Month: July 2013

How to Choose the Right HVAC for Sacramento

Choosing a new HVAC system for your home is a major decision that should be considered thoughtfully. After all, getting the right HVAC for Sacramento can lead to years of warm winter nights and cool summer days to enjoy together as a family in your home.

On the other hand, choose the wrong HVAC system and you’ll be saddled with a host of problems including sky high utility bills, rooms that are either too hot or too cold (but never just right), and expensive maintenance costs.

You might be surprised at a few of the common mistakes folks shopping for HVAC systems make in their search for the best heating and air conditioning option in Sacramento. This article will make sure you don’t commit any of those costly mistakes.

How to Choose the Right HVAC for Sacramento

Size matters.

When it comes to choosing an HVAC system bigger doesn’t always equal better. A system with too much heating capacity will cycle on and off regularly, causing the components to wear out more quickly than those of a modestly sized system.

To make sure you choose the HVAC system that’s the right size for your home ask your HVAC contractor to help you determine what your home’s heating load is. (Determining your home’s heating load is a bit tricky and is based on a mathematical formula that takes your home’s size, insulation and the local climate into consideration. Best to leave it to the professionals.) Armed with this data you’ll want to shop for an HVAC that has a system load no greater than 25 percent of your home’s calculated heating load.

Cheap doesn’t necessarily make for a good value.

Sometimes bargains don’t end up being such a good value in the long run, and that’s especially true of HVAC systems. While you might be tempted to choose the cheapest option available, resist the urge. Invest in a sturdy, quality HVAC with a comprehensive warranty. Yes, it will cost you more up front, but the savings over time will make up for that.

Use SEER to predict future savings.

The HVAC systems you’ll be shopping among today are very energy efficient even compared with the HVAC systems of just a few years back. Efficiency is indicated by an air conditioning unit’s SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) number, with 13 currently the minimum allowed. A higher SEER number means great energy efficiency, but also a more expensive purchase. Find an HVAC system that strikes a good balance between cost and efficiency and it’ll be easy to predict big savings in your future.

Buy local

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to buy an HVAC system for Sacramento that no one in Sacramento can service. HVAC systems have come a long way from the clanking, ponderous systems you might remember lurking in the shadows of your basement as a child. Today’s systems are high-tech and sophisticated, and they require routine maintenance to function optimally. Unless you want to make a long-distance call every time you need your HVAC system looked at, buy local.

When it comes to buying local, Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort has earned the trust of Sacramento residents by offering top-quality HVAC systems at competitive prices and 24/7/365 service for nearly thirty years.

7 Folsom Heating and Air Conditioning Energy Saving Ideas

The less energy your HVAC system uses the more money you’ll save on heating and air conditioning in Folsom every month. That much is obvious, right?

What might be less obvious is how making a few relatively simple changes around the house can lead to big energy savings and lower utility costs. Here are eight of the best.

7 Folsom Heating and Air Conditioning Energy Saving Ideas

  1. Ensure air supply registers are fully open (even in unoccupied rooms)

By partially closing registers, you limit the amount of air flow your HVAC system is able to move and creates back pressure that wastes energy.

  1. Properly insulate your house.

About 40% of the heat entering or escaping from a home comes from the attic. Properly insulating your home from top to bottom can yield major energy savings. Insulating materials are rated in what are known as “R-values”. A higher R-value means more effective insulation, and that means better energy-efficiency for your home.

  1. Use double-pane glass or storm windows.

Single-pane glass is a pain when it comes to energy efficiency: it’s by far the least desirable window for your home. Investing in double-pane windows will improve your home’s energy-efficiency, but new windows can improve the aesthetics of your home and make your home more quiet and insulated from outside noise.

  1. Plant the right kind of tree.

Planting trees around your home can help you stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter – with one major caveat. Since the sun rises in the southeast and sets in the southwest during winter, your home’s south wall receives the lion’s share of the sun’s rays during the coldest months of the year. If you plant a tree on the south side of your home make sure it is deciduous (it loses its leaves every fall) so you can take advantage of the sun’s warmth.

  1. Develop a front courtyard.

If you have a lot of people coming and going from your home your entryway can be a major source for heat loss or gain. Developing a front courtyard with small trees and shrubs can keep hot air in the home during winter and keep it out during the summer. Is the home redevelopment route not an option right now? Even placing potted trees and plants around the front door can be a big help.

