Home Improvement Ideas for Fall

Fall has officially arrived and the weather will soon be getting cooler and cooler. Now is a great time to complete those home improvement projects around your home that may have been piling up. Before the winter weather sets in, start tackling your project list and don’t neglect taking care of your heating and cooling system, either. Our home improvement ideas for fall include many helpful items for your HVAC system.

#1: Replace your air filters.
This is a simple, but very important task related to home maintenance. Your indoor air quality is important and if your air filters haven’t been changed in a while, it’s likely not only making your HVAC system work harder, but it could be allowing in contaminated air into your home. Pollutants, bacteria, and other harmful airborne particles enter the air through your HVAC system and your air filters play an important role in filtering out the junk. A clean air filter will help block harmful air contaminants and keep the air you breathe clean. Change your air filters every one to two months. It you’re looking to take your air purification to a new level, consider adding an air purification system. We carry a variety of air purifiers that can kill up to 99% of harmful irritants that can circulate through the home.

#2: Upgrade your thermostat.
Your thermostat is a big part of the overall functioning of your HVAC system and if you choose to upgrade your thermostat, you’ll see some great benefits! One of the first benefits of a new thermostat is the ability for it to keep the temperature in your home accurate at all times. If your home is full of cold spots or rooms that are warmer or colder than other areas of the house, a new thermostat can help with that. Thermostats with digital displays and wi-fi control give you the control, so you can keep your home comfortable year-round. In addition, they’re energy efficient and could save you money on utility bills over the long run.

#3: Replace your system in time for fall and winter months.
If your furnace system is old and inefficient, or it’s been repaired more times than you can count, it’s probably a good idea to consider replacing it before the cold weather starts up. We can help you find a system that works well for your space as well as your budget. We carry a wide variety of gas furnaces, heat pumps, ductless systems, and more. No matter what your commercial or residential space requires, we can find one that’s right for you. A new system is an investment that is well worth it – it can bolster your quality of life and help add value to your property.

Our schedule for autumn is filling up fast, so call us today for an appointment so you can stay on top of your home improvement list!

Why should you install a ductless heating and cooling system?

Summer is over and autumn has officially started. If you’re thinking of getting a new heating system installed before the cooler weather hits, autumn is a great time to get this done. Ductless heating and cooling systems are wonderful options to meet your home comfort needs and the best part is, you can use one system all year long. This system will keep you warm in the winter months and cool during the hot summer days. Here are some reasons why you should consider putting a ductless heating and cooling system in your home this year.

Reason #1: They’re easy to install.
Our experienced team of professionals know how to get a ductless system installed quickly and efficiently, usually within just 1 to 2 days, depending on the scope of the specific job. To install the system, there will usually be a small hole in the wall to connect the indoor unit pipe to the outdoor compressor unit. You won’t need to worry about painting over anything or patching any sheetrock – it will look great once our team gets everything completed.

Reason #2: They will save energy.
Energy efficiency is very important for homeowners today. Ductless systems will not use excess energy and electricity like electric baseboard or wall heaters or other old heating systems. That means you’ll not only save energy, but you will see a savings on your utility bill each month.

Reason #3: They don’t require significant maintenance.
Don’t worry about complicated maintenance with a ductless system. Just make sure you clean the air filter on a regular basis, then call us to set up annual maintenance/tune-up appointments.  You won’t have to worry about a thing – we will check and tighten the electrical connections, make sure the parts are in good working order, and clean the air vents and humidifiers. With regular maintenance, you won’t need to worry about excessive break downs in the middle of the cold autumn and winter days.

Ductless systems can be used in a variety of different home styles and designs, no matter how big or small the space. They’re a great solution for homes because they can be configured easily, where as traditional HVAC systems can’t.

If you’re ready to make the jump and install a new ductless system, let us help with the selection and installation process. We’ll provide you with several options and go over what specific discounts or rebates are available. Our team will discuss how the system will be integrated into your home’s unique layout and we’ll work within your budget. We will also help you with the paperwork and answer any questions you might have so you are ready to go. Then, we’ll get the installation scheduled and before you know it, you’ll be ready to stay comfortable all year long!

