Average Cost of Furnace Repair

Average Cost of Furnace Repair

Average Cost of Furnace Repair in Sacramento

Nothing could be as bad as your furnace breaking in the evening just as temperatures are dropping rapidly in winter. The first thing that is likely to occupy your mind is the cost of fixing that furnace or heat source since a replacement is often very expensive. Sacramento furnace repair experts explain that the repair cost will depend on the type and model of furnace you have as discussed below.

Repairing an Electric Furnace

Electric furnaces move air over coils in order to heat that air. The heated air is then distributed to the different rooms in your home by a network of ducts. Electric furnace units tend to be small, so the cost of repairing them also tends to be lower than the cost of repairing the other types of furnaces. Sacramento furnace repair experts estimate that it requires a maximum of $300 for repairs but the cost varies depending on the particular make/model of the electric furnace.

Propane Gas Furnaces

Propane gas furnaces run on liquefied propane. The gas burns in order to push heated air around your home. A pilot light sets off the operation of the furnace by igniting the burners located inside a combustion chamber. Heat travels from the combustion chamber to the heat exchanger from where it continues to the rest of the home. Propane furnaces are more expensive to repair and the cost will range from $300 to about $1,200 depending on the specific component affected. The heat exchanger is the most expensive component to repair (about $1,200 to replace it).

Natural Gas Furnaces

Fox Family Heating and Air technicians explain that natural gas furnaces only differ from propane gas furnaces due to the fuel used. The rest of the components and mode of operation are identical. Consequently, the repair cost for natural gas furnaces is similar to the cost you are likely to incur if you had a broken propane gas furnace.

Boilers

Some homes are heated by hot water. This water starts out in the boiler where it is heated before a network of pipes moves it around the home. Radiators amply the effect of the hot water so that each room feels cozy and warm.

Hot water systems rarely develop major problems suddenly. Instead, minor issues build up until the system malfunctions. For example, mineral deposits can slowly accumulate inside the water tank until they finally cause it to spring a major leak. Honest furnace repair experts will tell you that the repairs will cost from $180 to nearly $600 depending on the exact defect found.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps work by transferring heat from outside to the interior of your home during winter. The pump then reverses and channels indoor heat outside during the hot months of the year. The heat pump is usually linked to your air conditioning system. Some heat pumps rely on geothermal energy while others rely on heated water to operate. Repairing a heat pump costs more than repairing an electric furnace. For example, the thermostat alone will cost you about $300 to replace while a damaged defrost control board will cost you double what the thermostat costs.

How to Limit Furnace Defects

As you can see from the estimates above, you will spend a lot of money on furnace repairs if you don’t take steps to preserve the condition of your furnace. Greg Fox recommends two key measures to avert most furnace issues.

  • Annual Inspections. Ask technicians from Fox Family Heating and Air to inspect and service your furnace once each year. So, that any developing problem is detected and fixed early before it causes more costly damage to your unit. For example, a faulty seal can be replaced before it causes the blower motor to fail.
  • Furnace Filter Replacement. The Sacramento furnace repair professional should also change the furnace filter during the annual service visit. You can also learn how to perform this simple maintenance task to save time and money.

Talk to Fox Family Heating and Air, a professional Sacramento HVAC company, before you have any repairs done. You will be given advice regarding the suitability of repair or replacement of the furnace unit based on several factors.

 

Fox Family is at Sacramento Home and Garden Show

An Obvious Choice for Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning

Hey everyone!  I wanted to reach out to you from the Sacramento Home and Garden Show this weekend, March 1-3, 2019.  We’ve talked about getting a booth in the past and finally decided to go ahead and participate this year.  As we look for more people to provide with our heating and air conditioning services, this show seems like a great opportunity and an obvious choice.  And just like every year, a lot of people are expected here all weekend.

Where We Belong

Fox Family continues to grow.  Our philosophy — treating people the way they want to be treated, rather than like just a number like some big HVAC companies do — is really paying off.  This year at the Home and Garden Show at Cal Expo we see ourselves settling in amongst the major home services companies that have been around for decades.

This is exactly where we belong!  Among some of the most well-known companies in the area are Armstrong Plumbing, Byers Leaf Guard, Yancey, Cal Spas, Cal-Vintage Roofing, Renewal by Anderson (Windows), and a half dozen HVAC companies, including ourselves.  There are some other superb companies represented as well. I think I like being among the elite.

