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We hope you've been following our weekly blogs and getting your HVAC questions answered. Whether its indoor air-quality issues, changing filters or sizing replacement HVAC equipment, we want to make sure you get the facts you need to make informed decisions about your home's comfort and safety. Another useful resource for homeowners is Valley Heating, Cooling and Electrical's Home Comfort Solutions Guide. This free download is available right here on our blog page, so be sure to check it out. Inside, you'll find a wealth of information about how to get the most from your heating and cooling equipment. Here's a look at some of the topics covered in the Guide:
- Your house as a system. HVAC equipment works in conjunction with many other factors in your home. Each piece of the puzzle is critical.
- HVAC controls. Programmable thermostats and zoned systems are two ways to help increase comfort and reduce energy costs.
- Replacement options. Considerations for replacing or repairing.
- Hiring an HVAC contractor. What to look for and what to ask to make sure you find the best contractor for you.
- Equipment installation. The best HVAC equipment won't function properly if it's not installed correctly. Find out how to tell if your contractor is doing the job right.
- Maintaining your equipment. Regular professional maintenance can prevent equipment failure and early system breakdown. Learn how your contractor keeps your system running smoothly.
Homeowners normally look to programmable thermostats for good reason: The units provide complete comfort control for their homes and families while saving energy and money on utility bills. In fact, programmable thermostats can save an average home owner a significant amount. Many people don't realize that programmable thermostats can offer so much to busy households in the South Bay peninsula and Santa Cruz area. In addition to allowing individuals to program their desired temperature, some units provide additional services as outlined by Energy Star. Different programmables are available with various options, such as:
- Programming: Allows you to select the temperature for 7-day, 5-day/2-day or other day-by-day options.
- Humidity control: Many units add humidity controls in homes with a central humidifier installed.
- Temporary hold: Allows you to pause the programmed schedule for just a few hours or for days.
- Remote control features: Certain full-featured thermostats will allow you to control the temperature of your entire home remotely, from almost any room in the house or via phone/voice command.
- Time, outdoor temperature and humidity readings.
- Reminders: To tell you when there is a malfunction or if a filter or battery needs to be changed.
- Dual fuel capable units: Integrate with an ultra-efficient system to switch automatically between gas and electric power.
Spring is a time for enjoying the mild weather that comes with the change of seasons here in the South Bay and making plans for summer fun ahead. While planning your vacation or summer BBQs, this is also a great time to make sure your air conditioner is ready for summer. A little A/C preventative maintenance will make sure you, your family and guests enjoy complete home comfort this summer, without the expense and inconvenience of a breakdown at the height of summer. You'll enjoy lower utility bills as well. Beyond all this, preventative maintenance will extend the life of any A/C system, which delays replacement cost and saves money long term. What should you expect from an air conditioner check-up? Your HVAC technician will be looking for any signs of possible problems and taking steps to keep your home-comfort system in excellent condition, as outlined by Energy Star. The list of maintenance tasks will include the following and much more:
- Controls are tested to be sure the system starts up, operates and turns off properly.
- Filters are changed. (You should change the filter between technician visits as well.)
- Moving parts are lubricated.
- The air conditioning refrigerant level is checked.
- The central a/c and heat pump drain is inspected to prevent a clog that could cause humidity/mold growth or water damage.
- Condenser and evaporator coils are cleaned.
- The motor voltage, current and electrical connections are checked to prevent the development of any safety issues or the short-out of your equipment. The blower controlling airflow will be cleaned and adjusted, which may increase efficiency up to15 percent.
At Valley Heating, Cooling, and Electrical we believe homeowners need to know about their heating and cooling systems to ensure they run efficiently and operate trouble-free. That's why we're starting our new Heating Home Comfort Blog. With the ever rising costs of energy, homeowners in the South Bay, peninsula and Santa Cruz area have had a lot of questions lately about how to get the most out of their home comfort investment systems. Have you ever wondered why some rooms are hot and others cold? Why your latest energy bill went up? Whether you should be concerned about carbon monoxide or other contaminants that affect your indoor air quality? Over the next few months, we'll cover topics such as:
- Important whole house energy saving tips.
- The pros and cons of tankless water heaters
- How zoning systems can increase your home comfort.
- Preventive maintenance ideas for air conditioning systems.
- What are the signs that your home needs a good duct cleaning.
- How programmable thermostats do more than control temperature.
- Important tips about home solar energy systems.
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The quality of our outdoor air gets a lot of attention, with laws passed to limit emissions and keep it breathable. But what about indoor air? You as the homeowner are the sole person in charge of your home’s air, and it’s important to keep it clean. One of the main ways poor indoor air quality can occur is through problems with the ductwork. Learn how this happens and what to do about it.
Moisture and Mold
Air conditioners not only cool but also remove humidity, thereby preventing the growth of mold and mildew. When an air conditioner is sized too large for the home’s cooling load, it can short cycle, turning on and off too frequently, and it won’t be able to dehumidify the air properly. This can allow mold infestations to occur. Add that to leaking ducts pulling in additional moisture from a basement, attic or crawl space, and the problem is compounded.
Backdrafting occurs when combustion gases from appliances such as furnaces, water heaters or clothes dryers are drawn back into the home’s air rather than being exhausted properly. Leaks in the return side of the duct system, which result in negative pressure, can cause backdrafting.
Unbalanced Air Supply
As mentioned above, negative pressure in the return ductwork can cause problems, but so can positive pressure in the supply air. Positive pressure, which can occur from leaky ducts on the supply side, can mean your HVAC system is pulling air in from the outdoors, and that air isn’t filtered.
Pollutants in the Ducts
Whenever a section of your ductwork has a hole or gap, or segments become separated, there’s a chance that pollutants may be drawn into your air supply and distributed throughout the home. Those pollutants could range from animal or insect waste or decaying particles to mold, chemical particulates and dust. Have your ducts inspected to make sure it’s sealed tightly.
Visit the Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical website for information on poor indoor air quality or on most HVAC topics, or just give us a call at 408-294-6290.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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