Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why The Highest MERV For Your Air Filter Isn't Always Best

There’s a learning curve that's involved for property owners when selecting the best hvac filters for their systems. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings, showing the actual efficiency air filters have for capturing particles of a certain size, are helpful. But they’re not the only element home owners must look into. Learn the ins and outs of MERV ratings, and why air flow and lifetime efficiency likewise determine your decision.

Using MERV

Manufacturers and independent businesses test air filters six times to assess how filters perform when they’re new, and also over time. MERV uses the first rating a filter scores, and then gives it the ideal rating between 1 and 16 (High Efficiency Particulate Air [HEPA] filters score between MERV 17 and 20).

Basic filters score between MERV 1 to 4, capturing large dust, and allowing acceptable airflow; MERV 8 to 12 capture even smaller sized particles while generally providing sufficient airflow; MERV 13 to 16 are high-efficiency hvac filters, trapping very small particles; however, they’re generally limited to commercial applications as a result of how they limit airflow.

Understanding efficiency

The MERV rating shouldn't be used in isolation to decide on an air filter. Keep in mind those six ratings? The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) tested numerous MERV-rated filters, comparing their performance over all six ratings, and their conclusions were interesting. They tested a MERV 8 and MERV 11 filter, determined the MERV 8 filter performed better over time.

Considering air flow

The explanation for these surprising findings involve airflow. With use, a MERV 8 filter has relatively higher airflow rates than a MERV 11 filter. As time passes, the MERV 11 filter gets to be more dense, reducing airflow, depriving the HVAC system for air, and decreasing its capability to trap particles. The MERV 8 filter didn’t perform as well at first, but it’s ability to trap particles improves with time. As the surface material fills with particles, it becomes more dense, but airflow capacity doesn’t decrease, comparatively speaking.

The conclusion with regards to choosing air filters? Home owners should consult an expert, like those at Sandium Heating & Air. We serve homeowners in greater South SF Bay Area.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Carrier Air Conditioning - Is It Right For You?

Air conditioners are a must for anyone living in a warm climate. As soon as the temperatures start rising, the air conditioning better be in condition or else tempers may flair. To be prepared for the warm seasons, make sure you have your air conditioning checked by a profession and make sure you have a good air conditioning unit. Sadly, these units do not last forever and will need replacement. When it comes to replacement, you may wonder which brand is best to purchase and who to select for installation.
There are several brands on the market--Carrier, Lennox, Trane, etc. Each have their good and bad selling points, as any product has. When selecting an air conditioner, it's important to read reviews and see what others are saying.
Let's say you select Carrier as the unit you want to purchase. Begin reading reviews about Carrier and see how well the unit works, especially the model you are considering, and research what people say about the product. You will find useful information all around you if you search.
Carrier units work great for some people and don't get the job done for others. Observe what the person is writing about and look for specifics. Note when a person is speaking about their desires and needs and when they are being more objective and talking about the unit. Some may complain that a Carrier unit is too cold, but you may enjoy that part of the unit. So, observe what is being said and make sure it's not a personal complaint, but a true complaint about the system.
As many have reported, the main problem with any unit, whether it's Carrier or not, is that bad installation will make a good unit become a horrible unit. It depends on who installs the unit and how good of a job they perform. So, it is equally important to search and read reviews of installation companies and make sure that your Carrier unit is installed properly. You can purchase the best unit on the market and have it installed incorrect, and be out of luck. It all depends on the installation.
It's time to begin your search. Ask your friends and family members what units they have at their house or apartment and start from there. Or select a brand like Carrier and begin searching through their models and begin reading reviews to see if they are a quality brand.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Is Your Heating Ductwork Sealed and Contained

Heating ductwork is an unseen part of your home but it has a great impact on the comfort level and temperature of your home. If your ductwork leaks air then you are not getting maximum airflow to all parts of your house. This can lead to some rooms being noticeably colder than others in the winter or hotter than others in the summer. An even bigger issue, though, is the extra energy costs and the energy loss that occurs with leaky ductwork.
You can check your heating ductwork for leakage in a couple of different ways. The most common method is to measure the airflow in each room to see just how much air is making it from the furnace out through the ducts. In older homes, it is not unusual to find that as much as 40% of heated and cooled air is lost through leaky ductwork. That is a huge number and one that makes going back and re-sealing ductwork seem appealing. The difficult part is how to go about accessing the ductwork in order to seal it. After all, it is located behind finished walls and is not readily accessible.
Heating Ductwork
There are two primary ways of sealing leaky ductwork. The first way is the most thorough way, but it is also the most expensive way - cutting through drywall to expose the ductwork and tape the joints securely. Many homeowners believe that sealing up leaky ducts with duct tape is a simple solution to their problems. However, this is not a good choice for sealing ductwork because it does not seal tightly enough. Instead, use specialty metal tape that does not get brittle over time.
The second way to seal leaky ductwork is to higher a professional company to spray an aerosol sealant into the ductwork. This method is quicker and easier than cutting through your drywall, and you don't have to go back and do drywall repairs afterwards. Regardless of the method you choose, properly sealed heating ductwork is one of the best things you can do for your home. It will keep you more comfortable in your home and save you money on energy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Air Conditioning Filter: Essential Part of Heating and Air Conditioning

