Digital theromostats vs Mercury

Thermostats are a widely overlooked path to energy savings for homes and businesses. If you still have an older style mercury thermostat located in your home or business it is time to change to digital. Digital stats are much more efficient by the nature of their design. Instead of using mechanical components that wear over time digital thermostats incorporate electrical circuits and components which remove mechanical failure. Digital thermostats are accurate within a plus or minus one degree range whereas mercury thermostats can be extremely inaccurate. Mercury thermostats use a bi-metal coil which expands and contracts as temperature changes. This is the function that causes a mercury thermostat to cut on and cut off your HVAC system. A digital stat uses a thermistor which changes in resistance as temperature changes. Thermistors react almost instantly to the temperature change resulting in much more efficient operation of your equipment. On the other hand the bi-metal component on mercury stats reacts slowly to temperature change.
Do your business or home a favor and replace any mercury thermostats you may have and you will see a difference in your utility bill. I do not suggest this under the guise of being “GREEN” or economically friendly, but simply doing what makes sense and just happens to help you save a little money. Some businesses can have multiple units which will mean multiple thermostats. If all the thermostats are mercury this is an opportunity to save big. Let’s say you have a total of six HVAC systems which means six thermostats. If you were to change all six mercury thermostats to digital you are looking at some serious savings. Depending on whether you use them to do setback or not you will see significant savings.
If this all seems a little too overwhelming do not be discouraged from saving money with a new digital thermostat installation. Simply have a no frills digital thermostat installed and you will be off to the “races”. In addition, no matter how easy an individual believes it to be have a professional HVAC company sell and install the thermostat for you. By doing this you will get the right thermostat for your system type and the correct installation. The company should also walk you through the operation of your new thermostat and address any concerns you may have.

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How an Air Conditioner Works

Most people have no idea the role that air conditioners play in their lives. We take them totally for granted but the fact is that our lives would be absolutely miserable if we did not have them. Having said that, its funny how many people have no earthly idea how the system that keeps them comfortable throughout half the year. The majority of the public has little clue about what their central air conditioning system comprises of or how, in fact, it produces the cold air that circulates throughout their house.
First, you need to understand that your air conditioner is comprised of two main parts. They are the condenser and the evaporator. Lines and air ducts connect the two.
Lets start with the condenser. This is the square box on the outside of your house. It is comprised of your refrigerant, a compressor and a fan blower. The refrigerant is compressed from a gas state to a liquid state. When this happens it gets pretty hot. The fan above it acts as a radiator and cools it.
The refrigerant, in its liquid state, then travels through special copper coils to the inside of your house, into the evaporator. Inside the evaporator it totally cools the hot air that has been pulled from the house. Once the air is cooled there is a fan blower that circulates it through the air ducts and back into all the rooms of a home or a building.
Hot air is lighter than cold air so it rises. Most of the hot air is high off the ground so top vents in your home suck the hot air out of a room and cold air is blown through the bottom vents. The hot air that is sucked through vents is brought back into the evaporator to be re-cooled and re-circulated throughout your home. Most of the air in your home is reused again and again and is chilled, or cooled, again and again. That is the reason why its nice to have a humidifier of some sort because the air can become dry after some time as all the moisture is taken out of it.
When people have problems with their A/C system is usually boils down to two issues. The coils that take the refrigerant from the condenser to the evaporator are dirty, and therefore clogged, or the system is low on refrigerant and the air is not being chilled adequately. Each one of those problems can be fixed rather easily though it is always recommended that you have a certified heating and cooling service repairman add any refrigerant to your system, should it require it, as the substance is highly toxic

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Why is my furnace not heating correctly and what to do about it

When winter arrives you should be able to heat your home without worrying about the cost. Everyone deserves to be comfortable, but the fact of the matter is that many people have inefficient heating systems that are more expensive to operate than they should be. We want our clients to be able to maintain comfortable temperatures in their homes year round without racking up high energy bills. If you find that your San Diego Heating unit is not heating well and is costing too much to operate, here are some possible reasons why.

