Getting Your AC Ready for Spring and Summer

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. Instead of waiting until the heat comes, get your air conditioning unit ready now. During the start of the summer months, we get a lot of calls for fixing air conditioning units, it’s best to inspect yours ahead of time.


Change the filter

Most people don’t change the filters in their air conditioners often enough. Before you start to use your unit, check to make sure the filter doesn’t need cleaned or replaced. You should be replacing the filter on your air conditioner once a month when it is in use. Some air conditioners have a permanent, reusable filter. If yours has a permanent filter, clean it once a month with a water and vinegar solution.

Clean the lines in your AC unit

The condensation lines in your air conditioning unit can become plugged up with debris. You really don’t want this to happen as this can cause a big mess. It can also be expensive to repair. A lot of times these lines become backed up due to algae growth. If it is not draining properly, you can use an algaecide to kill the algae growth.

Remove debris from around the unit

After a long season, a lot of things can grow around or even in the air conditioning unit. Look for tall grass, weeds, or vines that may be obstructing it. Be sure and remove any plants or other items that are blocking it and making your air conditioning less effective.

Clean the coils and fins on the outside of your AC unit

After sitting unused for a long period of time, your AC unit can collect a lot of dust and it is exposed to the elements, especially if you don’t use a cover. Disconnect the power and wash down the outside of your AC unit. If it is extra dirty, you can buy a specialized cleaner for your unit. To clean the fins, gently clean with a soft brush. Also try and straighten out any severely bent fins.


Do you want to get your air conditioning unit inspected before the hot weather hits? Contact us about getting your unit serviced. We also install new units and programmable thermostats.

Home Heating Systems: A History Lesson

Aren’t we lucky to be able to keep the frigid Colorado winter temperatures outside and keep the inside of our homes so nice, warm, and cozy? For so many of us, we take that for granted. We know that if we push the up arrow on our thermostat, our house gets warmer, and we don’t give it another thought. But how did that come about? Our ancestors didn’t always have the luxury of an automatic in-home heating system. Let’s go back in time to thank those who gave us such warm comfort!

Millions of years ago: The first humans on this planet created a campfire. The campfires were then brought into their living space in an effort to heat their home.
2500BC: Ancient Greeks were found to have been the first to develop central heating using radiant heat by way of the ground. There has also been evidence that the Roman Empire used hypocaust furnaces throughout their structures. These ancient furnaces would filter warm air through hollow spaces under the floor.
1200AD: The first types of chimneys appeared around this time created and used by Cistercian monks in Europe.
1624: Thanks to French architect Louis Savot, the use of a raised grate underneath firewood allowed the heat to circulate within the fireplace. It would draw the cool air in through the grates and fuel the fire.
1742: Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin Stove. This cast iron furnace was designed to produce more heat and less smoke than an open fireplace. The cast-iron would also absorb and radiate heat for a longer period of time.
1880: Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, which in itself, creates heat.
1885: Professor Warren Johnson invented the first electric thermostat resulting in the Johnson Electric Service Company.
1905: American metallurgist Albert Marsh and inventor and entrepreneur William Hoskins patented the alloy chromel (known as nichrome today), which was over 300 times stronger than other available alloys. This durable and high resistance wire was needed in order for the electric heater to work. (This is the heating element used in a toaster).This invention dubbed Marsh as the “father of the electrical heating industry.”
1919: Alice H. Parker received the first patent for inventing the central heating system using natural gas. Her design allowed cool air to be drawn into the furnace, transmitted through a heat exchanger which then delivered the heat to individual rooms through ducts.
1935: Scientists invented a forced convection wall heater which used a coal furnace and an electric fan, to push heat through ducts.
1943: George Löf designed a flat-plate solar heating unit and installed it on the roof of his house in Boulder, Colorado.
1948: Robert C. Webber created the first electric heat pump by reusing the wasted boiling water from his deep freezer.
2017: Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research developed a technology that allows solar energy from the summer to be stored in the form of chemical energy to be used in the winter. It’s still a prototype but could be a way of the future.
2019: Today we are blessed to have an assortment of ways to heat our house, but the majority of Americans use a central furnace to provide whole-house heat.

Many of our modern day conveniences wouldn’t be around today if it wasn’t for all the inventors of times past. We can enjoy warm and comfortable homes, even in the freezing cold temperatures of winter. We can keep your furnace up and running to keep you warm. Heating systems are one of the biggest utility expenses for Colorado homes on the Western Slope. We can identify any inefficiencies, as well as provide you with options for a new high-efficiency system if necessary.


