You Need To Know  RSS

Knowledge center for maintenance and care

Emergency Heating Service

Arianne Large - Tuesday, December 04, 2018

No one wants to deal with an HVAC breakdown during cold weather.  Unfortunately, these things always seem to occur on the coldest and most inconvenient times.  When it happens, what are your options?  Afraid you'll have to break into the Christmas funds to pay the bill?  Do you try to survive the weekend and wait until the next business day?  Are all the unanswered questions leaving you undecided?  Do not sacrifice your family’s safety and comfort.  Here are the facts:

1. Helms Heating & Air Conditioning has a Manager on-call every day, including holidays.

2. You can call our office telephone number, 704-821-6255, day or night.

3. All afterhours calls are received by a third-party answering service. These operators cannot provide advice or appointments. They will take your information and send it to the Helms Manager immediately.

4. The Manager will return calls in the order they are received.  At that time, they will provide free basic troubleshooting tips or dispatch the next available Technician to your home.

5. The Manager will prioritize service requests based on the need.  A customer with only one heating source will take precedence over one with multiple heating sources.

6. Our annual Maintenance Agreement customers always receive priority service.  No matter how busy we are, service will be scheduled within 24 hours of their call.

7. Helms Heating & Air does not charge “emergency fees” for nights, weekends, or holidays.  Our afterhours rates are the same as during normal business hours.

8. Helms Heating & Air does not outsource our afterhours service calls.  The familiar voices and faces of our Office Staff, Managers, and Technicians are the same you can expect nights and weekends.

9. Our Technicians service all brands of heating and cooling equipment.

If you need an emergency repair, contact the heating and air conditioning professionals at Helms Heating & Air Conditioning by calling 704-821-6255.


What's That Noise?!

Arianne Large - Monday, November 05, 2018

After years in your home, you may have become immune to all of the many sounds – gurgling and whirring of the washing machine, the ice dropping in the freezer, the clicking of your teenager speed-texting, the young ones arguing over the XBox…..   You may even ignore the sounds of your heating and air conditioning system.


No matter how old your heating system is, it is going to make some noise.  However, there are some HVAC-related sounds that you shouldn’t overlook.  It is important that you can determine what is normal and what is not in order to identify the source.



When your thermostat calls for heat, it signals for the system to turn on.  You’ll know this is happening because there will be a clicking sound at the thermostat.  If you hear this while the system is running or multiple times within a short period, you may have an issue causing the system to short-cycle.



The blower motor and fan blades may cause a quiet hum while you’re system is running.  You may also hear of air whooshing through your vents.  This will happen during normal operation.



You may hear the sound of air whooshing through your ductwork and vents while it is running.  This is also normal.  A hissing noise, however, could be a sign of leaking or obstructed ductwork.  Either of these can cause your system to run more frequently, cost more to operate, and eventually cause system failure.  If the ducts in the attic or crawl are leaking, it could cause poor air quality in the home.  If you hear the hissing at the return air grill, make sure that your air filter is the correct size and that it is installed incorrectly.



Thumping or popping sound could be caused by your metal ductwork expanding and contracting when it is heated or cooled.  This is normal.  If it is annoying to you, a Technician can offer solutions to lessen the noise.



If you hear a boom or bang, it may be due to a small gas explosion because of a delayed ignition.  Gas can build up in the furnace chamber and “explode” when the furnace finally ignites.  You can best protect your system with an immediate call to Helms to diagnose the potential problem:

  • Delayed ignition.  Gas can build up in the furnace chamber and “explode” when the furnace finally ignites.  Your system could be not getting enough gas or have an issue with worn or clogged burners.  A Technician can check and adjust the gas pressures, clean the burners, and/or diagnose and replace a faulty regulator or gas valve.

  • A bang or rattling sound coming from your furnace when it first kicks on could mean you have a cracked heat exchanger, which is the biggest cause of carbon monoxide leaks.


If you are hearing clanking or rattling, turn the system off immediately and call for a Technician. 

Your blower wheel/fan may have come loose and is hitting the blower housing.  If it isn’t damaged, the repair should be quick and easy.

    • A part could have broken or come loose and is stuck in the blower wheel.

