How to Enjoy Greater Indoor Comfort This Winter

When it comes to bracing for cold winter temperatures, especially how it gets during the late evening and overnight hours, do you feel more like that of a super hero or a 90-lb. weakling?  There’s plenty of both to go around here in the Napa-Sonoma area, and far be it from us to pick sides.

But here’s what we do know:  love or hate the winter chill, you can save yourself a lot of aggravation and some money, too, by following the few simple steps we’ve detailed below:

Water Heater

Lowering the thermostat to 120 degrees will give you all the hot water you need and reduce your energy costs at the same time.  To cut your energy expense even further, consider covering your storage tank with a specially made water heater blanket.

Pipe Insulation

Do you have water pipes in unheated areas that are prone to freezing?  Then it’s time to take a stand against frozen and burst water pipes by covering them with foam insulation.  For your added peace of mind, consider adding insulation to the inside of your garage door or inside any crawl spaces as additional means to prevent frozen pipes.

Cut Your Home Heating Costs

When it comes to reducing your home heating costs, we have all sorts of suggestions up our sleeves. Feel cold air coming in from around windows and doors?  Time to beef or replace caulking and weather stripping?  Are you heating bills going through the roof, literally?  Then your attic insulation can probably use a little help, or maybe it’s so far gone it needs to be replaced.  Also, are you paying more to heat your home and don’t understand why?  Well, it it’s been a year or longer since your heating system was last cleaned and inspected, we might just have a ready-made solution for you – more on that in just a minute.

Clean Air

Replacing a furnace filter couldn’t be easier.  And yet the majority of heating repairs we perform trace back to dirty and clogged filters that ultimately caused bigger problems that required our services.  If you clean or replace your filter even just three or four times all winter long, you’ll be miles ahead in the clean air department, and less likely to rack up any repair charges.

Take Notes and Store Them Somewhere Safe 

Let’s say you’re the ambitious type and follow every suggestion we’ve made.  For your sake, keep a record of things that you can refer to from time to time. It will help remind you when follow up measures might be called for.  Of, if you’re planning to sell your home, you can show prospective buyers the improvements that you’ve made.

Remember how we mentioned it would be a good idea to have your heating system cleaned and inspected?  Well, we’re just the people to do a very thorough and professional job.  It’s a service that should be performed once a year and for all the right reasons:  fewer repairs, cleaner air, lower utility costs, and more.  Contact Boden today to schedule service and start enjoying the fruits of our labor.


How to Prevent Heat Loss

Even if you have the world’s greatest heating system, here’s one thing it wasn’t designed to accomplish:  heat up the space outside your home.  And yet it can’t help but attempt the impossible when heat is permitted to escape outdoors.

To prevent that and take a big bite out of your monthly heating costs, simply follow these steps energy conservation steps:

  • blogAttic insulation – Pardon us for repeating the obvious, but heat rises, and unless your attic is well insulated, it could be rising into your attic and through your roof. If it’s been a while since you’ve inspected your attic insulation, now’s a good time to do so or hire a professional for assistance.  For best results, the insulation should be at least 6” thick and cover the entire surface of your attic without gaps.  Because heat, you see, will find those gaps, and that spells higher utility costs and more wear and tear on your heating system.
  • Window and Door Insulation – On cold and blustery day, you don’t need an expert to tell you that heat is escaping through or around windows and doors.  Simply stand next to one and you can feel the added chill for yourself.  When you do, that’s the time to beef up or replace window caulking or the weather stripping around doors that lead outside.  If you can feel cold air coming in from beneath a door, installing a door skirt can help a great deal. So can hanging thick shades or drapes over certain windows.
  • Wall Insulation – It’s estimated that about 35% of heat loss occurs through your outside facing walls.  You can gain a lot of extra rest for your heating system and cut your heating costs simply by insulating the inside of them.
  • Fireplace, Switches & Outlets – Your fireplace opening is such a large and easy exit point for heat, it might as well have a neon sign pointing the way out!  To prevent large scale heat loss, cover the opening with airtight glass doors when your fireplace is sitting idle.  Warm air can also escape through switches and outlets – you’ll find specially designed insulation for these at your local hardware store or home center.

