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

Yes, a Dirty Air Filter Causes Big Trouble

Monday, June 4th, 2018

man-with-filterYou already know that we are huge advocates for routine HVAC maintenance around here. You also know that we strongly urge homeowners to hire skilled, trained professionals to tune up their systems on an annual basis. The process is more complex than many people may realize, and the fact is that this type of maintenance is a job that only experienced technicians can really do right. That doesn’t mean that there is nothing that you can do for your system on your own, though.

There are a few basic maintenance tasks that any homeowner can handle. One is simply keeping the outdoor unit of the air conditioner clean and free of debris, be it fallen branches that have landed on top of the unit or grass clippings that are stuck to the fins. The other, and most important, step to take on your own is changing your air filter. With a fresh air filter in place, you can avoid a lot of trouble—including issues that could result in the need for AC repairs in Stanwood, WA!

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Tankless Water Heater Installation Options: Gas vs. Electric

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Choosing the right water heater for installation in your home can be a bit tricky. If you’ve not been in the market for the water heater before, or even if it’s been a while since you invested in a new water heater, the sheer number of options available to you may throw you for a loop. Working with a trained, professional technician, such as those here at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. is the best way in which to ensure that you choose the right system for your needs. One option that suits many homeowners, and their individual homes, is the tankless water heater. We’re the pros that you can trust with your tankless water heater installation in Stanwood, and we’re happy to help you decide if this is the right system for your needs.

Of course, even if you do narrow down your options to a tankless water heater, there are still a few further considerations to make. One is figuring out what size of a system you will require to meet your hot water demands. Don’t worry, our technicians will take the guesswork out of this. You will also have to determine which type of fuel you will use, though, natural gas or electricity, when heating water. If you don’t have access to natural gas, of course, the decision is sort of made for you. Should you have both options to consider, though, you should do so carefully.

Natural gas is generally less expensive to purchase than electricity, which gives it an edge in some homeowners’ opinions. However, others may want to avoid the use of combustible gas in their homes. Both gas and electric tankless water heaters operate similarly, heating water as it passes through the system, rather than continually heating and reheating a reservoir of water. However, with electric models, electrically resistive elements are used to heat the water, after which it exits the device to be used wherever you may call for it. A computer within the system regulates the temperature to which the heating elements heat water.

With a gas tankless water heater, a flow detector senses the inflow of water, signalling the computer controlling the gas for heat. The burner is ignited, and a heat exchanger transfers heat from the combusting gas to the water. A fan keeps a forced draft in effect to optimize the combustion process and energy efficiency.

The experts at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. are happy to answer any questions that you may have. That way, you can choose your system with confidence.

To learn more about both gas and electric models, or to schedule professional tankless water heater installation services in Stanwood, give a member of our staff a call.

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When to Replace Your Smoke Detectors

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Living in great comfort is a wonderful thing. Truly great comfort requires peace of mind, though, as well as physical comfort. If you want to feel safe in your home, then you absolutely must have professionally installed smoke detectors of a high-quality, trusted make and model. Hopefully you will never have to see firsthand just how vital such devices really are. Many homeowners go their whole lives with their smoke detectors being little more than an indicator that dinner is a bit well-done. The fact of the matter is, though, that your smoke detectors are among the most important of all safety devices in your home. Here is some information regarding smoke detector replacement in Stanwood from the electricians at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc.

There are a few instances in which a smoke detector should be replaced. One is, of course, when they are malfunctioning. If you are getting frequent false alarms from your smoke detectors, or if you happen to burn something on the stovetop, deal with the problem, and realize afterwards that your smoke detector never activated during the ordeal, then you should call a professional immediately. Your smoke detectors will be detected and inspected, and it may be advisable to replace them based on the findings.

Another instance in which you should replace your smoke detectors, though, and one which some homeowners may overlook, is if your smoke detectors are more than 10 years old. Photoelectric smoke detectors use both a light source and a sensor, and they go off when smoke passes in between the two and the beam is not recognized. Over time, the lens can become cloudy and opaque, making such detectors less reliable.

An ionizing smoke detector has a radioactive element that passes a current through an ionization chamber, bookended by two electrodes. When the current is interrupted, the alarm sounds. These too will grow less reliable over time. Unless otherwise noted by the manufacturer, the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recommends replacing smoke detectors every ten years. This is a sentiment that we can get behind.

Ultimately, your safety is in the hands of your smoke detectors. Make sure that they are as reliable as can be.

Schedule your smoke detector replacement services in Stanwood with G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. today.

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What Problems Are Uncovered during Duct Testing?

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

When a heating and air conditioning system doesn’t seem to operate quite as well as it once did, it may not be because of a flaw in the AC or heating unit itself. Sometimes, trouble with the HVAC unit is actually due to problems in the ductwork, an often neglected portion of your central heating and air conditioning system. The ducts should provide an efficient pathway for conditioned air to travel through, but this can only happen if the ducts are in top shape. And if not, you may notice hot or cold spots around the house, poor performance, or even HVAC equipment failure as it becomes overworked.

