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Heating Tips

Heating Tips (13)


As the spring arrives in the Grand Lake area and trees, grass and plant pollen fill the air, many allergy sufferers will spend more time inside their home than outside. While the pollen levels are lower indoors, overall air quality can actually be worse indoors. The reason is our homes are tightly sealed, trapping allergens like dust, pet dander, mold, cooking fumes and household chemicals. Dirty air ducts and furnace filters can make the air even unhealthier.

To keep the air in your home as clean and healthy as possible, Grand Lake Plumbing recommends taking the following steps:
  • Have your carpets and window coverings professionally cleaned at least once a year
  • Change your furnace air filter at least once every month
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filtration system
  • Keep windows closed during the day if possible, this is when airborne pollen levels tend to be highest
  • Maintain proper humidity levels using a humidifier or dehumidifier to manage moisture levels if needed
If their are family members with severe allergies or respiratory problems, consider installing a high efficiency air cleaner. Whole-home air cleaners works with your central heating and cooling system, employing a sophisticated media filter to capture and remove dust, pet dander, mold spores, dust mites, viruses, pollen, bacteria, smoke, odors and more. The key to effective air filtration is the use of a polarized-Media electronic air cleaners. As microscopic sub-micron particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) enter the filter, they become polarized. The polarized particles get larger as they join together with other polarized particles and collect on a disposable low-static polarized media pad with an activated charcoal center screen.

This allergy season start enjoying the cleanest air possible, with a whole house air filtration system installed by Grand Lake Plumbing. Call today for an in home consultation.
Homeowners in Colorado mountain communities routinely ask us if geothermal energy could be a cost effective way to heat and cool their home. Geothermal offers significant advantages over conventional electric, gas and oil based heating systems, as well as a few disadvantages.

Geothermal is not new, it operates on the principle of heat exchange and the fact that the temperature underground is a more or less a consistent 55 degrees. To tap this energy potential, pipes are installed underground to circulate water underground. Water is circulated to an energy pump inside the home that takes advantage of the temperature difference to extract the energy from the water.

During the warmer summer months, cooling with 55F water is more efficient than utilizing a conventional condenser powered by electricity. During the cold winter months, generating heat from 55F water is more efficient than heating 15F air with fossil fuels. Sounds simple enough, right? So what's the catch?

The Disadvantages of Geothermal Systems

The main disadvantage of home geothermal systems is the initial installation cost. Depending on the conditions for drilling, the average residential geothermal energy system can cost between $10,000-$25,000. It's a significant investment that can take many years to pay off.

Another disadvantage to geothermal systems is that the geothermal pump that circulates the water requires a conventional power source, although the power consumption is relatively low.

Advantages of Geothermal Systems

The primary advantage of residential geothermal systems is that they offer homeowners a truly renewable, green energy source that will never run out and is virtually cost free. Geothermal is among the most environmentally friendly ways to heat and cool your home, with a very small carbon footprint.

Geothermal energy is also reliable. Because the temperature of the ground will always be consistent, energy costs and output will be reliable from the minute the system goes online and for many years down the road. Compared this to the unpredictable nature of wind and solar energy and even fossil fuels that can fluctuate in cost based on market conditions, geothermal is a safe bet for home energy savings.

Interested in learning if geothermal is right for heating and cooling your Colorado mountain home? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating, we can help answer all your questions.

Radiant floor heating has long been a popular choice for heating homes in Colorado. By utilizing hot water tubing or electric conduit hidden underneath the floor, radiant floor heating provides soft, even heating through thermal radiation. Compared to other types of home heating, radiant floor heat offers the following advantages:

1 It's cleaner - There are no air ducts to trap and blow dirt and dust around the home.

2 It's quieter - There are no fans or clanking radiators to announce the heat has just turned on.

3 It's efficient – Most of the energy is converted directly into heat, not used to power a blower.

4 It's zoned for comfort - While most forced air systems operate best when utilizing all the air volume in the home, radiant heat can simply be turned on where it's needed most.

5 It's comfortable – Unlike forced air heating which can dry the air out, radiant heat makes it easier to maintain proper humidity, a real bonus in Colorado's dry climate.

Have questions about Radiant Floor heating? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating, we're Colorado's oldest, most experienced heating company.

Being the lowest space in the home, heating a basement can be a challenge. When finishing a basement a common heating option is to simply use the existing central heating unit, by expanding the home's ductwork and ventilation system.

Another option for homeowners looking to provide heating as well as ambiance is to install a gas fireplace. If an existing chimney is available it's a straightforward installation process. Otherwise, a ventless gas fireplace is another option.

