What Are Some of the Benefits of Adding New Insulation to Your Home?

April 15th, 2014

You might not realize it, but your home may require additional insulation. Insulation can deteriorate over time because of water damage, mold, or pests and need replacement. If you live in an older home, it might have been constructed with inferior insulation that needs bolstering. Even with a newer home, you may have places in the attic and in odd-shaped corners where extra heat is escaping and entering.

For insulation services in Hanford, CA, contact Shaw’s Air Conditioning. We can determine where your home needs insulation added, find the right type, and install it.

How new insulation can benefit you

  • Better heating in winter: Protection from the cold is what most people think of when they hear “insulation.” It’s one of the most important functions of insulation inside the walls and attic of a house: preventing the movement of heat trapped indoors from escaping outdoors. Having an effective heat barrier keeps your house warmer and lets you ease up on using your heating system, which means a reduction in energy bills.
  • Better cooling in summer: Insulation helps to guard your home from summer heat as well. The heat barrier of insulation works both ways: it prevents external heat from moving into your home and elevating the temperature. You can lower the amount you use your air conditioning and cut down on your electrical bills each month with the proper amount of insulation. If your house in general feels uncomfortable in summer and winter, no matter how much your have your HVAC system on, it generally means you need to have the insulation improved.
  • Sound-proofing: Here’s a benefit of insulation that people often overlook. Insulation prohibits the movement of sound waves as well as heat waves. For homes with children, large families, or neighboring homes built close by, better insulation means a quiet interior.
  • Increased resale value: If you are considering selling your home during the next 5 years, it will have higher value (and probably sell faster) if it is a money-saving building with improved comfort levels because of thorough insulation.

Have professionals work on your new insulation

Putting in additional insulation isn’t a simple task you can do by purchasing a roll of fiber glass bats and laying it out in the attic. You need expertise from professionals who will locate where your house will benefit from extra heat barriers. At Shaw’s Air Conditioning, our insulation installers use loose fill insulation and blown-in insulation to fill in the spots where you are losing and gaining heat. A large amount of heat gain and loss comes through the attic, but we have attic specialists who can take care of insulating this important area. Call us today to learn more about our insulation services in Hanford, CA.

Thermocouple Problems with Your Furnace

April 9th, 2014

Modern gas furnaces contain a number of safety devices installed to keep them from developing carbon monoxide leaks or combustion hazards. As long as you keep the furnace in your home well-maintained and repaired, it will pose no more danger to you, your family, or your property than any other heating system you might have installed.

One of the common safety devices in gas furnaces is the thermocouple. Newer furnaces use a similar device, a mercury sensor; but if you have an older furnace, than the chances are high that you have a thermocouple installed to help keep it safe. Trouble with the thermocouple requires professional furnace repair to correct, otherwise your furnace’s safe operation could be compromised.

You can contact Shaw’s Air Conditioning for furnace services in Lemoore, CA any time of the day or night. We’re now in our 10th year of providing quality work on heating and cooling.

The thermocouple and thermocouple failure

The thermocouple consists of two pieces of different metal alloys bound together at one end. Because of an electromagnetic effect known as the Seebeck effect, an electric current moves through the two different pieces of metal when they are exposed to heat. The higher the heat, the stronger the current. This allows a thermocouple to act as a temperature sensor.

Inside a gas furnace, the thermocouple determines if the pilot light is burning. Should the pilot light go out, the thermocouple will stop generating electric current, and cause the valve on the gas line to close, stopping gas going to the burner and entering the combustion chamber. With the pilot light off, unburned gas would flood the combustion chamber, leading to a high risk of an explosion. With the thermocouple working correctly, this risk is eliminated, since the device will shut down the gas in case of a pilot light failure.

However, a thermocouple won’t last as long as a furnace, and corrosion can cause the device to fail, or it could become dislodged. It’s important to have regular maintenance so professionals will see when the thermocouple is in danger of failing and requires replacement. If you’ve noticed your pilot light failing regularly, have technicians come in to not only fix the pilot, but also to see if the thermocouple is working correctly to prevent any large hazards from occurring when the pilot goes out.

Regular maintenance is essential

Your furnace may have safety precautions built in, but a precaution is only as good as the shape it’s in. Make certain you have furnace services in Lemoore, CA with annual maintenance to keep your furnace’s safety devices working.

At Shaw’s Air Conditioning, our 23 Point Inspection from our maintenance agreement will make sure your furnace operates at its best and safest. We can provide the same quality work for your air conditioning.

