Fall and Winter Tips for Furnaces and Air Conditioners

Fall and winter nights are coming, and that’s when your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system becomes the most valuable item in your home. If it’s running poorly, that means higher energy bills and less comfort too. Follow these tips in the fall to help your HVAC system operate efficiently throughout the winter. This way, you can save money that can be used for better things during the holiday season.

Change the Air Filter and Clean the Vents

Monthly changing of the air filter is one of the most important things you can do, and also one of the easiest. The filter should be checked every month and replaced if it is dirty. Filters should be replaced at the very least every three months – no matter what. When you do you might also want to go through your home and vacuum off the air vents. This keeps them clean and allows warm air to flow freely, easing temperature regulation throughout the home.

Get a Tune-up

Annual service of your HVAC system ensures it runs properly. Homeowners should get a tune-up in the fall to best prepare it for the demands of winter. Lack of maintenance is usually the cause of most repairs done on furnaces and air conditioners. To see what is involved in a tune-up, Click Here.

If Your System is Old, Replace It

Replacing the home’s HVAC system costs a little money, but if your system is old and inefficient, the added comfort and financial benefits of a new system can be very real. If your system is more than 15 years old, you should call us for a free estimate. Replacing your system with a high efficiency Bryant system could reduce your home’s annual energy bill by as much as 30 percent. And if you decide to go Solar too, the sun with pick up the tab for the other 70%.

Insulate the Attic

One of the easiest ways to help your HVAC system operate at peak performance is to lighten its load. Insulating the home’s attic keeps warm air in the home and prevents it from escaping outside. This allows your HVAC system to do less and still maintain the home’s proper temperature. Per EnergyStar.gov, a simple visual test will determine whether the home’s attic is sufficiently insulated. According to their recommendation, insulation in the attic should be high enough to obstruct the view of the floor joists. If this is the case, additional insulation will offer little to no benefit.

Programmable Thermostats

The Bryant Housewise Thermostat is an excellent addition to your system. The right temperature inside a home depends largely on who is there at the time, and when no one is in the home, the right temperature a lower temperature. Homeowners, however, often fail to adjust their thermostats when they leave their home because they either forget, or they don’t want to return to a cold home. The Bryant Housewise Thermostat solves that problem and allows you to set the temperature in your home for different times and it will keep to that schedule, day after day, week after week. Plus, you can even adjust the temperature from your smartphone.

We’re Here When You Need Us

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at (707) 400-6875. And remember to “Like” us on Facebook: Click Here.

The Ultimate End-of-Spring Home Improvement Checklist

As Spring comes to an end, it’s time to start getting ready for summer. Your house and home comfort systems have worked their hardest during the winter, and they are about to get another workout once summer arrives. That’s why it’s important to perform seasonal maintenance and repairs around your home to make sure that it is ready to keep you safe and comfortable as the seasons change.

The best way to avoid damage to your home and keep everything running smoothly and efficiently is by preparing for the seasons ahead.In this post, we will cover some of the important spring maintenance tasks that homeowners should complete before summer arrives.

Spring Home Improvement Checklist

It’s time to get your home ready for the summer. Here is a simple checklist of things that you need to take care of this spring before the season starts to change:

  • Check your roof shingles. Your roof can take a beating during the winter. Before the summer weather arrives, you’ll want to check for any loose, damaged, or missing roof shingles. Replace any shingles that are cracked or loose in spring to avoid more serious damage in the coming months.
  • Examine your gutters. Check your gutters in spring to make sure that they are not damaged or loose. It’s vital that your gutters drain properly to avoid water buildup in your basement. While examining your gutters, make sure that downspouts are free of debris and draining away from your home’s foundation.
  • Inspect your concrete. Homeowners also need to check their concrete slabs for cracks or signs of movement. Damage to your concrete can present safety issues for you and your family. If you find cracks, be sure to fill them with caulk or concrete filler. You should also power-wash and seal the concrete to protect it long-term.
  • Get an HVAC tune-up. Your HVAC system works hard to keep you warm in winter and cool in the summer. That makes spring the perfect time to get a seasonal HVAC tune-up. Schedule a service visit with a qualified HVAC technician who will clean and lubricate your system while also checking for any repair needs.
  • Look for leaks around windows and doors. Insulation is important to keeping your home comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside. One way to improve your insulation is by checking for and repairing any cracks or leaks around your doors and windows.
  • Prepare your outdoor area. Don’t forget to prepare your lawn and other outdoor areas for summer. Get rid of any weeds, trim your plants and bushes, and make sure all debris is removed from your outdoor HVAC system. Clean off your patio furniture and make sure that you store any grills, lawnmowers, or other equipment in a shed or other location to protect it from the summer sun.

