Here’s why you should never handle your own furnace tune-up

If you are due for an annual furnace tune-up, you may be thinking you could save a few dollars and inspect the system on your own. After all, checking the furnace every year is a great way to be prepared for the cold winter ahead while ensuring your system is operating at top energy-efficiency for lower energy bills.

Pictured: Reimer technician performing a heating checkup in a Buffalo home.However, before attempting a DIY furnace tune-up, you should be aware of the risks that may arise for an untrained homeowner. Instead of doing things yourself, call in the experts at Reimer Home Services here in Buffalo and Western New York.

You may worsen the problem

Upon inspection, a do-it-yourselfer may discover that their furnace does in fact require some maintenance. Beyond watching a DIY video on the web and running to the local hardware store, the average homeowner is not equipped with the tools or experience needed to either tune-up or repair a home furnace.

Working on your furnace without the help of a trained HVAC professional may actually lead to an inefficient or inoperable furnace. By hiring a trained technician to inspect and repair your furnace, you can prevent problems now and in the future.

Safety risks increase

Homeowners attempting to inspect or repair a furnace on their own greatly increase the risk of injury to themselves and other home residents. Furnaces include many working parts and operate using gas or electricity. An untrained individual attempting to fix this machinery themselves is an invitation for trouble.

Don’t let your goal of saving a few bucks by doing things yourself turn into a safety hazard for others. Incorrectly repaired, a furnace can become a very dangerous fixture in any home.

System warranty may become void

Whether you feel well equipped to work on your home furnace or not, opening it up for a tune-up on your own may be a violation of your system’s warranty. Your standard manufacture warranty can be a great way to cover some of the costs of repair should your furnace have problems sooner than expected.

Turn to the professionals

Before you start a DIY furnace repair, think twice about the costly consequences that may ensue. At Reimer, your safety and satisfaction are our top priorities. Contact us to schedule a furnace tune-up with one of our trained and experienced furnace technicians.

Why you should work with an HVAC company that values its employees

For many HVAC employees, working for a company that treats its personnel well is just as important as working for a company that pays well. Reimer is proud to be one of the top HVAC, plumbing, and home services companies in Buffalo and Western New York.

In this blog, we’ll review just some of the reasons our team loves working at Reimer—and why you should never settle for less than an HVAC company that values its employees.

Pictured: Reimer is a great HVAC company with fantastic employees!Why work with Reimer Home Services?

#1. Greater sense of fulfillment in your work

Employees who are treated well generally have a greater sense of fulfillment in their work. If you want to feel like what you do really matters, choose to work for an that appreciates your efforts and rewards you well.

#2. Improved opportunities for advancement

Employee-centric companies love to offer opportunities for advancement. They emphasize upward movement and reward top performers by giving them the ability to move up the ladder and experience even greater levels of success.

#3. Attractive workplace culture

Who wants to work in an environment marred by poor morale and bad attitudes? Unsurprisingly, the answer is no one. A company that values its employees works hard to create an attractive workplace culture that inspires employees to willingly perform at their best.

As a natural result of such an environment, morale generally remains high and good teamwork becomes more achievable.

#4. Work with top talent

It’s no secret that top industry talent tends to flock to companies that value their employees. If you want to work with other professionals who are just as committed to quality as you are, apply to work at a company that treats their HVAC technicians and plumbers well.

Work with an HVAC company that cares about its employees

At Reimer Home Services, we take pride in treating our employees like the indispensable assets they are. Happy employees generally outperform unhappy employees and find more fulfillment in their work.

So, whether you’re a customer looking for a great HVAC company, or you’re a HVAC / plumbing professional looking to take the next step in your career, call Reimer. We’ve been serving Buffalo and Western New York since 1921.

What you need to know about hybrid HVAC systems

Whether you are buying a new house or updating the one you currently own, you need to decide what kind of heating and cooling system you should have. You may be familiar with standard furnaces and air conditioners, but do you know about hybrid HVAC systems?

These systems are gaining in popularity because of their energy-efficiency and cost savings over time. In this blog, we’ll explore what these systems are and how they work.

For a free in-home estimate on a new hybrid system, contact our team!