The Ebb and Flow

It’s fun and easy to walk around the Cal Expo pavilion building.  There’s plenty of room in the aisles to peruse each and every vendor.  It’s a relaxed and bustling marketplace, with hundreds of products to shop and giveaways for your canvas bag.

Friday was Senior Day, with half-off tickets for those who could come on a day when most people are at work.  Saturday and Sunday were the big days.  Folks filed in when the doors opened and headed straight to the booths.  And it really didn’t slow down all day, straight through until the doors closed at the end of the day.

Building Our Brand

The goal for exhibiting at a home show is to gain a following and name recognition in the community, a solid marketing plan for us.  Fox Family will continue to return to this show and present ourselves as the company we are.   When people think of heating or air conditioning, we know they will remember Fox Family. Gaining exposure to people who are looking for the best of the best in home improvement is always a positive!

Wrapping Up

Next week, we’ll return to providing more great HVAC blog posts, but I wanted to tell you all how this new endeavor went!  Perhaps we’ll see you here next year.

You can check out the Sacramento Home and Garden Show at CalExpo at http://www.sachomeandgardenshow.com/.

Which Whole House Fan is Better, QuietCool or Triangle?

quiet cool whole house fan

What Whole House Fans Do

Are you the type of person who likes to open their windows at home?  Whole house fans are mounted in your ceiling and are used to pull cooler air from the outside of the home to the inside.  By opening your windows around the house, the whole house fan will allow air outside to come in.  This way you have fresh air coming into your home, as well as equalizing the temperatures outside and inside.

The second benefit of a whole house fan is that it cools off your attic, so the entire home can perform better, and save you energy.   Don’t confuse these with attic ventilating fans that mount on the gable vent in your attic and point outwards to vent the attic.  The difference here is, a whole house fan will complete this process much faster and probably lower the temperature in your attic more than an attic fan will.

Fox Family carries two types of whole house fans, the QuietCool brand and Triangle brand.  We love them both, but for different reasons, and people usually find themselves really liking one or the other.

QuietCool is a brand that has stormed the industry with innovative thinking and low energy usage fans.   They started up in 2003 out of Temecula, California.  Triangle Whole House Fans are the more traditional style fans.  They are a little bigger and might run at a little higher decibel rating, but they move a ton of air very quickly.  We’ll talk more about that later.

Getting straight to it, I want to point out the features of both fans, and then let you decide which one is best for your home.

QuietCool Fans

The first whole house fan I got for my home was a QuietCool whole house fan.  I was drawn to it because as an HVAC technician, I liked the idea of attaching a flexible duct to the grille that you see in the hallway and placing the fan on the other side of the 10 ft duct.  This insulates the sound of the fan.  QC offers different capacities of fans and a very useful and easy to use sizing formula featured on their website.

The formula on the QuietCool website suggests sizing a system for between 2 and 3 cubic feet per minute, or CFMs, per square ft of your home.  This means if your home is 1,000 sq ft, you’ll want a system that can move between 2,000 and 3,000 cfms of air.  You can then proceed to check out different models and find the Trident Pro 2.5 and Trident Pro 3.3, both of which will move 2,500 to 3,300 cfms of air.

The technology I like about QC fans is in the insulated damper that shuts off any access to the attic when the system is turned off.  This also prevents heat from the attic from coming into the home when the fan is turned off.

In 2011, QuietCool became the first to incorporate ECM motors with the fan.  These motors run quietly and at lower amperages than regular PSC motors.  PSC motors are the ones that you’ve seen on traditional whole house fans since the 1960’s.  They require a capacitor to run properly.  If the capacitor fails, the motor won’t work, and you’ll have to replace the capacitor before the motor will work again. ECM motors are electronically commutating motors.

QuietCool ECM Motors

A point I want to make here about speeds.  In studying the QuietCool ECM motors in the Stealth Pro line, I found that they operate better at lower fan speeds.  A case in point is with my own two-story, 2200 square ft home.  I installed the 1.5 Trident Pro in the master bedroom ceiling, near the door.

I put a 3.3 Trident Pro at the top of my stairs on the second floor.  (See the link at the end of this post to watch my installation video.)   When I turned them on for the first time, I wasn’t really happy with the volume of air it was moving.  It was nice but, I guess I was looking for more.

Since then, I always recommend to people they get the biggest one they can afford and use the 3-speed switches provided by the manufacturer and adjust the airflow accordingly.  You’ll find that the motors run more efficiently at lower speeds.  Okay, point made about QuietCool’s volume issues.  I’ve mentioned it a few times before.

