Author Archives: admin

Furnace Maintenance and Repair 101

Furnace Maintenance and Repair 101

A furnace that’s not producing enough heat can ruin the cold months for you. Furnaces are an efficient way to heat your home, as they provide quick and powerful heating at a relatively low cost per month. It’s essential to take care of your furnace right now, so it works when you need it most. 

Cleaning and tuning a modern furnace is a more involved task compared to cleaning an old furnace. An old school clean and tune involved taking out the furnace’s pilot burner and cleaning the orifice, and then you’d remove rust from the main burner. Although these maintenance techniques were effective a decade ago, today’s high-efficiency furnaces call for more precise procedures to ensure peak performance. 

You already have to deal with frigid weather outside; you don’t need to deal with freezing weather inside of your home. To prevent furnace problems, follow these maintenance tips to help you clean and tune your furnace. 

Check the Igniter

Measure your furnace’s resistance by utilizing an igniter. If your furnace has a silicon nitride igniter, you should be able to read 11 to 17 ohms. If your furnace has a carbide igniter, you should see a reading of 50 to 100 ohms. Replace your igniter if your furnace’s resistance reading is outside of these parameters. To help you achieve a more accurate reading, make sure your furnace is turned off, and only test your furnace when the weather is cold. 

Test the Flame Sensor

Hook up your multimeter to your furnace’s flame sensor, then fire up your furnace in a heat cycle. Your readings should be approximately 1.5 to 4 uA (microamps), but some furnaces only need 0.5 uA. Check your furnace’s manual to determine the number of microamps your system needs. A sensor that tests at under 1uA usually experiences nuisance problems later on. Eventually, a troubled sensor stops sensing completely. Regularly checking your furnace’s flame sensor will help you keep your system in top condition. 

Clean the Burners

The most common issues associated with a furnace’s burners are misalignment and contamination. Several of today’s burner designs incorporate the carryover mechanism into the burner itself. Modern furnaces usually come with slots or “wings” in the burner, which align with the burner next to it. Inspect your burners to ensure they’re free from debris that could potentially disrupt air and gas flow. 

Use air pressure or dry nitrogen to blow out the burner’s vestibule area. Use a small, stiff-bristled brush to clean rust and superficial soot from the burner face. Burners declining in performance are a safety hazard because they’ll fill your home with high levels of carbon monoxide. Replace malfunctioning burners immediately. 

Examine the Heat Exchanger

Inspect your furnace’s heat exchanger for signs of wear, such as cracks, holes, and rust. You’ll also need to inspect your metal flue for rust and holes. Make sure your metal flue is adequately supported. To conduct a thorough heat exchanger inspection, you’ll need tools such as inspection cameras and a dye penetration inspection system. Don’t utilize these tools if you’re not trained in their usage.  

Blow out the Condensate Line

Remove or blow on your furnace’s P-trap and pressure tubes to remove debris. You must clean the P-trap and pressure tubes every few weeks because using your furnace for hours at a time during the cold can cause the pressure switch to lockout. 

Perform a Combustion Analysis

Remove your furnace’s combustion analyzer and place it outside of your house for proper calibration. Start your furnace and measure the highest carbon monoxide level upon start-up. Carbon monoxide readings should range from 100 to 400 ppm on a natural-draft furnace or 100 to 1,000 ppm on a 90% condensing furnace. Expect carbon monoxide levels to drop below 100 ppm after three minutes of booting up your furnace. If you notice your carbon monoxide levels rise during run cycles, you must address it for the safety of your family. 

Watch out for Gas Leaks

Check your furnace for gas leaks. You can use either an electronic leak detector or soap bubbles, but remember, some leak detectors produce a false-positive from certain brands of pipe dope. 