The air conditioning filter is one of the most important air conditioning parts in the air conditioning system. Without it, your air conditioning system would be dirty and the air you breathe would be filled with pollutants. All air conditioning parts, from the ductwork to the air conditioning refrigerant, need the air conditioning filter to be clean and replaced to ensure you're getting the very best in central air conditioning.
If an air conditioning filter is left dirty, over time, it can lead to higher energy costs and short
equipment life due to all the air conditioning parts relying on each other. One can not work without the other. Overall, your heating and cooling will not be as effective and you will need to invest in more air conditioning repair and air conditioning maintenance.
An air conditioning filter should be changed every month or every two months for home air conditioning systems and every couple of weeks for certain commercial or industrial air conditioning since it's running almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Doing this as a routine in your monthly chores and not waiting until you see dust matted on the air conditioning filter will ensure you and your family the very best health as well as a smooth running air conditioning system . Dust particles can not always be seen so even if you see a little dust on the air filter , clean it as you normally would.
Since there are a variety of air conditioning filters , how quickly one gets blocked versus another depends on the brand - most air conditioning filters are sized 1 ½ to 2 square feet for each ton of capacity for a home or commercial property.
You can judge a filter's ability to clean by using MERV ratings - Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value - which is a rating of how efficient an air conditioning filter is from 1-12. The higher the rating, the more effective it is at removing particles such as animal dander, pollen, dust, mold and other allergens, and the better the protection for your air conditioning equipment . Most air conditioning filters screen out particles measuring from 3 to 10 microns in size.
The common types of air conditioning filters are:
Conventional fiberglass disposable filters (1" and 2"): These are common in most homes and small industrial air conditioners and commercial air conditioning systems. Since they are disposable and have an adhesive coating that traps the dust, you should not clean the filters . This may damage the filter's ability to remove particles by damaging the adhesive coating and/or the underlying mesh work. They are both not as effective as other types of filters even though they are lower in cost.
Pleated fiberglass disposable filters (1" and 2"): The 1" are generally used in many residential and commercial settings and are made of materials that can vary in the effectiveness. Usually, they are more densely woven to increase the efficiency of removing dirt. These have a larger surface area to lead to increased trapping of particles as compared to conventional filters. They must be specified for your air conditioning system or this can lead to increased demand on your air conditioning components. Thereby, a mismatch can be counterproductive on the health of the air conditioning system and possibly lead to higher air conditioning maintenance and service cost. You should check with the air conditioning manufacturer as to the appropriate type of pleated filter for your system. A filter spray can also be applied after the cleaning and drying of the air conditioning air filter .
Electrostatic filters: Different in design and performance, since there are so many varieties, it is rather difficult to determine which is the most efficient. They are commonly advertised as allergy-free air conditioning filters. These filters also come in the 1" and 2" sizes. Air that moves through the filter creates a static charge that collects any dust in the filter. They may require more cleaning and more blower power.
Electronic filters : Connected to an electrical power source and usually wall mounted, electronic filters come with a pre-filter that can collect larger particles and only need to be cleaned every six months.
Carbon filters : These filters contain carbon that can control any odor problems you might have within the air conditioning system . They can also be useful in homes with pets.
Air Conditioning Filter Installation
When placing the appropriate air conditioning filter in to the system, the filter should be placed in the correct direction as indicated by the arrow located on the side or face of the filter. Air should flow in the proper direction which is in the same direction as the arrows. This allows the filter to work appropriately, as the air exits the filter in the most reinforced part of the filter.
The air conditioning filter should fit tightly. A perfect seal is necessary to prevent unfiltered air from entering and damaging your air conditioning system. Without a perfect seal and appropriate sizing, the filter is useless. Additionally, the non-conventional filters may have a higher efficiency and may not fit your system. This should be checked with an air conditioning company, contractor, or air conditioning supply company.

Friday, March 29, 2013

New Advancements in Programmable Thermostats Makes Comfort Easier

Technical developments have changed how we communicate, and not only just when it comes to person-to-person. Advancements in programmable thermostat technology provide home owners easier, real-time ability to access their home’s temperature settings, and much more. If you’re considering a new programmable thermostat, check out devices that will help you maintain control over energy usage, while offering these amazing features.

Connected thermostats

Wi-Fi-enabled programmable thermostats offer home-owners the way to review temperature settings and then make changes from a mobile phone (smart phone) or from a  computer with access to the internet. These kinds of devices enable you to make fine-tuned adjustments in case the temperatures change drastically, for example. Just check the settings on your smartphone, and then make modifications for savings. Or, should your schedule change and you expect to go back home prior to the thermostat turning on your furnace on, rather than going back to a chilly house, alter the settings via your Wi-Fi capable thermostat. Another perk - web enabled devices offer is a web-based program that’s simple to view and change, as compared with small, often complicated touchscreen display panels on the thermostat.

Learning thermostats

Smart thermostats are usually also Wi-Fi-enabled devices; however, they give you unique control over the home’s energy usage as well as your energy savings. These units “read” the patterns of cooling and heating usage over several days, and on auto-pilot adjust settings to guarantee optimum savings. They’re perfect for homeowners with steady schedules, and who might not want to or may not have any time to modify settings.

Additional enhancements

Although it is not a programmable thermostat, some power companies have utilized technology to develop a “smart” meter to improve energy consumption in your home. With a smart meter placed in homes, power companies have better ability to access usage details, as the meter allows two-way communication. Ultimately, smart meters allow a far more efficient method to deliver electricity, manage peak demand usage, improve the power restoration process after power outages, lower electricity costs, and more. For people with any of these installed, the utility company may supply you with a thermostat additionally.

