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cold man

How Do I Keep My Heat During Extreme Cold Weather?

January 18, 2022

We receive countless calls every time the temperatures drop below normal ranges, as homeowners here in Boulder encounter problems with their home’s heating system. With the record-low temperatures and extreme conditions most of the country is currently experiencing, our Balance Point professionals want to share some insights and tips with you to keep your indoors cozy while Old Man Winter blusters away outdoors.

Three Heating System Insights

Here are a few insights into your heating system’s operation during freezing weather:

1. Furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps were not designed for temperatures in the -20 to -30 degree Fahrenheit (and below) range—they were designed for outdoor temperatures dipping to 0 degrees. 

And when you have windchills near the -50 degree mark, as we have right now in this cold snap in locations across the country, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is going to work much harder than usual. Keep in mind you cannot expect it to perform normally, and you may run into some problems with it.

2. Even though your heating system is working at full capacity, if your Colorado home is newer, your HVAC system may still struggle to maintain your designated temperature and may not always succeed. 

If your home is older, your system will not be able to maintain the temperature, and it will drop. Expect to bundle up a little more. This will not only help your heating system, it can save you between 5 and 20 percent on your heating bill as well, according to Money magazine.

3. If you discover your home’s temperature dropping, but your vents are blowing hot air or your boiler’s radiators are still hot, this is simply due to the extreme outdoor temperatures. Just continue to be sure your heating system is operating.

What Are Some Heating System Tips?

Be sure to stay safe by using common sense in these frigid temperatures. These are the type of outdoor conditions that tempt homeowners to take unwise and unsafe steps, with avoidably tragic results like fires or carbon-monoxide poisonings.

Here are some of our best heating-system tips:

  • Increase your home’s temperature by a couple degrees above your normal setting now, before the worst hits, and then leave your thermostat alone. Do not turn it back down at night. In this extreme cold, your heating system will struggle to return to where you originally had it set.
  • Set your programmable thermostat on HOLD once you have raised the temperature. You can return it to its normal mode once outdoor temperatures rise.
  • Replace your filter, if you have a furnace. Ideally in the winter months, especially during these ultra-cold spells, you should change the filter monthly.
  • Be sure your ceiling fans are on to keep the warm air moving, if they have the reverse setting for colder months.
  • Set up one room in your home to be the warmest room, if need be. Close any blinds or drapes to keep warmth in, and put blankets over your windows using your curtain rod to reduce window-heat loss.
  • Check all registers/air vents and radiators are clear of any obstructions or blockages. Keep furniture away to allow best airflow.
  • Keep your garage doors closed.
  • Avoid repeatedly opening/closing exterior doors.
  • Continually check your furnace’s or boiler’s intake and exhaust white PVC pipes outdoors (on the back or side of your home) if your system is a 90 percent or more efficiency unit. It’s extremely common for ice to build up in these with the low temperatures or snow to block the openings from all the blowing. Keep the pipes clear for successful airflow. Push a broom handle in the pipe to break up any internal ice; however, if your pipes are located on your roof, do not go on your roof to clear them.
  • Keep your outdoor condenser clear of snow if you have a heat pump.
  • Help to heat your home with some cooking or baking—or even just boiling water. It gives extra humidity and warm temperatures to your indoor air. Under no circumstances should you ever heat your home with your oven, stove, or grill, as this is extremely dangerous.
  • Be sure to keep your cupboard doors open where your plumbing is located to allow your heat to keep your pipes warmed. The last thing you want is frozen or burst pipes. In these extreme temperatures, keep all your indoor faucets on a constant trickle with room-temperature water. This also helps to prevent frozen or burst pipes.
  • Check on neighbors or anyone elderly in this freezing weather to be sure they are safe and warm.

Contact Us Today for Your Heating Needs

At Balance Point, we want to help you keep your Boulder, CO, home comfortable in these record-low temperatures and arctic weather. Follow our tips for keeping your heating system in operation. 

If you run into any problems, please contact us at 970-480-0387 or request service online. We do have emergency service if necessary. Let’s all help each other during this biting cold weather.

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Four Factors to Consider When Buying a Heat Pump

December 23, 2021

So you are looking to invest in a heat pump. You are not alone––many Americans are making the switch. 

Why? For starters, heat pumps are generally more efficient than a traditional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. What is more, heat pumps offer both heating and cooling, so they are versatile. 

