Grand Lake Plumbing
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Heating Tips

Heating Tips (52)

Having your home's air ducts clean is important for ensuring healthy indoor and and to ensure your heating and cooling system are operating as efficietly as possible.The frequency with which you should clean your home's air ducts can vary based on several factors, including:


If someone in the household has allergies, you may want to have the ducts cleaned more frequently.


Homes with pets may need to have the ducts cleaned more often due to pet hair and dander.


A household where smoking occurs will likely require more frequent cleanings.

Home Renovations

Contruction can generate a lot of dust from drywall wood and other materials. If your home has recently been renovated—especially if there was asbestos abatement, lead paint removal, or significant dust—your air ducts should be cleaned.


Homes with high humidity may need more frequent duct cleaning to prevent mold growth.

HVAC Sytem Usage

Heavy usage of the heating and cooling system could necessitate more regular cleaning.

New Home or New HVAC System

If you've just moved into a new home or installed a new HVAC system, it's advisable to check and possibly clean the ductwork.

As a general guideline, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) suggests having your air ducts inspected every two years to assess the need for cleaning. Some experts recommend cleaning every 3-5 years, but this can vary based on the factors listed above.

If you notice signs like a musty or moldy smell when the HVAC system is running, visible mold inside the ducts, or an excessive amount of dust and debris, it may be time for a cleaning regardless of the last scheduled service.

Winter in Grand County brings not just the chill but also desert-dry indoor air. At Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating, we understand the importance of maintaining proper humidity levels. Low humidity can significantly impact indoor air quality, impacting your family's health and comfort. The best solution to desert-dry winter air is a whole-home humidifier that works in conjunction with your home's HVAC system to provide ideal relative humidity for your indoor environment.

The Impact of Low Humidity on Indoor Air Quality

Colorado's Low humidity levels in winter can significantly reduce indoor air quality. Dry air allows dust, allergens, viruses and particulates to circulate more freely and persistently. This can exacerbate respiratory problems and allergies. Moreover, the increase on airborne contamination in dry air can reduce the effectiveness of your home’s air filtration and heating systems, leading to uneven heating and higher energy costs.

Health and Comfort Considerations

The human body is acutely sensitive to humidity levels. In winter, low humidity can cause various health issues, including dry skin, irritated eyes, and exacerbated respiratory conditions. It can also lead to a higher susceptibility to colds and flu, as dry air dries out mucous membranes, reducing your body's ability to filter out viruses and bacteria.

How Low Humidity Can Damage Your Home

Your home feels the effects of low humidity, too. Wood flooring and furniture is particularly susceptible to dry air, causing it to crack and warp. This can lead to costly repairs and maintenance.

Whole Home Humidifiers: An Essential Accessory For Combating Dry Winter Air

What Are They and How Do They Work?

Whole home humidifiers integrate with your home's HVAC system to distribute moisture evenly throughout your house. They work by either evaporating water directly into the air or by using a steam system that heats water to create humidity. This ensures a consistent and controlled humidity level in your home, enhancing both comfort and air quality.

Maintaining proper humidity levels during our harsh Grand County winters is vital for your health, comfort, and the protection of your home. At Grand Lake PLumbing & Heating we recommend a whole-home humidifier as a key component of your HVAC system.

Looking for expert advice or installation services for whole home humidifiers? Give us a call. We have been keeping Grand County homeowners healthy and comfortable for over 100 years.

Heavy usage of the heating and cooling system could necessitate more regular cleaning. If you notice that your furnace air filter is excessively dirty after one month, it's a good sign you should consider more frequesnt duct cleaning to remove buildup from the HVAC system.

The frequency with which you should clean your home's air ducts can vary based on several factors, including:


If you or someone in the household has allergies or respirtory issues, you may want to have the ducts cleaned more frequently.


Homes with pets may need to have the ducts cleaned more often due to pet hair and dander.


A household where smoking occurs will require more frequent cleanings.

Home Renovations

If your home has recently been renovated—especially if there was asbestos abatement, lead paint removal, or significant dust—your air ducts should be cleaned.

Dry Climate

Homes in drier climates may need more frequent duct cleaning to prevent airbourne particles from circulating in the air.

New Home or New HVAC System

If you've just moved into a new home or installed a new HVAC system, it's advisable to check and possibly clean the ductwork.

As a general guideline, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) suggests having your air ducts inspected every two years to assess the need for cleaning. Some experts recommend cleaning every 3-5 years, but this can vary based on the factors listed above.