    • Parts can become loose or unaligned overtime because of the vibration during operation.  These problems should be addressed before the part breaks or disconnects completely.



If you hear a squealing or screeching noise at your furnace, your blower motor may be malfunctioning.  It is best to have it resolved immediately as it could lead to an expensive repair.



If your furnace is rumbling, it usually indicates that it has not been maintained in a while.  There could be soot or dirt buildup on your gas burners or pilot.



If you are hearing a whistling or suction sound at your return air grill, it could caused by the lack of return air.  This could be caused by:

    • Blocked Vents – Make sure you don’t have too many vents closed off or anything  (furniture, drapes, etc.) blocking your vents

    • Dirty Filter - replace your filter

    • Debris – you may have debris or a rodent that has infiltrated your ducts.  Call to have your ductwork inspected.

    • Undersized, Restricted, or Damaged Ducts – Call to have your ductwork inspected.

Helms Heating & Air Conditioning Technicians are equipped to locate and eliminate any strange noises and potential failures.  They can also provide regular maintenance to keep your furnace quiet, running properly, and prolong its lifespan.


Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Killer

Arianne Large - Saturday, October 27, 2018

Carbon monoxide (CO) is called the “Invisible Killer” because it is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas that results from the complete combustion of fuels.  According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 150 people in the United States die every year from accidental non-fire related CO poisoning associated with consumer products.  With 64 fatalities in 2014, heating systems are among the top contributors.  CO Poisoning is often caused by fuel burning appliances that are:

* Faulty

* Improperly used

* Poorly maintained

* Inadequate, incorrect, or faulty ventilation


Know the Symptoms

When carbon monoxide leaks into your home’s air, it can lead to serious health problems for your family.  Symptom severity is related to both the CO level and the duration of exposure. 


Low level exposure can feel like you have the flu without the fever. The initial symptoms include:

* Headache

* Fatigue

* Nausea

* Shortness of breath

* Dizziness  


High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

* Mental confusion

* Vomiting

* Loss of muscle coordination

* Loss of consciousness

* Ultimately death


Protect your family from CO poisoning by following these safety steps:

* Have all fuel burning home heating equipment and flues/vents inspected and serviced annually by qualified Service Technicians.

* Install CO Detectors in hallways near each sleeping area.

* Test your CO Detectors and replace the batteries every year.

* Never operate a gas-powered generator in or near an enclosed space such as a garage, shed, or crawl space in your home.

* Never use a charcoal grill in or near the house or garage.

* Never use a gas range or oven to heat your home.

* Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.  If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately and call 911.

Helms Heating & Air Conditioning has served the home comfort needs of Charlotte and the surrounding areas since 1979.  If you think you may have an issue with your furnace's ventilation system, schedule an inspection with a qualified Technician.  If another licensed contractor has condemned your unit due to a cracked heat exchanger - give us a call and we will provide a FREE 2nd opinion to put your mind at ease. 


Are You A New Homeowner?

Arianne Large - Monday, October 22, 2018


It is so exciting to purchase a home and make it all your own!  Even though it may not be as exhilarating as new furniture and color swatches, your HVAC system is high on the list of things you should think about.  Keep it in mind as the seasons change to make sure your home stays comfortable.


Call Helms for information about your heating and cooling system.  If you purchased an existing home, we can provide you with the age of the equipment and check for any parts or labor warranty coverage.


If you purchased a new construction home, Helms can provide you with instructions on registering your equipment online in order to extend the parts coverage with the manufacturer.


How old is your equipment?  Make a note of the age of your heating and cooling system(s), so you’ll have a ballpark timeframe of when they’ll need replaced.  If your equipment is more than 10-15 years old, you may want to prepare for replacement to ensure maximum comfort and energy efficiency.


Locate your air filters and determine the type and size.  Be prepared to replace them every 30 days or so for clean air and efficiency.


Schedule routine maintenance.  The manufacturer recommends you have maintenance performed at least once a year.  If your equipment is still under a parts warranty, it is a requirement to keep that warranty valid. 


Taking care of your heating and air conditioning system from the beginning will allow you to enjoy lasting comfort in your home.  If you are in need of maintenance, installation, or repairs, give Helms Heating & Air Conditioning a call at 704-821-6255.