Let’s Look Over Your Heating System for Repairs—Before You Need It!

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningYou might see the word heating in the title of this post and feel a laugh coming on. The temperatures outside are still hitting 100°F during the middle of the day! You’ve already got enough heat on your mind, and using your home air conditioning system as efficiently as possible so you can make it through this fall heat wave is priority #1.

However, much of home comfort is about planning: anticipating your needs so you can have them taken care of before they become actual needs. We do experience cool winter evenings here in the Southern California deserts, and if you want your heat pump, gas furnace, or electric furnace to work its best from the start, it’s a smart idea to use the time when you don’t need a heater to see if there are any problems with it.

It Begins with Regular Fall Maintenance

Before you get deep into November, busy planning for holidays and guests and a million other things, take a short moment to contact our offices to schedule your annual heating maintenance inspection and tune-up. This gives our skilled technicians an opportunity to carefully look over your heater (no matter what type) to locate places that need repairs. These are the sorts of repairs you may not even notice when the heater first turns on in winter, but which will start causing power drain and wasted money from the first—and then the malfunctions will start.

Our heating experts examine all the components in your heater:

  • The blower fan
  • The filters (we’ll replace them, and show you how to do it the rest of the season)
  • The main burner, which we’ll clean if necessary
  • Leaks in the cabinets
  • The heat exchanger to check for cracks
  • The flue
  • All electrical connections
  • The gas valve
  • The fan belt
  • The pilot light/electronic ignition system

There’s tune-up work involved as well, such as adjusting burner flames and lubricating motors.

Don’t Delay if You Do Need Repairs

If our technicians find something wrong with your heater that can’t be fixed on the spot as part of the tune-up, they’ll help you schedule the repair work necessary. It’s important not to delay with these just because it’s still hot outside and you have a hard time imagining needing the heating system. You don’t want to try to arrange for these repairs after you start using your heater. It’s inconvenient, and you’ll be wasting energy and placing the system at a high risk of breaking down—making the repair costlier.

If you use a gas-powered furnace, the repairs are especially important since there’s the potential for gas leaks and combustion hazards. A big part of maintenance is ensuring you have a safe heating system as well as an effective one.

In addition to working with air conditioning concerns of all kind, we also provide heating repair in Palm Desert, CAand elsewhere in the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities. Start this fall by arranging first for an inspection and tune-up through our maintenance program.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning is open 24 hours to see to your comfort needs.

What to Do When Your Furnace Trips a Circuit Breaker

Here’s a situation you don’t want to run into during one of our colder days: you turn on the heat to get the furnace warming up your home, and the furnace turns on for a moment… only to shut down because a circuit breaker has tripped. You reset the breaker, try the furnace again… and the same thing happens. What’s wrong? And is there anything you can do about it?

Yes, this can happen to a gas furnace as well

If you have a gas furnace, you might wonder how this might occur in the first place. But take a moment to think about how a gas furnace runs. It does require electricity for some of its components, such as the blower. And most modern furnaces have electronic ignition systems rather than standing pilot lights. Both electric and gas furnaces can trip circuit breakers if they malfunction.

Steps you can take

  • Check on the furnace filter to see if it is clogged. This filter needs to be changed every 1 to 3 months during the year. In Southern California, where the furnace won’t run as often, you can expect to need to change the filter every three months. If the filter is clogged, it will place extra burden on the blower motor, leading to circuit overload.
  • Go through the house and check on all the room vents. Open any that are shut or that have been accidentally covered by moved furniture. Blocked vents can cause the blower motor to overload.
  • Look to see if there are any other appliances on the same circuit as the furnace. One of these appliances might be the issue rather than the furnace.
  • If none of the above is the source of the problem, call for professionals.

You can rely on our heating repair experts to see that your furnace is quickly restored to working order.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning is here to see to your comfort needs around the year in Beaumont, CA. For exceptional customer service, please give our office a call.

Why Are Gas Furnaces So Common for Home Heating?

Today’s homes can have many different types of heating systems warming them: heat pumps, boilers, ductless mini splits, electric furnaces, and radiant in-floor heating. But the gas furnace is still the heating king, found in millions of home from the midnight sun regions of Alaska to the palm-dotted beaches of Florida—as well as here in the dry deserts of Southern California. What makes this type of residential heater so common?