Triangle Whole House Fans

When you mention traditional style whole house fans, people think about loud, whirring helicopters rumbling in their homes.  And QuietCool does a good job of making that point on their website.  But let’s look at an American classic, the CC Series of Triangle Whole House Fans.

As a technician working in hot attics, I noticed how much more air these traditional style whole house fans seemed to be moving.   In fact, we’ll turn these whole house fans on during hotter days so we can bring the temperature of the home up into the attic, which is at times 30-40 degree warmer!  And the homeowner has fresh ambient temperatures coming into the home.

The blades are larger, thicker and more durable than QuietCool’s.  The belt drive is the secret to its quiet nature.  The motor sits on top of the frame instead of near the ceiling joists.  This reduces the vibration and noise from the fan blade.  You really have to hear it to believe it.  (See the link at the end of this post to watch my installation video.)  All the noisy traditional style fans I’ve seen were old — maybe 15 years or older – some even older!

By choosing a new quality-built fan, not some big box store whole house fan, you’ll feel and hear the difference in sound and volume of air once it’s installed.  Think of these as luxury cruisers of the whole house fans.

How Much Air Do They Really Move?

QuietCool fans are sized in 1.5 for 1500 cfms, 2.5, 3.3, 4.8, 5.5, 6.0 and 7.0 models.  So, 7000 cfms is the max you can get from a QuietCool fan.  Triangle fans are sized in 24”, 30”, 36” around here.  They do have a 42” and 48” but we don’t have them around here.  The most common 36” fan moves over 9700 cfms of air, almost 3000 cfms more than QuietCool’s biggest fan.  That’s pretty impressive to me.

Where Are They Installed?

Both of these fans are ceiling mounted.  The triangle fan is mounted on top of the ceiling joist in the attic, bringing the fan blade further back to reduce noise, with no cutting involved.  The QuietCool fans can also be installed between the ceiling joists without having to cut anything.

Most people don’t create a whole new dedicated circuit for these fans, instead, it’s more typical to tie into the existing HVAC circuit for the furnace.  This is because nobody runs both the whole house fan and their furnace or air conditioner at the same time.

DIY or Contractor?

The best DIYers can install these themselves.  A little electrical knowledge about switches and proper ventilation of the attic will go a long way installing these.  Be sure to check out the card at the end of this video if you’d like to see an install.  If you do need a little more help with installing a whole house fan here in the Sacramento area, we’d love to be the company that gets to do that for you.  And if you’d like to learn more about how whole house fans work, you can also check out my post What is a Whole House Fan?

A Word About Warranties

The QuietCool Systems come with a 15-year warranty.  Triangle Whole House fans only offer a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.  So that’s kind of lopsided there.  QuietCool says they will replace any part that fails for the warranty of that system.  When I searched the website of Triangle Engineering, I couldn’t find the warranty info on the whole house fans, although they confirmed their warranty by phone.

What do you think?  Have you seen or heard these older style fans?  What do you think about them?  And what do you think about QuietCool’s fan?  Is it strong enough?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Thanks so much for tuning in this week on our blog.  See you next week!

Don’t miss our video on this topic:

See also

Installation of a Triangle Whole House Fan
https://youtu.be/qICIrdBGIz8

Installation of a QuietCool Whole House Fan
https://youtu.be/du1K7b4gaE0

5 Simple Furnace Fixes You Can Perform

5 Simple Furnace Fixes You Can Perform

5 Simple Furnace Fixes A Sacramento HVAC Company Says You Can Perform 

You may not need to wait for a professional to perform each repair needed to get your furnace working again when it breaks down. Here are some simple repairs that you can perform on your own if you are handy with tools and have a basic understanding of how furnaces work. Call a Sacramento HVAC technician from Fox Heating and Air if you aren’t familiar with the components of your furnace so that you avoid exposing yourself to needless risks or damaging the furnace further.

  • Check the Thermostat

A furnace that fails to work may have a simple fault in its thermostat. Start your DIY repair by confirming that the switch is set to heat rather than cool the home. Check the temperature setting and be certain that it is appropriate for the general conditions at that time of the year. For example, try setting the thermostat to a higher temperature than the ambient temperature and see if the furnace kicks in. Make sure that the day and time settings are accurate (the thermostat isn’t reading p.m. during morning hours, for example). Contact a Sacramento furnace repair technician in case you suspect that the thermostat has failed due to electrical issues.

