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Spring Storm Prep: What You Need to Know

Spring Storm Prep: What You Need to KnowSpring storms can create volatile weather in the San Diego area, so keeping your home and family comfortably safe and dry during this season is especially important. Rather than waiting until a storm is approaching, it’s better to take a proactive approach by making preparations in advance.

Here are some storm prep tips that can help:

Create an Emergency Kit

Collect a couple of lanterns or flashlights, assorted batteries, an extra cell phone charger, a small amount of cash, a first-aid kit, a gallon or two of drinking water and some non-perishable packaged food that doesn’t need heating. Place everything in a lidded container and put it where it can be easily accessed even in the dark during a power outage.

Invest in a Weather Radio

You can find a NOAA weather radio for sale online and in most electronics stores, and it’s a worthwhile item to have in your emergency kit. These radios broadcast warnings, watches and updates issued by the National Weather Service 24/7 on a dedicated network, so they’re invaluable for staying informed during a storm.

Consider Buying a Generator

A standby generator that starts up and shuts off automatically in response to a power outage can make it easier to weather storms in any season. These units are ultra convenient because they’re connected to an independent fuel supply and integrated into your home’s electrical system.

Clean Up Your Yard and Patio

Trim back any tree limbs that overhang your roof to limit potential storm damage. When foul weather is forecast, store outdoor items like gardening tools, yard equipment, bicycles, etc, safely away in your shed or garage, and make sure your patio furniture and BBQ grill are secured.

Safeguard Your HVAC Equipment

Store a tarp and some bungee cords or a custom condenser cover in a handy location so you can easily protect your HVAC system outdoor unit when a storm is approaching. Just remember to shut down the system via the thermostat and your electrical panel breakers beforehand.

For more storm prep tips for your San Diego-area home, contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Home Additions: What You Should Know

Home Additions: What You Should KnowA home addition can add needed space and new life to your home. It can upgrade its overall aesthetic appearance and potentially elevate its value if you decide to sell in the future. However, a home addition is also a big step for most homeowners and not something to undertake on an impulse. Here are some of the issues you’ll need to consider in the decision-making process:

How Will You Handle HVAC?

Adding air conditioning and heating to a new addition requires planning. Depending on your budget and the size and location of the add-on, you may opt to extend central ductwork from the existing house into the new section. However, for a single room, a ductless mini-split heat pump provides highly efficient cooling and heat to an individual add-on without the substantial cost and complications of installing ductwork.

Do You Have Space?

Residential zoning laws differ according to location. As a general rule, however, in most municipalities home additions cannot extend any further out than within 20 feet of your front property line, within 7.5 feet of either side or within 15 feet of the rear property line. Height limits in residential areas may prohibit adding an additional level to the house.

Will The Addition Match Your House?

You don’t want your new segment to stand out conspicuously from the present house. It’s important to choose a design and materials that provide a seamless transition from existing structure into the new addition. Not every home layout can gracefully accommodate all types of additions.

Does Adding On Always Add Value?

Not all additions are created equal when it comes to boosting your home’s market value. For example, garage conversions tend to have only marginal effect on the resale price of a house. Adding another bedroom to the main structure, conversely, typically returns over 60 percent of its cost in added resale value while an extra bathroom or new sunroom returns around 50 percent.

For more about the issues of constructing a home addition, ask the pros at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Tips to Prevent Basement Flooding in Your Home

Tips to Prevent Basement Flooding in Your HomeIf your house has a basement, chances are that basement flooding may already be a familiar issue. Insurance statistics show that the majority of homes with basements will experience some sort of water damage down there, major or minor.

It’s a natural result of the fact that water flows downward and the basement is typically the lowest point in the house. However, this inconvenience and damage need not be an inevitability.

By eliminating the usual suspects in basement flooding, you can greatly reduce the odds that your house will be the next case.

