Learning About MERV Ratings

To get the most out of your HVAC system, everyone says to look at MERV ratings. What exactly is MERV and why does it matter? Here’s the rundown:

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It’s essentially measuring the effectiveness of the air filter in question. A filter can have a MERV rating ranging from 1 to 16. The higher the rating, the fewer dust particles and other contaminants can pass through it.

When filters are tested for a MERV rating, they use common particles like pollen, dust mites, carpet fibers, mold spores, pet dander, and more. Most residential systems can remove airborne contaminants like those listed above with a filter that has a MERV rating of 7-12. Filters with a rating of 13-16 are generally used in hospital-type settings.

The higher the MERV rating, the less particles that can get through the filter. This means the most efficient filter must have the highest rating, right? Not exactly. Filters with higher MERV ratings have smaller pores, which lets less air through. It can create resistance in airflow that the HVAC system can’t handle. The system will then have to work harder to pump air through the filter, lowering the efficiency and increasing the energy bill.

Every HVAC system is different. Find out what MERV rating the system can handle and still allow for maximum airflow. This will help homeowners get the most out of the HVAC system and get the cleanest air possible.

It’s also worth noting that filters with higher MERV ratings need to be changed more frequently than those with lower ratings. Because these filters are catching more contaminants, they are more likely to get clogged and restrict the airflow. Be sure to check the filters frequently and change them often for the best results.

Not sure which filter is best? Talk to the technicians at Diamond Heating and Cooling when they come out for an annual HVAC check-up. They’re happy to help and educate their customers.

Dealing with Fluctuating Temperatures

Idaho experiences a significant amount of fluctuating weather and temperatures around this time of year. This can be hard for the HVAC system to keep up with. Keep your home comfortable during temperature fluctuations and save energy by following these tips:

  1. Smart Thermostat

These thermostats are one of the best ways homeowners can save energy and money. They help to gain control over comfort, and have many benefits. Smart thermostats allow for automation of heating and cooling, optimizing efficiency. Often they come with a phone app too so homeowners can adjust the temperature from anywhere. Use it to analyze energy usage to figure out how to decrease it and more.

  1. Window Treatments

Having the right window treatments can help minimize warm or cold air loss during times of fluctuation. They keep the home more comfortable without using any energy in the process.

  1. Fans

Not everyone is ready to turn on the air conditioner yet, but with 80 degree days, the house can get a little unbearable. Delay turning on the AC with the help of fans. They might not actually cool the room down, but they can make it feel cooler in whichever room they are used.

  1. Check the Weather Reports

It can be useful each morning to check what the weather is expected to be that day. This gives homeowners a heads up on how to program the thermostat and if they need to adjust it later on. Remember to turn the temperature up while away so the AC doesn’t run unnecessarily.

  1. Open the Windows

Open the windows for a few hours at night or in the morning during cooler hours instead of using the AC. Then shut them before leaving for the day and turning the AC on. The naturally cool air means the air conditioner won’t have to run as often until later when the day heats up.

Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about getting the air conditioner serviced or a new one installed before summer hits Boise and the Treasure Valley.

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.

Installing a High Efficiency System

Homes with HVAC systems that are more than 10 years old should consider an upgrade. This is especially true for those that have experienced frequent repairs and uneven heating or cooling throughout the house. Replacing the current system with an Energy Star-rated model before it fails can bring a lot of benefits.

  1. Lowered Utility Bills

Replacing an old system that is inefficient, with a new high efficiency model could save homeowners at least $115-$200 annually according to Energy Star. Homeowners could also qualify for tax credits for investing in energy efficiency.

  1. Less Maintenance

Older HVAC systems tend to have more problems that can lead to costly repairs even with regular maintenance. Investing in a newer model will cut down on repairs and maintenance costs.

  1. Comfort

Higher efficiency systems heat and cool a home and with less effort. Homeowners will experience evenly distributed heating, more consistent temperatures, and steady air flow throughout the entire house. Comfort is important, especially during the winter and summer months.

  1. Environmentally Better

Models with high efficiency have a minimal impact on the environment compared to their older counterparts. They use less fuel to operate, which helps to conserve energy.

  1. Increased Value

Buyers are starting to take more notice of the HVAC systems in houses they are considering for purchase. They tend to be willing to pay more for a home with a high efficiency system, correctly programmed thermostat, proper insulation, and sealed ductwork. When homeowners are thinking about selling, a high efficiency heating and cooling system will help bring a better price for the home.

Diamond Heating and Cooling wants everyone to be warm this winter and not have to deal with a system that’s breaking down. Talk to them today about finding and installing a high efficiency system to start experiencing the benefits above.