At Balance Point, we want to help you make the best decision for your Fort Collins home’s needs. Our aim is for you to be satisfied with your heat pump for years to come. 

Here are four questions to ask yourself when picking out a new heat pump:

1. How much do I want to spend up front?

Heat pumps offer you more efficiency. Geothermal heat pumps, in particular, are especially efficient, since they use a minimal amount of electricity to transfer heat from Earth’s natural resources. 

However, many of the more efficient products have a higher up-front cost than a traditional heater or air conditioner (AC). Generally, a good rule of thumb is the more you invest up front, the less you will pay in the long run. It is up to you to decide which heat pump is best for your budget.

2. What type of heat pump do I want?

Air-source, mini split, and geothermal are a few main types of heat pumps you can consider. 

Air-source heat pumps transfer heat from the outdoor air to warm your Colorado home in the winter and expel heat from your home during the summer. This type of heat pump is so efficient, the US Department of Energy (DOE) asserts an “air-source heat pump can deliver one-and-a-half to three times more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes.”

Mini splits (also known as ductless units) also use air source technology, but they offer true zoning with a variety of different configurations for the indoor units. They are extremely efficient and a great option for homes with existing ductwork.

Geothermal heat pumps use the constant temperature of the earth to gather or release heat and are typically the most efficient option for a home with sufficient ductwork already in place.

Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, and we are happy to help you sort through them all. Call to speak with one of our experts to discuss these options further.

3. Will I need a dual-fuel system?

Our source heat pumps can’t operate efficiently when outdoor temperatures become colder. This is why homeowners in colder regions of the country might need a dual-fuel system. 

A dual-fuel system is a heat pump supplemented with a different heating appliance. When temperatures are too low for your heat pump to operate efficiently, your alternate heat source, such as a furnace will kick on. 

Talk to one of our Balance Point HVAC professionals to determine if this is a good choice for your home.

4. What type of thermostat should I buy?

In addition to your heat pump, our highly trained and experienced experts can install new controls for heating and cooling your home. Based on your Fort Collins home needs, you can choose between a variety of thermostats with features to fit your comfort needs.

Standard thermostats have a simple, familiar interface. They provide you with a Heat or Cool option and On or Auto fan control. Programmable thermostats can be set to automatically change the temperature setting during certain hours of the day, such as when you are not at home or while you are sleeping, in order to save energy. Wi-Fi thermostats can be controlled remotely using your smartphone, whether you are home or away. Depending on the model, your Wi-Fi thermostat may offer energy-usage analytics so you can readily and easily monitor your energy consumption.

We Are Your Heat Pump Experts

While you perform research and start your search for a heat pump here in the Fort Collins, CO, area, our Balance Point professionals want to help you as much as possible. Call us at 970-480-0387 or request service online today to glean more expert insights on the matter.

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Boilers

Everything You Need to Know About Boilers

December 15, 2021

Did you know radiant heat—the type of heat your boiler creates—was one of the first types of indoor heating systems invented, dating back to 1300 BC?

At Balance Point, though we haven’t been working with boilers since 1300 BC, we know a thing or two about them. Our highly trained and experienced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals regularly install and work on them here in Loveland

Boilers Produce Radiant Heat 

Modern boilers can be an extremely efficient and even way of heating your Colorado home. Many people prefer radiant heat over other ways to heat their homes. Some of its advantages are:

• Efficiency—won’t lose heat via ductwork leaks

• Effectiveness—warms objects instead of your home’s air

• Cleanliness—doesn’t decrease your indoor air quality due to lack of blowing allergens and particles throughout your home

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), roughly 10 to 30 percent of people worldwide suffer from allergies. If this is you, having a boiler with radiant heat instead of a forced-air system in your Colorado home can help you diminish your symptoms.

Rather than heating the air as forced-air systems do, radiant heat warms a room’s objects instead, including you. This type of system provides more consistent heating, since a forced-air system cycles on and off more frequently.

Most boilers share common attributes. It’s helpful to know what they are to help you keep your home comfortable and safe for years to come.

Just the Facts

1. Your boiler probably does not actually boil its water. 

This term hails back when steam was primarily used for heating. Though you may have an older steam boiler, it is much more likely a water boiler. These days the water is kept between 145 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Hot water flows throughout your Loveland home and the heat radiates to warm it. 

This explains the term radiant heat. Radiant heat has many forms. No matter if you have in-floor, cast iron radiators, or fin tube, they are all types of radiant heat. And they utilize gas, oil, or electricity for power.

