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!

Product of the Month: Flood Buzz Pro

Water leaks or floods: nobody wants to have one! If you’ve ever had a water leak, you know the damage they can cause. They’re expensive and time consuming, and can also cause significant damage in your home or commercial building. Our new product of the month, the Flood Buzz Pro, can help alert you of a water leak before damage is caused. Here’s how it works.

The Flood Buzz Pro is an alarm that serves as an important tool that can alert people of water leaks so they can get it repaired before a large amount of damage is done. As soon as the prongs sense a possible water leak, it will sound immediately with a loud 110 decibel alarm. We are proud to carry the Flood Buzz FBP-O1, which prongs to the ground and can be used in a variety of applications. Simply apply it near a potential water leak source, such as: toilets, water heaters, sink cabinets, sump pumps, laundry rooms, hydronic heating, and window/door ledges. Once it’s installed, it will last for three years.  It’s the lowest cost water leak alarm currently on the market today!

Here are some other benefits of the Flood Buzz Pro:

-Low price & reusable
-Can help prevent dry rot
-Works in apartment buildings, homes, commercial buildings, or warehouses
-Can help prevent mold problems before they start

We are proud to be an authorized sales representative for this product! It’s a perfect addition to any home, apartment, or commercial building and could potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run.  Learn more about the Flood Buzz here:

Contact us today for information on getting one installed!

HVAC Maintenance To-Dos For June

June has arrived and the amazing weather will be here to stay for a while. The heat will become a regular part of each day and that means your HVAC system needs to be up for the challenge of keeping you and your family cool throughout the season. Here are some important to-do items for June that should be put on your checklist.

  • Check air filters: During the months that you’re using your cooling system a lot, your filter should be checked and cleaned regularly. Your filter helps keep contaminants and other harmful toxins out of the air you breathe, so it’s important to keep it clean and/or replaced regularly for optimal efficiency. In addition, filters will help protect the system and keep it working for optimal home comfort. Unless you have an advanced filtration system in place, the main function of the filter is to protect the system.
  • Inspect air registers and vents: Blocking vents and air registers inside your home can cause your system to work harder than it needs to, and it can also block air flow and circulation, causing uneven temperatures throughout your home.
  • Keep debris away from the outside unit: Spring is a great time to get outside and clean up your yard. While you’re out there, be sure to remove any debris, branches, or other shrubbery that could interfere with the outside air conditioning unit or heat pump. Over time, debris, leaves, and dirt can get inside the system and clog it, causing unnecessary problems.
  • Keep your thermostat at the desired temperature: Don’t allow your home to get too hot. Keep your thermostat set at the temperature that you feel most comfortable all day and night. If you don’t, the air conditioner will have to work harder to cool your house down and that translates to increased energy use in addition to putting strain on your machine.
  • Schedule your 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. To ensure that your system operates well all year long, it’s very important to schedule annual service appointments with our team. We’ll do some simple preventative maintenance on it, which could include checking the inside components, cleaning/replacement of air filters, and double check that there are no repairs to be made or parts to be replaced.

Whether you live in a newly built home or an older home, our service technicians are experienced in servicing a variety of systems and brands. Contact us today to make sure you have your service appointment scheduled in time for the June weather!

National Heat Awareness Day Is Coming!

Springtime is here and before you know it, summer in the Pacific Northwest will be in full swing. Summer weather brings people out of their homes and into the warmth of the sun. While it’s a wonderful time of year to get outside and experience the great outdoors, the heat can also lead to a lot of weather related deaths and illnesses. Every year on the last Friday of May, National Heat Awareness Day is observed, which means we take time to stop and remind people to take care of themselves during the spring and summer heat. This year, National Heat Awareness Day is May 26.

When the Pacific Northwest experiences high heat or humidity, the National Weather Service may issue some advisories:

-Excessive heat watch
-Excessive heat warning/advisory
-Excessive heat outlook

When the heat starts to crank up, take precautions to stay cool by avoiding drinking alcohol, reducing your intake of sugar and caffeine, and avoid physical exertion. Find a place to cool off and increase how much water you’re drinking on those hot days. Babies and elderly individuals should all be especially careful, as their bodies cannot adjust to temperature fluctuations as well. Here are some other tips on how to avoid health problems related to heat.