Common Furnace Problems and Repairs

Here are some of the most common problems your furnace might face:

  • Gas leaks: You’ll know your furnace is leaking if you can smell gas throughout your home. Avoid lighting any matches and turn off the gas supply valve, which is typically located by your gas meter. Evacuate your home. 
  • Pilot light keeps turning off: If your furnace’s pilot light refuses to stay lit, the thermocouple may be faulty. Another problem your furnace might be experiencing is a clogged pilot orifice. These are all jobs that should only be taken care of by a professional. 
  • Heating and cycling problems: Is your furnace still working, but not producing as much heat as it usually does? Verify nothing is obstructing the flow of warm air. Check your furnace’s filter; if the filter is dirty, replace it with a new air filter. 

Performing routine maintenance on your furnace should keep it in working condition for years to come. Unfortunately, some furnace problems are out of your control. Whether you need maintenance or repair for your central heating system, the technicians at Roberts Mechanical can provide both routine and emergency service. 

We’re based in Orem, and our technicians know how cold Utah’s winters are. After all, we’ve been living and serving Utah County for over three decades. Our certified specialists will get to the root of the issue so your home can remain warm. Contact Roberts Mechanical today. 

Boiler Maintenance and Repair 101

Boiler Maintenance and Repair 101

Boilers are a closed vessel in which water is heated. The heated or vaporized fluid exits the boiler for use in various heating applications, such as water heating, central heating, boiler-based power generation, sanitation, and cooking. Boilers are essential in every building because we use heat every day. Whether it’s winter and your house requires heat to warm up your surroundings, or you enjoy cooking and need heat to prepare your meals, we all use heat to some degree in our day-to-day activities. 

Today’s boilers are better than ever because they’re sleeker-looking, produce more heat, and help reduce your energy bills. According to the Department of Energy, modern-day boilers are 98.5% efficient, which means new boilers waste less fuel than boilers from a decade ago. An efficient boiler uses less energy, which lowers your monthly energy bill and reduces your impact on the environment. Even though boilers do so much for us, most homeowners are stumped when it comes to basic boiler maintenance and repairs. Some homeowners don’t know they have to inspect their boiler each month. 

If you’re one of these clueless homeowners, don’t worry, it’s not too late for you to catch up on your boiler’s maintenance. These simple steps to tune-up your boiler adds years of service to your unit, and increases the interval between professional boiler inspections. Continue reading to learn more about keeping your boiler in top shape.

1. Perform a Test Run

The first step to conducting boiler maintenance is to switch your system to determine if it’s in proper working order. Run your boiler for 20-30 minutes and make sure your boiler is doing the following:

  • Producing heat
  • The boiler has an even heat output to the vents and radiator
  • The boiler isn’t leaking
  • Boiler pipes aren’t making unusual noises
  • Wait for your boiler to cool down before you proceed with the rest of the maintenance steps. 

2. Check Your Boiler’s Pressure Readings

Most boilers come with a pressure gauge that usually stays between 12-15 psi. The boiler’s pressure is controlled by the expansion tank and the pressure relief valve. Additionally, boiler systems typically have a set of temperature gauges that monitor a room’s thermostat, boiler water temperature, temperature safety limits, and a circulating pump’s temperature. Check your boiler’s manual to learn all about your boiler’s control settings and troubleshooting signs. 

3. Replace Your Oil Filter

Oil-fired units require annual oil filter replacement. Use the boiler’s oil shut-off valve to turn off your boiler’s oil supply. Look for the oil filter and remove the filter’s housing cover. Replace the old filter and install a new one. Read your boiler’s manual to make this maintenance task safer and easier. 

4. Lubricate Your Circulating Pump

Some boilers perform better after a few drops of pump lubricant, which helps your system’s water circulation and prevents other boiler failures. 

5. Inspect Your Expansion Tank

Check your expansion tank’s water level. A healthy expansion tank should be about half-way full. If your expansion tank is more than half-way full, you’ll need to use a drain valve to return the tank to its natural water level. However, if your expansion tank is overflowing, your tank might have an air leak or needs to be recharged. There’s nothing you can do to fix a troubled expansion tank, and you’ll need to call a professional.