For additional information about programmable thermostats, email or call Sandium Heating & Air. We serve greater south San Francisco Bay area homeowners.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to Be Your Air Conditioner's Best Friend

There are a few things you can do to take care of your air conditioner and make its life a little longer and a little easier.
How does your air conditioner work? Simply stated, an air conditioning unit removes heat from the air and blows it outside with an outdoor fan. An indoor fan pulls room air across an evaporator coil filled with refrigerant and transfers cool air into your home. Obviously, the movement of air by fans is a big part of the system. That's why it is so important to replace the filter at least once a month.
As dust is picked up, it is trapped on the filter, and you would be surprised how quickly the dust accumulates. Trying to pull air through a clogged filter just makes the fan work harder, raising your utility bill.
The same is true for the fan in the outdoor unit. Make sure the outside of the unit is away from shrubs and other vegetation growth, and keep the unit as clean and free of leaves and dirt as possible. Provide at least five feet of clearance at the top and two feet on all sides of the unit.
When using your air conditioning, the best method is to leave the temperature setting at one comfortable spot. The more you move the temperature up and down, the more work your system must do. If you must move the temperature setting, make the smallest movement possible.
Another way to prolong the life of your air conditioning unit is to operate your other appliances wisely. Dishwashers, washers, dryers and stoves all generate heat and humidity indoors. Try to schedule laundry and cooking during the mornings or evenings to avoid taxing your air conditioner in the heat of the day. Use an exhaust fan in the kitchen, and vent your clothes dryer outside to give your air conditioner a hand.
Sunshine is also an enemy of air conditioning. Keep drapes and shades pulled to prevent sunlight form streaming into rooms. Over 20 percent of your bill can be due to sunlight.
Also, make sure the drain your condensation drips into is clear. Pour a cup of regular laundry bleach down the drain once a month to kill algae and mold and keep the drain running smoothly.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Air Filtration Systems Can Really Help Reduce Airborne Contaminants That Will Make You Sick

Even though the State of California is making great progress in raising the air quality in the south SF bay area over the last decade, people continue to use air cleaners for aggravating and unhealthful airborne particulates. Plant pollen, dust, mildew and mold, pet dander and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) aren't just irritating, they will also lead to respiratory complications, like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), allergies as well as sinus attacks. 

Thankfully, several options exist to raise the indoor quality of air using HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters, germicidal systems, gas and electronic phase filters. Each deals with particular air quality challenges.

HEPA Filtration

 These types remove 90 % of the particles within your air that are bigger than .3 microns. Commonly used in industrial and medical facilities, they are the most effective mechanical filters available.

Germicidal systems. Ultraviolet lights (UV) eliminate bacteria, mold spores, viruses and germs. They are usually used in conjunction with air filters in HVAC systems, with fans drawing the air past the lights and the filter, as a result reducing the concentration of contagious airborne pollutants.

Electronic Filtration

 These air cleaners use electric charges to trap particles and may create ozone, a known respiratory irritant. Keeping these filters clean helps reduce the amount of ozone they create. Some kinds of filtration systems can’t be sold in California because of the health hazards associated with ozone production.

Gas Phase Air Filters

 If you are living in a new house or have just lately renovated, gas phase air filters could help you breathe better. They use filters integrated with carbon to eliminate VOCs from the air.

Should you or a loved one have considerable breathing complications, a whole-house approach using a combination of these filtration systems can easily boost comfort and health. These products work with forced A/C equipment and make use of high-efficiency filters to improve indoor air quality all through the home, rather than just the area where the air cleaner operates. These systems could also use UV lights to improve indoor air quality.

If you need to understand more about purification and air cleaners, contact Sandium Heating & Air. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Are There Cracks In Your Heat Exchanger?

Having a fractured heat exchanger isn't a good situation. The fact is that, many homeowners don’t understand specifically what this entails. If you want to maintain your furnace in your  home, it is essential that you are aware of 3 things:

Understand how a cracked heat exchanger develops

Your furnace’s heat exchanger is actually a piece of metal that shields the air stream leaving your furnace from the fire which it creates. This metal is subjected to intense heat, often for long durations. This continuous exposure wears down the heat exchanger and can cause hair line cracks and holes to appear within the metal.

Recognize the visible difference between shallow and major cracks

Not all cracks will mean the end of your furnace. It's a wise decision to have an HVAC specialist check out your furnace and check for any cracks. If the damage is superficial, there may be no reason to replace either the heat exchanger or entire system. If the damage is significant, however, the furnace is going to be considered dangerous to run as combustion materials can easily leak through the breaks and create a health risk to your family, sometimes resulting in significant respiratory issues and even deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

Recognize the chance of your furnace being red-tagged

The HVAC tech will examine your furnace for any likely damages. If he discovers that there is a cracked heat exchanger which is substantial enough, your furnace is going to be “red-tagged.” Because of this you won't be permitted to operate your furnace until either it's either repaired or replaced. Based on the seriousness of the damage, you might be able to replace the heat exchanger itself, which is often an expensive fix. Regardless of the higher cost of a full furnace replacement, this is often the better option ultimately.

For extra expert advice on how to address a cracked heat exchanger, or for questions concerning home comfort, be sure to contact the helpful professionals at Sandium Heating & Air

Ductless Air Conditioners - An Innovative Way to Cool Oneself

Right from the start what is an air conditioner? An air conditioner (often abbreviated to AC in the United States and Canada, and air-con in Australia and in Britain) is an appliance or mechanism designed to extract heat from an area using a refrigeration cycle. In construction, a complete system of heating, ventilation and air conditioning is referred to as HVAC.

Without any doubts this system has great advantages but it can lead to increasing of utility bills, trapping yourself indoors, noise, blackouts, illnesses because of coldness and to climate change and smog in the perspective. Moreover, some problems can appear because of improper installation of air conditioners as well as possible inadequate maintenance. But the most widespread fault in using air conditioners is to leave windows and doors open. So what is the possible way out? To abandon using a device that can create a suitable microclimate in your apartments? Definitely NOT! Why not try the latest achievement in the cooling sphere?
Ductless Split Air Conditioners offer wide variety in solving your cooling and heating requirements.
The evaporator - that is an indoor unit - is installed inside the room, enclosed in a handsome space saving cabinet. Then it should be connected with an outdoor part scientifically called a condenser via refrigerant (coolant) pipes. Simple to install - simple to operate. No ductwork is involved and you save hundreds of money on electricity consumption. Such conditioners do not require much free space and won't spoil your room planning and design. Such an indoor unit was specifically designed to provide whisper quiet operation at the same time this doesn't recoil on the efficiency - rotary compressors provide powerful cooling at the lowest noise levels in the industry.
Ductless air conditioner is the ideal air conditioning solution for installations where adding ductwork is impractical or too expensive. The matched combination of indoor air handler and outdoor condenser is efficient and easy to install.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Did You Put Off Getting A New Furnace? Why Buying One Before Springtime Makes Sense

A major furnace malfunction is definitely a traumatic matter for any home owner. A mid-winter meltdown is definitely an urgent matter. Should the breakdown happen close to the end of heating season, however, you could have choices which are not usually offered when the weather conditions are still cold. By postponing purchasing a furnace, you could save a substantial amount of money while getting much better service and a better furnace than you may otherwise be able to get.

