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Heating Tips

Heating Tips (45)

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.

It's that time of year again, a time of year when sneezing itchy eyes, headaches, sore throats, ear infections, can all come on fast. Certain times of year can be debilitating for some people. You miss school, work, and life can be miserable. Did you know a big part of it could be the indoor air you breathe? According to the environmental protection agency (EPA) unhealthy indoor air can trigger fever, flu, bronchitis, even chronic asthma.

The air may look ok, but if you could see what was floating around and what's on every surface, you'd cringe. So, what can you do about it? Well, you clean the air inside your home. Here are some products to clean, deodorize and disinfect your home, naturally.

Polarized Air FIlter

Replace your traditional furnace air filter with a polarized media air filtration system, theis advanced air cleaner captures up to 97 percent of particles in the air, including pet dander, pollen, and mold.

UV Air Purification

UVC lamps kill biological contamination, including bacteria and viruses, including airborne flu and COVID viruses.

Whole-Home HEPA Filter

HEPA filters are highly effective air cleaning systems that can remove 99.97 percent of particles in the air, including smoke, dust, pollen and pet dander.

All of these products can be easily installed in most homes with a ventilation system. If you'd like more information on improving the air quality in your home, give us a call today.

Watch This Video To Lean More

Choosing a furnace air filter

When it comes to home maintenance projects nothing could be easier than changing your furnace filter. Changing you furnace filter on a regular basis can help improve the air quality of your home. It can extend the lifespan of your furnace and air conditioner, and it can save you energy dollars. So how do you know which kind of furnace filter is right for you?

Let's take a look at three common types. First up is a disposable fiberglass filter. These have been around for many years and they are relatively inexpensive. The problem is, they little more than prevent large particles of dirt, lint and other debris from entering the furnace. Smaller particulate matter like mold and pollen will pass right through and circulate throughout your ductwork and home.

Another popular type of furnace filter is the disposable pleated filter made from cotton or polyester fibers. These are pretty good at removing smaller particles than a fiberglass filter. However, they usually need to be changed more often because they are so dense they can fill up with dirt and reduce air flow significantly.

Lastly, there's a polarized media air cleaner. This kind of filter uses an electronically charged surface that causes fine particles to cling to the filter surface. Small particles like pollen, pet dander and fine dust are trapped. This type of filter effectively turns the filter into a whole-house air cleaner. While this type of filter is more expansive than a fiberglass or pleated filter, in many cases the media filter can be cleaned several times before replacement, which can reduce the cost over time.

Selecting the right filter depends on your furnace and your needs. If you would like more information on selecting the right filter for your home, give us a call, we'll be happy to help answer your questions.

Watch the Video Below to Learn More

The 5 Components of an Indoor Air Quality System

Indoor Air Quality

While you furnace air cleaner does a good job of trapping the larger particles in the air, its primary function is to keep the inside of the furnace free of damaging dirt and debris. For truly clean and healthy indoor air there are additional parts to the indoor air quality system. These include:

Electronic Air Cleaners

Electronic air cleaners work by charging the particles and killing pathogens like bacteria, viruses and mold. By continuously filtering out pollutants, allergens and pathogens in your home, you'll have cleaner, healthier air.


When the air inside your home is too dry you may experience dry, chapped skin, upper respiratory irritation and increased allergies from dust and airborne particles.

A steam output humidifier is a good choice for larger homes or when you want more precise control over humidity. The humidifier flows water between electrodes to create steam which is then dispersed into the duct work. This design uses an easy to replace canister system and can be managed by your system's thermostat.

UV Lamps

Germicidal UV lamps use ultra violet light to kill mold and bacteria. They kill the organisms that can grow on the indoor coil of your cooling system. Eliminating these germs will not only improve your air quality, it will increase HVAC system performance as well.


During the more humid summer months, ventilators quietly replace stale indoor air with fresh outside air using the outgoing air to precondition incoming air, which helps keep your system efficient. Using specially designed, treated paper cores, they are also able to reduce humidity from the air before it enters your home.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, odorless and highly toxic gas. A CO alarm uses sophisticated sensor technology to detect and record levels of CO.

You can monitor the current CO level in your home on a large, easy-to-read digital display. When dangerous levels of CO are present, a loud, audible alarm alerts you and your family automatically.