  • Keep gutters clear. Clogged, overflowing gutters during a heavy rain dump literally hundreds of gallons of water on the ground directly below. This pounding cascade penetrates deep into the perimeter of the foundation, often penetrating cracks and joints in the basement wall.
  • Extend downspouts. The rectangular spouts that convey gutter discharge away from the house should ideally be at least three to four feet long. This ensures that roof runoff is released far enough from the house so it doesn’t pool next to the foundation and seep into the basement.
  • Guard against ground water with a sump pump. If your home is in a geographic area with natural ground water pushing upward beneath the house, this high water level may penetrate the basement. Installed in a basin excavated in the basement floor, a sump pump actuates automatically and removes infiltrating water before it accumulates enough to cause damage.
  • Be alert to plumbing leaks. Basement flooding often originates from an indoor source such as a ruptured pipe. Water supply lines are typically routed through the basement and can flood the area with hundreds of gallons of water if a breakage occurs. No leakage from supply pipes, no matter how minor, should be dismissed as “normal.” Even small pinhole leaks or moisture around pipe joints can be a red flag of hidden deterioration inside the pipe which could trigger a catastrophic rupture at any time.

For more about eliminating the common causes of basement flooding, contact the experts at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning.

 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Water Pressure Problems and How to Solve Them

Water Pressure Problems and How to Solve ThemLow water pressure problems are an ongoing annoyance. Showerheads and faucets don’t perform properly when pressure is below specifications. Toilet tanks take forever to refill; washing machine fill cycles are very slow. Because pressure through the water heater tank is reduced, the waiting time for hot water to reach a faucet or other fixture is also extended.

“Normal” water pressure in a residence varies according to the municipal water supply and the size of the house. However, it’s generally agreed that household pressure less than 40 p.s.i. is too low. A qualified plumber can attach a gauge to your system to get an accurate reading of the pressure within the house. Here are some of the common causes of water pressure problems he’ll investigate if the reading is below standards:

  • Shutoff valve not fully open. If the main water shutoff valve was closed for some reason and not fully re-opened afterward, this will reduce water pressure throughout the house. You can try to open it further yourself, but be aware that shutoff valves that are difficult to turn shouldn’t be forced. Report a sticky valve to the plumber.
  • Faulty pressure valve. Because pressure in the municipal water main may be too high for residential plumbing, a pressure-reducing valve is usually incorporated in or near the home’s water meter to reduce pressure to a safe household level. If this valve is maladjusted or defective, it may be excessively reducing water pressure entering the house.
  • Mineral deposits. In locales with hard water, mineral deposits may accumulate in the water supply line over the years, gradually reducing pressure throughout the house. Re-piping is usually required to restore normal pressure.
  • Pipe leaks. Leakage from the water supply pipe may reduce indoor pressure in the house. Signs such as areas of the lawn that are always wet or spots where grass is always very green could indicate underground leakage. Water bills that are unusually high with no other explanation are another red flag.

For professional service to resolve water pressure problems in your home, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Invest in Preventive Maintenance For Your House

Invest in Preventive Maintenance For Your HouseYour need to count on your HVAC in San Diego’s unpredictable weather. It can help to think of preventive maintenance like well baby checkups. Not only do pediatricians handle illness, but they look at children and anticipate problems. That combination of experience and knowledge is what makes our technicians topnotch to keep your home comfortable all year long.

Preventive maintenance involves different things depending on the specifics of the system involved, but here are a few of the things that you can count on.

  1. The HVAC system is examined carefully to find existing problems such as broken parts, worn belts or leaky pipes.
  2. Moving parts may be lubricated, mostly in motors.
  3. Drains are checked for blockages. Any clogged drains are cleared and cleaned.
  4. All electrical wires are inspected for loose connections and tightened when required.
  5. Air filters are replaced. Belts are checked and replaced as needed.
  6. HVAC and thermostat controls, air conditioning, furnace and heat pump are all tested for proper function.
  7. A detailed report is written for the homeowner updating on the current status of the HVAC system as well as any repairs that were done or are required in the future.

How does preventive maintenance benefit the homeowner? The biggest benefit is being able to proactively deal with small problems before they become complicated and expensive.

  • A leaky pipe isn’t only a problem because the dripping keeps you awake. The wasted water will inflate your water bill, potentially damage the foundation of the house or even cause problems with your air conditioner!
  • Dirty coils aren’t only a nuisance, either. When they’re dirty, the compressor runs overtime. This can cost you a small fortune in electricity!
  • Ultimately, ignoring the small damage from daily wear and tear will force you to replace your HVAC far sooner than you otherwise would need to.

