While our region doesn’t face the same winter problems as many other areas around the country, we are still subject to lower temperatures during winter. As the leading heating and air conditioning company in our area, All Weather Heating and Air Conditioning recommends keeping a close eye on your HVAC system after this season. Winter weather will keep your HVAC system busy, so it’s helpful to understand and prepare for a few common HVAC problems, such as the following:
Wildfires can be a scary time for any household, but there are some steps you can take towards your health and safety throughout. Your HVAC unit can help during times of poor air quality. The filtration units in your system, if properly maintained, can help purify indoor air to a certain degree. Here’s how it works.
Priority One: Staying Safe During a Wildfire
When fire threatens your home and community, your first priority is obviously your family’s safety. Pay attention to public health messages from local radio and news stations, and if they recommend you evacuate, go.
However, the radius of affected households typically extends well beyond the immediate path of the flames. Smoke from fires throws air quality into havoc, creating toxic conditions that can make you or your family members very, very sick. Although healthy adults can typically handle limited exposure, people who suffer from asthma, cardiovascular problems, or lung disease may be significantly harmed by smoke inhalation. Young children are also especially vulnerable – according to the CDC, since children’s lungs are still developing, they tend to take in more air per pound than adults.
To get a sense of the air quality in your area, check out the EPA’s Air Quality Index Forecast, which lets you view at a glance at-risk locations. If their read-out for your home looks bad, follow these precautions:
- Stay Indoors As Much As Possible. Especially don’t go out if local advisories recommend that you stay inside.
Wear Protective Gear Outside. If you do have to go out, wear a protective N95 or P100 respirator mask—don’t rely on paper masks, since these don’t really filter out smoke.
- Keep Windows and Doors Shut. As much as possible, try to maintain the air quality inside (more on that to follow) by keeping openings secured. Don’t smoke, burn candles, vacuum, or use your oven—these activities will just exacerbate the problem.
Using Your Heating & Air Conditioning Systems to Help With Air Quality
When the air quality outside keeps you stuck in your home, you may be able to use your home’s air conditioning and filtration system to improve the air your breathe indoors.
- Change Air Filters. The first thing you can do is change all your HVAC air filters. Although you may have closed your windows and doors, fine particles can still filter in through roof vents or small gaps in windows and doors, and of course, pose a risk any time you have to go outside. A clean filter will be more able to handle the increase in particulate matter in the air.
- Turn on Your Air Conditioning. Running your AC will circulate air in your home through your unit’s filters, which is why clean filters are so important. Some non-residential commercial units have fresh air intakes. Usually, these small filtered vents help improve air quality, since the air outside is typically fresher than the air outside. But during a wildfire, they can pour unhealthy air into a building’ interiors. To keep smoky air outside, close the intake using the damper.
- Keep Bathroom Fans and Window Units Turned Off. Bathroom fans and window box fans commonly pull outside air into your home, so they should be shut off during a fire advisory.
We hope you don’t need to use this advice, but if a fire advisory should come down on your community, using your HVAC unit effectively can filter a fair amount of particulate matter in the air. Until then, stay safe out there!
The days are getting shorter, leaves are changing colors, and Jack Frost is getting ready to visit. It’s a perfect time to make sure your furnace can get you through the winter. Below is a checklist below to help you determine if it may be time to replace a furnace or at least make some tune-ups to your existing furnace.
1.) Your equipment repair costs and energy bills are steadily increasing
Older furnaces work harder to provide the levels of heating they did when they were new. This means higher energy bills and more frequent repairs. A slight increase in both is OK for an older furnace but once you begin seeing significant bill increases and your furnace repairman knows you by name, it may be time to look into getting a new furnace. The amount of money you will save in the long run from a more efficient unit will be worth the short-term investment.
2.) Your furnace is more than 15 years old
If your furnace is past its 15-year mark and beginning to have maintenance issues, there is a very likely chance it will need to be replaced. It may be working, but it is likely not operating at maximum efficiency and your utility bills are probably at all time highs as a result.
