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Bundling Up Your Water Heater During Winter Cold Spells

Bundling Up Your Water Heater During Winter Cold SpellsMost homeowners think about their water heaters when they develop problems. Obviously, that’s too late because you’ll not only have to spend money on repairs but also put up with cold showers. Prepare your water heater for the cold season by taking the following steps.

  • Turn off the water valve — Start by shutting off the water valve then the gas valve of a gas water heater. Unplug an electric water heater from its power outlet.
  • Drain the tank — Connect an ordinary garden hose to the heater’s drain then open the drain valve. Direct the water to a nearby floor drain or bucket. After emptying the tank, open all faucets and sillcocks outside.
  • Make an adaptor — A compressor that’s set to 40 pounds per square inch (psi) will help prevent your pipes from bursting due to air pressure. You’ll need to make an adaptor to connect the outdoor sillcock to the compressor. Begin by adding Teflon tape to the threads of a standard sillcock then adding a three-quarter inch hose and one-half to three-eighths inch coupler. Secure the connections with a wrench and slip-joint pliers.
  • Connect the adaptor — Wrap Teflon tape onto the threads of a compressor hose before attaching the adaptor. Tighten the connection with a wrench. Attach the hose to your compressor. Bridge the outdoor sillcock to the adaptor with a washing machine hose.
  • Pressurize your water system — With the valves inside your house closed and the outside ones open, turn on your compressor. Air will occupy the cold water line, move up the tank, and push out all the water.
  • Check your faucets — Open the outdoor sillcock that’s farthest from the compressor. If only air comes out, close the valve and check your indoor faucets one at a time. Open them up until only air comes out then close them tightly.

Protecting your water heater during the winter is an excellent way of extending the lifespan of its components. For more information on how to take care of your water heater, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. 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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Proper Attic Insulation Can Help You Save Energy Year Round

Proper Attic Insulation Can Help You Save Energy Year RoundWhen your attic doesn’t have enough insulation, your home can lose heat. This causes your heating system to run more frequently, leading to higher energy bills. Not having enough attic insulation can also result in drafty areas, making your home uncomfortable. Use the following information to help you understand more about insulating your attic. Continue reading “Proper Attic Insulation Can Help You Save Energy Year Round” »

Don’t Forget to Complete Your Fall HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Don’t Forget to Complete Your Fall HVAC Maintenance ChecklistWith cooler temperatures on the horizon, it’s time to prepare your San Diego area home and the HVAC system. After all, the efficiency of your home impacts your comfort, safety, health, and energy bills. Set aside a day to take care of it with these fall HVAC maintenance tips.

Home Exterior

  • Sealing: Inspect your home’s exterior for gaps and cracks in cladding, walkways, and the foundation. Use caulk, spray-in foam, and driveway filler to seal.
  • Outdoor HVAC unit: Spray off the outdoor unit. Use a foaming coil cleaner around the sides to clean the condenser coil. Turn off electricity at the circuit panel or disconnect plug first.
  • Garage: Use foam weatherstripping to seal the door of an attached garage. Seal shared walls and ceiling between the garage and living spaces with caulk.

Home Interior

  • Filter: Change your air filter to protect HVAC parts, improve cooling and heating efficiency, and enhance indoor air quality. Use a quality filter rated MERV 8 to 12 to help mitigate indoor allergens and contaminants.
  • Housecleaning: Wash bedding with hot water. Vacuum carpeting, drapes, and furniture upholstery.
  • Air vents: Wipe or brush vacuum air vents.
  • Control humidity: Inspect the walls, ceiling, and attic for signs of humidity problems, such as black, pink, or green mold spots on walls and window condensation. Use humidifiers and dehumidifiers as needed to maintain humidity between 30 and 50 percent.
  • Sealing: Seal air leaks around windows, doors, the attic hatch, in the attic, and penetrations. Use silicon caulk, foam weatherstripping, and spray-in foam.
  • Insulation: If you use fiberglass insulation in your attic, make sure it is at least 12 inches deep.
  • CO and smoke detectors: Put fresh batteries in your CO and smoke detectors. Test for proper function.