Price Savings

The most apparent advantage of purchasing a new furnace at the end of heating months are that the system is likely going to be less expensive. With winter ending soon, HVAC providers will be more motivated to move existing cold-weather products and inventory at a discount to help make room for air conditioning units along with other spring and summer equipment. Equipment and installment will be cheaper as a result of supply and demand; there is certainly less demand for furnaces by the end of winter than at the start of or while in the season, so costs are prone to drop.

Better Choices

By waiting until the end of the winter season to shop for a furnace, you will have the luxury of time to make a more sensible choice. You can spend several extra days or perhaps weeks hunting for a great bargain, reviewing different choices for example a geothermal heat pump, or finding a high-efficiency unit which will meet your needs completely.

Take into account that you may have to put more effort into keeping your home warm while in the tapering days of winter. You'll need additional space heaters, more insulation for your water pipes plus more blankets and clothing to help keep your household warm. A couple of days of inconvenience, however, will pay off in big returns when you make a more economical purchase of your brand-new home heating system.

For more than a decade, we’ve been providing HVAC installation, design, and service to south San Fransicso Bay Area clients. Contact Sandium Heating & Air today for additional information on investing in a furnace as well as for recommendations on when replacement is the best idea.

Our mission is to help educate our clients about energy and residential home comfort issues (particular to HVAC systems).  For more details about choosing a furnace along with other HVAC subject areas, visit our website.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Open Your Home Up - You Need Fresh Air

Are you aware that your in house air could possibly be considerably more polluted than the outdoor air in San Jose? The majority spend nearly all their time within their house, so that makes it far more important to be sure that your indoor air is as clean and healthful as it could be. Mechanical ventilation is a option to achieve that. These systems pull in fresh air and distribute it all through the rooms, decreasing moisture, smells and air-borne pollutants.

Aside from raising the quality of your indoor air, some great benefits of mechanical ventilation include:

  • Improved control over the air flow in your house. You don’t want your household air to be blended with polluted air from your garage or attic, however this can occur as a result of air gaps and air leaks. Mechanical ventilation will ensure adequate fresh air flow and exhaust your contaminated air.

  • More comfort for you and your loved ones. Many mechanical ventilation devices are also created to filter, dehumidify and condition the inbound fresh air.
There are 3 kinds of mechanical ventilation systems. The right choice for your household will depend on the weather of your area as well as your home’s hvac system.

  • Supply Ventilation Systems. These systems feature an air intake vent, that brings in the outdoor air and moves it with a fan and duct system. The air take in vent can be attached to the main return air duct, which will cool-down or dehumidify the outside air. These systems are designed for hot or mixed environments.

  • Exhaust Ventilation Systems. Rather than bringing outdoor air indoors, these systems concentrate on exhausting your indoor air to the outdoors through one or more fans within your bath rooms. These systems are meant for cold climates and therefore most likely not ideal for properties in San Jose.

  • Balanced Ventilation Systems.  With 2 fans, these systems pull in as much clean air into the home as they exhaust your in house air, providing you with the advantages of both supply and exhaust ventilation systems. These types of ventilation systems work in all climates.
Get in touch with Sandium Heating & Air for additional expert advice on mechanical ventilation systems along with issues related to home comfort. We provide for the greater South Bay area.

How To Insulate Your Home Efficiently

If you live in a colder climate, the chances are that you may feel the chill during the winter months. Heating your home is an expensive process and we don't always have the money to cover this extra outgoing. If you take some care to examine your insulation quality, you can start to reduce the costs of heating whilst retaining your interior heat levels. Here we look at the ways in which you can stop heat escaping and cold air invading your family home.
A huge amount of energy is lost via badly hung doors, but you can remedy this easily. You should buy some decent draught excluders and install them around your exterior doors. Sealant strips are a cheap way of ensuring that air does not leave your home, nor will the cold air worm its way under your door. Letter boxes can allow cold air and wind to invade your hallway, fir some brush trim to minimize the unwelcome guest from your family home.
So much air can enter and exit via poor conditioned windows. You can check for suspect areas by simply passing your hand over these frames during a particularly windy and cold day. As soon as you experience a breezy window you can apply some sealer or putty to remedy the situation quickly.
If you have the available funds and you think that your windows have seen better days, why not consider installing double glazed units? You will soon feel the benefits in your reduced heating bill, but you may be surprised by the noise reduction as an added bonus.
Floor Gaps
Check your skirting boards and will probably notice some large gaps; these are costing you serious money. Buy some silicone sealer and start to fight back against the cold invader. If you have laminate flooring, you could add some insulation, but ensure you do not damage the product. You may also wish to consider a swish rug as this will trap most of the cold air before it enters your room.
Loft Insulation
A huge amount of warm air is lost when your attic has poor or no insulation installed. By laying a decent layer of glass wool over the floor area, you can save one tonne of carbon dioxide per year. This product is very cheap and is fairly easy to install, it is also recyclable.
Hot Water Tank
You may be surprised to learn how much warm air is lost by an uninsulated hot water tank. Why not fit an eighty millimetre warming jacket and enjoy the extra seventy five percent benefit that will come your way as a result.
Cold wall/Drywall
Cold wall describes a non-insulated concrete wall and these can feature heavily in older houses. A large amount of heat can escape via this route and you will be wise to pay some attention to this culprit sooner rather than later. Simply assemble a ten millimetre dry wall to the surface and this will suffice by blocking the access route soundly.
To make sure that your home is insulated efficiently contact Sandium Heating and Air for a whole house energy audit. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Benefits of Upgrading to a High Efficiency Furnace

