I have no heat. What should I check first? – Q&A with Hogg Mechanical

Real estate questions

Q&AIn response to my inquiry into a direct mailer from Hogg Mechanical for a comprehensive furnace tune up for just $45, I ended up popping by and doing a quick Q&A about furnaces, air conditioners, maintenance, service and a little bit about the evolution of Hogg Fuels, Hogg Mechanical – they do so much and for so long – they have a lot of Hogg companies. I met with Peter Wagner, Ryan vanDyk and JR Waddell. Today my questions focused on HVAC – heating, ventilation and air conditioning because that is what’s important to most homeowners.


Q: How much is it to install an air conditioner?

A:  There are a lot of variables that determine what the cost will be when installing an air conditioner.  Size, load requirements of house, efficiency and long term plans all contribute.  A range would be anywhere from $2000 – $6000.


Q: How much is it to install a furnace?

A: Like an air conditioner there are some factors to consider when buying a furnace, but they usually range from $2500 – $5000.


serviceQ: Who is your biggest competitor and why should I choose you over them?

A: I would say our biggest competitors are the big corporations moving into the area like Service Experts, Direct Energy and Aire One.  They have bigger marketing budgets than local firms like Hogg.  Choosing a local firm like Hogg Mechanical keeps your investment in the community where you live.  Hogg supports the community that supports us by being an active participant in local charities and organizations.  After 138 years in business, we know how to effectively perform any task in the business and you can be assured, we will be around to service your needs for the lifetime of the equipment.


Q: How often should I really change my filter?

A: Typical 1” filters should be replaced once a month.  High end 1” filters can be done every 3 months.  There are a lot of great, reasonable options that can be installed that require changes once a year as well.


Q: How often should I really maintain my furnace?

A: Once a year is recommended by the manufacturer, fire department and TSSA (our governing body).  It’s like an oil change.  You can go longer, but your equipment will run less efficient, fail prematurely and run the risk of being unsafe.


$45 on a furnace or air conditioner tune-up, best deal in town, shop around we dare you! Saves you on future repairs/installs and money towards your heating bills!


Q: Do most people maintain their furnaces on a regular basis.

A: About 50% of our local homeowners do a pretty good job.


Q: What’s the difference between a high and a mid-efficiency furnace?

A: About three years ago manufactures stopped producing mid-efficiency furnaces. All of our furnaces are now high-efficiency. Mid-efficiency furnaces run at about 80% efficiency meaning that 20% of the energy goes straight up the chimney. High-efficiency are 90-95% efficient. This translates to lower heating costs for the homeowner.


Q: How long will a furnace last?

A: If you don’t properly maintain your furnace it might not even last 8 years. If you maintain it, it will last upwards of 20 years.


Q: What questions should I ask a heating/cooling contractor?  They all sound/look the same!

A:  Can their technicians show you their licenses while in the house?  Are they insured?  If I call on Christmas Eve at 11pm with no heat, will you come?  How much will it cost me to maintain the equipment?  How long have you been in business?  And the big one…..Can you put all of this in writing?


Q: I have no heat!  What should I check first?!

A: 1 – Check that the thermostat is set to “Heat” and the temperature is set properly.  2 – Has it snowed recently?  Make sure the outside vent is clear of snow.  3 – Make sure the furnace switch in the basement wasn’t turned off.  4 – Is your filter dirty?  Take it out and replace if it is.

A common mistake people make is “resetting“ the furnace by turning the switch off and on.  Although this might get it running for a short time, it can erase valuable data stored in the furnace that can help a technician diagnose the problem.  Always call us first and we can have you check for error codes before trying to reset.


Q:  Should I run a program on my Thermostat?

A:  Yes, but no more than a 2 degree difference.  Anything more is counter-productive in saving money.


Q: I got a phone call (or knock on my door) regarding my furnace and/or water heater with a deal that seems really good.  What should I do?

A:  There are many companies trying this method now.  Some even claim to be from the “Gas Company”.  Unfortunately there are more than a few that can turn out to be scams.  If you know of the company or have done business with them before, great.  If not, you are allowing strangers into your house and often signing contracts that lead to long term costs on your end.


Q: What brand should I buy?

A: Although there are a few “top” brands, try to make a decision based on who is doing the work.  Anybody can put in what people call the best furnace, but if they do not do it properly, you will have problems.  Reputable firms carry good products.  It’s how they are able to stay in business (in our case 138 years).


wood vendor copyQ: Is there a Boss Hogg?

A: No, not since the 1970’s.


I couldn’t resist asking that last question.

I found out lots of other stuff too about ecohomes, and heat pumps and how Hogg got their start delivering wood and coal, then oil, then gas…It’s a good and local company and I’d recommend them.


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