G & S Heating Cooling & Electric Blog: Archive for January, 2012

G & S Has Made the Angie’s List Honor Roll!

Monday, January 30th, 2012

G & S made the Angie’s List Honor Roll! Angie’s List is a review site where customers rate their experiences with businesses on a scale of “A” to “F”. Since we had such an outstanding report card – with our business in the top 1 percent – we have made the Honor Roll! Thank you to everyone who helped us deliver such great service!

Our company policy has always been to be “A Service Company You Can Depend On” – and we try every day to live up to that goal. Not only our all of our technicians highly trained professionals, they also give you service with integrity and treat your home with respect. A good service technician will be highly skilled, pay close attention to detail, and answer any questions you might have. We make sure all of our technicians measure up to this high standard.  So if you ever need heating or air conditioning installation, maintenance, or repair in the Puget Sound Area, give us a call today!

To take a look at us on Angie’s List, follow this link: http://www.angieslist.com/companylist/us/wa/monroe/gs-heating-cooling-electric-inc-reviews-6187977.aspx

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Preston Water Heater Tip: How to Extend the Life of Your Water heater

Friday, January 27th, 2012

To avoid having to pay for replacing your Preston home’s water heater, your best course of action is to take care of the water heater you have. Many homeowners forget about this simple part of household maintenance, probably because water heaters are so often out of sight that we take them for granted. For a simple start on water heater maintenance, try this three-step annual routine:

  1. Lower the temperature on your water heater to somewhere between 115 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is more than adequate for all household functions, and it will keep the water heater from overheating. Locate the knob on your unit (refer to the manual or manufacturer website if you have trouble) to dial it down. You’ll never notice the difference in temperature, but your water heater will have to work less and your energy bills will be lower.
  2. Test the temperature and pressure valve by lifting the valve lever part of the way up, then allowing it to snap back into place. This should be followed by a gurgling sound as water is briefly released from the tank into the drain tube. If not, the valve may need to be replaced.
  3. Flush the tank on a smaller scale. Rather than doing a full flush of the water heater, you can do a smaller one in much less time. To do this, just put a bucket under the drain valve and release the valve. When the bucket is full, close the valve back up and drain the bucket outside or into a sink. This will help get rid of sediment, but takes much less time than draining the whole tank.

It is also recommended that you get a professional inspection of your water heater on a regular basis, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This three step plan is a good interim measure, however, and it only takes a few minutes each year.

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Lake Stevens Heat Pump Tip: Outdoor Maintenance

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Sometimes, the trickiest part about owning a heat pump in Lake Stevens is keeping the outdoor components maintained. Because they are outside and generally out of sight, it can be easy to forget or neglect them. But because they are outside and exposed to the elements, outdoor heat pump components need attention and maintenance to keep them running properly.

The two most important routine maintenance functions you can do as an owner of an outdoor heat pump are keeping it free of debris and keeping it level.

Every month or so, inspect and clean your outdoor heat pump to make sure it is free of leaves, dirt and other debris. These can easily be sucked in by the fan and reduce the efficiency of the whole system. Turn the power off to the unit and use a vacuum or broom to remove any accumulated debris.

Once or twice a year, use a carpenter’s level to make sure the whole thing is sitting level on the pad. Use the level to gauge both side to side and front to back. While you are doing this, check the insulation for erosion or gaps. If you see that it is not level or the insulation is wearing thin, have a contractor come out reset the unit on the concrete pad or patch up the insulation.

These are two small maintenance tasks that you don’t have to do very often, but they can make a big difference in the performance and life of your heat pump.

In addition, you should always have your Lake Stevens home’s heating, ventilation and cooling system inspected by a professional annually in order to keep everything maintained and in good repair.

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G & S Home Performance Contracting in Seattle

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Did you know that you are most likely wasting 25% to 40% of your monthly energy bills due to inefficiencies in your heat pump, air conditioner, and central furnace?  G & S wants to put an end to this by researching problem areas in your home, and determining what improvements can be made.  With our new Home Performance Contracting services we inspect heating and cooling equipment, evaluate insulation, test doors and windows for air leakage, and diagnose flow through air ducts to identify areas that need improvement.

