Posts Tagged ‘Mercer Island’

Mercer Island Air Conditioning Guide: Saving Energy This Summer

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Everyone wants to make their Mercer Island home more energy efficient, it not only saves you money but it also makes your home more environmentally friendly. Upgrading your HVAC equipment 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 following 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 indicate a problem with your Mercer Island HVAC system or other appliances 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 Mercer Island 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 Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning today!

Seatac HVAC Contractor’s Guide: Allergens Affected by Indoor Air Quality Systems

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Indoor air quality devices are designed to capture and remove certain allergens from the air in your Seatac home, but what exactly is being removed and how would those allergens affect your health if left to circulate? Here is a quick rundown of common allergens found inside the average home and why you should have them removed:

  • Animal Dander – Dander from cats, dogs, birds and other furry or feathered creatures is a common allergen for millions of people. If you suspect dander as an allergy, go on vacation to a place without dander and see how it affects you or your loved ones.
  • Dust and Dirt – Dust is in every home and while it is a common irritant, it can inflame asthma or worsen allergies many times over.
  • Pollen – Pollen is a problem for anyone with seasonal allergies or hay fever. While medicine can help, proper sealing of your house and indoor air filtration can reduce the presence of pollen from clothing and animals.
  • Mold Spores – Mold develops in high humidity and in ductwork where it is dark and sometimes damp. Proper filtration with a HEPA system will reduce this risk.
  • Bacteria and Viruses – Bacteria can develop in the air from common colds, old food or outside contaminants. Use a UV light to remove these from your air handler or ductwork.
  • Smoke and Exhaust – Indoor/outdoor ventilation can allow in smoke and exhaust that irritates most lungs. To avoid this problem install an electronic air cleaner that can target particles in smoke.

Getting rid of allergens in the air is an important aspect of maintaining a clean and healthy household. Proper air cleaning, filtration and UV purification will reduce these allergens many times over. There are also some great tips on the Asthma and Allergy Foundation website for how to reduce the presence of those allergens to start with.

Why Should I Hire a Camano Island Duct Cleaning Contractor?

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

You know it’s important to keep your air ducts clean, but why?

Actually, there is no one reason why your air ducts need to be kept clean—there are several, all of which are connected to one another. Here are five of them for you to consider:

  • Efficiency – Clean air ducts allow the air to flow through much easier and more readily, so your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump won’t have to work as hard to ventilate the house. This makes for more efficient operation and lower energy consumption.
  • Performance – When your HVAC system does not have to work as hard to push air through the ductwork, it will perform better. Your home will be more comfortable and better ventilated.
  • Longevity – Because your HVAC system is operating more efficiently, it will be able to perform at a high level for a longer period of time. Well-maintained systems last longer than those that are not taken care of, and cleaning the ducts is part of good HVAC maintenance.
  • Savings – Clean ducts can save you a lot of money over time. Your energy bills will be lower because of how efficiently the whole system is running. And, as an added bonus, your ducts will last longer because of the decreased risk of corrosion and damage from being dirty.
  • Health – Last, but certainly not least, clean air ducts mean clean air, which is important for your health and your family’s health. Especially if you have pets, if you smoke or live with a smoker, or if anyone in the house has allergies or asthma, cleaning your air ducts is a must.

Whole House Air Quality System. What Is It? When and Why Do You Need It?

Friday, July 29th, 2011

There are many ways to control the indoor air quality of your home. The easiest way to is to clean your vents and ducts. This reduces the number of pollutants like mold and dust that get into your air each day. In some cases, however, you may need something more powerful and that’s where a whole house air quality system comes in.

What Does Whole House Air Quality Provide?

There are many filters and purifiers on the market that can be operated in a single room such as your living room or the bedroom of your child. However, if you have a more substantial contaminant problem, a whole house system actually attaches to the source of fresh air.

Most whole house systems integrate directly into the ventilation ducts and fans of your house. This ensures the air is purified and cleaned as it enters your home, not after it has circulated for some time. Air cleaners are also integrated into ducts where UV lighting and ionizers can remove bacteria, viruses, smoke and exhaust fumes that come in from outside.

Your furnace and air conditioner will also be filtered above and beyond standard manufacturer filtering, ensuring there are less contaminants traveling through your ducts to start with.

When Do You Need It?

The upgrade to a whole house system isn’t just for those suffering from dust, pollen and pet dander. These can easily be removed with regular cleaning of your ducts and a HEPA filter in each room affected. However, if your home tests high for various gases, exhaust fumes, or molds that are beyond your control, a whole house system is a great way to protect yourself.