The furnace is one of the most important appliances in a home, but maintenance on the furnace is often overlooked for years. Most homeowners don't think about it until it suddenly stops producing heat in the middle of a cold winter day. However, there are many benefits to replacing an old model before it stops functioning completely. Investing in a high efficiency furnace could provide greater levels of comfort along with lower operating costs over the lifetime of the appliance.
Improved Temperature Control
In order to use the fuel more efficiently, these types of furnaces move a lot more air through your home. This extra level of circulation helps eliminate pockets of heat that settle along the ceiling in a room. Extra airflow ensures that each room is evenly heated, making the home seem warmer without the need to raise the thermostat's settings. Powerful blowers keep air moving throughout the entire home. This may lead to slightly higher noise levels than what homeowners are used to with lower efficiency furnaces.
Lower Heating Bills
The rising costs of fuel oil, propane, and electricity have made it harder for many families to afford running their inefficient and older furnaces. If the current model in the home has only a 60 percent efficiency rating, then $0.40 of every dollar spent on heating is wasted. A 96 percent efficient model will cut this down to just $0.04 of lost fuel. Most homeowners see a noticeable drop on their bills within the first few months of operation. These furnaces do come with higher upfront costs, but buyers usually find that they can quickly recoup what they have spent with the money they save each month.
When a furnace burns gas or oil to produce heat, carbon monoxide is also produced. This gas can cause serious health problems if it escapes and enters the home's air supply. High efficiency furnaces are built with tightly sealed combustion chambers to ensure fuel is consumed as completely as possible. This also offers a higher level of safety than older models with unsealed chambers. The carbon monoxide in a high efficiency model has no avenue of escape.
Long Lifespan
Even with annual maintenance, many older furnaces were only designed for 10 to 15 years of use. Many new models come with 20-year warranties. Constant repairs for an older furnace can cost hundreds of dollars per year, which is more money a homeowner can save by investing in a replacement furnace.
Investing in a new furnace could keep the home warmer while cutting monthly heating costs. Any homeowners relying on furnaces that are more than a decade old should seriously consider upgrading to a new model.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Three Essential Spring Furnace Maintenance Tips

Spring furnace maintenance is really all about making sure your furnace is in good shape for next fall/winter. It also ensures that when it's time to turn on your air conditioning in the summer, your system is ready to go.
A majority of Canadian households run their furnaces from October to March or April. That's about 6-7 months of furnace use, on average. Those who have HVAC systems that produce both heat in winter and cool air in summer run their systems nearly year-round.
No matter what kind of system you have at home, the constant use means wear and tear on parts. Running a furnace or HVAC system is just like running a car: the more you use it, the faster it will wear out. This is why your system needs regular maintenance, just like your car does.
Your system should be "tuned up" at two critical points each year: pre-fall/winter (before you need to use your heat) and spring (when you transition from using heat to turning off your furnace and using your air conditioning). Here's what you should be focusing on in the spring:
1) Pressure wash the outdoor condensing unit or heat pump. Spring is the best time to do this. Wait until the weather has warmed up and you're certain that you won't be using your heat again until the fall. Pressure washing of this component removes winter grime and bits of gravel that frequently get caught inside of parts during the cold, wet and slushy weather. It also helps to loosen up and remove dead leaves that may have gotten caught in its parts. A clean system runs more efficiently. Plus, you're less likely to incur damage to parts from all those bits.
2) Check your filter. Your furnace filter needs to be replaced approximately every 3-4 months when you are regularly using your system. Here are some general tips on how to decide whether you need to change the filter or not:
* Is the filter visibly dirty or clogged? If you can see bits of dust and debris in it, it's a good idea to change it. If dust and debris is minimal and you don't plan on running your system for a few months, you can opt to change it before you turn it on in the fall. Just don't forget! If there's a lot of debris in it, go ahead and change it now.
* Check the color of the filter. Filters may be white, gray or cream-colored. Even if there is minimal visible debris caught in the filter, you should change it if the color of the filter has changed/darkened.
* When you replace the filter, write the date on the new one in permanent marker. This way you'll know for certain whether you've been using it longer than three or four months.
* If your filter has been in use for more than four months, change it even if it doesn't seem very dirty. Not all debris can be seen, and your furnace will perform more efficiently with a clean filter.
3) Get your system inspected. You should do this at least once per year. If you do it in the fall, it may not be necessary to do it again in the spring.
However, spring is an ideal time to attend to this task. This way you won't freeze if it turns out that there is something wrong or if a part needs replacing. Few things are worse than waiting until the first cold snap of autumn to turn on the furnace, only to discover that it's not working, and now you're stuck with no heat while you wait for a new part to be ordered and installed.
For the same reasons, spring time is a great time to replace an old furnace or HVAC with a new one. Replacing a furnace usually takes some time, anywhere from days to weeks. Doing it in spring means you won't go without heat and air conditioning during other times of the year when you really need it.
Sandium Heating and Air Conditioning is your spring furnace maintenance specialist.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How Do Programmable Thermostats Work In Bay Area Homes?

Who wouldn't like to save money while sleeping or away from home? You could save a considerable amount of energy without sacrificing comfort simply by using a programmable thermostat.

Take advantage of this guide to be able to program energy-saving configurations matched to your schedule, and for your specific cooling and heating systems.