  • Shutoff Breakers and Switches

Find the switch on or close to your furnace and confirm that it is turned on in case your furnace isn’t working. Fox Family Heating and Air technicians often respond to calls and find that someone accidentally turned the furnace off. Check the breaker too in the breaker panel. Get professional help from a Sacramento heating and air company in case the breaker keeps tripping each time you reset it.

  • Check the Filter

The heat exchanger of your furnace will shut off fast in case the filter is clogged and air can’t flow freely through it. Change the filter in case you hold it up and light doesn’t travel through its filter media/pleats. Ask a Sacramento furnace repair expert to demonstrate the correct way to install a new filter so that you start performing that basic task yourself. Remember that the filter change interval will depend on the type of filter and the conditions in your home. For instance, homes with pets may need to change the furnace filter more frequently than the change interval for homes with no pets.

  • Turn the Gas On

Someone in your home could have turned the gas valve off accidentally thereby stopping the furnace from working. Check the gas line from the furnace back to the gas meter. Locate the valve (handle) and turn it so that it is now parallel to the gas line. Check the pilot light in case you have an older furnace. That pilot light has to be lit in order for the furnace to generate heat.

  • Flush the Drain Lines

Greg Fox from Fox Family Heating and Air advises that homeowners should check the furnace drain lines frequently in order to confirm that they aren’t blocked. The furnace will shut down in case the flow of water through the drain lines is hindered by a clog or when the line is constricted by a heavy object. Biological matter can also grow in the lines and limit the flow of water. Flush such lines with a mixture of bleach and water so that any bacteria or other microorganisms can be flushed out.

It is important that you restrict your DIY repair efforts to the most basic fixes when your furnace develops a fault. Take all the necessary precautions, such as turning the power off, before you attempt any repair (if you must). The safest option is to find an affordable Sacramento furnace repair technician, such as those from Fox Family Heating and Air so that the professional can inspect the entire system before fixing any defects found. The money that you pay the technician will be much less than what you will spend in case you make a mistake and cause irreparable damage to the furnace unit.

What You Need to Know About Humidifiers

what you need to know about humidifiers

What You Need To Know About Humidifiers

Whole house humidifiers provide a solution to the problems caused by dry air, such as increased cases of nose bleeds as well as static electricity. The humidifier adds moisture to all the air that is circulating through your air conditioning system. This article discusses some humidifier facts that you need to know in order to benefit from this HVAC system accessory.

What a Humidifier Water Panel Is

A humidifier water panel is the medium through which water or moisture is dispersed as air is passed through the humidifier before that air is pumped to the rooms being conditioned. The water distribution tray sits right above the water panel inside the humidifier. The humidifier is usually connected to its own water line in order to save the homeowner from having to refill a container manually as the existing water supply is depleted during the demanding humidification season.

Does The Humidifier Water Panel Need to Be Changed?

It is necessary to replace the humidifier water panel at least once each year. This is because the tiny openings on this panel get clogged over time due to the effects of hard water and contaminants in the air circulating through the humidifier. Humidifier manufacturers actually recommend that the humidifier water panel be changed as part of the annual maintenance of the appliance. Ask a technician from a Sacramento air conditioning company for help in determining the best change interval for the water panel in your humidifier.

When Is The Best Time to Change the Water Panel?

It is usually advisable for you to change the humidifier water panel as your air conditioning system is serviced in the fall. This timing is appropriate because it gets the humidifier ready to work in winter when the air is dry.

However, it may be necessary for you to change that water panel more than once during one season if you discover that your home has hard water. The hard water quickens the rate at which the water panel gets clogged. Secondly, you may need to make a second change of the humidifier water panel if you use the humidifier more frequently (daily, for example). That heavy use wears out the panel quickly.

How to Change the Humidifier Water Panel

Most homeowners can easily replace the humidifier water panel without calling an expert from Fox Family Heating, Air Conditioning and Solar for help. First, find the humidifier’s cover and open it. Locate the water panel and slide it out of its location. Slide the new water panel in and replace the cover of the humidifier. Your humidifier will now be ready to start doing what it does best.

Do you still have issues of dry air in your home even if you installed a humidifier? Contact Fox Family Heating and Air. We shall send an experienced technician who will inspect your humidifier and fix any issue that may have prevented it from working as expected. The technician will also give you all the humidifier facts that you need to know in order to get the best performance from that whole house humidifier.

HVAC Zoning: What You Should Know Before Retrofitting Your Home

 

Are you dissatisfied with the level of comfort provided by the HVAC system in your Sacramento home or business premises? Let’s review some helpful information to determine if HVAC zoning will fix your problem.