6. Examine Your Water Softener

Unless you live in a city where the water is already soft, you’ll have to soften your boiler’s water now and then. Open your boiler’s brine tank and examine your water’s salt levels. Manually break up any large chunks of salt and rebalance your boiler’s salt and water levels. Clean out your brine tank if it’s dirty. 

7. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

A potentially deadly consequence of a malfunctioning boiler system is the emission and build-up of carbon monoxide gas. Make sure you have multiple carbon monoxide systems installed in your home. Perform routine safety checks on all of your detectors and change their batteries each year. 

8. Common Boiler Problems and Repairs

Familiarize yourself with the top three most common boiler problems:


Kettling occurs when your boiler produces loud, unpleasant noises that come from the boiler’s heating unit. The only solution is to replace your boiler entirely, which will cost a lot of money. Alternately, you can call a technician to flush out the system for you. 


Boiler leaks indicate your boiler is having significant problems, and they’re usually a sign your boiler is corroding. Replace your pressure relief valve and boiler’s pump. 

Lack of Heat

Perhaps the most challenging boiler problem to handle is when the boiler stops producing heat. While the problem might have to do with your boiler’s ignition, there are many potential problems to consider. Some of the issues range from having a broken thermostat to dealing with a fractured pump. Don’t attempt to pinpoint the problem on your own. You’re better off calling a technician instead. 

Providing your boiler with monthly maintenance can keep a host of problems at bay. However, boiler problems sometimes arise without any rhyme or reason, and your only hope is to work with an experienced technician. 

Roberts Mechanical is your go-to expert on all things boiler related. Whether you’re in the market for a replacement boiler, need a boiler repair, or need to schedule routine boiler maintenance, Roberts Mechanical is here to help you. We boast over 30 years of experience, and each of our technicians has completed the training required for NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certification. Contact Roberts Mechanical today, and one of our technicians will assist you with your boiler needs.

How To Fix A Leaking Boiler

How To Fix A Leaking Boiler

A leaking boiler isn’t something you want to experience, and you shouldn’t take it lightly. Leaking boilers are troublesome and result in adverse consequences. An untreated leak usually leads to rusting components, which eventually leads to malfunctioning electrical components within your boiler. As soon as you detect boiler leakage, you must pinpoint and fix the problem quickly to prevent more severe damage. 

Boiler leaks are most common during the winter, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Not only is your boiler working overtime in the cold months, but when the temperature drops below zero, standing water in the pipes and inside the boiler can freeze into ice. Moreover, the condensate pipe, which removes the remaining steam and condensation from your boiler, can freeze shut; this prevents your boiler from functioning properly. 

Worst of all, your boiler can go faulty for a multitude of reasons, which could be difficult to detect on your own. Here is a guide to help you identify boiler leakage. Continue reading to find out how you can fix your boiler

Understanding How a Boiler Works

Boilers are water-containing vessels that transfer heat from a fuel source (usually oil, gas, or coal) into steam. The steam is then piped to a point where it can be used to run production equipment, provide heat, to sterilize, to steam clean, among other tasks. There are two main types of boilers: firetube boilers and water-tube boilers. 

Firetube boilers, also known as shell boilers, can produce up to 25,000 pounds of steam per hour. 80 percent of boilers at home are of this configuration. You may have also heard of a packaged boiler, which is a subtype of the firetube boiler. Packaged boilers are shipped complete with fuel-burning equipment, mechanical draft equipment, and automatic controls that are designed to function automatically. It’s especially important to prevent any scale formation when it comes to packaged boilers. 

Watertube boilers are rectangular and contain two or more drums. Separation of steam and water occurs at the top of the drum, whereas the bottom drum serves as a collecting point for sludge. These systems aren’t as standard as firetube boilers, but they are essential when over 100,000 pounds of steam per hour is needed.