How’s your heating system performing?  If it’s been a year or more since you’ve had it checked, now’s the perfect time to contact Boden Plumbing Heating & Air for our multi-point heating system tune-up and inspection.  It’s a great way to prevent heating repair problems while ensuring your system’s safer and more reliable operation.  With regular maintenance, you also can look forward to significant reductions in your monthly heating costs.

Preventing Heat Loss, Santa Rosa & Sonoma – By preventing heat from escaping your home, you’ll enjoy greater comfort plus lower monthly heating costs.

“Is it Time to Replace My Furnace?”

Winter’s knocking on the door. Here in northern California, it’s smart to heed that knock, especially if you want to skate through the season without any heating system shutdowns.

So that begs the question:  does your system have what it takes to keep you nice and warm and without a breakdown or interruption?  It may not if your system is prone to any of these symptoms, each of which indicates a system on the decline:

Here are the most common warning signs that either your furnace needs to be repaired or replaced:

  • blogSoaring Heating Costs. The older and more sluggish your furnace, the harder and longer it has to work to keep you warm.  And that’s what accounts for the significant increases in heating costs.
  • More Frequent Repairs. Since heating systems aren’t designed to last forever, it stands to reason that the older they get, the more prone they become to poor performance and breakdowns.  Give it enough time, and sooner or later it’s just not worth even another penny to fix something that’s only sure to break down again – and again.
  • Furnace is Constantly Running. A furnace is designed to run until it achieves the desired temperature, and then cycle off for a while until more heat is needed.  If, however, yours is constantly running, then either there’s a problem with your furnace, thermostat, or ductwork.  Any way you slice it, it needs to be checked.
  • Hot and Cold Spots. Once again, furnaces are designed to deliver a consistent amount of warm air to each room it serves.  If, however, you’re perfectly comfortable in one room but “not so much” elsewhere, a problem exists, and it’s one that needs looking into.

Another reason to consider replacing your heating system is its age, especially when you consider that the average system lifespan is 15 – 20 years.  Even if yours is just 10 years old, chances are it’s operating at no better than 60% energy efficiency – far less than when you first had it installed.  A new heating system will pay for itself in energy savings alone.

Not sure what you next move should be?  Today we invite you to call Boden Plumbing Heating & Air to arrange a thorough heating system cleaning and inspection.  In the process, we’ll gain a very good idea of what condition it’s in and whether or not it’s worth keeping, even if does need a repair or two.  At least that way you’ll be making a truly informed decision as to what’s in your best interests.  With Boden, you can always count on that kind of honest and straightforward advice.

Common Furnace Repair Problems, and What Causes Them

You know when folks complain the absolute most about the heat? When it’s gone.

Which is why we most of us prefer summer over winter, and why we hate it when something goes wrong with our home heating system.

How can you tell if your furnace might need professional attention? Here are four of the most common symptoms of a furnace that’s seen better days:

  • blog“What’s all that racket?” – Furnaces weren’t built to be noisy, but through continued wear and tear and plain ol’ neglect, they can be downright raucous. Popping, wheezing, rattling, and banging – if you hear that or any other loud noise right away so we can quiet it down again and help prevent any further damage.
  • Hot over here, cold over there. – Hot and cold spots are another sign of a problem with your heating system, though not necessarily with the furnace. Let’s say, for example, that you have a two-zone system and temperatures are just fine in one zone but not so fine in the other. In that case, the problem is most likely confined to one of the thermostats.
  • Mega high heating bills. – The surest sign that something’s wrong with your heating system is when you start paying way more than usual to heat your home. Old age (the system’s) can cause that, as can a dirty or clogged filter. If, for example, your furnace is between 12 and 15 years old, your best bet might just be to replace it; because then, it could take as little as few years to pay for the new system in energy savings alone.
  • Lots more dust to contend with. – If you have a forced air heating system and all of sudden you find dusty furniture practically right after you’ve just dusted it, then you either have an excess of dust and other debris inside your ducts, a clogged filter, or dirt elsewhere in your heating system. It’s not good for your furniture, and it’s even worse for your health.

