Red Rock Mechanical, LLC Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Heating’

Choosing the Most Efficient Furnace

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The word “furnace” actually represents a wide variety of different heating systems today. Though they all share a basic function (they are all forced air heating systems) the method by which they accomplish that function can be vastly different. For a homeowner looking to install a new home heating system, the sheer number of options that furnaces provide can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Here’s a look at some of the factors that you should consider when looking for the most efficient furnace to meet your needs.


“AFUE” stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, and is one of the primary metrics by which furnace efficiency is judged. As the name suggests, the AFUE number is an approximate measurement of how efficiently the furnace uses its fuel over the course of one year. The number is displayed as a percentage, indicating how much of the fuel the furnace burns is converted into heat and how much is lost as waste. Generally, you’ll want to look for a furnace with an AFUE rating of at least 75-80%. Any less than that, and you’ll be spending an undesirable amount of money on fuel that’s not being converted into heat.


The size of a furnace is actually quite important to how well it performs in a home. A lot of homeowners simply go for the largest furnace that they can physically fit in the space, in the mistaken belief that bigger furnaces are more desirable. In fact, if a furnace is either too large or too small it will break down much more often and have a shorter overall lifespan. You should consult a professional if you are uncertain of what size furnace you should install.

Fuel Type

Always be aware of what kind of fuel best fits your situation. Natural gas is the most popular kind of fuel, but it requires a gas line installed in your home by the city in order to work. Electric furnaces will work anywhere that electricity is available, but they are more expensive to operate than other furnaces. Always do your research, and consult a professional if you aren’t sure which furnace is best for you.

If you need to have a new furnace installed, call Red Rock Mechanical to schedule a service appointment. We provide professional heating services throughout Stowe, VT.

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3 Ways to Improve Your Heating for the Rest of the Winter

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Everyone looks for ways to stretch their heating during the winter, both in terms of cost and effectiveness. While most people are content to simply keep doors and windows closed to keep as much heat in as possible, there are a number of better ways to ensure that your heating system is operating at peak efficiency. Let’s examine some of the best ways that you can improve your heating for the winter.

Schedule Preventive Maintenance

The best way to make sure that your heating system provides maximum heat output is to have it serviced at least once a year. The prime time to do this is usually during the fall, right before you start using the system more heavily. If you haven’t scheduled it yet this year, however, winter should do just fine. Having preventive maintenance done at this time of year ensures that your system is prepared for the stress of daily use during the winter, saving you the money and stress of repairing it when it breaks down.

Get Your Ducts Sealed

Forced air systems lose an incredible amount of heat each year to leaks in their homes’ ducts. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates this loss at about 30% of total heat, on average. This means that almost a third of the energy you paid for could be going to waste instead of heating your home. Since ducts are largely out of sight, and the leaks are often small, you probably won’t be able to find them yourself. Call a professional to examine and seal your ducts for you, and you’ll be able to significantly cut down on heat loss during the season you need it most.

Replace Your System

If your heating system is more than 15 years old, it’s probably a good time to consider replacing it. Even if you don’t have any mounting issues with the health of your old heating system, replacing it with a new one is almost guaranteed to increase the efficiency of your home’s heating.

If you’d like to know more about how to improve your heating, call Red Rock Mechanical. We provide professional heating services throughout Burlington, VT.

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Ways to Save Money on Heating in Williston This Winter

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Energy efficiency is always a priority when it comes to heating during our cold Vermont winters. There are a number of small things you can do to help save energy this winter, as we’ve outlined below, but should you need repair, maintenance or installation of a heating system in Williston, VT, call the people you can count on: Red Rock Mechanical.