The Cost of Replacing Your Furnace

The fall and winter seasons will be here before you know it and you’ll be relying on your furnace to stay warm, so if you’re thinking that it’s time to get your system replaced, we can help. You’ve likely spent time online doing your research on how much you will need to budget for a new system. We also get a lot of questions from people that are wondering about the total cost of replacing a furnace, so we’ve put together some helpful information that can help you determine what your final cost might be.

The first thing to consider is what type of system you’ll need. There are a lot of different heating systems on the market today, so you’ll need to do your research on which one will be right for your home. We can also help determine what is a good match for your home’s size and specific layout. Most furnaces will last between 15 and 20 years, so remember that no matter what, this is an investment for the long term.

  • Gas furnaces: Usually, a natural gas furnace can cost between $4500 and $7000.
  • Hybrid heat: This comfort system gives you the comfort of gas heat and the efficiency of a heat pump. You control the system to provide the comfort you need year-round – warmth in the winter and cool air in the summer. These systems range in price from: $13,000 to $18,000.
  • Ductless heat pumps: These are very energy efficient and have a great price point. Air-source heat pumps can sometimes be installed for less than $5,500 but can range up to $20,000 depending on the scope of work and space. Ductless heat pumps will provide heating AND air conditioning, so remember when you’re considering getting one of these, you’re getting dual comfort in one machine, making it a great investment for the long term.
  • Electric furnaces: These machines come with many features including variable speed blowers, humidity control, and so much more. They range in price from $3,000 to $5,000.

Once you’ve done your research on the different types of furnaces and types of systems that are available we can discuss with you the products that have the best ratings for efficiency. New furnace models are usually highly efficient and have ratings that are generally rated 90% or higher in energy efficiency. This translates to lower utility bills for you and overall comfort.

The final step in determining the overall price range for your new furnace system is to talk to your experienced sales team about what rebates and other money saving incentives are currently offered. Many furnaces come with warranties that could save you money down the road and others come with rebates that knock money off the price right away. There are oftentimes tax incentives and other promotions that are happening that can help offset the cost, too. By combining these deals, you can save hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

We’re happy to come out and look at your existing system and provide a free, no-pressure proposal on what a new system would cost. We’ll provide you with a variety of options and choices of equipment based on our assessment of your home and recommend which one we think could work best for your specific home’s needs. We also provide many financing options for our customers, too. We’ll help you determine which options you qualify for and assist in getting the paperwork filled out so you can get the ball rolling on the installation process. With our help, you’ll be able to get your new system set up just in time for the upcoming change in weather.  Contact us today for more information!

Take Advantage of Tax Credits!

If you’ve decided that now is the time to get a new heating/cooling system for your home, now is the time to act. State tax credits are ending this year and if you purchase now, you can save a significant amount of money.

Current offers:
-Up to $492 for furnaces
-Up to $1,200 for heat pumps
-Up to $1,300 for ductless

In addition, when you combine Cool Cash, Energy Trust of Oregon credits, and PGE credits, you can save a combined amount of up to:

-$3,700 for a heating and cooling system

-$2,800 for a ductless heat pump system

Offers end on December 31, 2017 and systems must be fully operational by April 1, 2018.

Not sure where to start when it comes to picking a system or how to go about qualifying for tax credits? Our experienced team of sales professionals can help you determine which system is right for your home and most importantly, your budget. We’ll help you figure out which credits are available and we’ll even help you figure out the paperwork, too!

Contact us today for information on what furnaces, heat pumps and ductless heat pumps are eligible and get ready to stay comfortable all year long!

Why should you check your heat exchanger for cracks?

Did you know that a cracked heat exchanger could be a very serious issue that could cause significant health issues? When we inspect furnaces, we sometimes find cracked heat exchangers or exchangers with holes in them. If this is the case, they need to be fixed right away.

What is a heat exchanger?
This is one of the most important parts of your furnace system. Simply put, the heat exchanger is the part that will heat the air. It consists of tubes and coils that are looped around. It uses fuel to combust the inside of it and creates heat to get very hot. Then, the fan/blower motor will blow the air over the heat exchanger and into your ductwork so it can be distributed around your home or office building.

If the heat exchanger is damaged – either with cracks or holes – heat exchangers could allow exhaust gas from the furnace to contaminate the air inside with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is also known as a silent killer, because it doesn’t have an odor or anything else noticeable, until it’s too late and people inside start noticing that they feel sick.