3. Maintenance on your boiler is critical to life expectancy.

You must keep up with its annual professional maintenance to ensure your boiler is operating safely and efficiently. Many states require annual safety inspections by law on larger boilers.

4. You may have a high-efficiency boiler already.

The easiest way to tell is by looking at the flue pipe coming out of the top or side of your boiler. A metal flue pipe tells you it’s a standard efficiency boiler. On the other hand, if it has a PVC (or hard, white plastic) pipe, then you have a high-efficiency boiler.

5. It’s good to know what’s likely to fail on your boiler.  

Like any piece of machinery, the moving parts are usually the first to fail. When it comes to your boiler, it’s likely the pumps or electrical components to fail first.

6. Modern boilers are not dangerous, but radiators do get hot.

In most cases, radiators are not hot enough to burn a child, but it is important to teach your children not to touch the radiators. If they are too warm, adjust the temperature on your boiler accordingly.

7. Boilers no longer use a standing pilot light.

This was a concern in older boilers. If you have an older boiler and are still dealing with a pilot light, it may be time to consider upgrading. Talk to one of our Balance Point boiler pros, and we can help you make an educated decision about an upgrade.

8. Modern boilers are closed loop systems.

They are not endlessly wasting water as you may believe. Modern boilers actually can be a very efficient way to heat your home when properly designed.  

Contact Us for All Your Boiler Needs

At Balance Point, we can help you with a boiler installation or replacement, repair, or maintenance for your Loveland, CO, home. Our team loves all things HVAC, so we are happy to discuss any questions you may have. Call us at 970-480-0387 or request service online today!

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Shower Head with Water Stream on Black Background

Help! I Have No Hot Water

November 30, 2021

There are few things more annoying than running out of hot water in the middle of a shower. But do not fret if this happens. It is more than likely an issue with your hot water heater. 

It may be something very simple you can take care of yourself. However, some fixes do need the assistance of a professional. 

Turn a Cold Mess Into a Hot Time

If you run into this situation, try troubleshooting or give us a call at Balance Point. One of our experienced professionals can promptly come out to your Loveland home to get your water flowing hot running again.

Focusing on Tank Water Heaters

There are a few options for powering water heaters—electric, gas, propane, and fuel oil. We will take a look at the two most popular types, electric and gas. 

For each of these two, there are different steps to diagnose where the problem lies. However, for either type you may first want to:

  • Check if your tank size is adequate for your Colorado home’s water needs. 

    If you have more than two people living in your home, you may need a larger tank than what you currently have. It takes time to reheat enough water to refill the tank. Should this be the case in your home, wait about 30 minutes and retry the hot water. 

    If you succeed, it might be time to consider upgrading. Or maybe a tankless water heater would be best for your home. Call Balance Point to discuss your options.
  • Increase the thermostat temperature by a couple of degrees. 

    Ideally, you want your water heater temperature set between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees or lower if you have small children in your Loveland home to avoid burning their sensitive skin). If you perform an adjustment, allow about 30 to 40 minutes for the hot water to return.

    If these two options do not produce hot water, read on for more troubleshooting.

    But before you continue, please heed this word of caution. Any time you work with electricity, turn off the power to the tank. A strong electrical current is running through there, and electricity is nothing to underestimate. Call one of our Balance Point professionals to help if you have any doubts.

Hot Tips for Owners of Electric Tank Water Heaters

If your unit is electric powered, consider these possibilities:

  • Restart your water heater. 

    Sometimes a power surge can shut down your heater. Turn off the tank for a few minutes and then turn it back on and wait about 30 minutes. If you still have no hot water, this is not the problem.
  • Check the fuse or breaker. 

    If the fuse has blown or the breaker has been tripped, sometimes it is not obvious this is the problem. 

    Reset the breaker, even if it does not look tripped. Flip it off, wait about 30 seconds, and then flip it on. If it will not stay on, you need to call a professional electrician. 
  • Call one of our Balance Point professionals.

    Sometimes the technical side of electricity mingled with a water repair makes everyone feel more secure if handled by a pro. We can address the issue without causing further damage to other components, like a heating element or thermostat.
  • Install a new water heater. 

    The average life span of a water heater these days is 10 years. If your tank is close to that age, it may be smarter to invest in a new tank rather than replacing a costly part. After replacing that component, the tank itself could fail, and you would have thrown money out the window. 