  1. Calibrate your A/C speed and refrigerant charge in the summer.

Have a qualified technician ensure your air conditioning unit’s indoor fan speed is set to the proper air flow and the refrigerant charge is correct during the summer months to accomplish the proper humidity for your home, boosting comfort while cutting energy consumption.

  1. Schedule routine maintenance.

AC repair can be very expensive. Scheduling routine maintenance not only ensures that your air conditioning unit is performing at the peak of energy efficiency, but it will also help you catch little problems before they become big hassles.

Just a few of these small changes can add up to big energy savings – and that means lower utility bills month after month. Interested in what more you can do to save on heating and air conditioning costs in Folsom? Wouldn’t you like to have the most energy-efficient home on the block?

This is the sound recording of an actual XC25 air conditioner operating in the cooling mode! Super quiet!

4 Tips for Eco-Friendly Heating and Air in Sacramento

For residents of Sacramento, heating and air can be expensive.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling your home can burn through more energy and money than any other utility – accounting for over half of most utility costs!

Complicating this is the fact that keeping your home comfortable can take a big toll on the environment due to high energy consumption and harmful emissions.

Would you like to do something about both of these problems?

4 Tips for Eco-Friendly Heating and Air in Sacramento

Ready to save some green while “going green”? These tips are more than just good news for the environment … many of them will help you save on utility costs, too!

  1. Size it Right

If you’re planning on installing a new HVAC system for your home, good idea! An air conditioning unit with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 13 is the minimum allowed for new installations, higher SEER is great for the environment and will slash your summer utility bill thanks to better energy-efficiency. However, if the air conditioner isn’t the proper size for your home you will end up paying more for less. Unlike steak dinners or bank accounts, when it comes to air conditioners bigger doesn’t equal better. Go with a unit that’s too large for your home and it will never perform at optimal efficiency. Go with a properly sized unit instead. The same goes for furnaces. So even before you begin shopping for a new HVAC system make sure to have your home sized by professionals who will perform an analysis to determine what size unit your home requires.

  1. Install a Geothermal Heat Pump

As you can probably guess by the name, a geothermal heat pump makes use of the earth’s heat – specifically the relatively constant temperatures just beneath the earth’s surface. The way a geothermal heat pump works is pretty simple. In winter, it takes heat from the ground and transfers it to your home; during the summer months, it discharges your home’s interior heat into the ground, keeping you cool without excessive energy use. This eco-friendly system translates to big savings in heating and cooling costs. On top of that, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 qualifies Sacramento homeowners who install a geothermal heating and cooling system to a 30% tax credit.

  1. Shade your Outside Unit

You’ve probably heard that planting native trees and shrubs on the east and west sides of your home will improve your HVAC system’s efficiency. You can take Mother Nature’s help a step further by planting shade trees or shrubs around your outside air conditioning unit. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that shading your outside unit can increase its efficiency by up to 10%. Just be careful to plant the trees and shrubs far enough from the unit that it doesn’t obstruct its airflow circulation.

  1. Collect a Lot of Free Water

During the hot summer months your air conditioner will draw a lot of condensate from the air, and that water will drip from the condensate line that connects your outdoor unit to your home. This can add up to many gallons of water over the course of the entire summer and it’d be a shame to let it all go to waste. Set a water barrel or bucket beneath the condensate line and use all the water you save to nourish your plants.

When it comes to eco-friendly heating and air in Sacramento Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort is the company you can trust.

8 Ways to Lower Your Roseville Heating Bill

If you’re trying to keep warm this winter you can expect your Roseville heating bill to rise along with the temps in your home if you’re not careful.

Looking for ways to prevent your heating bill from burning through your finances? Here are eight easy ways you can save more on utility costs this winter.

8 Ways to Lower your Roseville Heating Bill

  1. Reduce your thermostat setting.

By reducing your thermostat setting to 68 degrees you can lower your Roseville heating bill by a significant amount. Worried that your fingers and toes will turn into popsicles if you set the thermostat too low? In that case…

  1. Bundle up.

Simply putting on a sweater or extra pair of socks can help you feel comfortable in a cool winter home, and it’s far more cost-effective than cranking the heater.

  1. Here comes the sun.

When the sun is shining on a cold winter day keep the curtains and drapes on your south-facing windows open to allow sunlight to enter and warm your home. Remember to close them at night, though, to reduce the chill from cold windows.