Heat exchangers are subjected to extreme temperatures as they cool and heat up the air, so the metal will expand and contract. Over time, this could cause strain on the exchanger and make it prone to cracking. It’s very important to have a furnace inspection and the beginning of autumn is a great time to get it done!  Our senior Service Technicians at Specialty Heating and Cooling will inspect all parts of your furnace, then we will use a special tool called the Inspector™ Camera to look at the heat exchanger specifically. This is the only product on the market today that uses a high definition camera and monitor to spot small cracks, rust, corrosion, or holes in furnace heat exchangers.

Contact us today to make sure your furnace is in good working order just in time for the upcoming cooler months of fall and winter.

Is your indoor air quality helping or hurting your health?

August has been an unusually hot month in the Pacific Northwest and air quality advisories for smoke and smog have been issued regularly. This type of air is harmful to breathe and over time, it could damage the lungs. But did you know that the air inside your home could be just as bad or worse than the outside air? When pollen, smoke, and other allergens are at a high in the air, you can still work to improve air quality inside. Here are some helpful tips on how to make sure your indoor air is helping your health, not hurting it.

Tip #1: Keep your system maintained.
Your HVAC system will accumulate dust and debris over time, simply by being used on a regular basis. This can definitely affect the air that is circulated throughout your home or office space. It can also impact how efficient your system is working. You should have regular professional maintenance checks done on your system. Autumn is coming soon and it’s a great time to get this done.

Tip #2: Clean and replace filters on a regular basis.
Your filters are exactly that – a filter! They filter out debris, dust, and other harmful pollutants and allergens that try to make their way into the air you breathe. Regular cleaning and/or changing the filters means you’ll notice a big difference in the air quality, especially if you live with chronic allergies or asthma.

Tip #3: Install an indoor air purifier and clean your ductwork.
If you want clean air, air purification systems and clean ductwork will help immensely.  Duct sealing with Aeroseal is one highly effective way to reduce the flow of toxins into the air you’re breathing. In addition to this, installing a quality air purifier will help improve air quality inside, too. We carry a variety of air purification systems including:

Infinity® Air Purifier: This is a top-of-the-line system that will clean the air in your entire home. It features the Capture and Kills ™ technology which catches up to 99% of airborne germs, mold, bacteria, and airborne viruses using an electrical charge to kill them. This system can kill 13 common pathogens that are known to cause sickness including the common cold, strep, and the flu.

-REME HVAC Cell:
Reflective Electro Magnetic Energy (REME) uses a state of the art electro-magentic energy cell that creates Ionized-Hydro-Peroxides™, a friendly oxidizer plasma made from oxygen and humidity. The product works 24/7, even if the fan blower is off.

If your indoor air quality is poor and you’re looking to learn more about how to improve it, we can provide you the information you need to get a new HVAC system or a new purification system in place. Our team of experienced professionals will help you find something that not only fits your home, but your budget, as well!

Tips to beat the heat

The United States National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning this week because temperatures are going to soar into the 100s! Some news stations are reporting that temperatures could reach 106 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday, and some apps are showing that it might even get hotter than that. On hot days like this, it’s very important to take care of yourself and stay cool. If you don’t, it could be very hazardous to your health. Here are some tips to beat the heat and stay cool this week and for the rest of the summer.

Tip #1: Make sure your air conditioning is serviced and in good working order.
When hot weather hits, you need your air conditioning to be reliable. When you go to turn it on, imagine how frustrated you’ll be if it doesn’t work properly! Avoid system breakdowns by keeping your air conditioning system serviced. Annual tune-ups will help make sure that all of the inside components are working well. In addition, we’ll change the filters and make sure to point out any problem spots that could end up causing an issue later in the season. We’ll offer solutions and get things ready to go so you can stay cool.

Tip #2: Keep your windows opened in the morning.
When the mornings are cool, open the windows and doors to allow for the cool breeze to permeate. As long as the weather is cool, keep the windows open. When things start to heat up, close everything up and keep the shades closed for the rest of the day. This will help keep things cool and comfortable for the rest of the day.

Tip #3: Don’t forget to drink water.
Hot days require lots of cold water! Staying hydrated is important because it allows your body the ability to cool itself and your organs will be working as they should. Even if you drink plenty of water every day, when the temperatures hit the 100s, drink even more water. Your body will be working harder to keep you cool, so replenish regularly.