If you notice signs like a musty or moldy smell when the HVAC system is running, visible mold inside the ducts, or an excessive amount of dust and debris, it may be time for a cleaning regardless of the last scheduled service.


Thursday, 23 November 2023 16:15

Why Upgrade To a Smart Thermostat?

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For most homeowners in Grand County, home heating makes up the largest share of energy consumption during the winter months. While furnaces have become very efficient in recent years, and newer homes are better insulated, energy costs continue to rise. So how can you maintain comfort without running up your utility bill? Smart thermostats are a significant advancement in technology this are changing the way we interact with our home environments.

Smart Thermostat Advantages

What Are Smart Thermostats?

Smart thermostats are a new generation of thermostat technology that goes beyond basic temperature adjustment. They connect to your home's Wi-Fi network, allowing you to control your heating and cooling systems remotely from your smartphone or other devices.

With a smart thermostat, there's no need to manually program the temperature around your schedule. Using intelligent technology they learn from your behavior and automatically adjust settings to optimize comfort and energy use.

How Do Smart Thermostats Work?

Smart thermostats use a combination of sensors, algorithms, and cloud-based data to manage your home’s climate. They track your preferences and schedule, adjusting the temperature automatically for optimal comfort and efficiency. Some models even integrate with other smart home devices for a more cohesive experience.

What Features Are Available For Smart Thermostats?

Remote Control / Voice Control Integration

In addition to having their own apps, smart thermostats can be connected to voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple's Siri. This allows you to adjust the temperature using voice commands. For instance, you can say, “Alexa, set the thermostat to 72 degrees,” and the thermostat will comply without you needing to lift a finger.

Geo-Fencing & Learning Capabilities

Learns your preferences and schedules to optimize settings and automatically adjust settings based on your smartphone's location. For example, when you leave home for work the temperature is adjusted to save energy.

Some smart thermostats can use information from other smart devices, like security systems or smart locks, to determine if you’re home or away. If your smart door lock locks when you leave, the thermostat can switch to an away mode to save energy.

Energy Reports

Provides detailed reports on energy usage, helping you understand and reduce consumption.

Weather Forecast Integration

Smart thermostats often have the capability to connect to local weather services. In this way they can use real-time weather data to make more intelligent decisions about heating and cooling. For example, if a cool front is expected, the thermostat might delay turning on the AC, knowing cooler weather is on the way.

Maintenance Alerts

Notifies you about system maintenance needs or issues. Having an alert when the temperature has dropped below the preset temp when you're away from home can give you time to prevent frozen pipes and damage to your home.

Benefits of Smart Thermostats

Improved Comfort
Adapts to your lifestyle and adjusts the temperature for maximum comfort.

Control your home’s climate from anywhere, at any time.

Energy Savings
Reduces energy consumption by making intelligent adjustments, leading to lower utility bills.

Environmental Impact
Minimized energy usage contributes to a smaller carbon footprint.

Are Smart Thermostats Worth the Investment?

Smart thermostats are an investment in both comfort and cost savings. The initial cost is offset by the energy savings over time, not to mention the added convenience and enhanced control over your home's climate. For households in Grand Lake, where weather conditions can vary greatly, a smart thermostat can be a game-changer. Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating believes that smart thermostats are a valuable investment for today's home. They offer unprecedented control, convenience, and savings, making them an essential component of home automation and energy management.

Interested in upgrading to a smart thermostat? Contact Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating for a consultation and find out how you can enhance your home’s comfort and efficiency today.

Heating a home during a long Colorado winter can be costly. Having a reliable and efficient heating system is essential. However, just having a newer heating system isn't enough; regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring it runs efficiently, keeping your home cozy and your energy bills manageable.

Whether you have a older home with a boiler, or a new home with an energy efficient gas furnace, the experts at Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating have put together a few tips that will help keep your heating system running as efficiently and reliably as possible.

1. Scheduled Maintenance

Schedule a professional inspection of your heating system at least once a year, preferably well before winter sets in. A NATE certified technician will be able to detect and address any potential issues early on before they lead to problems down the road. You'll reast easier knowing your furnace is operating efficienctly and safely.

2. Change the Filters

One of the most straightforward yet effective maintenance tasks. Replacing or cleaning the furnace air filter regularly improves air quality and ensures optimal system efficiency.