  1. Take a (slightly) colder shower.

Few people enjoy a bracingly frigid shower first thing in the morning, especially during the depths of winter. However, lowering the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees will keep your morning shower comfortably warm, while helping to keep your heating bill comfortably low. You probably won’t notice the difference in water temperature, but you’re sure to notice the difference in your utility bill at the end of the month.

  1. Light a candle in the wind.

A drafty home is uncomfortable and basically guarantees you’re paying more than you should each month on heating costs. To locate drafts in your home light a candle and hold the flame near closed doors and windows. Now watch the smoke. If it moves horizontally you’ve spotted the source of a draft and should seal it with weather-stripping or caulking.

  1. Close storm windows.

Double-pane windows are expensive, but they work wonders for reducing heat loss. If you can’t afford to upgrade to double-pane windows, however, installing storm windows over your primary windows is nearly as effective. Just make sure all of your storm windows are shut tight when winter arrives.

  1. Upgrade your HVAC system.

Yes, there are upfront costs involved with upgrading or replacing your current HVAC system, but your investment will pay for itself in no time thanks to lower utility costs every month. When upgrading your HVAC system look for a furnace with high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. The national minimum is 78% AFUE, but a higher rating is even better. 

  1. Hire a professional.

Hiring a qualified technician to maintain your HVAC system will ensure both that your home remains optimally energy-efficient and your investment is protected. A new HVAC system isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it. Arranging for yearly maintenance will keep your HVAC system in great shape for years to come.

Check out Sierra Pacific’s new Lennox commercial

How to Troubleshoot Your AC Unit Before Calling for AC Repair in Elk Grove

When it comes to AC repair in Elk Grove does it ever feel like your air conditioning unit is governed by Murphy’s Law? Anything that can go wrong with it will … usually on the hottest, sweatiest, most uncomfortable day of the summer. No fun.

We can’t guarantee that this article will make dealing with a busted air conditioning unit any more enjoyable. But use these troubleshooting tips BEFORE calling for Elk Grove air conditioning repair and maybe you won’t need to call in the cavalry.

How to Troubleshoot Your AC Unit Before Calling for AC Repair in Elk Grove

Step 1: Assess the problem.

Understanding the symptom is the first step towards finding a cure. What exactly is wrong with your air conditioner? Is it not working at all? Is it cooling very little or blowing warm air?

Step 2: Check the circuit breaker and fuses.

It pays to start by checking the obvious. If your air conditioner isn’t working at all the first thing to check are your circuit breakers and fuses. Check to make sure they’re securely in place, switched on, and not blown out. During the summer months when A/C use is at its peak it can be easy for your air conditioning unit to overload a circuit, especially if it shares that circuit with another appliance.

Step 3: Check the outdoor unit for dirt and debris.

Twigs, leaves, dust and dirt can easily build up on your outside unit’s grille and this can cause a host of problems ranging from reducing airflow to jamming the unit’s fan. If the outdoor unit appears to be dirty, turn off the unit, unplug it, and then use a garden hose to wash away any debris.

Step 4: Check the evaporator coils.

Unplug your outside unit and open the main duct (called the “plenum”) to have a look at your evaporator coils. (You’ll need to use a screwdriver to access the evaporator.) Are they dusty or dirty? If so, this can dramatically reduce your AC unit’s ability to function and you may have found the culprit for its less than stellar performance. Use a hand mirror and stiff brush to carefully clean the evaporator coils and then restart your air conditioner to see if that fixed the problem.

Step 5: If all else fails call for service.

If you’ve given troubleshooting your best shot and your air conditioner still is working properly, don’t worry. After all, trying and failing is better than not trying at all, right? Of course a DIY self-esteem boost is fine and dandy but it’s not going to make your house feel any less miserable. When all else fails it’s time to call the professionals.

For almost thirty years, residents of Elk Grove have trusted Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort for all of their AC repair needs. That’s because Sierra Pacific’s 24/7/365 service promise means the best Elk Grove air conditioning repair is always there when you need it most.

How to Optimize Your Heating and Air Conditioning in Granite Bay for BIG Savings

Heating and air conditioning in Granite Bay can be expensive.

Hot summers and chilly winters give Granite Bay HVAC systems a workout and often make family budgets sweat. Nice to know then that there are a few things you can do to optimize your HVAC system right now and lower your utility costs every month.

These simple steps will show you how to optimize your heating and air conditioning in Granite Bay for big savings.

Step 1: Change your air filters.