Determining Why Your Boiler Is Leaking

Identifying boiler leakage is stressful, but the following reasons might explain why your boiler is malfunctioning. Is your boiler’s pressure too high? If you notice that your system is leaking from the boiler pressure valve, then you ought to check if the pressure is too high. Boiler pressure relief valves are supposed to leak water as a safety protection feature to prevent ruining your other appliances. To check if your valve is suffering from too much pressure, look at the gauge needle on your boiler. The gauge needle should be pointing toward the green section and should be set to around one bar. If the gauge needle is pointing toward the red section, it’s an indication of valve overpressure. A way to solve this problem is to bleed out your boiler to help reduce pressure. 

Another common culprit of water leakage is pipe corrosion. Corrosion is the reversion of metal to its ore form. For example, iron reverts to iron oxide as a result of corrosion. The process of corrosion is a complex electrochemical reaction that can occur in many forms. Boiler leaks can be attributed to corroded pipes in the water tank, which are bound to break down over time. If your pipes only started corroding recently, then a technician can replace your pipes with ease. Unfortunately, if the corrosion is widespread, then you’ll need to replace your entire boiler. 

Fixing Your Leaking Boiler

There are only a handful of steps you can take to try fixing your boiler, and if all else fails, you’ll have to call a professional. Before you consult a technician, try the following:

  • Shut off your water supply.  Do this by turning off the internal stop tap; this keeps the puddle of water from growing.
  • Turn off the heating: If your house depends on central heating, it’s best to switch off the system as well.
  • Drain your system: Since this is a boiler, you can expect some water left inside. To drain the remaining liquid, turn on your tap. Additionally, you may also want to flush all the toilets in your house to speed up the process. Once you notice that no more water is coming out, you’re good to go. 
  • Mop up the water: If the puddle surrounding your boiler has collected too much water, you have to mop it up fast. Don’t let your boiler’s water sit on your floor for days, as this makes your floor slippery and can pose a safety hazard to your children. Sitting water also leads to mold growth, so mop up the water as soon as possible. 

Call Us Today

Although there are some steps you can take to repair a leaking boiler temporarily, the solutions listed above should only be used as a starting point while you get a hold of a professional. Roberts Mechanical is your local go-to expert on all things boiler related. Whether you’re in the market for a new boiler, need a boiler repair, or you need to schedule routine boiler maintenance, our experienced technicians are here to help you. 

Roberts Mechanical is based in Orem, Utah, and we’ve been serving Utah County with professional and courteous service for more than 31 years. We are licensed in Utah for heating, air-conditioning, and boiler installation. Roberts Mechanical is a proud Bryant Factory Authorized Dealer, which means that our technicians have passed the training required by NATE certification (North American Technician Excellence). It all boils down to having the best experts on your side. Contact Roberts Mechanical today for all your HVAC needs. 

choosing HVAC replacement brand

Tactics for Choosing the Right HVAC Replacement Brand

Within the world of major HVAC components, there are a number of well-known brands out there. From Honeywell and Lennox to Rheem and Carrier plus several others, you have a multitude of brand options when it comes to your next furnace, air conditioner, water heater or other HVAC materials.

At Roberts Mechanical, we’re here to help with all air conditioning and furnace repair services, plus numerous other HVAC contractor areas. We also offer high-quality replacement services for each of your major components, generally providing you with several brand options when you’re in need of an upgrade. Let’s go over several factors that will help you differentiate between brands and make the right choice for your home.

Utilize HVAC Pro Expertise

For starters, even if you’re a handy and experienced homeowner, we highly advise against buying major HVAC equipment on your own and without the assistance of licensed HVAC pros. There are a couple reasons for this, but the most important directly affects your bottom line: Many reputable HVAC companies won’t install new equipment unless it’s purchased through them.

In addition, HVAC professionals simply have an eye for factors that you won’t. They’ll prevent you from safety hazard risks that take place due to improperly-sized materials, plus the utility bill increases that often come from this same area. Most HVAC quotes will include several brand options at different pricing ranges.