Sometimes blessings are curses because even today our furnaces need to be maintained, repaired, and replaced as they age or break. If you experience an issue with your furnace give SAM’s a call and we’ll send a professional technician to evaluate the issue. In the meantime, jot down our phone number (970) 249-6790 and then settle in your comfy clothes and appreciate the history of how convenient warming your house is.

Warning Signs Your Furnace May Need Replaced

You have an old furnace.
If it’s working great, then you probably need not worry, but if it’s more than 15 years old and it has issues, there is a high probability that it needs replaced. The average lifespan of a furnace is 16-20 years. Also, older furnaces may be out of date when it comes to conserving energy. Replacing your current furnace with a newer model can save you money on your heating and electric bills.

Your energy bills and furnace repairs have increased.
As your furnace ages, repairs are normal.* A slight increase in your bills is to be expected as it will have to work harder the older it gets — but if there is a substantial difference in your bills, and the repairs are constant — you may need to replace your furnace.

*A good rule of thumb when it comes to furnace repairs is that if it costs 50% or more the cost of a new furnace, you should replace it.

A loud noise consistently comes from your furnace.
Furnaces aren’t always quiet. You should know when it kicks on, but if you hear a new sound AND your furnace is pretty old, it might need replaced. Some problem sounds include squeaking, squealing, banging, rattling, hissing, clicking, popping, or other strange noises. Also, it helps to know when your furnace blower runs. If it is constantly running, that is a key indicator that something is wrong.

The temperature isn’t the same throughout the house.
Aging furnaces lose their capacity to heat your home effectively, but significant changes from room to room is more than likely a problem. A repair might be all you need, but that will more than likely only be a temporary fix.

Your furnace won’t stay on.
This could just be some faulty wiring but is something that definitely needs attention. If this is a constant problem, your furnace might need to be replaced.

Your pilot light isn’t a constant blue color.
The burner on gas heating systems should be a bright blue color. If it’s flickering or the flame is a yellowish color, this is an indication that the gas isn’t burning completely. It could also be an indicator that your furnace is producing a higher-than-normal level of carbon monoxide.

Your family keeps getting sick.
Carbon monoxide may be the reason. If you ever suspect carbon monoxide* in your home, open your windows and get outside, then call either the fire department or a local HVAC company to have your home inspected. Carbon monoxide symptoms include; headache, nausea, feeling lightheaded, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness. If your furnace is the cause of carbon monoxide, it is time to replace the unit.

*We highly recommend installing CO alarms in your house in an effort to alert you from any carbon monoxide that may enter your home.


Any heating company will tell you that furnaces need to be maintained. You can’t just get a new furnace or use the one that’s already in your home and assume it doesn’t need a tune-up every now and then; which includes an annual cleaning and replacing minor things as they happen. If your furnace needs a repair here and there, that is normal and we suggest keeping a log for your furnace with dates of incidents that can be referred back to when a certified technician does come to look at it.

If you encounter any of these problems, SAM’s is here to help. We are located in Montrose, CO and offer free service calls AND we accept competitor’s coupons. SAM’s has NATE-Certified Technicians so you know you will receive the best service. For your convenience we are available 24/7. Keep our number handy: 970-249-6790.

10 Most Common HVAC Problems

This symbol indicates a possible danger — if this is located next to the issue you’re experiencing, contact a professional HVAC technician immediately!

1) Lack of Maintenance

Just like any good technician will tell you, regularly scheduled maintenance by a professional is a must to keeping your high-end purchases in tip-top shape. Many common HVAC problems can be avoided with proper maintenance by a certified service contractor. Neglecting to perform regular maintenance on your HVAC system will most likely result in costly repairs down the road and a possibly poor-functioning system.

Regular maintenance on your HVAC system also means getting your ducts cleaned. Sam’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers this service. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment. Professionally having your ducts cleaned out is also a great idea if you just renovated your home, had animals living in your system, recently encountered mold or other contaminants within your system, or if someone in your home is suffering from an unexplained allergy-related illness.

2) Dirty/Clogged Filters

With time, HVAC unit filters get dirty and clogged. Filters should be changed regularly to prevent this from happening. When a clogged filter isn’t changed, the airflow is reduced causing the system to work overtime — this can lead to an increase in your energy bill. A dirty filter can also cause more allergens to circulate through the HVAC system. Holding a filter up to the light is a good indicator of whether it needs to be replaced or not. If no light passes through, it’s time to change the filter.

