Thermostat - Blog Posts by Tag

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Clker-Free-Vector-Images/Pixabay”

Setting the Record Straight on Myths About Saving Energy

Setting the Record Straight on Myths About Saving EnergyCommon energy-saving myths can lead you to waste energy unnecessarily. Even in the mild San Diego climate, that can mean higher cooling and heating bills. Understanding these myths will help you avoid this.

Myth: Closed air registers save energy.
Closing air registers in unused rooms does nothing to reduce the demand on your A/C or furnace and therefore doesn’t save energy. This misguided technique only creates a pressure imbalance in your heating and cooling system that can damage the components.

Myth: Ceiling fans reduce the air temperature.
Fans cool your body by blowing air over your skin, but they have no effect on the ambient air temperature. When you’ll be out of the room for more than a few minutes, turn off the fan to save energy.

Myth: Raising your thermostat temperature heats your house faster.
Your thermostat temperature doesn’t change how fast your system heats or cools. It will only cause your system to run longer, ultimately wasting energy. If you want your home to be a specific temperature at a certain time, install a smart programmable thermostat.

Myth: Drafty windows should be replaced.
If your windows are drafty, use caulk and weatherstripping to block the air leaks around them. This alone can reduce your home’s cooling and heating bills by 10 to 15 percent.

Myth: It’s cheaper to maintain a stable indoor temperature than to heat up a cold house.
This is one of the most costly energy-saving myths around. In reality, you’ll use less energy by turning your furnace or A/C off or to a more economical temperature while you’re out than by leaving it on all day.

Myth: It’s cheaper to let electronics run than to turn them on and off.
Turning off electronics when you’re not using them is nearly always more economical. Place groups of electronics, such as your entertainment center, on a power strip so you can turn the whole group off with one switch.

For more help avoiding energy-saving myths, contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning in the San Diego, La Costa, and Oceanside 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Ribah/Shutterstock”

Make the Most of Your Thermostat this Season


Make the Most of Your Thermostat this Season
When the seasons change, so do your home comfort needs. As you change your furnace filter and schedule your furnace check up for the fall, don’t forget to reset your programmable thermostat. Your programmable thermostat can be one of your best tools to lower your energy bills, if it is used effectively.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Thermostat

Fall is an excellent time to reevaluate your needs and ensure that your thermostat is set as efficiently as possible. Here are some tips to help.

  • Readjust for cooler weather – When running your air conditioner in the summer, you want a higher thermostat temperature. In the fall, when your furnace kicks in, drop the temperature and add more layers of clothing for your comfort. A temperature around 70 degrees is great for fall.
  • Set back for nighttime – You can drop the temperature as much as eight degrees at night and still feel comfortable while sleeping, so use your programmable thermostat accordingly.
  • Set back when you are at work – Again, by dropping the temperature on the programmable thermostat seven to 10 degrees while you are at work, you can save significantly on your heating costs.
  • Avoid overcompensating – If you need to adjust the temperature because you come home unexpectedly, set it to your comfort point, not higher. A higher temperature will not warm the home more quickly, but it will drive up energy bills.

As you consider options to drop your energy bills this fall in your San Diego home, consider getting the help of a professional HVAC company. Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning has a team of HVAC contractors who can help you maximize your home’s energy efficiency this fall.

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Heymo/Shutterstock”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Heymo/Shutterstock”

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “kotss/Shutterstock”

Learn the 7 Components Crucial for Air Conditioner Function

Learn the 7 Components Crucial for Air Conditioner FunctionAn air conditioner is invaluable for getting through the hot San Diego and Encinitas summers comfortably. Because your A/C is so important, it’s worth taking the time to get familiar with how it works. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to plan maintenance, component replacements and upgrades.