If a pre-summer HVAC tune-up is on your list of spring to-do’s, All Weather Heating, Air, & Solar is here to help. Our team of experienced HVAC technicians provides preventative maintenance and seasonal tune-ups to homeowners in Vacaville, Fairfield, and the surrounding Solano county and Napa County areas. Call us today to schedule a service visit: (707) 400-6875. And remember to “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tips

Did you know that the air inside your home can be dirtier than the air outside? Well, the Environmental Protection Agency says it can be. Dog or Cat hair, other pets, various cleaning products, building materials, tobacco smoke, radon, and even cooking residue are normal inside of homes, and can be the cause of air inside your home being dirtier than the air outside. All Weather Heating, Air & Solar can help.

Ironically, new houses and buildings can be at risk for dirty indoor air because of better, more air-tight construction techniques and materials that can trap pollutants inside.

All Weather Heating, Air & Solar offers a number of Bryant IAQ products (click here). Call us at (707) 400-6875 or (877) 447-9855 for a free estimate.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is rated according to particle allergens, volatile organic compounds, temperature, carbon dioxide, relative humidity and carbon monoxide. Bad IAQ can irritate health conditions such as allergies and asthma, and adversely affect children, the elderly, pregnant women or anyone with chronic respiratory issues. Also, improving the quality of the air in your home can help keep dry skin and cracked wood furniture at bay, lessen the viruses and bacteria that can circulate throughout your home and enjoy more customized home comfort.

Call All Weather Heating, Air & Solar for you indoor air quality needs: (707) 400-6875 or (877) 447-9855.  And remember to “Like” us on Facebook: Click Here.

Spring is a Week Away, but the Heat is Already Here

Have you “felt the heat” recently? In 2017 Spring Equinox starts on Monday, March 20, bringing with it rising energy bills for air conditioning and home comfort.

You can save money, reduce energy usage and be ready for summer when the heat really hits us by installing or upgrading to high-efficiency rated heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems (HVAC) and going solar to power it all.

Depending on factors like the age of your current system, lifestyle, etc., you could cut your monthly energy bill in half.

Tax Credits

Tax credits are available for purchases made in 2017. ENERGY STAR products eligible for tax credits are independently certified to save energy, save money and protect the environment. Use up to 30% less energy in your home by outfitting it with ENERGY STAR products available across more than 70 categories. Click Here for more details.

Solar Energy in California

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a 30% federal tax credit for solar installations on both residential and commercial properties, reducing the tax liability for individuals or businesses that purchase qualifying solar energy technologies.

In addition to the federal ITC, California also has state and municipal incentives that can be seen via the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). We can provide most up-to-date information on solar incentives when you schedule a FREE estimate with us. Click Here for links with more information.

More Ideas for Savings

Most importantly, you should practice preventative maintenance on your systems, new or old, for optimal performance.

We recommend getting a tune-up before the summer to make sure everything is in proper working order. Like an oil change on a car, you really should do it to help make sure that the engine won’t break down.

Check the air filter often for dirt, pet hair, grass and other debris. Shutting the system off when mowing the lawn can help prevent clogging, and will help those who have allergies in your home.

Sign up for our Monthly E-Letter for more helpful tips and specials: Click Here.

The Latest in Home Automation

Now you can monitor and control components of your home from virtually anywhere. This remarkable new system puts remote access to your thermostat, lighting, home security and more right in the palm of your hand. Optional add-on equipment and over-the-air software upgrades make this system highly customizable, expandable and future-proof. Watch this brief video, then call us to schedule an appointment for a free estimate: (707) 400-6875.

What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need for My Home?

If it’s time to purchase a new air conditioner for your home, you need to consider the size of unit that will best serve your needs. That’s because selection of an undersized or oversized AC can lead to significant, unnecessary problems for as long as the next 12 to 15 years. It’s not that easy to account for all the factors that affect conditioner size estimates. Guidance from a qualified HVAC specialist will help point you in the right direction.

What Sizes Are Available?

The typical air conditioner used to cool an American home has a size of two tons. This doesn’t mean that the unit actually weighs two tons. It means that the unit has an hourly cooling capacity of 24,000 BTUs (British thermal units). Essentially, an air conditioner of this size has enough power to cool down 24,000 lbs of water by one degree. Larger residential ACs (typically found in bigger houses) come in a three-ton size, and have an hourly cooling capacity of 36,000 BTUs. A small home may only require a one-ton (12,000-BTU) air conditioner for adequate cooling.