Energy-Saving Tips for the Winter

Here are some energy-saving tips that our Red Rock Mechanical technicians have put together:

  • Schedule an energy audit – an energy audit allows you to pinpoint exactly where your home is losing energy. Several tests are conducted during an energy audit, including a blower door test. All of the results from an energy audit are put together in a comprehensive report detailing any issues that are found, as well as recommendations on how to repair them.
  • Cover drafty windows – there are a couple of ways to effectively cover drafty windows, such as using a plastic window coverings or winter drapes. Plastic kits are easy to use, widely available and work for any standard-sized windows. The plastic is clear, so you can still see outside without a problem. Winter drapes are usually made of heavy material that helps block drafts, and are available in many retail outlets.
  • Set EPA-recommended temperatures – EPA thermostat recommendations are that an occupied home shouldn’t have the thermostat set any higher than 68 degrees, and, when your home is unoccupied, the temperature should be set 10-15 degrees lower. Following these recommendations can help you save as much as 10% each year in heating costs.
  • Install a programmable thermostat – programmable thermostats allow you to set a program of temperatures for different times of day, different days of the week and even vacation time. This gives you great control over your heating during the winter.
  • Schedule annual maintenance – annual maintenance provides a thorough tune-up for your entire system, as well as the cleaning of components. This allows your system to run at the energy efficiency level it ought to.

Winter energy costs are a large part of your household budget. By utilizing some of the tips above, you can reduce some of your heating costs in Williston, VT this year. Need some additional help? Call Red Rock Mechanical today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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Signs of a Furnace Control Board Problem

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The modern furnace is a marvel of technology, especially when compared to the furnaces of yore, which were basically large ovens with pipes hooked up to them. Contemporary furnaces have most of their operations linked into a furnace control board, which is the core of how the furnace works. The control board runs a series of operations—starting the electronic ignition, opening the gas valve, checking the burner unit, activating the blower, shutting off the gas, venting the heat exchanger—that moves the furnace through all the stages of providing you with heat.

The control board can malfunction, however, and put your furnace’s operation in jeopardy. When this occurs, you will need to call for professional heating service in Williston, VT to replace the defective board. Red Rock Mechanical can provide this service for you, fast and effectively, when you need it.

Here are signs you may have a malfunctioning furnace control board:

  • Uncomfortable temperatures: If your furnace starts to make you either too hot or too cold, and the thermostat settings seem fine, then the problem might be a control board that is turning components off too soon or letting them run too long. Although there are multiple issues that can cause this malfunction, the control board is one of the main culprits.
  • Interruption of the regular sequence of events: Elaborating on the above warning, pay attention to your furnace’s specific sequence of operation. (Don’t open the furnace cabinet to check, just stay near it and listen to what happens.) Does the blower stage stop suddenly? Are the gas jets not activating? Is the ignition not coming on? Does the blower continue to run after everything else has shut off? Any of these irregularities in the normal sequence of events can indicate control board malfunctions.
  • Diagnostic indicators: Most boards have LED lights to indicate when there is a problem with their operation. If your furnace starts to run improperly, open up the control board access panel to see if any red warning lights have activated. There should be a diagnostic chart on the inside of the panel lid that will explain what the warning lights mean. When you call a technician, describe the diagnostic information so the technician will have a good idea what problem needs to be addressed before coming to your house.

It takes a fine knowledge of electronics and furnace technology to replace a control board. Don’t attempt to fiddle around with the panel on your own without the proper training. Make a call to heating experts with as much information as you can glean from the panel to explain the situation. They can take it from there.

Red Rock Mechanical has helped people in Williston, VT with heating services for 23 years. If you need work done on your furnace’s control board, give us a call.

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Some Problems You May Encounter with Your Gas Furnace

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

In Montpelier, VT, furnaces are common in many homes. Gas furnaces are inexpensive to operate and very reliable, but like any mechanical system, they will experience breakdowns from time to time. You can call a reliable repair service to resolve the problem, but it helps to spot the signs of those problems as soon as possible, before they lead to more serious issues. Here’s a quick breakdown of some problems you may encounter with your gas furnace.