Get to know dual-fuel

Hybrid systems, like those Reimer offers, are different than standard units because they rely on two power sources to run. They combine the best aspects of both electric power and gas power, which can include propane, fuel oil, or natural gas.

With the use of smart technology, the hybrid HVAC can switch back-and-forth between the fuel sources to use the most efficient and affordable option for the temperature and season.

Most of the time, the electric heat pump is in charge and functions much like a typical heat pump would by drawing warmer air inside during the cooler months or reversing and pumping warmer air outside during the summer.

When the temperatures dip lower, typically around 40 degrees F, the hybrid HVAC control system will switch over to the gas fuel system for better efficiency. Some systems allow homeowners to manually switch the fuel source, while others may work automatically.

Fall in love with the savings!

Hybrid HVAC systems may cost more initially, but they can save homeowners on their heating and cooling bills all year long—for years to come. It’s a win-win because you can be more comfortable in any season and save around 30-50 percent on your energy expenses.

Not only are you saving money, you are also doing your part to help save the planet. Just like a hybrid vehicle, a hybrid HVAC can reduce your carbon footprint. Many homeowners want to find greener features for their homes, and these hybrid systems fit the bill.

Call Reimer to learn more about hybrid HVAC systems

If you want to learn more about the advantages of hybrid HVAC systems, contact the pros at Reimer Home Services.

Use your tax refund to upgrade to a new air conditioner

It’s tax season, which also means that it’s tax refund season. According to the IRS, 83% of tax returns receive a refund, which means many Americans have cash on hand. Not everyone spends their refund wisely, and most Americans do spend it on something.

As we’ll discuss in a bit, one of the best uses of your refund is in making upgrades to your home—especially since increasing the value of your home helps you get more when it’s time to sell.

In this blog, we’ll talk about why investing in a new air conditioner to replace an older system might make sense for some homeowners.

#1. Investing this money in your home just makes sense

Most investors and financial planners are against using a tax refund for personal purchases, vacations, or—and this should come as no surprise—gambling money. Generally, these are good ways to get the least out of your refund, or to lose it completely.

Instead, most financial planners advocate for investing, saving, or using your tax refund on upgrades to your home that will permanently add value.

And while you can use your refund to put in some new kitchen countertops, replacing your decades-old air conditioner with a new system will also pique potential buyer interest, either now or years from now. Let’s discuss why.

#2. A new air conditioner has value

A new air conditioner, professionally installed by the experts at Reimer, adds value to your home. Many homeowners are wary of moving into a home with aging HVAC systems that they know they’ll have to replace.

In a hot market, any homes with newer HVAC systems are going to have an advantage, and those sellers are going to be able to maximize their value and return on investment.

There are few places in your home where your tax refund will have exactly the same impact. That’s particularly true if you’re not planning on selling your home right away.

#3. Live comfortably before you sell

Even if you’re not planning on selling your home in this year, or even in the next few years, a new air conditioner is something you can enjoy in the meantime. You can benefit from the increased comfort, better reliability, and superior energy-efficiency of your new air conditioner for years before selling your home.

With Reimer, finding the right air conditioner for your home is an easy process. When you call us, we’ll schedule a free in-home estimate with you. We’ll take measurements and match the right system to your home. Your peace of mind (and, really, the peace of mind of future buyers) is that the system is installed right by true professionals.

Learn more about our air conditioning installation, or contact us today to schedule your free in-home estimate.

How do boilers work, and are they right for your home?

In this blog post, we’re going to answer some commonly asked questions about how boilers work. We’ll also address some misconceptions about these heating systems, and explain why they’re a popular choice for many homes here in the Buffalo area.

heating-and-cooling-buffalo-ny-filter-checksBoilers are not water heaters

These two terms get thrown around interchangeably, but boilers are not water heaters.

Boilers heat water for radiant heating, and all of the water stays within a closed-loop system. In contrast, your water heater heats water for household use. The entire point is for water to exit the system through your faucets, shower heads, and dishwasher line.

Moving water to bring you heat

Boilers start with a furnace-type system, which heats the water within the closed circuit. A motor then pushes this water through pipes to radiators. Most of these radiators are floor-mounted, although they can be in other places in a room.

