G & S Heating Cooling & Electric Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Mercer Island’

Can Geothermal Heating and Cooling Save Me Money?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

If you dread opening your energy bills every month, you’re not alone. Many homeowners find that during especially warm or cool months, their energy bills skyrocket well beyond an acceptable level. Besides, high energy bills indicate a heavy reliance on our natural resources, but there are many alternatives for renewable energy to both lower bills and help the planet.

One of the most common types of renewable energy systems today is the geothermal unit. Geothermal heating and cooling systems use heat pump technology to absorb heat from the ground and bring it into your home or to release heat back into the earth. This means a large loop system must be buried in the ground first, as the earth’s temperature remains consistent when you dig down deep enough.

To install a new geothermal system, you must have enough space on your property and a working set of ducts. As long as these are present, you should trust the professional technicians at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. to install a new geothermal unit for your home in Mercer Island. We go over the geothermal cost benefits here.

Ways that Geothermal Systems Save Money

A geothermal system reduces your bills in a couple of ways. While these units do still rely on electricity to run, the amount of electricity needed is significantly smaller. There are fewer moving parts, which also means they are less likely to need repairs. Lower bills and smaller repairs are important features in a new heating and AC system.

Besides, geothermal units last a very long time, and you may not have to replace the unit for the entire time during which you own it. You also won’t have to worry about purchasing a separate AC and heating system since geothermal does both. Furthermore, there may be government incentives in place for installing a new geothermal unit. If this is the case, you’ll save on installation, repairs, maintenance, and monthly spending.

Call our team of skilled technicians for geothermal installation or speak with a member of the G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. team today. 

Continue Reading

Reasons to Get Rid of Your Fuse Box and Upgrade to a Circuit Panel

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

There are many different names for the steel box that divides the electrical power to your home into smaller circuits. This box is sometimes called the distribution board, panel board, service panel, load center, breaker box, or the breaker panel, but it’s more traditionally and colloquially deemed a fuse box. That’s because older panels contained fuses instead of circuits. Circuits and fuses are overcurrent devices that shut down parts of your electrical wiring to protect your home from a fire if a wire draws in more current than it can handle. But today, fuse boxes are rarely in use, and circuit panels are often a more logical choice.

Experiences vary among homeowners, but you may decide to schedule professional fuse box upgrades in Mercer Island when you notice any of the following.

Fuse Boxes Are Outdated

The fact of the matter is that fuse boxes are tedious to maintain, outdated, and simply unnecessary. If a circuit were to take in more current than it was designed to, it could overheat and start a fire in your home. Instead, the fuse serves as a chink in the armor that “blows out,” shutting down that portion of your electrical system. Of course, this is a good thing, as it protects you from a potential fire, but you’ll have to go out and purchase a new fuse as a replacement every time. With a modern circuit breaker, the breaker simply “trips” and you’ll only have to go to the panel and reset it.

Fuse Boxes May Need Replacement Over Time

If you’re experiencing trouble with your existing fuse box, it’s probably best to replace the entire unit. Most experts recommend scheduling maintenance every year so that a technician can examine your fuse box and the rest of your electrical system for damage. You may also want to upgrade if want to increase the capacity of your service panel. When the electrical wiring in your older home was installed, the electricians did not anticipate that we would use our electricity to power so many large appliances today. When you add in new appliances or renovate the home with a new room, you may need a replacement in order to accommodate wiring changes.

At G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., we offer fuse box upgrades in Mercer Island for homeowners looking to improve their electrical system. Call us today!

Continue Reading

How Much Ventilation Do I Need for My Mercer Island House?

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

By now you’ve probably heard how important it is to have good ventilation in your Mercer Island home. Especially if your home was built in the 1980s or early 1990s when ventilation issues were prevalent, you may not have enough clean air moving through your home. But, how much ventilation do you need? What is enough and if you don’t have it, how do you ensure your home is retrofitted properly?

How Much Ventilation?