Our Home Performance Contracting services begins with a quick interview with the home owners to establish what areas of the home have apparent problems.  Then our technician thoroughly inspects the efficiency and safety of your heating and cooling systems.  Next G & S will measure the levels of insulation throughout your house, and check for any easily missed defects in insulation.  To check potential air leakages G & S uses a computerized blower door system called an Infiltrometer.  This new Infiltrometer system will be able to detect whether air leakages in a home are from safe air sources like windows and doors, or unsafe locations like attics, garages, and crawl spaces.  Tests will also be done on air duct systems to locate any flaws or blockages.  If homeowners notice that specific rooms are difficult to heat or cool our technician can use newly designed tools like Electronic Air Flow Capture Hoods to establish how much air is reaching that room, and how to remedy the air flow issue.  Once the tests are done our HVAC specialist will recommend a prioritized list of improvements.

At G & S the goal of our Home Performance Contracting services are to provide you with an actionable energy audit, and to decrease your monthly energy bills.  That is why we are becoming BPI ( Building Performance Institute ) certified and members of the Comfort Institute.  These two groups are recognized by the Department of Energy ( DOE ), Environmental Protection Association ( EPA ), and the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® for for their proficiency in energy conservation.

Keep coming back to our blog for ways to save on your energy bill, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about our new Home Performance Contracting services.

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Marysville Heat Pump Maintenance Guide

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Just like any HVAC system, the heat pump in your Marysville home needs routine maintenance and yearly check-ups to operate as efficiently and safely as possible. You also don’t want your heat pump to wear down to the point of a major malfunction or breakdown, which can be costly to repair or may require a complete system replacement.

Here are some things that could go wrong and cost you a lot more in the end if you don’t keep up with the regular maintenance of your heat pump.

Damage to the Compressor

The compressor in a split-system heat pump works whether you are heating or cooling your home. In the winter, the compressor reverses the flow of the refrigerant to defrost the outdoor coils, and in the summer it supplies the refrigerant to cool the home, as well as cooling the outdoor coils. Proper airflow is vital to keeping the compressor running smoothly. Filters that are not changed regularly, dirty coils, and dirty fans can all restrict airflow, which will damage the compressor. Debris around the outside components should also be cleared to allow proper airflow.

Decreased Efficiency

When dirty or broken components restrict the airflow, this damages the compressor and decreases the heat pump’s efficiency levels.  Not only is it important to clean your heat pump regularly, but you should also have it checked by a certified heating technician once a year. This will also prevent safety hazards and other hidden issues with the heat pump.

Improper Refrigerant Levels

Most heat pumps are charged with refrigerant at the factory; however, if models that are charged when they are installed are not given the right amount of refrigerant this can also affect performance levels. Refrigerant leaks and other common problems can be prevented by scheduling an annual maintenance visit with one of our qualified Marysville technicians.

Don’t wait until the heat pump in your home stops working, call to schedule your yearly check-up.

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Angie’s List Super Service Award 2011 Winner!

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

G&S has won the 2011 Angie’s List Super Service Award! This award is given to companies who have achieved and maintained a superior customer service rating on Angie’s List throughout the past year. Angie’s List, a popular review site, has its users grade their experience with a business from “A” to “F.” Only businesses that have an average review of “A” or more are even eligible for the Super Service Award, and we are very proud of our company for being able to deliver such consistent customer satisfaction.

We have always prided ourselves on being a “service first” company, and we know that service is the most important product that an HVAC contractor can sell. That is why all of technicians always try  to provide our clients with the quality work that makes us a company that you can depend on. The Super Service Award is only given to the very best contractors, and we are honored to have received it. Thank you to all of our customers!

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Duvall HVAC Contractor Tip: Energy Saving with Your Water Heater

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

If you want to lower the energy costs for your Duvall home, the water heater might not be the first place you’d think to save energy. However, when you add up the savings from a few easy steps that can improve your water heater’s efficiency, it can make a significant difference in your utility bills.

Here are some of the ways you can reduce the use of hot water in the home and increase your energy savings.

Saving Energy by Using Less Hot Water

Even if you own an energy-efficient, tankless water heater, and you try to conserve water as much as possible, hot water usage can always be reduced in other areas. Installing low flow faucets and fixtures can provide up to 60% in water savings because they reduce the flow rate (gallons per minute) for each fixture. Tankless water heaters are also more efficient when they are used with any application with a lower flow rate.

