4 Reasons Why Your Air Conditioner Smells

Air conditioners should make the air in your house more comfortable. However, sometimes they do the exact opposite. This is especially true if your air conditioner is causing your home to become smelly. Knowing what causes odors in the air conditioner and what you can do to stop those odors can help you take care of your air conditioner. Preventing odors can also improve your quality of life at home, as foul smells can ruin your day. Below are the many causes of odors in and around your air conditioner and some suggestions for avoiding those problems.

1. Dirty Air Filter

The air filter is the part of your air conditioner that filters dirt and debris from the air as it circulates through your ducts. Air filters need to be replaced periodically, or they can become clogged. A dirty air filter can harbor everything from dust to mold spores, depending on the air circulating through the ducts.

The EPA recommends that homeowners replace their air filters at least every three months or more frequently, depending on how quickly the filter gets dirty. So if your air conditioner smells when you run it, check the air filter first.

Air filters are generally found in the space between the return air duct and the blower. To replace the filter, remove it from the slot, and replace it with an identical filter. Most filters are disposable and can be thrown away; they’re not reusable. If replacing your air filter doesn’t work, or if your air filter is clean, then you’ll need to explore other options.

2. Clogged Condensate Pan

Air conditioners collect moisture from the air. That moisture collects in a pan that drips outside the house, which is why you’ll see a puddle of water accumulate around your air conditioner. A condensate pan is a place where mold and algae grow. Condensate pans need to be cleaned periodically, as do the drain lines.

If the drain lines are not cleaned and treated, they can become clogged with algae buildup, causing a smell in your house and a backup of water on your carpet or floor. A clogged condensate pan is a relatively easy fix for your HVAC professional, but the best way to avoid this problem is to get regular tune-ups from your HVAC professional. During tune-ups, your contractor will flush the condensate pan to prevent more algae.

3. Blown Fuse

Another smell you might notice around the air conditioner is the smell of gunpowder or fireworks. This odor could result from a blown a fuse in the air conditioner’s circuit board or fan blower. If your AC has blown a fuse, you’ll be able to tell because the AC will probably not be working.

The gunpowder smell will likely dissipate quickly. However, if you continue to smell a smoky or burning smell that grows stronger, this could signify a fire. In that case, leave the house quickly and contact the fire department.

A blown fuse is a problem that points to an electrical problem, either in your home or in your air conditioner. You can catch this kind of problem by getting a regular tune-up. In addition, your air conditioner repair person can see electrical issues in their early stages and recommend repairs before they become dire.

4. Gas Leak Distributed by Duct Work

The smell of rotten eggs is a smell that many people associate with gas leaks. Natural gas is odorless, but gas companies inject natural gas with mercaptan, a harmless gas that smells like sulfur. So if the smell from your ducts smells like rotten eggs, this could result from a gas leak.

Air conditioners are not run on natural gas, so it’s unlikely that the smell comes from your air conditioner. However, your gas-powered furnace is likely to close to the return air duct and blower that distributes air throughout the house, which means that your air conditioner could efficiently distribute a gas leak throughout your home.

If you suspect your home has a gas leak, leave the house immediately. Take your pets with you. Leave your doors sitting wide open. When you’re outside the house, call for emergency help or your utility company’s emergency number.

You can avoid many problems described above by getting regular tune-ups from an HVAC professional. Have an expert tune up your HVAC system at least once annually to keep the components in your air conditioner in good condition. Contact the professionals at Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning to learn more about how to prevent unpleasant smells from affecting your air conditioner.

Important HVAC Tips for Seniors

HVAC systems help seniors stay safe and comfortable while they’re at home. If you’re a senior or someone who helps an elderly relative take care of themselves at home, look at the following HVAC tips. You’ll find there are many things you can do to maintain a practical and functional HVAC system.

Use a HEPA Filter

Wildfire smoke is becoming a regular occurrence in states like California, where significant wildfires often happen during the wildfire season. Seniors are significantly affected by smoke from wildfires, which can complicate chronic heart and lung diseases.

You can improve indoor air quality in your home by using a HEPA filter in the HVAC system. HEPA filters can filter particles from wildfire smoke out of the air, which can help improve your home’s indoor air quality.

HEPA filters, like other HVAC air filters, must be replaced regularly. The EPA recommends replacing your home’s HVAC air filter every three months or sooner if it becomes dirty. If you have a HEPA filter, it may look dirty quickly because it can filter out smaller particles than standard air filters.

