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

Summer HVAC Upgrades for Lower Energy Bills in Puget Sound

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Everyone in Puget Sound wants to make their home more energy efficient, it not only saves you money but it also makes your home more environmentally friendly. Installing an efficient air conditioning system is a great place to start, but it can be hard to decide what to do first.

Before you start making changes, ask yourself the flowing questions:

How much do you spend on energy?

Paying attention to your energy bill from month to month is very important. A sudden spike could be an indication that you need air conditioning repairs or other appliances need attention in your home. If you start trying to embrace an energy efficient lifestyle, your energy bill can help you keep track of how well you are doing.

Are there benefits to this upgrade?

In addition to being energy efficient, you should discover if there are any other ways that a change can benefit your home. For instance, a new air conditioner could make your home more comfortable, or zone control could make it easier to keep every room in your home the desired temperature. You’d be surprised how many energy efficient upgrades can really improve your whole home and not just your energy bill.

What is your budget?

Budgeting is never fun, but it’s important step to figuring out what you should change first. While it would be great to replace your air conditioner and furnace for ENERGY STAR rated models, it’s a big investment. You can try the little things first, like improving you insulation, repairing air ducts, and sealing air leaks. After you have saved up and improved other parts of your home you can work on replacing your HVAC equipment.

Improving the energy efficiency of your home will make it more comfortable and lower your utility bills. If you have any questions about energy efficient upgrades you can make to your home, call G & S Heating, Cooling, & Electric today!

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Signs of a Broken Air Conditioning Compressor in Puget Sound

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The air compressor is a key portion of any air conditioning unit in Puget Sound, and when it is failing it is important to try and catch the warning signs so you do not have to pay to much to replace it.  Here are a few examples of sigs you will notice during air conditioning maintenance, and a few solutions you might be able to apply.

When you start your air conditioning unit, does it start smoothly, or does it sound like it is jerking on, and not everything is turning on in unison?  If the air conditioner jerks on that is called a hard-start, and it is one of the first signs that your compressor is struggling.  Noises coming from your air conditioning unit will always be a good indication of how it is operating.   If there is clanking, buzzing, grumbling, or just anything outside the realm of a fan and electric humming noise there is a good chance that air conditioner repairs are needed.

If you are familiar with how to open up your AC unit, try to locate the compressor motor.  If you can tell that the wiring has shorted out, or the wiring has become irreparably tarnished this is an indication that your compressor, or motor has to be replaced.

A few obvious signs that your compressor is broken, is if the circuit breaker shorts off every time the AC unit turns on, or the unit just hums when it is turned on.  It is important to not completely give up on the compressor though, because if the unit is not turning on there could just be a loose electrical connection.  A professional HVAC technician should really repair these electrical problems.

If you are not receiving optimal performance from your cooling system call G & S Heating and Cooling to have our team of HVAC technicians service your cooling equipment.

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What You Need to Know About Solar Hot Water Heaters in Kenmore

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Solar hot water heaters in Kenmore are virtually an unknown appliance.  The majority of people who know about solar panles are only aware of the photovoltaic panels which are wired into a household to supply electrical assistance to homes. These photovoltaic   solar panels are terrific for collecting electrical assistance, but they are not the only way households can take advantage of the free energy source, the sun. Solar water heaters are much simpler systems that cost less money than typical solar panels, and they can save you a significant amount of money on your electricity bills.

How Solar Hot Water Heaters Work

Solar hot water heater come in a few different sizes and shapes, but their overall functionality are generally the same. Solar collectors are placed on the roof of your home, hopefully facing south. Those collectors collect and amplify the energy of the sun and use it to heat water or coolant that is circulated through tubes or pipes in the collector. In a direct system, the water is then piped directly to your fixtures for use.

In the more common indirect system, coolant is piped back to a tank where water is heated through copper pipes and held for use later.

Advantages of Solar Hot Water Heating

The obvious advantage is cost. Because the system is almost entirely passive, you don’t pay for any electricity, and maintenance is minimal. The only real cost of a solar hot water system (after installation) is a once-every-two-years maintenance visit and a backup water heating supply for days when there is less sunlight.

Additionally, solar hot water heaters can be piped into a radiant heating system and used to supplement your boiler. The hot water generated by the solar collectors can be used in baseboard heaters, radiators, and even under-floor heating systems. While a much larger, more powerful system is needed to replace your entire heating system, the supplement can save you a lot of money in the summer and spring months.