One of the major causes of Heaters inefficiency is one of the most simple. Some heating systems are simply too old to provide your home with the efficient heating performance that you need. Modern heaters have pretty long lifespans, but it is important to accept the fact when your heater is no longer able to keep up with the demand you place on it. When your heating systems gets to this point it will wind up costing you more to have it repaired and to continue its operation than it will to invest in a new, more efficient heater. Have your heaters inspected and evaluated by a professional service technician. It may be worth the initial expense of the heater to get the benefits of an efficient heating system.

If your furnace is not that old there are a number of factors that can reduce its efficiency. One of the main problems that we come across is an improperly sized furnace. It’s pretty obvious that an undersized furnace will not be able to heat your home efficiently, but many people do not realize that an oversized furnace can be just as ineffective. If your furnace brings the temperature in your home up too quickly it will shut off and come back on too frequently, which is known as short cycling. This puts unnecessary wear and tear on your furnace as well as reducing efficiency and indoor air quality.

Whatever the problem with your furnace, the best defense you have against inefficiency is regular, professional maintenance. There is simply no better alternative than routine maintenance to keep your furnace working as efficiently as possible. There are too many possible causes for furnace inefficiency, from poor installation to damaged ducts and even poorly placed thermostats, to diagnose and resolve the issue on your own. Do yourself a favor this heating season, call and expert to make the needed repairs to save money in the long run.

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Helpful tips in hiring an air conditioning or heating contractor

Choosing The Right heating or air conditioning Contractor
Not All Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors Are Created Equal!
Choosing the right HVAC contractor can mean the difference between an installation of your heating and air conditioning system that goes smoothly and provides years of trouble-free comfort and one that winds up costing you thousand in wasted money and aggravation. Before you search for a contractor, you must do some homework about your specific job. Your goal isn’t to become a technical expert, but you want to learn enough to ask the right questions and evaluate the answers.
Research Your Options
Your neighbor had a great experience with one contractor and your co-worker had a terrible experience with another. This feedback is great research material! During the research phase, identify several contractors who can help you with your job. The best feedback comes from the word-of-mouth experiences of people you trust. They are more likely to give you the “straight scoop” on their experiences (both positive and negative) than other potential referrals. Your prospect list should include two to three contractors. Each prospect should be located locally and the business should have a physical street address. Then, you should call your local Better Business Bureau, or other consumer related organizations to verify company information.
Before You Make a Decision, Ask These 20 Basic Questions:
1. How long has the company been in business?
2. How many certified service technicians and installation technicians does the company have?
3. Is every employee required to sign a Customer Service Pledge?
4. Is the company a member in good standing with the BBB?
5. Has the company received awards in the community for outstanding service in plumbing, heating and air conditioning?
6. Is the company available evenings and weekends with call takers and technicians to handle any service calls or emergencies?
7. Does the company survey customers after work is completed to find out the level of customer satisfaction?
8. Does the company have adequate liability insurance and proof of it?
9. Does the company provide workers compensation insurance?
10. Does the company drug test and background check all employees before hiring them and continue with random tests throughout their employment?
11. Does the company test each employee on their level of technical experience before hiring them?
12. Does the company have a documented weekly technical training program for employees to maintain and improve their skill level?
13. Does the company have an in-house training facility with a full time trainer for service and installation technicians?
14. Will the company use shoe covers and drop cloths on the job to protect your home and property?
15. Does the company have a policy to show up on time or refund your money?
16. Will the company provide you with a list of customers who have had problems resolved with a no questions-no hassle written guarantee?
17. Does the company have a written 100% Satisfaction Money Back Guarantee?
18. Will the company handle all permits needed for your job?
19. Does the company have all necessary state and local licenses to perform the appropriate work?
20. Can the company provide me with a list of references for the work I am planning to have done?