Check your HEPA filter once per month whenever the HVAC system is in use, and replace the filter as needed. Look for the air filter slot between the return air duct and the blower. Pull out the filter, buy an identical one from your local hardware store, then slide the new one into place.

Maintain Safe Indoor Air Temperatures

Seniors are especially vulnerable to cold and hot temperatures. Some studies show seniors are more likely to experience falls and accidents in chilly rooms.

For this reason, seniors need to maintain a comfortable temperature at home. Using the air conditioner and furnace at the correct times of the year can help. This is especially important in Modesto, where the average temperature in July is over 90 degrees, and the average temperature in January is less than 40 degrees.

Seniors who live on a fixed income will sometimes maintain less-than-comfortable temperatures at home to save money. Some may also neglect HVAC maintenance to save money on HVAC contractors. Avoid these temptations and always do what you must to maintain safe indoor air temperatures.

Check the Thermostat

Check your thermostat often to ensure that you use your furnace and air conditioner consistently. If money is tight in your household, work out a plan to ensure you can afford to keep your HVAC system running. Make a budget and identify other ways to save money, to ensure that HVAC costs are affordable.

Get Regular Tune-Ups

Preventative care is often less costly than repairs and can prevent HVAC breakdowns from occurring. Many HVAC contractors offer tune-up services to keep your HVAC system in good condition throughout its service life. Shop around to find the best deals. Some contractors may charge lower prices at slower times of the year. Ask about this when you schedule the appointment.

Clean the Air Conditioner Condenser

Debris inside the air conditioner condenser can cling to the coils and may prevent the condenser from releasing heat, which puts unnecessary wear and tears on the air conditioner. To keep your condenser in good condition, vacuum the coils inside the condenser and then spray down the inside with a hose. This is a low-cost way to prevent air conditioner breakdowns.

Remember to turn off the power to the air conditioner condenser before you start this job. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the condenser yourself, ask the HVAC contractor to do this for you during the tune-up.

Reduce the Burden on Your HVAC System

You can also perform a few tasks around the house to keep your HVAC costs down and ensure that the system runs efficiently.

Weather Strip the House

You can maintain a comfortable temperature inside your house with weather stripping. Weather stripping often takes the form of strips of foam that can seal the cracks around doors and windows.

Installing weather stripping puts less burden on the HVAC system and tightens up the building envelope to prevent energy loss. Weather stripping can be done at any time of year, especially before summer or winter.

Once weather stripping is installed, it can be used all year round. However, some kinds of weather stripping will wear down over time. Check weather stripping every fall and spring, and replace it once it becomes too old to be effective.

Reduce Direct Sunlight

You can also reduce the burden on your HVAC system by closing blinds and windows in rooms exposed to direct sunlight. This helps prevent the summer sun from warming your home at the height of summer, which can increase air conditioning costs.

Contact Your HVAC Professional

To find out more about how you can take care of your HVAC system, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and perform any required services.

Managing Allergies With HVAC

Allergies can bring you down and leave you feeling too terrible to enjoy life. Whether you’re allergic to pets, pollen, dust, or other airborne allergens, a high-quality HVAC system can be one of your best allies. All you need to know is how to put your HVAC system to work for you. Follow these innovative strategies to use your HVAC system to relieve runny noses, dryness, hay fever, and more!

Add an Air Purifier

You may cringe when you learn about the common air pollutants inside your home. You may be breathing in microplastics, mold, pet dander, household cleaners, pollen, and worse. Unfortunately, the air pollutants that you inhale while relaxing at home can be the very things that trigger a variety of allergic reactions.

Consider adding a whole-house air purifier to your HVAC system. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, this can be one of the most effective things you can do to improve indoor air quality. When you use an air purifier, you reduce your exposure to common allergens. As a result, you may notice a dramatic difference after introducing the cleaner and start to feel better.

Keep the Humidity in Your Home Low

Mold allergies are common and can wreak havoc on your sense of well-being. The bad news is that mold can grow anywhere. The good news is that you can help prevent decay with your HVAC system. If you have a mold allergy, fight back and set the humidity in your home below 50 percent. Otherwise, the moisture can encourage mold growth.

If necessary, add a dehumidifier to keep your allergies at bay. A whole-house dehumidifier can be an asset that works with the HVAC system to create a suitable healthy climate within your home. In addition, it can continue to ensure humidity is removed from the air while your air conditioner is between cycles.

