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.