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 It is able to work with most HVAC system brands and it’s a perfect option if you’re looking to get rid of your outdated and inefficient thermostat.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.

10 HVAC Terms You Should Know

 

The HVAC industry has a lot of different terms that can be confusing if you don’t know what they mean. As a homeowner, there are some HVAC terms you should know. Here are the top 10.

  1. HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)
    This is a term used to measure the efficiency of air source heat pumps and many times, air conditioners are rated by the HSPF. The higher the HSPF rating on a unit, the more energy efficient it is.
  2. SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)
    This term is used to rate the efficiency of air conditioners. The rating of the unit is calculated by the cooling output during a cooling season divided by the total electrical energy input during that season. The higher the unit is rated, the more energy efficient it is.
  3. MERV
    This stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is a measurement scale used to rate the effectiveness of air filters. The ratings are from 1 to 16 and it’s primarily used to show the worst-case performance of a filter when dealing with harmful air particles that are captured. For example, a MERV 16 filter could capture more than 95% of the particles.
  4. HVAC
    Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are used to offer comfort for users and help provide cleaner indoor air. The technology relies on mechanical engineering, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer.
  5. BTU
    The British Thermal Unit is a unit of heat that is part of the British Imperial unit system. It’s defined as the amount of heat that is needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
  6. Ton
    A ton is the cooling capacity of an air conditioning system. One ton is equal to the amount of heat that is needed to melt one ton of ice in a 24-hour time span. An air conditioner that is one ton would be rated at 12,000 BTU per hour.
  7. CFM
    This stands for cubic feet per minute is a measurement used to show the velocity at which air flows in or out of an area. To measure how much a room needs for heating, you would multiply the room’s volume by the number of times the heated air gets changed hourly, then divide that number by 60 to get the amount of CFM that’s needed.
  8. Hybrid Heat
    A hybrid heat system responds to fluctuating temperatures and automatically adjusts to the most energy saving method available to heat or cool a home. This is often used as a fuel-saving alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems.
  9. Variable Speed
    This term refers to the furnace’s indoor blower motor that will move at different speeds to accurately control the flow of heated and cooled air around the home.
  10. Modulating
    Modulating furnaces reduce temperature variations and provide consistent indoor temperatures and quiet operations. They are also known to have a fuel efficiency rate up to 98% which means that the fuel is used more efficiently and you’ll see less energy costs associated with using it.

If you have additional questions on HVAC terms and what it means for you and your home, contact our experienced team of professionals at Specialty Heating & Cooling today!

Signs that your ductwork needs to be sealed

It can sometimes be difficult to determine if your ductwork is leaking air. How do you really know that your ductwork is in need of sealing, especially when many of the ducts are unseen behind ceilings, walls, and floors? Here are some warning signs and common indicators that mean you should call us for duct sealing services.

Sign #1: Reduction in airflow.
A small hole in a portion of your ductwork could mean the airflow inside has been reduced significantly. When you notice that there isn’t as much airflow coming from the vents, it may mean that there is a leaking issue in the ducts that needs to be addressed.

Sign #2: High utility bills.
When the air pressure drops in your home, your HVAC system will need to work harder to reach the temperature you want in the home. This means that you’ll likely see an increase in your heating/cooling bills.

Sign #3: Unusual smell coming from the vents.
If there are any holes in your ductwork, they will many times appear in places that are dusty or musty, including crawl spaces or in between walls. The air in these areas usually don’t smell good, so you may notice unpleasant smells coming from the ductwork. If you notice this smell on a regular basis, call the professionals right away to do some investigating, as this air could be contaminated with harmful particles that you do not want to breathe.

If any of these things are happening in your home, do not delay in contacting HVAC professionals. Ignoring these warning signs could be harmful to your heating/cooling system, but your health as well. Even if there is not a leak in your ductwork, there could be other issues somewhere else in your HVAC system that need to be addressed.

The ductwork in your home plays a crucial role, especially when it comes to inside air quality. We’re proud to be a licensed contractor that offers Aeroseal duct sealing for clients around the area. 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!

Contact us today for more information on how duct sealing can help you breathe cleaner air and stay comfortable all year long.

What are the different ways to finance your heating and cooling system?

If you’ve been contemplating upgrading your heating and cooling system, 2017 is the year to do it…especially if you love discounts and tax credits! Everyone appreciates saving money, especially when it comes to a big home improvement purchase. We have a variety of incentives, financing options, and tax credits that are ready and available for our customers this year.

Tax Credits:
There are a variety of state tax credits and energy rebates that can add up to substantial savings when it comes to replacing or upgrading your current heating and cooling system in your home. Gas furnaces are eligible for $352 or $492 in state tax credits this year, while ducted and ductless heat pumps could receive between $800 and $1300, depending on which system you get. PGE and Energy Trust of Oregon provide incentives as well.

  • Save up to $2,775 on a high efficiency Carrier Greenspeed system
  • Save up to $2,300 on a ductless heat pump system
  • Save up to $850 on a new high efficiency furnace

Visit our special offers page for more details and current incentives that are available.