Programmable thermostat functions

Programmable thermostats present an array of features that will make programming temperature changes a breeze. Large touch screen displays help to make navigation uncomplicated and intuitive. Program and store as many as 6 temperature changes on a daily basis. For quick temperature changes, manually bypass the programmed setting by selecting "Hold" without changing the rest of the daily or weekly programs.

Choosing the proper thermostat

It's important to match compatible programmable thermostats with HVAC systems. For example, if you have a heat pump, you'll have to have a two-stage programmable thermostat. Or else, when room temperature drops more than a few degrees below a standard thermostat's set point, the heat pump's back-up electric resistance heating powers on, and energy savings go out your window. A 2-stage thermostat stops backup heat from turning on.

Boilers and under floor heating systems have a slow reaction time. You'll need a thermostat that monitors heating performance, and automatically changes the start up time to meet the heating requirements to your scheduled program. For those who have electric baseboard heating, you'll require a line-voltage thermostat able to contrl 120-volt or 240-volt circuits. Your HVAC specialist will help you select the right thermostat for your home heating system.

Just how much energy am I going to save?

Government figures reveal that cooling and heating costs can be decreased by about 1 % for each and every degree the thermostat is lowered (heating months) or raised (cooling months) for an 8-hour time period. To illustrate, if you set back (heating months) the thermostat eight degrees during sleeping hours, and kept that very same setting during your workday (total 16+ hours), you'd save roughly 16 percent, and maybe more, heating costs in that 24-hour period.

For additional information about programmable thermostats, email or call Sandium Heating & Air San Jose and the whole metro south SF Bay Area.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Is a Home Heater Replacement In Your Future? The Right Size Matters

When it is time to replace your home's central heat, you should make sure the new unit is the right size for your household. Putting in a correctly sized heater results in an efficient operation over the heating season. If an undersized system is installed, your house can never heat properly, and an oversized furnace will operate for only short durations without achieving optimum efficiency.

There are a few different ways to assist you in sizing your home heater replacement:

Run the numbers - The size of heater you'll need is determined by the area where you live, your average power use, and also the size of your house. Every one of these variables may be used to calculate the appropriate furnace size. Most furnace manufacturers supply similar data for you to compare your requirements to various sizes.

Check your current heater's size - Evaluate the heater currently set up in your home. Figure out if it's been meeting your heating demands or if you may require some other size.
Compare your house to others - Ask nearby neighbors with similar houses about the dimensions of their central heater. If their units are effectively heating their homes that could be a great place to begin when sizing a heater replacement.
Contact an expert - Requesting an on-site visit from a qualified HVAC tech will help you to figire out what size of furnace you'll need. An experienced technician from Sandium Heatnig & Air can visit your home, examine your current furnace, determine the necessary dimensions of a replacement unit, as well as make suggestions for system installation.

If you are considering a replacement furnace/heater contact the experts at Sandium Heating & Air. We have been dedicated to serving the HVAC needs of the south San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade and would be privileged to help you out to resolve all of your HVAC needs.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Geothermal 101

All energy comes from the sun. The sun has provided a lot of BTUs for a lot of years and the earth has absorbed and stored that energy. A closed-loop geothermal system simply removes those BTUs from the ground in the winter and gives them back in the summer.
At depths of five feet or more, the earth temperature remains close to 57 degrees, as evidenced by a cave's temperature. This temperature varies only slightly across the US.
There are 2 ways to install a geothermal unit. If digging a trench is difficult or if space is limited, geothermal contractors drill holes into the ground vertically to install small-diameter polyethylene pipe. If digging a horizontal trench is feasible, the pipe is installed in a horizontal trench.
A very small pump then circulates water from the earth to the geothermal unit and back to the ground in the closed-loop pipe. As it circulates 57-degree water in the winter, the geothermal unit, using the compressor to remove heat from the water, provides 105-degree air into the house. As the water goes back to the ground loop, it immediately starts absorbing BTUs from the earth.
In the summer, a reversing valve simply reverses the process and the compressor pumps BTUs into the ground loop.
Geothermal gives good hot air in the winter and really cold air in the summer and uses less energy than any other central heating and cooling system. So don't be a tightwad. Buy the best there is - you, your family, and your house deserve it.
For more info on geothermal units and if they would work for you please contact Sandium Heating and Air Conditioning. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Indicators that your HVAC system needs to be replaced

Manufacturers of HVAC devices and even the U.S. Department of Energy advise that it is best to automatically replace your HVAC equipment by the end of its estimated service life, typically estimated at approximately ten to fifteen years for air conditioning systems and fifteen to twenty years for a heater or boiler. Still the majority don't heed this basic advice, and given the expense of replacing these units, who could blame them? While age is a legitimate point with regards to replacement, there are several telltale signs that a unit is just too far gone, along with more general signs that may signify that replacement is wise, if not immediately necessary.


The heart for any gas furnace is the heat exchanger. It exchanges the heat from the gas burners to the air that moves through the system. If a heat exchanger forms cracks or holes, replacing the appliance is imminent. Heat exchangers can fracture if they get too hot and expand past their design limits. This can actually be brought on, over time, by filthy furnace filters, but it's quite often merely a condition of old age. Heat exchangers can be susceptible to rust if there is substantial moisture in the area or the furnace is linked to a central AC and the interior exchanger on the air conditioner has a problem with its condensate pan or drain, causing water to drip on the furnace exchanger.

Signs and symptoms that can signify a bad heat exchanger include exhaust odor in your home and soot around your heater vents in the home or surrounding the furnace itself. If you notice water beneath your furnace and/or deterioration inside the unit, have the heat exchanger checked for holes. A breach in the heat exchanger enables exhaust gases to mix with the system's circulated air and may generate dangerous amounts of deadly carbon monoxide inside your home. If your CO2 alarm sounds off during the heating season, get the furnace checked right away.


