Month: October 2013

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Faulty heating and cooling systems can lead to a potentially fatal buildup of carbon monoxide (CO) in a home. Sacramento HVAC specialists can examine home energy systems to minimize your risk of CO poisoning. To reduce this risk, as well as preventing damage to the system or your home, planning a heating and cooling inspection is a sound investment.

The effect of carbon monoxide on the body, as well as detection of high concentrations, is not well understood by most of us. In order to understand the facts about CO and its effects, it is helpful to learn from authoritative sources, like the Florida Department of Health, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network, and the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Such organizations, and their representatives, speak with a single voice about the inherent dangers of residential carbon monoxide hazards.

Home HVAC units, like all other consumer products and appliances, age and eventually wear out. No matter how wonderful your system is at the time of installation, it, like all things, will come to its natural end. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not pay close attention to the age of their heating and cooling units, and thus run the risk of allowing harmful gas to creep into their homes. Sacramento HVAC specialists are able to inspect all of your systems and determine how to best repair, replace, or maintain them.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 170 people die each year as a direct result of carbon monoxide in the indoor atmosphere. The CO in such cases was released by something other than the family automobile. Upwards of 1,000 persons are admitted to U.S. emergency rooms annually due to CO inhalation and poisoning. In the majority of these situations, the poisoning was easily preventable.

While there are several sources of CO in residential homes, HVAC systems account for a large percentage of the total. In 2007 alone, more than 15,000 persons suffered CO poisoning. Of that group, 39 fatalities resulted. CO poisoning is of major concern to at least a dozen U.S. governmental agencies who oversee the nation’s health. The Florida Department of Health has estimated that deaths from CO poisoning are in excess of 500 annually. The Florida DOH further asserts that several thousands of U.S. citizens seek emergency medical care for CO exposure every year.

Sacramento HVAC specialists can eliminate the fear of CO poisoning by closely examining the entire home heating and cooling system. Consumers can enjoy peace of mind, knowing that one of the largest, most powerful appliances in their home is running safely and efficiently. In addition, when HVAC systems are in top working condition, consumers save money and energy.

There is no reason to live in fear of carbon monoxide poisoning. Regular HVAC check-ups can determine any problems that might lead to a broken heating or cooling unit. A properly functioning HVAC system results in safe, comfortable, affordable indoor temperature control.

Sources:

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/

Florida Dept. of Health:

http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/programs/Environmental-Public-Health-Tracking/HTML-pages/Data-Carbon-Monoxide.html/

Amer. Assoc. of Poison Control Centers:

http://www.aapcc.org/

Nat’l Environmental Public Health Tracking Network:

http://ephtracking.cdc.gov/showCarbonMonoxideLanding.action

Sacramento Solar Specialists: Local and Federal Tax Benefits

California, particularly Sacramento, offers numerous local and federal tax incentives to residents who obtain their electricity from solar-powered energy producers. The rising prices of petroleum coupled with the recent economic recession have led many California residents to take advantage of the tax credits and rebates offered for using solar and other renewable energy sources. Aside from obtaining their energy from a renewable source that decreases their carbon footprint, residents can enjoy financial benefits from going with solar energy systems. Homeowners in the Sacramento area would do well to be aware of the various ways that they can obtain tax credit and rebates from their power company, the state and the federal government.

California Solar Initiative Program

Sacramento is part of the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Program. This state rebate program mandates that Sacramento solar specialists should offer a rebate to solar installations. This program covers different varieties of installations, including photovoltaic panels and other solar-based heating systems. Since 2007, the top solar companies have been offering financial incentives to those whose installations have been integrated into their own grids. This 10 year project has a budget of $1.95 billion, a great incentive for Sacramento residents to hop on the solar bandwagon.

The program has two main components: the Multi-Family Affordable Solar Housing program (MASH) and the Single Family Affordable Solar Housing program (SASH). Residents should contact reputable Sacramento solar specialists for more information regarding the CSI programs. Small-scale energy producers can also sell excess energy to local utilities in order to obtain deductions in their power bills.

California Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems

Residents who are looking into solar energy can also take advantage of the California Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy systems. Under the California Revenue and Taxation Code (Section 73), certain installations or systems that produce energy from the sun can apply for property tax exclusion. The County Assessor’s Office has all of the information owner and builders need to take advantage of this particular tax clause. Sacramento solar specialists can also help homeowners determine whether or not they qualify for this exclusion.