Most recommendations for ventilation come from the Home Ventilation Institute, which provides a series of standards of measurement for builders and contractors retrofitting homes for better ventilation. Here are some of their recommendations and how they might apply for your home:

  • Bathroom – Small bathrooms (less than 100 sq. ft) need 1 CFM per square foot of bathroom. The number goes up for each fixture if you have a large bathroom.
  • Kitchens – Your kitchen range needs at least 100 CFM if against the wall and upwards of 150 CFM if on an island.
  • Ventilators – If you have an HRV for your home, you should have at least 100 CFM for 2,000 square feet and another 50 for every 1,000 square feet of home size being ventilated.
  • Home Ventilators – The actual volume of CFM for ventilators depends on the type of ventilator being used. For example, a whole house ventilator needs upwards of 6,000 CFM for a 2,000 square foot home. Attic ventilators need 1,400 or more.

So, what does this mean for your home? It means in general that you need a lot of ventilation and that the best way to get it is through mechanical ventilation techniques combined with your air handler and ductwork.

Especially if you recently added insulation and weather proofing to your home but have not yet updated your ventilation, you might have a major air quality problem, so have a professional measure your home’s air flow as soon as possible.

Continue Reading

A Question From Silvana: Why Avoid The Lowest Bidder?

Friday, September 30th, 2011

They are often called “garage mechanics” or “Johnny one-trucks.” In layman’s terms, these are the men who moonlight from their regular jobs in the mechanical services trades or who set up their own businesses with little or no overhead – to keep costs down.

They are the perfect people to call if you want a job done cheaply. True, many are qualified and do good work. But many more are simply looking for work and will do almost anything to underbid or “lowball” their competition. And why not? They can afford lower prices because they don’t have the fixed costs like larger, more established contractors. Unfortunately, some of these fixed costs include training and licensing, which are a necessity for any contractor.

Here are some things to look for when bidding out a service/replacement job or a new installation. The bidder you hire will answer yes to most of these questions (except the obvious). The lowball bidder likely will not.

  • Can the bidders give you references from former customers and show details of work they have done?
  • Can the bidders verify if they are licensed to do their work or have any certifications?
  • Do the bidders include the cost of pulling permits and paying for inspections for their work?
  • Are the bidders members of any professional organizations and can they show credentials?
  • Do the bidders belong to any local Chambers or other civic organizations?
  • Are the bidders rated favorably by the local Better Business Bureau?
  • Do the bidders offer an option of products and services to choose from, rather than just one choice they say “is best for you?”
  • Do the bidders take measurements and do mathematical equations to determine what size equipment you need (called load calculations or heat loss/heat gain measurements to determine the proper sized furnace or air conditioner, for example).
  • Do the bidders listen and ask questions?
  • Do the bidders require a large deposit or all of the money up front?
  • Do the bidders have a neat appearance, i.e. well-groomed and clean clothes?
  • Are the bidders’ vehicles clean and free from obvious rust or body damage?

There are likely several other considerations but the point is, the bidders should be professional and businesslike. They should “act like they’ve done this before.” The low bidders may appear to put on a good face, but dig below the surface and ask a lot of questions. The low bidders may quickly lose their happy disposition.

A low bid can sometimes work but the odds are not in your favor. The main things are – you want piece of mind and fewer callbacks because of service or installation problems.

Continue Reading

What to Look for When a Home is 20 Years Old: A Guide From Redmond

Monday, September 12th, 2011

The older the home you look for, the more careful you need to be in your research, even in Redmond. Of course, if you can avoid any of the major issues that crop up in 20 year old constructions, you can come away with a fantastic home that is comfortable, easy to modify and in an established neighborhood with good schools, plenty of trees, and a solid maintenance history.

The Stuff to Watch Out For

When a home reaches 20 years old, there are quite a few problems you’re likely to run into. Consider the fact that the furnace, air conditioner, and roof are all designed to last at least 20 years. That means that unless they were highly maintained and regularly inspected they may be ready for replacement right about now.

So, when looking at homes, have any prospective purchases fully inspected for things like dry rot, termites, old furnaces and air conditioners and so on. You are also likely to run into older bathrooms and kitchens that need to be updated. For most people this is simply an inconvenience, but for those on a tight budget it can be a deal breaker.

What You Should Want

Of course, there are a lot of benefits of an older home if you can find them. Specifically in the 20 year old timeframe, you’ll find that trees have matured, the yard is well established and if the neighborhood is good, local schools will have plenty of support in the community. These are all factors you should take into consideration when looking for an older home.

