Summertime AC Issues? The Do’s and Don’ts of What to Do Next

Did your central AC system suddenly stop cooling your home? If your air conditioner breaks down in the middle of a summertime heat wave, consider the dos and don’ts of AC repair.

Do Call an HVAC Professional

Suppose you don’t have extensive expertise in air conditioner repair. In that case, you must call an HVAC professional when your system stops working. Whether your AC unit blows warm air through the vents, won’t turn on, takes too long to cool your home, or has another issue, hire a licensed HVAC contractor to:

  • Inspect your system. What is the culprit behind your AC’s issues? If you can’t answer this question, contact a qualified contractor to inspect your air conditioner. The technician will assess the coil, condenser, refrigerant line, and other system parts.
  • Diagnose the problem. After the inspection, the technician will diagnose the issue. While you may not understand the technical jargon, the AC contractor can break down the basics as they explain what’s wrong with your home’s cooling system.
  • Provide you with an estimate. How much will the repairs or replacement cost? A qualified contractor should provide you with a written estimate. The estimate should include the per-hour rate or job cost, materials cost, and applicable fees.
  • Complete the repair or installation. After you agree to the estimate, the technician will complete the necessary repairs or install a replacement (if a repair isn’t possible).

The sooner you call the HVAC contractor, the better. Waiting too long between noticing the initial problem and finally contacting the contractor could result in additional issues.

Don’t Wait to Call the HVAC Professional.

What types of issues can a delayed service cause? For example, even though the summer swelter may suddenly end, you swap out AC use for fans, or you put off a service call for another reason, failure to schedule aFailure appointment could result in:

  • Discomfort. Your AC system provides a valuable service — it keeps your home cool. However, if you wait days or weeks after your AC system fails, you’ll need to sweat your way through the hottest days of the summer.
  • Damage. A system that blows warm air makes loud noises, has odd odors, doesn’t work correctly, and requires repair. Failure to promptly repair the system could result in significant damage or excessive wear and tear.
  • Excess energy usage. A damaged or worn AC system may use more energy to cool your home, increasing electricity bills or related operating costs.
  • Invalidation of a warranty. Does your warranty have time frame restrictions? For example, suppose the warranty requires you to schedule professionally done repairs within a specific period or only extends to a particular month and year. In that case, you may need to pay out of pocket for repairs.

Along with these issues, the HVAC contractor might not have high availability for mid-summer appointments — especially during the peak heat of the season.

Do Keep Cool While You Wait

Even though you may have called the contractor when your AC system turned off or started blowing hot air, the HVAC service provider possibly won’t have an immediate appointment. Again, peak heat season is often a tricky time when scheduling AC services. You may have to wait hours or days between overworked systems, excessive wear and tear, and new installations.

While you wait, avoid heat-related discomfort or illnesses and:

  • Use fans. Provide your home with electricity and plug-in fans. Only use fans in the rooms you will use. This reduces overall energy usage and may lower your temporary fan-related cooling costs.
  • Close window treatments. Reduce the effects of the sun on your home by closing blinds or curtains during the day to reduce sun-related home heat gain.
  • Open windows. Let the breeze in. Open windows that aren’t in direct sun. Always use screens to keep insects or other pests out.
  • Don’t cook indoors. The oven-baked meal you plan to make can heat your home. If possible, make cold meals or cook outdoors on a grill.
  • Hydrate well. After you take steps to cool your home, cool yourself with a cold glass of water. Hydration is crucial on a hot summer day.

If your home won’t cool effectively or you feel uncomfortable, leave and go to a friend’s or family member’s house.

Don’t Attempt a DIY Repair.

Should you fix your home’s AC issue yourself? If the service technician can’t schedule an immediate appointment or you think you’ll save money with a do-it-yourself repair, consider:

  • Your experience level. An online DIY tutorial doesn’t provide the same degree of training as a qualified professional’s. If you’re an HVAC novice, leave this job to a professional.
  • Your warranty. A manufacturer’s warranty may only cover repairs made by authorized service professionals.
  • Your safety. Failure to properly fail the HVAC unit risks your or your family’s safety.

The HVAC contractor has experience in air conditioning repairs, and the technician can also help you decide if your system requires replacement.

Do you need an HVAC service call? Contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning for more information.

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AC Versus Heat Pump | Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning

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 of your choices is whether you want another air conditioner or a heat pump. These units are very different, so understanding each product’s differences and advantages will help you decide.

What an Air Conditioner Does

An air conditioner removes heat from the home and expels it into the yard. It does this by depressurizing coolant in a coil until the coolant is very cold. 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 very hot. The air conditioner unit blows warm air 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 de-pressurizing 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 interior. The less heat the air outside contains, the less efficiently the heat pump will operate.