    Purchasing a new water heater with higher efficiency and energy savings can save you money in the long run. ENERGY STAR® reports higher efficiency water heaters use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard models. Since heating water accounts for approximately 15 percent of your Colorado home’s energy use, going with a higher efficiency tank could add up to a nice savings on your utility bill.

    A new water heater may also qualify you for an energy tax break or rebate. Check with your Loveland area energy company.

Hot Tips for Owners of Gas Tank Water Heaters

If your unit is gas powered, consider these possibilities:

  • Check the pilot light. 

    Your issue could be as simple as this. Maybe a strong wind down the vent pipe blew the flame out. 

    Read the instructions affixed to your tank on how to relight the pilot. Many tanks have a button to depress for relighting. 

    If you are not comfortable with this process, call one of our Balance Point professionals to light it. In some cases, a new pilot light assembly is required, in which case a plumber will need to replace it for you anyway.
  • Fix the thermocouple. 

    After you light the pilot and are certain the flame does not remain lighted, the thermocouple may be at fault. A thermocouple is a sensor that measures temperature. As a safety precaution, it will shut off the gas flow if the pilot goes out. 

    If you are capable of replacing this yourself, it is a low-cost fix. If you are unsure about your level of competency, call a Balance Point professional in to replace it for you.
  • Check the gas supply. 

    Occasionally your heater may not be getting gas. If after you check to be sure the gas valve is turned on and you do not see a flame or smell gas, this could indicate the problem is the gas supply. 

    Be sure the valve is open and assess the gas line. Is anything leaning against it or does it have a twist or kink in it? If nothing appears out of the ordinary, call your gas company to see if they are working on the gas line in your area or if your gas has been turned off. If the answer to both of these is no, you need to call one of our professionals.
  • Install a new water heater.

    The life span for a gas water heater is typically 10 years, just like an electric water heater. Unfortunately, it may be time for a replacement. Call Balance Point to discuss what type and size tank would be best for you.

We Are Your Water Heater Experts

At Balance Point, our certified professionals can help with whatever water heater issue you may have. Talk to us about a new installation or replacement, a repair, or water heater maintenance. In the case of no hot water, we are here in Loveland, CO, to help. Give us a call at 970-480-0387 or request service online today.

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Humidifier

How a Whole-House Humidifier Keeps You Healthy

November 15, 2021

There are many advantages to adding a whole-house humidifier to your Colorado home. Adding a humidifier can increase the comfort level in your home and lower your annual energy expenses. Proper humidity levels can allow you to maintain indoor comfort levels at a lower temperature which uses less energy for heating.

At Balance Point, our professionals will walk you through the design process and ensure that your Boulder home is the ideal design to properly utilize a whole-house humidification system. We believe you should have total control of your indoor health, safety, and comfort—our mission is to provide you with practical solutions so that you can achieve that goal!

How a Humidifier Keeps You Healthy

Benefits to a properly installed whole-house humidification system include:

  • Soothing cold and flu symptoms by moisturizing your nasal passages and throat and bronchial tubes.
  • Reducing some allergy symptoms.
  • Relieving some dry skin conditions.
  • Lessening snoring.
  • Protecting wooden flooring and furniture from cracking due to low humidity.
  • Reducing utilities.
  • Increasing general comfort.

Between work and home, most of us spend the vast majority of our days indoors. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the concentrations of some indoor pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.

Choosing a Whole-House Humidifier

You never want to buy a car that is too large for your garage—nor do you want to buy a humidifier that is the wrong size for your home! Similar to your other heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, you want to be sure you are purchasing a humidifier system that suits your needs.

Here are a few types of humidifiers to choose from:

Bypass Humidifiers 

Bypass humidifiers add moisture to air passing through your furnace or air handler. These types of humidifiers are the most basic of your options and pass the warm air from the heating system over the humidifier to collect the evaporating moisture.

The newly collected moisture is then distributed throughout your Boulder home using your existing duct system. Because these units require a home heating system, they work much better with furnaces as opposed to heat pumps because of the higher air temperatures generated by furnaces.

Bypass humidifiers require a drain and water line for proper installation. They are the least expensive of your options for a whole-house system, but also deliver the lowest amount of humidification because they require system operation for evaporation.

