Home Comfort - Blog Posts by Tag

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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Heat and Humidity: Finding the Balance in Your House

Heat and Humidity: Finding the Balance in Your HouseCooler temperatures during the winter months mean that the heating system in your San Diego home stays busy. While this helps you stay warm, it can lead to uncomfortable indoor humidity levels. Find out how to keep your home heated while also preventing it from becoming too dry due to low humidity.

Problems with Low Levels

When the air inside your home becomes too dry, it can cause a number of issues. You might experience more respiratory problems or end up with skin that cracks from excess dryness. Low levels can also affect your belongings. When indoor air is too dry, wood floors, leather furniture, and other materials can develop cracks.

Problems with High Levels

While it’s crucial to prevent air from becoming too dry in your home during winter, making it too humid can also lead to trouble. High levels can promote the growth of mold and mildew, which increases your risk of having health problems, especially if you have an underlying respiratory condition, such as asthma. Mold and mildew can also damage your home.

Balancing Humidity Levels

You can maintain comfortable humidity levels in your home with the help of a humidifier. These devices add or remove moisture inside your home as needed, which prevents indoor air from becoming too dry or too moist.

  • Portable humidifiers can be moved to areas that need more moisture in winter, but keep in mind that you might need to invest in more than one if you have multiple parts of your home that are too dry. You also have to be careful to keep it clean and change the water in it regularly to prevent mold growth.
  • Whole-house humidifiers are installed inside homes in order to control humidity levels. These systems draw on plumbing to add moisture, so you don’t have to worry about changing or adding water to them. A whole-house humidifier is a good option if your entire home gets too dry in the winter months.

If you need more information on humidifiers for your San Diego home, please 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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Furnace Odor: What it Could Mean

Furnace Odor: What it Could MeanIf you notice a strange odor from your furnace, don’t ignore it. While it could be something as simple as collected dust in the HVAC system or a dirty filter, an unusual furnace smell may also signal a more serious or even dangerous situation. Read on to learn the cause of common furnace odors and what to do about them.

Musty or Earthy Odors

Musty or earthy odors are often caused by a dirty and contaminated air filter or mold and mildew development on the evaporator coil and/or air ducts. Check your air filter first. Change or clean it as needed.

The reason that mold and mildew commonly grow on the evaporator coil and inside air ducts is because of the presence of condensation and food source (e.g. organic matter in the air). Servicing and cleaning the evaporator coil and air ducts should be left to your HVAC professional.

Sewer-like Odors

The evaporator coil collects an excessive amount of condensate during the cooling months. This means that your furnace or heat pump needs a drainage system to remove the water. During the heating months, if the water in the drain trap evaporates, foul sewer-like odors may seep up through the line into the HVAC ductwork and circulate through your home.

Pour a quart of more of a 50/50 bleach and water solution into the condensate pan. The bleach will kill microorganisms in the drain line. Pour another gallon of fresh water into the pan to flush out the system and allow water to collect in the trap.

Rotten Eggs

The smell of rotten eggs is one odor you don’t want emanating from your furnace and air vents. This odor indicates a natural gas leak. While natural gas is odorless, a chemical is added to give it a smell often described as rotten eggs. In this emergency situation, you should exit your home and call 911 for assistance.

If you need help identifying and remedying the source of your furnace smell, please contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning today. We serve residents of San Diego, Oceanside, Del Mar and all surrounding areas.

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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Auto Versus Fan On: Learn Which Way Is Best for Setting Your Thermostat

Auto Versus Fan On: Learn Which Way Is Best for Setting Your ThermostatHave you ever noticed that your thermostat features both an “on” and “auto” setting? Do you know when to use them? These two fan settings are points of confusion for many, so let’s have a look at each.

The Difference Between “On” and “Auto”

Setting your thermostat to “auto” makes the fan run only when your home’s air is being heated or cooled. Once your home reaches the desired temperature, it stops. The “on” setting means the fan runs 24/7, whether your indoor air is being heated or cooled, or not.

Why Use the “On” Setting?

The main advantage of the “on” setting is that it improves indoor air quality. Your home’s air is constantly cycled through the air filter, removing more airborne particles. The setting distributes conditioned air more evenly, and the fan lasts longer due to less frequent starts and stops.

A major disadvantage of this setting is that it always uses energy, increasing your monthly energy expenses. In winter when your furnace is off, cold air comes through the vents, making you uncomfortable. The setting also increases moisture levels in the indoor air as a significant amount of the moisture captured by your A/C unit is blown back into your home. The air filter will also need to be changed more often due to constant filtration and the threat of clogging.

Why Use the “Auto” Setting?

The primary advantage of the “auto” setting? Less energy is used because the fan doesn’t run continuously, which makes the air filter last longer as well. The “auto” setting also dehumidifies the air better because moisture captured drains outside when the fan cycles off.

The “auto” setting does have a few disadvantages. It causes less even distribution of conditioned air, and its multiple starts and stops make the fan wear out over time.

If you have more questions about setting your thermostat, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve San Diego County and southern Riverside County.

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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Consider Upgrading to a Variable-Speed Air Handler

Consider Upgrading to a Variable-Speed Air HandlerIf your HVAC system is 10 years old or more, it probably has a single-speed air handler. A new energy efficient A/C with a variable-speed air handler has many advantages over the single-speed model. Here are some important benefits of upgrading to a variable-speed air handler.

