Heating (9)

Choosing the Right Kind of Water Heater For Your Home

Which Kind of Water Heater?When most people think of water heaters the first thing that comes to mind is a conventional tank storage water heater. Tank water heaters store 20-80 gallons of hot water and are relatively inexpensive to purchase and install. However, because they must maintain a large volume of heated water, they can be more costly to operate. Newer technology is designed to address some of the shortcomings of the traditional water heater.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless or demand-type water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. A gas burner or electric element heats the cold water as it passes through the water heater. Households that require a lot of hot water can benefit the from a virtually endless supply of hot water. One downside to tankless water heaters is they typically cost more to purchase and install, although they can last longer than conventional tank water heaters if properly maintained. Another disadvantage of tankless water heaters is they can take longer to heat the water initially when the tap is first turned on.

Hybrid Water Heaters

Hybrid water heaters are designed to combine the benefits of a conventional tank water heater and a tankless water heater. They have a small storage tank that provides an initial supply of hot water, then heats cold water on demand with a heating element similar to a tankless water heater.

Heat Pump Water Heaters

Heat pump water heaters distribute heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly to providing hot water.

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters use the sun's heat to heat water. A roof-mounted solar collector absorbs the sun's heat and stores it in a special fluid that circulates in a closed-loop system that heats water in a tank.

Have questions about which water heater is right for your home? Call Total Comfort Solutions. We're here to help.

Solutions For Heating & Cooling a New Addition To Your Home

If you're in the design stage of adding a new addition to your home one of the biggest factors you'll need to consider is how to heat and cool the additional space. If you have an existing central heating and cooling system you may be able to run air ducts to include the new addition. However, it's important to keep in mind that the furnace and air conditioner should have enough capacity to handle the additional air volume. An HVAC specialist should evaluate the system to ensure it is up the the task. Even if the current heating and cooling system is sufficient, expanding existing ducts into the new space can create problems with maintaining even temperatures throughout the entire house, particularly if the air handler is on the far side of the house from the new addition.

Ductless Heating and Cooling New Additions

Ductless Heating and Cooling Systems

If the home doesn't have central heating and cooling, or expanding the ductwork is not an option, installing a ductless, mini-split heating and cooling system may be a good solution. A mini-split system not only heats in the winter, it provides cooling in the summer. Because a split system works independently from the main heating and cooling system, it eliminates the air balancing problems that attempting to expand an existing HVAC system can cause. Whether you're heating a new addition, an attic, basement or a garage, a ductless system makes it simple to add efficient heating and cooling to your home.

Have questions about adding air conditioning and heating to a new space in your home? Call Total Comfort Solutions, we can help answer all your questions.

5 Reasons to Choose Ductless Mini-Split Heating and Cooling

Ductless heating and cooling systems are popular options when you need to heat a home without ductwork or are adding an addition and don't want to deal with the expense or complexity of upgrading an existing central heating and cooling system.

Walla Walla Ductless Mini-Split SystemsHere are some advantages of mini-split systems over conventional heating and cooling systems.
  1. Zoned For Comfort - While most forced air systems operate best when utilizing all the air volume in the home, ductless systems can simply be turned to heat or cool rooms that are occupied.
  2. Flexible Installation - Because the air handler is compact, it can be attached to a wall or suspended from a ceiling, and in most cased requires only a 3-inch hole to the outside. This makes it a great option for three-season porches, manufactured and mobile homes.
  3. Efficiency - Mini-splits reduce the heat and energy loss that is common in ducted systems.
  4. Cleaner Indoor Air - Unlike central heating and AC systems, mini-split systems don't have extensive ductwork that can trap dirt and dust, making for cleaner, healthier air.
  5. Convenience Features - Most mini-split systems come with features like remote, controls, timers and more. Some have smart phone apps with advanced comfort features.
Call Total Comfort Solutions today and discover the advantages of ductless mini-split systems for heating and cooling your home.

Should You Repair Or Replace Your Gas Furnace?