  1. Evaporator coil – Located in or near your indoor air handler, this component receives cold refrigerant from the expansion valve. As the refrigerant flows through the coil, it absorbs heat from the passing air.
  2. Blower fan – This large fan inside the air handler draws air over the evaporator coil to be cooled, then blows the cooled air into the air ducts and out into your rooms.
  3. Air filter – Before entering the ductwork, air passes through a filter that removes contaminants such as lint and pollen. Filters that carry a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 4 or less protect your system from debris, but filters with MERVs of 5 to 11 also improve your indoor air quality. The filter must be changed on schedule to ensure sufficient airflow and system efficiency.
  4. Compressor – This pump moves refrigerant through copper tubing from the evaporator coil to the outdoor condenser coil. It also raises the refrigerant’s pressure and temperature.
  5. Condenser coil – As refrigerant passes through this coil, located in your outdoor unit, it releases the heat it absorbed from your house into the outdoor air. It then flows back indoors and into the expansion valve, which relieves pressure on the refrigerant and thereby cools it.
  6. Condenser unit fan – This fan blows outdoor air over the condenser coil to cool the refrigerant faster. To help this fan run efficiently, keep your outdoor unit’s exterior free of debris such as dead leaves.
  7. Thermostat – Installed on a wall in your home, this component controls how often the air conditioner runs based on the temperature you select. A programmable thermostat can automatically change the temperature setting based on a schedule you set in advance.

For more help getting to know your air conditioner, contact us at Sherlock Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning anywhere in the San Diego, Encinitas, Oceanside and Poway 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “leonardo2011/Shutterstock”

Troubleshooting Tips for a Malfunctioning Air Conditioner

Troubleshooting Tips for a Malfunctioning Air ConditionerWith the summer heat around San Diego and San Marcos, a problem with your air conditioner can quickly leave you very uncomfortable. Knowing how to troubleshoot your A/C will help you get it running again or let you provide your technician with useful information about what might be wrong.

Free Up the Airflow

Poor airflow is a common cause of heating and cooling system malfunctions. It can impair the system’s performance and even shut down the system entirely. First, check your air filter and, if it’s covered in dust, put in a clean one. Next, clear out your air registers and vents. Remove the covers and vacuum out the insides of the ducts as far as you can reach. Wash the covers with mild detergent, then dry and replace them.

Finally, take a look at your outdoor condenser unit. If it’s plastered in grass clippings and leaves, shut down your system and use a stiff brush to clean the unit’s fins. Then remove the top and wash down the fins by directing a stream of water from a hose from the inside of the unit outward.

Inspect Your Components

If your condensate drain pump isn’t working, your air conditioner might shut itself off for safety reasons. Test your drain by pouring in a cup of water. If the pump doesn’t start up, either the float switch is stuck or the pump has failed. If you’re comfortable working with mechanical equipment, you might be able to open the pump and free the stuck float switch. Otherwise, contact an HVAC technician.

If your system runs, but can’t maintain an even, comfortable temperature, your thermostat could be the one to blame. Inside your thermostat is a small dial called the heat anticipator. If your A/C is cycling on and off too frequently, move the small arm on the dial one calibration mark toward the “longer” mark. If your system never produces the right temperature, move the arm away from the “longer” mark.

For more information on maintaining your air conditioner, check out Sherlock Heating and Air.

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “docstockmedia/Shutterstock”

5 Common HVAC Problems & How to Fix Them

5 Common HVAC Problems & How to Fix ThemWhen temperatures soar in San Diego and your air conditioning system chooses to stop working with little to no warning, you need a quick solution. Although most air conditioning problems require the knowledge of an HVAC professional, homeowners can also troubleshoot some issues.

To help you stay comfortable in your San Diego home, consider these five common HVAC problems and how to fix them.

Clogged Drain
If there’s too much humidity in your home, the condensate from the evaporator coil is collected in the condensate pan, and then poured into an indoor or outdoor drain. If either the pan or the drain is clogged with debris, water in the pan will backup and shut down your A/C unit. Make sure your A/C system is clean and properly mounted both indoor and outdoor.

