Contact us for a FREE Assessment and Quote
If you're like most people in the South Bay, peninsula and Santa Cruz area, you're looking for ways to cut down on your energy bills while maintaining your comfort level. A simple long-term solution to this problem is the installation of ceiling fans. Before investing in ceiling fans for your home, consider these three rules:
- Choose the right ceiling fan for your room. It's crucial to keep in mind that ceiling fans are all about moving air. While a larger fan moves more air than a smaller fan, tailoring your purchase to your room's size will provide you with the most energy savings.
- Know the room size before purchasing your ceiling fan. For rooms up to 225 square feet, choose a fan between 36 and 44 inches in diameter.
- For larger rooms, use ceiling fans that are 52 inches or more.
- With rooms longer than 18 feet, consider multiple fans.
- Large fans are typically effective at cooling up to 10 feet, while small and medium fans suffice in the 4- to 6-foot range.
- Larger blades allow your fan to cool at lower velocity, which is something to consider in a home office, where papers may be disturbed at higher velocities.
- Don't skimp. Cheaper units run louder and require more maintenance.
- Properly install your ceiling fan. Ceiling fans should only be installed in rooms with ceilings that are 8 feet or higher with blades 7-9 feet from the floor. Make sure blades are 10-12 inches below ceiling, and never install your fan where blades are closer than 8 inches from the ceiling or 19 inches from the wall.
- Use your ceiling fan correctly. Keeping in mind how a ceiling fan works will help you save money.
- Fans create a wind chill effect that can be used with air conditioning or natural ventilation.
- If used with your air conditioning, ceiling fans allow you to set the thermostat up to four degrees higher, which results in energy savings.
- Fans cool people in rooms, not rooms themselves. Be sure to turn off fans when leaving the room.
When you are buying new HVAC equipment, it's easy to be tempted by the lure of low prices offered by online retailers. Seeking products from retailers outside your local area does open up a great deal more choice, but it can also create serious problems that could cost you a pretty penny down the line. In most cases, it's a better idea to trust reliable local HVAC contractors when you're making a major investment in new home heating and cooling equipment. For business and legal reasons, many HVAC contractors will not install equipment that wasn't purchased through them. When you purchase a furnace or air conditioner online, you may save a little on the price but wind up stuck with nobody to install it for you. It's not a good idea to install a furnace or air conditioner on your own, nor is it recommended that you hire a handyman or other unlicensed amateur to do it for you. Under the terms of most HVAC equipment warranties, professional installation is required for validation. Not only do you run the risk of damaging your equipment or having it run incorrectly if you install it on your own, but you also create the possibility of invalidating your warranty. That can come back to bite you in a big way if you experience problems, and you're more likely to experience problems without professional installation. Buying new HVAC equipment from local contractors ensures that you will be able to get expert service when you need it, from the people who initially installed your equipment. Your purchase will be protected by the manufacturer's warranty, and you will enjoy the superior efficiency and reliable operation that result from professional installation. We at Valley Heating, Cooling and Electrical have been serving the South Bay peninsula and Santa Cruz area since 1962. Over the years, we've built a solid track record for customer satisfaction, and our expert technicians can perform a quick and professional installation that provides security and peace of mind. Visit our website for in-depth information on most HVAC topics, or just give us a call at 408-294-6290. Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about buying new HVAC equipment and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Valley Heating, Cooling & Electrical services the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas in California. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!
|Best Choice image via Shutterstock|
Duct returns take air from the rooms in your home and return it to your heating and cooling system, where the air is then cleaned and conditioned before being circulated back through your home. Several factors can affect how efficiently your system performs, including design or installation flaws and leakages, as well as clogged filters, registers and return grilles. There are a few steps you can take to optimize air flow in your duct returns to keep balance and optimize your family’s privacy and comfort.
- Air flow can be affected by a ductwork design that is either too big or too small for your home, causing an imbalance in the flow of air. Sheet metal is used to fabricate the ductwork because its smooth surface causes less resistance to the air flow.
- Balance can be maintained by keeping your system airtight. Leaks can push reconditioned air outdoors and unconditioned air indoors, causing your system to work harder to maintain a comfortable climate in your home. Supply registers and return grilles placed correctly on interior walls, inside your home will further help to maintain a balanced system.
- Privacy and comfort can be enhanced by a properly designed and installed multiple-room return system. This is the ideal system because it ensures air flow is returned from rooms even with the doors closed. Pressure imbalances are reduced and the system is quiet, maximizing privacy and comfort.
Have you considered the importance of having a well-sealed duct system? If your heating and cooling bills are higher than you would like, you could take energy savings to a new level by having duct sealing done. Here are the benefits that await you once you have this service performed.