As the hot water runs through the radiator, the heat energy from the water is transferred to the surrounding air, warming the room. The water then travels through the pipe to its next stop in another room.

Finally, after losing so much heat energy to the air in different rooms, the water returns to the furnace, where it’s reheated. The process then starts over again.

What are the advantages of using a boiler for heating?

Hot air rises

Since many boiler radiators are in the floor or near the floor, they’re more effective at heating you and the room than a forced-air system.

Hot air rises: when a forced-air system emits heated air through vents near the ceiling, all that heat is just staying there, not really warming a majority of the room.

In contrast, heat emitted near the floor rises through the room to the ceiling, warming you all that more efficiently and effectively.

Heat your feet

Those water pipes that make up the closed-circuit system we mentioned earlier? In many homes, they’re placed under the floors, which means that homeowners have warmed floors during the coldest months of winter.

Save money

Radiant heating is more energy-efficient than forced-air heating. It’s just physics: water is a much better conduit of heat than air is, so there’s less energy lost as the water travels through the pipes than the same process of air moving through ducts.

The result is that your home heats the same, but with far less energy burned by the furnace.

Is a boiler right for your home?

Many homes here in the Buffalo area have built-in boiler systems, or at least the setup for them, which includes the aforementioned piping and radiators. If that’s the case, a boiler is perfect for your home.

If your home has no boiler setup, it’s something that you can have installed if you’re looking to improve your energy-efficiency or get the heated floors feature.

For more on how boilers work, call Reimer

Reimer is the top choice for heating, cooling, and plumbing work here in Buffalo. For more on boilers, installation, and to get a free in-home estimate on a new system, contact us online.

When you need a new furnace, choose professional installation

Even for the handiest of homeowners, furnace installation is not a DIY project. It’s not a job for your cousin, Dave, or your neighbor, Bob. An improperly installed furnace can be a danger to you and your home at worst, and—at best—inefficient and ineffective, costing you more money down the road. Choose professional installation for your furnace. Choose Reimer.

Here are some of the reasons why hiring a professional to install your furnace is the best idea.

1. A professional will do the job right—and safe

Your furnace is one of the few appliances in your home that connects to a gas line. Whenever a new furnace replaces an older system, this change-out presents a point of danger. An experienced HVAC technician knows the protocol and steps required to safely install a new furnace, so that you’re not putting your family and home in danger.

2. Not all furnaces are the same, but our techs know them all

Even if you think you know how to handle your furnace installation, what might trip you up is that different models from different brands from different manufacturers can often be, well, very different.

An HVAC professional with experience in the field, such as those employed at Reimer, knows their way around furnaces of all types and stripes. They’ll know the differences between systems and how to properly install each.

There will be a marked difference in the way they will install the furnace as compared to a DIY job. Again, at worst, that difference could very well be your family’s safety.

3. Reimer’s team has the right tools for the job

It’s not like installing a furnace is a job that takes just a flathead screwdriver and some AA batteries. It’s a complex process that requires specialized tools—many of them unique to HVAC work. Our techs have this equipment in their vans; even if you want to DIY install your home’s heating system, you’ll have to buy or rent them from a store.

It’s not just a matter of having the tools. You have to be able to know how to use them. Our technicians are informed by years of experience and training on how to safely and properly use tools, and ensure that the furnace has been installed right. A DIY-er only has some light instructions from YouTube. It’s just not a good idea.

Our recommendation? Call in the experts at Reimer

Honestly, the best thing to do under these circumstances is to leave the job to the professionals. Our techs are trained. They have the right equipment. They’re ready to help.

If you need a new furnace in Buffalo or Western New York, contact our team here at Reimer to schedule your free in-home estimate.

Watch out for the 6 signs furnace repair is needed this winter

Winter is in full-swing here in Western New York, and you can count on the weather getting even chillier in the coming weeks. A properly functioning furnace is essential for these cold nights. How do you know when something is wrong with your system? What are the signs furnace repair is needed?

In this blog, we’ll review the six signs that you need to call in the professional technicians at Reimer for a furnace inspection. We offer 24/7 emergency furnace repair in Buffalo and Western New York.

For an inspection and repair, contact our team.