Established Brands

Within the HVAC world, there’s no single brand that’s considered superior to the others. Rather, there are several established brands to choose from – and in this case, experience and reputation are important, as these areas often dictate the quality of warranties and materials. Specifically, HVAC components are meant to last decades; if you choose a lesser brand from a manufacturer that might not even be around in 10 years, what are you going to do if it comes time to claim a warranty?

Brands and Reputation

Within the major brands, however, there are often differentiating factors that will lead you to your final choice. Our pros will tell you which areas certain brands are known for strengths or weaknesses in, and you can match these with your needs and desires in the home.

Warranties and Other Perks

Finally, a major differentiator for many homeowners when choosing between brands is the various perks they offer. One major area here is the warranty, which you should go over in detail and ensure you understand fully for each brand. Other perks may include financing offers, money-back incentives or similar tactics aimed at improving your purchasing experience while increasing the value you receive.

For more on choosing the proper brand for AC or furnace replacement, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, speak to the staff at Roberts Mechanical today.

signs HVAC wear commercial buildings

Telltale Signs of HVAC Wear Issues in Commercial Buildings

If you’re the owner or manager of a commercial building, particularly one where employees work each day, maintaining comfortable air quality and temperature is an important task. Not only are uncomfortable employees less productive, lacking HVAC services may lead to health and liability risks in some cases.

At Roberts Mechanical, we’ve been providing HVAC services like air conditioning repair and many others for over 30 years. One of the top factors in maintaining commercial HVAC systems is understanding when certain components might be nearing the end of their lifespan and require replacement – here are some telltale signs this is the case within your building.

Increased Complaints

Whether you manage the facilities or employ a facilities management team, you may begin to notice more complaints rolling in from your employees. These will generally be regarding the indoor temperature and its swings, but it could also be due to air quality or questions about the allergen content in the air.

Rising Energy Bills

Have you begun to notice that your energy bills are rising each month compared to the previous year despite no major changes in components or temperature needs? This is often a red flag that components within the HVAC system are wearing down, forcing the system to work harder just to provide the same level of comfort as before.

Employee Sickness

If you’ve noticed a higher-than-usual number of employees getting sick recently, you should first check for other causes. Maybe a contagious employee came into work for several days straight and infected several others, for instance.

But if you can’t locate any other cause, and if the issue persists long enough to clearly not just be randomness, the HVAC system could be to blame. Certain worn-down equipment will negatively impact air quality, such as filters that aren’t changed often enough and may lead to respiratory concerns for some people.

Temperature or Moisture Concerns

Are many of the complaints making their way to you regarding different temperatures in varying areas of the building, often with wild levels of variance? What about moisture being found in areas it shouldn’t? These are generally ventilation issues, which can also have a significant impact on air quality and health. If you are receiving these complaints, check all your ducts, vents, registers and other areas related to ventilation.

Odors or Noises

Finally, you or employees may begin to notice foul odors, particularly when near HVAC vents or other airflow areas. These odors may be similar to spoiled eggs, or could be slightly different.

In other situations, you may actually hear strange noises coming from the HVAC system. In either of these cases, these are clear signs that something is wrong and you should consider an HVAC inspection.

For more on the signs of worn-down HVAC components in commercial buildings, or to learn about any of our heating and air services, speak to the staff at Roberts Mechanical today.

types details hvac warranties

Types and Details Associated With HVAC Warranties

For many of the high-value items we purchase and use in our daily lives, warranties will be part of the purchase agreement. This is the case for numerous product areas, and is an important factor when purchasing certain pieces of HVAC equipment.

At Roberts Mechanical, we’re happy to help you understand any and all warranties offered for our heating or air conditioning installation services. There are actually a few different types to help protect you from potential issues with items like your furnace, air conditioner, water heater and others – let’s look at each of these warranty types, plus some important details you should be sure to confirm anytime you’re purchasing these components.