Furnaces are like cars; the older they are, the more maintenance they need, usually incurring the most breakdowns in the last two years of their lives. If your furnace is roughly 15 to 20 years or older and you have a repair costing more than 15 percent of a new furnace, you should go ahead and replace it (because it is more likely to break down again soon).
If your furnace is operating with little to no maintenance issues but you’re noticing a higher utility rate and you’d like to get your bills down, there may be some lower cost solutions for you. Some alternative options may be updating your thermostat to a programmable one, cleaning or updating your duct system, purchasing an electric fireplace or portable heater, or just adding some extra blankets around the house. Call one of our HVAC experts to help you determine which option is best for you.
3.) The rooms throughout your home are different temperatures
An inefficient and old furnace can result in some rooms being colder or warmer than others. This is likely the result of an old furnace and outdated duct system losing its ability to distribute heat evenly throughout the house.
4.) Your home has soot around the registers
An older furnace may begin spewing out dust, dirt, or rust particles, which can be not only irritating for those who aim to keep a clean house, but dangerous to everyone’s health. When you spy soot or rust around the furnace or registers, this is a sign your furnace has too much CO2. It can also cause excessive dryness, affecting the walls, wood flooring, furniture, and plants in your house. If you notice plants starting to wilt, or family members are experiencing dry eyes and itchy throats, or headaches, it may be time to replace a furnace.
5.) Your furnace is noisy
Furnaces tend to make some noise when they turn on and off, but if those noises start to get progressively louder, it may be time to replace your unit. These sounds may come in the form of popping, banging, humming, or screeching. This could be a telltale sign that you may need to replace a furnace or some parts within the furnace. The reason for some of these sounds could be:
- Rattling: Unsecured ductwork, loose screws or sheet metal can be the cause of this sound. It may also mean the lower motor is not properly balanced.
- Popping: This sound can happen when parts within your furnace warm and cool in response to temperature changes within your system.
- Humming: Your fan motor may produce electrical humming sounds, but the fan should never be loud or disruptive. If it is, your inducer motor or blower fan motor could be starting to fail.
- Screeching or Squealing: These noises are a sign there is an overall issue with your blower motor or inducer motor. Possible issues could be a loose bearing, deteriorating belt, or an issue with the pulley that holds the belt.
Why Your Old Heating System Could be Costing You More Than Just Maintenance Costs
As technology advances, new and improved models are introduced to the market that offer many advantages above what their older counterparts produce. This is true with just about everything — including your heating system. While an older furnace or heater may still be functioning fine, chances are that it is more expensive to operate than a newer system.
Loss in Efficiency
As heating equipment ages, it loses efficiency. Plus, newer heating equipment has a much higher efficiency than your older system was in its prime, thanks to new regulations. Operating an older, less efficient system costs you far more in energy expenses than operating a new system — enough so in many cases that it can pay off the cost of installing the new unit in a short period of time.
Not as Effective System Control
Older heating systems don’t have the control options which are available on newer models. This lack of control can’t keep you as comfortable and can cost you more in energy use. It’s not just your old furnace or boiler that’s the problem; an outdated thermostat is a major control problem. If your system or thermostat has a simple “on/off” option, you should look into upgrading now. New technology, such as zoning, offers additional control over home comfort and energy use which older systems don’t.
Use of Expensive Fuels
The price of various heating fuels has fluctuated over the years. When your heating system was originally installed, the fuel source used may have been a cost-effective choice; now, it may be costing you much more than alternative energy sources. Upgrading to a new heating system that utilizes a cost-effective energy source will help you lower your heating bills throughout the colder months.
Natural energy is becoming a popular choice for heating equipment. Heat pumps extract energy from the outdoor air, the ground, or a water source to provide the heating your home needs. They keep your home comfortable for a fraction of the cost of an older, inefficient system and are considered to be an environmentally friendly option.
Fall and winter nights are coming to Solano County 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.
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.
Having more Air Conditioner and general HVAC protection makes sense even if you have excellent homeowner’s insurance coverage. Storms can damage your equipment, and that can result in the loss of use, which could be costly, not to mention uncomfortable, in the winter.