What Is HVAC Zoning?

HVAC zoning refers to the creation of different sections/zones within a building so that the settings of the HVAC system can be customized for each of those zones. For example, you can divide your home into three zones. You can use different heating or cooling settings in different zones even if one HVAC system serves the entire building.

Think about zoning as the installation of different light switches for each room in the home. You don’t have to switch on the lights in the entire house because you want to read late at night. Similarly, you don’t have to lower the temperature of the entire house just because your bedroom is too hot for your liking.

What Are the Required Zoning Components?

The zone control panel.

This is the “brain” of the entire zoned HVAC system. This control panel receives the requests made by the different thermostats and triggers the execution of those requests.

For example, the thermostat in the kitchen may call for extra cooling while someone is cooking. The zone control panel receives that request and widens the damper to the kitchen so more conditioned air is directed to the area. The zone control panel is like a choir director who ensures that everything is working seamlessly.

Thermostats.

You will need as many thermostats as there are zones in the building. The thermostat in a given space allows the occupants of that space to select their desired temperature settings.

Zone Dampers.

Think of zone dampers as “valves” which regulate the flow of conditioned air and heating into a zone/room. The damper executes the instructions sent by the zone control panel after getting information from the thermostat in a given zone/room. For example, the damper will close and reduce the flow of conditioned air if the room/zone has reached the desired temperature.

The dampers can be placed inside the ducts (in-line dampers) or they can be placed on the air registers. In-line dampers are usually preferred in case a new HVAC system is being installed. The dampers are usually placed on the air registers during retrofit applications in which access to the ductwork is difficult or expensive.

Bypass damper.

A bypass damper is a special kind of damper that releases excess pressure in the HVAC system. This happens when most zones have signaled (through the thermostat) that no heating or cooling is currently needed. The conditioned air of the HVAC system would overstrain the remaining zones which still require heating or cooling. The bypass damper deals with that excess pressure/conditioned air by channeling it to the return air register or directing it to a common section of the building, such as a hallway.

Is HVAC Zoning Recommended for All Sacramento Buildings?

HVAC zone control isn’t a requirement for all buildings even if every building can attain benefits from this upgrade. The situations below represent examples of those who would reap the greatest benefits from HVAC zoning.

Buildings with extensions.

HVAC zoning can be helpful if an extension, such as an additional bedroom or finished basement, was added and has unique heating, cooling, and air conditioning requirements. For example, a room added above the garage may be hotter than other bedrooms in a home. Zoning addresses the unique needs of such an extra room.

Multiple levels.

Buildings with multiple levels need HVAC zoning since each of those levels is unlikely to have the same HVAC needs. For instance, the ground floor may be cooler than the upper floor during the summer.

Different occupancy levels.

Buildings with sections that are rarely used can benefit from HVAC zoning. This is because the areas which aren’t used a lot can have their air conditioning turned off. Rooms with lots of occupants can also have their HVAC settings adjusted.  This will address the needs of that larger number of people who may feel hotter than those who are in a room with fewer occupants.

Single-level homes may not require zoning unless a Sacramento HVAC professional inspects the building and recommends that zoning is necessary.

How Is HVAC Zoning Done?

The way in which HVAC zoning is done in Sacramento depends on two key factors. First, what zoning system have you selected? Secondly, when is the zoning being done?

HVAC zoning can be done by installing different HVAC systems for the different “zones” created in the building. Zoning can also be done by redesigning an existing system so that different rooms/zones can be controlled independently from other zones. Ductless air conditioning systems can also be used to zone a building.

Project Timing

The timing of the project also impacts on how it can be done. For example, a new building can have the zones designed prior to the selection of an HVAC system. In such a case, the ductwork will be installed with the zones in mind. However, retrofit situations may dictate that the least intrusive method. Such as installing dampers on air registers instead of inside ducts. Your heating and air conditioning professional in Sacramento can assess your specific situation and advise on how zoning should be done.

HVAC zoning can deliver numerous benefits, such as increased equipment life and lower energy bills, to homeowners in Sacramento. Discuss your needs with an HVAC replacement technician so that the best approach can be designed to zone the system in your home.

How Long Can I Wait Before Getting my HVAC System Repaired?