Professional HVAC Maintenance

Your heat pump, A/C, and furnace work hard to keep your home comfortable. Moreover, the HVAC system uses nearly 50 percent of energy in the average home. Help your HVAC systems last longer with greater efficiency by scheduling professional maintenance this fall.

For more information about fall HVAC maintenance tips for your San Diego 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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Tips to Help Reduce Cooling Costs in Your San Marcos Home

Tips to Help Reduce Cooling Costs in Your San Marcos HomeBeating the heat of a San Marcos summer doesn’t have to be expensive. By taking a few simple steps to reduce the cooling costs of your home, you’ll stay more comfortable while cutting down on your need for air conditioning.

  • Use your ceiling fan: A ceiling fan can make you feel between 4 to 8 degrees cooler so you can raise your A/C thermostat temperature by the same amount to save energy. Every degree you raise the temperature above 78 degrees can reduce cooling costs by one to three percent. For a convenient way to maintain energy-efficient temperatures, install a programmable thermostat.
  • Choose heat-controlling window treatments: Up to 30 percent of your home’s heat gain comes through the windows, so how you cover them matters. Reflective blinds can cut heat gain from a sunny window by up to 45 percent. Drapes with reflective backings can reduce heat gain by up to 33 percent.
  • Boost your insulation: Insulation isn’t just for keeping warm. Sufficient insulation in your attic is critical for holding back the heat that builds up there. If your attic doesn’t have at least an R-30 layer of insulation or around 10 inches of fiberglass batts, add more. To assess your wall insulation, schedule a home energy audit.
  • Switch to efficient lighting: CFL and LED lights not only use less energy and last longer, they also burn cooler than traditional incandescent bulbs. That means less heat buildup in your home and less work for your A/C.
  • Care for your air conditioner: Scheduling annual A/C maintenance ensures your system runs as efficiently as possible. Just changing the air filter on schedule keeps your A/C 5 to 15 percent more efficient than it would be with dirty filters.
  • Consider an upgrade: If your A/C is more than 10 years old or needs repairs more than once a year, upgrading to a new model will pay you back with lower cooling and maintenance bills.

For more pro tips on how to reduce cooling costs, contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. We serve the San Marcos, San Diego 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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Here’s a Spring Maintenance Checklist for Your Vista Home

Here's a Spring Maintenance Checklist for Your Vista Home As you’re making your spring-cleaning checklist, remember that all home systems are connected. As such, a spring maintenance checklist that combines cleaning, minor repairs and pro maintenance is much more productive in the long-run, so make sure to add these projects to your new list:

Indoor Air Quality

Wash all bedding and drapes to get rid of dust and dust mites, and store away winter clothes in vacuum bags. Then, clean all rugs and scrub wood floors. Be vigilant of indoor humidity during the cooling months. Humidity above 50 percent is ideal for mold growth, bacterial growth and dust mite proliferation.

Check for Air Leaks

A leaky home envelope increases energy costs, creates uncomfortable drafts and burdens your HVAC system. Seal air leaks around windows and doors with caulk and weatherstripping. Then, check your attic access door, and seal it with foam weatherstripping. Next, check your exterior shell for gaps and holes around piping, spigots, vents and any protrusions in the wall, sealing with spray-in foam and caulk.

How’s Your Insulation?

Take a look in your attic and inspect your insulation for water damage and mold. You should replace any damaged insulation. Insulation in your San Diego home should be between R-49 and R-60. This is about 12 to 18 inches of fiberglass or cellulose insulation.

Water Heater

You should completely drain your water heater. If you haven’t done this before, leave it task to a professional. Your technician can also check other vital functions and parts, such as the anode rod. The anode rod protects your tank by attracting metals and impurities in the water. It should be replaced every three years.