Types of HVAC Warranties

Here are at least four kinds of warranties you may be offered from a few different sources when purchasing HVAC equipment. They are as follows:

  • Manufacturer guarantee: In reality this is less of a specific warranty, though it can function that way practically. This is simply a promise made by the manufacturer of a given piece of equipment that it was made properly and should function well – many such guarantees are simply implied rather than actually written. If defective materials are installed, however, you should be able to get replacements free of charge.
  • Manufacturer warranty: Separate from a manufacturer guarantee is a manufacturer warranty, which covers specific parts or products over a given period of time. If an AC condenser that’s covered by this warranty fails within the allowed time period, for instance, it will be replaced for no charge.
  • Labor warranty: Some HVAC companies offer labor warranties. These ensure that in a situation where the installation of a given product was performed incorrectly, causing defective issues, proper installation can be done instead without a charge to you.
  • Extended warranty: Possibly available from both a manufacturer or installer, extended warranties are generally those that come with extra costs and cover additional areas above and beyond other warranties.

Confirming Important Warranty Details

No two warranties are exactly the same, and they will vary pretty widely between both manufacturers and HVAC installers. When purchasing any HVAC materials, be sure to consider all of the following areas to be sure you’re getting the warranty you need:

  • Transfer: If you sell your home during the warranty period for a given HVAC component, will the warranty transfer to the new owner? This could play a big role in property value.
  • “Lifetime” warranties: When you see this term, you have to clarify how long “lifetime” is actually referring to here. Is it your lifetime? The part’s lifetime? The home’s lifetime? Ask for specifics and ensure they are followed.
  • Invalidation: Find out if there are any practices that will cause your warranty to be voided or invalidated in any way. These usually refer to attempting HVAC repairs you are not licensed for, but may include other areas as well.
  • Process: Make sure you understand how to access your warranty in case of something going wrong that’s covered by it.
  • For more on HVAC warranties, or to learn about any of our heating or air services, speak to the staff at Roberts Mechanical today.
hvac tips property landlords

HVAC Tips and Advice for Property Landlords

At Roberts Mechanical, we’re proud to provide heating and air conditioning services for homes and individuals in various situations. One such situation is for landlords who are renting their properties out to tenants – while it’s the tenants who live in the home and are responsible for certain important day-to-day HVAC maintenance areas, it’s you as a landlord who is ultimately responsible for costs and long-term upkeep here.

Regardless of whether you’re landlord over a single Utah property or several, we can help you keep your HVAC systems and air quality in great shape. Let’s go over a few basic tips we can offer landlords on staying diligent with the HVAC system without interrupting privacy rights of tenants.

Changing Filters

Whether it’s listed as part of your rental agreement or just understood between you and your tenants, you have to ensure HVAC filters are changed at the proper intervals so they don’t accumulate dust and stop functioning well. Most filters need to be changed every one to two months depending on the filter and the dust levels in your home.

As a landlord, it is generally your responsibility to provide these filters. You should ensure that the tenants have at least one or two extra on hand at all times so they can change them as needed.

Standard Maintenance

Particularly for homes where you aren’t around every day to maintain the system, you should have bi-annual inspections and tune-ups done by our professionals. We’ll go through the entire system and check for any buildups or worn down components, making sure everything is both safe and functional. As an added bonus, we can often spot the signs of lazy or improper HVAC management by your tenants, allowing you to regulate that area if harm is being done to your system.

Replacement and Inspection

While you don’t need to have every date memorized, you should be keeping track of when major components in your HVAC system, such as the air conditioner or furnace, are nearing the end of their lifespan. This generally happens around the 15-year mark in most cases, though this can vary depending on how well the system is maintained (our yearly inspections can provide good information on how close various components are to wearing down).

Once the time for replacements does eventually come, be as involved as you can in the selection and inspection process. Our pros are happy to help inspect and install all components for you.

