Don’t Close Air Vents

In an effort to save more money by using less energy, many people close their air vents in rooms that get little or no use. However, instead of saving money, it could cause some serious issues. Read on to learn why closing vents does not have the desired effect on air distribution.

The blower in the HVAC system pulls air from the house through the return ducts, cools it, and pushes it back out through the supply ducts. The blower in high-efficiency HVAC systems is powered by an electronically commutated motor, also referred to as an ECM. This type of motor can adjust its speed. Those that are not high-efficiency are permanent split capacitor or PSC powered, which cannot adjust speeds.

Both systems are designed so that the blower pushes against some maximum pressure difference. If the filter is dirty or the supply ducts are restricted, the blower has to push against a higher pressure.

In the ECM system, this will make the motor increase in intensity to maintain proper air flow. As it works against the higher pressure, all efficiency is lost. A PSC motor will keep spinning, but its speed will decrease as the pressure increases.

When air ducts are closed in some rooms, the system becomes more restrictive. A higher pressure in the system will either ramp up the ECM blower, or move less air with a PSC blower, while also creating duct leakage.

This can also have an impact on the coil or heat exchanger. Lower airflow means a lower rate of heat exchange will occur. This will cause less heat to flow over the coil, making it colder, and possibly freezing. The refrigerant may not properly evaporate either, meaning it would come back into the compressor,  possibly ruining it.

In summary, here are 5 problems that can come from closing air vents:

  • Duct Leakage
  • Lower Air Flow/Increased Energy Use
  • Comfort Issues
  • Frozen Coil
  • Dead Compressor

Don’t close vents to save money. Instead, use an adjustable thermostat and be mindful of the energy being used.

Celebrating Earth Day

EarthDay

April 22 is Earth Day, which is all about bettering Earth through reducing energy usage, planting trees, and more. When it comes to energy usage, the HVAC system is the biggest energy user in the home. To celebrate Earth Day and make an impact, check out these tips:

  1. Skip the Car

Every now and then, walk or ride a bike to the grocery store or elsewhere. Using a single gallon of gas sends about 19 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. This is almost double the amount of carbon dioxide spit out when using the central air conditioning for a day. If it’s feasible, skip the car and choose a different mode of transportation.

  1. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Use Earth Day as an excuse to get that programmable thermostat. Not only will it make life easier, but it will cut down on energy usage and decrease the energy bill as well. That’s less carbon dioxide being put into the environment.

  1. Volunteer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a page for events and volunteer opportunities. There’s a whole list of Earth Day Activities for the area. Whether it’s cleaning up a park or doing a walk for a “green” charity, it will feel good helping the community.

  1. Schedule AC Maintenance

The better the HVAC system runs, the less energy it will use. As Boise and the Treasure Valley nears warmer weather, the time to get the system checked before turning it on is dwindling. Call Diamond Heating and Cooling now to set up an appointment.

  1. Plant a Tree

Planting trees has been a tradition on Earth Day for quite some time. Trees, plants, and bushes put oxygen into the air and absorb some of the carbon dioxide in the air as well. Celebrate by beautifying the yard with some new landscaping this Saturday.

Make an impact this Earth Day and call Diamond Heating and Cooling for any HVAC needs.

Is It Time to Replace the AC?

The people in Boise and the Treasure Valley probably won’t need to turn on the air conditioner for a couple more months, which means now is the perfect time to replace an air conditioner that might be past its prime. Not sure if it is in need of a replacement? Check for these five signs:

  1. Increasing Energy Bills

Were the energy bills last summer higher than usual? It could be a sign that the air conditioner isn’t running as efficiently as it should. As the unit gets older, it will continue to lose efficiency even with proper, routine maintenance.

  1. Age

Air conditioners are not designed to last forever. More specifically they are designed to last about 10 years. If the air conditioner is older than that, it will continue to go downhill, being less efficient each year.

  1. Inconsistent Temperatures or Humidity

Air conditioners don’t just control temperature, they also control humidity. If homeowners notice moisture accumulation around the windows the AC unit might not be properly dehumidifying the house.

  1. Noise

Some noise is expected, but rattling, buzzing, or ticking noises coming from the air conditioner are cause for concern. They could indicate a problem within the unit that needs to be addressed.

  1. Frequent Repairs

Has the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling had to come out and make repeated repairs to the air conditioner? It might be time to replace it with a newer, more efficient model. It will cost more up front, but will save money in the long run with fewer repairs and lower energy bills.

Schedule spring air conditioner maintenance with Diamond Heating and Cooling or have one of our service technicians come out and evaluate the condition of the current unit. We can help homeowners determine if the air conditioner needs replaced and if so, install the new one.

3 Tips for Cleaner Winter IAQ

house-plant

In winter, homes are sealed up as tight as possible to be energy-efficient and stay warm. However, this limits the amount of fresh air in the home, raising concentrations of both allergens and pollutants. For those who suffer from allergies or asthma, it could mean more breathing problems.

There are many ways to clean the air inside of the home to reduce allergies and asthma attacks. Here are a three tips:

  1. Living Plants

Plants produce oxygen, while cleaning and purifying the air. They are an inexpensive way to improve indoor air quality, while adding some beauty to the space as well. For homes with pets, they need to make sure those plants are pet-friendly. Here is a list of plants that are not toxic to pets:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Yucca
  • Bamboo
  • Snake Plants
  • Ferns

Sufficient air cleaning can be accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet in the home. Different plants filter certain elements out of the air, so getting a mix of plants will be most effective.

  1. Cleaning

Airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and mold can be minimized with regular cleaning. Dust and vacuum so allergens cannot pile up on surfaces. Wiping down the walls is something homeowners might not think to do regularly, but walls and ceilings also attract things like pet dander or other pollutants.