HVAC Maintenance

HVAC maintenance is vital for enjoying a comfortable home with low energy bills. Heat pumps should be serviced semiannually, and A/Cs and furnaces should be inspected at least once a year. Make sure you complete certain tasks, such as changing the air filter, vacuuming registers and grills and keeping vegetation and other airflow obstructions away from registers and outdoor cabinets (in a central system).

If you need help with your spring maintenance checklist, contact the experts at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. in the Vista 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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Spring Clean These Energy Myths Out of Your Routine

05.20.14It’s good to follow energy-saving practices, but only if they are truly effective. Unfortunately, many myths are floating around, perpetuated by those who aren’t informed. Don’t be one of them. Here’s a list of some most popular energy-saving myths:

  • Setting the thermostat higher for faster heating: The rate at which heat is distributed is dependent on the power of your heater, not the thermostat setting. You can crank up the thermostat, but it won’t make the heater work faster. Instead, install efficient insulation that prevents heat from escaping.
  • Using screensavers saves energy: To your computer, a screensaver is just another program like a word processor or a browser. To save energy when the computer is not in use for a few minutes, set it to sleep mode.
  • Leaving the computer overnight on sleep mode is fine: A few minutes on sleep mode is okay, but several hours isn’t. A computer on sleep mode still uses energy. Even when you’re sleeping, both the CPU and the monitor are working, ready to spring to life anytime. Shut the computer down and unplug it if you’re retiring for the night.
  • Switching off appliances and gadgets while they’re plugged in doesn’t use up energy: ‘Vampire power’ refers to the electricity sucked in by devices when they’re left plugged in the socket even when they’re not in use. Unplug all electronics after turning them off.
  • Leaving a lamp on saves energy instead of turning it off and on again: Turning a lamp off for a few minutes saves more energy than leaving it on. The act of turning on the switch uses power, but it’s nowhere near the electricity needed to run the lamp for a minute or two.
  • Using solar panels on a cloudy day won’t collect enough energy: Solar panels work better on a sunny day, but they still collect energy on a cloudy day. As long as it’s daytime, solar panels continue working.

Don’t let energy-saving myths fool you. Consult us at Sherlock Air for truly effective ways to save energy. Call us at (760) 295-5014 or book an appointment online.

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). For more information about energy myths and other HVAC topics, visit our website.

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A Zero Energy Home is Achievable with a Few Changes

A Zero Energy Home is Achievable with a Few ChangesWith the high energy costs that we pay here in Southern California, many homeowners are searching for ways to decrease their energy usage. There are many ways to lower your energy bills, and, if you are willing to make some small changes, it’s even possible to achieve the goal of living in a zero energy home. This may seem like a fantasy to some, but it is definitely an option, and here are some tips to get you started: Continue reading “A Zero Energy Home is Achievable with a Few Changes” »

Make Those Energy-Efficiency Upgrades Now, and They Could Help You Sell Your Home in the Future

Make Those Energy-Efficiency Upgrades Now, and They Could Help You Sell Your Home in the FutureIf you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, now’s the time to invest in energy-efficiency upgrades to help you unlock its full value. Today’s homebuyers are seeking out properties that offer energy savings, and they’ll pay more if these improvements are already completed. The following suggestions can make your home more attractive to buyers, and let you enjoy increased comfort and lower operating costs while you’re living there: Continue reading “Make Those Energy-Efficiency Upgrades Now, and They Could Help You Sell Your Home in the Future” »

Sealing Ducts Will Give You More Value From Your Air Conditioner

Sealing Ducts Will Give You More Value From Your Air ConditionerThere are many factors that can contribute to a better-performing air conditioner, including sealing air leaks around your home and upgrading insulation. Sealing ducts, however, should not be ignored, as the average homeowner has the potential to lose 20 percent of air traveling through leaky ducts. Continue reading “Sealing Ducts Will Give You More Value From Your Air Conditioner” »