In the dry Colorado mountain environment maintaining the right humidity level in the home is important for comfort and health. Dry, itchy skin, static shock and upper respiratory irritation are just of the discomforts that low humidity levels can cause during the winter months when humidity can reach desert-dry levels. A recent Mayo Clinic study* found that by increasing a room’s humidity, the flu virus' ability to stay airborne and survive on surfaces was reduced.  The study also found that the virus' ability to infect people, as compared to non-humidified rooms was reduced. Other research has also shown that low absolute humidity results in a greater chance of flu infection.

How Humidity Reduces the Spread of Viruses

The Mayo Clinic study was applied to a classroom full of children. It found that by increasing a classroom’s humidity, they could limit the flu’s ability to survive on surfaces and its ability to infect people, as compared to non-humidified rooms. The researches think that as humidity increases, the viral droplet size becomes larger, settling out of the air rapidly and reducing the likelihood of airborne transmission. The same theory applies to other contaminants in the air, such as dust mites, pet dander and bacteria, which will all linger longer in dry air.

So what is the ideal humidity level? 30-50% relative humidity is a good target for most homes during Colorado's dry winter months. The best way to increase humidity in the home is to use a whole-home humidifier that is connected to the home's ventilation system. The humidity level can then be set at the thermostat to find the right balance of heat and relative humidity to maintain comfort and reduce the airborne contamination.
Wednesday, 02 September 2020 23:09

Seal Your Air Ducts to Improve Comfort

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Air Duct Sealing

Did you know that nearly 40 percent of the conditioned air from your central heating and cooling system may not be making it to the rooms it is supposed to reach? The main culprit is leaking air ducts. It's often the reason some rooms never feel comfortable and the furnace or AC runs seems to run longer than it should, wasting energy and costing you money.

Your home's metal ductwork is full of joints, curves and creases that can allow air to leak out. A profesional HVAC technician can identify these leaks and offer solutions for providing tighter, improved airflow throughout the home. One option is professional duct sealing. Duct sealing involves measuring the rate of air entering and returning in through the HVAC system.

The first step to fixing air duct leaks is to have Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating inspect the efficiency of your HVAC system. We can identify any problem areas and recommend solutions to reduce air leaks. We offer advanced diagnostics and solutions to help your heating system operate at peak efficiency.

Monday, 10 February 2020 15:02

Choosing a New Thermostat

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Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats offer many advantages over conventional thermostats. They provide increased comfort, significant energy savings and convenient remote access to temperature controls. However, there are a few differences between manufacturers that you should be aware of. Here are a few questions to ask when installing a new smart thermostat.

Where Should My Smart Thermostat Be Installed?

When installing the thermostat it's important to keep it away from vents and sources of heat that could affect the temperature readings. Place the thermostat in an area with minimal disturbance such as an interior wall.

Do you have a C-Wire?

A C-wire, or common wire, provides continuous power to your smart thermostat display and WiFi connectivity. If you don’t have one or aren’t sure, give us a call and we can help install one if needed.

Will it work remotely from your phone?

If you plan to use it from your phone make sure that the app works on your device. If you're away from home, having access to temperature settings can be a bonus.

Is it compatible with Other Technology in Your Home?

One of most convenient features of smart thermostats is their ability to interact with voice assistants like Google Home, Alexa® and Siri®. Check the manufacturer's website to see if your assistant is compatible with the thermostat models you are considering.

Tracking Savings

If you're primarily interested in improving efficiency and lowering energy costs, consider a model with data tracking and reporting. You'll be able to see hour-by-hour and day-by-day how often your heating and cooling system are operating.

Have questions about smart thermostats? Give Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating a call, we're happy to help.


Each year thousands of people are sickened by carbon monoxide. Because the CO gas is colorless and odorless, it's important to take steps to prevent CO poisoning in the home.

Furnace Maintenance

Never use portable gas or charcoal grills indoors

Ensure that your heating system is operating safely by having an annual cleaning and safety inspection performed. Check appliances and vents for visible soot stains, blockage and corrosion. An improperly vented appliance such as a gas water heater or dryer can cause exhaust fumes to enter the home. Never use a gas oven to heat your home

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

In Colorado, every home is required to have a working CO detector. It's important that every level of your home have a CO detector installed. The detectors should be installed near bedrooms. When a CO detector detects and elevated level of dangerous gas, an alarm will go off alerting you of potential danger.

If you suspect you have carbon monoxide poisoning

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

• Dull headache
• Weakness
• Dizziness
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Shortness of breath
• Confusion
• Blurred vision

If you experience these symptoms do the following Get out of the home. Seek emergency medical treatment immediately Keep still to conserve oxygen in the blood.
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