3) Pilot or Ignition Problems

Ignition problems can be due to a number of causes. A dirty pilot, flame sensor, or burner can cause a pilot outage, short cycling, furnace lockout, or delayed ignition of the burners. It could also be the result of a gas supply problem or wear and tear. Whatever the reasoning, this issue needs to be addressed by a professional since this deals with dangerous elements like natural gas and high voltage.

4) Thermostat Malfunctions

It’s easy to blame something within the HVAC system when things go awry, but occasionally the problem is within the thermostat itself. The good news is that sometimes the problem isn’t a problem at all, but just a minor issue with how the thermostat is set. Your thermostat regulates the timing and amount of hot or cold air your unit should produce. Referring to your owners manual may prevent you from paying for a costly or unnecessary service call. If your thermostat runs on batteries, be sure to check those as well.

5) Unusual Furnace Noises

Noise from your furnace can be part of normal operation, however, some sounds may be a warning or indication of a mechanical problem.

  • A high-pitched screeching noise can be a motor bearing problem. Another screeching sound could be a bad belt.
  • A sound that is similar to a card stuck inside the spokes of a bicycle typically indicates something is stuck in the blades of the blower or something is stuck inside the housing of the furnace.
  • In the unfortunate event that you hear a scraping sound like metal parts rubbing together, you’ll need to call a professional right away as this can be the result of a much larger issue such as a broken wheel or the blower assembly hitting the housing.

6) Blown Fuses or Tripped Breakers

A common reason the furnace trips a circuit breaker is that the blower is overworking. If something is blocking airflow to your system, your blower has to overcompensate. That being said, one of the main reasons is a dirty air filter. Check your filter and replace it if needed before resetting your circuit breaker.

7) Dirty Condenser or Evaporator Coils

Chances are regular maintenance isn’t being conducted if your HVAC unit has this issue. You can hose off the outdoor coil after shutting off the power to the condenser. The indoor evaporator coil will need to be cleaned by a professional if it is extremely dirty. If regular maintenance is performed on your HVAC unit, coils should remain relatively clean and could possibly only need a professional cleaning roughly every three years.

8) Drips and Leaks

While both air conditioners and high-efficiency furnaces can produce condensation, drips and leaks are traditionally signs of a bigger problem. The common causes of leaks are:

  • Gas Line Leaks – usually imply a broken or cracked furnace heat exchanger
  • Refrigerant Leaks – Mainly caused by weak joints or faulty connections in an AC or heat pump
  • Water around the air conditioner – typically caused by a clogged drain hose or dirty coil

9) Blower Runs Continuously

There are several reasons a furnace blower may run continuously. First, check to see if the fan switch on the thermostat is on – this will cause the motor to run continuously. If that didn’t do the trick, then you most likely have one of these three problems:

  1. Your furnace fan limit switch is set to “manual override”
  2. The fan limit switch is faulty and needs to be replaced
  3. There’s a problem in your thermostat wiring

Unfortunately, you’ll need a professional to fix those last two problems.

10) Outdated HVAC Design

Most heating and cooling equipment have a service life of around 20 years. However, unmaintained units face reduced efficiency and lifespans. Older units may need to be completely replaced, especially if home or office renovations have taken place since the original installation.

Another good reason to consult an HVAC expert: you may find that simple ductwork changes can make a huge difference in your HVAC airflow and comfort.

If your furnace is more than 10 years old, a new high-efficiency model may provide better comfort and cost far less to operate.


If you are experiencing problems with your HVAC unit(s), give Sam’s Heating and Air Conditioning a call at (970) 249-6790. Addressing a problem today could mean a more comfortable tomorrow!

Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

Temperatures are dropping, and if they get low enough your pipes could be at risk for freezing and bursting. When water freezes, it expands and will put pressure on whatever is containing it, this includes metal and plastic pipes. In fact, one of the most common causes of property damage during bitter winter weather is burst pipes. Pipes most likely to freeze are ones that run against exterior walls with little to no insulation, pipes exposed to extremely cold temperatures such as outdoor hose bibs, or water sprinkler lines, and pipes in unheated interior spaces such as basements, attics, crawl spaces, and garages. Burst pipes can end up causing thousands of dollars in damage, so we are here to let you know how you can prevent this from happening.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Before the extremely cold weather arrives there are some things you can do to protect your pipes and keep them from freezing.