You should also make sure to ventilate your home correctly. If you don’t have proper ventilation, mold can grow and thrive. Pay incredibly close attention to the bathroom, kitchen, and basement. These areas often lack adequate ventilation and can be a hotbed for mold growth.

Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned

If you suspect that your air ducts may be causing your problems, make sure you have a professional clean them. A professional duct cleaning service is worth every penny if your air ducts contain mold or have accumulated a lot of dirt and grime. Often an entire HVAC system cleaning is combined with cleaning your air ducts. The cleaning service you need depends on your unique situation and the condition of your system.

Never try to clean your air ducts yourself, and don’t ask a knowledgeable neighbor or friend to try their hand washing them. Instead, hire a licensed National Air Duct Cleaning Association-certified professional to perform the cleaning. Only a professional will know the ins and outs of cleaning ducts. In some cases, duct cleaning requires cutting holes in the system, and a professional can cut and seal the ducts properly.

Keep the Area Around Your HVAC Clear

Keep the area around your heating and air conditioning unit clear of debris, dust, and other items. If you have children, make it a family rule that everyone keeps their stuff clear of the HVAC unit inside and outside the house. A clear pathway will help increase the airflow. It also helps the system work most efficiently to regulate the air inside your home and protect you from allergies.

Avoid fancy landscaping in the outside area around the HVAC unit, too. Trees around the unit can provide shade as long as they don’t block airflow. Otherwise, the best practice is to keep the grass mowed and clear of the team. You don’t want common allergens or other outdoor debris to brush up against the heating and cooling system where they may cause problems.

Don’t Open Windows During Any Season

Keep your home protected from the allergy triggers often found in the great outdoors. Although you might want to open the windows during beautiful weather, resist the temptation. Even though allergens are less prominent at night, keep windows closed to protect yourself and your children.

Replace Old Units

Newer HVAC systems tend to offer the best protection against indoor allergens. However, a total replacement may be best if you have had your air conditioning and heating system for a decade or if it malfunctions. The United States Department of Energy recommends regular maintenance of your plan to get the most out of its ability to fight allergies.

Finally, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning today for any questions about a new heating and cooling system. We can advise on improving your home’s air quality with the best equipment. Since we strive to be the best in the Sacramento area, you’ll enjoy the highest quality systems and a pleasant, professional installation experience.

If you find that you’re outside of our service area, then, by all means, contact one of our many friends in the HVAC industry, Done, Plumbing & Heating. Done provides a variety of Denver heating, cooling, plumbing, and other related services for the people of Colorado. If you have the opportunity to work with them, we know they’ll live up to their stellar reputation.

Holiday HVAC Tips

The holidays are fast approaching, which means one thing: family gatherings. Aside from all the food, drinks, and other fun you’ll have this year, there’s one more thing to consider. That’s right; you need to start thinking about your HVAC system! There’s nothing more critical to your guests’ comfort than your home’s heating system. After all, enjoying your holiday dinner in -30° weather is hard without your heater running full blast. For this reason, you must ensure that your HVAC system is in good and working order long before your relatives knock on your door.

Not sure where to start? Follow these few simple tips from the HVAC experts at Derek Sawyers and get your system into shape today!

Replace Your Air Filter

If you regularly replace your air filter, congratulations ahead of the game. However, if you’re like most people, chances are you haven’t replaced any air filters all year. Well, now is a great time to take care of this piece of maintenance. A new air filter will help improve your home’s airflow and reduce the dust and allergens in your air. The last thing you want this year is anyone to start sneezing up a storm.

Some filters can even capture viruses and help protect your guests from otherwise nasty colds or other illnesses. That means a new air filter isn’t just an investment in the health of your guests; it can help you stay healthy all year round. Plus, now is an excellent time to replace your filter and start the New Year with fresh air.

Clean House

It may not be spring, but the holiday season is a great time to start tidying your home. A cleaner home reduces indoor air pollutants and makes breathing easier without filtering your air. That’s right, cleaning up all of the dust, pet dander, and other allergens can have a profound impact on your home’s air quality!

More importantly, cleaning your HVAC system can have an even higher impact on the air inside your home! Removing all of those same allergens from your ducts ensures that they’ll never make it into your perspective, to begin with, and cleaning the vents help air flow freely throughout your home!

Fix Air Gaps

Gaps in your air ducts are inevitable, but you don’t have to live with them. Any company offering professional HVAC services can help you seal up existing gaps and identify issues that may lead to new ones forming. Your newly sealed vents will thank you with more effective temperature control and lower energy costs too! Just make sure to call your local HVAC professional early in the year, as this process can take a fair amount of time for technicians to complete.

Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Chances are, you’ll have more than one heating appliance running this holiday season. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure the integrity of your fire protection equipment, like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You might even want to ensure your fire extinguishers aren’t past their expiration date. This way, you’ll be ready for whatever accident comes your way this holiday season.

Keep Your Thermostat Close…

The holidays are a time of temperature extremes. Snow may fall outdoors, but you could quickly roast inside your home without watching your thermostat closely. That’s why you must be sure you’re always closely watching the climate around you. For example, if your kitchen is operating at total capacity, chances are you won’t need to run your furnace or other heating appliances quite as hard. Likewise, you might need to run your system extra hard in the morning if your guests stay the night. The game’s name here is to be aware of your surroundings and react accordingly to keep your guests comfortable.

…And Your HVAC Repair Service is Closer!

Chances are, you’ll run into an HVAC problem you can’t solve sooner rather than later. It’ll pay to know a repair company that will help you set things right when this time comes. An excellent company can help you plan for and take care of the other items on this list! So, if you take nothing else from this list, at least take this; a good HVAC service provider can help you prepare for the holidays better than you ever could on your own.

So, what are you waiting for? Not sure where to go? Why not start will a call to the service professionals from Derek Sawyers? Well, we give you the best service for your HVAC system and help you ensure the comfort and safety of your guests this winter! So, contact your local HVAC team today and get started on getting your system ready for the coming holidays.

6 Benefits of an Annual Furnace Cleaning

As each year passes, you may find it more accessible and easier to take your home heating for granted. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not worry about their furnaces until a significant problem has occurred. One way to prevent furnace issues is with an annual cleaning.

HVAC technicians can provide a detailed cleaning of your furnace once a year. Each cleaning comes with many benefits and will ultimately save money in the long run. Learn about the benefits and why you should make an annual furnace cleaning part of your home maintenance routine.

1. Better Efficiency

One of the most significant benefits of annual cleaning is better efficiency for your furnace. When the furnace boiler and ducts are cleaned, the furnace will run at better rates and not need to run as long to provide heat for a home.

A furnace with better efficiency can save you money in the long run. You do not have to pay extra oil and can heat your home for a lot less each year. Of course, the efficiency of every furnace is different. Still, in some cases, the savings from the stove could completely offset the cleaning costs. A unique calculator can help figure out differences as well.

After your first cleaning, you can compare the money spent on oil for the year and the amounts to previous years to see the difference. When oil prices fluctuate, an even better comparison would be to see the number of gallons you burn through each year.

2. Cleaner Burns

When an HVAC tech cleans out your furnace, they will eliminate the dust, debris, and build-up inside the burners. The result will save money with better efficiency, and your furnace will burn cleaner. The cleaner burns will improve the air quality in your home and help the environment.

An HVAC technician will inspect the furnace to check for air leaks or carbon monoxide issues. Special tools can examine the areas and ensure all the furnace elements are locked down and in place, so air leaks do not occur.

3. Quiet Operations

One of the loudest pieces of equipment in your home is typically the furnace. You will often hear the rumble and loud sounds of the furnace starting up. However, if you feel like your furnace has become louder over the years, you do not just hear things. As a stove runs, screws become loose, panels dislodge, and vibrations increase.

Without proper maintenance, a furnace will vibrate more and become much louder than you intended. During a cleaning, a technician will help secure all furnace elements and replace screws where needed. The duct and pipe brackets are also attached to the furnace to reduce noise.

Not only will the reduction of noise help your ears, but you can also help prevent significant problems when a furnace vibrates or shakes too much.

4. Duct Obstructions

While we want heating ducts to provide clean elements, there may be times with obstructions cause problems and impact the way heat flows through a home. Eliminate any major duct obstructions with a furnace cleaning. Dirt is one of the more common elements filling up ducts, but your home may also have rodents stuck in the vents.

Cleaning out the ducts will improve a furnace’s air quality and efficiency. If you’ve noticed that some home rooms do not heat up as well as others, then duct obstruction could be one of the leading causes.

5. Oil Filter Replacements

One task done during every cleaning is a complete oil filter replacement. Modern oil tanks are often filled with sludge and grime. If your tank gets low on oil, the sludge can seep into the lines and clog the filter. Once a filter is changed, oil can reach the furnace easier and provide a hotter and more powerful burn.

