbon footprint.

Ductless Maintenance Tips

With ductless HVAC systems, two units work together—one indoors and the other outdoors—to heat or cool your room. Routine ductless maintenance will help ensure your ductless unit stays quiet and efficient all year round and for many years to come. Use this ductless maintenance guide at least once per year to keep your system running smoothly:

  • Turn the system off and allow the indoor coil to dry off for an hour or so.

  • Clean or replace air filters, usually located behind a removable front cover on the indoor section.  Most HVAC systems use air filters to remove dust, dirt, dander and other irritating particles from the air. Because they filter unwanted particulates out of the air we breathe, they need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. Not cleaning your air filter can overwork your system and cause your energy bills to increase.

  • Keep the air conditioner evaporator coils clean. This can be completed with a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment while the filters are removed. Keep the coils on the indoor evaporators free of dust to ensure the efficient exchange of heat from air in your house to the refrigerant in the coils. 

  • Maintain the outdoor compressor. Your outdoor air compressor is one of the most important parts of your ductless HVAC system. Keeping the surrounding area clear of weeds, grass and other obstructions can help maximize performance and slow down wear and tear.

  • Weekly fresh water rinse can remove salt deposits and other debris that can obstruct heat transfer from the refrigerant to the outdoor air.

Maintaining a ductless system with a professional

In addition to regular home maintenance it’s a good idea to schedule annual ductless system maintenance with one of our professional technicians.  While a few simple preventative measures can help your HVAC system run efficiently, you should always consult with our professional service technicians before performing any at-home HVAC system maintenance. For serious issues, we can send a pro to your home to perform a diagnostic check, or consider one of our Club Memberships that include PRIORITY on emergency service, DISCOUNTS on service fees and FREE MAINTENANCE visits 

 

A/C System Maintenance

If you follow the instructions outlined in your owner’s manual, central air conditioning maintenance can help your system work smarter, more efficiently, and longer. While most issues should be left to professionals, there are few things you  can do on a regular basis to keep your A/C system running smoothly.

At-home air conditioner maintenance and cleaning

Cleaning the unit itself is very important when it comes to A/C system maintenance. Being out in the elements constantly, through changing seasons and harsh seashore weather, can take a toll on your system. Ensuring the unit is free of debris will help keep pesky twigs, leaves and various other yard wastes from getting into your system and potentially causing damage. Weekly rincing the outdoor unit with fresh water will remove the salt and other deposits from deteriorating the coils and cabinet 

Air conditioner preventative maintenance

Here are a few other central air conditioner maintenance tips and tricks that can be completed by you or a professional air conditioner servicing technician: 

  • Changing the filter and vents monthly is quick and easy. Be sure to check with our professional service technicians to get the right products for your system, as well as add-on components such as an air purifier. 

  • Cleaning the evaporator can be easy to do, simply remove the front cover and clean the inside of the evaporator with a stiff brush. Be sure you clean the tray below the evaporator unit below to get rid of the rest of the mess left from the condensation. You might also consider cleaning the evaporator with bleach to eliminate fungus or as part of air conditioner preventative maintenance. Some coils are difficult to access and require a professional to properly clean them

  • Clean the condensate pipe with a shop vac to remove debris that can cause water to overflow 

  • Cleaning the outdoor air conditioner coils with a garden hose also helps keeps your system running smoothly. To do this, make sure the unit is disconnected, then use gloves and safety goggles to spray the coils with a commercial-grade cleaner, and then hose off with water.   

Central air conditioning professional maintenance

While a few simple preventative measures can help your HVAC system run efficiently, you should always consult with our professional service technicians before performing any at-home A/C system maintenance. For serious issues, we can send a pro to your home to perform a diagnostic check, or consider one of our Club Memberships that include PRIORITY on emergency service, DISCOUNTS on service fees and FREE MAINTENANCE visits 

 

Fuel Tanks

 

Frozen Fuel Lines

 

 

In the illustration and accompanying video, you can see how water in the fuel can accumulate in a fuel line and remain there during burner operation.  The water is heavier than the fuel and accumulates at any low point of a fuel system.  At the bottom of a fuel tank condensation or rainwater will migrate to the bottom where micro-organisms can grow and die causing the development of a thick sludge-like deposit inside the tank.  If the burner is operating during a fuel delivery, these tank bottom deposits will get stirred up and may enter the fuel line along with some of the water.  A standard oil filter should keep these tank bottom deposits from effecting burner operation.  If the water does not reach the filter but accumulates at a low point in the fuel line, the fuel may just run past the water without any interruption of the burner operation.