HVAC system repair

A couple of things have broken on your furnace during the last couple of years.  So you might be wondering, “How long can I wait before getting my HVAC system repaired?” An igniter went out two years ago. Last year the control board failed. Now my compressor has just gone bad. It can’t be repaired because the compressor is hermetically sealed and they can’t get into it to fix the broken widget. How many more things can go wrong with this system? This can honestly happen to systems that are anywhere from 8 years old to 30 or 40+.

How long can I wait for HVAC System Repair?

Most furnaces and AC’s last about 15 to 25 years. Fifteen without maintenance, and 20 or more with maintenance. If someone is coming out once or twice a year and pampering that machine, cleaning it, checking all the components, and trying to catch early warnings of failure, you’re going to very likely have a system that will keep you cool 20-25 years.

HVAC System Repair Experience

I bought my home when it was nine years old. The HVAC system is still going, but I have had to make some repairs to it. I have a York Diamond 80 from 1999. It came with the house in our nice neighborhood in a quaint subdivision near Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento, CA. The hot surface igniter cracked and was replaced. At 14 years old, the AC’s compressor blew. I replaced that. But that’s it so far! The thing is, I know a guy! I can just go out to my truck and grab what I need to fix my AC and be ready to go in a matter of hours. You have to pay real dollars for the parts and labor involved in making these repairs.

I haven’t had to replace my inducer motor, control board, blower motor, condenser fan motor, or heat exchanger.  These are all parts that cost $500-$1000 or more. The pressure switches, safeties, transformer, relays, ignitors, capacitors, contactors, ducts, etc. are the smaller repairs you can encounter, too. These parts are usually in the 0 to $500 range. These are easier to pay off because they don’t come in the thousands.

Warranties and Rebates

Warranties on HVAC systems made before 2015 carried a five-year parts warranty, and a ten, twenty, or lifetime heat exchanger warranty. That meant any part that came on the system and broke within five years the owner would only have to pay labor to get the part replaced by a licensed HVAC tech. Nowadays warranties boast ten-year parts and twenty years or lifetime warranties on heat exchangers that are made with better materials than twenty years ago.

Incentives to buy a new HVAC system are there if you look for them. If you want to save money on the cost of a new HVAC system, ask if there are rebates available for upgrading your HVAC equipment now instead of later when these rebates and tax credits can be taken away by those fortunate enough to give them to us. In Sacramento, we can offer $400, $500, and $850 rebates through the SMUD Utility company, if you were to put in an Energy Star rated AC system like the Trane XL16i and a matching Trane coil and furnace.

Deciding What to Do on Your HVAC System

The ability to save more money when you are even running the system would be great. The furnaces today can be up to 97-98% efficient in fossil fuel usage. They usually come with two stages of heating too, so it uses a less power-consuming mode most of the time it is operating. Same with the AC! They come with two stages and even fully variable systems that can dial in your comfort level.

It’s tough making that decision. It also doesn’t have to be an impulse buy either. Take time to think about it and find the right contractor who will pull all the necessary permits and do the work for you right the first time. The most important day of an HVAC system’s life is the day it was installed. Just make sure you do your homework and choose the right one for you, that you feel comfortable with. Check out our blog FAQs about Replacing HVAC Systems for more on this big purchase and the decisions that are made in the process of getting a new HVAC system installed.

HVAC System Conclusion

If you decide to make that repair, that’s fine. Some people are really into making the equipment that they have last as long as possible. If the parts are available for that equipment and you can safely make the repair without compromising the original factory specifications, then why not? Because it’s your money. You can either choose to keep putting your money into your current HVAC system or upgrade to the new standards of HVAC equipment sold today. The equipment just keeps getting better every few years. The manufacturers and their engineers out-do themselves every few years and come out with the next cool technology for the industry.

Good luck in making this decision! Let Fox Family Heating, and Air Conditioning come out to your house and have the discussion with you in person. We’d love to be part of your HVAC system’s life. Whether it’s doing the preventive maintenance on your aging system or installing and maintaining a new one for you.

FAQs about Replacing HVAC Systems

FAQs about replacing HVAC systems

How long should it take to decide which system or contractor I want?

If it’s an emergency you may decide still to think about it. Some people even go as far as nursing it with one of these mobile floor AC units. But when it’s 100 plus degrees outside and 92 inside, anything helps right? Absolutely!  Let’s review some FAQs about replacing HVAC systems and what you might consider.

