Air Conditioning (12)

Thursday, 31 August 2017 13:05

Understanding Smart Thermostats

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Smart Thermostat Walla WallaA thermostat works by detecting the temperature in the room and sending a signal through wires to the heating or cooling system to turn on when the temperature drops above or below the preset temperature.

A smart thermostat allows you to control the temperature through an interface mounted on the wall, or by means of an app for your smartphone or tablet. One advantage of a smart thermostat is that you can monitor and control your home's heating and cooling system from any location. Alerts can even be set up to notify you if the temperature drops to an unsafe level during the winter... providing additional peace of mind while you're away from home on vacation.

Another key benefit of smart thermostats is their ability to learn a household's routine and adjust the temperature to optimize comfort and reduce energy waste. When the thermostat senses that no one is home, the temperature is adjusted to maximized energy savings over comfort.

Have questions about connecting your home's heating and cooling system to the latest smart thermostat technology? Call Total Comfort Solutions, we experts with the latest home heating and cooling technology.
Professional AC Service Walla WallaMany homeowners like to save money by performing their own maintenance and repairs on their house. However, there are many home projects that are definitely not DIY, this includes most electrical repairs and working on air conditioning and heating equipment. For your safety, always contact a qualified, licensed technician to handle the installation and servicing of your air conditioning and heating equipment.

Consider These Statistics

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 15% of consumer-product related electrocutions are related to contact with large appliances. These electrocutions occur most commonly while someone is attempting to service or repair the appliance.

In 2006, an estimated 33,500 injuries were reported to hospital emergency rooms as involving air conditioners, fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, and heat pumps. The leading types of injuries were laceration (14,890), contusion or abrasion (6,110), and strain or sprain (4,430).

In 2006, air conditioning or related equipment was involved in an estimated 7,400 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 270 civilian injuries and $200 million indirect property damage.

In 2003-2006, the 7,000 reported home structure fires per year involving air conditioning and related equipment included 2,400 per year involving central and room air conditioners specifically and 3,700 per year involving fans.

In 1995-2003 (excluding 1999, which was not reported), there were 11.5 electrocution deaths per year involving air conditioners and 4.3 electrocution deaths per year involving fans.

So the next time you need help installing or maintaining your home's air conditioner or furnace, don't take chances. Remember that Total Comfort Solutions is here to help keep you safe and comfortable.
If you're looking to buy a new furnace or air conditioner for your home energy efficiency is probably at the top of your list. So how do you know which models will use the least energy to heat and cool your home? There are two industry standards that make it easy to measure energy efficiency.

Air Conditioner Efficiency - SEER

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a measure of efficiency for air conditioners. A high SEER number means more energy efficiency, and lower cost to operate. All new air conditioners have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. The most efficient systems can achieve SEER ratings over 20.

Heating Efficiency AFUE

For gas furnaces, the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating is a common measure of energy use and efficiency. The AFUE rating tells you how much of the fuel used by your furnace is used to actually heat your home and how much is wasted. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. For example, a 90% furnace creates heat, 90% of which is used directly by the home with 10% lost, generally as a result of venting. Some newer gas furnaces have an AFUE rating that exceeds 98%.

Have questions about choosing the most efficient heating and cooling system for you home? Call Total Comfort Solutions, we can help.
When choosing a new central air conditioner from your home there are many important factors to consider. Here are some the top priorities that homeowner's have when buying an air conditioner

1. Efficiency

Look at the system's ENERGY STAR® rating to see how much energy you can expect to pay during a typical year. While more efficient systems often cost more initially, over time they are a good investment and will result in lower operating costs.

2. Reliability

A new air conditioner is a big investment, so it's important to choose a system that will provide years of reliable operation with the least amount of service related costs. Choose products from a reputable manufacturer with a long history in the industry.

3. Quiet Operation

While air conditioners are becoming quieter, they can still produce noise as high as 80 decibels. Look for features like variable speed operation, which can reduce noise significantly.

4. Humidity Control

To maintain proper humidity levels, choose a thermostat that controls both temperature and humidity. You might also consider a comfort system with a dehumidifier.

5. Healthy Indoor Air

If you have pets or someone in your household suffers from allergies or respiratory problems, adding a whole house air cleaner to your furnace or air handler will capture the small contaminants in every room of your home.