How Insulation Saves Heating and Cooling Bills

April 1st, 2014

Insulation comes in many forms, from the fiberglass rolls most people are used to to foam-applied insulation to pellets. Insulation in Lemoore is a staple of most households and the more you can install in your attic and crawlspace the better. Sometimes, it can be hard to remember the things that insulation does for you, especially when you have other concerns on your mind. But insulation can save you a great deal of money, especially on HVAC costs which can get quite substantial when the weather becomes extreme.

Here’s how insulation saves heating and cooling bills.

In most cases, people think of heating and cooling systems as ways to attain the comfortable temperatures they want. Adjust the thermostat, let the heater or air conditioner do its work and everything is settled, right? Unfortunately, even the best HVAC system will only get you to that state, not help you maintain it. If the hot or cool temperatures escape your home into the outside air, the heater or air conditioner need to fire up again and run until the temperature is at its set level again. That creates additional strain on the unit, as well as costing you additional energy.

Insulation helps out all of that by slowing the loss of your home’s internal temperature. This is most important in the attic, since hot air rises, but it also plays a role on the sides of the house as well. The more insulation you have and the better its insulating process, the longer your home will maintain the temperature you want, how or cold. Your HVAC system thus won’t need to run as frequently, and you’ll save a great deal on monthly costs, as well as reducing the risk of repairs.

For more on how insulation saves heating and cooling bills, or to schedule an installation session, talk to the experts at Shaw’s Air Conditioning. We handle insulation in Lemoore with the same courtesy and care that we treat all our other services, and we want you to be completely happy with the entire process. Contact us today to set up a consultation. You’ll be glad that you did!

3 Benefits to Adding More Insulation

April 1st, 2014

Whether it’s wadded-up newspaper or sophisticated fiberglass rolls, insulation is an important part of every home. Here in Visalia, insulation serves a vital purpose in keeping your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s usually found in the crawlspaces or attic (especially the attic, since heat rises and it can do the most good at the highest point in the house). Most households have at least some insulation, but most have room for at least a little more. If you’re looking into a little home improvement this spring, you might think about adding another layer or two to your home. Here are 3 benefits to adding more insulation.

  • Lowered heating and cooling costs. Insulation helps you home retain conditioned air more readily, which means you don’t have to run your HVAC system as much to gain the benefits of a comfortable home. That translates to lower heating and cooling costs from month to month without having to lower your HVAC usage.
  • Reduced risk of repairs. Because insulation helps your heating and cooling system function more efficiently, you won’t have to run it as long to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. Reduced use translates to reduced wear and tear, which can extend the life of your unit by months or even years depending on how well it is maintained. Considering the costs of replacing a heater or an air conditioner, the additional insulation can often pay for itself.
  • Reduced environmental impact. With less energy being used to condition the air in your home, your carbon footprint is reduced as well. In addition, you’re not releasing as many harmful components into the air (such as carbon monoxide, which is a byproduct of many forced-air furnaces). That translates into a healthier environment overall, again without impacting your ability to keep your home comfortable.

To discuss the benefits to adding more insulation, or to schedule an installation session, talk to the experts at Shaw’s Air Conditioning. Here in Visalia, insulation can be a benefit no matter what the temperature is outside. Call us today and let us help you make the most of it!

Reasons to Repair an Inefficient Furnace

March 19th, 2014

Advances in HVAC technology have allowed furnaces, once one of the more inefficient of heating systems, to make huge strides in saving energy. Thanks to better heat exchangers, condensing furnaces, and electronic ignition systems, many furnaces today receive the ENERGY STAR label from the EPA and Department of Energy, designating that they are 20–30% more efficient than federal requirements.

With this level of efficiency now available, you should never allow your furnace to slip into inefficient performance because of repair needs or delayed maintenance. If your heating bills starts to rise because your furnace isn’t doing the job it should, call up Shaw’s Air Conditioning. We offer emergency repair service 24 hours a day.

Why repair that inefficient furnace

The most obvious reason you should stop delaying on scheduling repairs for a furnace that’s inflating your monthly bills with scary numbers is that you’ll save money. How much depends on how often you use your furnace and how badly it has declined.

Here’s one example, using the U.S. Department of Energy’s website: If your furnace has 85% AFUE (enough to qualify for the ENERGY STAR label), but slips to 75% AFUE, you’ll waste $11.76 for each $100 you spend on heating. If you have a high-efficiency furnace with 95% AFUE, and it drops to 60% AFUE, you’ll waste $37.80 per $100.