3. Check the Thermostat

Ensure your thermostat is functioning correctly. An outdated or malfunctioning thermostat can lead to uneven heating and increased energy bills. Have a programmable thermostat? Make sure the settings match your household routine. Better yet, invest in a smart thermostat that learns your routine and preferences automatically, automating efficiency and comfort control.

4. Seal Leaks

Drafts and leaks can significantly affect the efficiency of your heating system. Ensure windows, doors, and ducts are sealed properly to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.

Did you know that air ducts can be sealed from the inside? This special spray-on treatment can greatly reduce heat loss throughout your home.

5. Duct Cleaning

Dust and debris can accumulate around vents, causing blockages and reducing the efficiency of your system. Regularly clean vents, ducts, and other components.

Schedule professional duct cleaning very few years or so to keep the air healthy and improve system efficiency.

6. Ensure Proper Ventilation

Blocked or covered vents and returns can strain your heating system. Make sure all vents are clear of furniture, carpets, or curtains.

7. Upgrade When Necessary

If your heating system is getting long in the tooth and frequently requires repairs, or your home has rooms that are too cold, consider upgrading to a newer, more efficient model. Today's systems often come with energy-saving features that can reduce your heating bills.

8. Improve Airflow With Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans not only circulate warm down air into your living space, they can also add style and light to complement any style.

By following these tips you make a significant difference in the performance and lifespan of your heating system. Regular maintenance not only ensures consistent warmth throughout the colder months but also contributes to energy efficiency and safety. So, as winter approaches, give your heating system the attention it deserves!

Looking to replace your old furnace or heat pump? The HVAC pros at Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating can assess your current system and provide a comprehensive heating system analysis to help you find the system that's a perfect fit for your home.

A Guide to Understanding AFUE Ratings for Homeowners

energy saving tips

When you're in the market for a new furnace or boiler for your Grand Lake area home, one of the most crucial factors to consider is its efficiency. Understanding how to measure furnace efficiency through Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings can help you make an smart decision.

What is AFUE and Why is it Important?

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It's a standardized metric used to evaluate how efficiently a furnace or boiler converts energy from natural gas, propane, or oil into heat. All new furnaces and boilers sold in the U.S. must display their AFUE ratings. This allows consumers to easily compare the efficiency of different models over a typical heating season.

How is AFUE Calculated?

The AFUE rating is calculated as a ratio of the annual heat output produced by a furnace or boiler to its annual fuel consumption. For example, an AFUE of 90% means that 90% of the energy in the fuel is converted into heat for your home, while the remaining 10% is lost through the exhaust or other inefficiencies.

Limitations of AFUE Ratings

It's important to note that AFUE ratings don't account for all types of heat loss. For instance, they don't consider heat lost through your home's air duct system, which can account for as much as 35% of total energy loss. Therefore, when upgrading your HVAC system, it's highly recommended to consult with a certified HVAC technician to assess your home's ventilation system.

Why Choose a High-Efficiency Furnace?

Choosing a high-efficiency furnace can significantly reduce your energy bills during our long Colorado winters. It's an investment that pays off in the long run, not just in cost savings but also in reducing your carbon footprint.

Tips for Maximizing Furnace Efficiency

In addition to choosing an efficient furnace, there are other steps you can take to improve heating system efficiency. This includes scheduling regular maintenance checks to ensure your system is running optimally.

Sealing gaps around windows and doors and properly insulating your home helps retain heat and reduce the workload on your furnace.

Smart Thermostats

The type of thermostat you use use will also have a significant impact on system efficiency. Consider installing a smart thermostat for more precise control over your heating system. By learning your household's routine a smart thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature, ensuring that your furnace and air conditioner run only when they are needed.

Understanding AFUE ratings is essential for any homeowner looking to invest in a new heating system. By choosing a high-efficiency model and taking steps to minimize heat loss, you can enjoy a warm, comfortable home while saving money and energy.

replacing furnace filter

When it comes to maintaining a comfortable and healthy indoor environment, your furnace air filter plays an important role. Here ere are five essential things you need to know about furnace air filters to optimize HVAC performance and keep your air clean

The Importance of Regular Filter Replacement

Over time, furnace air filters collect dust, pollen, pet dander, and other airborne particles. As a result the filter will gradually become clogged, reducing airflow, and forcing your furnace to work harder. This will not only increase energy consumption, it can also lead to premature wear and tear on the internal parts of the furnace. Most experts recommend replacing disposable filters every 1-3 months, while washable filters should be cleaned on a similar schedule. Check with the filter manufacturer for the replacement interval for your filter.