The Benefits Of Heat Pumps

  • Why You Should Choose a Heat Pump: Deciding between a heat pump and an air conditioner can be challenging. 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 efficiency, especially in mild or warm-weather climates like Modesto. In fact, heat pumps can heat a home using about 50% less electricity than an electric furnace.
  • Homeowners Are Likely to Have a Backup: Often, people with an air conditioner and furnace combo will keep their furnace, even when replacing their air conditioner with a heat pump. This means the furnace can be used as a backup if the heat pump should ever break down.
  • Heat Pumps Improve Home Value: Home buyers like buying homes with 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 than a furnace and air conditioner combination. Using a heat pump year-round can help a homeowner save hundreds or thousands of dollars on their utility bill.
  • Heat Pumps Are Space Efficient: Heat pumps take up about half the space of an air conditioner and furnace combination. They’re an excellent product for tiny homes with little space to dedicate to the HVAC system.

When to Get an Air Conditioner

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

How to Get Started

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

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

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

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3 Tips to Pick the Correct Size AC System

If you’re upgrading your central air conditioning (AC) unit this year, ensure that you purchase the correct size of AC system for your home. Here are three things every AC system buyer should know before shopping for AC replacement.

1. Tons or British Thermal Units Are Ratings for AC Units

When you shop for central AC systems for your home, you’ll see the measurement term ton in the product descriptions for central AC appliances. An AC unit’s tonnage describes its heat-extracting capabilities. Each ton rating equals freezing (at 32 degrees Fahrenheit) one ton of ice for an entire 24-hour.

One ton of refrigeration (TR or RT) equals 12,000 BTU/h. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. One BTU is the amount of heat necessary to increase (or reduce) by one degree Fahrenheit, which is the temperature of one pound of water.

The larger the cargo or BTU rating on a central AC system, the more capacity the AC unit has to cool indoor spaces. To find the correct BTU rating for your residence, calculate the optimum BTU rating for the total square footage amount you wish to cool.

2. Room Measurements Determine Ideal AC Sizing

Your AC professional can help you calculate the best central air conditioner size for your home. If you want to do the math yourself, first measure the total width and length of all rooms you wish to cool.

For example, when your home consists of two 12-foot by 10-foot bedrooms, one 6-foot by 8-foot bathroom, and one combined kitchen/dining/living room that measures 18 feet by 12 feet, your rooms’ total square footage equals the following:

  • Bedrooms: 12 feet X 10 feet X 2 rooms = 120 square feet
  • Bathroom: 6 feet X 8 feet = 48 square feet
  • Dining/living room/kitchen: 18 feet X 12 feet = 216 feet

TOTAL square footage in the above example: 120 square feet + 48 square feet + 216 square feet = 384 square feet.

Most homes have hallways, closets, and other spaces that must be cooled, so calculate the total home square footage for a whole-house central air conditioning unit. If you choose a split or mini-split AC system, add the total square footage of the individual rooms where the units will be mounted.

After determining the total square footage you want to cool in your home, multiply the total square footage by 25 BTU. In the above house, 384 square feet multiplied by 25 equals a required central AC unit with at least 9,600 BTU capacity.

3. Oversized and Undersized Central AC Units Cause Problems

Many homeowners believe that the size of a central AC system doesn’t necessarily have to match the size of the cooled home. However, the size of your central AC unit is critical to home cooling performance, humidity reduction, and cooling costs during summer.

While an undersized AC system may be less expensive to install than a larger unit, the long-term costs of an undersized central AC system outweigh any initial savings. Undersized AC units must run longer to keep up with the cooling load in a home that’s usually too spacious for the unit to handle.

Oversized central AC units won’t cool a home better than a correctly sized AC unit, even if the AC system is rated at a higher BTU level. However, an oversized unit must only run for a few minutes to cool your home, so the AC system will cycle on and off more frequently.

Constant cycling on and off adds wear and tear to the AC unit, which means the appliance will probably not live up to its useful life expectancy. An oversized central AC system may need repairs and replacement more often than a central AC system that is sized correctly.

Oversized AC systems are also notoriously bad at removing humidity from the air. Because the fan and compressor only run for short periods in an oversized central AC system, the AC unit doesn’t operate long enough for moisture in the air to condense and fall into the drip pan of the AC unit.

Humidity in the air continues to cycle through your central AC system and home when you have an oversized central AC unit. The moisture can lead to mold and mildew problems throughout your home.

Pick An Adequately Sized Unit

Purchase an adequately sized central AC appliance to get the most value, performance, and efficiency out of your AC system. Contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn about the energy-efficient modern AC appliances. We install, repair, and service AC systems for Fresno, Modesto, Chico, Stockton, and Sacramento, California residential customers.

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5 Common HVAC System Mistakes

If your HVAC system isn’t used or maintained correctly, it may fail over time. Below are some of the most common mistakes you might make when caring for or using your HVAC system. Correcting these mistakes can help you take care of your HVAC system and can also help you maintain a better quality of life in your home.

1. You Closed Off Vents to Save Energy

It’s a common assumption that you can save money and reduce the burden on your HVAC system by closing off vents to rooms that are not regularly used throughout the day. Many people do this because they believe fewer rooms to cool off or heat means less work for the furnace or air conditioner. While this does seem logical, it’s not necessarily true.