How Are Size Needs Estimated?

Air conditioner size estimates are so complicated because so many different details have an impact on the required calculations. Many of the critical details relate to your house itself, including such things as its layout, interior volume, number of windows, window positioning, current ducting system, level of airtightness and age. Other details center on your home’s relationship to the environment and local surroundings, including its typical pattern of exposure to sunlight and the amount of sunlight protection provided by nearby greenery. In addition, there may be other specific factors related to your house or property that don’t arise in the typical situation.

How Do HVAC Specialists Calculate Size?

HVAC specialists must have a reliable way to estimate the proper size of air conditioner for any given household. In addition, for the sake of consistency, the same standard must be used by all qualified specialists. The standard currently in use in the heating and cooling industry is called “Manual-J.” When applying “Manual-J,” an HVAC professional will include all the details from your house itself, as well as the details associated with its relationship to various environmental factors and its surroundings. The most thorough type of AC size analysis treats each room in your home individually, although a cheaper whole-house analysis also works well in many cases.

As you can see, a lot of work goes into determining the proper size of air conditioner for your home. Fortunately, no matter where you live, you can typically find an HVAC professional who can help you with every step of the process. For additional timely information on home air conditioning and other important heating and cooling topics, bookmark this blog and check back with us often.

All You Need To Know About Replacing HVAC Heating And Air Conditioning Systems

87701128Replacing an old, worn out and inefficient HVAC system is a necessary but daunting task. In order to make an informed decision when replacing your HVAC system, you’ll need to know what you are up against. This article provides you with information on the steps to take to ensure you do it right.

The first thing you’ll need to do is find an HVAC service provider that offers a free estimate for the HVAC system replacement. The estimate should include the unit’s energy efficiency, warranty specs, cost of parts and labor cost.  All Weather Heating, Air & Solar offers free estimates!

It will also be important to find out what system size your home or business requires. Most people will simply match their existing unit’s specifications, which is not always a good idea, especially when remodeling. Our HVAC specialists will be able to advice on the best size system to go for.

Find out from your contractor whether you require multiple cooling and heating zones. A qualified contractor should be able to advice on the best zoning system equipment that will improve energy efficiency and provide more comfort.

Learning more on available filter options can save you money on energy bills, increase your system’s life and protect your family’s health. There are many options to choose from when it comes to air filters. Some of them are washable and can be used a number of times before they need replacing, and there are also disposable ones which require replacing every few weeks. The ones you go for will mostly depend on your budget, the type of system you have and preference.

Before investing money on a HVAC service provider, find out whether they offer service plans to protect and maintain your unit. This will not only ensure that your system continues to serve you well, but will also save you money on maintenance contracts.

HVAC replacement is a huge investment, but one that will save you money in the long run. Take as much time as you can learning more about your options and only make a decision when you are certain. Follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently. Call us at (707) 400-6875 to schedule a free estimate and learn more about our maintenance agreements.  Oh, and remember to “Like” us on Facebook.

Myths About Air Conditioning

Persistent myths surround the use of air conditioning systems even in this age of connectivity and information overload. These myths are unfortunate as they lead to sub-optimal efficiency and greater energy consumption than is necessary. It’s time to correct the misconceptions starting with the three most pervasive air conditioning myths below:

 

Myth 1: Lowering the temperature setting hastens room cooling.

Once you get back to your house after a long day out, all you really want is to lie down and relax inside your room. You turn on the air conditioner for cooling but it takes a while to work its magic. A lot of people will try to set the thermostat to an extremely low temperature hoping that this will speed up the cooling effect. Yet the reality is that the rate of cooling remains steady no matter the settings. Install a programmable thermostat and set it to start working 15 minutes before your typical arrival to avoid the long wait.

 

Myth 2: Fans cool down an empty room.

The high cost of ownership of HVAC systems is a reality that everyone has simply learned to deal with. Air conditioners consume a great deal of power but the comfort they bring is worth the cost. Of course, this doesn’t prevent people from trying to lower their monthly bills. A popular strategy is to use a fan jointly with the AC. Fans enhance air circulation and evaporative cooling on the skin which definitely helps. However, it must be emphasized that people must be present inside a room to reap their benefits. They should be turned off if everyone will go out.

 

Myth 3: Unit positioning is unimportant so it can be installed anywhere.

Air conditioners do allow a great deal of flexibility when it comes to positioning but careful consideration is necessary to find the most favorable location. The amount of sunlight that will hit the unit on a daily basis is a big factor. A shaded area is best to avoid overheating which will only push it to work harder than it needs to.