Repair or replace furnace?It inevitably happens with every old furnace, you wake up on a frigid Walla Walla winter morning and your bedroom is ice cold. You turn the thermostat up, but there's nothing but silence. Your furnace has stopped working. If you're lucky, it's a simple, inexpensive fix. But if the furnace is getting up in years and needs extensive repairs, how do you decide if the advantages of installing a new furnace is a better solution than repairing the old unit and hoping it lasts through another long winter?

How long does a gas furnace last?

A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders found that gas furnaces last an average of 15 to 20 years. So consider the age of the unit when deciding whether to repair or replace. When a furnace is installed most technicians will write the year the equipment was installed right on the unit. You can also look for a metal identification plate, usually on the inside of chamber door (be sure the unit is off and cool before checking inside). Record the model and serial number, then call the manufacturer’s customer service number to obtain the date of manufacture.

Consider Furnace Repair Costs

If the furnace is beyond three-quarters of its life expectancy and repairing it would cost a 1/3 or more of the amount of a new furnace, it may be more economical to replace the unit.

Comparing Energy Savings

In these days of high fuel costs, it's important to consider is the efficiency of the old furnace versus a newer unit. A standard measure of fuel efficiency is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency number (AFUE). AFUE measures the percentage of the fuel that’s converted to heat rather than being lost through inefficiency.

If the furnace is 20 or more years old, its AFUE is probably about 70. New furnaces will have an AFUE of at least 80%, which means you’ll burn 10% less fuel, that's 10% savings of your heating bill. High efficiency furnaces go as high a 95% AFUE , which could save you 25% on your heating bill.

Moving to a New Home? Remember to Inspect the Heating System

Furnace Inspection Walla WallaWhen moving to a new home there are many systems you will want to check to ensure there are no hidden surprises that could lead to unexpected repair bills down the road. One of the most important things you will want to check is the home's furnace. By taking the time to ask questions and inspect the furnace can save you potential headaches down the road. Here's what to check:

1. Turn on the furnace and listen for noises. Squeaks and rattles could indicate a mechanical problem, lack of maintenance or just be an indication that the furnace is showing its age and is nearing the end of its lifespan. If you hear unusual noises, have Total Comfort Solutions inspect the furnace.

2. Ask the current owner or real estate agent for the age of the furnace. A gas furnace will typically last 15-20 years. Keep in mind that older furnaces can be more expensive to operate and may require more frequent repairs.

3. Check the unit's EnergySTAR® rating. Sometimes the label will still be attached to the unit. If not, the unit's serial number can be used to contact the manufacturer for efficiency information. The EnergySTAR® rating label will tell you how efficient the unit is with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. AFUE is a measure of a gas furnace's efficiency in converting fuel to energy, by projecting the average thermal efficiency for a complete heating season. A higher AFUE rating indicates greater energy efficiency.

4. Check the furnace air filter. It may be dirty, but it should not be excessively covered with dirt that could prevent airflow to the furnace.

Finally, for your peace of mind, it's a good idea to have the home's heating and cooling system inspected by a professional HVAC technician to identify any potential problems that could end up costing you money in repairs or higher utility bills.

Have questions about inspecting your home's heating systems? Call Total Comfort Solutions. We can help answer all your home heating and cooling questions.
Tuesday, 24 October 2017 08:18

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

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How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

Heating water and storing it in a tank uses a lot of energy. When demand is high and the tank runs empty, the result is no hot water. A tankless water heater solves both of these problems. Watch the video to learn more.
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 08:04

Quick Tip Video – Indoor Air Quality

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Quick Tip For Homeowners Video - Indoor Air Quality

The inside our home's can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside. Thankfully there are effective solutions to help keep the air inside your home cleaner and healthier. Watch the video to learn more.

Quick Tip For Homeowners Video - Furnace Efficiency

Like your car, your furnace needs regular maintenance to keep it operating safely and reliably. Watch the video to learn more.

Quick Tip For Homeowners Video - Furnace Efficiency

Time to replace your old furnace? Choosing an energy saving high efficiency model can save your money. Watch the video to learn more.

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