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How to Keep Your Furnace Up and Running: An Interview with David Kaminski of #1 Plumbing & Air Conditioning

By David Kaminski

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

#1 Plumbing & Air Conditioning is licensed, bonded and insured in the state of New Mexico. Our technicians have years of experience working in our community and surrounding areas with an unquestionable reputation for exceptional work, quick response time and courteous customer service. Our company is centered in honesty and quality work, and we pride ourselves on the personal attention that we are able to give each client. We offer a full range of services for residential and commercial heating, air conditioning, plumbing and drain cleaning.

What are some of the most common reasons why people's heating systems break down and need to be repaired or replaced?

One of the main reasons for equipment failure is the lack of proper seasonal maintenance. Many problems we encounter are related directly to poor maintenance and the inattention to proper upkeep throughout the heating season. A great percentage of equipment failures are the result of several seasons of neglect.

Is there anything that a homeowner can do to help avoid paying for unnecessary furnace repairs?

There are certainly things that a homeowner can do to help prevent equipment breakdowns. The most important item to maintain on a furnace is the furnace filter. Most forced-air furnaces have a filter that is typically located inside the furnace itself. A dirty or clogged filter will severely restrict airflow causing a multitude of problems, the foremost being blower motor failure. Often times we encounter equipment that has been in operation with no air filtration at all. When a furnace does not have proper air filtration dust, lint, pet fur and allergens accumulate inside the heater which will reduce efficiency and performance. This ultimately leads to one or more components failing.

Can you briefly describe what an ideal maintenance plan would be?

An ideal maintenance plan would include having a trained technician thoroughly inspect and clean the heating equipment prior to operating the system. Additionally, the furnace filter should be inspected and cleaned or changed every 30 days throughout the heating season.

What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to using their heater?

Other than poor filter maintenance, some common mistakes include issues with safety. A thorough pre-season inspection by a qualified technician will ensure that homeowners and their families are safe. Specialty tools such as carbon monoxide detectors and inspection cameras can alert technicians and homeowners to dangerous and possibly deadly issues with heating equipment.

Do you have any tips to help homeowners stay warm in the colder months, without a large heating bill?

Manage the temperature efficiently. Turn down the thermostat 10 degrees for the extended periods of time when no one is home, and again when you go to bed (according to your comfort). A programmable thermostat is a relatively inexpensive way to manage temperature setbacks without the hassle of doing it manually several times a day. Close off seldom-used rooms. In some instances closing off supply and return air registers in those rooms can help heat areas that are more frequently occupied (be sure to consult a qualified HVAC technician when doing so). If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed when not in use. Heat rises, and an open fireplace damper is like a hole in the roof. Open curtains and shades on south-facing windows during the day to allow solar radiation to help warm the room. Close all curtains and shades at night to keep the heat in.

Make sure air flows effectively. Keep vents clear. Vents blocked by rugs and furniture prevent heated air from circulating properly. Be sure to block small gaps surrounding windows and doors. Look for obvious places in the attic, basement or in crawlspaces where ducts have become disconnected or misaligned and reconnect them. Repair duct gaps or leaks with specialized metal tape and sealants.

Keep your furnace in shape. Check the air filter often and schedule regular seasonal maintenance with a qualified professional you can trust. Consider high-efficiency and Energy Star rated equipment if replacing or upgrading older equipment.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

#1 Plumbing & Air Conditioning
(505) 999-9567

We can be reached Monday through Saturday from 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. After hours and Sunday service are available by leaving a detailed message after regular business hours.

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