Your HVAC system was designed for your house, calibrated to its size and duct design. However, cutting off rooms can throw that system off. Also, added pressure in the ducts can cause air leaks, leading to inefficiency.

Besides, if your air conditioner can cool your home in less time because it’s cooling less space, your home could become humid. Your air conditioner needs to run for a while to remove moisture from your home. Overall, it’s better to leave your vents open throughout the year.

2. You Set a Higher Temperature to Heat Your Home Faster

When you set a temperature on your thermostat, you don’t set the rate at which the HVAC system does its job; you only set the temperature the HVAC system is trying to reach. So turning your furnace to a high temperature in winter to warm up faster doesn’t work because your home will warm up at the same rate no matter what temperature you set. The same is true of air conditioner use in summer.

Plugging in a more extreme temperature than the temperature you want only wastes energy. Instead, set the thermostat to the temperature you want and be patient; your house will soon be comfortable if your HVAC system works properly.

3. You Decided Not to Get That HVAC Tune-Up

HVAC tune-ups aren’t wasted money! During an HVAC tune-up, your HVAC contractor will do things like:

  • Check the thermostat
  • Examine the mechanical parts
  • Ensure operating safety
  • Clean the coils (if necessary)
  • Examine wires for wear and tear
  • Test and/or inspect all moving parts
  • Identify potential issues like a mechanical failure

If you can get a tune-up at a time of year when you don’t use your HVAC system as much, your HVAC system should be ready to run at times when it’s needed. However, if you don’t get a tune-up, you may not be catching problems that your HVAC system is experiencing. This could lead your HVAC system to work harder throughout the year or could lead to a breakdown at a time when you need your HVAC system to function.

4. You Didn’t Notice Your HVAC System Was Exacerbating Allergies

Your HVAC system spreads dust and even germs throughout your house. Your ducts blow dust into the rooms of your home. However, during this process,  allergens are transported from one room to the next in a stream of air. If you or your loved ones suffer from allergies, you may be able to reduce allergy symptoms at home by making some changes to your HVAC system.

And, if your HVAC system is negatively impacting your allergies, one of the ways to tell is to notice what happens when your HVAC system turns on. If you start to cough, sneeze or experience other allergy symptoms when your furnace or air conditioner begins to run, this is a sign that your HVAC system is spreading dust. Pay attention to the behaviors of other family members and watch for these same signs.

There are many things you can do to improve indoor air quality. First, have your ducts cleaned by an HVAC professional? If you or someone you live with is very sensitive to allergens, have an air purification system installed in your home. Talk to your reputable HVAC contractor to get a quote.

5. You Didn’t Get a Safety Inspection

During a home safety inspection, your HVAC professional will identify dangers like gas leaks, asbestos in the ductwork, mold, and too much humidity. Failure to catch one of these problems can impact the health and safety of your family. So get a safety inspection to catch issues as soon as possible.

Contact Your HVAC Professional

Overall, don’t fret too much over avoiding common HVAC system mistakes. Instead, maintain your HVAC system and improve the quality of life in your home. For more information about getting a safety inspection, improving indoor air quality, or getting a tune-up, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll be happy to schedule an appointment.

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

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What’s Involved In Professional AC Maintenance Services?

When You Receive Maintenance From The Pros, What Are You Paying For?

We all know that we should maintain all of our appliances. Still, we rarely find the time or motivation to do it ourselves. So should we pay someone to do the maintenance for us? Well, that feels like cheating. Most of us would rather have our AC break down than pay for someone else to do work we could have done ourselves.

But, can we do the job as well as the pros?

It turns out we can’t.

The average person can, at most, take care of simple maintenance procedures that will keep our AC chugging along. However, it takes a real professional to get our systems back into prime condition. Thankfully, Derek Sawyer’s Heating and Air Conditioning team are the people you need for all your AC maintenance needs.

Preventative Maintenance

Let’s face it, some of us can barely operate the toaster, let alone a precision machine like an air conditioner. The most an inexperienced consumer should ever perform on their air conditioner is essential preventative maintenance. Depending on your level of comfort, this may include:

  • Combing The Vent Fins
  • Replacing the Air Filter
  • Cleaning The Evaporator Coil
  • Cleaning the Condensate Drain

Maintenance of this level should be relatively easy to handle and will only help improve regular performance. If your AC is suffering from any serious problems, only a professional will be able to diagnose your unit.