Fan-Powered Humidifiers

The only real difference between a fan-powered humidifier and a bypass humidifier is the need to use the fan to increase airflow and therefore increase evaporation. Fan-powered humidifiers can produce up to a gallon more of humidity per day compared to bypass humidifiers. The internal fan motors within these units are also very efficient, using the same amount of energy as a 25-watt lightbulb. This system is considered much more efficient than bypass humidification systems.

Steam Humidifiers

Steam humidifiers create steam to input humidity in the HVAC system. They use electricity to boil the water. The steam is then distributed throughout your home using the existing airflow system. Steam humidifiers are the fastest and most efficient way to increase and maintain the desired level of humidity in your home.

Steam whole-house humidifiers also provide the purest and most natural form of humidity you can have within your home.  They are also the most vulnerable to rapid corrosion and system damage due to poor water quality.

Advantages With a Whole-House Humidifier

Any whole-house humidifier is installed directly into your home’s central heating and cooling system. Location and ease of access to your humidification system is another important factor to consider. Your comfort adviser will review the different options for you, including the pros and cons of each type of system.

Once properly installed, a whole-house humidifier is less work than a portable one. Portables require constant monitoring of water tanks and regular cleaning. With a whole-house humidifier, you could perform routine maintenance as little as two times a year. This depends heavily on both proper installation and the quality of water going through your humidifier. If your water is heavily calcified, it will rapidly cause build-up on the humidifier and may require additional water purification devices for the humidifier to function properly.

A properly designed and installed humidification system can make a world of difference in your home but only if designed and installed properly. A poorly installed system can cause a world of headaches for the unsuspecting homeowner. Improper humidification and design can lead to mold throughout the home or attic.

Along with the installation of a humidification system, it is always important to make sure your ductwork is in proper shape to prevent unwanted bacterial growth. Equipment failure due to poor installation can lead to leaks and damage your home’s ceilings, walls, insulation, framing, or even roofing.

Call Your Air Quality Experts Today!

Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can lead to a variety of health problems. Schedule an appointment today with Balance Point to have one of our professionals test the air quality inside your Boulder, CO, home or business. Call 970-480-0387 or visit us online to learn more about whole-house humidifiers and other products designed for your comfort.

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Why Is My Heat Pump Freezing Up?

October 29, 2021

Our team at Balance Point regularly gets calls about frozen heat pumps. Though common, a heat pump freeze-up usually means your system’s components are not working correctly. Sometimes you can fix it yourself. But oftentimes, you will need to call a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional, like us, as the problem may require a part replacement or complex repair.

Heat Pump Brain Freeze

To help sort things out, here are the six usual suspects causing heat pumps to freeze up:

1. Clogged Air Filter

When air filters are left to collect particles for too long, they become clogged. This hinders airflow, trapping moisture. Dust, pet dander, and smoke are just a few examples of things that can clog your filter. 

The National Air Filter Association (NAFA) recommends changing your system’s filter as soon as it is loaded with dust and debris. How quickly your filter becomes clogged depends on many factors in your home. At Balance Point, we recommend switching to a new filter minimally every three months.

Try replacing your air filter, then running your unit’s heat setting to melt the ice. If this does not clear the problem, contact one of our trained experts to come out to help.

2. Low or Empty Refrigerant

If your heat pump is low on refrigerant, it may be leaking. This can be from of a weakened solder joint, a failed valve, or unsecured fittings. Also, when a component rubs against the refrigerant tank over time, it could eventually puncture it, leading to a freeze-up. 

When the pipes start rattling, play it safe and power down your heat pump. Then contact one of our HVAC professionals for immediate inspection.

3. Filthy Evaporator Coil

Refrigerant flows through your heat pump’s evaporator coil. It transports heat into your Fort Collins home during cool weather and pulls it out during hot weather. When the coil becomes dirty, its ability to transfer heat is impaired. Compromised airflow can lead to a freeze-up. 

If you notice ice on your coils, power down your heat pump. Then gently pour warm water over the coils to melt the ice. If your coils freeze back up, call one of our HVAC team members.

4. Faulty Blower Motor

If your blower motor is not up to speed, it can wreak havoc on your system, leading to a freeze-up.

The fan may start and stop intermittently, run at a reduced spinning cycle, or not run at all. If this is the case, have someone from Balance Point replace it.

5. Dirty Fan Blades

When the blower’s fan blades are dirty, this compromises the system’s airflow and exhaust output. Moisture may become trapped and turn into ice. If this happens, give us a call to correct it, as the fan blades are quite delicate.

