Philadelphia HVAC expert gives advice
Who we talked to
Mike Gildein, owner
Peters Associates Heating and Cooling
8120 Erdrick St. Philadelphia
Mike Gildein started in the heating and cooling business when he was in high school. Thirty years later, he's the owner of Peters Associates Heating and Cooling. "I enjoy the people and the challenges," Gildein says. "Working with different customers and their various needs all plays into it."
What are some signs a furnace may need to be replaced?
"If you're waking up with headaches or nausea, there could be a leak in the heat exchanger, bringing carbon monoxide in to your home. Strange noises [from your furnace] indicate there may be a restriction in the heat exchanger or chimney base. If you're not getting the heat you used to or it's taking longer to heat, that could be because the furnace hasn't been cleaned or serviced regularly. If it's taken care of, a furnace's lifespan is 15 to 18 years."
What are some factors to consider when purchasing a furnace?
"If your furnace needs repairs, weigh the cost of repairs versus replacement. If you have a $500 repair versus a $2,000 replacement, you're going to save on gas and the purchase of a new furnace will pay for itself in a few years. You should also consider how long you're going to be at the property, and if you're looking for heat or longevity. We do size and heat calculations for a customer's property and give them options that fit their needs and budget."
What are the different types of furnaces and which does your company install most often?
"The options are single-stage, two-stage and variable drive furnaces. A single stage has a thermostat you set and it warms to that temperature. A two stage comes on at 65 percent capacity, then increases to full capacity if that setting doesn't heat the home. Variable drives have a fan motor that automatically changes speed to overcome air restrictions in the ductwork of the house. Most often, we try to utilize two-stage furnaces because they provide even heating comfort and save energy."
What can a homeowner do to help ensure a furnace runs properly?
"Have it maintained on an annual basis and change the filter every two or three months. It's similar to a car: if you don't change the oil, it won't last. We've been around for more than 60 years, and after the sale we don't forget about you. We offer complete care service options for five or 10 years, and all parts and labor are covered. It's an investment, so you want to maximize it."