  • Follow the manufacture’s/installer’s directions to drain water from water sprinkler supply lines and other similar types of lines. You can either use directions to do it yourself or call a professional to do it for you, either way, this is an important task.
  • Remove, drain, and store outdoor hoses. Make sure to close the valves supplying the outdoor hose bibs, and then open the outside hose bibs allowing water to drain. You’ll want to keep the outside valve open allowing any remaining water to expand without the pipe breaking.
  • We talked about pipes in areas such as basements, attics, crawl spaces, and garages being more prone to feezing, to prevent these pipes from freezing make sure to add some insulation to these areas in order to maintain a higher temperature.
  • Install specific products made to help insulate water pipes. There are many different products you can use for this such as a pipe sleeve, heat tap, heat cable, or even newspaper. Believe it or not even 1/4” of newspaper can provide some degree of protection.
  • Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and at night. If you leave for a period of time during the cold months, make sure to leave the heat on in your home. It is recommended to keep your home no lower than 55 degrees while you’re away.
Thawing Frozen Pipes

If you turn on a faucet and only a small trickle of water comes out, it is safe to suspect a frozen pipe. There are a few things you can do to try and unfreeze them before having to call a professional.

  • Keep the faucet open so that water can flow through the frozen area once you treat it and it begins to melt. Running water through the pipe will help melt the ice in the pipe.
  • After you’ve checked the vulnerable areas for freezing and found where the pipe is frozen you will want to apply heat to that section. You can do this by wrapping an electrical heating pad around the pipe, using an electric hair dryer to apply heat, or by wrapping the pipes with towels that have been soaked in hot water. Do not use open flame devices.
  • Keep applying heat until you have full water pressure. Make sure to check other faucets throughout your house in order to determine if you have any additional frozen pipes. Chances are, if one pipe freezes, others may too.
  • If you suspect a frozen pipe but are not able to locate it, or if the pipe is not accessible, call a professional plumber.

Be prepared and follow the steps to prevent pipe freezing before the freezing temperatures hit. SAM’S Heating & Air Conditioning is ready to come to your service if you have pipes giving you the cold shoulder. Call us today for a free service call.

 

What to Do When the Heat Goes Out

It’s cold outside, but luckily our heating systems allow us to stay nice and warm inside the comfort of our own homes. What happens if your heat stops working in the middle of Winter? Or maybe it doesn’t stop working but it stops working as well, and your home isn’t warming up enough for you to stay comfortable? There are professionals you can call to help with this issue, but there may not be someone available right away, or there may be just a minor problem causing the issue that you are able to fix. Keep reading to learn about the things you can check before having to call a technician.

Do You Have Fuel?

If your unit requires fuel to operate this is a very important factor to think about. Often times your fuel will run out and the way you find out is because your heat has stopped working. If you stay aware of the fuel you have available you can make sure to restock before you run into the issue of having no fuel and no heat.

Check Your Thermostat

Check that your thermostat is working, and is on the correct setting. Most thermostats have the options for ‘heat’, ‘cool’, ‘fan’, ‘auto’, or ‘on’. During the cold months, your thermostat should be on the ‘heat’ and ‘auto’ setting choosing a temperature you would like to be maintained. Your thermostat may either be hard-wired or battery operated. If your thermostat requires batteries, check to make sure those are not dead. If your batteries are dead your thermostat will not send the signal for the heat to kick on.

Is power reaching the heating unit?

First, check your electrical panel to make sure the breaker hasn’t tripped. If that is not the problem check that the boiler/furnace is in the on position. If you have a boiler, reset it or check to make sure the pilot light is on. If you have a furnace make sure your filter is not clogged.

 

If these simple solutions do not get your heat back up and running, there may be a bigger issue. If you run across the problem of having no heat and aren’t able to fix the problem on your own you need to get a professional to look at the problem.


Our team of professionals are available 24/7 for your HVAC needs. We will restore your heat in no time! Contact us today for a free service call.

SAM’S Heating  & Air Conditioning specializes in all HVAC-related services. Experience The Difference!

2726 Tender Drive, Montrose, CO
(970) 249-6790

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Areas We Service

Our NATE Certified Technicians are happy to serve Montrose, CO and our neighbors in Grand Junction, Clifton, Mesa, Whitewater,  Delta, Olathe, Crawford, Austin, Cedaredge, Fruita, Palisade, Hotchkiss, Paonia, Orchard City, Ridgway, Colona, Ouray, Cory, Eckert, and Lazear.