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

Woodinville Tip: High Efficiency Home Comfort Equipment

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Don’t let high energy costs disrupt your comfort. Do your research, work out a budget, and invest in equipment with the highest efficiency levels that you can afford, such as a geothermal heating and cooling system. It’s true that the higher the efficiency of a heating or cooling system the higher the initial costs generally are, but you can offset that purchasing price by saving money on utility costs down the road. Here is some information to help you heat and cool your Woodinville home more efficiently.

  • Efficiency Ratings– Heaters, air conditioners and air filters all have different efficiency ratings. It is important that you understand what each of them mean so that you can know what sort of performance you can expect from your home comfort systems.
    • AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency measures the efficiency of gas and oil-fired furnaces. It is a percentage that tells you how much of the fuel consumed actually goes towards heating your home and how much is wasted. Industry minimum AFUE requirement is 78%.
    • SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio measures the efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps when cooling your home. The higher the SEER number the more efficient the machine. Regulations require a minimum of 13.0 SEER.
    • HSPF: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor measures the efficiency of heat pumps when being used for heating. Again, the higher the number the more efficient the heat pump. Today’s heat pumps are required to have at least 6.8 HSPF.
    • Energy Management Systems – Modern technology lets you take more control than ever over how you use energy in your home. With a home energy management system you can control temperature settings and power use in your home remotely from a smartphone or laptop. Shut off small appliances, adjust temperatures and more no matter where you are. You can ensure that you’re always coming home to a comfortable environment while using less energy with greater control.
    • When to Purchase – It can be tempting to stick with your existing home comfort systems rather than investing in new, higher efficiency models. However, frequent maintenance and repair costs plus higher operational costs can actually wind up costing you more. Take into consideration the quality of your system, its age and, of course, your budget. High efficiency home comfort equipment may have a higher price tag, but the energy savings translate into financial savings. When you’re ready to replace your home comfort systems make sure that you get the most efficiency for your money.

This information should help you understand the benefits and points to consider when contemplating a new home comfort system. Always keep in mind that a a geothermal heating and cooling system is another option to research. To get the most efficient performance in Woodinville you can afford from your heating and air conditioning systems, call G & S Heating, Cooling & Electric today!

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Woodinville Tip: What Is the Single Biggest Money-Saver Upgrade You Can Make?

Monday, October 8th, 2012

While it would be great if there was a simple answer to this question, the real right answer depends to a great extent on your own particular situation. There are literally dozens of steps you can take to save on your heating and cooling costs in the Woodinville area, and which ones are most appropriate for you will have a lot to do with what you already have, how you use it and where you live.

For instance, if you have a well-insulated house but your HVAC system is more than 10 or 15 years old, investing in a new system will almost certainly save you a ton in the long run. Even if your existing system is working well, the newer systems available are simply so much more energy efficient that having one will cut your monthly bills dramatically.

Insulation keeps the warm air in during the winter, and it also keeps colder air from seeping in. In the summer, it works the other way around, keeping in the air you are paying to cool and keeping out the hotter outside air. If you do not have thorough insulation or if it is too old, that temperature controlled air that you are paying for will be leaking out and unwanted outdoor air will be finding its way in. You will pay much more than necessary to keep the indoor temperature comfortable as a result.

If you have both good insulation and an energy efficient HVAC system, your thermostat might be the place to look when you want to try and cut your energy costs. A programmable or wireless thermostat might be just the ticket you need to cut back even more on your energy bills because of the added control it gives you to more precisely regulate the temperature inside your home.

Particularly if you have a large house, you might even consider having a zone control system put in so that you can set different temperatures for different areas of the house. After all, there is no need to be paying to regulate the temperature in a part of the house that is unoccupied.

Benefits of Upgrading to a Geothermal System

Upgrading to a geothermal system will have several benefits over other types of home heating and cooling systems. Geothermal heating is more efficient because it gathers heat from the ground below house and transfers it inside to keep you warm during the winter; even when the temperatures outside are lower, the ground is always warmer.

Though a geothermal system is more costly to install, it does not cost as much to run once it is in place. Sure, you will pay more to install a geothermal system over installing a furnace, but you will not have to pay the same amount in energy bills every month to run it. With that said, a geothermal heating system can actually save you quite a bit in the long run, depending on your home’s circumstances.

For more information about upgrading to a geothermal systems in the Woodinville area, contact G&S Heating today!