Replacing older appliances that require a lot of hot water with more energy-efficient models is worth the money and effort because of the energy savings you will get in the end. Make sure you fix any leaks on older hot water faucet or fixtures. A leak that costs a dollar or two extra per month doesn’t seem like much, but it will add up over time.

Lower the Temperature on Your Hot Water Heater

For every 10°F that you lower the water temperature on your hot water heater, you save between 3% to 5% in energy costs. The manufactured setting for most water heaters is 140°F, but most homes only require a maximum temperature of 120°F. Check your owner’s manual before you lower the temperature on your water heater to find out what the recommended settings are and how to change them.

Insulate Your Water Heater Tank and Water Pipes

Whether you have a gas or electric hot water heater, you can find fairly inexpensive and easy-to-install insulators or “jackets” for your water heater tank. Every tank has an R-value that determines how much heat it loses, so unless it is a high value, your water heater tank needs insulation. Call a professional or check your owner’s manual for the R-value of your hot water heater, but the general rule is that if the tank is warm when you touch it, you need more insulation.

You can reduce emissions and your energy costs simply by paying more attention to how much hot water you are using in your Duvall home. For more tips and expert advice, call us today to speak with one of our technicians.

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Happy Martin Luther King Day from Your Puget Sound Area HVAC Contractors!

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King Day! Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and all of his great accomplishments. This holiday is also a reminder about how we all can be a force for good in our community. Even a small act, like helping a neighbor, can make a big difference in someone’s life. Take some time today to make your community a little better!

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Everett Heating Installation: Testimonial from Mary R

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Having new equipment installed in your house can be a big project. You not only need to decide the make, model, and size of your new unit, but you also have to find the right company to install it. Especially with heating and air conditioning, when so many things can go wrong if you have a sloppy installation, it is important to know a contractor who will do the job right.

We always make sure that our technicians answer all your questions and walk you through the installation process. Here is what Mary in Everett wrote to us about her recent furnace and heat pump installation:

A big thank you to your team of professionals who installed my new furnace and the heat pump; they did an excellent job. Special kudos goes out to the technician who crawled in and out of my drawl space and was the one who figured out why the new thermostat was not working. Please let him know I got all my settings in place without getting that engineering degree!

– Mary R. in Everett

Thanks Mary! We are happy that you like your new heating system. Remember that regular maintenance will keep it working efficiently and cut down on future repairs!

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Question from Stanwood: Why Do Heat Pumps Need Refrigerant?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Despite its name, a heat pump is not designed solely for heating your Stanwood home. In fact, the technology in your heat pump was originally designed for air conditioning and is used today in air conditioners, refrigerators and cooling units in vehicles and airplanes. And the entire process relies on refrigerant – a chemical compound that is compressed and expanded to move energy from one environment to another.

How Refrigerant Makes Heating and Cooling Possible

Your heat pump has multiple components designed to transfer refrigerant from one state to another. The compressor, for example, compresses the refrigerant into a liquid. The liquid is then moved through the expansion valve to the evaporator coils where it expands into a gas. Because refrigerant evaporates at much lower temperatures than water, it does this rapidly and in the process draws heat from the surrounding environment.

That’s how an air conditioner or your refrigerator cool a space. However, in the case of a heat pump, the process can work in both directions. In cooling mode, your heat pump extracts heat from the air going into your home. In the case of heating mode, the heat pump extracts heat from the outside air. Because the heat is transferred into the refrigerant, it can then be recompressed by the compressor. The heat is then is then released in the condenser coils, where the gas returns to liquid state. A blower then distributes air blown across the condenser coils into your home as heat.

Troubleshooting the Process

A heat pump is a complex piece of machinery, but once you know how it works, you can perform quite a bit of troubleshooting should anything go wrong with the device. For example, if you notice cold air coming from your vents, you can check to make sure it isn’t in cooling mode and that there is enough refrigerant in the device.

Keep in mind that if any service needs to be performed on the heat pump involving refrigerant, you should call a professional due to the volatile nature of the chemical. In most municipalities, you must have a license to distribute or dispose of refrigerant and even if not, it can be dangerous to both you and the environment.

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