Vacant Properties

During periods where any of your properties sits vacant, you can make a few HVAC adjustments to both maintain the property and save money. You can set the thermostat lower in winter – you have to leave it on around 50 to 55 degrees to prevent frozen pipes, but that’s it – and turn it off completely in winter. If the property sits unused for several months consecutively, however, it’s good to return periodically and ensure there aren’t any humidity or mold issues beginning to form.

For more HVAC tips for landlords, or to learn about any of our other heating and cooling services, speak to the pros at Roberts Mechanical today.

understanding preventing furnace short cycling

Understanding and Preventing Furnace Short Cycling

Particularly during a long winter season like the one Utah is currently undergoing, the furnace is one of the most important pieces of HVAC equipment in the home. In charge of distributing warm air throughout every room, the furnace requires some basic areas of upkeep to ensure it’s working properly.

At Roberts Mechanical, we can provide a full range of furnace repair services for Orem and surrounding areas. One of the most common issues we’re called out to assist with is known as short cycling – what is this, and what are some of the primary factors that cause it? Let’s look at the basics here, plus how you can prevent these risks.


Defining Short Cycling

Simply, short cycling is a condition that describes when the furnace turns on and off repeatedly much more often than a standard furnace would. In many cases, it means the furnace spends the entire day starting and stopping in short bursts, which puts a huge amount of stress on several of its mechanical components and wears them down faster.

In addition, short cycling can lead to big issues with your in-home heating. It can cause uneven amounts of heat in various parts of the home, plus often raises utility bills by significant amounts. For this reason, it’s good to know the common causes of short cycling and how to prevent them, which we’ll discuss in our next section.

Causes and Prevention Areas for Short Cycling

Here are some of the primary factors that lead to short cycling, plus how to avoid any such risks:

  • Size of furnace: One common mistake homeowners make is buying a new furnace that’s too large for their space, assuming it will just do the job even better. This isn’t the case – an oversized furnace will actually heat your space too quickly, leading to long periods where it turns off earlier than required. To prevent this, always have HVAC professionals like ours assist you with furnace installation.
  • Insulation problems: Not only does your furnace need to be able to pump warm air into the home, the structure needs to be able to retain it. If you’re dealing with poor insulation, or perhaps issues of leaks by your windows and doors, new heat could be leaving the home quickly and forcing the furnace to start up again too quickly. Check these areas regularly to ensure this doesn’t happen.
  • Clogged filter: Clogged furnace filters can stop air from passing over the heat exchanger, which overheats the furnace and shuts it down. Furnace filters should be changed at least once every couple months, or more often in some cases.
  • Thermostat concerns: Malfunctioning thermostats may cause the furnace to short cycle for a few different reasons, sometimes due to poor battery life. In other cases, thermostats located too close to a heat source may register too much heat from this source and turn off the furnace even when the entire home isn’t properly heated. If you’re changing out your thermostat, work with our pros to ensure it’s located properly.

For more on preventing furnace short cycling, or to learn about any of our HVAC or furnace repair services, speak to the experts at Roberts Mechanical today.

window labels hvac efficiency

What Window Labels Say About HVAC Efficiency

When it comes to staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer, we tend to think predominantly about our HVAC system – the furnace and AC, vents, ductwork and all other related components. This is natural, as these elements are the primary pieces of equipment that dictate your home’s heating and cooling.

At Roberts Mechanical, however, we’re here to tell you about another home component that’s vital for winter heating and summer cooling: Your windows. Windows are among the primary holders of air in your home, stopping it from escaping to the outdoors and forcing your furnace or AC to work harder to pump more back in – costing you money in the process.

With this in mind, let’s look at some of the important window labels you need to know about. Whether you’re shopping for new windows or just looking to assess your current ones, here are the important facts to know about what these say about window efficiency.