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Selecting The Air Conditioner Best Sized

Making the efforts involved, and spending the time needed in choosing the right sized air conditioner is truly time well spent. The added bonus is that you can and will enjoy the results for a long time to come, and save yourself some money while doing so. It truly is a win-win situation. We are here to be of assistance when you need us, and we are happy to offer you some advice and guidelines to help your effort. Take a look at some of the following information as an aid to your efforts getting started.

The size of the different rooms involved will be a big determining factor in choosing the right size air conditioner, and this is so important. Other factors will include the height of the ceilings in the room, the number of windows it contains, and how many doors are in it as well. How the room is utilized, and how many people might occupy it at any time will also affect the air conditioner size as well. All these are so important because if the size selected is too large, it will cool the room too quickly and not rid it of it’s humidity. At the same time if the unit is too small it will be working constantly and not getting the job done right. Some other considerations to be thought about include the following:

* in figuring BTUs, use 20 per square foot.
* 100-300 square feet – smaller size quiet unit.
* 300-400 square feet – mid size unit.
* 400-700 square feet – larger unit.
* extra sunny rooms – increase capacity 10%
* more shaded rooms – decrease capacity 10%
* rooms 2 or more people occupy predominately – increase by 600 BTUs.
* kitchens – increase by 3000-4000 BTUs.
* Check outlets – larger units need dedicated circuit.
* Look for Energy Efficient Ratio of 10 or more – The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit.

These are just some hints and guidelines to be considered when you initiate your efforts to find the best units for you. Please know that we are standing by anxious to help when you need it.

Also, follow our blog for even more cooling/heating and keeping your home energy efficient information you may need.

Myth Busters: 8 Ideas About Energy Efficiency Debunked!

Many people wonder if the so-called ‘facts’ they hear about energy efficiency facts are true or not. In reality, there are many energy efficiency myths hiding among these statements. Most of these need to be debunked in order to bring in some degree of clarity.

Common Energy Efficiency Myths Debunked

There have been claims that turning the lights on and off in the course of the day takes more energy as opposed to leaving them running. This is false, in light of modern technology. Previously, commercial lighting used fluorescent bulbs that took a long time to turn on completely. These consumed a lot of energy in the process. Modern fluorescent bulbs take much less time to light up. Unless the fixture hasn’t been replaced for more than 5 years, any light that’s not being used for more than 10 seconds should be turned off.

Leaving Ceiling Fans on While not in a Room

There have been claims that this helps in cooling. However, the fact is that these fans cool people rather than rooms. Unlike AC units, fans simply recirculate air and create a draught, but don’t actually change air temperature. One can save money by turning off the AC and using the ceiling fan only when the room is occupied.

Turning Thermostats up/down Several Degrees Heats/Cools a Building Faster

The role of a thermostat is simply to regulate temperature. This involves telling the heating/cooling system when to turn on/off once a certain room temperature is attained. As such, the device doesn’t work harder when the temperature is changed; it only makes the HVAC unit work longer. A programmable thermostat would help in saving energy because one can set it based on their schedule. Shades can also be used to regulate room temperature by controlling sunlight.

Turning a PC on and off Wastes Energy

Like light bulbs, older computers experienced wear and tear from constantly being turned on and off. Modern machines are however okay with being used this way. When using a desk top, one needs to remember that the monitor uses more energy than the hard disk. Such components thus need to be shut off when not in use.

Electric Space Heaters Help Save Money

This depends on whether one uses the device correctly. Typically, electricity is more expensive than natural gas. This hence makes the use of electrical heating devices more expensive than using furnaces.

Leaking air is Caused by Doors and Windows

While these play a significant role in securing indoor air, severe leakages are usually due to holes in the ceiling and air ducts. These thus need to be checked constantly and repaired if faulty. One may however install weather stripping around doors and windows to increase efficiency.

Some also think that more energy is used to cool a building when the HVAC unit has been turned off during the weekend than it would to keep it running at a slightly higher temperature. The fact is that shutting such units down completely always saves energy. A programmable thermostat would be more helpful in saving energy in such cases. If the thermostat doesn’t provide an option to turn off in certain times, one can add a step to the opening and closing stages that includes switching off the device when necessary. In the cold season, it’s more important to keep a building warm enough to avoid frozen pipes. In warmer climates however, it’s safe to completely switch off the cooling devices.

A number of people also carry the notion that they can only decrease their energy consumption by buying a new set of equipment. Energy use is however one of the costs that are more controllable in most homes. Shifting the inhabitants’ behavior can help one realize this. Such include remembering to switch off lights, closing shades, shutting computers down and adjusting the thermostat. Follow our blog for more great HVAC information.