- CIRCUIT BREAKER LABELS: Label the breakers for your major appliances, including the HVAC system, and instruct family members old enough to turn them off when severe weather warnings have been issued.
- SURGE PROTECTORS: You can use a whole-house surge protector or use them individually to protect your appliances and devices from power surges. These power spikes not only occur after a power outage, but also throughout the day and night during good weather. A whole-house protector will prevent damage to anything plugged in, while one specifically for your HVAC system will shield it from electrical damage 24/7.
- GENERATOR: In the hot months you can keep your refrigerator going, and in the winter a generator could provide enough electricity to power a space heater.
- TIE DOWN CONDENSOR: Strong winds associated with storms can topple the outdoor condenser for the air conditioner or heat pump. An HVAC pro can secure it to its slab to prevent tipping from strong gusts. When the condenser tips over, the damage may be irreparable. Unless your system is fairly new, you may have to replace it entirely.
- BUSHES AND TREES: Removing dead tree limbs or those close to the home’s structure will provide some HVAC protection. Severe storms and winds can cause even healthy limbs and branches to fall on the condenser.
When the seasons cool down, Air Conditioners and outdoor related equipment protection will keep you and your system safer during extreme weather. To learn more, contact All Weather Heating, Air & Solar in Vacaville, Solano County.
We wish to keep our customers and all others in Norther California informed about energy and home comfort issues specific to HVAC systems. For service or maintenance call us at 707-400-6875. Oh, and remember to Like us on Facebook and to Follow us on Twitter.
As technology evolves, it’s important to stay on top of ways in which you can utilize smart tech and home automation to your advantage as a homeowner. This is especially the case for your HVAC unit in terms of performance, maintenance and energy efficiency. The ability to get real time data on how your HVAC system is performing and control your unit remotely from your smartphone, gives homeowners the power to maximize their home’s energy efficiency, but only if they understand how. Here is what you need to know about how home automation can benefit your HVAC system.
It allows for the most efficient energy use
A smart thermostat can be programmed in a number of ways to save you money and help your system perform better, longer. From timely starts and stops at hours in which you are and aren’t home, to only running in certain zones of your house while you are home, a smart system can take away the burden of constantly monitoring your HVAC system to cut costs.
Home automation makes remote HVAC control possible
Wondering if you forgot to turn down your thermostat before you left for the office, or for a long vacation? Having a surprise visit to your unoccupied home? From your mobile device, you can check on your system and, if necessary, adjust your thermostat from anywhere in the world. This is not only great for the frequent flyer, but it gives homeowners the versatility to live whatever lifestyle they want, while being a responsible homeowner.
If you forgot to program your system, you can change your system’s settings as you enter your vehicle and by the time your commute is over, your home will be set to your desired comfort level.
Homeowners are given real time reports
The Côr™ Home Automation System is the heart of a smarter, more secure home. This easy-to-use, professionally installed system teams three industry leaders, providing comfort, safety and security that you can take with you. If cutting costs means more to you than home comfort, your system will be able to tell you ways in which it could operate more efficiently. Humidity is a major contributor to home comfort and home entegrity. A smart thermostat can read your home’s humidity levels to ensure that your home is as comfortable as possible and that humidity is not slowly damaging the wood inside of your home. The Bryant® Housewise Wi-Fi thermostat is our recommendation.
At All Weather Heating, Air & Solar, we’re dedicated to staying on top of industry trends and informing our customers on how the latest technology can improve their home’s comfort, air quality and energy efficiency. If you want more information on how home automation and HVAC come together to make your life easier and more comfortable, call our office to speak with one of our expert HVAC technicians at (707) 400-6875. We would be more than happy to send one of our Vacaville HVAC experts out for a FREE estimate to install an automated HVAC system in your home.
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.
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 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.
Every year, people all over the country make resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, save more money, and be kinder to one another. Though these are certainly great personal goals to pursue, there is one element of your life that often gets overlooked when it comes to New Year’s resolutions – your HVAC system!
Yes, you heard that right, and no, we aren’t crazy. Though it may be easy to forget about your heating and cooling system when it’s running smoothly and keeping you comfortable, it is important to treat this home system right if you want to keep enjoying optimal home comfort. Below, we will give you a list of HVAC New Year’s resolutions that Vacaville homeowners can easily implement in the new year.