6. Wintertime Neglect

Depending on your heat pump model and your Colorado home’s geographic location, some air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) do not always operate efficiently in colder temperatures. Check with one of our experts if this is an issue for your heat pump. 

Also, the unit should be completely level with the ground; any tilting can cause moisture to get trapped and become frozen. Again, talk to our HVAC professionals if you believe your heat pump is not level.

Finally, your unit should be away from gutter flow, as this can cause ice formation. During the winter, always check for ice accumulation around or on your unit, and clear it to prevent further issues.

Contact Us With Any Heat Pump Issues

Experiencing a frozen heat pump? Our Balance Point team of experienced HVAC professionals is just around the corner in Fort Collins, CO, to assist you. Call us today at 970-480-0387 or request service online if you need a repair or are interested in upgrading your current system.

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Pilot Light

Why Is the Furnace Pilot Light Going Out?

October 18, 2021

If you ever hear your gas furnace turn on but cannot feel any warm air blowing from the vents inside your Colorado home, chances are the pilot light went out.

This issue happens more often than not with older furnaces, and it could be a sign you are ready to upgrade your Loveland home’s heating and cooling system with a new model. At the 10-year mark, furnaces start to lose efficiency and begin breaking down more frequently.

Your utility bills, along with repairs, start creeping up. At some point, it makes more sense financially to replace these old appliances with newer models. When the time comes, Balance Point can help you make the right decision. We install, replace, repair, and maintain all major brands of heating equipment.

Here are some basic guidelines involving your pilot light.

How Does My Furnace Pilot Light Work?

The purpose of the pilot light is to ignite the gas coming from your furnace’s main burner. If the pilot light flame ever goes out, your furnace has a safety valve that cuts the gas going to the pilot light so gas is not continuously escaping into your home.

So why does the pilot light go out? There are several common causes:

  • There’s a problem with the flame: If your pilot light flame is more yellowish rather than bright blue, it’s an indication that something is affecting your pilot light to burn inconsistently. As a result of this happening, your furnace will shut off the gas to your pilot light.
  • A breeze blew out the flame: This is probably the most common reason for your pilot light to go out. If this is the case, follow the furnace manufacturer guidelines in relighting the pilot light. If the pilot light remains unlit after numerous attempts, give us a call, and we can send out a certified technician.
  • The thermocouple is damaged: The thermocouple is a safety device that detects whether or not the pilot light works. If the thermocouple is bent or broken, the pilot light will not stay on long enough to ignite the gas needed to provide warm air throughout your Loveland home. You can try bending the thermocouple back into position or cleaning it off with fine grain sandpaper. If that fails, you may need to replace the thermocouple.
  • Your furnace needs cleaning: A buildup of dirt and debris could prevent the pilot light from getting enough oxygen to burn consistently. Schedule a tune-up with Balance Point to have our professionals inspect and clean your furnace today.

Maintaining Your Furnace

The annual heating and cooling costs in your Loveland home typically account for approximately 43 percent of your total energy expenses, according to ENERGY STAR®. It pays to keep this equipment in peak running condition.

If you want to get the most value out of your furnace—along with the rest of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment—develop a preventative maintenance plan. Scheduling annual tune-ups for your furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump allow our professionals to inspect and clean individual parts.

Preventative maintenance is a small investment that pays off through increased comfort and lower energy expenses. A maintenance plan also extends the service life of your HVAC equipment and helps minimize the chances of a costly and inconvenient repair.

Call Your Heating and Cooling Experts Today!

If the pilot light goes out on your furnace, it is something likely needing a repair. But it could also be an indication your furnace no longer operates sufficiently to warm your Loveland, CO, home. Our professionals at Balance Point are ready to lend a hand! Call 970-480-0387 or request service online today to learn more about pilot lights and other parts of your HVAC system.

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Blank Thermostat

Why Is My Thermostat Blank?

September 30, 2021

It is an “Oh no!” moment when you approach your home’s thermostat and see its screen is blank. 

Is it serious? Does it mean your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioning is broken? Not necessarily. In fact, most of the time, it is something minor and can be easily fixed. 

Chill Out

Here are some of the most frequent reasons our Balance Point professionals see a thermostat blank screen here in the Boulder area:

Dead batteries. 

If your thermostat wall does not have a c-wire, or common wire, your thermostat is most likely not hooked up to your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system for its power and requires batteries. When your screen is blank, it could indicate you need to replace the batteries. 