Maintenance is something you won’t be able to avoid, especially if the home you’re looking at was not well cared for by the previous owners. However, after a couple of years, even an older home can be worked into tip top shape so that nothing will break or give out unexpectedly. Much like a used car, if you do your research well ahead of time, you can be sure you get a home that won’t have any “breakdowns” for a few years to come.

And for those out there who like to customize, keep in mind that older homes are much easier to change. Newer homes are built on prefabricated slabs that make it nearly impossible to remodel or change them, especially in highly regulated areas. Older homes are easier to remodel and often have plenty of space in which to do so.

Continue Reading

Is it Possible to Vent Hot Air from a Garage? A Question From Duvall

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

If you have a garage in Duvall, you know how hot it can get in there on a warm summer day. In fact, the air in your garage is likely hotter and more humid than the air right outside. Of course, you may not spend a lot of time in your garage, so reducing the temperature in there might not be an immediate concern for you.

But just like heat buildup in your attic, higher temperatures in your garage can have negative effects on the temperature in the rest of your home. Heat seeping into the house from the garage will cause your air conditioning system to work harder to keep it comfortable indoors. And that’s going to cost you money.

Getting the Heat Out

For all of these reasons, it’s a good idea to reduce the temperature in your garage as soon as possible. Of course, if you’re actively working in the garage or right outside, you can always leave the door open. This allows an influx of fresh, cooler air to clear it out.

But that’s not really a practical solution when you’re not immediately on hand. After all, you can’t leave your garage door open indefinitely and as soon as you close it, the heat will start to build right back up again.

Vents and Fans

One thing we don’t want to forget is that heat rises. That means installing a vent and fan in the roof where the hottest air will be can help remove the majority of the excess heat building up in your garage. Just like an attic fan, this fan can be triggered to come on when the temperature inside the garage reaches a certain point. Usually, the fan comes on when the indoor temperature reaches a point that is likely higher than outside – 90 degrees F or higher.

The fan then draws hot air out through your vent, reducing the temperature inside the garage to equalize the outdoor temperature. This will be effective in and of itself, but if you want even better results, you can also install another vent towards the bottom of your garage door. That way, as the hot air is pulled out of the top of the garage, fresh air will be drawn in through the vent, providing a constant stream of cooler, fresh air and promoting healthy circulation within your garage.

For more energy saving tips, talk to your HVAC professional.

Continue Reading

What Is a Whole House Pressurization Test and Should I Get One?

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

If you have a forced air heating or cooling system in your home, you also have a system of ducts through which that heated or cooled air circulates. And most people don’t give a second though to those ducts. After all, if your heating and cooling systems are working, the ducts must be doing their job, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If ducts are not working properly, the whole system will be in trouble, even when you don’t realize there is a problem. That’s why a pressurization test is so important – it provides peace of mind knowing that your home’s ductwork is not only properly installed, but that it doesn’t need any special repairs.

Why Pressure Matters

Your duct system depends on proper pressurization to evenly and efficiently distribute air throughout your home. Leaks, cracks or clogs in the system can disrupt that pressure and lead to uneven or inadequate movement of air through your ducts. This causes problems you may not notice, so if you haven’t had your ducts checked for proper pressure in a while, it’s worth looking into.

Improper pressurization causes symptoms like hot or cold spots in your home or an overall drop in the effectiveness of your home heating and cooling system. When loss of pressure is due to a leak that lets in unfiltered air from outdoors it can also lead to a decrease in indoor air quality. Often these symptoms are easy to ignore. But by doing so, you only allow the situation to get worse.

A whole house pressurization test is the best way to determine the state of your home duct system. By using high tech diagnostic equipment, home HVAC professionals check over your entire system to determine whether you have a pressurization problem. If so they can then quickly pinpoint the source. Once that’s done, the repairs are usually quite simple and you’ll get much more out of your home heating and cooling system than you did before.

Even if no symptoms of improper pressurization in your ducts have presented themselves, it’s worth having one of these tests performed. Especially if you don’t know when the system was last checked, a whole house pressurization test can help uncover small problems before they turn into bigger ones. And the peace of mind this provides is well worth the day it takes to perform the test.

Continue Reading