4 Tips to Prevent Damage to Your HVAC System during a Midlothian Rainstorm

View from a Rain Streak Window in a Rainstorm

Residents of Midlothian, Virginia know the torrential downpours that hit the East Coast can do a significant amount of damage to one’s home. And,  unfortunately, your HVAC unit may take the brunt of wind and rain during inclement weather, particularly if left uncovered. Here are a few helpful tips to keep your HVAC system safe and operational the next time a storm rolls through Midlothian.

1. Invest in Protective Covers

Protective Covers are one of the simplest and most inexpensive solution for your storm worries. These covers are available at most home improvement retailers for around $30, and can help to keep your system free of the water and debris that tends to collect during a storm. The options can range from a zip-on cover to a trellis cover; whatever goes best with the aesthetic and level of protection you need.

2. Keep Your Yard Free of Debris

Other than preserving the cleanliness of your yard, regular debris collection is an important part of home maintenance, especially when it comes to protecting the long-term functionality of your outdoor HVAC system. Materials that infiltrate your unit, such as leaves or branches, can become lodged and cause your system to shut down. Even those who regularly maintain their yard forget to check the areas around their HVAC, but it is a simple and essential step that can make a world of difference.

3. Install Your System in an Elevated Location

Depending on where you live in the Midlothian area, and specifically if your home is situated near water, you may be susceptible to flooding that can cause irreparable harm to your HVAC. To assess the average height of floodwaters in your area, contact your city’s building commission or check the county records online. Your Foster Plumbing & Heating technician can also provide more insight into the tools necessary to move your system to higher ground.

4. Install a Sump Pump in Your Basement

In many older homes, the HVAC system resides in the basement – the first place a house begins to flood during heavy rains. If your home’s system is located below, a sump pump is your best bet. A sump pump does exactly as its name suggests: pumps water out of the house and prevents it from pooling in your basement. They activate automatically and can be easily installed with the help of a licensed technician.

If you’re concerned about damage to your HVAC system, it never hurts to contact a professional for an evaluation. If you’re looking to request HVAC service, Foster Plumbing & Heating is here to help. For more information on HVAC repair and maintenance in Midlothian, Virginia, visit our Home Heating & AC Services Page.


This post originally appeared on Gladd HVAC.

These 3 Extreme Videos Show Why You Should Pick Trane for Your Next HVAC Unit in Richmond, Virginia

There’s a reason Foster Plumbing & Heating relies on Trane equipment: they’re true to their slogan.You’ve probably heard,  “It’s Hard to Stop a Trane,” and it’s true. That’s why Foster trusts Trane HVAC products in nearly all its heating and AC system installations in the Richmond area.

Trane puts its units through intense product testing, adhering to some of the most stringent standards in the industry. You can be certain that your HVAC system will stand up to whatever the crazy Virginia weather throws at it for years to come.

Don’t take our word for it. Watch these extreme examples to see just what type of punishment a Trane HVAC unit can withstand.

1. Crushed by a Falling Wall

This Trane unit had parts of an exterior wall collapse on top of it, and it continued running despite being crushed.

2. Running Underwater

After a flood, this Trane HVAC unit still chugged (and splashed) along even though it was almost completely submersed.

3. Hit by a Backhoe

A backhoe plowed into this Trane unit, it still can’t be stopped!

Backed by over 20 years of air conditioning installation experience in the Richmond area, we can confidently recommend Trane heating and air conditioning units to all our customers in Virginia. It really is hard to stop a Trane!

For more information on Trane systems, visit our Products page.


Learning To Recognize Furnace Noises

Your furnace does the important job of keeping your home warm and comfortable during the cold parts of the year. Since you rely on this appliance so heavily, it is a good idea to monitor its operations, especially during the months when it is used the most, and to have a certified HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) technician perform routine maintenance on your furnace and carry out repairs when necessary.

Like any other appliance, a furnace will occasionally suffer from functional problems, and as its life goes on its age will start to show. One sign of this that you may notice is unusual noises your furnace may make as it operates. Though this can be alarming, it’s not always something to worry about. Recognizing what causes different noises will help you know when your furnace is behaving normally and when it is in need of heating service in Richmond, Virginia.

Furnace Noises To Listen For


A screeching noise can be indicative of a problem with your furnace’s motor or one of the motor’s bearings. Repairs may be necessary.