If excess sludge does appear, an HVAC tech may try to remove extra sludge in the oil tank if the build-up has grown too big. The filter will often act as the first sign and help prevent any problems.

6. Diagnosing Small Problems

A visual and physical inspection of your furnace is one of the key ways to eliminate any signs of minor problems most people will miss. For example, an HVAC tech may notice a fan is jammed or an element of the furnace leaks. When these little problems are taken care of, you can prevent more significant ones.

Prevention is critical; you can keep a furnace lasting for many years with proper maintenance and care.

Contact us at Derek Sawyers Heating & Air Conditioning for more information on furnace cleaning. We will help you schedule a cleaning and future appointments to ensure you do not forget the annual care for your furnace. Shortly after a cleaning, you will notice significant differences and help keep your furnace running for years into the future.

Zoned Heating Systems

Like most homeowners, you want your heating system to keep your family comfortable. At the same time, you want to consume as little energy as possible to keep your home energy bills low. However, you may not achieve these goals with your current traditional forced-air heating system.

While traditional forced-air systems work well in many homes, some homeowners find that these heating systems heat their homes unevenly. For example, conventional forced-air methods often make the second floor of many two-story homes much warmer than the first floors. This uneven temperature often forces occupants to open windows in warmer areas of the house. This kind of compromise always leads to energy waste.

These systems can also make it difficult for families to find a temperature that makes everyone happy!

Thankfully, zoned heating systems can help solve both of these problems. They can help keep your family more comfortable while lowering home energy bills. The average homeowner saves up to 30% on energy bills after making the switch.

Read on to learn more about two zoned heating system options and which option may be best for your home.

Zoned Forced-Air Heating System

A zoned forced-air heating system provides you with all the comforts of a traditional design. The significant difference is that these systems allow you to regulate the temperature of your home’s spaces separately.

A zoned forced-air heating system allows you to separate your home into climate zones, each with a thermostat. Many homeowners divide their homes into just two climate zones, each consisting of one house floor. Still, others prefer to turn every room of their home into its unique zone.

The thermostat added to each climate zone connects to special dampers installed in your home ductwork. When the temperature in the climate zone drops below the thermostat temperature setting, the thermostat sends a signal to the dampers that trigger them to open and allow heat to flow through the vents into the climate zone. After reaching the desired thermostat setting, the dampers receive a closing signal.

When switching from a traditional forced-air heating system to a zoned one, you should replace your existing conventional furnace with a variable-speed one. Zoned systems produce excessive wear and tear in standard furnaces. This operation often results in an overall lifespan reduction and no boost in energy efficiency.

Multi-Zone Mini-Split HVAC System

Another zoned heating option is a multi-zone mini-split or ductless system.

Unlike a zoned forced-air HVAC system, a mini-split system does not heat your home with a furnace that sends warm air through heating ducts. Instead, this system comprises an air condenser typically placed outdoors and several indoor heating units called air handlers. This air condenser collects heat energy already found in the air and then transfers it to the indoor air handlers through memorable refrigerant lines.

Since the air condenser collects heat energy from the air instead of creating heat, as a furnace does, this heating system type is highly energy-efficient.

One mini-split condenser can send heat to up to nine Indoor air handlers to create up to nine climate zones in your home. Professionals can mount these air handlers on walls, floors, heating ducts, room ceilings, or climate zone.

To ensure your multi-zone mini-split system can heat your home correctly without wasting energy, you must choose a system that has a suitable BTU capacity for your home. A higher BTU mini-split system can provide more heat than a lower BTU capacity. While a mini-split system with a BTU capacity too low for your home may not be able to provide the heat you need, one with a too-high BTU capacity may short cycle, which can reduce energy efficiency.

Trust Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air With Your HVAC Needs

An HVAC expert can determine your home’s mini-split heating system capacity to ensure your new multi-zone heating system heats your home correctly without wasting energy.

This heating system is an excellent option if your home does not have air ducts or you desire a system that operates more quietly than a forced-air system.

If your current control over your home’s temperature is insufficient, you may want to consider a zoned system. A zoned heating system can help keep your family more comfortable while increasing home energy efficiency. Contact the HVAC experts at Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning for your home heating needs today.

How Important Is Furnace Maintenance

If you’re the kind of person that forgoes maintaining your equipment and appliances, well, you’re not alone. Every year, millions of people decide it’s not worth their time to perform essential maintenance services on their furnaces, and every year millions of furnaces break down. The connection isn’t hard to make here.