Other basement heating options include mini-split system (also called ductless systems) and radiant baseboard heating. Keep in mind that while electric baseboard heat can be less expensive to install, depending on how much volume you're heating, it can cost more to heat with electric heat than natural gas.

Have questions about heating your basement? Give Grand Lake Plumbing a call, we can help.

Tuesday, 08 December 2015 00:10

Grand Lake Winter Heating Checklist

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Winter is here in the Colorado mountains! If you haven't done so already, call us to schedule your heating system tune-up. Keeping your furnace maintained will keep it running longer while helping it operate more efficiently. To keep your home warm and safe on your heating bill, here are a few tips:
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  1. Replace your furnace filter. If it's been in use for more than a month, replace it.
  2. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you'll save up to 5 percent on heating costs.
  3. Program your thermostat. If you're on a regular schedule, set your thermostat to turn the temperature down when you're not at home.
  4. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans to direct the warm air downward towards the living space.
  5. Check your smoke and CO detectors. Replace the batteries as needed.
  6. Ensure that air ducts are not covered or restricted by rugs or furniture.
  7. Seal air leaks around windows and doors.
  8. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning.
If you have problems with your heating system, give us a call anytime.

Over the last decade or so gas furnace technology has advanced considerably, with AFUE efficiency ratings now exceeding 95 percent. Many furnaces manufactured in the 1990s had efficiency ratings in the 60 percent range. One of the main reasons for this dramatic increase in efficiency is modulating gas furnace technology.

Traditional single or two-stage furnaces operate at fixed rates and will often exceed the preset temperature before shutting off, resulting in wide temperature swings. A modulating furnace is able to adjust it's gas input, inducer speed, and blower airflow to operate at 1 percent increments from 35 to 100 percent, providing more accurate control over temperature. While it may run more often, it can do so at a lower rate than a two-stage furnace.

The advantages of modulating furnaces include increased comfort, reduced operating costs and quieter operation. With a two-stage furnace you may notice a change in temperature right before your furnace turns on and right after the furnaces shuts off. With a modulating gas furnace, the temperature change will be imperceptible.

Have questions about choosing the right gas furnace for your home? Call Grand Lake Plumbing. We offer a full line of high efficiency furnaces for every home.



Tuesday, 03 December 2013 03:04

Fall Heating Maintenance Tips

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Fall Heating Maintenance Tips

Early November before the cold weather sets in and the snow begins to fall, is a good time to ensure your home's HVAC system is ready for the long Colorado winter ahead. The experts at Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating recommend that homeowners perform some simple fall heating and air conditioning maintenance tasks.

Replace Furnace Air Filters
One of the simplest ways to keep your furnace running at peak efficiency is to ensure that you change your air filter regularly. Your furnace will breathe easier, and so will you!

Check Your Thermostat Settings
If you have a programmable thermostat, check the timer function to ensure it's set to turn on and off at the proper time. A properly set thermostat will keep you comfortable and

Cleaning Your Furnace
Clean around your furnace and check that there is nothing obstructing the vents around the blower compartment.

Air Vents
Check your home's supply and return air vents to ensure there are no obstructions and that the air is flowing freely.

Insulation
Consider adding more insulation to your attic in order to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Weather stripping is another relatively inexpensive way to keep the cold weather at bay this winter.

Hot Room, Cold Room - Tips For Achieving Even Temperatures In Your Home

In a typical house it's not unusual to have temperature differences of several degrees from room to room. Attics, basements and additions usually have the greatest air temperature differences. When one room is uncomfortably hot or cold there are several factors to consider.

Ensure You Have Enough Insulation

In a cold climate like Colorado, proper insulation is essential. The recommended R-value for attics is 43, and an R-value of 21 for walls

Seal Air Leaks Around Windows and Doors

Proper weather sealing will eliminate drafts and heat loss. It will also help your furnace and air conditioner work more efficiently.

Check Your Air Delivery System

One of the most common problems we see in home heating and cooling systems that are not working well are air ducts that are not properly sized to move air throughout the home. To check for potential problems Grand Lake Plumbing can perform an air delivery analysis to determine if air is reaching all areas of your home.

Seal Air Duct Leaks

Sealing the gaps and joints in your air ducts will allow your furnace and air conditioner to work more efficiently and ensure all the air reaches all areas of your home

Thursday, 10 October 2013 14:27

Should You Repair Or Replace Your Older Furnace?