  1. Change the Furnace Filter

The furnace filter needs to be changed regularly. However, if a normal filter isn’t doing the job, ask Diamond Heating and Cooling about the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner. It isn’t just a filter. The Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner is an electric polarized media air cleaner that can filter out submicronic allergens, which make up 98% of airborne particles.

Winter doesn’t have to be a time for runny noses and sneezing. Keep the air clean with the tips above. Visit Diamond Heating and Cooling’s website to learn more about allergies solutions.

Getting the Most Out of Your Gas Furnace

Gas costs less than electricity in most areas, which is what makes gas furnaces an economical choice for heating. They can be a reliable and energy efficient source of heating when they’re operating well and paired with a good thermostat. Here are a few ways to get the most out of a gas furnace:

  1. Insulate the Home

The furnace won’t be able to keep the house consistently warm if heat is escaping through the walls. Proper insulation will keep warm air in, which helps the furnace run more efficiently, saving energy and money.

  1. Upgrade

If the gas furnace is older, it might be time to upgrade it to a more energy efficient model. The higher the rating, the more homeowners are likely to save on energy costs. The savings will help offset the cost of a new system.

  1. Smart Thermostat

Furnaces are only as efficient as the thermostat that controls them. The thermostat is like the brain of the system, telling everything else what to do based on its settings. Investing in a smart thermostat allows for better control over temperature, creates comfort zones and schedules, and can even be adjusted by smart phone. This is another way to help the system run more efficiently.

  1. Filter

Filters also play a huge role in how well the gas furnace operates. The more clogged it becomes, the more the furnace has to run, decreasing efficiency and increasing the energy bill. Change the filter every three months to keep the gas furnace running smoothly.

  1. Maintenance

Furnace maintenance is important for any type of furnace, but especially for gas furnaces. With this type, there’s a chance of carbon monoxide leaks, which can lead to illness and in extreme cases death. Homes with gas furnaces need to invest in carbon monoxide detectors and get their system regularly serviced. Diamond Heating and Cooling can inspect the system and fix problems before a leak happens.

Tackle every furnace need with the help of the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling. We can service gas furnaces, help homeowners find a new one, and install the system. Visit our website to learn more about our heating maintenance plans.

Winter Vacation Thermostat Settings

As many people are getting ready to travel for the holidays, it is important for homeowners to take a second to reset the thermostat so they don’t pay for heat they didn’t use. Here ‘s how to lower the heating bill while away, but also keep the house safe from freezing.

During vacations or a weekend away in the summer, the thermostat can be turned off completely with no real consequence. However, in winter that isn’t an option. The thermostat needs to be set no lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit while away. This prevents appliances and pipes from freezing and causing flooding.

However, not everyone wants to come home to a 50-degree house and freeze while waiting for it to warm back up. In that case, lower it about four degrees below the normal setting. Then, it won’t take as much energy and time to get the house back up to the normal temperature when returning. If the furnace is gas, it can be lowered six degrees because it takes less work to heat homes with a gas furnace.

A great option for those who take trips often, is a programmable thermostat. That way they can set it to lower and increase temperature before and after they leave. They can set it to decrease temperature while they are away and increase the heat when they are on their way back home so the house is at the desired temperature when they arrive home.

Programmable thermostats also work great for day-to-day operation. Many homeowners choose to lower the home’s temperature while they are at work since nobody is home to enjoy the heat and increase it when they get off work.

Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about setting up a programmable thermostat. There are also “smart thermostat” options available that can be accessed using a smart phone letting homeowners control their heating and cooling remotely.

Winter Tips to Stay Warm in Boise

With Boise and the Treasure Valley forecast to get snow this weekend, it’s definitely time for some winter HVAC tips. After getting the HVAC system serviced by Diamond Heating and Cooling, the work isn’t completely over. Here are some additional things homeowners can do to help keep their heating system running efficiently this winter:

  1. Change Air Filters

Air filters need to be changed at least every three months. Remember to do this by writing it on the calendar, putting an event in a cell phone, writing the date on the filter, etc.

  1. Thermostat Check

The thermostat should be tested to make sure it’s still working correctly. On a cold morning, turn the heat on and set the thermostat to the preferred temperature used in the winter. If the furnace doesn’t reach the desired temperature, it could indicate an issue.

  1. Install a New Thermostat

One way to lower bills and keep the house more comfortable during the winter is to install a programmable thermostat. If high energy bills were a problem last winter, this could help. The experts at Diamond Heating can help with the installation too.

  1. Air Vents

Air needs to have a clear path out of the vents to circulate throughout the house and maintain the optimal temperature. Walk through the house and make sure none of the vents are being obscured by furniture.

  1. Keep an Ear Open

Winter can take its toll on HVAC systems, which is why many breakdown during the colder months. Be aware of how the HVAC system is supposed to sound and act. If it begins to behave differently, like short-cycling, or making odd noises, contact Diamond Heating and Cooling right away to diagnose the problem.

Along with keeping the furnace health and happy, here are some other tips homeowners can enact to stay warm this winter:

  • Cover doors or windows that aren’t in use during winter with plastic to help keep the heat in.
  • After using the oven, leave the door slightly ajar so the heat can escape into the kitchen, keeping the house warmer.
  • Weather-strip doors and windows if air is leaking out or in.
  • Bundle up! Layering clothing and using blankets instead of cranking the heat up really high can keep everyone warm, while keeping the heating bills a little lower.
  • Use space heaters if everyone is gathered in one room. Be sure to keep the area around space heaters clear to avoid fires.

Diamond Heating and Cooling wants everyone to stay warm this winter. Talk to them about furnace maintenance, or installing a new one if necessary. Their team is available for emergency HVAC issues 24/7.