-Keep your air conditioning tuned up regularly so it’s ready to turn on when the weather gets hot
-Use fans in areas where air conditioning isn’t an option
-Wear hats and sunblock to avoid direct sun exposure
-Wear loose, light clothing
-Increase your intake of cold water
-Stay in the shade as much as you can
-Talk to your doctor about illnesses that can increase your risk of heat-induced reactions or illnesses

In addition, don’t forget to take care of your pets when the heat strikes. Keep them indoors and as cool as possible. Keep fresh, cold water available for them at all times and if they do need to be outside, provide a cool place of shelter where they can get out of the heat.

Is your cooling system ready to keep you cool for the rest of the spring and summer? If not, contact us today for a tune-up or to talk about your options on what air conditioning system is right for your home. Perhaps you simply just need a new programmable thermostat that will help you better regular the function of your home’s cooling system. Act now, because there are a variety of rebates and incentives available on select systems that can help you save money and help you stay comfortable for years down the road.

Why you should service your commercial HVAC system in the spring

Spring is here and so far, it’s been a great mix of sun and rain.  Springtime brings lots of “spring cleaning” and other opportunities to catch up on de-cluttering or servicing parts in your office or commercial space. Maintenance of your commercial HVAC system is just as important as maintaining other equipment in your office. In addition, proper maintenance will save on energy bills and will help you avoid expensive repairs when you need your HVAC system the most.

Reason #1: Peak efficiency.
Commercial buildings use a lot of energy and that means you’re likely paying a significant amount of money on your company’s utility bill. If you want to cut costs, service your HVAC system and make sure everything is in good working order. If your system is old and out of date, the equipment is less efficient and may have hidden costs in the long run.

Reason #2: Enhanced comfort.
If your system has not been properly taken care of, chances are it’s working harder than it needs to and you may have hot or cold spots throughout your commercial space.   And because spring brings warmer weather, you’ll likely be looking for ways to keep you and your employees and customers comfortable with consistent temperatures, great indoor air quality, and humidity control.

Reason #3: The condenser needs to be cleared.
Over the winter, debris, dirt, and leaves can build up around the unit. Head outside and clear any debris off that you see and make sure nothing as built up inside the condenser area. If dirt or debris build up accumulates over time, it could cause damage to the inner components of the machine and could mean you’ll have to come up with money for an unexpected costly repair.

Reason #4: Changing filters will help prolong the life of the system.
You should change your commercial HVAC system filter on a regular basis. This will help extend the life of your HVAC unit and will also help it operate at peak efficiency. If you’re not sure how to change the filter, ask one of our HVAC professionals during your preventative service appointment to show you.

There’s no better time to make an appointment for your preventative maintenance service appointment with our experienced team of professionals. Spring is a busy time and appointment times are filling up fast, so call and get on the books today. If you’re interested in upgrading your heating and cooling system so it’s ready to tackle the heat of the Pacific Northwest summer, we can help with that, too. Call us today for more information.

 

How to choose the right programmable thermostat

On the hunt for a new programmable thermostat for your home? It may seem like a small detail, but choosing the right thermostat for your house is more important than you might think. There are a variety of different programmable thermostat options on the market today, but which one is right for your space? Here are some helpful tips on how to choose the right one.

Some thermostat models will allow you to change settings between heating and air conditioning as needed and you can change the temperature to whatever feels comfortable throughout the day. Programming the temperature to turn off or on at certain parts of the day depending on when you need it, can help save money and energy. For instance, if you’re at work during the majority of the day, there is no need for the heat or air conditioning to be running at full speed all day. A programmable thermostat will allow you to turn the system off or on a lower temperature while you’re out, then you can program it to turn back on shortly before you come home so it’s comfortable when you arrive. In addition, a lot of programmable thermostats have WiFi capability, allowing you to access your thermostat via your phone. This is becoming more and more popular with homeowners as the “smart home” movement continues to evolve. When you’re looking for a new thermostat, consider what features are must-haves so you’re not left wanting something more.