Professional Service

If you find that your AC seems to be struggling to keep up with your demands despite being well maintained, you should look into calling an expert. A professional technician is perfectly capable of performing any of the regular maintenance you’ve missed and the more technical work that it needs. In addition to basic maintenance procedures, your service technician should, at the very least:

  • Calibrate Your Thermostat
  • Inspect The Unit’s Electrical Contacts
  • Lubricate Parts In Good Condition and Replace Worn Ones
  • Cycle The System On And Off
  • Recharge The Refrigerant And Fix Any Leaks

These few inspections are generally enough to keep your AC working and avoid costly breakdowns. However, most service technicians will perform a full 20-point inspection of your AC that should include:

  • Test Capacitors
  • Calibrate the Thermostat
  • Lubricate the Bearing
  • Examine Safety Devices
  • Clean the Indoor Coil
  • Examine the Fan’s Blade
  • Flush the Condensate Drain
  • Clean the Air Purifier
  • Examine the Ducts
  • Check the Condenser Coil
  • Clean the Condenser Coil
  • Examine the Service Valves
  • Test For Burnt Contacts
  • Check For Exposed Wiring
  • Examine Electrical Wiring Connections
  • Examine the Operation Of the Compressor
  • Monitor the Refrigerant’s Operating Pressures
  • Calculate Supply/Return Temperature Differential
  • Calculate the Blower Motor’s Amperage and Voltage
  • Inspect The Electrical Disconnect Box Proper Installation

If you’re not sure what all of that means, don’t worry. You don’t have to know everything about your AC because it is a professional’s job to ensure it is appropriately maintained.

Why You Should Have Your AC Maintained By A Professional?

We would all like to care for our repairs, but we have to leave some things to professionals. Unless you plan on joining an AC repair school sometime soon, there is no way for you to take proper care of your air conditioner.

Not to mention that maintaining an air conditioner can be a dangerous job! Between all of the refrigerants, electrical wiring, and fans, there is no shortage of ways that you can hurt yourself.

Instead, it is best to leave most AC maintenance to your local HVAC company. If you think hiring someone to maintain your AC is a waste of money well, then think again! Not only will regular maintenance help prevent breakdowns, but an efficient AC will also help you save on your utility bill. Altogether, you can be sure that maintaining your AC, especially with Derek Sawyer, will only keep your money in the long run.

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

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Air Conditioning and Kids: 4 Considerations

Air conditioning can ensure the comfort and safety of every household member, including your children. But these benefits only come if you set up your HVAC and maintain it to adequately meet your little ones’ needs.

Whether you already have children or plan to grow your family soon, it pays to understand how air conditioning can help kids, how improper air conditioning management might do more harm than good, and what options you want to pursue. Here are four considerations to keep in mind.

1. Climate Control for Babies

Preparations for bringing a new baby home should include more than just painting the nursery and selecting a crib. Infants have special needs that call for fine control of their environment, including temperature and moisture levels. You may have to modify your air conditioning setup to meet these needs.

Newborn babies have more difficulty controlling their body temperature than older kids or adults. This adaptability challenge makes air conditioning a critical factor in supporting your baby’s health, safety, and wellness. Bear in mind, however, that a chilly room can prove just as unhealthy as a stiflingly hot one.

As a general rule, keep the air temperature in your baby’s room around 73 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Crack a window or door to help fresh air circulate, even if it impacts energy efficiency.

Babies also have delicate skin that can quickly dry out under air conditioning. Moisturize your baby’s skin regularly to counteract the drying effect of air conditioning. Consider adding a humidifier to the room for additional humidity control.

2. Pediatric Asthma and Allergy Moderation

Respiratory issues such as asthma and allergies commonly afflict children. In addition, dust, dander, mold spores, and other airborne particles can contribute to symptoms such as wheezing, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, runny nose, and shortness of breath. Ideally, your HVAC system can ease such issues by filtering out these particles.

Unfortunately, an air conditioning system without proper maintenance can add to children’s respiratory distress instead of relieving it. Dirty air ducts, moldy vents, and clogged air filters can push accumulated contaminants into the air or fail to filter existing airborne pollutants efficiently.

If your child shows signs of asthma or allergies around the house, have your air conditioning system inspected and, if necessary, thoroughly cleaned. Replace air filters as soon as they show signs of dirt. Ask your air conditioning technician to recommend a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter that can filter out all but the tiniest particles.

3. Indoor AC Components

The same ventilation network that can help or hurt respiratory issues in children can also invite injuries. Air vent registers (the shuttered or grilled panels that allow air to pass into individual points in a room) often have sharp metal edges or points on them, potentially cutting fingers or causing other damage.

While the registers placed high up on walls should pose no threat to children, babies or toddlers may hurt themselves on registers placed at or near floor level. If you have metal registers in these areas, replace them with child-safe plastic ones—also, secure floor registers should be installed to prevent kids from removing them and leaving an uncovered hole.

Curious children enjoy dropping toys or other objects into open spaces, including air conditioning registers. This habit can wreak havoc on mechanical parts, contribute to duct blockages, or force you to keep removing the registers and fishing out the dropped objects.

You can alleviate these issues by placing some screen or mesh between the outer register and the passage leading to the ducts. For instance, your air conditioning technician might install an inline air filter compatible with your HVAC setup.

4. Outdoor AC Components

As you work on child-proofing your central air conditioning system, don’t forget about the outdoor components that play a vital role in making the system work. The bulky condenser unit beside the wall contains a high-powered fan to control hot airflow. Unfortunately, this fan poses a threat to the fingers of curious kids.