In particular, these systems are useful when the contaminants come in from outside. Most indoor contaminants can be removed with careful maintenance of your comfort system, but if your neighbor has a leaky exhaust pipe or if you live near a busy highway, you can’t do much about it other than to filter the air as it comes inside.

Choosing a whole home air quality system starts with knowing what you need to filter. So, proper air testing is highly recommended. After testing, make sure your current systems will integrate well with the new air quality controls. If everything works properly, you’ll be well on your way to fresh, clean air in no time.

My HVAC System Has a 10 Year Warranty – Why Do I Need a Maintenance Agreement?

Monday, June 20th, 2011

While every new furnace sold comes with a limited 10 year warranty for the unit and parts, it is a good idea to supplement your warranty with a more complete maintenance agreement with your HVAC provider. Why pay for a secondary maintenance plan when you already have a warranty?

For the most part, the limited warranty provided by the manufacturer is meant to cover things like faulty parts, abnormal breakdowns or recalls. If your system simply needs to get a checkup because you use it a lot or there is a clog that isn’t caused by the actual furnace or air conditioner, you will likely end up paying the maintenance cost. So, by paying for an upgraded service plan, you cover all potential breakdowns and you’ll never again need to worry about your system. It’s like getting the upgraded warranty for a new car that covers everything from a busted crankshaft to old windshield wipers.

Help Your System Last Longer

Another benefit of a maintenance agreement for your HVAC system is that the system lasts longer when it is regularly maintained. The best maintenance agreements come with unlimited checkups and service visits, any day of the week, any time. So, if you think your system is running poorly, call a professional in to check it out and it won’t cost you anything. The ability to do this will ensure your HVAC system lasts significantly longer than if you were forced to wait until you could afford an extra visit from your repair man.

So, not only do you ensure your system keeps working, you add a lot of valuable years to its lifespan. Imagine how much money you’ll save if your furnace or air conditioner lasts for 20+ years instead of just 10. Any breakdowns after the 10 year mark would require hefty repairs or replacement since your warranty is expired. So, it’s in your best interest to keep your system running smoothly throughout its lifespan.

Ultimately, an HVAC system is only as good as what you put into it. If you’re careful about your investments and are willing to spend a little extra now, you’ll stand to benefit far more in the future from a smoothly operating, efficient heating system.

The Facts about Indoor Air Quality

Friday, June 17th, 2011

One of the least understood aspects of your home’s comfort system is the indoor air quality. Most people assume that once they have a good furnace and air conditioner installed, there’s nothing left to worry about. However, with the push in the last 20 years to reduce energy loss through poor insulation, most homes are sealed up tighter than ever before. This doesn’t just cause stuffy indoor air – it can actually lead to illness.

How Bad Can Indoor Air Quality Get?

Homes built in the 1980s were recommended to have one third of the ventilation of those built before. Today, the standards have returned to their original levels, but for many years, homes were built with poor ventilation and excessive insulation. The result is a space that holds the air in too well. Everyday contaminants and allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, or smoke cannot get out of your home and as a result, you can get sick.

In fact, some people even suffer from Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). This is when they feel ill constantly, with respiratory symptoms that have no root cause and are hard to diagnose. Often, it is because they simply breathe too many contaminants and too much stale air.

Fixing Air Quality Is Simple

The first thing needed to fix air quality is a good filtration system. Despite what many people think, simple filtration is not that expensive. There are big, powerful purification systems with advanced ionization units and UV lighting to kill bacteria and viruses, but most families are served well with a simple HEPA filter to remove things like dust, pollen and dander.

It’s a good idea to have your indoor air quality tested, however, just to make sure other contaminants are not present. High humidity can lead to mold growth, and poor ventilation can lead to exhaust or gas fumes in your home. A good carbon monoxide detector is recommended for the latter, but testing should be done to make sure nothing else is floating around.

Finally, make sure your home is properly ventilated. Standard ventilation tends to leak heated or cooled air outside, so many homeowners now opt for energy recovery ventilators. These systems have heat exchangers that transfer warm air between indoor and outdoor air.

However you want to fix your indoor air quality issues, know that there are plenty of things you can do with the help of a good filtration device and regular cleanings of your ductwork and vents.

What Are Your Heat Pump Options?

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Once you’ve decided that a heat pump really is the best option for your home, you’ll still have a lot of options to consider. There are actually quite a few types of heat pumps and they can vary considerably in terms of their energy efficiency and other available features.

For instance, you can choose to go with a heat pump with a one-speed, two-speed or multi-speed compressor. Single speed compressors are only capable of operating at full capacity. That means that they’ll certainly be able to keep your home warm, but they may be working harder than they need to at some points.

A two-speed or multi-speed compressor, on the other hand, can be adjusted to more appropriately fit the heating and cooling needs of the moment. There will certainly be times when you don’t need your heat pump to be going all out, and the ability to regulate this level of performance can benefit you in several ways.

It will allow you to maintain a more consistent indoor temperature to be sure, but it will also reduce the overall wear and tear on your heat pump over time. If your heat pump doesn’t have to run all out all of the time, it simply won’t wear out as fast, and that will save you both money and frustration in the long run. It’s also worth noting that heat pumps with two-speed or multi-speed compressors are more easily integrated into a zone control system if you have one in your home.

However, regardless of what type of compressor your heat pump has, you’ll also have to examine the various heat pump models available to determine what their actual energy efficiency ratings are. Each heat pump actually comes with two ratings, one for heating and one for cooling.

The heating season performance factor (HSPF) reflects the heat pump’s heating efficiency, while the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is a measure of its cooling efficiency. The higher both of these numbers are, the higher the efficiency of the unit. But you don’t necessarily need both numbers to be as high as possible to get the best heat pump for your home.

If you’re going to be using the heat pump more for cooling than for heating because of the climate where you live, you’ll want to make sure the unit you get has as high a SEER as possible, but you won’t have to worry too much about the HSPF. But if you’re going to need more heating than cooling, you should pay more attention to the HSPF than the SEER.

Did You Change that Furnace Filter?

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

No matter what type of furnace you have, it’s important to remember to change or clean the filter on a regular basis. This is a relatively straightforward process and doesn’t require any professional help. However, if you’re not sure how to go about doing it, you can always have your heating technician demonstrate the process for you on their next regular maintenance visit.

Indeed, changing or cleaning out the furnace filter is an important part of regular furnace maintenance. However, it often needs to be done more than once a year. The specific amount of time that you can go between filter changes depends on many things, but typically it’s good to check on it once every three months or so.

If you have a lot of pets or if anyone in your family has severe allergies, it may be worth it to check and change the filter even more often. Check with the manufacturer to see what their recommendations are as well. Some high performance furnace filters can last up to six months or even a year, but you should still check on the filter periodically to make sure that too much hasn’t built up on it in between replacements or cleanings.

You’ll need to make sure you have the right type of filter to install as a replacement as well. You can get this information from the owner’s manual of your furnace, from the manufacturer or by taking out and examining the current filter in your furnace. Some furnaces also have filters that are meant to be cleaned and then put back in and the cleaning instructions are usually located near the filter itself.

Of course, in order to change your filter you’ll first have to be able to find it. Most of the time, the filter will be located near the blower towards the bottom of the furnace. However, if you’re not having much luck finding it, your owner’s manual should be able to tell you quickly where it is and how to remove it. Before you go to open the chamber and take the filter out, however, be sure you’ve turned off the power to the furnace.

Changing your furnace filter can help improve the air quality in your home and it is also very important when it comes to keeping your furnace running efficiently and effectively. The filters are there to trap airborne particles that can get into the blower and clog it up. When that happens, the performance of your furnace will likely drop and you’ll need to have a professional come out and complete the necessary repairs.

When Should You Replace Your Existing Heat Pump?

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Nobody wants to think about having to replace a home heating and cooling system. It’s a big job and a new system probably won’t come cheap – not if it’s worth buying anyway. But in the end, you’ll be better off replacing your heat pump sooner rather than later if you start noticing signs that it may be on its way out.

So what are these signs? Well, they’re actually pretty easy to recognize if you know what to look for. For instance, if your heat pump is suddenly making more noise than it used to, there’s a good chance that something’s going wrong inside. This may only require a minor repair, but if minor repairs like this become a regular occurrence, you should start seriously thinking about looking around for a new system.

The cost of even minor repairs will certainly add up quickly over time, and you’ll have to seriously think about whether it makes financial sense to continue to repair an older system rather than simply replacing it with a new one. Chances are that you’ll have to invest in a new one anyway, and the sooner you do it, the less you’ll have paid for repairs to a system you were just going to get rid of anyway.

Also, if you’re starting to notice humidity problems in your home or if some parts of your house are being kept warmer than others, it may very well be a sign that you heat pump isn’t working like it should. Again, this can sometimes be rectified with repair work, but especially if your heat pump is 10 years old or more, it probably makes more sense to replace it.

Another item to keep an eye on when you’re worried about how well your heat pump is working is your monthly energy bill. If you notice a sudden or even a gradual but steady increase over time that you know isn’t a result of an increase in energy prices in your area, you should suspect that your heat pump isn’t working like it should.

Even if it’s still keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, the fact that your heat pump is using more energy to do it is a sign that there’s something wrong with your system. Plus, newer systems are generally more energy efficient anyway, so you’ll be making up for the initial investment of purchasing a new system when you start paying even less on your monthly energy bills.