A high-pitched metallic sound may simply be a minor misalignment of the furnace’s fan motor or blower wheel, or a warped mounting plate. It may be possible to adjust these components yourself, but if you aren’t sure, contact a trained professional.


A rattling noise when the furnace starts up might be caused by a problem with a motor bearing. A rattling noise as the unit shuts down, however, is normal as the metal cools off and probably does not require attention.

Various Metallic Noises

Small, occasional pings or pops are generally just your home’s ducts expanding and contracting as the temperature changes. Louder, booming sounds coming through the ducts more frequently might indicate dirty furnace burners or a faulty gas valve—both issues that should be dealt with by a technician.

Vibrating or Whining

These noises are very irregular and you should contact a professional immediately upon hearing them.

Getting to know the sounds made by your furnace a little better lets you determine when heating service in Richmond, Virginia may be necessary.

A heating system is sometimes part of a larger HVAC system. This equipment is usually incorporated into a home when it is first constructed, or installed and should be maintained by a Richmond-area heating service company employing professional HVAC experts.

Do You Need Furnace Parts Or A New Furnace?

Your furnace is one of the most important appliances in your house. Warmth indoors when the weather is cold outside is one of the most basic human needs and you always want to be sure you can depend on your heating system during the winter months.

What Should I Do About My Aging Furnace?

Like any machine, after enough time a furnace will begin to show its age and start requiring closer monitoring and more frequent maintenance. As you put in the effort to keep your furnace in good working order, you may start to wonder if it’s worth keeping that furnace going or investing in a new one altogether.

Is My Furnace Too Old?

It is normal for your furnace to occasionally have minor problems and require the replacement of parts. Regular maintenance by a certified HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) technician will keep small operational issues from eventually becoming larger ones. Additionally, when a single component stops functioning properly, furnace repair in Richmond, Virginia should be carried out by trained professionals as soon as possible to replace the part and ensure that the trouble is fixed.

With regular upkeep, most home furnaces can run reliably for over a decade. However, if your furnace is over 12 years old, close attention to its operation becomes more important and there are certain signs to look for that may indicate a replacement will soon be necessary.

How To Tell If You Need A New Furnace

Higher Energy Bills

As furnaces age, they become less efficient; needing to run for a longer period of time to generate sufficient heat. This will be reflected in consistently higher heating bills.

Reduced Thermostat Accuracy

If you find yourself needing to adjust the thermostat more and more often to stay comfortable, or that the temperature in different rooms is inconsistent, this may indicate a problem with heat distribution.

Dry Air Or A Dusty House

A failing furnace is often incapable of cleaning and moisturizing the air that passes through it, leading to dust accumulation and stuffy, dry indoor air quality.

If one or more of these symptoms is consistent, and furnace repair in Richmond, Virginia doesn’t seem to help, it may be time to replace your furnace.

FILED UNDER: Heating & Furnace

A Heating System Helps You Feel Safe and Warm

The need to stay warm when the weather is cold is a very basic, very important human need, and people have been developing technology to keep buildings heated since the days of Ancient Greece. Heating a room or other small area can be accomplished through the use of a space heater such as a wood or gas fireplace or a small electric coil heater. However, in order to heat Richmond-area homes, a heating system is the most effective option.

All About Central Heat

Central heating is the most common and most efficient way this is achieved in homes. Central heating involves generating heat in one location somewhere inside of a building and then distributing that heat throughout the home using pipes or ducts. There are a number of different ways this heat can be produced and dispersed.

How Does Central Heat Work?

The source of heat for a home’s central heating might be a furnace that heats air electrically or by consuming a resource such as natural gas or propane. It may even be a boiler that uses steam or hot water to create heat. Some home heating systems can even draw heat from deep within the Virginia earth using a geothermal heat pump.

Distributing Heat Evenly

The manner in which the generated heat is then carried to different parts of the home tends to vary based on the type of heat source. The heated air from a furnace travels through a network of ducts that each terminate in registers that warm up individual areas. The hot water from a boiler heats a home by flowing through tubing underneath floors. If the boiler generates steam, the steam moves through pipes and circulates through radiators in various rooms throughout the home that gradually fill the area with warmth. Geothermal heating technology carries heat into the home through pipes that run into the ground.

A heating system is sometimes part of a larger HVAC system. This equipment is usually incorporated into a home when it is first constructed, or installed and should be maintained by a Richmond-area heating service company employing professional HVAC experts.