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.

HVAC Upgrades That Help You Save

No matter where you are in the Central Valley, you know your HVAC system can take a big bite out of your wallet. This is especially actual since HVAC usage makes up nearly half of your home’s annual energy consumption. It takes a month of sweltering or freezing temperatures to make your monthly heating and cooling costs skyrocket. This temperature change may make you struggle to keep your home comfortable on budget.

Fortunately, you can take advantage of the latest trends in HVAC technology to make your system more energy-efficient. Here’s a look at a few upgrades that can boost your system’s performance while curbing its energy usage.

Upgrade #1: The Smart Thermostat

One of the easiest ways to upgrade your HVAC system is by ditching your current thermostat for a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats work just like your old programmable thermostat, except they have additional benefits.

What makes these thermostats smart is their long list of unique features. Nearly all smart thermostats are Wi-Fi enabled. This wireless connection allows you to control your thermostat remotely from your smartphone or any other portable device. Smart thermostats also feature self-learning capability, allowing them to study and predict your daily HVAC usage habits. With this information, they can automatically make adjustments according to your routine.

Add-ons like room sensors can help smart thermostats better detect temperature changes and adjust your HVAC usage accordingly. This activity can lower energy consumption in the process. Some smart thermostats can also detect and diagnose issues with your system.

Upgrade #2: Zoned HVAC Systems

Another upgrade worth considering is a switch from whole-home cooling to a zoned HVAC system. A zoned system separates your home’s heating and cooling into several distinct zones through dampers. Technicians can set up zoned HVAC systems to control separate floors for more efficient climate control. On the other hand, these systems can control temperatures in different rooms for increased individual comfort.

Zoned HVAC systems offer a few distinctive advantages:
Occupants in separate areas of your home can adjust HVAC settings to their comfort without making others uncomfortable.
You can individually control each zone in your home using a separate or smart thermostat.
Two-stage or variable-capacity HVAC systems can operate at a reduced capacity. This feature gives you a significant reduction in energy consumption and energy costs.
Zoned systems come with their drawbacks, however. Adding the required dampers to your existing HVAC system can increase static pressures and negatively impact duct airflow. Installing a bypass duct can help redirect excess air but also negate your energy savings.

Upgrade #3: A Variable-Speed Blower Motor

Traditional HVAC blower motors literally have a one-track mind — they’re only capable of operating at a single set speed no matter how much heating or cooling your home needs. Because your HVAC blower motor runs at full-tilt all of the time, you’ll end up with excessive energy usage as well as less control over your home’s heating and cooling.

A variable-speed blower motor, known in the HVAC business as an electronically commutated motor, offers a significant leap in HVAC efficiency and comfort. Whereas a traditional blower motor runs at 100 percent whenever it’s in motion, a variable-speed blower motor can adjust its speed to match your desired HVAC demand.

A variable-speed blower motor delivers more consistent heating and cooling and eliminates the temperature spikes common with old-school blower motors by operating at reduced speeds. Reduced speeds also mean less noise — a boon to anyone concerned with HVAC noises impacting their overall comfort.

Variable-speed blower motors use significantly less energy than their traditional counterparts as well. The motor itself also uses higher-grade internal components, giving it a longer lifespan than conventional blower motors.

Upgrade #4: Solar-Powered HVAC Systems

A growing number of homes and businesses are taking advantage of solar power. A typical solar-powered HVAC setup uses a set of solar panels to capture and convert solar energy into usable electricity and a bank of batteries to store and manage that electric energy. Upgrading your system to use the sun’s abundant resources offers an eco-friendly way to reduce your home’s energy usage.

Going solar helps reduce your home’s dependency on fossil fuel-derived electricity while saving you money on your monthly heating and cooling costs. With a battery bank installed to offset power loads and store energy, your HVAC system will also continue working during power outages. Your solar-powered upgrade may also be eligible for various local and federal tax credits that help offset installation costs.

You should not wait to invest in energy-efficient upgrades for your HVAC system. If you want to start saving money today, contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning and get started on making your existing system more energy efficient today.

Otherwise, you can contact our friends in Colorado, Done Plumbing & Heating. Done has everything their clients need to keep their Denver heating systems in excellent condition. Give them a call, and we’re sure you’ll find the help you need.

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.

Is It Time To Replace Your Air Conditioning Unit?

Is It Time To Replace Your Air Conditioning Unit?

If your AC isn’t working well, primarily if it’s functioning worse than it did when you bought it, then there is a good chance you’re wondering if it’s time for repairs. Well, there’s a good chance you may be asking yourself the wrong question. Depending on your air conditioning unit’s age and history, it may be time to replace it with a completely new system. So let’s discuss the top 5 most essential things when deciding whether to replace your air conditioning unit.