You might assume that placing a snugly fitted enclosure around your condenser would solve this problem. Unfortunately, this strategy may also limit airflow, reducing the condenser’s efficiency. Again, an air conditioning specialist can advise you on what kind of fence or another protective barrier will serve your kids and your air conditioner.

Suppose you need to optimize your home’s air conditioning to give every member of your family a high quality of life and safe home. In that case, Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air has the installation, repair, and maintenance skills to support that goal. Contact us today to learn more about your residential air conditioning options.

We look forward to working with you.

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Is a High SEER Rating Important for Your Home’s AC?

Do you need a new air conditioner? Should your future central system have the highest seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) available? If you’ve heard a high SEER rating is the way to go, take a look at what you need to know about this number, energy efficiency, and home cooling before you invest in a new AC system.

What Is a SEER Rating?

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio is exactly what the name says—the ratio (number) of the air conditioner’s energy efficiency over the annual cooling season. More specifically, this ratio measures the total heat the air conditioner removes (from the interior space) divided by the electricity the system uses annually.

What Is a High SEER Rating?

A higher SEER rating should equal increased energy efficiency and lower electricity bills. The reduced energy usage and operating costs of high SEER number units often appeal to homeowners who want to save money and help the planet.

While new technology and innovations allow the HVAC industry to increase efficiency, current top SEER numbers range from the 18 to the miod-20’s.

How Can a Homeowner Find Out the SEER Rating?

What is the SEER rating of the air conditioner you want to buy and install? The SEER number is listed on the unit itself. But if you haven’t seen the unit or are ordering the AC system from an HVAC contractor, ask the professional. The technician or installation expert can provide you with the SEER rating before you commit to a new purchase.

Is Higher Better?

Even though it might seem like the highest SEER number possible is the best unit for your home, this isn’t always true. While a high SEER rating indicates the air conditioner’s advanced ability to efficiently remove heat from the indoor environment (your home’s space) over the course of one cooling system, a 20-plus unit isn’t always the best choice.

In general, higher SEER rated air conditioners are more expensive. While you can find high SEER number systems at a variety of price points, the quality and technology used in most of these air conditioners comes at a greater initial purchase cost in comparison to a unit rated in the low teens.

If you want to lower overall air conditioner-related costs, you need to calculate the cost savings of a higher SEER unit versus the initial purchase price. Some high-prices/high-SEER units may not pay for themselves over time. A qualified HVAC contractor can help you to calculate the cost-savings difference between SEER ratings and compare the price of use to the purchase and installation costs.

Is Lower Better?

In general, a lower SEER rating isn’t a better choice. While the highest SEER rated air conditioner isn’t necessary in every home, the lowest SEER rated model can cost you in excessive energy bills. Even though low SEER rated units are cheaper to buy, you are likely to pay more in energy costs. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests homeowners choose models with a minimum of a 15 SEER rating.

A low SEER rated system may need to run for longer periods of time to cool your home effectively. Along with cooling the air, the AC system also removed humidity. Lower SEER units may not dehumidify your home completely. This can leave the indoor air sticky and uncomfortable.

Is the SEER Rating the Only Feature to Look For?

While SEER rating is key to lowering home energy usage and the related cooling costs, it doesn’t always guarantee a low electricity bill. The system’s components or features also play key roles in how well your air conditioner works.

A single speed air handler is the least efficient option for a new AC unit. A two-speed air handler can reduce costs, in comparison to a single-speed selection. But if you want to save the most money in cooling costs, a variable speed air handler is the best option, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Along with the air handler, the thermal expansion valve can add to the unit’s overall energy efficiency. Don’t worry if you have little to no knowledge of the air conditioner’s parts. A qualified HVAC contractor can help you to choose the right combination of features and SEER number for your home’s needs.

Does Installation Play a Role in Home Cooling?

Simply stated: yes, installation plays a primary role in your new air conditioner’s ability to efficiently and effectively cool your home. A high SEER rated air conditioner that’s the wrong size for your home’s interior space and energy needs may not save you money.

An HVAC contractor can calculate size based on the square footage to cool combined with potential energy loss (such as leaky air ducts or poor insulation). They can also install the unit to the manufacturer’s specifications and make sure the ducts, thermostat, and other parts of the system work correctly.

Do you need a new air conditioner? Contact Derek Sawyers Heating & Air Conditioning for more information.

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5 Smart Reasons to Schedule an Air Conditioning Tune-Up

Anyone can easily neglect appliances until they need help. However, proactive homeowners have learned to maintain their appliances, including central air conditioning (AC) units, to receive top performance from their investments. Here are five benefits you receive when you wisely schedule an AC tune-up this spring and summer.

1. AC Tune-Ups Lower Summer Cooling Costs

Multiple issues with older central AC systems can cause them to become highly inefficient. For example, something as simple as excess dust can cause corrosion or other performance issues in your system. In addition, if you don’t change the filters on your HVAC unit often enough, dust and debris bypass the filter and clutter up the work inside the appliance.