If this is the case, you typically need AA alkaline or 3-volt lithium batteries, so check what type is currently powering the thermostat and simply replace them. Most thermostats display a low-battery symbol when the juice is running low.

On the other hand, if your thermostat is hardwired to your HVAC system for power, it could be a temporary blank screen if the thermostat is in the middle of recharging. Wait a short time and see if the display returns. If it does not, read on. 

Loose wiring or wiring problems. 

Sometimes the wires hooked up to your thermostat are responsible for its lack of power. If they originally were not firmly attached or the thermostat is in a high-traffic room, the vibrations from people walking by can actually affect the wires. 

Our professionals have also seen wires chewed by rodents damage the wiring. According to Humane Society International, these rodents will continue to cause havoc in your Boulder home until you locate their entrance/exit opening and permanently seal it. 

Since wiring deals directly with electricity, we recommend calling us to diagnose and repair the issue for you. When it comes to electricity, rely on a professional. It is much better to be safe than sorry.

Tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. 

A quick fix to restore your thermostat’s power is a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse, depending what you have in your Colorado home. Sometimes a surge can cause this issue. 

If you check your electrical box and a circuit breaker is tripped, just flip it back. If you have fuses, replace the fuse. 

Once this is done, check your thermostat. If you have power again, you are set; but if the breaker trips again or the replacement fuse blows, you may have a more involved HVAC problem. You need to get one of our Balance Point professionals involved.

Tripped safety switch. 

HVAC systems have built-in safety switches to protect you in an unsafe situation. In the event one of your unit’s safety switch is tripped, the transformer supplying voltage to your unit (and possibly your thermostat) will stop power. 

If your unit is a furnace, you need to call one of our HVAC experts for a diagnosis and repair. If the unit is your heat pump or air conditioner, check its condensate pan to see if it is full. As a safety precaution, a full pan may trip the safety switch. Give us a call if this is the case.

Open furnace door. 

Every once in a while, our team members come across an open furnace door causes a blank thermostat. Some thermostats are more sensitive to this issue than others, but it is worth checking. If your furnace door is not closed tightly, your thermostat may turn off. Simply closing the door securely should restore power in this situation.

Old thermostat. 

Though thermostats can last 10 to 20 years, they do wear out. Sometimes it is just time to replace it. 

If your thermostat is older, unfortunately this may be the problem. If it is, be sure to have one of our HVAC professionals install the new one—newer models can be complicated. You want to be sure to avoid issues with it in the future.

Call Us With Any Thermostat Concerns

At Balance Point here in Boulder, CO, we frequently field phone calls regarding thermostat issues. If your thermostat has a blank display, try the aforementioned ideas to see if you can restore its power. But if they are not solving your problem, or if you are hesitant about attempting these on your own, please call us at 970-480-0387 or request service online. We are happy to help.

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Cleaning Furnace

5 Reasons to Schedule a Fall Furnace Clean and Check

September 17, 2021

Once the cooler weather hits here in Fort Collins this fall, you are going to want the inside of your home toasty and comfortable. This means turning on your furnace. Long before the first night you’ll want to use it, you should have your furnace cleaned and checked by a professional from Balance Point

You may think this maintenance is unimportant and you can save money by forgoing it, but you would be mistaken. Here are five reasons you should call to schedule your appointment today.

1. It prevents unexpected and costly breakdowns.

When you schedule your furnace clean and check regularly on an annual basis, you are preventing breakdowns. By having one of our seasoned experts inspect and clean your system, he or she can spot any impending repairs or weaknesses. This alerts you so you can take care of the issue in a timely manner, circumventing middle-of-the-night emergencies when emergency services will cost you more.

2. It saves on monthly energy bills.

By having your furnace cleaned regularly, which includes replacing or cleaning your filter, your furnace can work more efficiently, saving you energy. Once it gets dirty, airflow becomes diminished and blocked. This causes your furnace to work harder, using more energy to do the same amount of work it normally does under easier conditions.

3. It keeps you and your family safe.

When your furnace is not inspected and cleaned before you use it every fall, you run the risk of missing a possible unsafe issue or repair. Sometimes something as dangerous as a cracked heat exchanger can occur. 

According to the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), this can leak toxic carbon monoxide into your Colorado home’s air, and you may not be aware of it at the beginning stages of the problem. By then, dangerous levels of the poisonous gas could already be in your home. One of our professional and highly trained technicians can spot and address safety issues prior to them becoming unsafe.