Just like furnaces, gas boilers also have heat exchangers which are vital to their performance and all around health. And if one goes south, then it's time for a new unit. In boilers, the exchanger is actually a holding chamber for water, so the telltale indication of a crack is water on the ground underneath the boiler. Boilers can even be damaged by water outside the unit, for example by frequent or extended flooding. If your boiler has lots of rust at the base, have it examined by a boiler technician.

AC Systems

Central air conditioning systems usually don't last as long as furnaces, and also their exterior parts often require more maintenance, partly because they're subjected to the elements and climate extremes. Consequently, one indicator that it's time for you to replace your AC is a high frequency of servicing. If you have to get the unit serviced or repaired a few times within a season, you should ponder whether there are systemic issues at play. A malfunctioning part or poor system installation may cause a variety of collateral damage to an air conditioning system. Fixing the cause won't reverse the damages already done to other parts. As an example, a burned out compressor is often a result of acid circulating within the system. You can replace the compressor, but if there are leaks in the system or if the acid isn't entirely eliminated, your situation can occur again.

Other indications of very worn out AC equipment are unusually high noise and decreased efficiency. Failing systems usually make some horrendous sounds, and while this may be due to a number of problems, not all of which support replacement, there is a good possibility that the issue is serious and really should be looked into. Also, if you notice noticeable reduction in efficiency, especially if you've followed a maintenance schedule, your AC could be on its way out.

Consider the Operating Cost

Because your HVAC system is the greatest energy user in your house, the expense to operate the system is a vital factor in determining when to get a new one. To give an example, think about a broken furnace that's about 7 or 8 years of age, approximately half of its estimated service life. If fixing the unit costs about half the price of a brand new unit, should you fix or replace? If you have someone fix it, you'll still have a furnace that operates pretty much at the same efficiency for the next 7 or 8 years, at the end of which you'll purchase a new unit regardless. If you upgrade now, you will have a more energy-efficient unit which will save money on energy bills over the same 7 or 8 years, meaning you will likely spend less in the end.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Be Safe When Running Your Gas Furnace

Even though the South SF Bay Area is recognized for its warmer climates the farther south you go, the winters do get very chilly, especially throughout the nights. This means that you will end up running your gas furnace throughout the winter season. Ensure that you abide by these safety tips when operating your gas furnace.

Carbon monoxide (CO) sensors - Your furnace generates a small amount of CO, which happens to be an odorless, tasteless and a gas without color, as a byproduct of its combustion process. However, if it creates too much due to a leak or inefficient operation, it could be deadly. CO detectors will alarm your household when the amount of CO in your house is too high. Make certain you don't set up a CO detector too close to your heater, as the small, safe amount of CO it typically produces might trigger the alarm.

You want to keep area clear - Don't crowd the area around your furnace with furnishings or cardboard boxes. And definitely don't have anything combustible close by. For people with children, make sure that they don't play around this area too.

Replace the filter - A clean filter permits air to circulate more effortlessly from the furnace to the rest of your house. A grimy filter will result in the furnace working inefficiently, resulting in more wear and tear.

Examine for gas leaks - If you find any gas leaks around the furnace, which you should certainly smell, call your gas company right away. They will dispatch a tech to correct the problem.

The gas meter - Never cover up your gas meter. It must be easy to get at in case you have to turn the gas off quickly in the event of an emergency.

Inspection - Have your gas heater professionally inspected prior to the peak heating season arrives. A licensed contractor will make sure it runs as efficiently and safely as possible including checking for damage.

To learn more about safely running your gas furnace, or to schedule an inspection of your furnace, email or call Sandium Heating & Air. We service the South Bay Area with the best support available.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Some Clear-cut Tips To Hiring An HVAC Company

Searching for somebody who can deliver HVAC repair, upkeep or installation solutions in the South Bay Area of California? Right here is definitely an straightforward guide to hiring the right HVAC contractor to meet your requirements.

Ask around. Almost each homeowner will need to employ an HVAC contractor sooner or later, countless of the neighbors, co-workers, loved ones or close friends will be capable to give you suggestions based on their experiences. They might advise that you make use of the identical contractor they did - or recommend that you simply not use them.

Look for testimonials or testimonials. Any fantastic HVAC contractor who has been in enterprise for awhile should have loads of satisfied clients. On line critique web pages such as Angie’s List deliver unbiased feedback from folks who have employed the business previously.

Be sure that they're NATE-certified. NATE certification ensures that their technicians are totally educated, seasoned HVAC specialists.

Ask for proof of insurance, and make certain they may be licensed. Any expert company should really be licensed and insured.

See if they do an in-home evaluation. An HVAC contractor must verify  the situation in  person, instead of over the phone. That way, they can be certain with the scope on the job and make an precise diagnosis or estimate.

Give them the information. Tell them what you understand about your equipment’s history, or any comfort problems. That way, they can be certain to fix those troubles.

Ensure they do not use shortcuts or one-size-fits-all options. The size and form of an HVAC system isn't determined by simple rules of thumb, or by assuming that it should be exactly the same because the old system. Instead, the contractor need to do the work needed to perform a load calculation and pick out the ideal remedy, in lieu of one particular which is just “close sufficient.”

Of course, for those who reside within the South SF Bay Region, you may simply call Sandium Heating & Air, an award-winning HVAC contractor with more than 10 years’ experience keeping the Bay Location comfortable. Contact us for all your HVAC service and installation desires.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Improve Furnace Performance By Using An Adjustable Rate Blower

Ramp up furnace efficiency within your South Bay location household by upgrading to a variable speed blower. With chilly winters (but not freezing cold), a variable speed blower optimizes dwelling comfort and power efficiency with slow, even heating.