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Edmonds AC Guide: Basic HVAC Terminology

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Ever try to look up basic information about your Edmonds heating and air conditioning systems? There are dozens of terms that might as well be Greek for all you know – a mishmash of words and phrases talking about energy efficiency and air flow ratios. To make your next upgrade a little easier and give you a baseline with which to work, here are a few of the most common HVAC terms you’ll hear in the industry:

  • AFUE – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency – This is a simple measurement of how much fuel a furnace converts into actual heat in your home. So, if a furnace converts 92% of the fuel it consumes into heat, it has an AFUE rating of 92.
  • Watts – A single watt is a measurement of electricity. Commonly, your electricity use is assured in kilowatts or kilowatt hours (kWh).
  • BTU – British Thermal Unit – A BTU is a common measurement of how much energy is produced or consumed by an appliance. When referring to an air conditioner, one “ton” refers to 12,000 BTUs.
  • SEER/EER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio refers to how many BTUs can be produced with a single Watt of electricity per hour. So, an air conditioner with an SEER of 14 can produce 14 BTUs of cooling per watt consumed each hour.
  • HSPF – Heating Seasonal Performance Factor – Refers to the efficiency of the heating elements in your heat pump.
  • COP – Coefficient of Performance – A measurement of how effective your heat pump is at heating a space compared to standard electrical resistance heat. The lower the temperature gets outside, the lower the COP will be. Equipment is usually measured for COP at 47 and 17 degrees to give an idea of seasonal performance of a new heat pump.
  • Refrigerant – Refrigerant is any gas that is used to draw heat from the air in a particular environment through an air conditioner or heat pump. It has a much lower boiling point than water, allowing it to cool despite the temperature outside. Currently, most equipment uses R-22 refrigerant while the new standard will be R-410A (Puron), legally required in all cooling units by 2020.
  • CFM – Cubic Feet per Minute – Used to measure the volume of air passed through an air handler by an air conditioner or furnace.

There are a number of complicated details to keep track of when choosing a new air conditioner in Edmonds. If you have any questions, give G & S a call!

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Happy Valentine’s Day From Your King County Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

We wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show your appreciation to everyone who makes a difference in your life. Even a small gift, like a batch of cookies or a homemade card, can really make someone feel special. Your friends, your family, and your significant other will all have a fantastic Valentine’s Day if you take a moment to let them know how important they are to you.

Calling us for an HVAC upgrade might seem like a usual gift, but it can actually be something that benefits your whole family. An improved indoor air quality system can make air cleaner and healthier, and a new heating system can make your home more comfortable and save you money by lowering your utility bills. Those are improvements that every member of your family can enjoy.

If you have any questions about upgrades for your heating and air conditioning system, give G&S Heating a call today! And to help you celebrate this sweet holiday, here is a recipe for Chocolate Mint Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 36 chocolate mint wafer candies

Directions

  1. In a large pan over low heat, cook butter, sugar and water until butter is melted. Add chocolate chips and stir until partially melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes to cool off slightly.
  2. At high speed, beat in eggs, one at a time into chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, beating until blended. Chill dough about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. While cookies are baking unwrap mints and divide each in half. When cookies are brought out of the oven, put 1/2 mint on top of each cookie. Let the mint sit for up to 5 minutes until melted, then spread the mint on top of the cookie. Eat and enjoy!

For more details, visit allrecipes.com.

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Wallingford HVAC Tip: How to Tell if Your Air Ducts Are Leaking

Monday, December 26th, 2011

There are lots of ways for your Wallingford home to lose energy – through leaky door frames, cracks in window trim, loose or missing insulation, etc. A lot of your indoor heating and cooling winds up outdoors and drives up your utility bills.

One part of your home that is susceptible to leaks and energy loss is your ventilation system, typically metal or flexible ductwork. Older homes generally experience more duct leakage because seals and joints may have loosened over the years or may have not been properly connected when they were installed. There are some ways to check and see – or hear – if the air ducts in your home are leaking.

The most obvious way to check is by listening. Stand, sit, or kneel close to your ductwork. Listen for any hissing noises when the furnace, air conditioner, or blower motor is in operation. A hissing noise is usually an indication of a leak in a seal or joint. Since ductwork comes in a variety of lengths and contains a number of different connectors, there are likely many joints where pieces have been connected. Some joints are sealed with small sheet metal screws while other joints are sealed with duct tape or mastic. Whatever the connection is, the joints may have come loose over time from vibrations, settling of the home’s foundation, previous repairs, or by someone simply bumping into the ductwork.

Another way to check for a leaking air duct is by looking at insulation which may be wrapped around the ductwork. If an air duct is leaking it will leave dark stains on the insulation over time – giving an exact location of the leak.

Leaks in your air ducts can cause areas like your crawlspace, attic, or garage to be abnormally cold or hot. If you are conditioning unused parts of your home inadvertently, it may be because your ductwork is leaking in those areas.