Be A Smart Heating and Air Conditioning Customer
After you have completed the checklist above here are a few more tips that will help you make an intelligent decision when it comes to investing money in your family’s comfort and safety.
• Don’t rush into a project or take the first bid that comes along (including door-to door solicitations).
• Don’t accept a verbal estimate; it must be in writing.
• Don’t make cash payments or full payment up front.
• Don’t think you’ve discovered a great bargain on a heater or air conditioner if you get a bid that is substantially lower than other bids. Remember, you get what you pay for. And if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

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8 things to do before calling a Hvac contractor

8 things to do before you call your HVAC contractor

1. Make sure your thermostat is actually set to “HEAT” or “COOL” depending on the season.
2. Make sure your thermostat is set to the proper temperature. If needed, adjust the temperature or turn it on. The blower should come on within 5 minutes. Many systems have a built-in delay, so it may be a few minutes before the system kicks on.
3. Check your breaker panel or fuse box. A circuit breaker may have tripped or a fuse may have blown. However, if this happens more than once, there is likely a malfunction that requires a service call.
4. Check the thermostat batteries. They may be low or completely dead. The display may say “Batt” or “Battery low”. If you change your themostat batteries every six months, this shouldn’t be the issue. (A good rule of thumb it to change these batteries when you reset your clocks every spring and fall.)
5. If you have an older furnace, make sure the furnace pilot light hasn’t gone out. If you have an older furnace, it’s probably time to think about upgrading to a higher efficiency model to reduce your energy bills and increase reliability.
6. Check for good airflow. Are any of air registers covered with toys, blankets, or furniture? While you’re at it, you should check your filter, too, to make sure that it is clean and not inhibiting proper air flow. Reduced airflow can cause your furnace to overheat resulting in permanent damage.
7. Make sure your windows are closed. This is especially easy to miss in the spring and fall.
8. Check the outdoor temperatures. Most air conditioners are designed to cool up to 20 degrees less then the outside temperature so you may just need to wait out the hot weather and refrain from adding more heat to the house (like running the dishwasher or dryer, taking hot showers, etc.).
If you have gone through the checklist and your furnace or air conditioner still isn’t working correctly, call a trusted heating and cooling company with peace of mind, knowing you’ve done everything you know to do, and now you need to leave it in the hands of a hvac expert

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How to keep your heating costs down

So we are leaving the heat of summer and moving into the fall, soon winter in California will be arriving. Even in southern California, the need for a warm house doesn’t have to break the bank.  Snow doesn’t fall in San Diego but one still wants to make sure the home remains comfortable when we do get the occasional cold snap.  Even in warm weather cities like Carlsbad and Oceanside, there are things to do to keep the heating costs down

Here is a list of things we can do to make sure the costs of Heating your home stays in line with your budget to save money so you can afford those bills in the summer to keep your house cool and comfortable

  • Open curtains and blinds during the day to let the sun in
  • Close curtains and blinds at night to keep out the cold
  • Pile extra blankets on your bed
  • Switch to flannel sheets and a down comforter
  • Snuggle up in a blanket whenever you’re sitting down
  • Do something active (clean the house, exercise, etc.)
  • Wear a hat to prevent heat loss
  • Use a humidifier. Humid air feels warmer
  • Don’t run the bathroom fan after you shower; the humidity will make the house feel warmer
  • Shut bathroom fans off as quickly as possible to prevent heat loss
  • Keep your fireplace flue closed when you don’t have a fire to prevent unnecessary heat loss
  • Make sure heat vents, registers and radiators are free of obstructions. If they’re covered with furniture, the warm air won’t reach you – even though you’ve paid for it

So enjoy your mild winters in San Diego, Carlsbad and Oceanside and use these tips to keep you and your family comfortable when a chill hits the air.

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History of Air conditioning and the ingenuity of Willis Carrier

For many people, imagining a life without air conditioning is almost impossible. Many modern homeowners rely on it every day. This is particularly true during the summer, especially in Southern California in where temperatures are scorching hot and humidity is high. Needless to say, however, there was a time when air conditioning did not exist and people had to resort to other means to stay comfortable. Here is a brief history of the air conditioner:

• Before Air Conditioners
As hard as it may be to fathom, there was a time when people had to deal with hot and cold weather without air conditioners or furnaces. This is not to say that they didn’t have any methods to help them regulate temperature. When it was hot, for example, people would simply let the body’s natural cooling method—sweating—keep them cool. They would also use fans, which facilitate evaporation and can help people feel up to six degrees cooler. There is also evidence that, in Rome, wealthier citizens would run cold water through their walls to make the heat more bearable.