Furnace maintenance is the key to successfully prolonging the lifespan and conserving the energy efficiency of your system. But, more importantly, it ensures that your home is protected from the major disaster that often befalls homes with poorly maintained furnaces. High utility bills, carbon-monoxide poisoning, and fire are some dangers of failing to meet your system’s maintenance needs.

Thankfully, scheduling regular maintenance with qualified professionals is easy to take care of any issues you may have. Here’s why and how you should keep up with your furnace maintenance.

Let A Professional Handle These Jobs

Every company delivers a different experience during its maintenance services. However, you can count on most companies to offer, at a minimum, these services:

  • Filter Inspections and Replacements
  • Gas Lines and Heat Exchanger Inspections
  • Burner and Flue Pipe Cleaning
  • Thermostat and Wiring Connection Testing
  • Pilot Assembly Cleaning

These services ensure you’ve protected your system from many issues that furnaces often experience. This protection is part of what makes maintenance so valuable.

Professional Maintenance Helps You Avoid Issues

Not every issue is preventable, but when you have professionals take care of your furnace, you’ll be sure to avoid the worst problems. As such, your furnace will sustain a higher performance throughout its lifetime. More importantly, you’ll know well in advance if you’re having issues with your heat exchanger or other dangerous components of your furnace.

As your primary heating appliance, there’s always a chance that your furnace can lead to a fire outbreak or the venting of carbon monoxide into your home. That is unless it receives monthly maintenance. When a professional HVAC company maintains your furnace, you reduce the chance that your system will experience any serious issues. Furthermore, if your system does begin to exhibit signs of complications, you’ll be poised to handle the case before it becomes something serious.

However, the benefits of maintenance don’t stop here.

Conserve Energy Efficiency With Regular Maintenance

No system is perfect, and your furnace is guaranteed to lose some energy efficiency over time. However, using a maintenance service can minimize the effect that years of operation have on your system’s efficiency.

With consistent general maintenance, your furnace will receive the care it needs to ensure that there are no steep drop-offs in efficiency. Even if you’ve never had a professional perform maintenance on your furnace, you’ll find that a single visit will have your system running cleaner.

Of course, better efficiency doesn’t just affect performance; it saves you money. For example, an efficient furnace uses less energy to maintain temperatures than one with dirty filters or other issues. These energy savings translates directly into more money in your pocket.

Let Derek’s Experts Optimize Your Furnace

If you wanted to, you could run your furnace all day and night without caring. However, your furnace would live a concise life in this scenario. Not only would that force you to replace your furnace regularly, but it would put your entire property at risk!

However, you can avoid that if your system receives regular maintenance from a professional HVAC technician. Furnace maintenance preserves your system and protects your property from fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and more! If that wasn’t good enough, system care helps you do all this while saving you money on overall operating costs.

Why wait any longer? Call Derek Sawyers Heating & Air Conditioning today at (209) 247-1245 or contact one of our service representatives through our web portal for help maintaining your furnace!

For our friends to the east of our service area, we recommend the services of Done Plumbing & Heating when you need help with furnace maintenance. Done has provided HVAC services to Colorado for years but specializes in Denver heating services. As such, they help the greater Denver area whenever it needs help maintaining furnaces.

Program Your Thermostat For Winter

As winter approaches, many of us turn up the thermostat to stay warm and comfortable. But what can you do to keep warm without running up your heating bills? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the quick and easy way to maintain an energy-efficient temperature at home is to set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. At this temperature, your heater doesn’t have to work as hard because the temperature indoors is close to the outdoor temperature. Sixty-eight degrees is warm enough for most people to stay comfortable while saving energy.

But there are also additional ways to keep warm while cutting costs. At Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air Conditioning, we suggest using the following energy-saving tips for programming your thermostat in winter:

Take Advantage Of Your Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat allows you to pre-set varying temperatures at different times of the day. With a manual thermostat, however, you can only raise and lower the temperature on a moment-to-moment basis. Although manual adjustments work fine for some people, strategic programming saves time and money. So we recommend setting up an automatic schedule that maximizes savings and comfort for the winter.

Adjust Temperatures When You’re Away From Home

For example, consider lowering the temperature when nobody is at home. While you’re out of the house for work or activities, you don’t need the heater running at maximum output. Instead, program your thermostat to start heating before you wake up and get ready to leave, but set it to a lower temperature when you know you’ll be away from home. That way, you’ll feel warm by the time you awake but can save money while you’re gone.

You can even schedule your heater to start working a few minutes before you return so that it feels warm and cozy inside. Setting your thermostat back by 7-10 degrees, 8 hours a day, can result in significant monthly energy savings.