Dirty Filter
A dirty filter is caused by dust buildup in the evaporator coil, preventing airflow and reducing absorption of heat. Additionally, dust buildup on the fan and compressor can cause a premature system failure. Inspect the filter after 30 days and change it when it’s caked with dust to cut down allergens.

Leaking Refrigerant
Check your air conditioner’s refrigerant levels regularly. If it’s too low, it may have been slightly undercharged during installation. Contact a professional to locate any leaks and to repair and recharge the refrigerant levels as indicated by the manufacturer.

Broken Thermostat
If your air conditioner is regularly running, but your home is still hot, check the thermostat. A malfunctioning thermostat will indicate a lower temperature different from your home’s actual temperature. If resetting it doesn’t work, contact a technician.

Electronic Control and Sensor Failure
These are probably the first elements of an A/C system to wear out, particularly if your unit is oversized. Check the connections, and ensure they’re still in place.

Are you feeling frustrated? Contact Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning, and we’ll eliminate your HVAC problems for good.

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “VooDoo13/Shutterstock”

How a Programmable Thermostat Enhances Your Heating Regimen

How a Programmable Thermostat Enhances Your Heating RegimenSetting your thermostat to one temperature and never making adjustments may be costing you money. Most people don’t change the setting multiple times each day. The result is your heating and cooling system is working hard to reach your set temperature at times when a lower degree of comfort would make more sense. This is not very energy efficient. There may be certain periods of the day when you would like a more comfortable setting, but you don’t want to change the temperature because of increasing your monthly energy expenses.

There is a way to have the best of both worlds. A programmable thermostat can enable you to program a lower comfort setting at sleep and away times and a higher degree of comfort during busy times in your home. Savings in energy costs can result without living in an uncomfortable home. There are programmable thermostats with various options available to meet the individual needs of every homeowner.

Programmable thermostats

  • 7-Day thermostats – Everyday of the week can have separate programming with four periods available for each day.
  • 5+1+1 thermostats – Saturday can be programmed differently than Sunday and weekdays can have another set of programs. Four separate periods are available each day.
  • 5+2 thermostats – Weekdays can have one set of programs and weekends another. This is the least flexible thermostat, but still very useful for many families and capable of helping reduce monthly utility costs.

Modern thermostats have many additional features beside just controlling the temperature. A popular option on several thermostats is wireless control. You can adjust your programming from anywhere with a smartphone or other communications device. Other features include low battery indicator, a warning to change the air filter in you HVAC system, and the latest thermostats can use sensors throughout your home to allow separate settings from room to room. Another option is a signal to alert you when it is time for a professional inspection and cleaning.

Please contact Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning with any concerns regarding a programmable thermostat. We are proudly serving San Diego and the 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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Alexey-Stiop/Shutterstock”

If You’re at Work, What is Your Thermostat Set To?

If You're at Work, What is Your Thermostat Set To?If you’re at work, you may be wondering if you should have your thermostat set differently than when you’re at home. After all, you’re away from home for eight hours, so does it make a difference in your energy savings?

Eight Hours of Savings

It may surprise you to learn that you can save 5 to 15 percent of your energy bill just by decreasing your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees when you go to work or when you go to sleep. The time it takes for your HVAC system to return to the proper temperature, whether cooling or heating, is minimal compared to when your system has been turned off.

Try a Programmable or a Smart Thermostat

Rather than trying to remember when to set your thermostat down or up, you can have your programmable thermostat do it for you. In fact, you might want to consider a Smart Thermostat that can actually sense what’s going on in the house and making sure that the temperature is set perfectly for the conditions. By having your thermostat set at 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter with the times when you’re asleep or away being 15 degrees higher in summer and lower in winter, you will definitely save money and stay comfortable year round.

In this day and age, you may consider a WiFi thermostat which has Internet connectivity that allows you to reprogram your thermostat away from home. This is good for those times when you’re planning on leaving late or coming home early. Now if it could only get dinner ready!

If you want to learn more about heating and cooling in the San Marcos area, contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning for all your indoor air quality needs.

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).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Danylo-Samiylenko/Shutterstock”