There are benefits to all of the systems we listed above. Finding the one to meet a home’s comfort needs can be thorny, and this is why it’s necessary to have the assistance of HVAC professionals when it come to a new heating installation. The gas furnace, however, has a long list of benefits that often give it a leading edge. Here are some of them:

Energy savings

Natural gas is a less costly energy source than electricity or propane. A home using natural gas for heat rather than electricity will have much lower utility bills.

High efficiency

Few types of heaters are more efficient at delivering heat to a home than a natural gas furnace. It’s easier to have an even spread of heat around a house with a gas furnace doing the work. The lag time for electric furnaces is much longer; with a gas furnace, you won’t have to wait for the comfort you want.

Great heat output

Natural gas furnaces can put out higher amounts of heat than almost any other type of comfort system. This is why you’ll find gas furnaces in parts of the country that have the coldest winters. But this high heat output serves a purpose in our warmer climate: it can keep the draftiest house warm in the winter.

Flexibility

It’s easy to integrate gas furnaces into HVAC systems and pair them with air conditioners. There’s usually no need to change any connected appliances when a gas furnace is put in.

Safety

You might find this one a bit curious. Aren’t gas furnaces potentially hazardous? Yes—but safety standards are so strict today that there’s little danger. In fact, natural gas burns cleaner than other heating fuels and this means fewer harmful emissions. When furnaces receive routine annual maintenance, they are among the safest options for home heating.

We need to emphasize again that when it comes to options for home heating in La Quinta, CA and elsewhere in the desert area we serve, there isn’t a single system that works for every house and family. The benefits we listed above make gas furnaces sound like the best pick—and in many cases they are.

But even gas furnaces have some drawbacks. The main one is that they don’t work in homes without a gas connection! If you have an all-electric home, we recommend looking into comfort options like a heat pump, which is an efficient heater and air conditioner in one. Our technicians are glad to help narrow down the range of choices so you end up with the right heat system to match your comfort needs and budget.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning provides the Inland Empire and the Desert community with superb HVAC services.

3 Things to Consider Before Installing a New Heating System

Spring has arrived and with it, your heater will see reduced use as you slowly shift to air conditioning season. That makes this an ideal time to consider installing a new heating system, especially if your existing system is old, inefficient or has suffered serious problems over the course of the winter. Here in Redlands, heating installation makes a lot of sense at this time of year, when temperatures are still mild and our scorching summer heat hasn’t yet forced us to turn our attention to our air conditioners. A new heating system can be a boon to your household’s comfort levels come winter, but you need to do a little preparation when you decide to make the purchase.

Did you know that Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning can help you understand the things to consider before installing a new heating system, then set up your new heater with courtesy and care. Give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did! 

3 things to consider before installing a new heating system.

  • Make sure it’s sized properly. The power levels of a heater need to correspond to the size of your house (as well as a few other details like the amount of insulation and sunlight exposure in your home). If it’s not powerful enough, it won’t work effectively. If it’s too powerful, it will cycle on and off rapidly, wasting energy and increasing stress on the system. Hopefully, your old furnace was properly sized, but now is an excellent time to make sure the new unit fits your house.
  • Check the AFUE rating. AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, which measures how well your heater uses energy. It’s basically a percentage telling you how much of the heater’s energy goes into actually heating the home. (The rest is lost to waste and inefficiency.) Your new heater should have as high a rating as you can afford: ideally higher than your old furnace if you can manage it.
  • Look for upgrades. You may have an older thermostat in your home. Or perhaps your existing furnace doesn’t have a zone control system, allowing you to tailor the temperatures to different settings in different rooms. Now is the time to consider such new additions, allowing you to exercise greater flexibility with your heating and perhaps save money on monthly energy costs as well.

If you live in Redlands, heating installation can be performed by the experts at Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning. Give us a call today!

Does Heating Maintenance Really Do Any Good?

A few weeks ago, when it was still officially summer, we posted about the importance of getting heating maintenance scheduled during October. It’s still hot here in the Southern California deserts, and that means you have time to arrange for maintenance if you haven’t done so yet.

You might think that this seems a bit extreme. Is this maintenance job that important, and does it have to be done every year? The answer is yes all around, as we’ll show below.