Federal Tax Credit

Homeowners looking to get into solar energy generation can also take advantage of the 30% Federal Tax Credit. Each dollar homeowners spend in building, operating and maintaining their systems will be equivalent to a dollar deducted to their federal tax liability. People who have already paid their taxes prior to taking advantage of this program are still eligible for a tax refund. The tax credit expires in 2016 so home and building owners should plan accordingly.

Not only is the sun and environmentally-friendly energy source, but it also provides a financially viable alternative to traditional power systems. Sacramento’s solar energy programs are among the best in the country. With incentives on the corporate, municipal and the federal level, residents are encouraged  to get in touch with Sacramento solar specialists in order to find out more about what each particular program entails. Solar energy is the way of the future and with these tax and financial incentives, California in general and Sacramento in particular make a great place to set up a solar powered household or building.

Sources:

California Solar Initiative:

http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=CA134F&re=1&ee=1

Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems:

http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=CA25F

Federal Incentives:

http://spearheadsolar.com/blog/?p=74

Make Your Home a Hazard-Free Zone with Home Performance Inspections

Did you know it may be possible for your home to be twice as comfortable and energy-efficient than it already is? If that sounds like a great idea to you, we suggest a quick call to Sacramento home performance specialists to assess your home and suggest energy-saving improvements. You can cut utility bills in half, prevent permanent damage and turn your home into a comfortable safe haven for you and your family.

What Is Home Performance?

Home performance focuses on the power consumption, comfort, safety and condition of your home. It assesses how much energy systems and fittings use and how you can alter the way they operate to lower costs. Home performance specialists also fix irregular room temperature and poor lighting so you can feel more comfortable in your private space.

Because some appliances and devices can give off harmful fumes and cause fires, experts conduct special inspections and repairs to increase safety and protect your health. By eliminating potential hazards, your house is protected from damage caused by leaking and other performance problems.

Home Performance Assessments and Tests

To conduct a thorough audit, Sacramento home performance specialists need to do a visual and physical inspection of your entire home, including rooms, attics, basements and crawl space. When they’ve finished, tests will be carried out using specialized equipment to check for faults and their sources.

One of the most common tests is door blower testing. Specialists use a blower fan to suck air out of the house and reduce air pressure. The aim is to determine if there is any air leakage or unwanted concentrations of moisture indoors. If either is present, steps can be taken to correct this and ensure proper ventilation. The contractor will also check for leaking ducts and testing duct flow.

Testing the quality of air inside your home important because when air is not properly distributed, contains too much moisture, or leaks, it increases your power bill and limits how effectively your home is heated and cooled. Temperature can peak or dip unexpectedly and dramatically.

Performance experts also need to inspect your air conditioning system. Many homeowners do not maintain their heating and cooling systems. Over time, these systems begin to malfunction, which affects the overall temperature. Poorly maintained systems consume much more energy than those that get regular maintenance. To fix this problem, your air conditioner might be tuned, fixed or replaced.

To ensure further safety and comfort, experts can test your property for carbon monoxide, mold, gases and other hazardous substances. Walls and windows can be insulated properly and any equipment in the home checked.

How To Know If You Need Home Performance Checks

Most homeowners are unaware their property is due for performance checks until after the assessment. Experts usually use infrared photography to visually indicate problems inside the home and out. However, if you experience unexplained deterioration of health, develop breathing problems, uneven room temperatures, humidity, air tightness, sounds and odors from air conditioning system, mold growth, lighting that affects the eyes and high utility bills, it is likely you need an inspection immediately.

Introduction to Solar Attic Fans

There’s a reason spring cleaning is in the spring, because our attics are far too dark in the winter and far too hot in the summer. Unfortunately, the heat that builds up in their can negatively affect the overall temperature of our homes (not to mention the sheer amount of dust that builds up on our belongings!).

Sometimes you can spot a passive vent on an attic, it’s usually a free moving fan, that’s designed to rotate with the wind. This type of ventilation does very little in the way of cooling your attic, especially without a breeze. A solar powered attic fan, on the other hand, can reduce the amount of heat in your attic and circulate air to reduce moisture. And running the fan is absolutely free because it uses solar energy!

Installation:

A solar attic fan can be installed on the roof itself or on the side your house. The unit usually comes as one piece so it’s a quick and easy project to get up and running. You simply cut a hole in the roof to fit the fan, ideally facing due south but any southward direction should be fine. The solar panel attached should be angled to face the sun. Once the fan is mounted and sealed, if the system has a controller you can mount it to a rafter beam nearby to monitor the temperature and humidity in the attic. The process is essentially these same for if you install it in the wall, similar to a window-like vent.