  • Lack of gas flow. The thermocouple, connected to your ignition system, controls the flow of gas into the heater. If there’s a problem with your ignition system, or indeed with the thermocouple itself, the gas will be shut off (preventing your home from being flooded with the gas but also rendering the heater non-functional until it is fixed). A clogged burner can also disrupt the gas flow, as can problems with the line feeding the gas into the furnace.
  • Lack of heat. A lack of heat usually comes back to a problem with the burners, which push the lit gas through the heat exchanger to warm the air that is ultimately blown into your home. Burners can suffer from a malfunction, and could also become clogged with grime on their surface, which will reduce the levels of heat they generate.
  • Lack of air flow. Low air flow is just as bad as reduced heat, since it forces your furnace to work harder and expend more energy than it should. Low air flow can stem from a faulty motor, a damaged blower fan, or some kind of obstruction in the duct system reducing the space in which the air can move.

The problems you may encounter with your gas furnace don’t matter as much as the service you call upon to correct them. If you need furnace repair in Montpelier, VT, call Red Rock Mechanical today. 

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Why is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Here in Stowe, VT, heating is a serious concern, and a disruption in service can spell serious problems for your household. “Why is my furnace blowing cold air?” isn’t a question you ever want to contemplate in the depths of winter. As much as we may wish otherwise, such incidents do happen, and when they do you need a first-rate repair services for correct the problem with speed and efficiency. If helps if you understand the process involved in creating the situation. A number of different factors can lead to your furnace blowing cold air.

In some cases, the issue stems from a simple setting with the thermostat. It may be set too low or located in a spot in the house that’s warmer than elsewhere.  Your furnace itself may also contain a faulty component, turning the fan on without igniting the burners or releasing the gas. A repair technician can repair or replace the thermostat, or move it if it needs to be in a different spot, or troubleshoot the sequence of your furnace.

Other problems stem from a lack of fuel, or from the fuel not igniting properly. If you have an older furnace with a pilot light and the light goes out, it won’t produce any hot air. In some cases, clogs or blockages can result in cool air blowing from the furnace as well. For example, if the condensate system is suffering problems, such as the line being clogged with dirt or the reservoir float being closed, then the gas won’t be allowed into the system even if the fans are blowing.

Whatever the cause, it takes a trained professional to determine the source of the problem and correct it. In Stowe, VT, heating repairs can be conducted by the experts at Red Rock Mechanical. We can answer the question “why is my furnace blowing cold air?” then correct the problem with efficiency and care. Give us a call today to make an appointment, and let us show you what we can do!

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What to Look for in a Furnace Repair Technician

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Here in Burlington, VT, furnace repairs need to be conducted quickly and efficiently before the snows of winter turn your home into a meat locker. You can prevent some problems with regular maintenance and a close eye on any unusual activity with your furnace. Beyond that, however, you need to trust your repair technician to do the job right and to charge you a reasonable rate for his or her services. Here’s a brief list of what to look for in a furnace repair technician.

Proper certification is the first thing to check off the list. Vermont requires plumbers to be properly licensed, and you should look for someone with good reviews from satisfied customers. Beyond the legal certification, positive reviews mean a history of satisfied customers who are willing to speak up in support of the company’s work.

Then there’s the question of accessibility. A good repair service knows that furnaces can break down at all hours of the day, and that waiting until morning while temperatures plummet outside isn’t always an option. Its a good idea to work with a company who has 24-hour emergency service and will move quickly to address your concerns no matter what the time or day might be.

In Burlington, VT, you can count on the furnace experts at Red Rock Mechanical. We have highly trained technicians available on our staff, our certifications are impeccable, and we proudly stand by our record of over 23 years. We offer 24-hour emergency service for serious problems, and all our labor is backed by a one year warranty. To learn more about our services, give us call today!

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My Furnace Broke Down: Should I Repair or Replace It?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

In towns like Plattsburgh, NY heating concerns are quite serious, especially considering how cold our winter has been thus far. A new furnace entails time and investment, which may entice you to just hang on with your old one for a time. On the other hand, you may be experiencing such significant problems that replacement is preferable to repairs. The status of your furnace should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but a few general tips can help you decide what to do.