Dirty evaporator and condenser coils cause AC systems to use more power. If your outside AC unit is covered in bugs, leaves, and climbing weeds, the unit doesn’t get proper airflow to cool your home efficiently.

Clogged drains or drainpipes from HVAC units can cause some AC units to shut down when the collected condensate overflows. Blocked drains also hinder an AC unit’s ability to remove moisture from the indoor air, which can lead to higher cooling bills and unsightly water stains on flooring and walls.

During a tune-up, the HVAC professional checks all AC parts for dirt and debris buildup before cleaning the unit. Any parts corroded, displaced, plugged, or damaged by debris are repaired or replaced. Then, your unit functions efficiently, keeping your cooling costs lower than running the same air conditioner with grimy, dust-choked parts.

An improperly installed or uncalibrated thermostat can cause your AC unit to kick on more often than necessary to cool your home adequately. When the thermostat is calibrated, replaced, or moved, your AC unit will work more efficiently and cost less to run. If your AC unit has a thermostat problem or incompatibility, an AC tune-up will discover the issue.

2. AC Inspections Keep HVAC Molehills From Becoming Mountains

Certain parts of your AC system don’t have it easy. For example, fans must spin for years at the optimum speed. In addition, if caked-on dust covers its blades or rotor base, your AC fan must overcome the debris’s extra weight and friction. As a result, fans can wobble or corrode, making them less efficient and prone to failure.

The vibration of an AC unit over time can loosen bolts and nuts that hold the appliance together and hold components in place. Additional issues that can happen inside the HVAC enclosure include:

  • Loose or rodent-damaged wiring
  • Corrosion of interior metals
  • Failure of heat-pump components
  • Tripped circuit breakers

Outside the AC unit, you may have issues with airflow, ductwork, and blocked vents.

Over time, minor issues like loose bolts can become significant issues. A vital component like a fan can break away, a flexible wire can create a short, and a corroded duct part can allow hot air to mix with the cooled AC air as the metal duct continues to disintegrate. Your AC unit can shut down entirely in the middle of a party or intense heat wave from what started as a minor issue.

When you schedule an AC tune-up, the technician can resolve and repair little issues before they become significant issues. The HVAC professional goes behind the scenes to access the hidden AC parts that could spell a hot future for you if you don’t correctly service the AC unit.

3. AC Inspections Catch Refrigerant Issues

Refrigerant problems are some of the most common issues with AC units. If you have never had a professional look at your refrigerant and have owned your home for a while, check the AC refrigerant levels and delivery system.

Problems with AC refrigerant systems can include the following:

  • The wrong type of refrigerant
  • Inaccurate prior refrigerant charge
  • Refrigerant-system leaks

Some refrigerants are being phased out, but you have replacement refrigerants that will work. Don’t wait until your unit has no refrigerant left to find out you need a special-order product. Your HVAC pro will catch any problems with refrigerant when you schedule an AC tune-up, but schedule that tune-up before the issue becomes a pain.

4. AC Tune-Ups Can Reduce AC Rattle

Numerous problems can cause loud noises in your AC system. Some noise is normal when running your AC since a compressor and fan can’t be made entirely silent. Additionally, suppose your return air vent is the wrong size. In that case, air movement through the panel can be louder than you prefer. AC units can sound loud or rattling when the following problems are present in the system:

  • Loose screws
  • Wobbling or broken fan
  • Lack of lubrication on moving parts
  • Dirty or misshaped coil fins
  • Debris on top of the HVAC enclosure
  • Loose wiring
  • Broken internal component

Your HVAC professional will tighten all fasteners, lubricate moving parts, and repair or replace broken components to reduce the related rattle, hum, or buzz that drives you crazy.

Contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule a thorough tune-up of your AC system in Modesto, Fresno, and Stockton, California. Enjoy a cool summer without worrying about AC breakdowns.

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

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What Is The Right Size Furnace For You?

What Is The Right Size Furnace For Your House – Your Guide To Perfect Home Heating

What is the correct size furnace for your home? Well, the HVAC professionals at Derek Sawyers Heating & Air Conditioning are standing by to help you figure it out today! So, don’t hesitate! Give us a call or contact us online to get started today!

Finding the right size furnace for your house hinges on understanding BTUs or British Thermal Units—the primary measurement used to gauge the heat output of various devices in your home or business. But that begs the question, “What is the right size furnace for your house?”. By guiding you through assessing your home’s square footage, local climate, and insulation effectiveness to determine your ideal BTU capacity (or size) furnace!

Key Takeaways In Determining The Right Size Furnace For You

  • The ideal furnace size for your home is calculated based on the BTUs required per square foot, which are influenced by your home’s square footage, local climate zone, and quality of insulation.
  • An appropriately sized furnace ensures energy efficiency, comfort, and reduced wear, whereas an oversized furnace can lead to short cycling, energy wastage, and uneven heating; a too-small furnace can struggle to keep the home warm, leading to increased energy bills and frequent repairs.
  • Professional HVAC assessment using the Manual J load calculation is essential for determining the accurate furnace size, considering all factors, including home layout, window and door efficiency, ceiling height, personal lifestyle, and HVAC system usage.