If you schedule duct testing with a trained technician, you may uncover a few different problems that need repair. And after the proper repairs are made, you could save hundreds of dollars on your heating and air conditioning bills every year! Call G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. for duct testing in Stanwood.

  • Leaks and Cracks – Unfortunately, a majority of ducts in the United States have small or large leaks and cracks that can add up to a very inefficient system. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the average home loses up to 30% of its heating and cooling potential to the ducts due to ductwork is leaking, poorly insulated, or collapsed. These holes are difficult for the average homeowner to spot, and duct tape is not a suitable sealant. Technicians have the proper equipment for testing and sealing the right way.
  • Repair Needs – There may be larger problems among your ductwork that could actually require some large-scale repairs. In some cases, you’ll need to replace large portions of the ductwork if it’s collapsing, severely dented, or installed in an inefficient location. The results of the duct testing should bring to light any problem areas that may require immediate attention as they are raising your heating and cooling costs significantly.
  • Poor Indoor Air Quality – Leaky ducts may lead to poor air quality if the holes in the ducts allow the blower fan to draw in contaminants from the indoor air or from a crawlspace and move it through the vents.

G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. offers comprehensive duct testing in Stanwood from technicians who pride themselves on the quality of their work.

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Geothermal vs. Solar for Stanwood Homes

Friday, February 10th, 2012

If you are looking for a more environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional methods for Stanwood home heating, you will probably consider both solar and geothermal options. Each of these relies on a great renewable resource to function and can be an excellent option depending on your specific circumstances. Of course, both geothermal and solar heating have limitations as well, so it is important to take these into account when you are evaluating your options.

A geothermal heating system works by extracting heat from the ground and transferring that to the air in your house. This occurs when heat is absorbed by a fluid flowing through a closed loop of pipes beneath or next to your home. The fluid then returns to your home, where the heat is extracted by a compressor and distributed throughout the house by an air handler.

This uses very little energy relative to a conventional heating system, as you only have to power the condenser and the air handler. The heat is not generated by the system but merely harvested, so total energy costs are quite low. However, the installation cost of a geothermal heating system can be many times what a conventional heating system would cost.

Solar heating relies on solar collectors to gather the heat from the sun. This heat is then passed into a system of heat pumps and heat exchangers so that it can be adequately distributed throughout your house. The installation of heat collectors, of course, is quite expensive as well, while the cost of running the system is generally low just as with the geothermal heat pump.

One advantage to opting for a solar heating system is that you can lease the equipment rather than buying it in some areas. This means that you do not have to pay the high installation costs and only pay a monthly fee to use the equipment which is usually comparable to what an average heating bill would be if you had a furnace.

But you also have to keep in mind that you need to have enough space to put up an adequate number of solar collectors to keep your house warm all winter. This often means giving up a lot of land, and if you have a lot, that is fine. But it is still something you need to take into consideration. Also, you need to make sure that the area you live in gets enough direct sunlight to make solar heating a viable option. Otherwise, you will be paying to run a backup system much of the time anyway.  If you have any questions about this topic please call G&S Heating, Cooling and Electric.

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Stanwood HVAC Question: What Will an Energy Audit Do?

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

With costs constantly on the rise, Stanwood homeowners are looking for new ways to save money on their energy bills, such as conserving electricity, using less heat and exploring alternative energy sources. One great way to see how you and your family can use energy more efficiently is to get a home energy audit.

The goal of an energy audit is determine how energy is being used in the home in order to identify and correct any inefficiency. By finding ways to use energy more efficiently, you can reduce the energy used in your home without sacrificing comfort. Efficient use of energy reduces costs and environmental impact.

How It Works

To conduct an energy audit, a professional will use special instruments to inspect various aspects affecting energy use in your home, including construction, occupancy, appliance use, number of windows and doors, and so on. In this way, you can see how well your home is retaining heat and note any places where inside air may be escaping, making your home cooler or warmer than desired. For example, since a lot of heat can be lost through them, upgrading windows and skylights is an inexpensive way to gain a lot in terms of efficiency. Making sure windows are properly sealed, repairing worn weather stripping, and installing new windows with energy efficient certifications (such as LEED or Energy Star) are simple but effective first steps to making your home more affordable and eco-friendly.

Another aspect of energy audits includes prioritizing energy needs in order of importance, in order to reduce the use of energy on less critical functions. This may include collecting data on the local climate and past energy use. This data can be analyzed in order to identify and predict times when higher usage may be necessary, so that you and your family can prioritize according to your budget. For example, if the results of your energy audit show that July is historically the hottest month of the year and the month when you use the most electricity, you can make up for increased cooling costs by using other electrical appliances less. This way you can stay cool without going outside your utility budget.