If you’re noticing any of these symptoms now, call us sooner than later and we’ll do our best to repair whatever’s gone wrong to spare you the expense of having to replace it. Or, better yet, contact us now BEFORE furnace problems crop up and we’ll do our best to make sure they don’t. How? With our multi-step furnace cleaning and inspection service. It’s designed to eliminate the need or at least the severity of repairs, lower your heating-related utility costs, and extend the effective lifespan of your furnace. Contact Boden Plumbing, Heating & Air for service now, and allow us to worry about the care and condition of your furnace. So you won’t have to.

4 Common Heating System Repairs

Like a lot of things mechanical, your home heating system can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

As in, when it’s working like a charm, you love it to pieces. When it isn’t, you want to smash it to pieces. Your classic love-hate relationship.

Well, if you and your heating system are currently on the outs, and you find yourself wondering what’s wrong with it, there’s a very good chance that one of the following is the cause:

  • Young beautiful woman in a cold winterClogged filter. To perform at its best, your heating system needs to be professionally cleaned and inspected once a year. In between professional cleanings, you need to inspect your filter at least every 60 days and clean or replace it as necessary. Once a filter gets clogged with dust, dirt, and other airborne particles, it forces your heating system to work harder to get you all the warm air you desire.
  • Cracked or leaking ductwork. If you have a forced air heating system, your ductwork should be inspected for cracks and leaks right along with the rest of the system. If any are found, they can be sealed immediately to prevent heat from escaping into your attic or other unheated spaces, thus making your system work harder while driving up your heating utility costs.
  • A problem with your system’s fan. Once the fan stops working properly, you’re going to have air circulation problems on your hands, such as too much heat in one room, and hardly any in another.
  • Faulty ignition system. Today, most gas furnaces are fired by an electronic ignition system. These have an average lifespan of 3-5 years, and need to be cleaned and checked along with the rest of your heating system once a year. Otherwise parts can fail, or dust and dirt can accumulate causing intermittent or no heat at all.

What’s a careful, conscientious home owner to do? Well, for one thing, if it’s been a year or more since your furnace was last professionally serviced, now is the perfect time to contact Boden for service, even if you’re not experiencing any home heating problems. If you are, we’re here to troubleshoot it, accurately diagnose it, and perform the necessary repair work, and always with a guaranteed upfront price quote. Contact us today or anytime at all for all your home heating, cooling, and plumbing needs.

House Plants Help Improve Indoor Air Quality

From improving indoor air quality to bringing outdoor beauty into your home on even the dreariest of days, there are countless benefits to adorning your home with bright and lively plants. And while keeping them blooming and beautiful can sometimes be a struggle, you won’t have that problem with any of these 6 hardy, natural air-cleaning varieties:

  1. Bromeliad – Rich in color and texture, bromeliads require very little maintenance, needing minimal watering and medium to direct sunlight. They have very intricate details that give them an exotic appearance. Although a bromeliad dies back once it flowers, its pups can be removed and replanted, so you can continue to enjoy this fun floral over and over again.


  1. Kalanchoe – A native of Madagascar, Kalanchoe is actually a succulent and requires little water and low humidity to thrive – perfect for the cold, dry-air months ahead. Its cheerful flower clusters last several months, and come in a variety of colors such as pink, red, yellow, and orange.
  1. Amaryllis – Amaryllis blooms in winter, making it a very popular holiday gift. Its bulbs are nearly foolproof so you can pretty much guarantee that with a little light and regular watering, this festive flower will continue to brighten your home with colorful blooms.
  1. Hibiscus – While it needs a bit more upkeep during the summer, its winter care is quite simple. Just water when the soil feels dry to the touch. If you wish, you can also pinch the flowering stems back so that they will produce more flowers.
  1. Orchid – The elegant Orchid is a very popular houseplant that is surprisingly easy to care for. It requires watering only once a week to reward its owner with delightful blooms. However, some varieties are more difficult to grow than others, so do your homework before picking one.
  1. Christmas Cactus – Unassuming in appearance throughout most of the year, the Christmas cactus springs to life in December when it reveals its brilliant pink, red, white, orange, and purple blooms. It requires minimal watering and bright, indirect sunlight. As a bonus, its cuttings can be transferred and replanted, allowing you to share the holiday cheer with family and friends.