Downsides:

If you have allergies, depending on your settings, it could bring pollen and dust into the house. This is something important to keep in mind when running the fan. If you live in a humid area, the fan could suck in humid air. Just be aware of the weather and your fan’s settings and you’ll be fine.

Solar attic fans are a great way to keep your house cool in the summer. The device is powered using renewable, clean solar energy and will suck the warm air out of your attic. The colder the attic, the less heat will radiate down in to the central parts of your home, the less your air conditioner needs to work. Look into installing a solar powered attic fan today!

Great Job !

Hello Jason,

I just want to commend the three gentlemen who worked on my new heating and air system yesterday. Patrick, Tj and Brian did an excellent job. They have great teamwork and were respectful of each other and of me and my home. They were a cheerful, happy team! They did very professional quality work and attended to the many fine details well. I was very pleased to have them work in my home.
Thank you,
Karen Russell

Installing a Solar Power System in Your Home: When You Need Help

Harnessing solar energy to power your home is a great way to reduce greenhouse gases and cut energy costs. Solar energy releases none of the toxic emissions that come from fossil fuels, allowing you to decrease your carbon footprint substantially. For this reason, solar energy offers fantastic environmental advantages and also can match peak time output with peak demand.

A photovoltaic solar system will decrease your energy bills drastically each month and allow you to take advantage of a free, endlessly renewable energy source. Installing a solar power system in your home is a fantastic investment by both lowering your bills and raising the value of your home. You will have to spend money initially to have the system installed, but it will more than pay itself off within the first year. And the environmental impact of solar power is becoming more important every day in order to protect the remaining resources and decrease air and water pollution.

There are some difficulties that come with installing a solar power system, however. The process is quite complex and you might find yourself at a loss as to how you can even get started, unless you’re already an expert in this field.

One of the first steps is deciding which solar power system is right for your home, which is a more complicated decision than you might think. You will also need various permits and inspections before installing your system, and there may be special tools and equipment to install the system. Most solar panels are mounted to your roof on specialized tracks. If you are unsure how to install them and something goes awry the panels could not only be damaged but so could your roof. The system is even more complicated if you have a red tile roof. Finally, make you aren’t breaking the terms of your homeowner’s insurance agreement by installing the system without the help of a certified contractor. Such a project may invalidate coverage on your roof, which could be very costly down the line. It is extremely important to thoroughly research how to install a solar system properly before embarking on any such project.

Without a lot of time, energy and research, installing a solar power system yourself might not actually save any money over a professional installation, where these hassles will be taken care of for you. Even if you managed to design your own system and buy all the parts, it might be a good idea to find help with the installation process. From assessing your climate for solar power use to evaluating your solar power options and plotting your sun chart, there are many fine details to work out during this process, and a solar specialist can help.

If you want help or advice on the details of installing a solar energy system for your home, a solar specialist in the Sacramento area can offer you valuable insight and provide answers to your questions. Whether or not you choose a commercially made system or seek a professional contractor to help with installation, there are many specialists who can help you determine your needs, help you get started, or help you finish up. Since insurance is not offered on many self-installed systems, it’s certainly worth your while to discuss all your options with a certified contractor.

HVAC Cleaning Process

There are many benefits to having an HVAC system in your home. However, you will not get to reap these benefits unless you keep your HVAC system clean. These systems don’t usually require a lot of maintenance, but they do get dirty over time. This dust and particulate matter can be circulated throughout your home, as well as making the system work less efficiently. Fortunately there are several easy ways to tell when your unit needs cleaning.

If you look inside the unit and see dust or dirt on the ducts, you know it needs cleaning. A visual inspection is often enough, and in some cases you can tell by the smell if there is mold or mildew growth as a result of the unit working improperly. If the ducts are coated in dust and dirt, it prevents the system from doing its job correctly. Your unit is designed to help you breathe easier, but it won’t do much good if it’s not working properly. Therefore, another indicator is the discomfort experienced by someone with seasonal allergies; if they have reactions in your home, it might mean the air is contaminated. The ducts may even be infested with rodents or insects, or clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris, which can potentially cause serious damage to your unit.