Sleep Better With Lower Temperatures

Some people know that things like blue light from our devices and eating late at night can impact our sleep. But did you know that the temperature in your bedroom can also make or break your sleep? Believe it or not, maintaining a cool environment at night is one of the best ways to achieve a good night’s rest. That’s because the drop in temperature signals our bodies to prepare for sleep.

So consider lowering the thermostat at night to fall asleep easier while saving money on heating. Of course, nobody will benefit from freezing temperatures, but you can experiment so that it’s cool enough without freezing your tail off. If you need additional warmth, get cozy under some extra blankets or layers. Once you’ve programmed a heating schedule that suits you just right, you can sleep better without wasting energy.

Lower The Temperature While On Vacation

Considering the above tips, you might try to turn off your heating system while on vacation. But turning it off altogether could put your pipes at risk of freezing. So we recommend adjusting your thermostat by 5 degrees or lower while you’re away (but no less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit). You can also keep the windows closed to prevent the cold temperature outside from making your heater work harder.

Contact Derek Sawyer’s Today

At Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air Conditioning, our technicians can help with any of your thermostat or heating issues. So whether you need your thermostat calibrated or a new heater installed, contact us today for help. We even provide 24-hour emergency services for your urgent needs. So call today at (209) 247-1245 to get started!

Should You Get an Air Conditioner or a Heat Pump?

Summer is finally over. If your air conditioner needs repair more than once throughout the summer, it may be time to replace the unit. When the time does come to replace your air conditioner, one choice is whether you want another air conditioner or a heat pump. These units are very different, so understanding the differences and advantages of each product will help you make your decision.

What an Air Conditioner Does

An air conditioner removes heat from home and expels it into the yard. It does this by depressurizing the coolant in a coil until it is freezing. The coolant then absorbs heat from the air in the home.

Once the heat inside the home has been absorbed, it is moved along the coil until it reaches its exterior. The coolant is then pressurized until it becomes boiling. Next, the air conditioner unit blows warm air out into the yard, and the cycle begins again. Air conditioners reduce both temperature and humidity in the home.

What a Heat Pump Does

A heat pump works like an air conditioner, pressurizing and depressurizing coolant to remove warm air inside the house and blast it outside. The difference between these two units is that the heat pump can be reversed to work like a furnace. To do this, the heat pump absorbs heat from the outside and blasts it inside.

Heat pumps are efficient in warm places like Modesto, where the season’s lowest temperatures are generally in the 40s. In colder climates, heat pumps work less efficiently than furnaces because they rely on warmth outside the home to heat the house’s interior. Therefore, the less heat air outside contains, the less efficiently the heat pump will operate.

Why You Should Choose a Heat Pump

Deciding between a heat pump and an air conditioner can be a challenge. Air conditioners are the traditional appliance for keeping a home cool in the summer. An appropriately sized air conditioner will do its job well. However, heat pumps have many advantages over air conditioners.

Heat Pumps Are Easy to Maintain

With a heat pump doing the job of the air conditioner and the heater, the homeowner has only one appliance to maintain instead of two. This can lead to lower repair bills and less yearly maintenance.

Heat Pumps Are Energy-Efficient

Heat pumps are known for their energy efficiency, especially in mild or warm-weather climates like Modesto. Heat pumps can heat a home using about 50% less electricity than an electric furnace.

Homeowners Are Likely to Have a Backup

People who have an air conditioner and furnace combo will often keep their furnace, even when they replace their air conditioner with a heat pump. The stove can be a backup if the heat pump breaks down.

Heat Pumps Improve Home Value

Home buyers like to buy homes that have energy-efficient appliances and home systems. With a heat pump installed in your house, your home may enjoy a boost in value.

Heat Pumps Are Cost Efficient

Because heat pumps are so efficient, they often cost less to operate than a furnace and air conditioner combination. As a result, using a heat pump year-round can help a homeowner save hundreds or thousands of dollars on their utility bill over time.

Heat Pumps Are Space Efficient

Heat pumps take up about half the space of an air conditioner and furnace combination. As a result, they’re an excellent product for tiny homes with little room to dedicate to the HVAC system.

When to Get an Air Conditioner

Of course, heat pumps aren’t for everyone. In addition, heat pumps can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than an air conditioner. This makes air conditioners an attractive option for homeowners on a budget.