Tip #4: Don’t forget your pets.
Your pets can have a hard time in the heat. Be sure that they are taken care of by keeping them out of the heat. Leave them plenty of cool water throughout the day and provide them a cool place to rest. A bed in front of the air conditioner is a nice place for your dog or cat to rest during the day!

Extreme temperatures can cause dangerous heat-related illnesses, so make sure you do what you can to stay cool.Start by contacting us today to get your air conditioning servicing appointment scheduled. This will allow you to avoid any breakdowns for the remainder of the summer, when the heat is intense! If you don’t have a reliable cooling system in place, now is the time to get something installed! Contact us today on what cooling systems could work for your budget and your home and we’ll help get you an appointment scheduled that is convenient for you!  In the meantime, stay cool!

 

 

What’s the difference between a heat pump and air conditioning?

Pacific Northwest weather gives us a little bit of everything! Some months have more rain and cold than others, but during the summer, we definitely get some hot weather that can get uncomfortable. Many homeowners have furnaces that are used during the winter, but when it comes to the summertime, they’re left with old, inefficient window air conditioners. If you’ve ever wondered what the differences are between air conditioning systems and a heat pump, and if a heat pump is right for you, we can help!

The differences between a heat pump and an air conditioner:
Both systems use indoor and outdoor coils that will transfer refrigerant. Air conditioning systems will absorb heat that passes over the indoor coil within the system, which means that during the summer, cool air is transferred to the ductwork of your home and hot air is moved out. However, heat pumps will take outside heat to warm your home and will cool it by taking the heat out in the winter and in the summer, it will remove hot air and bring cold air in – all in one system. No matter what time of year it is, a heat pump will provide the comfort you need.

Heat pumps and an air conditioner are both great choices when it comes to the wide range of options between the two for cooling your home.  Upgrading to a heat pump can be beneficial since it heats and cools the home and can save significant money on your utility bill year around, which means that the cost of the unit will likely pay for itself over time quicker than an air conditioner.

Which system is right for your home?
A new heating and cooling system for your home is an investment, but it is something that you won’t regret, because it will add value to your home and provide you and your family with a better quality of life! There are a variety of great systems that can work for your home. Here are some of our top recommendations:

Carrier 18vs Heat Pump:
This energy efficient heat pump stands out! It offers variable-speed compression that can change to as many as 5 stages. The ability to run at lower speeds means that it will be quieter and better at removing humidity from the air. It leaves temperatures even throughout the home, which allows users to get the most out of the unit’s efficiency levels. It’s also small, light, durable, and comes with a 10 year limited warranty, so you can rely on it for years to come.

Hybrid Heat:
Hybrid systems offer users the comfort of gas heat furnace with the efficiency of a heat pump. Hybrid heating systems, such as the Carrier Infinity 96 gas furnace and the Carrier Infinity 20 heat pump with Greenspeed Intelligence, are dual systems that can provide cool air and heat, making it a product you can use year round. You’ll use your gas furnace about 15% of the time during the winter months and for the rest of the time, the heat pump will keep you cool and it will cost less to operate in the long term.

Carrier Infinity 20 Heat Pump:
This unit is as quiet as a whisper and provides Greenspeed Intelligence. It comes with the highest rating for efficiency.  The variable-speed compressor allows it to adapt to the unique needs of the home and can adjust between 40 and 100% capacity.

Carrier 19 Air Conditioner:
This air conditioning model has extremely high energy efficiency and is very quiet, with sound levels as low as 56 decibels. It has superior humidity control, variable speed operation for premium comfort, and uses non-ozone depleting Puron® refrigerant. It also comes with a 10 year limited parts warranty, which offers users peace of mind in case something goes wrong.

Did you know that there are incentives and rebates available through the Energy Trust of Oregon, Portland General Electric and the State of Oregon?  With the State of Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit ending in 2017 it means now is a great time to replace your heating and cooling system!

Contact us for details on which system might be right for you and how you can benefit from the incentives that are currently active! We’ll help you figure out the details!

Why You Should Check for Air Leaks During the Summer

Summer is here! The warm temperatures are here to stay for a while and your air conditioner will be put to the test, working hard to keep you comfortable and cool each day. Did you know that the ductwork connected to your cooling system can accumulate dust and dirt, and even develop small cracks over time that leak air? This translates to air that isn’t as clean and a lot of wasted energy if it’s not discovered quickly. In addition, this makes your system work harder and it can negatively impact the efficiency of your system and could cause unnecessary breakdowns.