Signs furnace repair is needed for your home

Look out for the signs furnace repair is needed this winter in snowy Buffalo and Western New York.There are many signs that a furnace is on the verge of failure. Here are six of the most common ones—and when you need to call Reimer for service.

 

1. Ineffective heating

Ineffective heating is an obvious sign that your furnace requires repair. There are many reasons for which the furnace may not be generating hot air, or that you’re freezing in your own home. A few common causes include a clogged burner, a clogged filter, a faulty motor, or even a faulty thermostat.

If your thermostat is set correctly and your system is running, but not generating enough heat, call in the pros at Reimer. We’ll inspect your system and figure out what the problem is.

2. Faulty thermostat

Do you still feel the chill even when you turn the thermostat higher? If so, you should get the system checked by a professional. A thermostat contains temperature-sensitive switches that regulate the temperature inside the house. Those switches might need calibrating.

You should switch off the furnace and contact a professional technician to diagnose the furnace and make repairs.

3. Carbon monoxide alarm alerts

If your home’s carbon monoxide alarm has been chirping or sounding, you need to immediately turn off your home’s furnace and call emergency services. A cracked heat exchanger in a furnace has the potential to leak carbon monoxide gas. Colorless and odorless, you won’t see or smell this gas, but it can be fatal.

Reimer can repair or replace a cracked heat exchanger. If you suspect that your heat exchanger has issues, turn off the system and give us a call so we can inspect the system.

4. Banging noises

Another sign of a faulty furnace is banging or other types of noises emanating from the furnace. The noise can be caused due to many different reasons.

One common one? The ignitor is not working right, leading to a delay between the gas release and ignition. The amount of gas builds up in those seconds, and then is ignited, causing a “THUMP” sound. Over time, this can cause increased wear-and-tear to your system.

 

5. Increased utility bills

If your monthly heating bills have suddenly spiked for no reason, it’s probably something that’s off with your furnace. This is one of the most prominent signs furnace repair is needed in your home.

When something is wrong with your furnace, it often burns more gas or electricity to make up for the difference and meet the load demand you set at the thermostat. Over the course of a month, this can really add up.

This is one of the reasons we recommend that our customers schedule an annual furnace tune-up with our team. We can make sure your system is working as efficiently as possible before winter arrives.

7. Frequent cycling

If the furnace turns on-and-off frequently, it’s probably a problem with the heating system. The problem can be caused due to malfunctioning thermostat, improper air circulation, and clogged filter.

Also, think about who installed your system. One cause of cycling is that your current furnace is too large for your home (this is really a thing!), which means that it’s constantly starting and stopping instead of running smoothly to meet demand. This is why professional furnace installation from a trusted company like ours matters.

Seeing signs furnace repair is needed? Contact Reimer for 24/7 emergency furnace repair

In Western New York, Reimer Home Services is a trusted name in HVAC repairs. We specialize in working with all furnace makes and models, and our technicians have the tools and experience to get your home’s heating back to normal.

To get started and to schedule service, contact our team today.

Troubleshooting strange furnace sounds in your home

Older furnaces tend to make a lot of noise. While minor humming and pops are normal noises that come from the furnace and your overall system, there are several strange furnace sounds you shouldn’t ignore. From thumping to vibrating to squealing, we’ll discuss the five sounds you should call Reimer about this heating season.

Need furnace repair this winter? Contact our team for help.

5 strange furnace sounds you should listen for this winter

Here are five common furnace noises that you should never ignore. Not addressing the strange noise could result in major damage to your system.

1. Thumping noises

A vibrating or thumping sound is most likely caused by an unbalanced blower wheel. The noise can also be caused if the motor itself is out of balance.

If you’re hearing loud thumps coming from your system while it’s running, it’s best to call Reimer for an inspection to make sure that an unbalanced wheel doesn’t do permanent damage to your system.

2. Squealing noises

A squealing noise can come from several different sources. Here are the three most-common sources of a squealing sound in your furnace:

  • A shaft bearing that requires oiling
  • A loose blower belt that needs to be replaced or adjusted
  • A malfunctioning blower motor that should be replaced or repaired

All three of these tasks require the help of an HVAC professional. Left unchecked, these problems can result in long-term damage to your furnace and compromised heating this winter. Give our team a call.