Financing your system:
We’re dedicated to making your furnace replacement as hassle-free as possible. In addition to these great tax incentives and rebates, we also provide great financing options. We’re proud to partner with competitive financial institutions to offer some easy finance options that are available on approved credit that includes:

  • 0% Interest with payments over a specific timer period, 12, 18 and 60 months. Minimum monthly payments are required. 
  • Low monthly payment fixed rate programs (APR 7.49% on approved credit for 144 months)
  • No Payment and No Interest for 6 or 12 months

We’re happy to provide you with all of the details about each financing option so you can be sure you’re getting what works best with your monthly budget. 

Annual maintenance discounts:
Don’t forget about your annual maintenance that is very important for the longevity of your heating and cooling system and by manufactures to meet warranty requirements.  For improved air quality and comfort, as well as peace of mind knowing that the professionals have taken care of your HVAC system, we’re offering a special offer for your first annual maintenance appointment! Regularly valued at $189.95, you can now receive this service for $164.95. This is for first time customers of this service. Act today, because the offer ends February 28, 2017.

If you’re unsure of where to start, our team of specialized HVAC professionals will take a look at your home and give you options on which heating and cooling system would work best for your home’s layout. More importantly, we’ll help you find something that fits within your budget, we’ll help you determine which credits are available, and we even submit the required rebate and incentive forms for you.  2017 is your year to save thousands of dollars on a new system and stay comfortable at the same time!

Why isn’t my furnace keeping up with the cold?

Winter in the Pacific Northwest this year has gotten off to a cold start. Snow has already fallen and school has already been cancelled for several days! If the cold has hit your home hard and your furnace just isn’t producing enough heat to keep up with the cold days of winter, don’t panic. Here are some reasons why your furnace system might not be working at maximum efficiency.

#1: There’s a thermostat problem.
If your home is cold, it very well could be that there is a problem with your thermostat that is causing the problem. First of all, check your power source. Next, be sure that the area around the thermostat is clean. Clean up any dirt, dust, or cobwebs that may have formed around the inside of the thermostat. If there is debris buildup, this could contribute to the electrical or mechanical malfunctions. When you’re cleaning it, do not get it wet, just simply use a soft and clean brush to clean it. If your thermostat is old, it could mean that it’s time to replace it completely. Old thermostats not only break down, but they also waste energy. There are a variety of programmable thermostats that are available now and they’re easily connected to your HVAC system.

#2: The filters need replacement.
Be sure that your filters are replaced regularly. Old, dirty filters can cause your system to slow down and sometimes, malfunction completely. New filters will allow your furnace to work at its peak and provide maximum airflow to your home whenever you need it.

#3: Inside components are dirty.
It’s a good idea to inspect the inside components of your system for any dust, dirt, or other debris build up. Over time, this build up can contribute to decreased efficiency and sometimes it can cause the system to break down prematurely.

#4: The system has not been tuned up.
Regular HVAC tune ups are key to maintaining an HVAC system that works well for many years. You should have your system checked and tuned up by HVAC professionals once a year at least. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to get your system checked out and ready to tackle the rest of the seasons in 2017.

If you want our experienced service team to take a look at your system and determine why it’s not keeping up with the cold weather, contact us today for an appointment. Or, if you know your system is old and simply not cut out to keep you and your family warm this winter and you’ve decided that this is the year to install a new heating system, our friendly and non-pushy sales team is happy to find a great system that will fit your home and your budget.

#SHCJingleContest voting is now open!

This autumn, Specialty Heating & Cooling began their first jingle contest, calling schools and local youth organizations for participation by asking them to create their own version of the Specialty Heating & Cooling song. We waited for the creativity to start flowing and we got some amazing entries from some talented young people around The Portland metro area!

Entry #1: Oregon City High School Choir
Led by teacher Julia Voorhies, this award-winning choir came in strong with their entry. Not only were the vocals on point, but the videography was impressive, too! This well-known vocal program has performed in front of various audiences and has even traveled to Ireland to perform! The school has a rich history in Oregon, having been founded in 1885 and has been recognized with an outstanding AYP (adequate yearly progress) rating for the last three years by the Oregon Department of Education.
Check out their entry here.

Entry #2: Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls:
This one of a kind entry came from a talented group of girls that rocked it…literally! This is a non-profit organization headquartered in Portland that gives girls of various ages the chance to build their self-esteem through creating and performing music. The organization started in 2001 by a Portland State University student as a summer day camp and today, it’s going strong, working with dozens of girls every year. Check out their entry here.

Entry #3: Oregon Youth Chorale:
The Oregon Youth Chorale came in ready to showcase their creativity with their “cool hot cool hot” sound! Sandra Miller is the founder and artistic director of the program and has put her outstanding experience and education in music to work in teaching this choir. The choral group tours around Oregon and they have even presented concerts in Austria, Italy, and France. Check out their entry here.

Voting is open, so you can head over to our page and VOTE NOW for your favorite rendition of our jingle! The 1st place winner will receive $5,000 and a chance to appear in a major television ad campaign. The 2nd place winner will receive $2,500 and 3rd place will take home $1,000! The winner is selected January 4th!