Solar water heating is a very effective and affordable way to start using solar power immediately in your life. If you are considering installing some form of solar power, call G & S Heating, Cooling, & Electric.

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Seattle Indoor Air Quality Tips: How to Clean Up and Repair Damage from Mold

Monday, May 7th, 2012

So, you had your indoor air quality tested in Seattle and a mold inspector visited your home and gave you the bad news – there is mold in your house. What’s the next step? For millions of homeowners every year, mold becomes a reality and the cleanup and repair seem daunting. But depending on the severity of the problem, there may be a relatively simple solution.

Step 1- Fix the Problem

Before any cleanup occurs, the first step is to fix whatever problem caused the mold initially. In most cases, this is a source of excess water or humidity getting into your home. It could be a leak in your attic or standing water in your basement. Whatever the source, it needs to be repaired before any removal can occur.

Step 2 – Removing Damaged Items

Mold has a habit of destroying that which it grows on. This includes window frames, floor boards and furniture. For the most part, it’s recommended that you throw away anything affected by mold. Old carpet, upholstery, books, and clothing can be replaced – and rarely can mold be effectively removed from those items without a heavy cost. If something has sentimental valuable, make sure to consult an expert as to whether it can be cleaned.

Step 3 – Remove the Mold

With the water source fixed and damaged items removed, it’s time to clean up the mold damage. Any water or remaining dampness is removed first, usually with some form of vacuum cleaner or wet vac system. If a professional visits, they may wear protective masks or clothing to avoid inhaling potentially toxic mold spores – remember that while most mold is only an allergen, some mold can be dangerous even to healthy, non-allergic people.

If you choose to clean up the mold yourself, make sure you have it tested prior to cleanup to ensure it won’t be a health risk to you or your family.

Step 4 – Sterilization

Hopefully your mold problem is only on surfaces and removable fibers. Some mold can get into walls and ductwork, a problem which requires a much more in-depth cleaning process to correct. For this type of mold infestation, make sure you call a professional so you can be sure it is completely removed. To ensure mold being cleaned doesn’t enter the air and make anyone sick, it is usually contained with a wood frame or protective plastic sheeting. Careful removal with HEPA vacuums and sterilizing wipes is also recommended to ensure all mold spores are gone.  Also consider equipping your home with air cleaner to limit the transfer of mold spores.

Mold is a problem for millions but if properly removed it doesn’t need to be a problem in your home. Make sure you call G & S Heating, Cooling, & Electric for testing, cleanup and prevention and your home will be safe and clean for years to come.

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Family Fun for Cinco de Mayo!

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Paper Bag Maracas

What you’ll need:

  • Four paper lunch bags
  • One handful of dried rice
  • 12″ square piece of foil
  • Rubber band
  • Paint: red, green, white, yellow
  • 8″ x 1″ strip of red felt
  • Tape

How to make it:

  1. Nest three of the four paper bags inside each other. The last bag will be used to make the handle. (See photo.)
  2. Place your hand in the center of the foil square and loosely gather it up and around your wrist. Insert your hand inside the bags and place the foil at the bottom. (See photo.)
  3. Spread the sides of the foil up and around the sides so that they are flush with the edges of the inside of the bag. The foil will give a little more strength and body to the bag and will provide a better noise for the shaker!
  4. Place a handful of rice inside the bag and then fold the edges of the tin foil closed (See photos 1, 2.)
  5. Take the remaining paper bag and cut up one of the sides and then around the perimeter of the bottom of the bag. Lay the bag flat on the table.
  6. Fold the bottom flap in, then starting at one end, roll up the bag to create the handle. Roll it up tight and tape closed. (See photos 1, 2.)
  7. Put a piece of tape across the center of the handle. Place the handle into the bag with the rice and press the tape to the side of the bag. The handle should be half in and half out of the bag. (See photo.)
  8. Gather the top of the open bag around the handle and secure with a rubber band. (See photo.)
  9. Decorate the maraca with paint using stripes, dots and curved lines. Let dry completely. (See photo.)
  10. Tie the red felt strip around the rubber band to conceal it.

Tips:

  1. You can use brown or white lunch bags for this project.
  2. If you prefer, have children decorate the bag first, let dry, and then proceed with assembly.
  3. Be sure that children shake gently to allow their maracas to last!

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