3. Humming sounds

A humming noise indicates a faulty fan or capacitor. Give us a call if you hear a consistent, loud humming that’s more than the normal sound of the system operating.

4. Metal scrapping or a rumbling sound

The loud sound of metal scrapping against metal (think nails on a chalkboard) likely indicates a problem with the blower wheel. Of all the strange furnace sounds listed in this blog, we’ll bet that you’ll know this sound when you hear it. It’s pretty obnoxious.

In contrast, a low rumbling sound could indicate a faulty burner. As a precaution, you should turn off the furnace and call in a professional from Reimer.

5. Banging or popping noises

A loud banging noise could come from the furnace for two reasons. First, dirty furnace burners cause a delay in the ignition. As the released gas accumulates, the ignitor finally produces a flame, igniting the gas in a tiny explosion.

Not only can this be a loud pop, but it could result in damage to the system—including a cracked heat exchanger. The solution is to have a professional clean the furnace burners so that they ignite instantly and there’s no buildup of gas.

The other reason for banging or popping noises is that your air ducts, carrying hot air through cold metal, expand and contract with temperature change. This is relatively common noise, so to diagnose the exact source of the popping or banging sounds, listen to your furnace, and then see if the noise is also coming from other parts of the home.

Call the professionals at Reimer for help with any strange furnace sounds this winter

Whether you know the exact cause of your furnace troubles or you need an expert opinion on where to start, Reimer is your source for local HVAC expertise and services. Our friendly technicians are ready to answer your questions and inspect your furnace.

Also, don’t forget: by scheduling a furnace tune-up with our team in the fall, you can avoid the headache of having to listen for many of these strange furnace sounds.

To schedule service with us, contact our team, or give us a call at (716) 694-8524

Prevent water pipes from freezing by following these three steps

Frozen pipes are a common problem in the winter here in Buffalo and Western New York. They are a pain to deal with, and—in the worst cases—can cause pipe bursts that lead to thousands of dollars in property damage. In this blog, we run through the top 4 ways to prevent water pipes from freezing.

Prevent water pipes from freezingWhat causes water pipes to freeze in the winter?

Your water pipes freeze during the coldest nights and days of the year when exposed to below-freezing temperatures for an hour or more. So, why is this a problem? First, using the water again will require professional pipe thawing services from Reimer. But, you’re also at risk of a pipe burst.

What is a pipe burst?

As it freezes, water expands into ice, physically taking up more space. For pipes filled with water, this means that freezing causes the ice to push up against the sides of the pipes. Sometimes, nothing happens. But, if the pipe can’t handle the strain, it will burst.

The damage is prominent at the point of freezing and the water source as the blockage experiences an increase in pressure. A burst pipe can flood your home and generally turn you entire life upside-down. It’s not a good situation to be in.

Our four best ways to prevent water pipes from freezing

Here are four ways you can prevent water pipes from freezing this winter:

1. “Hide” your water lines by insulating them

Ok, let’s start with the most-vulnerable targets: your outside water lines. If you want to prevent water pipes from freezing, this is where you need to start. 

These lines are too exposed to keep the water in them liquid without your help. What you need to do is insulate these pipes so that they have a blanket of warmth protecting them at all times.

If you need further tips and advice—or would like a professional plumber to come to your home and inspect your outdoor pipes—give the team here at Reimer a call.

2. Make absolutely sure you know where your shutoff valve is

This is a big one. We’re always surprised at the number of people who don’t know where the water shutoff valve is, especially renters. Most of the more catastrophic pipe bursts can be nipped in the bud by quickly and effectively shutting off the water in your home, limiting the damage caused by a frozen pipe.

You want to prevent water pipes from freezing in the winter, but you also want to be ready to deal with those that do, in the event that something goes wrong.

The last thing you want to being doing at 2:35 on a cold Buffalo morning in December is running around the outside of your house in the dark looking for a snow-buried shutoff valve. Locate it now in the fall so you know what to do in the case of an emergency.

3. Check the insulation in your attic and basement

We’ve already talked about outdoor pipes and plumbing that are exposed to elements. But, insufficiently insulated plumbing in your home’s attic and basement can also freeze up if not given an extra layer of protection.