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Should You Repair Or Replace Your Older Furnace?

It inevitably happens with every old furnace, you wake up on a freezing Colorado winter morning and your bedroom is ice cold. You turn the thermostat up, but there's nothing but silence. Your furnace has stopped working. If you're lucky, it's a simple, inexpensive fix. But if the furnace is getting up in years and needs extensive repairs, how do you decide if the advantages of installing a new furnace is a better solution than repairing the old unit and hoping it lasts through another long winter?

How long will a gas furnace last?

A 2007 study by the National Association of Home Builders found that gas furnaces last an average of 15 to 20 years. So consider the age of the unit when deciding whether to repair or replace. When a furnace is installed most technicians will write the year the equipment was installed right on the unit. You can also look for a metal identification plate, usually on the inside of chamber door (be sure the unit is off and cool before checking inside). Record the model and serial number, then call the manufacturer’s customer service number to obtain the date of manufacture

How Much Is Your Old Furnace Costing You?

If the furnace is beyond three-quarters of its life expectancy and repairing it would cost a 1/3 or more of the amount of a new furnace, it may be more economical to replace the unit.

Comparing Energy Savings With A New Furnace

In these days of high fuel costs, it's important to consider is the efficiency of the old furnace versus a newer unit. A standard measure of fuel efficiency is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency number (AFUE). AFUE measures the percentage of the fuel that’s converted to heat rather than being lost through inefficiency.

If the furnace is 20 or more years old, its AFUE is probably about 70. New furnaces will have an AFUE of at least 80%, which means you’ll burn 10% less fuel, that's 10% savings of your heating bill. High efficiency furnaces go as high a 95% AFUE , which could save you 25% on your heating bill.
Monday, 09 September 2013 01:42

Getting Your Furnace Ready For the Heating Season

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If your home has a gas furnace, it’s important to learn how to check your unit for potential problems to prevent unexpected breakdowns or inefficient operation.  Troubleshooting your gas furnace can help you to avoid costly repair bills that may arise if potential issues are left undiscovered.

Turning On Your Gas Furnace

Typically, a gas furnace is operated through the same thermostat as the air conditioner.  This means that when the weather turns cold, you can simply turn your thermostat to the ‘warm’ or ‘heat’ setting and then adjust the temperature to your liking.
Inspecting and Replacing Your Furnace Filter

Before beginning, it's important to turn the power off to the unit. Many furnaces have electrical components near the filter. Open the cover of the unit and then remove the filter.  You can use a vacuum to clean the surface dust from a plastic filter, then simply wash it and dry it before replacing it.  Always operate the furnace with a filter in place. You will need to replace a cardboard filter every few months, or as recommended by the filter manufacturer.

Testing Airflow

Check every room in your home by feeling for the airflow that comes from the vents.  If airflow is insufficient to areas of your home, you should have a Air Specialties check your ducts to ensure they are properly sized for air delivery throughout your home.

If Your Gas Furnace Will Not Ignite

An inoperable pilot light is one of the main reasons that a gas furnace will fail to ignite.  To ignite the pilot, turn the gas cock off and then push the pilot reset button while turning the cock to ‘pilot’.  Get a match and light it, then hold it near the furnace pilot to relight it.

Furnace Troubleshooting Checklist

Cleaning the system every couple of years helps the unit to run more efficiently and last longer.  During an annual heating system inspection your technician will lubricate the furnace ports and bearings, reducing the amount of energy the unit needs to operate.  Your technician will also clean the furnace burners if they appear dirty.

Vent Blockages

Cleaning the vents and ducts will remove blockages that can interfere with heat flow in the home. In the winter, ice can block the outdoor vents. Make sure to turn off the unit before you attempt to remove the ice.

Sealing Air Leaks To Prevent Heat Loss

If you notice air leaks emanating from your system, use caulk to seal off any gaps. In addition, placing weather stripping around doors and windows will keep your home from losing heat, which makes your furnace run more often.

What To Do If You Smell Gas

If you ever smell gas coming from the furnace, leave the area and call your gas company right away.  Avoid lighting matches or using any electrical appliances until you are safely away from the area.

What Your Neighbors Are Saying...

"Grand Lake Plumbing is fair, honest and affordable. We have been using Grand Lake Plumbing for our commercial business and personally for 10+ years now, and have always found them to be dependable. Thank you, Grand Lake Plumbing, for taking such good care of us over the years.."

– Jackie Tompkins
Google+ Review

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Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating
12208 US Highway 34
Grand lake, CO 80447

Phone 970-627-3441

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