Now, how exactly do these and other types of houseplants help remove pollutants from your indoor air? They actually feed on the very airborne bacteria that can and often does cause people so much trouble, especially during the winter months when we spend more time indoors with windows and doors shut.

For more far-reaching improved indoor air quality solutions, contact Plumbing Plumbing, Heating & Air today. One of our experienced indoor air quality specialists will be happy to tell you more.

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

The Sonoma Valley is known for many things the world over and, mercifully, one of them NOT being brutal winters.

Yes, it can get pretty chilly in the December through February corridor, especially after the sun goes down. But usually not so bad that it makes you think of pulling up stakes and moving elsewhere.

blogStill, when it’s cold enough to turn the heat on – and we get plenty of days like that – then it’s time to prepare to help ensure your family’s winter-long indoor comfort. We have two suggestions we invite you to consider:

  • Heating System Preventative Maintenance – The best way to fix a problem with your heating system is to not let anything go wrong in the first place: which is precisely the point of our annual preventative maintenance service. The best time to have the work done is in the fall before you even start using your heating system. That way, you’ll already know that it’s been thoroughly cleaned and inspected. What’s more, we’ll advice you if we locate any small repair issues that would make more sense to correct now before they become bigger and potentially costly repair problems.
  • Whole-House Humidifier. One of the biggest complaints we get from customers this time of year is how dry their homes get while the furnace is running. Dry air, in turn, can cause problems for allergy and asthma sufferers, create plenty of static electricity, dry up and potentially warp objects (including musical instruments) made of wood, and more. But with a whole-house humidifier, you can maintain relative humidity levels exactly where you like them for even greater comfort and allergy relief this and every winter to follow.

Our advice? Even while you’re enjoying the early fall months, Northern California style, don’t forget completely about winter. In fact, embrace and more fully prepare for it by contacting Boden Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

When to Call a Heating Company in Petaluma and Santa Rosa

You’ve just settled in for a nice, relaxing evening at home. As the hours pass, you notice that your house starts to feel a little chilly. You grab a blanket and make your way over to the thermostat, which is still set to a very comfortable 70 degrees, but the temperature in your home is anything but comfortable. And then you think: “Uh-oh, now what?!”

Well, before you automatically assume that the problem can only be resolved by a home Boden Plumbingheating professional, here are a few self-help steps you can follow first:

Your home just doesn’t seem warm enough.

First, check your air filter. If it’s clogged with dust, pet hair, and other debris, it’s time to clean or replace it. In fact, furnace filters should be cleaned or replaced monthly during the heating season to ensure proper airflow and help your system work more efficiently.

Could you have leaky ducts? A crack or gap in the duct work is like leaving a window open. It’s definitely worth a look before you pick up the phone and ask for help.

If the problem is isolated to one room or area of your home, you might need an airflow analysis and balancing to take care of those mysterious cold spots. If so, at least you’ll be better prepared when calling for help so you can explain exactly what you’ve discovered.

The furnace isn’t heating at all.

Check the power source. Have you blown a fuse or tripped a circuit breaker? If so, that’s an easy fix that will get you back to a nice warm house in no time. If, on the other hand, this is a frequent occurrence, then professional assistance is probably required to help create a permanent solution.

Check the thermostat to make sure it’s on. Sounds blindingly obvious, right? Well, we can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone out on service calls to fix a heating “problem,” only to discover that the thermostat had accidentally been turned off.

Could it be a problem with the ignition or pilot light? A pilot light can go out for any number of reasons, including a draft. If the furnace is located near a window or drafty door, make sure that they remain closed during the heating season. If a draft is not the culprit, your best bet is to contact a professional who can identify and repair the problem.

So, are you plenty warm in your home right now or trying to figure out why you’re not? If your troubleshooting efforts bear no fruit and there’s still either no heat or not enough, simply pick up the phone and give us a call: Boden Plumbing Heating & Air. Keeping you and your family warm and comfortable, all winter long, is one of the things we do best.