Your Home Feels Like A Sauna

If the sun’s sweltering heat is causing you to work up a sweat, then your air conditioning unit is likely on its last leg. A new unit should be able to keep your temperature steady regardless of how strongly the sun is shining. As a bonus, an air conditioning unit that works efficiently won’t work as hard to cool your home, thus saving you money in the long run.

Electricity Bills Seem To Explode

When utility bills seem to rise whenever you turn on your AC, it is a good sign that it is time to replace it. Units that malfunction not only waste electricity, they often fail to cool your home correctly. At this rate new unit should work at a fraction of the cost of your current, old model.

Your AC Is 10 Years Old Or Older

If your AC looks like it would be right at home in a museum, you’re likely better off finding a replacement. An air conditioning unit’s lifespan can be as long as 15 years but is often much shorter. It is more likely than not that by your unit’s tenth year of service, it will start needing constant, costly repairs. At that point, you are better off finding yourself a new Energy Star-rated unit that will last another 10+ years.

The Unit Is Facing Extensive Repairs

Whether your unit was damaged or has worn down from use, you may find that it will need complex repairs. Even once the unit has been fixed, it will likely either need constant future repairs or corrections. Either way, it is unlikely that it will run as well as it did before. To save yourself the hassle and cost of future repairs, buying a new air conditioning unit may save you time and money in the long run.

Costly Repairs Are Coming Your Way

When all is said and done, a new air conditioning unit can be the best choice for your finances. Rather than repair a failing unit over and over again as it fails repeatedly, you can purchase a new, efficient system. Doing so will help you enjoy a fresh current of cool air throughout your house.

Still Not Sure About What To Do With Your Air Conditioning Unit?

To receive an expert’s opinion on the state of your air conditioning unit, contact the knowledgeable team at Derek Sawyer’s Heating and Air conditioning. We will answer any of the questions you may have and can even help schedule an appointment so that one of our trained technicians can take a look at your unit.

How To Program Your Thermostat For Summer

Save Money And Improve Performance While Keeping Cool

We’re all happy to run our AC full blast as soon as the temperature hits 90°F, and for a good reason. Hot temperatures are not only uncomfortable, but they can also threaten the well-being of our family! However, that doesn’t mean we must push our HVAC systems to the limit 24/7. Instead, we can program our thermostat to respond to the changes in the temperature of our home so that it only works hard when it has to. Doing this can save on your utility bill and keep your air conditioner in excellent working condition.

A programmable thermostat can help keep your cooling costs low, even on hot days. All you need to do is follow these few simple steps when programming your thermostat.

Reduce The Number Of Temperature Fluctuations

Your AC works hardest when it has to change the overall temperature of your home. Suppose you constantly have to change the temperature of your home. In that case, your air conditioner will have to work much harder to meet your demands. We recommend you find your ideal temperature and stick to it to avoid these constant temperature fluctuations. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, temperatures near 78°F are the most pleasant and energy-efficient for your home. You may want to start at 78°F and slowly tweak your thermostat until you find the right temperature for you.

A Routine Helps Keep The Ideal Temperature

There is no reason to keep your AC blasting all day. Instead, it is best to teach your thermostat to adjust itself to work hard when it needs to and rest when you’re not around. It is best to schedule your thermostat around the day’s events, such as:

Early Morning

Rather than keep the air conditioning running through the night, have it turn on around ten minutes before you plan on waking up. This early start allows your home to reach a pleasant temperature before you start your day. The temperature change may even help to wake you gently!

While Away

You won’t need to run your air conditioning if you are away from home for work. However, you shouldn’t turn your thermostat off. Instead, please set it to maintain a slightly elevated temperature that would typically be comfortable for you. At 85-90°F, your AC won’t work as hard to maintain the weather but will keep your home cooler than the air outside. Keeping this temperature will make your home much easier to cool later.

Returning Home

Around half an hour before you expect to be home, set your thermometer to begin cooling your home back to your desired temperature. When you arrive at your house, the temperature should be perfect. Because the place was allowed to cool slowly, it cost you less than a sudden and sharp drop in temperature.

Nighttime

When it comes time for bed, don’t leave your AC running. Set your thermostat to operate normally until the time you expect to be asleep. It should either stop working until morning or only work enough to keep the house from becoming unbearably hot. It shouldn’t be difficult for your home to stay cool at night.

While this schedule will work for most people, you may have to adjust it to your specific needs.

Leave Your AC Off If No One Will Be Home

A piece of simple but helpful advice is to turn off your thermostat while you are away from home. No matter how efficient your thermostat programming may be, there is no point in cooling an empty house.

Ensure Your Home Is Sealed

While your thermostat can’t control your doors or windows, an air conditioner can only work correctly if your doors and windows are closed. Homeowners who don’t follow this advice will be unable to cool their house no matter how hard they try, as their cool air will rush out of their homes.