How We Calculate The Ideal Furnace Size For Your Home

Selecting the ideal furnace size doesn’t have to be a headache-inducing task. It is based on a time-tested and simple calculation involving British Thermal Units (BTUs). To wrap your head around what a BTU is, imagine a tank of water weighing one pound. Then imagine how much heat you’d need to heat that water by a single degree Fahrenheit. That amount of energy is equal to precisely one BTU.

However, just because more BTUs mean more power, that doesn’t mean that figuring out the right size furnace for your home is to go with whatever heater has the biggest BTU output. Instead, making this decision involves harmonizing those BTUs with your home’s heating needs and demands. The square footage of your home, where you live, and the climate you wish to maintain in your home are all crucial factors in determining what size furnace is right for you.

Additionally, our HVAC professionals always consider your home’s insulation when determining what furnace fits your needs best. Insulation helps keep warm buildings warm and cool buildings cool. In other words, it significantly enhances how effectively your furnace operates.

The Role Of Square Footage In Furnace Sizing

The foundation of our heating calculations is the overall square footage of your home or business. We calculate each room’s square footage first, then calculate the total square footage by adding all those numbers. This number is critical in determining the appropriate size of furnace.

However, square footage alone isn’t enough to find what size furnace fits your needs best.

Climate Zone – Tailoring Your Heater To Your Region

We must also consider your area’s climate when determining the right heater for your home or business. Homes in colder, typically more northern regions demand a furnace capable of producing more BTUs than those basking in the Central Valley sun. These requirements range from around 30-35 BTU/sq ft for warmer areas to an intense 50-55 BTU/sq ft needed in colder regions.

Insulation And Its Impact On Furnace Efficiency

As discussed earlier, you should consider your home’s insulation when determining the correct heating system. Insulation keeps warm spaces warm and cool spaces cool. In other words, it prevents the transfer of heat energy. Sealing windows and attics is more than another item crossed from a chore list. These are strategic steps towards finding the right size furnace for you.

Different insulation materials and methods play critical roles when determining both efficiency and capacity needs for our air conditioning and HVAC systems—choices that have significant implications not just on how comfortable we feel but also on the potential impact on our finances.

How Important Is An Appropriately Sized Furnace?

It is essential to have an appropriately sized furnace to maintain optimal comfort in your home. There are multiple benefits to installing a new furnace that fits perfectly. An oversized unit leads to unnecessary energy consumption, while one too small struggles to adequately heat your home. An appropriately sized furnace also minimizes strain on its parts and prevents frequent breakdowns, saving you countless dollars on repairs and replacements.

In heating and cooling systems, correct sizing isn’t just important—it’s crucial for heightened energy efficiency and prolonging the lifespan of your equipment.

Why Oversized Furnaces Are Actually A Bad Thing

Oversized furnaces cause several problems. While the capacity may seem impressive, it’s also far more likely to experience issues like short cycling. This repeated on-and-off operation strains the parts, increasing general wear and tear, which increases the chances you’ll need repairs or replacement parts far earlier than if you had a correctly sized unit. Additionally, short cycling increases energy use, costing you money every month in wasted energy.

Yet, wear and tear aren’t the only concerns about running an oversized furnace. Doing so often leads to inconsistent heating and inadequate air balance – turning it into a haven for musty and moist air. And, to make matters worse, an oversized furnace presents one more critical risk: cracked heat exchangers. If the heat exchanger cracks, it can vent carbon monoxide straight into your home or business—a threat not to be taken lightly.

Downsides Of An Undersized Furnace

Similarly, an undersized furnace will need help to keep your space warm and comfortable. This results in wasted energy and soaring energy bills. An overworked and undersized furnace also risks damage and premature repairs and replacements. So, don’t make your furnace work too hard; you might spend more than you saved by getting a smaller unit.

Additional Factors In Fine-Tuning Furnace Size

Square footage and climate aren’t the only considerations you should have when determining what size furnace fits your needs best. Radiant floor heating sways BTU calculations based on whether you have conductive tile or insulating carpet floors. While some dismiss those as significant factors in determining heater size, they are, in fact, essential in fine-tuning your heating needs.

Windows, Doors, And Sun Exposure

Windows and doors are also considerations to make when selecting a new furnace. If a home has older windows that let drafts in or numerous external doors, it might necessitate using a more powerful furnace to counteract the heat loss. It may even be worth replacing poorly insulated doors and windows to reduce heat loss, making it easier for your heating system to keep up with your needs.

On the flip side, windows have potential benefits too. Sun exposure can be advantageous by allowing for an approximate 10% reduction in required furnace output while harnessing solar energy to augment indoor warmth. The strategic implementation of energy-efficient skylights helps reduce the demand placed on our furnaces.

Ceiling Height And Home Layout

When evaluating your heating needs, consider the impact of ceiling height and your home layout. A higher ceiling requires a more powerful furnace. Other things that impact your furnace needs include:

  • North-facing skylights bring in cooler light and may reduce the need for additional heat.
  • South-facing skylights provide an abundance of passive solar warmth during the winter months.
  • Tubular skylights excel at preserving a pleasant indoor temperature.