Sometimes it’s frustrating when you have questions and don’t know who to ask. Our honest, respectful technicians have been serving the North San Diego area since 2002. Call Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning today and we’ll help find solutions to your problems!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Pros and Cons: Tankless Water Heaters

Pros and Cons: Tankless Water HeatersThe disadvantages of a traditional water heater such as the constant heating of your water supply even when you’re asleep or at work make it worthwhile to look for an alternative. A tankless water heater warms up your water only as it’s needed. But that doesn’t imply it will be perfect for your household. First, take the time to learn its pros and cons.

Pros of Using Tankless Water Heaters

  • Efficiency – These units are more energy-efficient than regular tank heaters because they don’t produce standby energy losses.
  • Longer Lifespan – Regular tank water heaters have a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years whereas most tankless ones last for more than 20 years with little maintenance. If you’re planning to stay in your current home for long, you’ll save on replacement costs.
  • Reliable Performance – Tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand at a rate of two to five gallons per minute. They can deliver water indefinitely. With a storage tank heater, you can experience the inconvenience of running out of hot water and having to wait for the tank to refill.
  • Compact Size – Tankless water heaters have a compact design that saves space.
  • Clean Water – With a tankless water heater, you avoid the hazard of using water that has been exposed to the rust and scale that can accumulate in a storage tank.

Cons of Using Tankless Water Heaters

  • High Initial Costs – A tankless heater can cost up to thrice as much as a tank heater and usually requires a specialist to install it.
  • Complicated Retrofit – A gas-fired model requires a special ventilation system. You’ll have to hire a professional to handle the task. An electric model may require your electrical system to be upgraded, meaning you’ll have to hire an electrician.

With this basic information, you can now decide whether a tankless water heater is a great investment. If you’re still unsure if this water heater is right for you, please contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, and we’ll be happy to help. We serve the San Diego area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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A Few Simple Tips to Help You Save Money and Conserve Water

A Few Simple Tips to Help You Save Money and Conserve Water

You may not realize it, but at any given time, there are tons of techniques that you can utilize to help you conserve water, and save money in the process. We’d love to help you out, so we’ve put together some of our favorite tips that you can begin to implement right now. Just take a look:

Check for Leaks

A small leak may not seem like a big deal, but even a very slow drip will quickly add up over time. The first thing you should do is go through your home and fix any leaky pipes or faucets.

Switch to Low-Flow Toilets

Older toilets are notorious for wasting a whole bunch of water, usually at the rate of 3-5 gallons per flush. A low-flow toilet will use half that amount, thereby lower your utility costs.

Cut Down on Your Shower Time

Being in a hot shower feels fantastic, but you really need to limit your shower time to less than five minutes. And, of course, four minutes would be even better.

Don’t Run the Water While Brushing Your Teeth

We’re all guilty of running the water while brushing, and it wastes a huge amount of water. The fix is easy — turn off the faucet.

Wait For Full Loads

Whether you need to wash either dishes or clothes, make sure you wait until you have a full load. This will ensure that you’re getting the maximum amount of work done with the least amount of water.

Lower the Water Usage on Your Lawn

Your law is probably the biggest culprit of water usage. If you hate the idea of it turning brown, consider switching to artificial grass.

Turn Off the Water When Washing Your Car

If you wash your car at home and keep the water running, you’ll waste several gallons each time. Turn it off and this won’t happen.

For more expert advice on how to save money and conserve water, please don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve been serving the needs of North San Diego and the surrounding area since 2002.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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The Key to Finding a Reputable HVAC Contractor

The Key to Finding a Reputable HVAC ContractorThe search for a great HVAC contractor for your home can seem daunting, but it’s pretty simple once you know what to look for. We understand the need for proper heating, cooling, and other needs, which is why we’ve come up with a few simple questions for you to ask:

Do the Contractors Keep Up with Industry Knowledge?

We’re not talking about basic industry knowledge — they all have that. What you need to check on is how well the company keeps up with changes in technology and techniques.

What Does Their BBB Listing Look Like?

The first thing you can check out about a company on the Better Business Bureau website is their rating. This is a great indication of how they conduct business. But, also pay attention to any customer complaints and how those were handled.

Are They Properly Licensed and Bonded?

The industry is full of rules and regulations that must be followed in order for an HVAC company to remain in operation. Proof of proper licensing and bonding is always available upon request to ensure that you’re working with a reputable organization.

What Do Their Referrals Say About Them?

