All About Service and Installation

Q: Do you install heating systems?
A: Yes we do. Our certified, factory-trained technicians are knowledgeable about installing and servicing all of the latest heating systems.
 
Q: How long does it take to get an estimate?
A: Typically it’s only a couple of days. One of our sales experts will visit your home at your convenience during the day or in the evening. They will recommend the appropriately-sized heating system for your home based on calculations like heat loss and your home’s needs.
 
Q: How long does it take to install a heating system?
A: Most of our installations are done in a day and a half, although every job is different. In extreme weather conditions we usually are able to get your cooling system working the same day.
 
Q: How do I know what size heating system to install in my home?
A: The experts at D.F. Richard Energy will be happy to visit your home and calculate your heating “loads.” They then will be able to recommend a system that is the correct size and model to meet your home’s requirements.
 

Heating Systems

Q: Is annual maintenance of a heating system necessary?
A: Yes. In our area, heating systems work hard. When anything is operating virtually non-stop for months, it needs regular maintenance just like your car. Without regular maintenance and tune-ups, you lose system efficiency and can incur greater expenses.

Annual tune-ups keeps your heating system working at peak efficiency and allow our technicians a chance to catch minor problems and signs of wear early, before they can become major repairs.
 
Q: What should I do if my heating system doesn’t work?
A: Before contacting us, here are a few troubleshooting steps to take to see whether you need a service call:
  • Make sure the thermostat is set above room temperature or in the “heat” position. If it’s a digital thermostat and the display screen is blank, you either need new batteries or the power supply has been interrupted.
  • Check for a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse.
  • Ensure the power switch for your heating system is turned on. Sometimes, these get turned off accidentally.
  • Check your tank to see if you have heating fuel.
  • If you have an oil heating system, press the reset button on the burner relay—ONCE ONLY. If your heating system doesn’t start after you push the reset button the first time, do not push it again. Pushing this button more than once can cause your heating system to “flood.” Too much oil will get pumped into the combustion chamber, resulting in a lengthy and costly repair.

If at this point you still don’t get heat, call us immediately.

When a service technician arrives, let him know everything you did to the heating system before he begins working. You should also let him know if anything out of the ordinary happened, like an unusual noise, a strange smell or smoke.

In many cases, this will help the technician find the problem—and get your heat back on again—faster.
 
Q: How does a furnace work?
A: Heat is generated by burning propane gas or fuel oil inside the furnace. This happens in the combustion chamber, which gets very hot. Air absorbs this heat in the furnace’s heat exchanger. Next, the blower sends the heated air through a system of ducts, and warm air circulates through the home.
 
Q: What is a cracked heat exchanger?
A: The heat exchanger is the main component of your furnace. If the heat exchanger has a crack or a rust hole, combustion fumes (including carbon monoxide) can contaminate the air in your home. This is a potentially deadly situation and should be addressed IMMEDIATELY. A cracked heat exchanger usually requires replacing the entire furnace. If you suspect that you might have a cracked heat exchanger, or a carbon monoxide problem caused by your furnace, turn the system off immediately. Then call us immediately for service.
 
Q: On mild winter days my furnace runs in short blasts and my home alternates from being too hot to being too cold. How can I fix this?
A: Installing a new furnace with two levels of heat and a variable speed motor is a good solution. These “smart” motors automatically adjust the volume and speed of air based on your home’s temperature requirements.

There will be fewer on/off cycles, smaller temperature swings, consistent, even heat, and lower fuel bills.
 
Q: I hear a lot of talk about high-efficiency heating systems. How do you determine a heating system’s efficiency?
A: One indicator is Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). All heating equipment manufactured after 1980 has been required to have a label indicating its AFUE. The AFUE ratio is a measurement of a heating system’s seasonal efficiency, taking into account how well the system performs over an entire season of starts and stops. Modern heating systems will range in efficiency from 81 percent to 95 percent. If your system’s AFUE is lower than this range, contact us about your replacement options.
 
Q: At what temperature should I set my thermostat?
A: Different people feel comfortable at different temperatures. Pay less attention to the number on the thermostat display (or the position of the temperature indicator on a nondigital display) and more to how comfortable the room feels to you. When you feel comfortable, check the setting. That’s the right temperature for you.
 
Q: Should I install a programmable thermostat?
A: Absolutely. Programmable thermostats are especially useful for people who are away from home at regular intervals. They allow for customized comfort settings around the clock, and they can cut heating and cooling costs by as much as 10 percent.
 
Q: My thermostat is suddenly reading Celsius. What can I do?
A: Either find your owner’s manual to get it back to Fahrenheit, or call us to help you. Some of the older models will read Celsius if you accidentally push two buttons by mistake.
 
Q: Is now a good time to replace my boiler or water heater?
A: There are great incentives available from each state that could help you save on the price of a qualifying boiler or water heater.

Tax credits or rebates may be available depending on the state in which you live and the appliance(s) installed.

To learn more about the programs in your area, visit NH.gov and Maine.gov.
 
Q: Do you install cooling systems?
A: Yes we do. Our certified, factory-trained technicians are knowledgeable about installing and servicing all of the latest cooling systems.
 
Q: How long does it take to get an estimate?
A: Typically it’s only a couple of days. One of our sales experts will visit your home at your convenience during the day or in the evening. They will recommend the appropriately-sized cooling system for your home based on calculations like heat loss and your home’s needs.
 
Q: How long does it take to install an air conditioning system?
A: Most of our installations are done in a day and a half, although every job is different. In extreme weather conditions we usually are able to get your cooling system working the same day.
 

Air Conditioning Systems

Q: What are my options for air conditioning?
A: There are many different factors to consider when determining the cost of air conditioning all or parts of your home. In addition to the option of installing central air conditioning systems with or without existing ductwork, we also have available ductless mini-split units and room units.
 
Q: My home has a forced-air furnace but no air conditioning. Can I add central air?
A: Yes, this is an easy addition. Our certified technicians will mount a cooling coil on top of the furnace and install an outside condensing unit. Contact us for a no-obligation estimate.
 
Q: Do I really need a tune-up for my air conditioner?
A: An air conditioning tune-up and inspection will help catch service and equipment problems and ensure your cooling system will run at peak efficiency. An efficiently running cooling system can save you as much as 30 percent in costs.
 
Q: How do I know if it is more cost effective to repair my old air conditioning system or replace it?
A: The frustration of an equipment breakdown can make it tempting to solve the problem with a less costly quick fix. But the least expensive solution in the short run, may not give you the most value overall.

Also repairing an old system often will only restore it to something less than its original level of efficiency. The average homeowner can save up to 40 percent on cooling costs with new high-efficiency equipment.

Consider the following factors when deciding whether to replace or repair:

Replace your system if:
  • It is more than 10 years old and only in average condition.
  • It does not keep you as comfortable as you would like.
  • It breaks down frequently.
  • You will be living in your home for at least five more years.

Repair your system if:
  • It is less than 10 years old and in good condition.
  • Your cooling costs have been acceptable.
  • You are happy with the level of comfort provided by the system.
  • The cooling system’s performance is reliable.
  • You will be moving within the next five years.
  • The cooling system is still under warranty.