Take a quick look through your basement and attic. Are there exposed pipes near outside walls or the ceiling? If so, it might not be a bad idea to wrap them in an insulating layer.

“But, these pipes are in my house!” Yes, but consider this: in the event of a furnace breakdown and the need for furnace repair, any extra insulation on those pipes can buy them critical hours as the rest of your home gets frosty. In other words, insulation can be the difference between waking up to a frozen pipes and, well, not.

4. Schedule a heating tune-up with the team at Reimer

One of the best ways to ensure that your indoor pipes don’t freeze this winter is to make sure that your home’s furnace is running right and not at risk of a breakdown. Furnace problems that happen while the family is sleeping are the most common cause of frozen pipes. 

You can’t prevent every problem, but you can greatly reduce your risk of a breakdown by scheduling a furnace tune-up with our team. Not only do furnace tune-ups help you avoid furnace issues throughout the winter, but they’ll also make your system more energy-efficient—saving you money, all winter long.

That’s a win-win.

For more plumbing tips, advice, and other services, call the team at Reimer!

At Reimer, we handle all your frozen pipe problems with our 24/7 emergency plumbing repair services. For service here in Buffalo and Western New York, give us a call at (716) 694-8524 or contact our team online.

5 signs something is wrong with your furnace heat exchanger

Winter is right around the corner. Here in Buffalo and Western New York, your home is relying on your furnace to keep it comfortable and safe. In turn, your furnace relies on its furnace heat exchanger. Any problems there, and you’re not just without heat—you could actually be in danger!

What is the furnace heat exchanger, exactly?

The heat exchanger is the part of the furnace that separates breathable air and the combustion chamber from one another. The exchanger is made from a thin metal that allows it to transfer heat throughout the house. If it is damaged, the gases and the fumes from the combustion process mix with the clean air. Not good!

What are the signs of problems with the furnace heat exchanger?

Here are five signs that you need to call Reimer for furnace repair here in Buffalo:

furnace heat exchanger

Sign #1: You see soot

If the furnace has a soot buildup inside of it, then chances are that the heat exchange is damaged. This is a sign that the burner is not burning properly and needs to be fixed. The cause can be anything from tilted burners to cracks in the heat exchange itself.

Sign #2: You see cracks or damage

If other parts of the furnace show wear-and-tear, chances are the internal components have similar damages. Cracks due to machine stress are not uncommon and are actually inevitable over time.

Rapidly heating and cooling metal causes expansion and contraction, which causes damage to metal over time. The heat exchanger can also corrode with time due to constant exposure to the fumes and chloride.

When you spot these cracks or damage, call Reimer immediately for 24/7 emergency repair.

Sign #3: You see a change in the flames

A fully functional gas furnace should generate a steady blue flame. If the flame seems yellowish in color or erratic, the heat exchanger may be damaged or the burner may be grungy. If the flame leans to one side once the fan is turned on, chances are you have a cracked exchanger on your hands.

Sign #4: You see discoloration and buildup

If the heat exchanger develops cracks, the metal will get discolored with the soot that builds up on it. The cracks will allow that deposit through, making the heat exchanger appear “sooty,” as discussed in the section above. The site of the crack should have a buildup as well, or there might be spots that are darker than the rest of the metal.

Sign #5: You detect carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide can be a byproduct of the combustion process in your furnace. It’s a colorless, odorless gas that can be fatal. This is why it’s important to address furnace heat exchanger problems before they turn into a major danger to your family and house.

In addition to keeping an eye on your furnace for signs #1-4, you should have a functioning carbon monoxide detector. If you suspect there’s a leak, evacuate and then call the fire department and Reimer for HVAC repair.

Contact Reimer for 24/7 emergency furnace heat exchanger repair

If you’ve been noticing that your furnace heat exchanger is exhibiting any of the five signs above, it’s time to call Reimer for 24/7 emergency furnace repair in Buffalo and Western New York. Our technicians will inspect your furnace and make sure it’s safe to use this winter. If not, we’ll address your repair needs.

To contact Reimer for service, give us a call at (716) 694-8524 or contact us online. And remember: dealing with your furnace heat exchanger sooner than later can save your furnace and keep your home heated and comfortable.