Manufacturer Label

There will be multiple panels on a given window label, each telling you different things. One such panel will be from the manufacturer of the window, and it will state the manufacturer name plus a model number for that design. Just below this will be specific product features, potentially including:

  • Frame materials: Generally wood, aluminum, vinyl, steel, or fiberglass composite
  • Number of panes: Single-pane, double-pan, triple-pane
  • For multi-pane windows, the type of gas that fills the gap (generally krypton or argon) will also be listed
  • Glazing style
  • Low-E: A specific glass treatment that limits the impact UV rays can have on your carpets or furniture – without this, these materials may fade over time due to UV rays

NFRC Label

Once you’ve moved past the basic window information, you’ll also notice four or five numbers in bold on the label. This is the NFRC label, with data calculated by the National Fenestration Rating Council – this group tests windows, doors and other openings and certifies them based on their quality. Important elements of the NFRC evaluation include:

  • U-Factor: How well windows keep heat in the home – lower numbers mean better energy efficiency, while higher numbers are worse.
  • Visible transmittance: How much light a window lets in – higher numbers mean more light.
  • Solar heat gain coefficient: How effectively windows block heat from outside that isn’t desired inside. The lower the number, the more efficient.
  • Air leakage: How much air of any kind the window lets in. Again, lower numbers are better here.
  • Condensation rating: Only found on some NFRC label, this rating tells how well a window resists condensation, with a higher number equaling better resistance.

Energy Star Logo

You may also see the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star logo on your window, which means it’s highly efficient for your area. There’s no single set of criteria here – certain windows are designed for specific climates, so they’re divided into smaller regions and then assessed based on NFRC measurements for U-Factor and solar gain coefficient.

For more on what your window labels tell you about their air efficiency, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, speak to the pros at Roberts Mechanical today.

basics preparation door blower test

Basics and Preparation for Door Blower Air Test

If you’ve noticed your home’s heating bill going up compared to where it was at this time a year ago, you could be dealing with air leaks somewhere in the house. These are often very difficult to spot with the naked eye, but they could be leading to significant energy losses that raise your bill in a major way.

At Roberts Mechanical, our HVAC and heating services include helping homeowners identify these kinds of air leaks when they can’t do so on their own. We use a few different instruments and tests here, depending on your situation. One common test that’s often used across the HVAC world is called the door blower test – what is this, and how should you go about preparing for it if you’re having one done?

Door Blower Test Basics

Door blower tests are part of many home energy audits, with the goal of locating drafts and air leaks and determining how airtight the home is. They use a temporary barrier that our technicians will bring to your home and place on one of your exterior – this barrier has a fan that runs at about 10 or 15 mph, removing air from the home and reducing the indoor air pressure. In addition, the barrier has various instruments to provide data on airflow within the structure.

When the test begins, your technician will turn on the barrier fan. When the home is fully depressurized, the basic effects of physics will kick in: Higher pressure outside than inside will cause air to flow in through any small cracks or openings in your home. Your technician will walk through each area of the home with a tool known as a smoke pencil, which emits odorless smoke and allows them to track the areas where airflow is taking place. Increased airflow from the leak will disrupt the smooth smoke, and your technician will be able to identify the leak and address it.

Preparation Tips

If you’re considering a door blower test for your home or building, there are a few basic preparation steps to take before it’s performed:

  • Batten things down: 10 to 15 mph airflow won’t be enough to ruin any of the elements of your home, but it could ruffle up some things and increase your clutter. Before the test takes place, just take the time to close all windows and other openings so things like paper, fireplace ashes or dust don’t go flying everywhere.
  • Open vs closed: All doors, windows, dampers and openings have to be closed to the exterior for this test. However, any interior doors – plus chests, cabinets and other passageways where air can make it through – should be opened so air can flow as freely as possible within the home.
  • Appliances: Any appliances with a pilot light, including the oven, should be disabled so no sparks or flames are at risk. Our technicians can tell you about which items you’ll need to power down for this test.

For more on the door blower test, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, speak to the pros at Roberts Mechanical today.