Seriously though, you will need to pony up at some point for the sake of your health and comfort, and your family’s health and comfort. Contractors in California are required to give you a “3-day right to cancel.” It’s a little paragraph on the contract you sign acknowledging this right. Then the equipment can start to be installed on the fourth day after you sign the contract. You can waive that “Right to Cancel” if it’s an emergency and the system needs to be replaced right away for something like an elderly person or infant’s health. Whatever it is, the State says in order to waive the right to cancel, it has to be for an urgent reason. Can you imagine coming home from the hospital with your newborn and your compressor blew on your 20-year-old AC?

Do your research before replacing an HVAC system

If it’s not really an emergency you can take your time and really file through the right type of equipment for you and which contractor you want to hire. Systems come in all ranges. From the lower grade systems to the notable and trustworthy HVAC systems. Do your research and know what you really want in a system. You’re only going to have to make this purchase once or twice in your lifetime, so it’s not something most people really think about on an average day. HVAC contractors do think about this every day, but don’t believe everything you hear from these guys because it can be smoke and mirrors. You want to know the equipment model number and maybe do some research on the equipment. You can literally type in the model number in the search bar and find great information. Search about Trane, American Standard, Ruud, Rheem, Lennox, Carrier, Goodman, York, DayNight, Bryant, Payne, etc. Every brand out there is going to say they have the best home comfort system in the world, but can they prove it. Consumer Reports Magazine still puts out ratings for each brand every year. Consistently, Trane and American Standard are the brands at the top of the list.

HVAC system costs

Equipment alone can range anywhere from $6500 to $20,000. Depending on who you buy from and which SEER rating and technology you are looking for. We offer four different levels of systems. Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. This translates to 14, 16, 18, and 20 SEER systems. Basically, for a little more money you’re getting a more efficient system. Think of it like MPG on a car. The more efficient they are on the gas mileage, the more desirable they are. The higher the SEER rating, the higher efficiency they have to operate it, translating to lower utility bills.

The technology is unbelievable right now. We are seeing equipment that can hold the temperature of your house within a ½ degree all day long no matter the temperature outside. With these high-end variable speed systems, with Wi-Fi technology for your cell phone accessibility and communicating thermostats with the furnace and AC is really just amazing right now!

Fox Family Heating and Air Systems

Most people see our four options for systems and pick something in the middle. They see 14, 16, 18, and 20 SEER systems and typically pick the 16 or 18 SEER systems. Very rarely, do I see people choosing the 14 SEER system.

If you have the opportunity and it’s not a major emergency, take your time with these kinds of purchases. Find the right contractor for you, with good warranties, good thermostats, and other safety features for the system. For instance, a condensate safety switch, a compressor start kit, and a compressor sound blanket. This is a value purchase you’re not going to want to skimp on. If you have any questions about your new HVAC system please feel free to call me, Greg Fox at Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning. I promise to give you great value for your next HVAC project.

Do I need a new air conditioning system?

Should you repair your old AC or replace it with a new air conditioning system?

Imagine your Air Conditioner Breaks Down in The Heat of Summer

You’re hosting a  party this weekend. Suddenly, you notice the house gets warmer than you’re used to.  The thermostats says it’s calling for cool air, but all you feel is warm air coming out of the ceiling vents. You call your local AC repair company and they tell you over the phone you have a bad compressor and it needs to be changed.  Or you get the AC repair company to come out to your house.  The technician doesn’t bother opening up the panels to the AC to find out what could be the problem. He tells you your AC is old and should be replaced. Wow! That’s some sort wizardry right there! How can he tell this without even opening the panel to see what’s going on with the AC?

Believe it or not, it happens all the time. 

What can you expect from a reputable air conditioner repair company?

A reputable HVAC technician is going to come out to your house to properly diagnose your Heating and air system.  He or she will have a meter in their bag to see if proper voltage is getting to the system. They will then test the leads of the capacitor to see if the microfarad rating meet factory standards.  They should place an amp clamp around the wire to the compressor and/or condenser fan motor to see if those motors are trying to draw amperage to start up.  This is the real way to get down to it and see exactly what is going on with your system.  

Did you know a compressor or condenser fan motor on the outdoor AC won’t even turn on if the capacitor is bad?

Does that mean your $2000 compressor is bad?  No. Actually a $210 dollar part can immediately replace your old capacitor and get you back up and running in no time.  A quick check for proper refrigerant levels, amp draws and voltage to the motors and you are back in business, my friend! Having a professional HVAC technician make this repair should only cost you parts and labor, and will definitely give you peace of mind that’s it been done correctly. 