A Good Routine For Your Programmable Thermostat Saves Money

A proper routine for your programmable thermostat is the best way to save money on your cooling costs. Knowing these tips will allow you to not only rein in your energy costs but still maintain a cool home. However, if you find that following these tips does not lower your utility bill, you may have a more severe problem. Not to worry, the AC repair experts at Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air Conditioning are prepared to tackle your most challenging repair needs.

Don’t let your air conditioning rack up a colossal bill! Instead, contact a friendly service representative at (209) 247-1245 to get started.

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 the units 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, the dust and debris bypass the filter and clutter up the works 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 eventually. Blocked drains also hinder an AC unit’s ability to remove moisture from the indoor air, which can cause higher cooling bills and unsightly water stains on flooring and walls.

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

An improperly installed or un-calibrated thermostat can cause your unit to kick on more often than is 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

Life’s not easy for certain parts of your AC system. 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, small 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 big 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, the movement of air 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.

7 Reasons Why Installing a Solar Energy System Is a Smart Move

Like many American homeowners, you may consider having a solar energy system installed on your home’s roof. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, it’s an increasingly popular option, with over 2 million installations operating around the country. This number is set to increase over the coming years.

If you’re undecided about setting yourself up with solar energy, here are seven reasons it’s a bright idea.

1. It’s Become More Affordable

Many people choose not to install a solar energy system because of the perceived costs involved. While it’s still a significant financial investment, the price of these systems has dropped dramatically due to increased popularity and more competition in the manufacturing market. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) has dropped by around 50% since 2014 the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

2. It Has an Amazing ROI

Every home improvement project has an average ROI, which stands for return on investment. Solar energy systems have a fantastic ROI because they add value to your property and effectively pay for themselves with reduced electricity costs within eight years.

After this point, the money you save on energy costs pushes the ROI over 100 percent and increases exponentially over the system’s functional lifespan, which can be up to 30 years with regular maintenance and service. Few, if any, other home improvement projects can offer such a significant financial gain.

3. You’ll Get Financial Incentives

With a nationwide focus on renewable energy, many states offer tax incentives or rebates that encourage people to install solar energy on their property. For example, in California, several state-funded tax breaks and financial incentives can be used to reduce the initial outlay for the system. Many counties in California also have local incentives, particularly if you’re in a lower tax bracket or a single-income household.

There is also a federal solar tax credit known as the Investment Tax Credit that essentially gives you around 26 percent of the cost of your solar system back. Finally, California also has many net metering systems which allow you to sell your unused solar energy to utility companies in return for credit on your electricity bill.

4. It’s Superior To Electricity

In California, having an independent and reliable solar energy system is vastly superior to relying on electricity from a utility company. As a result, California has some of the highest energy costs in the country.

California is also facing a likely energy crisis that may force homes that rely on their energy supply from utility companies to be without power during high energy usage times, such as during scorching weather when air-conditioning use spikes.

5. California Is Ideal

Another excellent reason to install a solar energy system is that the state of California is ideal for this type of system. California has more days of sunshine each year than most other states. This means it’s a perfect location for making the most of a solar system and reducing your need for utility company electricity.

6. It’s More Reliable

The solar energy industry has come a long way since solar panels started appearing on the roofs of American homes. Many innovations have improved the durability and lifespan of solar systems and their growing reliability as a power source.

One of the main reasons solar energy is more reliable is the invention of solar storage batteries. They allow your system to store the power generated from the sun during daytime hours so you can use it at night. Before the development of these batteries, homeowners had to rely on electricity supplied by utility companies in the evenings, which significantly mitigated any savings made on electricity bills.

7. You’re Helping the Environment

Another crucial reason to install a solar energy system is the positive effect that you’ll have on the environment. Most electricity that utility companies generate comes from the burning of fossil fuels. This has resulted in a buildup of carbon in the upper atmosphere that experts believe has led to global warming, climate change, and localized air pollution.

Solar energy has no harmful or environmentally damaging by-products and is considered a clean and renewable energy source. While the production of PV panels is not yet carbon neutral, the carbon produced in the manufacturing process is insignificant compared to the lack of carbon produced over the solar system’s lifespan.

If you think a solar energy system might be ideal for your home, contact the helpful and experienced team at Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air. We supply, install, and service high-quality solar systems, and we’d love to help you solve your energy needs.

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.

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 heatwave, look at 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 need to 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, you need to 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. A long wait between when you notice the initial problem and when you finally contact 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 a prompt 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 a 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. The result is an increase in 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 the moment your AC system turned itself 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 to schedule 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. Provided your home has electricity and plug-in fans. Only use fans in 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—close 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 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 a qualified professional has. 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 repair an HVAC unit puts your or your family’s safety at risk.

Not only does the HVAC contractor have experience in air conditioning repairs, but the technician can also help you to 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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