Do you REALY need a prevantative maintenance agreement for your furnace, heat pump, or straight AC system?  Let’s look at it like an automobile.  Do you REALLY need to get an oil change or tune-up for your car?  Imagine if your car ran as much as your HVAC system…meaning that it runs all day, every day.  Would your car need a tune up or an oil change?  Umm….yes! 

Your HVAC system is the hardest working component in your home.  These systems are delicate….hundreds of parts and pieces, operating at high temperatures and even higfher pressures.  Having them routinely checked, calibrated, and topped off with freon is critical for protetcing your investment.  

 

Check our website for some cost-saving DIY tips to help kep your systems running at peak performance–www.comfortheatingandac.com, and feel free to call us with any questions–advice is free!  540-373-8471.

 

The Comfort Crew of Comfort Heating & Cooling, Fredericksburg VA .

 

 

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UV lights were introduced into the HVAC market in the mid-90s. Like the sun, these special lights give off UV waves, which easily penetrate thin-walled cells or micro-organisms like germs, viruses and mold spores, leaving them unable to grow or multiply. As their effectiveness with destroying germs & bacteria became evident, they rapidly became regular components in the HVAC systems of hospitals and other medical facilities. From there they found there way into educational institutions. The price point of this technology has dramatically fallen in recent years, making it economical for residential applications. The UV light is positioned in your air handler (the inside unit of the HVAC system), and sit above your blower, effectively treating all the air being pushed into your home. In addition to killing mold, mildew, bacteria and other germs, UV lights have even proven to be effective in killing most household odors. Overall air quality is dramatically improved with the installation of a UV light in your home. 
 
Contact Comfort Heating & Cooling at 540-373-8471 for more information and our special FREE UV light offer (good through July 31, 2012).  Also visit www.comfortheatingandac.com for more data and our exclusive “diagnosis dictionary!” 

Why is HVAC Repair So #*#@ Expensive?

Posted: June 18, 2012 in HVAC

Let’s face it, we all cringe when we have to call for HVAC repair…the repair bills are rarely dirt cheap.  Many customers assume that HVAC contractors are economic rapists and rolling in the dough–how can they not with the prices they charge?

As an HVAC contractor, WE cringe when we quote repair bills, and unfortunately we are NOT rolling in the dough.  The profit margins for this business are low.   

Here’s the straight skinny.  To get a qualified and experienced service technicnan out to your home, in a truck outfitted with freon and the multitudinous parts and pieces needed for the on-the-spot repair, and with all the various tools needed to facilitate repairs…it costs the contractor around $75-$85 per HOUR. 

How is this calculated? 

First of all, almost half of that figure is the technician’s hourly wage.  They make good money, and deservedly so….they must have a tremendous book of knowledge coupled with tremendous diagnotic skills.  Add this to the fact that they are always working in extreme temperature conditions, and you come up with an exctremely demanding job.  They are rather like doctors thart have to work in temperatures from bone-chilling cold to blistering heat (as an example, evaporator coil changeouts in attics can have the tech in temperatures as high as 120 degrees). 

Now,. take a look at the technician’s service vehicle.  It is outfitted with thousands of dollars worth of capacitors, relays, freon, specialty tools, motors, fuses, freon, nitrogen, oxygen…the list goes on and on.  Now consider what the insurance rate is on a vehicle that carries this kind of inventory PLUS hazardous chemicals.  It’s outrageous.  Add rising fuel costs to the picture (gas mileage on a weighed-down vehicle is poor to say the least).  We all know the cost to own and maintain a vehicle…not cheap, even if you aren’t driving it all day, every day. 

The final piece to the puzzle are all the usual fees, taxes, and insurance premiums that small businesses must pay to keep employees employed.  These alone are startingly high, and unfortinately with the current political and economic climate, they are only getting worse. 

Add all this up…the picture is bleak for offering low-cost repair fees.  When you see compnaies offering rock-bottom service call rates, you can rest assured that they are banking on making their money back with upsells and unnecesary repairs.  Buyer beware when you see service calls being advertised for anything lower that $80!