4. It extends your furnace’s life span.

Your furnace is meant to run smoothly and efficiently, with an expected life span of 15 to 20 years (for gas furnaces). When you neglect its annual clean and check, the dirt and dust accumulated inside builds up and causes problems. 

This in turn forces your system to work harder, wearing down its parts sooner. Keeping things running smoothly helps your furnace live a long and healthy life.

5. It keeps the warranty valid.

Your furnace most likely came with a manufacturer’s warranty. Many of these warranties specify that regular maintenance needs to be performed to keep the system in tip-top shape and to prevent unneeded repairs. By not scheduling these maintenance appointments, your chance of incurring repairs increases and may void your warranty.

Schedule Your Furnace Clean and Check Today

To ensure the best results for both your furnace and your pocketbook, be sure to schedule your annual furnace clean-and-check appointment before the cold weather hits here in Fort Collins, CO. You want your furnace to start right up without issue. Call one of our Balance Point team members at 970-480-0387 or request service online to make your appointment today.

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Man Inspecting HVAC System

Listen to Your HVAC System

August 31, 2021

Think of your heating and cooling (HVAC) system components as the instruments in a quiet symphony. 

When all the pieces are in good condition and work in harmony, the only sounds you will hear will be the quiet hum of a motor and whisper of air as it exits registers in your Colorado home. 

An HVAC system operating at peak efficiency is music to the ears. 

An HVAC system in need of professional attention produces noise. 

Unusual sounds may indicate the need for a tune-up, cleaning, or repair. The experts at Balance Point can decipher the noise and get your system back on track. They have the knowledge and experience it takes to keep your HVAC equipment running at peak efficiency and delivering the comfort you expect in your Loveland home. 

According to ENERGY STAR®, annual energy bills top $2,200 in the average household. Half of that cost goes to heating and cooling systems. Maintaining HVAC equipment is essential to keeping costs down and more money in your pocket. 

You can troubleshoot your furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, and ductwork by paying attention to sensory cues. If the equipment emits strange odors or working parts look worn and dirty, it may be time to call for professional help. Listening to your HVAC system is one of the easiest ways to be proactive. 

What is your HVAC system trying to tell you? Here is a guide to some typical sounds: 

  1. Screaming—If your air conditioner sounds like the victim in a horror film, it may have a refrigerant leak or too much pressure in its compressor. Turn the system off and call one of our professionals.
  2. Squealing or screeching—These sounds are like the high-pitched noise from worn brakes or metal on metal. They may indicate a worn belt or motor bearing. Sometimes the motor simply needs lubrication. Replacing the belt and lubricating the motor are not for do-it-yourselfers. For fast, quality, and expert service, call the professionals at Balance Point
  3. Rattling—If you notice rattling near an air register, it could mean the grille is loose. A rattling sound from within an air duct usually signals the presence of debris. Did you inadvertently drop a nail through the register or did someone in the family force a tiny toy through the grille? It may be time for a thorough duct cleaning.

Debris inside the outdoor unit of the air conditioning system also can cause rattling. Other possibilities include a loose fan and loose parts in the blower or motor. These also can cause rattling sounds from the outdoor unit of your air conditioning system. The fan could be loose and there might be a problem with the blower or the motor. 

  1. Banging or clanking—A loose part that rattles can eventually break or disconnect, causing a banging sound. Your furnace blower also could be unbalanced, or your compressor might be loose. 
  2. Scraping—A metal scraping sound likely means a component is broken and possibly moving around in the unit. It might also indicate damaged or obstructed fan blades. 
  3. Loud humming or clicking—Humming, clicking, even buzzing usually indicate electrical problems, such as loose wiring, a defective capacitor, or failing thermostat.  
  4. Hissing—If you hear hissing from your air conditioning unit, it could be a refrigerant leak or a problem with the compressor motor. If the sound is inside the walls of your home or from the furnace, it likely is a leaky duct. Either way, you will need to call a professional for repairs. 

Call Us Today

Now that you are fluent in HVAC sounds, listen for noise that might indicate a potential problem. Be proactive and call Balance Point in Loveland, CO, for an inspection and tune-up. Call 970-480-0387 or request service online.

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Need HVAC Service?

Contact the experts at Balance Point.

Call us at 970-480-0387!