Efficiency

A single-speed air handler can only run at one speed. It cycles between zero capacity and 100 percent throughout the day, delivering air using its full capacity regardless of your home’s demands. This is inefficient because full air delivery is usually needed for only a short period of time.

On the contrary, a variable-speed air handler adjusts its speed to deliver the exact amount of air needed, so it only consumes the amount of energy that your home requires. It runs nearly continuously, which means it doesn’t have to cycle on and off as frequently, making it consume less energy.

Quiet Operation

You’ve probably experienced that loud gush of air that comes from the ductwork when single-speed handlers start up. They also generate fan noise because they operate at maximum speed. Variable-speed handlers are quieter because they operate at lower speeds, and turn on and off less often.

Better Indoor Air Quality

When a single-speed air handler is off, contaminants remain suspended in the indoor air, which can exacerbate allergies and asthma. A variable-speed air handler works almost continuously, pushing air through the filter more frequently. Air is also pushed at a slower speed, allowing the filter to capture more contaminant particles.

Reduced Wear and Tear

Variable-speed air handlers cause less damage to HVAC systems than single-speed handlers because they don’t cycle on and off repeatedly.

Better Comfort

A single-speed handler cycles on and off, causing temperature fluctuations. During an off cycle, your home can cool excessively as hot air rises. A variable-speed handler makes your house more comfortable by eliminating temperature swings.

To learn more about a variable-speed air handler for your San Diego County home, contact 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).

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Is a Zoning System Right for Your San Marcos Home?

Is a Zoning System Right for Your San Marcos Home?It’s difficult to keep all the spaces in a home evenly comfortable with just one thermostat since each area experiences different levels of heat gain or loss due to a number of variables. If you’ve experienced this, a zoning system might be the answer to those high energy costs and uneven temperatures throughout your home.

Zoning a home involves dividing it into sections that have similar thermal characteristics and installing a motorized damper in the ductwork. The dampers open and close based on each area’s need for conditioned air. Each zone has its own thermostat that sends a signal to a central control panel that opens the damper and sends cooled or heated air to just that location.

Zoning systems work well in homes that have two or more levels, raised ceilings, large expanses of windows and rooms that are seldom used.

Benefits of a Zoning System

In addition to customized temperature control, zoned systems offer these tangible benefits:

  • Longer HVAC system life: Since you’re not conditioning the entire home when just a couple areas need it, your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard, reducing wear and tear. Zoning is also a better way to close off an area you seldom use, since closing registers without zoning dampers can damage the HVAC system.
  • Lower energy bills: It takes less energy to condition just one area of your home that needs it rather than the entire structure. If you use a programmable thermostat, your savings could be higher since you can set back the system when you’re not using that area.
  • Better comfort: Homes with south or west exposure and those with a second level will have more comfortable areas with a zoning system, since these areas gain more heat year-round.

To learn more about benefiting from a zoning system, contact the pros at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. We’ve served North County homeowners for more than 30 years.

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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Tips for Getting the Most Energy Savings From Your Programmable Thermostat

Tips for Getting the Most Energy Savings From Your Programmable ThermostatA programmable thermostat gives you the power to establish consistent temperature changeovers for energy savings and carefree comfort. By programming temperatures to serve your lifestyle, you can maximize the function of that simple device.

Programming Tips

With a programmable thermostat, you don’t have to remember to turn the temperature up or down when you leave for the day, arrive home, go to bed and wake up. Instead, program temperature changeover times to take place about 10 minutes before each event change.

For maximum energy savings, set your comfort temperature to 78 degrees during the cooling months and 68 degrees during the heating months. Turn up/down the temperature 10 to 15 degrees when away from home and four to eight degrees during sleep time.

“Hold” Off and Save

Programmable thermostats include a “hold” button, which temporarily overrides the current program. The thermostat will stay at your new temperature set point until the next program setting kicks in. If you’re using the “hold” feature too much, adjust your programs to better serve your preferences. It pays to save a little energy rather than lose a lot.

System Alerts

Keep an eye on system alerts. Most programmable thermostats will alert you when it’s time to change the air filter or when there’s a system malfunction. If the display says something like “filter change,” do it right away. A clogged air filter can increase cooling and heating energy consumption by up to 15 percent.

System malfunctions may be accompanied with a reference number to identify the problem. Keep your thermostat’s user manual handy so you can quickly look up troubleshooting information.

HVAC Compatibility

Many homeowners in the San Diego and San Marcos areas use a heat pump for heating and cooling. If you do, make sure your programmable thermostat is designed for a heat pump, otherwise expensive electric resistance heating will turn on following a turn-back period.

For more programmable thermostat tips or tips to reduce energy costs, contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. We serve residents of the San Diego, San Marcos and Vista areas.

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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Maintaining a Routine Ductwork Maintenance Schedule is Important

Maintaining a Routine Ductwork Maintenance Schedule is ImportantIf your HVAC equipment is the heart of your home, then the ductwork is the circulatory system. Issues that arise from problems in your home’s ductwork include diminished cooling and heating, a rise in your energy costs, and poor air quality indoors. Continue reading “Maintaining a Routine Ductwork Maintenance Schedule is Important” »

5 Furnace Warning Signs to Pay Attention To

5 Furnace Warning Signs to Pay Attention ToIt’s not time to pack away the sweaters just yet. Chilly weather will continue for a couple of months in San Diego, especially at night when average temperatures hover in the 50s. It is essential that your furnace is in good working order during this time. Knowing when your furnace needs repair can prevent total system failure. Continue reading “5 Furnace Warning Signs to Pay Attention To” »