While we know this blog doesn’t make writing HVAC repair checks any less painful, but hopefully it has helped to understand why this industry is so $#&% expensive! 

Check out www.comfortheatingandac.com for helpful DIY tips that will help keep your system running at its most efficient, and help keep those repair bills at bay!

There is a lot of competition out there in regards to HVAC contractors.  In the Fredericksburg Virginia area, there are well over 50 companies to choose from!  Where do you start? 

Just as “location, location, location” is the mantra for a successful real estate transaction, “experience, experience, experience” are the words you should focus on when choosing an HVAC contractor to service your home’s systems. 

It’s all well and good to employ an HVAC company that’s been in business for 100 years, but if the technician that they dispatch to your home is fresh out of school, those 100 years of experience mean naught.  It’s highly advisable to ask how much field experience a technican has prior to them being dispatched to your home.  Request techs that have at LEAST three years experience in the field.  Disgnosing problems with HVAC systems can be tricky, and inexperienced techs can easily misdiagnose problems and waste both your time and money. 

It IS important to choose an HVAC contractor that has been in business a long time–you want to make sure that the people who install or repair your system will be there if any futrure problems arise.  HVAC companies that have been in business a long time obviously know a thing or two about the industry and have satisfied enough customers to remain in business!  Contractors that have been in business a long time will also have better buying power with their distributors, which can translate into lower prices for you.

So once again–“experience, experience, experience” are the words to live by when choosing your HVAC contractor–you want techinicans AND companies that have plenty of it.  Comfort Heating & Cooling is a prime example of a company that offers both–they’ve been in business for over 30 years, and all their technicians have over FIFTEEN years in the field!   www.comfortheatingandac.com 

 

Mini Split Systems–Small Space Solutions!

Mini splits, which are smaller versions of full-size heat pump and straight AC systems, nicely solve small space issues where full-size heat pumps and ductwork just won’t fit.  They are also ideal for older home remods.  Mini split systems are ductless, with only small freon lines connecting your indoor and outdoor units.  Some mini split manufacturers offer indoor units that are disguised as picture frames (in which you can place any piece of art)…they open when needed to provide both heating and cooling!  Indoor units can be mounted in your ceiling, above windows…with a small footprint, they can be installed just about anywhere in your home where you need spot cooling &heating.  One outdoor unit can provide power for up to 16 indoor units! 
Call us at 540-373-8471 for more info, or visit us at http://www.comfortheatingandac.com.

If you are in the Fredericksburg, VA area–call us at 540-373-8471 for details on some amazing Lennox rebates (up to $1375)…check us out online at http://www.comfortheatingandac.com.

 

HVAC THEFTS ON THE RISE!

Posted: March 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s infuriating to be writing this blog, but the fact of the matter is that thefts of outdoor units and the valuable copper therein are on the rise.  Thieves are either cutting the copper lines that run from your outdoor unit into the hosue and subseqauently stealing the entire outdoor unit, or they are ransacking the inside of the unit for their copper-rich coils.    We have seen entire neighborhoods ransacked in an evening.  We’ve actually had local thieves that have been so bold as to steal coils off of commercial units that were running, servicing businesses that were OPEN!  

There are, however, some options to help protect your investment.  Some companies are now manufacturing decorative iron grills that surround the unit, and are embedded in the concrete pad under your unit.  They come with a locking gate to allow for service.  Call us at 540-373-8471 and we can help direct you to these distributors.

There is also a new product called CopperWatcher, an alarm system that sets off a loud siren when copper lines are tampered with.  Our sister company Ductwork Inc. is now a distributor.  Check CopperWatcher out at http://www.copperwatcher.com.   

Keep an eye out there, folks!  Check out our website at http://www.comfortheatingandac.com for valuable HVAC DIY tips and our exclusive “diagnosis dictionary.”  

Sincerely, 

The Crew at Comfort Heating & Cooling