The Ultimate List of HVAC New Year’s Resolutions
Are you ready to be better to your heating and cooling system in the new year? Here are some simple HVAC New Year’s resolutions that you can start adopting today:
Take measures to save more energy.
Working to save energy is an HVAC resolution that not only benefits the environment but also your wallet. There are a number of ways that you can save energy by using your HVAC system more efficiently. One of the best ways to do this is to adjust the temperature on your thermostat when you are not at home. A programmable thermostat makes this process easier by allowing you to automatically adjust the temperature of your home during periods of the week that you are normally at work or out.
Maintain your HVAC equipment.
Routine maintenance on your heating and cooling equipment is essential to keeping your system running efficiently. One of the easiest ways for homeowners to do their part when it comes to HVAC maintenance is by checking their air filter monthly and changing or cleaning the filter. Clogged filters can restrict airflow, which impacts indoor air quality and equipment efficiency. Another way that homeowners can work to routinely maintain their HVAC system is by scheduling an annual heater and air conditioner tune-up. During your tune-up, an experienced HVAC technician will make sure that your system is clean, lubricated, and running smoothly and efficiently.
Learn more about your heating and cooling systems.
The more that you know about your heating and cooling system, the better you will be able to care for it. Learning the basics of HVAC and knowing when to recognize repair needs can help you keep your system running more efficiently year-round. When it comes to residential HVAC, a little knowledge goes a long way, and by learning a little bit about your heater and air conditioner, you can work to optimize your home comfort and prolong the life of your HVAC equipment.
Which of these resolutions will make your list this year? We would love to help you get started with your HVAC New Year’s resolutions. Contact us today to find out how you can keep your HVAC system running smoothly year-round.
Buying a new home is a very exciting thing. What may not be so exciting is the work you have to put into selling your current home. However, there are some key facets of your current home that you can spruce up that will most easily influence the way other home buyers view your home.
Home Inspection Checklist for Sellers
By focusing on these key components of a home, you can quickly prepare your house for the market:
One of the critical aspects that any prospective buyer will consider is the air conditioning system of your property. Before you invite the first buyer to your property, why not first call on the services of an HVAC inspector? This professional will inspect all of the aspects of the system and give you a report indicating any areas of the system that require repairs or upgrading. The expert will check on all of the vital components of the system including the thermostat and the furnace filter as well as guide you through sourcing any parts that need to be replaced to get your system running like new.
You should also get an estimate from this expert that can help in the pricing and sale of your home. When selling or buying a home, the HVAC system is certainly a make or break component that can drastically impact the price of a property.
The quality of both interior and exterior paint is another critical consideration that any serious buyer will make. This sets the tone for the aesthetic appeal of your house. Give homebuyers a great first impression by giving the interior and exterior of your home a new coat of paint.
The garage door is a major entry point into the house. In this it serves as a main security check against any unwanted intruders. Remember the garage isn’t just a place to keep your car, but it provides crucial storage space for your valuables. Make sure that your garage is well insulated to keep your home and valuables safe from whatever life may throw at you. For an added bonus, give the garage door a fresh coat of paint to enhance the overall curb appeal of your house.
Roof and Gutters
Water damage can destroy a home, so few buyers will pay much for a leaking roof and faulty gutters. If your roof has shown signs of wear and tear, get a professional to inspect it and perform any necessary repairs before your home hits the market. The gutters also perform the critical function of collecting water and ensuring the water does not find its way into your home. Replace or repair any defective gutters as well.
Your home’s plumbing system is of the utmost importance to any prospective buyer. Ensure the system has no leaks and that there are no back-flows in the entire plumbing system. In case you notice any shortcomings request the services of a professional plumber to remediate the situation.
Selling a home can get overwhelming, however, taking the right steps in the selling process can ensure a good return on your investment. For more information and professional help with your HVAC system, water heater and insulation, contact All Weather Heating, Air & Solar. Remember to “Like” us on Facebook too: Click Here.