Different Types of Filters

Furnace air filters come in various types, each with its own set of advantages:

  • Disposable Fiberglass Filters - These are the most common and are effective for blocking large dust particles. However, they might not be the best choice for filtering out smaller particles like pollen or mold spores.
  • Pleated Filters - Made from polyester or cotton paper, these filters can trap smaller particles and are more efficient than fiberglass filters.
  • HEPA Filters - High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can capture at least 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in diameter, making them ideal for households with allergy sufferers.
  • Washable Filters - These are reusable and can be a cost-effective choice in the long run, but they need regular cleaning to maintain efficiency.

Why MERV Ratings Matter

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating indicates a filter's ability to capture and hold particles and pollutants. Ratings range from 1 (least efficient) to 20 (most efficient). For residential furnaces, a MERV rating between 8 and 11 is typically sufficient. However, if someone in the household has respiratory issues or allergies, consider a filter with a higher MERV rating.

Do Furnace Filters Improve Indoor Air Quality?

The main purpose of a furnace filter is to keep dirty air from damaging your heating system. However, a clean and efficient furnace air filter can improve indoor air quality. By trapping pollutants, it prevents them from recirculating in your home. This is especially crucial for households with pets or sources of indoor air pollution.

If you are concerned about particulate matter in your home, a quality HEPA filter or indoor air cleaner will do a better job of reducing the risk of respiratory issues and allergies caused by indoor air pollution.

Cost vs. Value

While it might be tempting to opt for the cheapest filter available, investing in a higher-quality HEPA filter can lead to energy savings, a longer-lasting furnace, and improved indoor air quality.

Furnace air filters are more than just a routine maintenance item; they're a crucial component in ensuring a healthy and comfortable living environment.


Thursday, 15 September 2022 13:56

Money Saving Plumbing & Heating Tips

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Money Saving Plumbing & Heating Tips

Energy Saving Tips

Heating the air and water in the average home is very energy intensive, making up a large percentage of a typical utility bill. With today's skyrocketing energy costs, Coloradans are looking for ways to save on home heating costs.

When systems are not maintained or used in the optimal way, it can end up wasting a lot of energy and money. Here are some cost-effective ways you can maximize your energy savings around the home during the winter months – and year round.

Improving Water Heating Efficiency

Tank-style water heaters have to constantly heat a large volume of water. An inexpensive way to help the water heater work more efficiently is to cover the tank with an insulated water heater blanket. While you may not notice much heat when placing your hand on the tank surface, the amount of heat that escapes over the the entire surface is significant enought to make the cover a good investment. When installing the blanket be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions.

Over time, naturally occuring minerals in the water can accumulate at the bottom of the water heater tank. The more residue at the bottom of the tank, the longer the heating element needs to remain on to heat the tank. The solution is to drain and flush the water heater tank on a regular basis to remove the sediment build-up. The frequency of how often you should flush your water heater tank will vary depending on how hard your home's water is. If you have to clean your shower heads more than once a year, for example, we recommend flushing your water heater tank annually. Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating can help perform water heater maintenance if needed.

In the typical household bathing uses the most hot water. To reduce hot water usage low-flow shower heads are an inexpensive way to save significantly on hot water costs. Laundry is another task that uses a lot of hot water. Newer laundry detegents have been formulated to clean more effectively with cold water. Give these detergents a try and see if you can clean laundry with cold water.

Is your water heater more than ten year old? It may be time to replace it with a more efficient model. When shopping for a new water heater be sure to check the EnergyStar® label. It will show you how much energy you can expect to spend annually based on average water usage and utility rates. The purchase of a new water heater that is more efficent may allow you to quickly recover the cost of replacing an older, less efficent unit.

If you find that your household is running out of water too frequently, consider a tankless water heater. Tankless or "on demand" water heaters heat water only when it's needed, significantly reducing water heating costs.

Improving Heating Efficiency

Even if your home has the newest, most efficient furnace that money can buy, if your home is poorly insulated and leaking air, it's still going to end up wasting energy and costing you money. Take a look up in your attic and make sure that it's sufficiently insulated. Replace worn out weatherstripping around windows and doors. A little bit of work insualting your home will not only make you more comforable, it will improve heating efficeincy, regardless of the age of your furnace.