Heating System Preventative Maintenance in Sonoma & Glen Ellen

The logic of it is inescapable:  have your heating system professionally maintained once a year, and it’s bound to serve you better and cost less to run.

And yet, most people resist and put off getting the work done?  Frankly, they’re afraid they’re going to get bad news regarding a needed repair or, quite frankly, that repair problems will be invented in an effort to drive up the cost of the service call.boden

Last thing first.  If you’re really concerned about phony heating problems suddenly appearing out of nowhere, then you may just have the wrong heating company working for you.  Honest folks who depend on your satisfaction and favorable comments wouldn’t stoop to such tactics.  Enough said on that score.

And then there’s the other matter – you know, what if a legitimate problem is found, one that you’d rather not deal with at the moment as the cost to repair it simply isn’t in your budget?  Well, consider the following:  we have yet to meet the furnace that was able to repair itself.  And not only is the problem not going to get better by leaving it alone, it’s only going to get worse and, ultimately, more costly to repair.

And now back to the moral of our story:  as in, the whole point of annual heating system preventative maintenance is just that, i.e., to help prevent repair problems in the first place.  When we’re able to do that, we’re also able to prolong the life of your system, provide you with cleaner indoor air, and help lower your monthly heating costs.

Also, don’t forget the safety factor.  Your heart of your gas furnace, for example, is the heat exchanger.  Left unattended, heat exchangers can eventually crack, thus releasing harmful gas and carbon monoxide into your indoor air.  And there’s nothing good about that.

Truth be told, the home comfort professionals at Boden Plumbing Heating & Air derive  our greatest satisfaction out of helping you heat and cool your home at the lowest possible annual cost.  And one of the best tools we have to achieve that goal is annual heating system preventative maintenance.  So why not call today and schedule one of your own.  Oh, and as for reporting phony problems with your furnace.  Our A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau tells you it just ain’t so.

What to Look for in a New or Replacement Furnace in Santa Rosa and Sonoma Valley

blogIf you’ve decided not to wait for your furnace to completely fail on you and go ahead and replace it proactively, first of all, good move.

Why? Because that gives you more time to make an informed and more comfortable decision. Especially when you consider that, with proper maintenance, the next furnace you buy should last you for up to 20 years.

So, as you begin to weigh your options, here are a few very important factors to keep in mind:

The Contractor

Nothing’s more important than who you hire to size and install your new furnace. We’re not saying that all furnaces are created equal, but there are so many good brands on the market, it’s difficult to go wrong and even more difficult to find huge differences from one brand to another. That’s your professional heating contractor comes in. They start by properly sizing your system which is crucial to its ultimate longevity and your annual energy savings.

Variable Speed Model

If your current system is built during the Jurassic period, then no doubt it runs at a single fan speed. By contrast, today’s variable speed furnaces allow you to control exactly how much heat you receive at any point during the day. Equally important, a variable speed system will save you gobs of money on your home heating costs as they operate in a continuous fan mode, which means no sudden blasts to heat to get things warm again, just a nice steady flow, all day and night long.

Indoor Air Quality

If you or any member of your family struggles with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory ailments, you can do yourselves wonders by purchasing a new furnace with a built-in, whole-house air purifier. These are designed to trap more than 99% of airborne pollutants as they attempt to pass through the system’s filter. Plus, the filters themselves are low maintenance and require cleaning only about every 6 months.

Balanced Humidity

No need to tell you that indoor winter heat is a dry heat. So dry, at times, that it can cause bloody noses, dry, itchy skin, and other problems. But you can avoid all that with a built-in humidity control system where you can maintain balanced humidity levels all year long for greater indoor comfort and lower heating and cooling costs.

At Boden Plumbing Heating & Air, we understand that buying a new furnace can be a complicated and difficult process, but not when you choose us. We’ll explain all your options in easy-to-understand language and, more importantly, give you more than one option to choose from. That way, you’re more likely to get exactly the right new furnace for your family’s needs, home, and budget. Call us today to request a free in-home consultation.