It usually boils down to a question of cost, and whether this particular round of repairs is worthwhile or simply throwing good money after bad. If the repairs are particularly expensive, or if this single repair costs a great deal of money, it may be preferable to install a new one rather than fixing the old. This gives you the opportunity to install a more efficient heater (which can save you money in monthly bills) and/or a heater that includes technological upgrades such as digital thermostats and variable speed fans. All of that can help offset the additional cost, or at least make that cost worthwhile.

Similarly, the age of the furnace should come into play as well. A newer furnace – especially one still under warranty – should likely be repaired instead of replaced. Otherwise, you won’t be getting your money’s worth out of it. If the furnace is more than ten years old, however, and it’s experiencing serious or more frequent repairs, then the time may have come to replace it with a new unit.

If you’re saying to yourself “my furnace broke down: should I repair or replace it?” then the experts at Red Rock Mechanical can help. Call us for any Plattsburgh, NY, heating repairs you need. We can inspect your furnace to see what the problem is and either instigate repairs or install a new furnace depending on what you need. Our trained staff of experts can answer any questions you may have, then schedule a repair or installation on a timetable that meets your needs. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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What to Do When Your Heating Malfunctions

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

What to do when you heating malfunctions depends a lot on your particular circumstances. There always comes a time when sinking more money into an existing heater just isn’t worth it. When your heater malfunctions – especially in the dead of winter, when you need it up and running again fast – you need to look for signs to tell you which decision to make. A brief overview of some of the more obvious signs is included below.

  • Higher heating bills. As your heater wears out, it spends more and more energy to do the same basic job, which translates to higher monthly bills. If you’ve noticed higher costs every month, even though your heater isn’t being used any more than normal, then a malfunction may be the final straw indicating that a new heater is in order.
  • Recurring repairs. It’s quite possible that the malfunction is being caused by something that you’ve had repaired before. Or, it may be that the malfunction comes at the end of a long string of further repairs. Either way, it’s a good sign that your existing furnace is ready to give up the ghost, and you should probably invest in a new one.
  • Age. An older heater isn’t necessarily ready to give up the ghost, but if your heater is more than 10 years old and evinces the kinds of problems described above, it’s definitely time to consider a replacement. You might also want to think abo a replacement if you want a more efficient heater (newer heaters are invariably more efficient than old ones) or if you want to install improved features like a variable speed blower.

Repair or replace? What to do when your heating malfunctions can be extremely tricky to determine. Luckily, the Plattsburgh, NY heating repair experts at Red Rock Mechanical can help. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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The Winter Is Already Here: Can I Put off Heating Maintenance for Another Year?

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

We all lead busy lives and sometimes mundane tasks can get put off longer than they should. Case in point: your heating system. Here in Burlington, VT, heating is a serious issue, and ideally every homeowner should schedule maintenance before winter starts in order to ensure that their home is kept warm without undue inefficiency. But life has a way of putting more pressing concerns in the forefront, and homeowners might very well find themselves in the middle of winter without scheduling a maintenance visit for their heater. “The winter is already here: can I put off heating maintenance for another year?” Yes, you can, though like everything else, it comes with a price.

Maintenance basically serves two purposes: to ensure your heater is running at maximum efficiency and to identify potential problem areas.  In both cases, it benefits you to schedule maintenance as soon as possible. In the first case, if you don’t clean off the dust and tighten loos bolts and fittings, the furnace is going to use more energy when it runs. This translates to higher monthly bills for you, as well as increasing wear and tear on individual components overall.

The second purpose is even more significant. If you can’t spot a smaller issue before it becomes a larger one, you run a greater risk of a more serious breakdown: costing you more money and possibly cutting you off from heat in the dead of winter. Considering the severity of the weather this time of year, that’s no small concern.

In light of that, it’s in your best interest to schedule a maintenance visit, even if winter has already arrived. True, you can push it off until next year, but doing so will ultimately cost you money in some form or another. If you need to schedule an appointment, call Red Rock Mechanical today. We work in Burlington, VT, heating maintenance and repair issues are our specialty, and we can help lower your bills and retain a reliable heating system with routine maintenance. Call us today to set up an appointment!

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