Finally, a not so easy way to check for leaking ducts is to compare utility bills. If there is a big spike in your heating or cooling costs, it may be because of temperature extremes – but it also may be because your ductwork is leaking. You may not be able to see a big difference in your bills unless there are large leaks or breaks in your ductwork, but keep an eye on your energy costs anyway.

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Will My Air Cleaners Reduce Health Risks? A Question from Monroe

Friday, October 28th, 2011

There is a lot of talk these days about how important it is to have a good air cleaner in your Monroe home. If you don’t have one, you’re putting yourself at risk, or so says common knowledge. But, do air cleaners really reduce health risks, and if so, by how much?

What Air Cleaners Do

Before we can say whether an air cleaner has any positive health effects, we must first look at what they do. Air cleaners are designed to remove certain particles from the air inside your home. Different air cleaners are designed for different levels of removal.

Ratings like the MERV of an air cleaner measure how small of particles the device can remove. Additionally, the type of cleaner will determine what it is best at removing. Mechanical filters are the most efficient at removing dust, pollen, and dander while electronic filters are best for smoke, bacteria and mold spores.

So, What Impact Does this Have on Health?

The big question then is what kind of health benefits you will gain from a high end air cleaning system. If your home isn’t prone to a large number of contaminants and you have good ventilation, the difference may not be that big, but for those with a well-sealed home, pets, humidity problems or any number of other indoor air contaminant sources, an air cleaner has a tremendous impact on your health.

The problem is that when the house gets sealed up so tightly, we put our bodies at risk of contamination from gasses and pollutants that would otherwise dissipate into the air. Those with asthma are put at an increased risk as they breathe in a variety of different triggers like dust, mold and dander.

An air cleaner removes these threats and while they don’t have a proactive effect on your health – you won’t suddenly lose weight or never again get the flu – they can remove many of the negative effects that poor air quality has on your body.

So, should you get an air cleaner for your home? In most cases, the answer is yes, but if you’re still not sure, consider getting your air quality tested. This way you’ll know exactly what you’re breathing and what kind of impact it’s having on the health of you and your family.

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Five Important HVAC Maintenance Tips from North Seattle

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Do you have a “mental checklist” of chores that need to be done a regular basis around your North Seattle home, such as cleaning the window treatments, washing windows, shampooing rugs, etc.? There are various areas of your home that need regular maintenance and cleaning – and that list includes your heating and cooling (HVAC) equipment. Do you know a poorly operating furnace can cost you in increased energy usage and higher utility bills? That same poorly operating furnace can be discharging harmful carbon monoxide gas into your home, creating a health risk.

So, it is important to keep your furnace in peak operating condition and the best way to do that is by making a checklist of HVAC maintenance tasks. Let’s look at five of them.

Check your filters. Routine replacement of your furnace filters should be every 1-3 months, depending on the indoor air quality of your home, number of occupants, size, etc. You can purchase disposable filters online, at a local “big box’ retailer, or from your local HVAC contractor. A visual inspection of your filter is the best way to determine if it needs replacing. If you have a removable electronic filter, it should be cleaned every few months using soapy water and a hose. Any restrictions to air flow through the filters can lead to poor indoor air quality and will cause your furnace to work even harder to circulate warm air through your duct system.

  1. Clean and insect the blower assembly and motor. You can do this with a vacuum. Also check the fan belt to make sure it is not too loose or if it has any cracks or splits.
  2. Look for any obstructions in vents and returns. Believe it or not, your furnace needs “help” to operate. Any build-up of dirt or debris around the grilles of your ventilation system will just make your furnace work a lot harder. Do a visual check inside and outside and pay special attention to flues and chimneys, where indoor air is exhausted. Any blockage can result in an accumulation of poisonous carbon monoxide gas.
  3. Keep the area clean and clear around your furnace and water heater. Never store flammable liquids near your heating equipment. Your furnace room is not a storage closet.
  4. Revisit your home’s insulation. When was the last time you checked out the insulation in your attic or crawlspace? Is it securely in place or drooping down? Are there bald spots where the insulation has deteriorated? Is the insulation sufficient or should it be upgrade?

Tips 1 and 2 relate directly to furnace maintenance but tips 3 to 5 are equally important, having a direct bearing on how your furnace performs and its ultimate efficiency. If you follow all five tips and have an annual inspection from a qualified HVAC contractor, you should enjoy a fall season of comfort, warmth, and safety.

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How Do I Reduce Dust in My Home? A Question From Ballard

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Dust is everywhere. There is no way to stop it from occurring, so instead we turn to cleaning and filtration to keep the amount of dust circulating through the air in your Ballard home to a minimum. Luckily, there are quite a few things you can do, even without installing new equipment, to reduce your dust levels.