Before the cold weather arrives, have Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating tune-up your furnace. A poorly maintained furnace will operate less efficiently, will break down more ofen and will need replacement sooner than a unit that undergoes annual heating system maintainece. Also, remember to regularly replace your furnace filter. A clean filter will improve efficiency and prevent wear and tear on your furnace from dirt and grime.

While many homes have programmable thermostats, it's suprising how few people actually take the time to set the thermostat to match the household routine. Programming the thermostat to warm the home in the morning and turn down the heat when your asleep or away from home can greatly reduce heating and cooling costs.

 Smart therostats, such as the Nest® and Ecobee®, provide a great advantage over traditional programmable thermostats – they learn a household's routine and automatically and adjust the temperature acccordingly to maximize efficiency – with little to no effort.

Ceiling fans are often thought of appliances that are used in hot climates to cool the air, but they can be just as useful in cold weather. Reversing the diretion of the fan in the winter will circulate the warm air from the ceiling to living space below, making you more comfortable without having the turn up the heat.

Friday, 19 August 2022 16:47

Tips to Save Eergy This Winter

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Replace furnace air filter

With energy costs increasing over last season, many Grand Country area homeowners are looking for ways to cut their energy usage and save money this heating season.


Insulate ceilings to R-38 levels if your attic has less than R-19. Caulk around windows, doors and anywhere air is leaking in or out. Apply weatherstriping around windows and doors. Wrap heating and cooling ducts with duct wrap.

Lower the Thermostat

Set the  thermostat at 68 degrees or lower. 3 percent to 5 percent more energy is used for each degree the furnace is set above 68 degrees and for each degree the air conditioner is set below 78 degrees. Even better, upgrade to a smart thermostat that learns your routine and turns the heat down when the home is unoccupied.

Keep Up With Maintenance

Clean or replace furnace filters regularly, following manufacturer's instructions. Schedule annual heating system maintenance.

Replace Old Windows and Doors

Replace old windows and doorswith new, high performance multi-pane windows with a better efficiency rating.

Use Window Coverings

Install insulated window shades and open them on sunny days to help warm rooms.

Close Off Unused Fireplaces

Close fireplace dampers when it is not being used. Avoid relying on fireplaces for home heating, they are no where near as efficient as central heating and can make outlying rooms colder.

Water Heating

Set the water heater thermostat at 140 degrees or "normal."

Use an insulated water heater blanket

Install energy-saver showerheads

Wash your laundry using a cold water detergent

Repair Plumbing Fixtures

Fix or replace defective plumbing valves or dripping faucets. A single dripping water faucet can waste over 200 gallons of water a month.

Wash only full loads in a dishwasher

Use the shortest cycle that will get your dishes clean. If operating instructions allow, turn off the dishwasher before the drying cycle, open the door and let the dishes dry naturally.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021 18:27

No Heat? Here's What To Check

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No Heat? Here's What To Check

It's the first freezing cold night of the year in Colorado and you go to switch on the furnace... and nothing happens. What should you do? It could be an simple fix, so here's what to check:

  1. Check That the Power Is On - Even though it's gas powered, a furnace requires electricity to run, so check the power to the unit at the circuit breaker panel. If a circuit is tripped, switch it back to the ON position. Note, if the circuit trips again, DO NOT RESET IT MORE THAN ONCE, this is a safety measure to prevent an electrical fire in the event of a malfunction. Have an electrician inspect the system.
  2. Check the Thermostat Is Turned To the HEAT Position, then try turning the temperature up a couple degrees for testing purposes.
  3. Check the Furnace Condensate Pan (Drain Pan)- During normal operation water will drain from the air conditioner or furnace into a pan. If the drain for the pan is clogged the pan will fill up and trigger a float switch, preventing the operation of the furnace. If the float switch is up (activated), you will need to clear the obstruction to allow water to empty and then reset the switch.
  4. Check the Furnace Filter. An extremely dirty and clogged filter will make the furnace overheat, which will cause it to shut down as a safety precaution. Install a new filter to allow it to breathe easier.
  5. Check the Pilot Light. This only applies to older gas furnaces. Most newer units have electric ignition. If your pilot light is out consult your owner's manual for the correct way to light the pilot.
  6. Check the Fuel Supply. If there are other gas appliances in the home, such a gas range or fireplace, check that they are functioning.

If none of the above steps works and the furnace still won't turn on, call Grand Lake . We'll get the heat back on FAST.

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