Finding Your Perfect Fit

Furnace Efficiency

Having a well-running, efficient furnace makes Idaho winters a lot more bearable. An efficient furnace starts with size. Bigger isn’t always better, and finding the right size is the best way to stay warm without breaking the bank. Here’s what happens when the furnace doesn’t fit the home:

Too Large

When furnace shopping, remember that bigger isn’t always better. A furnace that is too big for the building it is heating will continuously cycle on and off. This can lead to several problems. First, it creates hot and cold spots in the home because the air closest to the vents will actually become too warm while other areas, where the thermostat is located, still may not be up to temperature.  The over-sized furnace will also need maintenance more often and is likely to have a shorter life span because of the constant cycling.  It will also be costlier to operate because the furnace is least efficient when it first fires up and the constant cycling means it will be firing up more often.

Too Small

Homeowners trying to save money might consider purchasing a smaller furnace than they really need. A furnace that is too small won’t be able to heat the home comfortably. It will constantly run trying to reach that desired temperature, using up energy and costing homeowners a fortune. It will also require more maintenance over its shortened lifespan.

Finding the right size is easy with the help of Diamond Heating and Cooling. Their HVAC professionals take into consideration a number of variables to find the right size furnace. These variables are the home’s building materials, windows, size, insulation, the direction of the home and more.

One size does not fit all when it comes to furnaces, which is why the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling is here to help find the perfect fit for any home in the Boise area. Don’t go through the fall and winter with the wrong size furnace.

Call Diamond Heating and Cooling about furnace sizing, finding the perfect fit, and yearly maintenance once the furnace is installed.

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Optimal Fall Thermostat Temperatures

Fall Thermostat Settings

Fall will be here in no time, switching the air conditioner off and the furnace on. Before you really need that furnace, be sure to call Diamond Heating and Cooling for annual maintenance to prepare the HVAC system for the seasonal change.

As Boise residents prepare for the cooler weather, they’ll have to figure out how to best set the thermostat for comfort and optimal energy savings. While the best thermostat setting relies largely on personal comfort, there are some guidelines.

The US Department of Energy recommends having the thermostat set at 68 degrees on cooler days while spending time at home. It’s warm enough to be comfortable while doing chores or being active, but not so warm that it wastes energy.

While everyone is away from the home during school and work, the thermostat can be set at a lower temperature to save energy. Also consider lowering it while sleeping. With everyone in warm clothes and under blankets, they won’t miss a few degrees of heat.

It’s thought that turning the thermostat down 10 degrees while away or asleep can save homeowners 15%-20% on energy bills each year. However, 10 degrees might be a bit of a stretch and could make the system work harder to regain a comfortable temperature. Even turning it down 3-5 degrees will make a difference, just not quite a 20% savings.

Turning the temperature up and down while coming and going can get tedious and someone might forget if they are in a hurry. Combat this by investing in a programmable thermostat. It will change the temperature at the same times each day as it is programmed, keeping energy savings up, and the house comfortable.

It might not seem like a few degrees makes much of a difference, but the savings can add up throughout the year. Having a smoothly running HVAC system will increase the energy savings as well.

Be sure to call Diamond Heating and Cooling to schedule annual maintenance before cold weather arrives in Boise.

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.