One of our favorite programmable thermostats available today is the Côr™ thermostat by Carrier. This is a wireless programmable thermostat that can save you up to 20% on your cooling and heating bills year round. It is able to work with most HVAC system brands and it’s a perfect option if you’re looking to get rid of your outdated and inefficient thermostat. Here are some other great features of the Côr™ thermostat

  • 7-day programmability with Guided Scheduling, Comfort Profiles, and Touch-N-Go® Feature
  • Heating/Cooling Smart Setback
  • Super Dehumidification, Cool to Dehumidify
  • Comfort Heat Pump System™ Feature
  • Auxiliary Heat During Defrost
  • Fan Optimization
  • Indoor humidity sense and display
  • Local 4-day weather forecast

If you decide that this thermostat will work well for your space, contact us today! You don’t need to worry about installing it for your home or office. Our team of experienced HVAC professionals can install the new thermostat quickly and efficiently. You’ll be set up for maximum comfort and energy savings, no matter what the weather is doing outside.

Why you should schedule your service appointment during spring cleaning

 

Spring is officially here and it’s a great time for homeowners to de-clutter and organize their home to get it ready for the longer, warmer days. If you want to help reduce harmful allergens and breathe cleaner air, it’s a great idea to get your HVAC system serviced. The air inside your home can often times be more polluted than the outside air, but if you take care of your heating and cooling system, you can keep healthy throughout the year.  In addition, if you maintain your equipment well, you will prevent future problems and other unexpected costs later down the road. Routine yearly maintenance appointments are important and necessary.

We’ll check your thermostat settings to make sure it’s accurate and able to keep you comfortable throughout the spring and summer months. If the thermostat works in tandem with your furnace system, it will save energy. This translates to a lower utility bill and a healthier environment.  We’ll also check the moving parts and electrical components/connections in your system. If the system has any sort of defects – especially electrical – it could pose a safety threat or ruin the overall lifespan of the system and the larger components that help it run.

Our maintenance plans are a cost effective to keep your system running at its peak. With our maintenance plans, you’ll receive a 15% discount on all repairs, you’ll get priority scheduling, your system’s filters will be replaced, and you’ll get 24 hour/7 day emergency service. We will service and repair all brands, so no matter what you have in your home, we can work on it!

Regular maintenance for your home’s heating and cooling system is just like changing the oil in your car or going to the doctor for regular check-ups. You’ll notice energy savings, enhanced comfort, better air quality, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that professional HVAC professionals have taken care of your system!

We offer easy payment options and are ready to get your system serviced. Contact us today for more details.

How much does it cost to add on air conditioning?

Spring has officially arrived and that means you’ll probably find yourself dreaming of sunny, warm days. Springtime will bring warmer weather, but when summer hits, you’ll want to be prepared and make sure that you’re ready with air conditioning that will keep you cool. If you’re considering adding on air conditioning for your home this year, you can expect to spend between several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the unit that you have installed.  The size of your home will determine the type of air conditioning system that you need. There are several main types of systems including window units, ductless min-split systems, portable units, and central systems. Window units are generally the least expensive, but are not usually efficient enough to cool the entire house.  A new central system is usually the costliest, but will pay off when it comes to keeping you and your family cool throughout the season. Here are some other factors that are important to consider when choosing an air conditioner.

Factor #1: Quiet.
Noisy air conditioning units are annoying. A quiet system is an important feature of a new system and will help you enjoy it more. Sound level is an especially important factor for homeowners that are part of a strict HOA or for those living in townhomes or condos that may share walls. Quiet systems mean you won’t be interfering with any neighbors.

Factor #2: Energy efficiency.
Your air conditioning system will require significant energy use, so when you’re looking for options on what is right for your home, make sure that the units have high energy efficiency ratings. If the unit has high Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) numbers, you’ll get a product that has been rated high in energy efficiency. This translates to big savings on your utility bill and it will also make less of a negative impact on the environment.

Factor #3: Size
If you’re not sure what size air conditioning unit you need, our team at Specialty Heating & Cooling can help! Choosing the right size plays a key role in the overall temperature and comfort of your home. We are happy to come out and take a look at your home, determine what size would be best, and give you a quote on which units could work best for the layout.