Remember the tech who told you about your bad compressor over the phone?  That’s a $2000 replacement.  That company is clearly not in to earning your trust, just your business.  Too many companies out there have so much overhead and so many high paid managers, they HAVE to sell replacement equipment. They HAVE to get to you buy a new system. A trusted, ethical company is going to come out to your house, spend some time properly diagnosing your system and give you options.  But remember:  you should only let them give you options if they’ve spent time properly diagnosing your system.

Should I repair the air conditioning system, or replace it?  

That is the question you’ll be faced with when a major part breaks down someday.  But let’s make sure it really is a major part.  You may even want to get a second opinion from another company.

Air conditioning systems are designed to last 12-15 years without maintenance and 18 to 22 years with proper maintenance.  If you find your 18 year old system needs repairs and you’re asking yourself what to do, here’s a good way to measure that decision. Do you want to put your money in the past and repair this AC with a temporary solution?  Or do you want to invest in a modern, high-efficiency air conditioning system?  If your repairs total above $500-$700, that can be a tough decision.  

At Fox Family Heating and Air, we will never tell you what you should do because it’s your money and your budget, and only you know where you are with your finances.  We are an HVAC repair company first.  We want to get you back up and running as soon as possible and we will always be that kind of company.

cost to repair a broken Air Conditioner

To get a real look at the true cost of today’s air conditioner repair, think about this scenario:

  • HVAC service call – $75
  • HVAC repair – $595
  • Future AC repairs – (on avg. $150 per year on older systems)
  • Local HVAC rebates on new high efficiency system – $500-850 dollars
  • Federal tax credit on new high efficiency HVAC system – $300 (2016)
  • Cost of inflation per year on a new system – $150 per year
  • Energy savings per year operating new high efficiency system – $100 (at least)

Now let’s say you are just wanting to hang on to this older system for three more years..

  • $75 service call +
  • $595 repair + ($150×3 years)
  • future repairs +
  • $500 rebate +
  • $300 tax credit + ($150×3 years) for inflation +
  • ($1003 years) in energy savings = $2670

Today’s $670 repair is actually going to cost you $2670 in “true cost” because you’re investing your money in the past and not the future.  Plus your repair is only going to come with a one year warranty on it.  Our repairs do come with a one year warranty but I’m not sure what other heating and air companies offer.

A new heating and air system is going to come with 10 year parts warranties and, if you chose to replace with us, 10 years labor warranty with a maintenance schedule.  Most companies offer 10 years part warranty and 2 years labor on a new air conditioning system.  Now we all know labor is the most expensive part of any repair, so you’re back to paying that company and arm and a leg for labor on a part that is under ten years old!

We’re a Repair Company First

We want to be ethical and tell you what’s really going on with your system and let you decide what you want to do about it.  A lot of times Fox Family Heating and Air will replace the part on your system to get you back up and running today for $670.  Then we’ll let you think about it for a month or two until you decide you want a new system.  We will take that $670 repair and apply it towards the cost of your new system!  This way you’re not out that extra money.  This is just another way we’re trying to earn your trust and develop a long term relationship with you and your family.

We hope this helps you with your replace or repair decision.  Text or call us anytime at 916-877-1577 to have a company that will leave the decision in your hands, rather than trying to force you into a new system.  

Compressor Start Kit

Compressor Start Kit

A component that will extend the life of your HVAC system

In the second part of the summer series of common parts of an air conditioning system, I bring up a part that may not already be installed in your unit or something that came with your outdoor unit when it was installed. A compressor start kit or hard start kit is a component that you can add on to your system that will help extend the life of your compressor, the heart of your air conditioner that pumps the refrigerant.

A compressor start kit significantly reduces the amount of time it takes to get your compressor up to full run speed. For about 7 or 8 seconds while the compressor starts up, the motor windings undergo a tremendous amount of damaging heat and energy, about 10 times more actually. The start assist can reduce the amount of time it takes to start up by nearly half.

Imagine your car broken down in the middle of the intersection. You could probably push that car out of the intersection by yourself, right? Well if I came up and helped you push that car out of the intersection, three things would be better for you. You’d be less tired once we got out of the intersection. You would get there faster, and you could probably actually do it again. Now, those of you who have ever pushed that kind of dead weight more than twenty feet know what I’m talking about.

This is how we know we can extend the life of your compressor. This is an add-on to the system. A lot of manufacturers don’t put one on your system because it is not in their best interest to do so. Why? Because they extend the life of your $2000 compressor! Once installed, a start kit is designed to last 5 to 10 years, but can last the lifetime of the system.