What is The Manual J Load Calculation?

Hiring our professionals is essential when determining the exact size of furnace necessary for your home. To do so, our experts utilize what the industry calls a “Manual J Load Calculation.” It is a simple calculation that considers all the variables we discussed previously. Another name for this calculation is an HVAC load calculation. In simplest terms, the calculation considers variables like home size, insulation quality, climate, and more to give you an exact number of necessary BTUs to heat your home or business adequately.

Consider Furnace Efficiency When Making Your Decision

Turning our attention to the heart of a furnace, we examine its efficiency rating, known as the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (or SEER for short). This metric gauges how efficiently any HVAC equipment operates throughout an average season of use. The greater the SEER, the more efficiently an HVAC system operates. Hence, less energy is wasted, reducing running expenses and environmental impact.

High-efficiency gas furnaces go beyond mere cost savings—they boast cutting-edge technologies that enhance their capability to generate heat while optimizing fuel consumption.

Matching Your Furnace To Your Needs

The size of your furnace should be compatible with the unique dynamics of your home life, from the daily comings and goings to special occasions that draw in guests. The number of individuals and pets under your roof and how you prefer to experience warmth personally are crucial elements that should steer the selection process for an appropriately sized furnace. This ensures a cozy environment tailored to your needs without incurring extra costs. Proper consideration of these aspects is critical during furnace installation to achieve maximum efficiency.

In multi-level dwellings, employing zoned heating systems can bring about more precise climate management throughout various areas of the house. Doing so might even reduce the size of furnace needed to heat your home!
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Frequently Asked Questions

What size heating system do I need?

In a warm climate, a heating system capable of producing 45,000 BTUs is required for efficiently heating a home that spans 1500 square feet.

How many square feet will an 80000 BTU furnace heat?

A furnace with 80,000 BTU capacity can effectively warm up a typical home measuring 2,000 square feet.

How do I calculate the square footage for my home’s heating needs?

To ascertain the total square footage necessary for heating your home:

  1. Measure the length and width of each room.
  2. Multiply these figures to get the area of that individual space.
  3. After doing so for all rooms, compile these amounts to determine your home’s cumulative square footage required for heating.

Does where I live affect the size of the furnace I need?

Indeed, the region where you reside influences the furnace capacity necessary since your specific climate zone dictates how many BTUs per square foot are needed to heat your living space adequately.

Is a higher AFUE rating better for my furnace?

Indeed, a furnace boasting a higher AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating signifies improved efficiency and diminished energy waste. This leads to savings on costs and lessens the ecological footprint.

Contact Us For Help Figuring Out The Right Size Furnace For You!

Here at Derek Sawyers Heating & Air Conditioning, we pride ourselves on being the go-to company for all your HVAC needs. Our service professionals can help with everything from determining the right size furnace for you to repairing and replacing your existing system and everything in between. So, if you need help with your heating system, you’ve come to the right place! Contact us online or at (209) 266-8682 today!

We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

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Guidelines for a Hassle-Free Furnace Repair Service

If your furnace fails to operate efficiently and safely, you need to avail proper repair services at the appropriate time to reduce the possibility of expensive breakdowns in the future. When hiring a contractor for Furnace Repair in Modesto, you must go for an organization that is a reputed one with experienced professionals. It would be best if you considered certain things while calling in somebody to check out your heater.

Don’t Fall For The Hype

It is not advisable to hire somebody who offers you service over the phone and suggests lucrative options like free or low-cost maintenance. It would be best to avoid people going door-to-door to offer repair services because, in most cases, you will get novices and not experienced professionals. Moreover, these people do not provide any service guarantee. Sometimes, it so happens that by hiring these kinds of on-call or door-to-door contractors, your furnace gets all the more damaged, posing more problems in the future.

Suppose an inspector from a heating and air conditioning company whose service you have solicited comes and tells you that your furnace is damaged and needs immediate replacement. Do not be afraid. It might be that your system can do minor repairs, but the company still wants to go for replacement in exchange for a significant amount. So, in these cases, getting more than one inspection report from qualified professionals from licensed organizations is best. Go through each report to understand the components or materials involved, the services required, the warranty that the repairing contractor would provide, your system’s energy efficiency feedback, and the total expenses involved. If inspection reports or estimates do not convey this information, please ask for them.

Premier Furnace Repair In Modesto

Premier companies offering furnace repair in Modesto also deliver regular maintenance services. It is good to go for maintenance services and test and clean your system once a year. Please don’t neglect your furnace when it requires minor repairs; call professional experts at the right time and continue enjoying a pleasant ambiance within your home without spending on major revamping or total replacement of the heating system.
We offer HVAC maintenance services in the following areas:

Please leave us a review or learn more about our Modesto AC repair services today!

Not around here? Well, check out the 5-star Denver heating services our friends offer at Brothers Plumbing Heating Electric!

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