Diamond Certified Blog

Tag Archives: HVAC

All Systems Cold: A Checklist for Your Air Conditioning System

air conditioning system

Check your air conditioning system early, before the first heatwave hits. Photo: Kelly Plumbing & Heating, Inc. (2017)

“I thought you don’t need air conditioning in San Francisco,” we’ve all heard someone say (usually an out-of-towner). But anyone who lives beyond the city limits knows the truth: that cool and foggy peninsula is surrounded by areas that stay hot and dry well into October. The key to staying comfortable and sane during the summer is a properly functioning air conditioning system. Before you flip the thermostat from “heat” to “cool,” take some simple steps to make sure your system is ready to go. With the Bay Area’s changeable spring weather, be sure to check your system early—you don’t want to be one of dozens of desperate customers contacting HVAC technicians when the first heatwave of the season hits. Continue reading “All Systems Cold: A Checklist for Your Air Conditioning System” »

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5 Tips for Better Indoor Air Quality

If you experience seasonal allergies, a home with clean air can be a sanctuary from the outdoors. Photo: Kerri Landscape Services (2017)

Spring has arrived once again to the Bay Area—the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and, as a result, many local inhabitants are sniffling and sneezing. If you’re one of them, going outdoors during this time of year can be an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, even though you can’t control the outside air, there’s plenty you can do to improve air quality inside of your home. Here are five tips for creating an allergy-free haven:

1. Get a good air filter (and replace it regularly). This is the cornerstone of indoor air quality. For most homes, a mid-grade MERV 9 filter will do nicely, but if you have extreme sensitivities, consider upgrading to a MERV 13 filter: a four-inch pleated model that removes airborne particles down to the level of viruses and bacterium. Of course, air filters don’t last forever, so be sure to replace yours regularly. Most HVAC professionals recommend replacing air filters every three months, but depending on how quickly yours get dirty, you may need to do it more often. Continue reading “5 Tips for Better Indoor Air Quality” »

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Industry Spotlight: Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association

PHCC logoThe Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) promotes the advancement and education of plumbing and HVAC professionals and advocates for improvements in public health and environmental safety. Since its founding in 1883, the PHCC has assisted in establishing an apprenticeship system, worked with lawmakers to enact sanitation regulations, helped develop improvements in plumbing fixtures and created educational programs to keep its members up-to-date on industry advancements. The association’s goal is to “become so relevant that PHCC contractors are the best choice for professionalism, reliable products and knowledgeable service.” Continue reading “Industry Spotlight: Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association” »

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Moving Targets: Exposing the World of HVAC Scammers

When looking for an HVAC company, trustworthiness is one of the most important attributes to consider. Photo: Ortiz Heating and Air Conditioning (2016)

With the many heating and air conditioning companies operating in the Bay Area, it’s natural to assume that some are better than others, with each possessing varying degrees of experience, organization, customer service and technological proficiency. However, when it comes to choosing an HVAC company, there’s more at stake than its level of skill or service: if you’re not careful, you could pick a fraudulent one. Like many service industries, the HVAC industry is rife with dishonest businesses out to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.

Too outrageous to be true? Not according to Bryant Kearney, service manager at Moore Solar/Heating/Cooling, who is very familiar with the handiwork of these conniving companies. “Scams are a major problem in the HVAC industry,” he affirms. Continue reading “Moving Targets: Exposing the World of HVAC Scammers” »

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Diamond Certified Experts: Heating and Cooling System Tips

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Considering the complex nature of heating and cooling systems, it’s beneficial to know some maintenance basics. Photo: Innovative Mechanical, Inc. (2015)

Temperature regulation and air quality are key concerns in any indoor environment, which is why, in addition to keeping your home’s heating and cooling systems functional, you’ll want them working as efficiently as possible. We’ve asked five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to share their tips on basic HVAC maintenance and troubleshooting.