Philadelphia 1776-  Back,  when the founders of the country were trying to create the Declaration of Independence, there was no air conditioners to repair.  One of their biggest complaints was that it was hard to concentrate due to the heat and humidity. They were forced to compromise so they wouldn’t have to sweat it out, and they wore wigs and heavy clothing!

The Earliest air conditioner
The modern air conditioner was conceived in 1902, when Willis Carrier invented a machine that ran air through water-cooled coils. His first units actually were installed at the company where he was working, The Buffalo Forge company. Due to his invention, the four color printing press was actually created. While the design would become the template for residential air conditioners of today, the design was not initially meant to boost indoor comfort. The recognized ‘father of air conditioning’ is Carrier, but the term ‘air conditioning’ actually originated with textile engineer, Stuart H. Cramer. Cramer used the phrase ‘air conditioning’ in a 1906 patent claim filed for a device that added water vapor to the air in textile plants – to condition the yarn. Rather, it was originally meant to be a device that would control humidity. Around 20 years later, in 1925, Carrier released another device called a Centrifugal Chiller, which revolutionized modern air conditioning.

• Modern Units
While modern air conditioners still rely on the basic design pioneered by Carrier in the early 20th century, there has been much advancement since then. Air conditioning units are more efficient than ever. The spread of air conditioners has changed American life as we know it, allowing people to stay comfortable, avoid heatstroke, and work productively through the day.

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How to spot an unlicensed contractor

If you read the newspapers or watched the evening news you’ve probably seen countless special reports exposing unlicensed contractors around the area. While this is  certainly bad news for homeowners, it actually does even more damage because it makes people  suspect the legitimate contractors! We’ve talked what you need to know to hire a good contractor, but there’s one question we haven’t answered yet – how do you spot a Bad contractor?

At first glance, even bad contractors will look normal – they’ll probably wear uniforms  and may even be driving a vehicle with a company name and logo on it. Once you start talking to them, however, it will quickly become clear whether the contractor you’re speaking to is trustworthy or not. Here are some warning signs to be on the lookout for:

They randomly show up at your home n the morning  a contractor will almost never turn up at your house without you calling them. If you get someone knocking on your door claiming they were “in the neighborhood” and telling you your house looks like it could use a little work, politely decline – unless they’re capable of performing home inspections from inside their truck, you might be in for an All American Scam!
They use high pressure sales tactics – reliable HVAC repair companies will post their HVAC specials, either on their website or in the form of printed coupons. HVAC contractors who pressure you into buying something quickly, or tell you if you “act now you’ll get a special price” are trying  to spend as little time with you as possible – and get as much out of you as they can. A reliable contractor will give you an estimate, then let you shop around for other quotes and come back when you’re ready.

They can’t provide references from previous clients – obviously, scammers can’t give you referrals from previous clients if they don’t have any previous clients! Remember, one of the best ways to figure out if a contractor is trustworthy or not is to ask about people’s previous experiences with the contractor. So naturally, if they have no previous customers, this is a warning sign to stay away!

They request a down payment without a written contract – this one should go without saying, but if you don’t see a legal contract, don’t hand over any money! If you do, you have no recourse when the contractor never comes back!

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Why your Air Conditioner may not be working

Why Your air conditioner may not be working.