First and foremost, you want to obtain a random sampling by choosing a letter or two from the alphabet and asking to see referrals where the last name match those letters. Then, reach out to these people and ask about their experiences in terms of time completion, quality, and other service details.

Is Their Contract All-Inclusive?

When the time comes to employ an HVAC contractor for any job on your home, you want to make sure that the contract covers a variety of information. You’ll obviously want a company to provide a cost and timeframe for completion, but you also need to know how they’ll handle problems that may arise.

For more expert advice on selecting an HVAC contractor for your home, or any other home comfort questions, reach out to the incredible professionals at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve been making homeowners happy in the North San Diego area with more than 100 years of combined experience.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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The Most Important Areas of Your Home to Ventilate

The Most Important Areas of Your Home to VentilateLingering odors, stuffy rooms, germs and moisture problems — a lack of daily air exchange has very unpleasant side effects for your comfort and health. In fact, most homes harbor at least one serious indoor air quality (IAQ) issue, according to the EPA. With a little effort and the right ventilation strategy, you can bring a breath of fresh air to your home in the rooms that need it most.

Breath of Fresh Air

You may fiddle with the thermostat to try and find just the right level of comfort. Although, very important, your home’s temperature is only one environmental factor that affects your comfort. If your IAQ is a breeding ground for contaminants, such as germs and mold spores, you’re not going to be very comfortable if you become ill. Humidity levels affect your comfort and health, too, if indoor air is too dry or too moist.

You’ll be affected most by IAQ issues in the areas of your home where you spend the most time. Your kitchen and bathrooms should already have point-of-use ventilators. Though, check to make sure these fans vent outside your home — not into your attic.

Focus your ventilation efforts in your bedroom(s) and common living areas. You’ll be able to rest and relax better by being more comfortable and exposed to fewer IAQ contaminants. Pay special attention to rooms where young, elderly or people with respiratory ailments spend time.

How to Ventilate

Now that you’ve decided where you need to ventilate your home, it’s time to decide how best to do so. Natural ventilation brings in fresh air through open windows and screen doors. However, this type of ventilation in uncontrolled and contingent upon outdoor temperatures and weather.

Consider ventilating key areas of your home with a mechanical ventilator. Heat-recovery ventilators (HRVs) use intake and exhaust fans for balanced airflow. Air ducts and vents are installed in areas you need fresh air the most. Moreover, HRVs use a heat-exchange core to efficiently pre-condition fresh air intake.

If you would like a ventilation assessment of your San Diego home’s needs, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Find Out Why You Should Buy an HVAC System, Not Just a Replacement Unit

Find Out Why You Should Buy an HVAC System, Not Just a Replacement UnitIf your central HVAC system quits working, it’s most likely due to a failure of either the outdoor compressor or indoor evaporator, but not both. Before you decide to save money by replacing the failed component instead of buying a whole system, it’s important to consider the following factors.

Energy Efficiency

The efficiency ratings for new central HVAC systems are based on two matched components that work in tandem. Your HVAC system might function if you replace only one component, but its overall efficiency will be limited by the remaining older unit, so you won’t gain the improvement in efficiency you can expect from a complete new system.

Reliability

The efficiency incompatibility between old and new components in a mismatched HVAC system puts extra strain on the older unit, and this erodes its reliability. The additional strain increases the risk that the aging component will fail at the peak of the season, which could leave you facing an inconvenient equipment replacement at the worst possible time.

Operating Costs

If you invest in a whole system, you’ll benefit from energy savings and lower operating costs for maintenance and repairs over its service life. Replacing just one component robs you of these potential savings, and you’ll still have the expense of replacing the other half of the system in the near future.

Advanced Features

Upgrading your entire HVAC system gives you the chance to shop for the latest equipment features and design advancements. By having a complete new system installed, you can choose features and options that improve comfort, humidity control, and performance, such as more efficient coil designs, electronically commutated motors (ECM), scroll compressors, thermal expansion valves, and zoning.

Equipment Warranty

HVAC manufacturers only warrant split-system components that are installed together according to their strict specifications. Having a new component added to your older system makes it impossible to meet these specs, so it voids the coverage you’d normally have against failures caused by manufacturer defects.

To learn more about why it’s better to buy a completely new HVAC system for your San Diego-area home, contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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