- Improved comfort: A common comfort issue in California homes: rooms that are too hot or too cold. Duct sealing helps to ensure that the heated and cooled air makes it all the way to its final destination with very minimal energy loss.
- Better air quality: Dust, insulation particles and chemical fumes can get into leaky ducts. These pollutants aggravate allergies and make asthma symptoms worse. Protect your home's indoor air quality by sealing these leaks.
- Less costly operation: Do you know how much extra you pay to have air leak out of gaps in the ductwork? Many homeowners pay 20 percent more than they need to on energy bills because of leaky ducts. That means you will see an immediate decrease in energy costs once duct sealing is performed.
- Promoted safety: Normally, gas appliances exhaust combustion gases outside through vents. However, ducts with air leaks can backdraft these fumes inside your home. This poses a serious health risk that duct sealing can help prevent.
- Environmental protection: Fossil fuels are burned to generate the electricity required to heat and cool your home. This adds pollution to the air, which contributes to global warming. By consuming less energy to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, you are doing your part to help the environment.
|Sealing Air Leaks image via Shutterstock|
An air source heat pump is a great choice for keeping your home comfortable year round, especially in warmer climates like we have here in South Bay, peninsula and Santa Cruz. A properly installed heat pump can deliver up to three times more heat than the energy it uses. Keeping your heat pump in tip top shape is important for maximum cost effectiveness and to ensure maximum heat pump performance. Here are some common factors that can hinder your heat pump’s performance:
- Air flow can be greatly increased by cleaning the evaporator coil or increasing the fan speed. The normal air flow should be around 400-500 cubic feet per minute for each ton of the heat pump’s cooling ability.
- Duct system design is important for heat pump performance because energy loss can result from leakage and improper insulation levels.
- Refrigeration charge should be checked by a qualified technician for leaks, first when installed and again during each seasonal service call. Air flow should be checked in advance to ensure the refrigerant level is correct.
Many homeowners have second thoughts when hiring an HVAC contractor, unsure of how to weed out the bad apples from the trustworthy professionals. Consumer protection experts recommend taking a five-step approach to ensure you aren't surprised in a bad way, either by the price or by the quality of the service you receive.
- Inquire about the company's history. While experience certainly isn't the only measuring stick you should use when hiring an HVAC contractor, there's less risk in choosing a company that's been around a long time and has a proven track record of reliability and quality service.
- Ask for license information. Get the contractor's license number, which is required by state regulatory agencies for the contractor to be in business legally. Hiring an HVAC contractor with a valid license ensures you that a bonafide professional is taking on the project.
- Gather referrals. Ask the contractor to provide you with the names and contact information for multiple past customers who can answer any questions you may have about their work. Be wary of any contractor who is reluctant to supply this information or makes excuses for not having any referrals. All reputable contractors will happily supply referrals without hesitation. Contact the referrals you gathered, and find out if the contractor was courteous and got the job done on time for the quoted price.
- Do a background check. Confirm that the contractor's license is valid and current before hiring an HVAC contractor. Finally, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any outstanding complaints are on file against the contractor. Don't worry about one or two -- after all, customers can be just as iffy as contractors -- but several complaints serve as a red flag.
- Put everything in writing. Before hiring an HVAC contractor, itemize all the work to be done and specify a date by which the project is to be completed. Make sure costs are clearly stated before signing off.
|Preventative Maintenance image via Shutterstock|
Contaminants such as harmful gases, living organisms, and dust can all threaten the quality of air you breathe in your home. Although indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks, you can play an active role in reducing the amount of contaminants in your home. Below are three preventive steps you can take to help control the indoor air quality of your home:
- Remove the sources that you contribute. Avoid smoking in your home to reduce the harmful contaminants cigarettes contain. Minimize the use candles and incense as they release soot and hydrocarbons. Use natural or unscented cleaning products. Opt for non-chemical forms of pest control such as bait, traps and sealing entry points. Keep your home clean, paying special attention to floors and removing dust with an electrostatic duster.
- Invest in carbon monoxide detectors and a radon test kit. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, tasteless gas that can be very harmful to you and your family. This potentially fatal gas forms when organic compounds burn, so a carbon monoxide detector is a necessity in each home. When harmful levels of carbon monoxide are found in your home, an alarm will sound, just like a smoke alarm. Radon, on the other hand, is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can get into your home through the ground. You can have an HVAC technician come to your home and perform a radon test, or purchase a do-it-yourself test which you send to a laboratory for results.
- Test carpets, floor materials and plastics in your home for strong odor emissions. Simply take a small portion of the material and put it into a glass jar. Set the jar in a warm place for a short period of time, then open it and smell for intensity of odors. If the odors are strong, you may want to consider replacing the material with a healthier, more eco-friendly option.