Not sure where to begin? We can help! Our team is knowledgeable on what air conditioning units may be best for your home and your budget. There are also a variety of rebates and incentives happening in 2017, which makes it a great time to upgrade your system. Once you decide to get a new system installed, our team of installers will be out there and will typically have it all installed in just one day. That means you’ll have your new cooling system in place no matter what the spring and summer weather brings.

 

How Does Indoor Air Quality Effect Seasonal Allergies?

Springtime is almost here and that usually means that allergies and asthma will start in again for those that deal with it every year. Those that live with regular allergies know that it can be difficult to breathe, uncomfortable, and in the end, be a true physical drain. No matter how hard you try, irritants make their way into the air and allergies are inevitable. If you dust and clean your home and office regularly and limit your exposure to allergens that are known to bother you, but still struggle with allergy attacks, here’s how HVAC systems and air filters can work to help clean the air and rid it of potential allergens. The result: cleaner, more breathable air.

A new, energy efficient HVAC system can effectively filter and clean the air all day, which can make a big difference in the reduction of allergy symptoms. If your system doesn’t have an air purifying system in place already, there are air filters that can be added easily to most systems.

How do air purifiers help bolster indoor air quality?

Air purifiers use filters that rid the air of allergens and other pollutants, including mold spores, pollen, pet dander, and many more. In fact, some filters, such as the Infinity Air Purifier, can even capture and kill viruses and bacteria, which means you’ll stay healthier throughout the year. When you start researching air filtration systems, make sure they meet HEPA (high efficiency particulate absorption) standards. This means that the filters meet strict guidelines that filter both large and small particles that circulate through the air. HEPA filters offer cleaner, breathable air for your space.

If you don’t want to be sneezing or sniffling all spring, call us and ask us to introduce you to some air filtration systems that could work with your existing system. We also provide a variety of other indoor air quality solutions including duct cleaning, duct sealing with Aeroseal, and the outstanding Air Scrubber system that uses ActivePure™ technology that purifies the area through germicidal UV light. Proper ventilation and the ridding of harmful allergens is key to reducing your allergy symptoms this year. Want to know more? Give your respiratory system a break this year and contact our team at Specialty Heating & Cooling to help you find a system that will put you on track for a healthier, allergy-free life!

Should you repair or replace your heating & cooling system?

Your heating and cooling system is put to the test every year when the cold weather hits. Then when the summer starts in, it works hard to keep your home cool and comfortable. If your heating and cooling system is older and you’re wondering if you should repair or fully replace it, here are some tips.

Tip #1: Don’t wait for your heating and cooling system to break down.
Whether it happens in the next few weeks or when the hot days of summer are upon us, your outdated HVAC system isn’t built to last forever. Once it breaks down, you’ll be left in a lurch, trying to find help to get it repaired or replaced and this can be stressful. A broken down system could also be a safety hazard. Furthermore, when your system is broken and you are forced to replace it, you may not have time to research your options and find the best system within your budget. This can add another level of frustration or stress to the process.

Tip #2: Add up the cost of repairs.
Have you had your system repaired often in the last few months or years? It’s likely that the cost of those repairs is adding up quickly and over time, you’ll need to weigh if it’s worth the cost of continual repairs versus biting the bullet and just replacing the whole system.

Tip #3: Start researching.
If your system is 15 years old or more, it’s likely that a full replacement is needed. If you replace your unit before it breaks down, you’ll have time to do your research and read up on the various heating systems that are available right now. We are proud to carry a variety of affordable systems that will keep you comfortable in the upcoming months and years.

Not sure which one is right for your home? We’re happy to come take a look at your home or office and assess what system would work best for the space and most importantly, your budget guidelines. Our experienced team is well-versed in a variety of heating and cooling systems. This year, there are a variety of tax credits, utility incentives and manufactured rebates that can help offset the cost.  In addition, we have a wide range of financing options available if you need it. With the right unit in place, you’ll be ready for a more comfortable, more enjoyable seasons in the years ahead.