Here’s why you should check for air leaks this summer:

The ductwork in your home plays a big role in the overall comfort and temperature inside. When leaky ducts are present, air can’t reach the rooms in your home quickly and your system has to work harder to reach the designated temperature. Unsealed ductwork can also cost you money. An HVAC system that’s working hard makes the operating components worn down. This means it costs more to run and has to run for longer periods of time.

Your ductwork usually runs through the dustiest and dirtiest parts of your home, including the crawlspace. When there are leaks in the ducts, dirty air particles that are full of dust, harmful debris, or bacteria can get inside of your home and that means you and your family are breathing contaminated air that could be damaging to your airway and health.

We’re proud to be a licensed contractor that offers Aeroseal duct sealing. Aeroseal is a patented solution that has a 98% success rate for homeowners, making it an affordable way to fix leaks from the inside out. Aeroseal technology blows microscopic particles of sealant into the ductwork of your home and they form bonds into the holes and cracks of the ductwork. It’s an instant fix and you’ll notice a difference immediately in the even cooling of your home. In addition, you’ll likely see a difference in your utility bills because less energy is being wasted!

Don’t delay on having your home’s ductwork checked for leaks and holes. Contact us today to find out more information about our experience helping customers around Oregon with Aeroseal duct cleaning. Need to replace or repair an HVAC system for your home or office space? We can help with that too, so contact us today!

How to Improve Air Conditioning Efficiency

 Summer has officially arrived and that means your air conditioner will be put to good use. Did you know that heating and cooling bills make up at least half of your total utility expenses each month? Here are some helpful ways to improve air conditioning efficiency in your home this summer.

Tip #1: Keep blinds and curtains closed during the day.
When the sun is at its hottest, it will permeate into the windows of your home, heating up each room. To keep your air conditioner from working less, keep the blinds and curtains in your home closed during the heat of the day.

Tip #2: Keep the outdoor unit clean.
If you have a lot of debris, leaves, grass, or other buildup around the outside unit of your air conditioning system, this could cause debris to build up on the inside and clog the inner workings of the machine. Not only will this mean that the system has to work harder to keep you cool, but it could cause an unnecessary breakdown. Next time you’re out doing yardwork, make sure you make time to clear away any debris around the outside area of your air conditioning system.

Tip #3: Keep lamps and other heat producers away from your thermostat.
Lamps and other appliances produce heat, and if they are located near a thermostat, your thermostat will mistakenly tell the air conditioning unit that your home needs to be cooled more. This could cause unnecessary extra work for the air conditioner, so make sure you keep heat producing items clear of any thermostats.

Tip #4: Keep your filters cleaned.
The primary job of your air conditioning filters is to keep everything running at peak efficiency. In addition, keeping your filters cleaned means that you’ll be breathing cleaner air. Make sure you clean or replace your filters on a regular basis.

Tip #5: Keep your furnace maintained.
Don’t neglect scheduling an annual service appointment. If you don’t take care of your HVAC system over the long haul, it won’t last as long as it normally would and could break down, right when you need it most. What will the appointment include? We’ll do some simple preventative maintenance on it, which could include checking the inside components, cleaning/replacement of the air filters, and we will also double check that there are no repairs to be made or parts to be replaced.

Tip #6: Keep your ducts clean.
Dirty and dusty ductwork is known to restrict airflow. So, if your ducts are clogged with dust, debris, and other contaminants, your system is probably working harder than it needs to. This means you’re using more energy than you really need to and you’ll likely see an increase in your utility bill. The ductwork in your home plays a big role in home comfort. Here’s how we can help: we’re proud to be a licensed contractor that offers Aeroseal duct sealing. Aeroseal is a patented solution that has a 98% success rate. This is an affordable solution that can fix leaks from the inside out and the best part is: you will notice a difference right away!

When your system works hard, it can be tough on the machine and all of its parts, therefore shortening the overall lifespan of the unit. So, understanding how to keep your air conditioning running at its peak is one key to keeping it running efficiently for many years to come. We have a long stretch of heat coming to Oregon in the next week, so make sure you get your appointment scheduled soon so you can stay cool for the rest of the summer with no problems!