Choosing a New Furnace

The leaves are starting to change color, the mornings are starting to get crisper, and it’s starting to feel a little more like fall. That means preparing the furnace before the cold weather hits. If the furnace is too old though, it might be time to replace it.
When choosing a new furnace, keep these things in mind:
Fuel
It might be easiest to stick to the same type that is currently heating the home, but there are many types of fuel available. Today, natural gas is the dominant source because of its availability, inexpensiveness, and cleanness. There’s also oil, electricity, and even wood.
Economy
Because costs for each fuel type will vary by location, this should be checked out before choosing a fuel type. Some will have fees associated with them, and some don’t burn as cleanly as others. Making a pro/con list for each type could help for those who are indecisive.
Efficiency
Furnaces now have Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratings. Finding one with a high-rated efficiency will help to lower operating expenses.
Size
To find the right size of furnace for the home, the heat output needs to be matched with the size of the house. Too big of a furnace will waste fuel and money. Too small of a furnace won’t generate enough heat. Diamond Heating and Cooling can help homeowners find the right size of furnace.
Location
Where the furnace is located could be impacted by the size of the furnace. Another consideration is the venting or exhausting of carbon monoxide fumes.
When looking at new furnaces, talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling. They will help homeowners find the right furnace and install it. If the furnace does not reach the desired temperature range, they will replace the system at no charge.

Evaporator Coil Problems

The coils in an air conditioning unit are extremely important in the cooling process. To remove the heat inside the building, the air conditioner circulates a compressed refrigerant between two series of coils: the evaporator coils and the condensing coils.

If the evaporator coils encounter problems, then the air conditioner will not be able to properly cool the home or business. Here are some common issues that can impede the effectiveness of the coils:

  1. Dirt and Dust

The air that comes inside while the air conditioner is running must pass over the evaporator coils. This dirt and dust can stick to the evaporator coils making it more difficult for the coils to cool down the air. This is because the dirt and dust can insulate the coils too much.

  1. Moisture

Condensation can develop on the evaporator coils when hot air passes over them because of the cold refrigerant inside of the coils. This moisture helps to attract and trap dirt, dust and bacteria. This will lead to less effective cooling and possibly the development of mold.

  1. Freezing

Many things can cause the evaporator coils to freeze. It could be low refrigerant levels or insufficient air flow caused by a clogged filter or broken fan motor. Frozen coils put strain on the air conditioner, which could force it to breakdown.

One way to prevent these evaporator coil problems is with annual maintenance by the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling. During their annual air conditioner servicing, they check the coils for cleanliness, mold-like debris, and check for sufficient refrigerant levels.

For those not part of the Silver Club Membership, annual maintenance is $79. For club members, they get this service twice a year for just $11.95 a month. That’s not all, however. Silver Club members also receive:

  • Guaranteed appointments within 24 hours
  • Free Safety Check
  • Free Fall Maintenance on Furnace
  • Free Spring Maintenance on A/C
  • 2 free 1” standard pleating filers per year
  • 20% discount on all parts and labor
  • $19.95 diagnostic fee
  • 20% discount on IAQ
  • Blower motor pulled at no charge once every 3 years of membership

Save money while keeping the air conditioner and furnace both running in top shape with Diamond Heating and Cooling’s Silver Club Membership. Visit the website to learn more.

Setting the Thermostat Too Low

It can be tempting after a long, hot day to crank the air conditioner to a lower setting when coming home to a hot house. However, setting the AC too low to cool everything down faster can cause quite a few issues. Here are some things that could happen:

Vapor

If the inside of the house is too cold and the outside too hot, the combination could create extra moisture inside the house. This causes a vapor to build up in the walls that could cause mold and rotting walls.

Overuse

When homeowners set the air conditioner to an extremely low temperature to cool the house faster, it makes the AC work overtime trying to reach a temperature that is unattainable. If this continues, the AC could start to wear down from the strain and begin to fail.

Expensive Bills

The overuse of the air conditioner means more energy being used in vain. The energy bill will begin to skyrocket, but the house won’t get any cooler.

Instead of turning the air conditioner to arctic temperatures while attempting to cool the house down, consider investing in a programmable thermostat. This way the thermostat can increase the home’s temperature by a few degrees while everyone is away and lower the energy bill, and then begin to cool it back down half an hour before the homeowners arrive home.

Don’t waste money trying to cool down the house too fast. The only outcome will be an expensive energy bill and worn out air conditioner in need of repairs or replacement soon. If the air conditioner isn’t as efficient at cooling down the house as before, talk to the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling. They can take a look at the problem and help homeowners get their AC back up and running efficiently in no time.