However, it’s more than saving money that makes it urgent you repair your furnace: the longer the furnace runs with whatever malfunction is causing it to drain power, the faster it will age. This means a further plunge in efficiency and a downward spiral toward a complete breakdown. Repairing a fully broken furnace is usually much more expensive than repairing one with a single malfunction.

Finally, and this is especially true of gas furnaces, an inefficient furnace has the potential to become a dangerous furnace. If the reason for the drop in efficiency is problems in the heat exchanger, it could mean leaking carbon monoxide. The energy waste might come from blockage in the exhaust, which can result in the exhaust back-flowing into the house. You should never let a repair need for a gas furnace go unattended.

Maintenance will help keep your furnace energy-friendly

Once you have your inefficient furnace back in shape, schedule annual maintenance visits from trained professionals. Shaw’s Air Conditioning delivers a 23-point inspection as part of our Maintenance Agreement, and it will keep your furnace in its best operating condition throughout the year. Call us today for Visalia furnace repair services, and keep us in mind for maintenance. Your furnace and your pocketbook will thank you.

End of Season Repair Calls for Your Heating System

March 5th, 2014

Heating in Visalia tends to finish up right about this time of year, with a few more chilly days quickly giving way to the warmer temperatures of summer. That means your heater will doubtless be seeing less and less use as your air conditioning system takes over the load of keeping your home comfortable. This actually makes a good time to handle some end of season repair calls for your heating system, which a qualified service can help you with.

When people think of repair calls, they tend to think of emergencies: points when your heating system has completely stopped and need immediate attention in order to work properly again. The vast majority of repairs aren’t quite so dramatic, however. They usually translate into lowered heating capacity, lowered air flow or a general lack of efficiency. If left untreated, they can turn into more catastrophic problems, but with your heater being call upon to perform every day it may be easier to move on with those lingering issues rather than shutting down your heater in order to treat them. With the end of the season upon us, those issues can now be addressed at leisure.

Conversely, leaving such issues over the summer can be a mistake, as you tend to forget about whatever the problem was and move forward with other concerns of life. That leaves the heater in less-than-ideal shape when heating season starts up again: now with the dust and neglect of summer piled on top of whatever the problem was at the beginning of the season.

The solution is to make some end of season repair calls for your heating system from a service like Shaw’s Air Conditioning. We can address any lingering problems on a timetable that it comfortable for you, as well as offering a general maintenance session to keep your heater clean and efficient before shutting it down for the summer. Heating in Visalia is a seasonal concern, but that doesn’t mean you should wait all summer to take care of lingering issues that trouble your heating system. Give our Visalia heating system repair technicians a call today and let us make those problems right.

Why You Shouldn’t Conduct Do-It-Yourself Heating Repair

February 27th, 2014

Heaters and furnaces are common features in most every household, and need to work regularly during the winter in order to keep our homes warm. Like any other appliance, they can break down sometimes, and here in Visalia, heating repair services are on call to address any problem you might have. We have our share of independent-minded homeowners in the area, many of whom are skilled handymen. If you’re among them, you might be thinking about making heating repairs yourself when your system breaks down. Unfortunately, that’s usually a mistake.

Here’s why you shouldn’t conduct do-it-yourself heating repair:

In the first place, even the most self-sufficient handyman probably hasn’t dealt with more than a small handful of furnaces in his lifetime. That means he won’t be familiar with a lot of the systems and may need to do a great deal of consulting to get the repair information he needs. Contrast that with the professional, who usually handles hundreds of faulty heaters and furnaces every year. That experience means the professional can diagnose and repair the issue much more quickly and accurately, even if the issue is obscure or unusual.

Furthermore, a licensed professional offers warranties and financial protection to keep both him and you safe in the event something goes wrong. If more repairs are needed or the initial repairs don’t take, the extra work is covered under the warranty. If you’re performing the repairs yourself, however, you have no such guarantees. Any future problems are on your head to correct, possibly costing you far more than you’d pay by hiring the professional technician in the first place. The same principle holds true with any tools you may need, which can be quite expensive and which you might never use for anything besides the furnace itself.

In light of that, you shouldn’t conduct do-it-yourself heating repair under any but the simplest circumstances. Heating repair services in Visalia like Shaw’s Air Conditioning are standing by to help. We take pride in our work and back it with a complete dedication to your satisfaction. Give us a call today. We’ll make sure your heater is up and running again as quickly as possible.

Giving the Gift of Warmth

February 21st, 2014

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Cold weather serves as a reminder that the kind of warmth and comfort that so many of us enjoy is hard to come by for others. Shaw’s Air Conditioning and Heating hosted its 1st Annual Gift of Warmth Blanket Drive. We collected new and gently used blankets between October 1 – December 31, 2013 and matched all donations that were collected.