Have questions about choosing the right central air conditioner for your home? Call Total Comfort Solutions, we can help.
Most residential central air conditioners contain small amounts of mold. If the mold is allowed to grow and contaminate the ventilation system, it can lower air quality and lead to health issues for those living in the home. The cause of mold is excess moisture. The interior parts of your HVAC system are ideal places for mold to grow. This is usually a symptom of water leaks and flaws in the unit. Total Comfort Solutions can locate the cause of excess the moisture and recommend solutions. 

AC drain pans, which hold standing water for long periods of time, are primary mold sources. Pipes that contain bends and curves may hold water from unit operation, leading to mold growth. Often when there is mold growing inside the unit, you may be able to see it growing on the inside of the air ducts. While it can be easy to spot mold around your air conditioner, it's not as simple as cleaning the surfaces where mold is visible, you must find the source of the problem to prevent mold from growing in the future.

To avoid dealing with mold issues in the future, examine your condensate drain regularly for clogs. If this drain gets backed up, the standing water can develop bacteria, which may turn into mold. Once you’ve removed the mold from the system, you’ll need to make sure it doesn’t return by regularly maintaining the unit to keep the ducts clean.

Have questions about mold in your air conditioner? Call Total Comfort Solutions, we can help.
Is your air conditioner ready for the summer heat? With proper maintenance you can ensure that it runs at peak efficiency while avoiding costly breakdowns.

In addition to scheduling an annual air conditioner tune-up, there are a few things you can do yourself. Watch the videos below to learn more.

Quick Tips AC Maintenance Part One

Quick Tips AC Maintenance Part Two

Have questions about maintaining your central air conditioner? Call Total Comfort, we can help.
When choosing a new air conditioner energy efficiency is at the top of most homeowner's list. So how can you ensure you are getting the most efficient central air conditioner for your needs? Watch the video below for a simple explanation of how AC efficiency is measured.

Have questions about choosing the right central air conditioner for your home? Give us a call, we can help answer all your questions.

Is Your Thermostat in the Right Place?

Finding the right location for your thermostat is important. An improperly placed thermostat will give you false readings, reducing comfort and wasting energy. To ensure your thermostat is in the right location, follow these simple rules:
  • Place the thermostat on an interior wall
  • Place the thermostat near the center of the home
  • Don't place the thermostat near heat registers or vents
  • Avoid walls that receive direct sunlight
  • Avoid areas near the kitchen, where cooking will generate heat
By following these simple steps you can ensure your heating and cooling system are affected by false thermostat readings. Need help with your thermostat? Call Total Comfort Solutions. We're here to help.
Choosing a furnace filterWhen it comes to choosing the right furnace air filter, there are many options available. The efficiency of furnace filters is measured on the MERV scale, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, which rates filter efficiency on a scale of 1-20.

On the low end of the cost scale and MERV scale with a rating of 1-3 are disposable fiberglass filters. Made of 1-inch thick fiberglass, these filters are designed to prevent larger particles of dust, lint, and other debris from damaging your furnace.

Disposable pleated furnace filters are probably the most popular option. These filters are made from polyester or cotton paper and remove smaller particles like mold spores and mites, but should be changed frequently to avoid clogging and reducing airflow to the furnace. Pleated filters have a MERV rating of 6 and cost more than fiberglass filters.

The most effective furnace air filters are disposable or permanent electrostatic filters. With a MERV rating of 10 or higher, they offer highly effective filtration and are recommended for homes with persons with allergies or upper respiratory conditions.

Have questions about furnace filters and indoor air quality? Give us a call, we're here to help.
As the heating season winds down and the warm days arrive, many homeowners find that is it difficult to maintain even temps throughout the house.  One day it's in the 80s and the next day it's back down to the 40s, making it a challenge to find an ideal thermostat setting. One option is to zone your home's heating and cooling system.

As the name implies, zoning involves dividing areas home into environments that can be controlled individually to maintain a comfortable temperature. This way if one family member wants to sleep in a cold upstairs bedroom, others in the home's lower levels can set their own thermostat. By working with your home's HVAC system, zoning will increase, reduce or shut off heating and cooling to each zone by opening and closing dampers located inside the air ducts. A programmable thermostat regulates the damper's operation, allowing each zone to be climate controlled separately.

Zoning will not only maintain comfort levels in all areas of the home, it will significantly reduce energy consumption and utility costs. When properly set up, a home zoning system can pay for itself in just a few years.

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