Duct Cleaning

First on the list is regular duct cleaning. You dust your furniture and your floors, so why not clean out your ductwork? Properly cleaned ductwork is very important because of just how much stuff can build up in there over time. Imagine regular air flow in an enclosed space that never gets cleaned. How much dust and debris do you think could build up over the course of a year? Hint: it’s enough to keep a steady flow of dust in your indoor air.

Professional duct cleaning is important and should be done once every year or two depending on how often you use your home comfort system. However, you should also clean in and around the vents and ducts in your home where you can reach. This can be done weekly and will help immensely to reduce dust.

Filtration

Most air filters equipped with high quality HEPA filters work extremely well to remove dust from the air. Because HEPA filters can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, they won’t just remove dust, but pollen, pet dander and even mold. Mold especially is a problem that occurs in far greater frequency in homes without filtration. Simple air filtration is an affordable solution to a lot of different contaminants, so it’s a good fit for any home.

Humidity

Humidity imbalance can cause dust problems as well. Low humidity leads to more dead skin and dust in the house, while high humidity causes the development of dust mites. Properly regulating your humidity to slightly less than 50% will create a perfect environment in which less dust is created and circulated in your home.

The best way to reduce dust is to take a three pronged approach to indoor air quality. Cleanliness is always first on the list, but after that don’t neglect the value of filtration and proper humidity control. When used properly, these three things will ensure dust never bothers you again.

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Regular Duct Cleaning Will Reduce Allergens: Some Pointers From Woodinville

Monday, September 19th, 2011

One of the biggest problems many families face with indoor air quality in Woodinville is the ever persistent presence of allergens. Especially if you have pets or plants, allergens will be in your home from the day you move in. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t many ways to reduce them – especially in the case of duct work.

Allergens in Your Duct Work

How do so many allergens get into your ductwork? It starts with how the ductwork circulates air in your home. Because air only flows one way and because the ducts are not being used continuously, the air circulated by your air conditioner or furnace leaves behind all sorts of unwanted residue.

In both cases, the air drawn into your comfort system is usually the same air from inside your home. That means it is full of things like dust, pollen, dander and more. Even if the air is drawn from outside, often the case with an air conditioner unit, there are plenty of allergens outside.

How do you stop all of these allergens from working their way into your home and then your lungs? It starts with regular cleaning. You can’t ever truly stop allergens from coming inside or circulating in your air ducts, but you can take big steps in removing many of the contaminants that linger in your ducts.

Annual cleaning of the ducts by a professional will remove excess build up in places you cannot normally reach. Between those cleaning visits, you should supplement the cleaning by dusting and vacuuming vents and the areas of your ducts you can reach.

Going Beyond Cleaning

Cleaning your ducts is a great way to reduce allergens in the house. That alone, along with quality ventilation will take care of the most common allergens. However, if people in your home suffer from asthma or more severe seasonal allergies you may want to upgrade your preventative measures with an air cleaning system.

Whatever your concerns, it is possible to live comfortably in your home despite allergies.

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What Does the EPA Do for Indoor Air Quality: Some Tips From Kenmore

Monday, September 5th, 2011

There are a number of agencies in the United States dedicated to protecting the health and wellbeing of citizens. What does that mean for you in Kenmore? It means many of the rules and regulations related to indoor air quality are directly overseen by the EPA and the US government. For a better idea of how this impacts your currently lifestyle, here’s a quick look at what the EPA does.

Formation

The Environmental Protection Agency was formed in 1970 by Richard Nixon and the US Congress to oversee the regulation and oversight of air, water, land and hazardous waste. In short, the EPA works to keep our environment clean and safe.

The EPA and Homeowners

While much of what the EPA does relates to corporate pollution, regulations for manufacturing and consumer products, and development of safe methods of production for things like oil, food and water, the EPA has a big hand in ensuring your home stays safe.

Specifically, the EPA started and oversees the Energy Star program to help consumers purchase appliances and HVAC systems that use the least possible energy. Additionally, the EPA oversees the measurements and minimum requirements for home insulation and ventilation. This has as direct impact on indoor air quality.

Current EPA regulations are based on the ASHRAE Standards for low rise buildings and has been revised in the last two decades to ensure proper ventilation and insulation to reduce energy waste and maintain clean, fresh air.

The clean air act has a big impact on how homes are ventilated and maintained and the EPA does a lot of public service work to educate the public on ways to stay safe, including a recent campaign to get your home tested for radon – a potentially life threatening gas that can exist in any home, regardless of age.

Getting to Know the EPA

If you have an indoor air quality or suspect there may be issues in your home, one of the best resources on the Internet is the EPA’s indoor air quality website. It contains laws and regulations that impact your home (if you plan on remodeling or adding on to your home) and dozens of resources for testing and understanding the levels of pollutants in your home.

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