Any discussion about how to optimize your heating and air conditioning should begin with changing your air filters. Your heating and air conditioning system employs filters to keep dust, dirt and debris from damaging the moving parts. Check the filter every month and change them every month if you have the little one inch filters. Better yet, have qualified contractor upgrade to a 4 inch pleated filter that is rated to last 6 months or longer.

Not only will this allow your HVAC to run more efficiently, saving you money in monthly utility costs, it will maintain the system so you don’t end up spending a fortune on repair or replacement fees.

Step 2: Check your ductwork for leaks.

Leaky ductwork makes it impossible for your HVAC system to run efficiently and that means keeping your home’s climate comfortable is costing you more than it should. Check your ductwork for leaks and seal the ones you find with caulking. Know this: most leaks are hidden on your ducts in hard to see and harder to reach places. If you want to ensure your ductwork is sealed properly it’s best to have this done professionally.

Step 3: Vacuum your ducts and outdoor air conditioning unit.

As dust and dirt builds up in your ductwork and on the surface of your outdoor unit the unit’s efficiency suffers because it has to work harder to draw in air. Worse still, this dust and dirt is sucked into the unit and coats its moving parts, which can cause the unit to breakdown altogether if left unchecked. Every month, grab a shop vacuum and clean inside the ducts that you can reach. This will improve the air quality of your home and lower your utility costs.

Step 4: Invest in a programmable thermostat.

You probably know that lowering your thermostat setting for when you’ll be asleep or away from home is an easy way to save money on heating and cooling bills. Problem is, with everything else from pets to partners to worry about it can be easy to forget this simple money-saving move.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that lowering your thermostat by 10 to 15 degree for eight hours can reduce your heating bill by 5% to 15% a year. With a programmable thermostat you’ve got a “set-it-and-forget-it” solution to high utility bills. Save money on utilities while sleeping and at work? Sounds good.

Since 1984, more people from the Granite Bay area have turned to Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort for their heating and air conditioning needs than any other local contractor.

Rocklin HVAC Shopping: Do’s and Dont’s

Summer is almost here. Are you considering upgrading or replacing your home’s current HVAC system in order to enjoy a more comfortable home climate and money-saving energy efficiency?

When shopping for an HVAC in Rocklin there are some important do’s and dont’s you’ll want to keep in mind.

Rocklin HVAC Shopping: Do’s and Dont’s

Do correctly size your home.

In order to shop for an HVAC system that fits your home you first need to size your home to get a rough estimate of the cooling tons your HVAC will require. Here’s how to do it: take your home’s square footage and divide that by 400. The resulting number is a ballpark figure of the cooling tons needed for your HVAC. However, variables such as your home’s insulation, windows, roofing and climate also factor into this equation. Because of that we recommend involving your HVAC contractor in this process as they will have the experience and know-how to get you an accurate load calculation to determine the right size air conditioner.

Don’t buy more (or less) HVAC than you need.

Does your current HVAC system suffer from Goldilocks Syndrome? Do you find that the rooms in your home are either too hot, or too cold, but never feel just right? A common cause of this comfort killing condition is an improperly sized HVAC system. That’s why sizing your home is such a critical first step. Purchase an HVAC that’s bigger or smaller than your home needs and your unit’s efficiency will suffer, and your home’s climate will fluctuate wildly. Purchase an HVAC system that fits your home to a tee, however, and you can look forward to enjoying energy-efficient comfort for years to come. Consider two stage furnaces and air conditioners with variable speed motors; this equipment dramatically improves comfort and lowers operating cost versus the standard singe speed, single stage furnace and air conditioner.

Do aim for energy efficiency.

When shopping for a new HVAC system look for one with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 15 or higher and an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of at least 95%. When you aim for energy efficiency you may pay a touch more upfront for your HVAC system but the money you’ll save every year on heating and cooling costs (up to 20% in many cases) will quickly offset upfront costs. Plus, tax credits and federal rebates may apply to your purchase to help ease the burden on your wallet. Check with your HVAC contractor to learn whether or not you qualify.

Don’t neglect routine maintenance.

Once you’ve settled on the right HVAC system and have had it installed in your home you’ll want to arrange for annual routine maintenance. Scheduled maintenance keeps your new equipment running like new for many years and keeps smaller problems from growing into bank account busting nightmares. Maintenance ensures that your HVAC system runs efficiently all year round.

If you’re shopping for an HVAC in Rocklin follow the lead of thousands of other Rocklin area residents and get in touch with Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort.