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Ventilation in the workplace is covered under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which states that workplaces need to be adequately ventilated in the proper manner by which clean air is drawn from an external source outside of the workplace and circulated throughout the building. Whether by natural or mechanical means, it should dilute and remove humid air and provide sufficient air movement to give a feeling of freshness without causing a draught.
Impact on Health and Productivity
While this is unlikely to be high on your initial list of considerations as commercial property owners, there is evidence to suggest that the quality of your ventilation will have a direct impact on the productivity and general well-being of your employees. Consider the following facts:
- Workplace Performance According to workplace studies, the speed and accuracy with which professional tasks are completed actually improves with an increased rate of ventilation. For initial ventilation rates between 14 and 30 cfm per person, for example, the typical workplace performance improves by an estimated 0.8%. This suggests that exposure to a higher volume of fresh and clean air is extremely conducive to enhanced mental performance, and this is something that can have significant financial benefits for your business.
- Absence from the Workplace In addition to enhancing workplace productivity, there is evidence to suggest that increased rates of ventilation also diminish the level of employee absence. In office spaces, the doubling of the ventilation rate from 25 to 50 cfm per employee triggered a 35% decrease in the number of short-term absences in the US. Scientists have therefore been able to draw a definitive link between access to fresh air and an improvement in mental outlook and performance.
- Heart Disease and Respiratory Illness On an even more impressive note, increased rates of ventilation have also had a dramatic impact on the level of respiratory illness recorded by employees throughout the US. This can be traced a fixed scientific principle, and poor ventilation is known to trigger a rise in the number of airborne bacteria and viruses active within the typical workplace. Although few studies have been performed in this field, it seems clear that excellent levels of ventilation will translate into an improved physical and respiratory condition.
Not only is proper ventilation key to improving workplace productivity and the mental outlook of employees, but it is also necessary if businesses are to comply with evolving laws and health and safety regulations.
Spend less and get more ventilation for your business.
Call us today for more in-depth information on most HVAC topics. 408-294-6290.
If your pocketbook is suffering from the effects of high energy bills, or you are sacrificing comfort in favor of energy savings, take a look at the latest innovations in programmable thermostats for carefree indoor environmental control. You may well find an agreeable balance between energy savings and the comfort of household members.
Balancing Comfort and Energy Savings
It is easy to save energy on the cooling and heating bill. It is not so easy, however, to save energy and maintain optimal home comfort. That's where a programmable thermostat can help, and here's how.
- Once you have programmed your new thermostat, you don’t need to remember to adjust the temperature every time you go to bed, wake up in the morning and leave for work.
- You may program the thermostat to automatically turn back/up four to six degrees for reasonable savings and comfort through the night.
- Schedule comfort temperatures for the morning hour before work to start your day right.
- Enjoy more savings during the workday by programming turn-back/up blocks of 10 degrees.
- When you arrive home, you can relax right away since your programmable thermostat has engaged the cooling or heating system to your comfort settings.
Types of Thermostats
Programmable thermostats are available with a plethora of features to accommodate the needs of any homeowner. For best convenience and energy savings, select a model that offers 7-day programming. These units may be programmed for four or more daily event changes for each day of the week. Most programmable thermostats come with handy features like “filter change” and other system alerts.
Ask your HVAC professional about thermostats that are WiFi-enabled, and take control of home comfort systems via a smartphone app or online computer. Working late? Call your thermostat and quickly adjust the program so you are not wasting energy dollars when no one is home. A little too chilly or stuffy at night? Keep your phone on the nightstand, and change the temperature from under the covers.
If you would like more information about programmable thermostats or other HVAC or electrical concerns, please contact Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical today.
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).For more information about programmable thermostats and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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Your air conditioner can last for years with proper maintenance, but it’s not immune to problems. The good news is most common air conditioner problems are easily resolved without a call to an HVAC technician. For example, if your air conditioner stops working, allow it to cool for about five minutes and then replace the fuses or reset the circuit breakers. If you have a central air conditioner, it may stop functioning if the high-pressure limit switch trips. You can reset this by pressing the button located in the compressor’s access panel. The remaining most common air conditioner problems are usually caused by improper operation or installation:
- Poor Maintenance: Dirty condenser coils or air filters reduce the energy efficiency of your air conditioner, and they can cause the fans or compressor to fail.
- Electric Control Failure: When a system is oversized, it’s common for compressor and fan controls to fail. If wires and terminals are corroded, this can also result in failure of electric controls. However, while this is a common air conditioner problem, it should be addressed by a professional.
- Refrigerant Leaks: Low refrigerant levels are often caused by undercharging at installation or a leak in your system or unit. If your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, have it repaired by a trained technician.
- Clogged Condensate Drain: This is s among the most common air conditioner problems, particularly when it's humid outside. By ensuring a trained technician conducts yearly maintenance on your HVAC system, you can prevent clogged condensate drains. If you have a room air conditioner, make sure the unit is level so the water drains properly.
For more information about common air conditioner problems in your South Bay Peninsula or Santa Cruz area home, contact Valley Heating. 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 in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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The hot Silicon Valley summer can take a toll on even the most sun-loving homeowners. One of the primary ways you keep your home comfortable is to keep your air conditioner (A/C) running, but this gets expensive fast. There is however, a little known way to not only make your home more comfortable, but to save money as well by switching the direction of your ceiling fan’s blades. When you switch the direction of the blades to counterclockwise, which is typically the default, you get to experience some amazing cooling effects.
How Switching Direction Will Make You More Comfortable
When you open your car window while you are driving down the road, it immediately makes you feel colder. Even though the air outside your car is roughly the same temperature, it feels much colder because of the “wind-chill effect”. The rapidly moving air disperses the hot air around your skin and helps to evaporate any moisture or perspiration in the area. Putting all this together produces a significant cooling effect. If you reverse your ceiling fan, it will blow air down on you, which is usually called “forwards” on the motor housing. When the air blows over you, you get the same wind-chill effect and will instantly feel cooler. Before you switch the direction, turn the fan off.
The Benefits When You Reverse Your Ceiling Fan
While you could be just as comfortable from running your A/C longer by lowering the thermostat, using your fans in this manner allows you to be comfortable in warmer temperatures without excessive energy use. You can raise your thermostat a few degrees and still achieve a great level of comfort, while also cutting down on your energy bill. This adds up in a big way over the year.
If you want to learn about more ways to improve your comfort in your South Bay Peninsula home, please contact Valley Heating, Cooling and Electrical.
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). For more information about ceiling fans and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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There are few things more inconvenient than your HVAC system breaking down. It’s not only uncomfortable, but if you want it fixed quickly you will have to pay for expensive emergency service. The best way to prevent problems in the first place is by taking advantage of HVAC maintenance plans. These plans come with scheduled service visits to inspect, test and fix your system as needed, which results in many benefits.
- Scheduled service visits: Cleaning and inspecting your system for problems requires professional skill and knowledge. When you have a maintenance plan, you will have regular visits to stay on top of your system’s performance and find any issues before they cause you trouble.
- Discounted service: If a technician has to come out and fix your system or order special parts in case of an emergency, it will be expensive. Regular service prevents these emergencies from occurring, and when you compare what you pay for an HVAC maintenance plan, you come out way ahead.
- Sustained efficiency: When your HVAC system gets dirty or has small problems, one of the most common consequences is inefficient performance. Regular service will keep your system’s efficiency high, which saves you money on energy bills.
- Emergency help: Most HVAC service companies will go to great lengths to help clients on HVAC maintenance plans. If you do have an emergency, you will get faster and often cheaper service than if you had no existing relationship.
- Trusted help: The more a technician works with a system, the better he/she can service it and anticipate problem. Detailed knowledge of past performance, repairs and equipment changes can only be gained overtime. Having a trusted technician to service your system will not only give you peace of mind, but will also improve the quality of service you get.
If you’re looking for an HVAC maintenance plan in the South Bay Peninsula or Santa Cruz area, contact Valley Heating, Cooling and Electrical and see what we can offer.
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). For more information about HVAC maintenance and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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With a ductless mini-split system, a South Bay Peninsula homeowner has an excellent air conditioning choice when remodeling or expanding a home. Easily installed where central air conditioning cannot reach, and for a fraction of a full HVAC installation, a ductless mini-split system may be the ideal answer to your needs.
Air Source Heat Pump
A ductless mini-split system is an air-source heat pump, bringing cool air into your home and pushing warm air out. Its name comes from three features:
- No ductwork needs to run through your South Bay Peninsula home
- The outside unit has a very small footprint while the inside unit mounts on a convenient inside wall, not in a window or tucked away in a basement
- It has two components, an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air handler
A heat pump operates on simple physics: when you compress a liquid it absorbs heat and turns to gas, and when you allow the gas to expand, it radiates heat and becomes a liquid. Put the heat-dispelling end outside and the cool air-distributing end in your South Bay Peninsula home and you have a quick air conditioning solution.
Advantages of a Ductless Mini-Split System
Avoiding ductwork provides up-front cost savings and long-term energy savings. No ducts are needed through walls and floors, so no air conditioning efficiency is lost to leaky ducts. Other advantages:
- Lower cost than central air conditioning
- Better home security than window air conditioners
- Inconspicuous indoor unit mounts just about anywhere
- Perfectly suited for home expansion, remodeling, or single-room applications
- Simplified maintenance
- Very localized cooling capability
- Superb energy efficiency
The indoor air handler may not suit your interior design. Other concerns some homeowners have:
- Incorrectly sized air handlers lead to short cycling or insufficient humidity control
- Too many disreputable “installers” tack on sales and service of ductless mini-split systems to their existing businesses and install them badly
- Higher up-front costs than window or through-the-wall units
- Condensate drainage must be carefully located
Visit our Valley Heating, Cooling and Electric website for more details about ductless mini-split systems, 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). For more information about ductless mini-splits and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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Have you ever noticed sudden drafts of air in your home? If so, it’s likely due to air leaks around your house that allow outside air to rush in as indoor air escapes. These leaks degrade your air quality and raise your energy use, which is why sealing air leaks should be a part of your regular HVAC maintenance tasks.
How to Find Leaks in Your Home Unless you want to bring in a professional to find every significant leak in your home, your time is best spent checking for leaks in the following places:
- The attic
- The garage
- Outdoor water faucets
You won’t find all the leaks, but you will find a majority of them. Start by visually inspecting the areas for any cracks or gaps. Then move on to feeling around edges for any air movement that could indicate a leak. Finally, for an even more thorough check, light an incense stick and move it around slowly to see if any airflow disturbs its smoke.
Sealing Air Leaks that You Find
If you’ve found the leaks, the hard part is over. Now you just need to get a few simple tools, caulking and weatherstripping, before getting to work. Generally, caulking is meant to be applied to leaks in fixed positions, like frames or the wall. Weatherstripping on the other hand still allows movable parts to function, which is why it is used for spots like door joints. If you’re having trouble deciding which to use, consult the instructions for both products.
You may seal some leaks in your home but still feel that there are a significant amount of air leaks left. In this case it might be worth calling in a professional who has experience finding leaks and can also run a blower door test if necessary to pinpoint the leaks.
If you need help sealing air leaks in the South Bay Peninsula or Santa Cruz area, Valley Heating can help you. 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 in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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Don't rely on a simple Internet search when you're in need of a technician for your heating or cooling equipment. Finding the right HVAC contractor for your Silicon Valley area home is an important ordeal. That's why we recommend these 10 simple tips:
- Start with referrals --The first thing to do is ask people you know for any referrals to a reputable HVAC contractor.
- Check with references -- Obtain a list of references from the business and ask each of them about their experience with the technicians. Ask for a random sampling by choosing the first letter of the last name of those you receive.
- Ensure NATE certification -- To receive the best possible work every time, only consider technicians who have completed the certification process of NATE (North American Technician Excellence).
- Ask about their licensing -- Most areas require their contractors to be licensed, bonded, and insured. Ask the contractor to show proof that they meet the minimum requirements of each.
- Enlist the Internet for help -- Online reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Places, and Angie's list can quickly help you identify bad contractors.