1. Know the location of your furnace filter: Kim Haddon of Haddon Heating & Cooling
While routine furnace filter replacement is often neglected, for some, the problem starts with locating the filter in the first place. If you don’t know where your furnace filter is, there are a few common places to check, including the furnace blower compartment, an external compartment of the furnace, or a return air grill in either the ceiling or a nearby wall. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Heating and Cooling System Tips” »

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How to Choose the Right Furnace Filter

Furnace filters come in a variety of styles, so it’s critical to choose one that’s compatible with your particular system. Photo: Moore Heating & Air Conditioning (2014)

Furnace filters come in a variety of styles, so it’s critical to choose one that’s compatible with your particular system. Photo: Moore Heating & Air Conditioning (2014)

Most homeowners understand the importance of regularly changing their furnace filters, but when it comes to choosing a product, few realize the extent of their options. Far from a one-size-fits-all affair, furnace filters range from disposable fiberglass units to high-efficiency pleated models, so it’s important to consider several factors before making a decision. Continue reading “How to Choose the Right Furnace Filter” »

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The Importance of Hiring a Licensed HVAC Technician

In order to ensure home safety, it’s important to hire a licensed technician to perform HVAC system repairs. Photo: Cold Craft, Inc. (2014)

In order to ensure home safety, it’s important to hire a licensed technician to perform HVAC system repairs. Photo: Cold Craft, Inc. (2014)

If your heating and air conditioning system needs to be repaired, there are a lot of service companies willing to do the job. However, it’s important to remember that due to the sophisticated nature of HVAC technology, system maintenance and repairs should only be performed by a licensed technician. Hiring an unlicensed, inexperienced company will not only affect the quality of your repair, it can also create a dangerous situation for everyone in your home. Continue reading “The Importance of Hiring a Licensed HVAC Technician” »

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The Importance of a Properly Sized Furnace

When purchasing a new furnace, bigger isn’t always better. Photo: Kelly Plumbing & Heating (2014)

When purchasing a new furnace, bigger isn’t always better. Photo: Kelly Plumbing & Heating (2014)

When it comes to installing a new furnace, many homeowners assume that bigger is better. However, according to Kent Penning, owner of Cold Craft, Inc., this is far from the case. “Some people assume that more power is better with furnaces, but it’s actually more important to choose one that’s properly proportioned to your home,” he explains. “If anything, it’s better to go with a smaller unit—it’ll do the same job and last longer than an oversized one.” Continue reading “The Importance of a Properly Sized Furnace” »

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Improve the Efficiency of Your HVAC System

As much as half of the energy used in the average home goes to heating and cooling, so making smart decisions about your HVAC systems can have a measureable effect on both your comfort and utility bills. To increase the efficiency of your heating or air conditioning system, consider the following tips:

Annual tune-up
Just like a car, your HVAC system needs to be professionally maintained at least once a year in order to operate as efficiently as possible. Have an HVAC contractor conduct a maintenance test before the peak heating and cooling seasons begin. If you don’t know which elements to address, Energy Star’s website has a “HVAC Maintenance Checklist” that offers many useful suggestions. Continue reading “Improve the Efficiency of Your HVAC System” »

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Control Moisture to Control Household Mold

By Matt Solis, Senior Editor

The best way to prevent mold growth is to keep all materials in your home as clean and dry as possible. Make sure your house is well ventilated with a relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent. To reduce indoor humidity, vent bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; use air conditioners and dehumidifiers; increase ventilation; and use exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing or cleaning. To further protect your home from mold growth, consider the following tips:

  • Standing water sources promote mold and bacterial growth, so it’s important to cover sump pumps, enclose fish tanks and ensure basement drains (for air conditioning hoses, humidifiers and washers) aren’t clogged. Find and correct obvious sources of moisture such as leaky faucets, dripping pipes or cold surfaces where moisture condenses.
  • Use a dehumidifier, air conditioner or furnace to help dry the air in your home.
  • If you have crawl spaces in your house, install a vapor barrier over the ground (4 to 6 millimeter polyethylene plastic) to prevent soil moisture from evaporating and filling your home. Damp crawl spaces can lead to wood rot on floor joists, beams and sills located directly above. You can further minimize humidity by placing vents at opposite sides of your crawl spaces. Also, the grading around your home should be sloped to prevent water from pooling underneath it. Continue reading “Control Moisture to Control Household Mold” »

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