Here are ways heating maintenance makes a difference

  • Safety: If you have a natural gas furnace for a heating system, it must have an annual inspection from licensed HVAC technicians. This will uncover if the furnace has any repair issues that will lead to unsafe conditions if not corrected. This includes cracked heat exchangers and blocked flues. You don’t want to worry about the safety of your family during the days when your furnace is running.
  • A longer service life for your equipment: You may not use your heating system as often as homeowners in other parts of the country, but any amount of use will lead to the system wearing down. Maintenance keeps age from catching up with your heater too fast, and you can enjoy a better return on your investment in the system.
  • Saves money on day-to-day costs: If you simply let your heater go year after year without inspections, cleanings, and adjustments, it will respond by draining more power as it works. Maintenance protects the efficient operation of your heating system, so you’ll save money every day it runs.
  • It stops inconvenient breakdowns: We’re fortunate that when a heating system fails here, it doesn’t pose a serious threat the way it might in, say, Minnesota. It’s still a large inconvenience, however, and one that’s easy to avoid thanks to maintenance.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers heating services to Palm Desert, CA and throughout the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.

Plan in September for October Heating Maintenance

Summer weather in Southern California extends right through September and into October, with maybe a few spots of overcast and cooler days popping up during that time. Most homeowners won’t even think about turning on their heating systesm until December.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give some thought to your heating system during this time of the year—even when it’s occasionally over a 100°F outdoors! Planning heating maintenance in September for an October visit is a good timetable for preparing your home for whenever cooler weather arrives. It’s all too easy to forget heating maintenance entirely during a hot autumn in Southern California, so get on it now so that it’s taken care of!

Is heating maintenance really that important?

Yes, even in the Desert Communities of California! Maintenance helps a heater work for as many years as possible so that it will provide the best return on the initial investment in it. These regular tune-ups and inspections will also ensure that the heater works at the highest possible energy efficiency. You don’t want to waste immense amount of energy on running your heater during the small span of days when it has to work. If you have a gas furnace (the most common type of home heating system), maintenance is an essential part of keeping the system operating safely. Don’t let a year go by without this important service.

A professional maintenance program makes it easy

To make sure that you always have your fall heating maintenance—as well as your vital spring air conditioning maintenance—you only need to sign up for our maintenance program. Our technicians will take care of all the hard work, and we’ll remind you each time your system is due for its next inspection and tune-up. Contact our team today to find out more details about our maintenance program.

Call Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning for service in Banning, CA.

Why You Must Never Try to Fix a Furnace on Your Own!

Here in the So. California deserts, the winter isn’t as intimidating a season as in the northern and Midwestern parts of the country. Yet the winter nights can turn cool, and you’ll need your home’s furnace to put in part-time work through the season. When your furnace starts to show signs that it isn’t working its best, do you tinker with it to see if you can fix it? Don’t! This is a job that requires professionals, and we’ll explain why.

The gas furnace danger

In most jurisdictions it is illegal to repair a gas furnace unless you are a licensed professional. This is true for any appliance hooked to a gas main (so don’t try to repair that gas oven or gas range yourself either). The risk of creating gas leaks and CO poisoning is too large, and there are also combustion concerns. Only a professional with the right credentials, training, and tools can ensure that a furnace is repaired properly so it will leave your family in safety and comfort.

What if I have an electric furnace?

The same applies. There isn’t a legal restriction in most cases on repairing an electric furnace, but all HVAC companies, as well as electricians, advise strongly against it. There’s a chance of suffering a high voltage shock due to an accident. But the more likely trouble will come from basic errors that will lead to an electric furnace that can’t do its job adequately. Trying to restore a busted heating element inside the furnace may end up creating more damage. And getting any repair done correctly will require too much time and labor. It’s worth it to hire professionals who are guaranteed to get the work done right and done in a timely manner. You don’t want to wait too long to have your furnace up and working again.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning has a team of licensed heating repair experts. Call us for service in Highland, CA and throughout the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.

Reasons to Call Emergency Heating Repair Service

Here in Redlands, heating issues only tend to crop up for brief periods during the year, such as this past week when heavy rains and low temperatures have kept a lot of people inside. You need your heater to run efficiently during such periods, and when it needs repairs, you want to take care of it as quickly as possible. Many repair services offer 24-hour calls for emergencies, but when is such a call necessary? That can be a tough question to answer, especially if you’re caught between a malfunctioning heater and a reluctance to pay the extra fee that usually accompanies an after-hours service call.