We wanted to thank you personally for such a successful blanket drive. Because we have such giving and caring customers, we were able to deliver 212 blankets! They ranged from baby blankets to children’s blankets to large beautiful quilts. We delivered them all to the Barbara Saville Women’s Shelter in Hanford and whatever they couldn’t use they sent to Project Homeless Connect. Thank you for giving the gift of warmth!

How Do AFUE Ratings Measure Heat Efficiency?

February 17th, 2014

Whether it’s your refrigerator or your furnace, we all want our appliances to function as efficiently as they can. This is especially the case with new appliances, which we expect to perform at a higher level than the old worn-out items they replace. With furnaces, a little expert advice can help yours. Here in Fresno, heating installation services can place new, more efficient furnace systems in your home with little fuss or grief. That efficiency is measured by the AFUE rating, which stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency.

How do AFUE ratings measure heat efficiency? The equation is actually quite simple.

All heaters require energy to function, just as they output energy that goes into heating your home. The AFUE ratio is simply the percentage of the energy taken into the unit that actually goes into heating the home. For example, say your heater consumes 50,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) worth of energy every day and produces 40,000 BTUs worth of heat. That gives it an AFUE rating of 80% or 40,000/50,000. If the same heater produces 45,000 BTUs for heating, its AFUS rating would be 90% or 45,000/50,000. The remainder of that energy is lost to waste, inefficiency and problems of a similar nature.

It’s not hard to see why a furnace with a higher AFUE rating is preferable to one with a lower rating. A high AFUE rating means doing more with less energy and will pay dividends on your monthly bills. Older units tend to drop their AFUE rating after a while, as wear and tear take their toll. A newer unit should have a higher AFUE rating than the unit you’re replacing, though you should be prepared to pay a little more for such a unit. In any case, pay close attention to the AFUE rating on units you’re looking at. If you know how AFUE ratings measure heat efficiency, you’ve gone a long way towards being able to make an informed choice. Heating installation services like Shaw’s Air Conditioning can help you find the most efficient unit in your price range. Call our Fresno heating installation specialists today to make an appointment!

The Original Valentine’s Day Greeting Cards

February 14th, 2014

It’s hard to imagine Valentine’s Day without the traditional greeting cards, whether accompanying a gift of flowers and candy, or sent between children in a school room. For commercial greeting card companies, February 14th is as important to them as the December holidays, Easter, and Mother’s Day.

Valentine’s Day as a celebration of romantic love predates printed greeting cards by a few centuries. In fact, the reason that sending romantic greeting cards became popular was because of the most un-romantic thing you can imagine: a reduction in postage rates.

In 1765, Parliament authorized the creation of “Penny Posts” that used a uniform rate of one old penny per letter throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Printers took advantage of the ease with which people could send letters to each other on Valentine’s Day by crafting cards with love poems on them. Many of these verses were collected in 1797 in the book The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which was a resource for the lover with a romantic soul but not the most confident poetry style.

By the mid-19th-century, the Valentine’s Day greeting card was flourishing across England. Although people still followed a tradition of creating handmade Valentine’s Day cards from lace, ribbons, and flowers, commercially produced cards now overtook them. In 1835, the English post office mailed 60,000 valentines. As production expenses dropped, the English card manufacturers branched out creatively with humorous and sometimes vulgar cards… many of which we would find startlingly familiar in the 21st century. One of the common jokes on these cards was to design them to look like marriage certificates or court summons.

Across the Atlantic, the United States was slower to embrace the popular British custom. It wasn’t until 1847 that a U.S. printer mass-produced greeting cards for Valentine’s Day. Only two years later, American journalists noted how rapidly people in the country had embraced the tradition, turning into a fad that has never died down. The woman who printed the first U.S. Valentine’s Day card, Esther Howland, is today recognized by the Greeting Card Association with the annual “Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary.”

The greeting card industry certainly has reason to thank Ms. Howland. Her idea of going into business printing romantic greeting cards, which came to her after she received a traditional English valentine when she was 19 years old, now sells 190 million cards in the U.S. every year. That number doesn’t include the smaller exchange cards used in elementary school classrooms, which would swell the number to 1 billion. (Who receives the most Valentine’s Day cards each year? Teachers!)

Whether you send out Valentine’s Day cards—handmade, store-bought, digital—or not, we at Shaw’s Air Conditioning hope you have a happy February 14th.