- Inquire about Energy Star -- A seasoned contractor will insist that you install heating and cooling equipment that has been certified by Energy Star. For the very best, concentrate on the new Most Efficient label.
- Check on special offers -- It never hurts to ask if the company has any discounts available for specific services. These can change throughout the year.
- Expect a home evaluation -- To get an idea of your heating and cooling needs, the contractor should initiate an evaluation of your home.
- Get it in writing -- Before you allow a contractor to do any work on a project, make sure that you have everything in writing.
- Tell your friends -- If you're happy with their work, tell your friends and family about the contractor.
If you require more tips for finding the right HVAC contractor, or have any other home comfort concerns, visit our website at Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical or call 408-294-6290. We've been serving the HVAC needs of Silicon Valley and the surrounding area since 1962.
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). For more information about HVAC contractors and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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Within the walls of today's well insulated homes, air pollutants become trapped, leading to indoor pollution levels much higher than outdoor air. While removal of the sources of indoor pollution can be challenging, there are a number of ways to improve indoor air quality (IAQ). Placing houseplants throughout your home is one of the simplest ways to clean your air and offers the added benefit of bringing beauty and style into your home. All plants need carbon dioxide to survive, yet will simultaneously "breathe" in other gases, including the class of pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOC's) present due to offgassing of a variety of common materials. Certain species of houseplants are especially effective at trapping VOC's in their leaves, roots, and microorganisms in their the soil, then releasing pure oxygen into their environment. Five of the very best houseplants to reduce indoor pollution levels are:
- Aloe (Aloe vera) - Although more commonly used to treat burns, aloe is very effective at removing formaldehyde and benzene from paints, cleaners, furniture, etc. The plant needs sunny conditions but is otherwise easy to care for.
- Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema crispum 'Deborah') - This plant will remove a large range of VOC's even while in low light conditions. It will also bloom and produce attractive red berries.
- Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium) - While not for households with pets or children (due to its toxicity), this plant is excellent at reducing the overall level of VOC's in your home.
- Peace lily (Spathiphyllum) - In exchange for a shady spot, this plant will provide you with lovely white blooms and the ability to filter all three of the most common VOC's: formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene, as well as toluene and xylene.
- Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) - This extremely hardy plant produces small white flowers while filtering a variety of VOC's and carbon monoxide.
If you live in the Silicon Valley, South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas and would like to learn more about improving your air quality, visit Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical, or just give us a call at 408-294-6290. We've been here to serve you since 1962.
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). For more information about air cleaning houseplants and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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Summer will be paying us a visit soon on the South Bay Peninsula, and it will be time to turn on the air conditioner. Perhaps you've already scheduled HVAC maintenance or are considering it. While this is a great start to making sure your air conditioner runs efficiently all summer long, you may not have thought about duct cleaning when having the maintenance done. Of course, it is never too late to have your air ducts cleaned. It is recommended that you have duct cleaning done every three to five years. Over time, the inner walls of your air ducts can accumulate dust particulates. As these particles build up they attract even more dust, reducing the efficiency of airflow into your home. Even worse there is the potential for mold growth on the inner hard surfaces of your ductwork. If you are considering hiring a contractor to have your air ducts cleaned, look for some red flag warnings. The obvious will be any contractor that makes claims of the health benefits of duct cleaning. Such claims have not been substantiated. You should also be aware that some states even require special licensing for air duct cleaning. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated that as a consumer, you should expect the following steps be taken by an HVAC contractor when having your air ducts cleaned:
- Open all accessible points to the system for cleaning and inspection.
- Inspect the system before cleaning to be sure that there are no asbestos-containing materials present
- Use HEPA filtering vacuums or vacuums that exhaust particles out of the home
- Protection of your carpet and household furnishings while cleaning.
- Use of controlled brushing while contact vacuuming of inner duct surfaces to dislodge dust
- Take care to protect the ductwork, including sealing and re-insulating any access points used
- Follow NADCA standards for air duct cleaning
Visit our website for in-depth information on most HVAC topics, or just give us a call at 408-294-6290. Valley Heating, Cooling, and Electrical have been proudly serving the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas since 1962.
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). For more information about duct cleaning and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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