Other solutions stemming from your energy audit may include installing insulated curtains, unplugging “vampire devices” like cell phone chargers, and avoiding the use of large appliances during warmer times of the day.

If you are one of the many interested in cutting energy costs, while helping the environment, a home energy audit is the first step.

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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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Silvana Heating Contractor Guide: Causes of Delayed Furnace Ignition

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Delayed ignition is usually accompanied by a loud banging or booming sound that resembles a small explosion in your gas appliance. In your Silvana home’s furnace, this can be terrifying and should never be ignored.

What Causes Delayed Ignition

Delayed ignition usually happens when you first turn on your furnace, often after a long delay between use, so usually early in the fall or late in the spring when you don’t necessarily have it on every day of the week.

What happens is moisture builds up over the course of a period of inactivity and begins to corrode the firebox in your furnace. That corrosion builds up to the point that it starts to block the ports that feed gas into the burners. When these ports get blocked, the burners down the line cannot light and when you flip the switch, they won’t light immediately.

Of course, while rust and corrosion are a risk, lint and dust can be equally problematic (and are more common if you don’t have your furnace cleaned properly each fall). Sulfur build up is also a possibility, as it is left behind by burning natural gas. It will appear as a layer of white on the surface of the burners or the pilot light.

When all of this happens and the ports are not cleaned properly, gas will build up in the chamber after it is turned on and, when it finally ignites, create the small boom sound. It doesn’t just sound like an explosion – it is one – and if ignored, it can become incredibly dangerous.

Solving the Problem

Delayed furnace ignition is an easy problem to avoid. All you need to do is have your furnace cleaned properly before turning it on each heating season. A technician will clean the burners and ports and remove any dust, lint, rust or sulfur buildup that might block ignition and cause a delay.

When replacing your furnace, look for a device with corrosion resistant materials. You can learn more about these when it comes time to replace your furnace from a technician. Most importantly, be careful. It may be a small problem now, but if left to build up over time, that small boom can become a much larger one.

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Geothermal Myths: Some Pointers from Fall City

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

As with any misunderstood technology, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions concerning geothermal heat pumps and how well they work. While these types of systems certainly have their limitations, the same is true of just about any type of heating and cooling system you could have installed in your Fall City home. But if you are really trying to evaluate whether or not a geothermal heating system is right for your home, you need to know exactly what is true about these systems and what is just not true.

For instance, there is a widely held belief that geothermal energy is not a viable heating option in areas with harsh winters. The fact is, though, that even when the air temperature outside is below freezing, the temperature several feet below ground can be as high as 55°F.

With a ground temperature like that, a geothermal heat pump will have no trouble extracting enough heat to keep your home comfortable even when it is well below freezing outside. And even when the ground freezes, the frost usually only extends three or four feet below the surface. Since the pipes for your geothermal heat pump will be at least four feet down, the frost should not affect them at all.

Also, it is common for people to assume that geothermal heat pumps will always need to have a regular heating system in place to serve as a backup. In fact, a geothermal heat pump is quite capable of providing consistent and adequate heating for your entire house as long as it is properly sized and installed. Make sure you are dealing with an experienced and qualified contractor and you will have no problems along these lines.

There are also plenty of myths floating around out there that geothermal heat pumps are just too expensive to make sense as a home heating solution. The truth is that geothermal heating costs almost nothing to operate.

While it is true the geothermal systems are quite a bit more expensive to install than many of the other options, alternative heating systems will still cost a significant amount to install and you will also have to pay much more to operate them on a regular basis. With a geothermal heating system, you pay quite a bit up front, but it is a one-time cost and there will be minimal monthly heating bills after that.

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Will Switching to Geothermal Save Me Money? Some Pointers From Stanwood

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

There are simply a ton of different types of heating systems in Stanwood today and they are each more appropriate in different situations. However, some are certainly always going to be cheaper to operate than others, although that alone may not make one or the other right for you.

In the case of geothermal heating systems, the operating costs are definitely quite low. But those are not the only costs you will have to think about when you are considering what type of heating system to put in your home to keep your heating bills down.

Geothermal heating systems do not actually generate heat – they absorb it from the ground. Because of this, they actually use very little energy when they are running. All you are really paying to power is the fan that blows the heated air around your house. Also, because geothermal heating systems are more efficient at extracting heat in below freezing conditions than traditional heat pumps, they can continue to keep you warm on their own in more extreme conditions.

Traditional heat pumps, while they also cost very little to operate, do sometimes need to be supplemented by more conventional forms of indoor heating like a furnace when temperatures outdoors get too low. This is not the case with geothermal heat pumps, so if you live somewhere that has colder winters, a geothermal heat pump may be just what you are looking for. Of course, you can always opt for a furnace instead, but these will definitely cost more to run than either type of heat pump.

When you are trying to assess whether or not switching to a geothermal heating system will save you money, you first have to start with the heating bills you currently have. Then, factor in the cost of the geothermal heat pump installation as opposed to the installation of a more conventional system.

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