Here are some reasons to call emergency heating repair service rather than waiting until regular business hours.

  • The weather is especially cold. You can safeguard against cooler weather without a heater, provided you’re able to bundle up and/or make use of alternate forms of heating such as a fireplace. In those scenarios, you can probably wait a few hours for a non-emergency repair session. In the event that isn’t sufficient – if you’re feeling the chill despite any low-tech precautions – then you might want to schedule an emergency session.
  • A family member’s health is at stake. Children, elderly family members and anyone who’s sick may not be able to endure a lengthy session without heat. If you have any significant returns regarding your family’s health, then you should call a repair service day or night rather than asking them to tough it out.
  • You run the risk of further damage. A minor repair usually isn’t an emergency and if the heater continues to run, you might put aside a lingering issue until such time as a technician can be summoned. If running the heater would cause further damage, however, and if you’re looking at an unacceptable scenario if you let it wait, then an emergency session is the right thing to do.

For more reasons to call emergency heating service in Redlands, CA, or even just make an appointment for a regular service call, give the experts at Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning a call. We handle repairs throughout the Inland Empire, both emergency and non-emergency, and we treat every session as if we were handling our own heaters. Contact us today and let us show you what we can do!

No, Seriously: You Need Your Furnace Tuned-Up

The deserts of Southern California have a nation-wide reputation for their intense heat. But what people may not know is that winter nights here can often get a bit nippy. No, we won’t get any sympathy from someone who lives in Milwaukie, but with evening averages often in the 40s, what we do need is working heating system in our home. Sympathy from a working furnace—we can settle for that!

And that’s why we’re making one last plea before the winter officially starts: if you haven’t signed up for our heating system maintenance yet, now is the time to get on top of it. We’ll put you on the schedule to see that your furnace is ready for when the cold nights become a regular occurrence.

But I don’t need the furnace that often…

Yes, we know. We hear this explanation from people all the time. A furnace in So. Cal doesn’t get the same amount of work stress as one in the northern parts of the country, but they also spend a longer time inactive during the hot weather—and that can lead to problems as well, such as a furnace that isn’t ready to go when the time comes.

Plus, there’s the safety issue. Gas furnaces are the most common type of furnace found in homes because they help reduce energy bills. But any gas appliance can turn into a health hazard if it doesn’t receive regular inspections and tune-ups. You may not use your furnace much, but that doesn’t mean it will never pose a safety problem for your house.

Finally, regular furnace maintenance is a money-saver. It means less spent on repairs, less spent on energy consumption, and less spent on having to replace the furnace years before it’s time. Annual furnace maintenance is an important investment in your home—no matter where that home is.

Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning serves Loma Linda, CA and throughout the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities. For exceptional customer service, please give our office a call!

Is It Too Late to Schedule Heating Maintenance for the Season?

We may be in for a rougher, cooler winter this season in California, with long stretches of rain. This is still a milder winter season than much of the rest of the country will experience, but it’s still a reason for concern when it comes to caring for a home’s heating system.

HVAC companies strongly recommend that homeowners arrange for maintenance from professional technicians each fall for their heating systems, no matter if the heater is a furnace, heat pump, ductless mini split, or radiant heater. Unfortunately, people often forget to schedule this service, and when the winter arrives they believe that it’s too late to bother.

But you shouldn’t do this! If you haven’t called us to sign up for our heating maintenance, it’s not too late. Don’t wait around for the fall and skip a whole year. Here are some reasons why:

  • Protect your home from a sudden system breakdown: Without a maintenance inspection and tune-up, your heating system is at a higher risk of abruptly failing… and probably during one of the coldest days of the winter.
  • Keep the system running safely: This is especially important if you use a gas furnace for your home’s comfort. Gas furnaces and radiant systems can create a risk of carbon monoxide leaks if they are left without proper routine care. Technicians will find any area where the heater requires repair work that will see that it continues to run safely.
  • Stop needlessly high bills: A heater that misses its annual inspection, tune-up, and cleaning will start to drain more power than it should. On average, a heating system will drop 5% in energy efficiency every year that it goes without maintenance. You don’t want to spend extra money to get the same level of heating.
  • Fewer repairs: You will cut down on the number of repairs the system might need thanks to maintenance.

Call Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning today to sign up for our regular maintenance program. We serve Loma Linda, CA and throughout the Inland Empire and Desert Communities.