The benefits of cleaning your system will become clear to you both immediately and over time. Regular cleaning leads to lower operational and maintenance costs overall, as well as big energy savings due to improved efficiency of your HVAC unit. The air inside your home is cleaner and healthier, and there is less noise and disruption. After a professional cleaning, your HVAC system can work to its fullest capacity; fighting dirty indoor air and helping keep maintain the highest air quality in your home.

Periodic cleaning of your HVAC system is important to the proper functioning of your unit, and you don’t have to take on the work yourself. You can find specialists who have the tools and experience to quickly and properly clean your HVAC unit. This relieves you of both the stress of taking on the work yourself and the worry of potentially damaging your expensive HVAC unit.

In case you’re wondering, here’s how the cleaning process works. Your system will be placed under continuous negative pressure with a vacuum, removing fine particles from the system and eliminating all of the loosened contaminants from your home. They use soft-bristled brushes to clean over the fiberglass duct board and around the rest of the unit, preventing any damage to your HVAC system.

For proper cleaning services, you can turn to Sacramento HVAC specialists. Depending on how regularly you use your system, you may need to hire these specialists every few months to once a year. A professional company uses high-efficiency equipment to clean your HVAC system and protect your home during cleaning. They take care to protect the duct work, following proper standards for air duct cleaning to ensure the job gets done properly the first time around.

Yuba City Solar Testimonials

Dear Mike,

My husband asked me to write, to let you know how impressed he was with your construction crew who removed the solar for our pool and installed our new solar panels.

That crew was prompt, both mornings they showed up at our door at 8:00 like clockwork; knowledgeable, courteous, friendly (but not overly so) professional and most important to me, they cleaned up everything as if they had never been there.

We would definitely think of your Company first if we find ourselves in need of anything else that you install and/or service and will gladly recommend Sierra Pacific to any of our friends and/or family.

Leanne M Landry
Buttes Insurance Agency
Yuba City, CA 95992

How Solar Energy Systems Work?

As the solar industry grows across California more and more people are interested in installing solar power systems in their home, but they don’t quite know how they work. Although solar energy is widely used in homes, few people understand the technology needed to turn warm sunshine into electricity. Professionals solar specialists, found throughout the Sacramento area, are extensively knowledgeable on the principles of converting solar energy into electrical power. Therefore, they are the first you should consult if you’re considering installing a solar system or need maintenance on your current panels and/or other parts of your solar power system.

Solar power systems have been in use for decades. In fact, as early as 1958, solar energy was being used to power satellites in space. The technology has since been developed and adopted in millions of homes around the world. There may come a time where nearly all of the energy we need will come from the sun. Since the sun emits an average of more than 1000 watts per square meter on a sunny day, this type of solar revolution is closer and more plausible than you might think.

Instead of receiving energy from a far off power plant, homeowners will generate electricity onsite using solar panels attached to their house. Solar panels and other solar energy harnessing systems work by converting the sun’s rays into electrical power. Photovoltaic solar panels made of silicon, which is a semi conductor, convert solar energy into direct current (DC). The panels are mounted to tracks that are attached to your roof. These tracks and panels are designed to handle basic variations in weather and should undergo periodic maintenance.

Once the light energy is absorbed, it triggers the flow of electrons within the silicon. There is an existent electrical field within the silicon which aligns the flow of electrons towards a specific direction, boosting the energy potency of the panels. The electrons subsequently hit the metal contacts on the ends of the Silicon where they are transferred as electrical energy. This flows into an inverter in your home that converts the DC to alternating current (AC) power, which can be used to power lights, motors, electronics, etc. In order to get the most effective power to your home, your panels must have a combined wattage higher than that of the devices you wish to power.

A typical solar panel produces about 200 watts, or 0.20kw, of power per hour of direct sunlight, which will decrease by about 20% during non-direct hours. The average home uses about 958kw of power per month. Therefore, you should install a system that generates at least that much power over the course of the month. Yet, this is an average which means that certain months you will require more power and you should probably build your system accordingly. Of course, you can measure your average usage using your meter to determine your true power requirements. If you produce extra energy you will either receive credits on your monthly utility bill or payment for contributing to the grid. There is no harm in producing extra energy that’s free and environmentally-friendly because you’ll reap the benefits of that.

Solar system are fairly straightforward and increasingly commonplace across California. You have the system installed, the panels convert the rays to energy and you get free, clean power for your household. Generally speaking, solar power systems pay for themselves in 2-3 years, but save the planet for years to come. Call today for more information or to setup a consultation.