Variable speed vs. single speed

The blower would be the furnace component that blows air by means of your home’s ductwork to your living space. For decades, there have been only inefficient single speed blowers accessible for homeowners. With a single speed blower, air all of a sudden blasts from the air-supply registers when the furnace powers on. It remains in one speed (higher) for the complete heating cycle. This can be neither efficient nor comfy.

A variable speed blower adjusts the quantity of air flow to precisely match the heating needs of the residence at any provided moment. It begins in low speed, and slowly increases speed till heating needs are met. 

A variable speed blower provides these advantages:

Quieter operation: Have you ever had to turn up the Tv volume when the furnace powers on as a result of the noise from registers? A variable speed motor produces substantially significantly less noise than a single speed blower.

Even heating: Slower air flow translates into extra even heating throughout your home.

Intelligent technology: Variable speed blowers adjust their speed to account for air flow restriction in ducts, filter resistance plus the location on the furnace.

Enhanced indoor air high-quality: By circulating air a lot more gradually for longer time periods, more of your indoor air is cycled by way of the air filter, which increases indoor air quality (if you adjust or clean your filter as suggested).

Furnace and power efficiency: Variable speed blowers run in reduced speed up to 90 percent of the time for moderate climates like property owners in Southern California appreciate. Variable speed motors use up to 600 % much less electricity than single speed blowers.

Zoning systems: In case you have a zoning system within your household, you will get even greater efficiency and comfort by upgrading to a variable speed blower.

For extra details about furnace efficiency, get in touch with Sandium Heating and Air. currently. We present service and installation for home owners in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernadino Counties.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Electric Air Cleaning - If You Demand Break From Seasonal Allergies

Any person experiencing seasonal allergies knows that retreating indoors does not always bring relief. In some instances, indoor air might be much more polluted than outside air. A reliable way to keep your indoor air clean and a source of allergy relief is by utilizing an electronic air cleaning system.

Electronic air cleaning systems, when combined with germicidal ultraviolet (UV) lights, are potent weapons against indoor air contaminants along with the substances that result in allergies flaring up and leading to discomfort. The air cleaners take away particulates including dust, dirt, pollen and fibers and the UV light kills organic matter and potentially dangerous microorganisms for example viruses, bacteria and mold spores.

The two most typical types of electronic air cleaners are electrostatic precipitators and ion generators. They may be installed inside the ductwork near the main HVAC unit within your home. There, all of the air that heats or cools your property also travels by way of the air cleaner.

Electrostatic precipitators use a high-voltage electrical source to charge particles in the air as they may be drawn via an ionization location. These charged particles are then attracted to flat metal collecting plates with an opposite charge, exactly where they accumulate.

Ion generators send charged ions into the airflow within your HVAC system. These ions attach to and charge particulate matter in the air. These charged particles are attracted to surfaces in your household which include walls, furniture or drapes. The particles also can attach to each other and settle onto the floor, tables, counters or other surfaces.

UV light is usually a really effective disinfectant that removes biological contaminants in the air by causing irreparable damage to an organism’s DNA, rendering it unable to reproduce. In addition to electronic air cleaning units, UV lights are placed inside the airflow of the forced-air HVAC systems, where they destroy microorganisms traveling within that airflow.

Sandium Heating & Air has provided design, installation, repair and maintenance to customers within the greater South San Francisco Bay location for far more than 10 years. Contact us today for far more information on electronic air cleaners and UV lights and how they can keep your indoor air clear of the particles that aggravate seasonal allergies.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Most Effective Protection for Your HVAC System - Regular Service

Routine maintenance and check ups are an essential part of owning any type of commercial building. The challenge for most owners is that they hold off until something fails to have their HVAC system serviced. However, it is essential that you be proactive concerning your system.

The fact is, you could look at regular maintenance service as being the best insurance plan you can get against a critical system failure. Keeping the system functioning helps you to save money because it will increase the system's performance. Are you aware that about 40 percent of your electricity bill comes from your HVAC system? By taking steps to making sure it is operating as efficiently as possible, you may see a substantial savings in your heating and cooling monthly bill.

It is definitely very easy to keep postponing regular maintenance because it feels as though you don't have enough money. But what do you do when something severe goes completely wrong? You definitely won't have the funds then either. By preventing serious problems with a small bit of money now, you'll probably avoid the need for costly fixes and longer down times down the road. Additionally, you will prolong the life of your cooling and heating system by making sure that routine servicing is performed on it.

Developing a Maintenance Schedule

Probably the greatest things you can possibly do for your commercial HVAC system is to have a maintenance schedule. It will help to keep on track for making sure that these standard maintenance jobs get accomplished. Deal with a reputable company for regular service several times of a year so that these crucial service calls don't fall through the cracks. Having a routine service plan prepared, you can count on the business you hire to call you and remind you that service on your HVAC system is due.

Follow this advice to assist you to come up with a maintenance schedule you can easily live with:

• Be sure all filters in your system are replaced each and every month. Put this on your maintenance schedule and include it in with the duties of your tech. By doing this you will not forget to change the filters.

• Schedule regular check-ups at least 2 times each year. The best times are in the fall and the springtime. These are periods of change for the temperature ranges, so you will want to make certain your hvac system is completely good to go.

• When the HVAC specialist you've hired to adhere to your maintenance schedule calls, don't wait to schedule that appointment. It's too easy to let these service things go rather than to keep on top of them. It's quite likely you'll redirect major problems later on.

There's nothing worse than an HVAC system not working, so you should do all you can to avoid that. Using a maintenance schedule and also following it is like creating your own insurance plan for your HVAC system. You help ensure that potential issues are caught early and prevent major disasters.

Let Sandium Heating & Air care for all your residential and commercial HVAC servicing. They have more than a decade's experience of creating comfort and satisfaction for home and business owners south San Francisco Bay area.