That simple air filter that sits beside or close to your air handler is your best defense against premature heating and cooling system failure. A clean filter also lowers the dust and pollen indoors, so checking it once a month and cleaning or replacing when it's dirty keeps your home cleaner too. No matter what kind of forced air heating and cooling you use, the air filter keeps small particles from entering the components housed in the air handler. When dirt, dust, pollen and fibers build on the filter, the air flow slows, cutting back on the amount of air going through your system. Mechanical problems develop with the heat exchanger or evaporator coil that can result in expensive repairs or part replacement. Filters are inexpensive and readily available in big box, home improvement and grocery stores. If you don't like the idea of throwing away filters, consider reusable filters that you either vacuum or wash. When choosing new filters, picking the right size is critical to keeping the components inside your air handler clean. Measure your existing filter, including its depth, for the best fit. Any unfiltered gaps between the filters and your air handler allow particulates to enter your system. Besides size, the MERV rating is also important to know. MERV is short for minimum efficiency reporting value, and it's a numeric scale. Higher-rated filters remove smaller particulates. However, putting an air filter with too high a MERV rating can be as harmful as using a dirty filter. If you want to upgrade your system's air filter, consult the owner's manual or ask a licensed HVAC contractor about the best filter for your air handler. We at Valley Heating, Cooling and Electrical can help you find the right filter for your heating and cooling equipment. We serve the South Bay, peninsula and Santa Cruz regions. Visit our website for in-depth information on most HVAC topics, or just give us a call at 408-294-6290. Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Valley Heating, Cooling & Electrical services the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas in California. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!
|Air Filter image via Shutterstock|
Tankless water heaters are gaining recognition for providing noticeable energy savings and a fast and consistent flow of hot water. Instead of wasting energy heating stored water like typical storage water heaters, tankless systems provide hot water on demand by quickly heating coils as water is pumped through the unit on the way to the outlet. How many do you need? Tankless water heaters are sized to meet the specific needs of your family and the design of your home. Designing your tankless water heaters starts with determining flow rate and temperature rise. Temperature rise is the total degrees that incoming water must be heated to reach your desired output temperature. If the average temperature of incoming water is 60 degrees, and your desired output temperature for hot water is 115 degrees, then your home’s temperature rise is 55 degrees. Flow rate is the gallons per minute provided by a faucet or appliance. Calculate the flow rates for each of your hot-water applications. Next, factor the flow rate for your entire household by adding the flow rates of the maximum hot-water applications that you expect to use simultaneously, such as the shower, washing machine and sink. The flow rate for a tankless water heater is the gallons per minute of hot water provided factoring the temperature rise. Sizing your tankless system Now that you’ve done the groundwork, you're ready to design your system by comparing your household's flow rate to the flow rates of tankless water heaters. To maximize energy efficiency, typically one whole-house unit augmented by two or three smaller units is best. There are several combinations to choose from, depending on your household size, hot water usage and the distance from the whole-house unit to the hot-water outlets. For help calculating your home's temperature rise and flow rate, contact the experts at Valley Heating, Cooling & Electrical. We service South Bay, the peninsula, and Santa Cruz homes, providing 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed. We’ll work with you to design the perfect tankless water-heating system for your family’s needs. Visit our website for in-depth information on most HVAC topics, or just give us a call at 408-294-6290. Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about tankless water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Valley Heating, Cooling & Electrical services the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas in California. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!Read More
For homeowners in the South Bay, peninsula and Santa Cruz areas, fresh air is not a given during long, hot summers and chilly winters. A healthy home depends on an equal amount of air infiltration, a supply of fresh air and exfiltration, a means to exhaust stale air. And with the EPA citing indoor air quality as one of its top five environmental concerns, it’s important for homeowners to use a ventilation system to ensure indoor air quality. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is a unique system that can ensure fresh air year-round. Here’s how a heat recovery ventilator works:
- An HRV has a supply duct with a fan that draws air into the home.
- It has a separate exhaust duct with a fan to allow indoor air a way to exit the home.
- The system has a heat exchanger at its core, allowing it to recover a portion of the conditioned air.
- The incoming air passes through a filter, capturing unwanted pollutants.
- As the two streams of air move through the HRV, the two channels of air never meet, but the heat exchanger is able to recover energy (in the form of heat) in the air that’s cycling in or out of the home, depending on the season.
|Indoor Air Quality image via Shutterstock|
Featured Products And Services
Visit our showroom
Testimonials View All
© 2018 All Rights Reserved. Developed by ConsultPR.
Serving South Bay Area and Surrounding areas, including San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Palo Alto, Morgan Hill, San Martin, Gilroy, Santa Clara, Redwood City, Atherton, San Carlos, Monte Sereno, Stanford, Foster City, Belmont.