 

This water deposit in low lying fuel line tubing does not cause a problem in most cases.  If however, this low lying fuel line is outside and above ground, there may be a problem.  The fuel will flow thru the water unless the outdoor temperature is below freezing.  If the water in the fuel line freezes the fuel can no longer pass thru the water.  This is because the water has turned to ice forming a blockage the fuel cannot pass thru.

 

The best way to prevent this from being a problem is to

eliminate the causes of water forming inside the fuel tank in the

first place.  Condensation forms inside fuel tanks only in the

air-space that does not contain fuel.  By keeping your fuel tank

full over the summer and having regular deliveries thru out the

winter to keep from getting below ¼ tank of fuel, you will greatly

reduce the amount of space that is available to form condensation.

 

The next way to keep water from entering the fuel tank is to make sure the top fittings are watertight so rain cannot enter the tank. A broken gauge can allow rainwater to enter into the fuel tank.  The vent pipe on an outside tank should be at least 12” higher than the top of the tank so splashing raindrops are not driven up into the vent cap.  The proper fuel fill cap will also help in keeping water from entering the tank.  A broken fuel gauge indicator vial can allow rainwater or melting snow to enter the fuel tank.

 

When a fuel tank is in the ground the fill pipe should not be flush to the ground.  Having a mound around the fill pipe or having a fill pipe that extends above the ground will keep water from seeping into the fuel tank.

 

When preparing the fuel supply pipe to connect the tank to the oil burner, take care to position any fuel pipe that is outside, exposed to freezing temperatures, so there are no low points between the tank and the wall where the fuel line penetrates the building.  Any low point is a possible place for water or condensation to accumulate.  If this happens, you may experience a nuisance failure when you need the burner the most.

 

Fuel Tank Maintenance. 

Observe the condition of your fuel tank.  If there are any sections that have rust or exposed metal, paint those areas with rust inhibitor paint.  The back and bottom of the tank are most important.  In our experience, we have found that many freshly painted fuel tanks do not have paint on the bottom where you can’t see the paint.  This is where we find most of the leaks.

 

Most tanks fail from the inside out.  Adding a rust inhibitor and water dispersant to the tank  just before every delivery can go a long way to maintaining tank integrity.  Ask your fuel dealer if their fuel has a rust inhibitor already added to their fuel. If not … leave a bottle of fuel tank treatment near the fuel tank fill pipe, so the driver can pour it in just before delivering your fuel.

 

 

How to avoid the problem and what to do when you have the problem.

Fuel Line Insulation

The misconception of insulating a fuel line does not remediate frozen fuel lines.  Insulation does not “create” heat.  It slows the movement of heat.  We insulate our homes to keep the heat inside during the winter.  Your refrigerator walls have insulation to keep the heat out all year ‘round.  Insulating a fuel pipe will keep the sun from warming up the frozen fuel pipe on a winter morning.  It will keep the cold fuel from an outside tank from getting warm on the way to the oil burner.   

Heat Tape.

Putting electric heat tape on a fuel pipe and insulation around the heat tape may resolve the problem of frozen fuel lines.  We do not recommend this practice.  There have been cases where the heat tape thermostat failed, and then the fuel line overheated. The insulation can melt or catch fire and fuel that has leaked near a fuel connection or oil filter escalates the flames… causing property damage or worse.  Extreme caution must be taken when you decide to use heat tape.  

We have thousands of outside above ground fuel tanks in this area that do not have heat tape and work just fine during extreme low temperatures.  Get your tank and fuel system in shape for winter and maintain the tank… so you don’t need to solve frozen fuel line in the winter.

 

When Fuel Lines Freeze

 

Ok, so you have the problem. It is 13°F outside and your heater stopped working, You hit the reset button, and the burner sputters for a minute or two and then the burner stops.  DO NOT RESET AGAIN.  You suspect a frozen fuel line.   You need to heat up the fuel line to thaw the ice in the fuel line.  DO NOT USE AN OPEN FLAME, OR TORCH.  You can use a heat gun or pour boiling water on the fuel line.  The most likely place is the oil filter if it is outside.  Any low points in the fuel line where condensation can accumulate as indicated in the attached illustration or video.  Once you have thawed out the fuel line, try the reset button to see if the fuel flows thru the fuel pump. 

 

A broken gauge can allow rainwater into the fuel tank

 

If this does not work DO NOT RESET AGAIN.  Call for service and a professional can pump a chemical thru the fuel line to remove the water, ice or other blockage. 

 

When you put fuel line treatment in your tank it will take several hours or days for the chemical to reach the problem area.  When we pump the chemical into your tank through the fuel line, the chemical treats the problem immediately, pushing the problem out of the fuel line and putting the chemical at the bottom of the tank where it will do the most good.  

@2016 by Edward Young, HVAC Contractor, with wix.com

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