How to Get Started

The first step is to contact a reputable HVAC contractor, whether you’re replacing your air conditioner with another air conditioner or with a heat pump. Your HVAC contractor will assess your current system, tell you for sure whether or not it’s a good idea to replace your air conditioner, and give you an estimate for what you will pay to make that replacement.

Get at least three bids from three different professionals before making your final selection. Requests should be itemized and detailed, so you know what to expect when the work is finished. Check contractors’ references and licensure to ensure that they’re certified and qualified to do the job. Then, when picking a professional comes, make sure you sign a contract.

For more information about heat pumps and air conditioners, contact an HVAC professional in your area. At Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about which unit is suitable for you. Contact us today for more information.

Is Your Furnace Worth Repairing?

With the average furnace costing thousands of dollars once you factor in parts and installation, most homeowners consider their furnaces a costly investment. In that light, it makes sense to hold on to your heating system for as long as possible. At some point, however, the downsides of keeping your current furnace will eventually outweigh the benefits.

While your HVAC specialist can quickly tell you when to cut your losses, a quick self-assessment will help you decide between a furnace repair and a complete replacement. Ask yourself the questions below if you’re at a crossroads regarding your furnace’s future.

Are Your Furnace Problems Minor or Major?

The severity of your furnace’s problems can easily tip the scales toward either repair or replacement. However, simple issues like a faulty thermostat or a clogged condensate drain often require little to no effort or investment to fix. You can even take the DIY route to fix minor problems like clogged air filters and vents at little to no cost.

However, when faced with a significant furnace problem, the time, effort, and cost of repair can sometimes exceed the cost and effort of a new heating system, even when you add labor and other miscellaneous expenses. If the repair cost exceeds a third of the cost of a new furnace, you’re better off replacing it.

Furnace problems that take a long time to fix or require extensive changes can make a complete replacement more worthwhile. However, some issues, such as a cracked heat exchanger, offer no other choice except to replace the furnace altogether.

How Long Have You had Your Furnace?

Today’s furnaces are robust enough to offer 20 to 30 years of reliable service. However, most manufacturers recommend turning an eye toward replacement at the 15-year mark. Continual wear and tear over a decade or more of kindness can make any furnace feel its age, which increases the frequency of repairs.

Consider the following if you have trouble deciding whether a repair or replacement is a good idea for your existing furnace:

  • If your furnace is brand-new and already needs repair, consider replacing it under warranty, as it may have defects that affect its operation.
  • Don’t worry about replacement if your furnace is just a few years old. Your heating system has plenty of years of faithful service ahead of it.
  • If your furnace is over 15 years old but only needs the occasional repair, consider your replacement options and make plans if repairs increase in frequency.
  • If your furnace is over 15 years old and suffers from constant issues, prepare for a complete replacement.

Care and upkeep also play a role in a furnace’s long-term health and influence your decision to repair or replace it. A well-maintained furnace won’t need as many repairs as a neglected system, regardless of age.

How Many Repairs Has It Had So Far?

Occasional repairs and quick preventative fixes are a fact of life for most furnaces. What’s unusual, however, is to keep your furnace on life support via frequent repairs. Unfortunately, funneling time and money to keep your current furnace in service quickly turns into a game of diminishing returns, with each repair offering less benefit and a shorter lease on life for your furnace.

Not only do the financial costs add up to nurse your furnace along steadily, but you also have to consider the personal cost. Instead of dreading the following breakdown or scrambling to cover yet another repair bill, you’ll rest more accessible and have greater peace of mind with a brand-new furnace.

Is Your Furnace Right for Your Home?

Recent improvements can leave your furnace out of step with your home’s changing heating needs. New additions, such as an extra room or an enlarged ceiling, can add additional strain to your existing furnace, resulting in more wear, higher energy consumption, and shorter service life. Complete remodeling can change so many aspects of your home that a new system becomes necessary.

Changing technology can also make your existing furnace outdated. Recent advances, including variable speed motors and modulating gas valves, help modern furnaces use less energy while maximizing heat output. Although you can retrofit these features on some existing furnaces, only a brand-new unit will make full, efficient use of the new tech.

If your furnace was oversized or undersized from the start, now is the time to choose a right-sized replacement. Modern methods like Manual J load calculation let HVAC specialists select and install furnaces based on precision on square footage, insulation levels, and other home data.

Whether you choose repairs or a complete furnace replacement, the experts at Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air are ready to help. Let us tackle your Central Valley home’s furnace repairs or help you choose the right upgrades to keep your home cozy. Contact us today if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

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