Home air conditioning units can freeze up for a number of reasons, but there are some remedies that a homeowner can perform to fix the problem. Causes such as a small leak in the refrigerant line or a bad compressor may take a phone call to the local air conditioning service. As soon as a frozen coil is noticed, the first act is to shut off the system and let the iced up coil thaw on its own. Do not apply any form of heat to the refrigerant coil

Clean the System
Replace or clean all air filters in the air conditioning system after the ice has melted. Chances are you will also be cleaning up water from around the window unit or inside the interior coil. Use a vacuum cleaner and remove any dirt or debris from the coil after it has fully dried. Attach the brush to the end of the vacuum hose, and carefully run it across the coil in the same direction as the fins. Take care so as not to damage the aluminum coil. Place a new filter or the cleaned one back into the filter holder. Turn the unit back on.

Check the Fan
Watch the operation of the blower fan. The fan should be moving the air from the intake vents or the lower portion of a window unit. If the fan does not operate, stop the unit. The blower’s fan motor will have to be replaced, or a relay is bad. Check all intake vents on the AC system to be sure that there is no obstruction in front of the registers Open all exhaust vents on the AC system as well. Closed vents will restrict the airflow across the coil and may be a cause of the freezing coil. If the fan is operating properly and all vents are unrestricted, check the outside line at the outdoor coil.

Outdoor Coil and Some Extras
Observe the lines that are coming from the outside coil and that lead back into the house. One of the lines should have some minor condensation on the copper tubing. If the line is icing up, it is a good indication that there is a small leak in the system. Low refrigerant levels will cause the line to be overworked and create a freeze plug in the refrigerant line. Shut the unit off and call a service technician.
Running the unit for a very cold temperature indoors can also cause the coil to freeze up prematurely. The outside coil maybe experiencing problems due to low temperatures outdoors and really cool temperatures indoors. Adjust the thermostat to a higher level. If you want the temperature to remain cold indoors while the outdoor temperature is below 70 degrees F, certain accessories will have to be added to your system.But most if these tests should be performed by a licensed HVAC air or heating contractor


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5 Easy ways to Improve ac airflow and enhance your home’s comfort

5 Easy Ways to Improve AC Airflow and Enhance Your Home’s Comfort
It’s almost summer, and by now it feels like the 90 degree temperatures have been here forever and will never leave. Your home should be your last refuge against the stifling heat outside – unless you’re not getting any of the cooled air from your air conditioner! There are many factors that can affect your air conditioner’s airflow, some of which are simple to fix, while some of which are more complicated. One thing is sure, however: if you improve your AC airflow, you will significantly improve your home’s comfort!
Ways to Improve AC Airflow
Replace your filters every month – we’ve harped on this subject time and time again, but only because it is so important! As air blows through your filters and into your home, dust and debris collect on the fibers so that the air is clean when it moves into your rooms. Over time, the collected dust and debris can start to clog the filter, blocking the airflow. That’s how they’re supposed to work. If they’re not getting clogged, they’re cleaning debris out of your air.
Replacing your air filters every month serves a dual purpose – not only does it improve your AC airflow, but it also protects your unit from breaking down, keeping you from needing AC repair
Check your dampers: if weak AC airflow is limited to one or two rooms, it might just be that one of your AC dampers has been closed. To open the dampers, go to your air handler and look for the plenum (it looks like a big metal box). You should see a bunch of ducts connected to the plenum, all with levers that should be in the ON position – these levers are called dampers. If any are switched to the OFF position, opening them up should instantly improve your AC airflow.
Get different air filters: if you’ve ever gone out to the hardware store looking for air filters, you’ve probably noticed that there are about 10,000 different sizes and brands to choose from. Each filter has a MERV rating that indicates how strong the filtration is, with different filtration levels best suited for different environments:.
Seal up your ducts: leaky ducts are more common than you might think and can cost you significantly, both in money and comfort. If you suspect your ductwork is leaking, call an HVAC contractor to come out and inspect it – duct sealing will improve your AC airflow, making you more comfortable and saving you as much as 30% on your air conditioning bills!
Resize your ducts: if you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to be improving your air conditioner airflow, the problem might just be that your ductwork is too small. The best way to solve this problem is to have a professional HVAC company come out and install new ducts in your home. If your ductwork is too small, installing new ductwork in your home will go a long way toward improving your AC airflow, and will make your home much more comfortable.

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