How Can Poor Duct Installation Affect My Heating?

December 12th, 2014

With any type of forced-air heating and air conditioning system, you need a set of ductwork to deliver air from the HVAC unit through the vents in your home. And generally, your home will already contain a set of ducts that help to deliver both the heated and cooled air. But some existing ductwork is poorly designed or sealed, with excessive air leaks and inadequate insulation. In this case, you end up spending far more money for your heating than is necessary.

Ducts must be designed in such a way that warm air reaches your home in the most efficient way possible and that heat loss does not occur. Faulty installation of ductwork is responsible for a lot of air leakage and heat loss in many households, which means that much of the air that is warmed by your home heating system won’t actually make it to your living space. Instead, warm air can leak into a crawlspace or in the attic.

But of course, you continue paying to run your HVAC system, which means you’re spending money to run a system that may never adequately heat up the house. In fact, because your heating system continues to run, you may notice frequent repair needs as components begin to become worn down from overuse. If this happens, your forced-air heating unit may even fail prematurely.

For optimal duct function, you want an efficient duct design, proper insulation, and effective sealing against any air loss. Poor sealing and lack of insulation can result in a 20% air loss and a 25% loss due to heat transferring out of the ducts. Amateurs simply don’t have the proper tools and expertise to assess in which areas your current duct design contributes to energy loss or where sealing is needed.

Experts are trained to use only those materials which comply with industry safety conventions as set forth by the Underwriters Laboratories Standards 181, 181A, and 181B. These standards help to guarantee fire safety with a low flame spread index. Experts also know the most efficient type of duct design, and which material to use in your particular circumstances. Call Shaw’s Air Conditioning to find out how you can improve your heating in Lemoore with duct sealing, duct installation, or duct repair.

How Does Good Attic Insulation Help with Heating?

December 5th, 2014

Alright, so you’ve just installed a brand new home heating system. The ducts are pristine, the heater is running as smoothly as can be, and everything seems perfect. However, for some awful reason, you’re still experiencing cold spots in the house and your heating bill is through the roof. What’s going on? Interestingly enough, your heating might actually be going through the roof. Read on to find out how attic insulation affects your heating.

The Importance of Attic Insulation

There’s no way to completely seal your home to prevent heat from escaping. As soon as your heater stops working, the house will begin to cool from the outside in. What you can do, however, is slow down heat loss as much as possible. This will take some of the load off of your heater, which will save you money in the long run. Attic insulation is the single biggest step you can take to preventing excessive home heat loss.

Though heat can escape from multiple different areas of your home, the attic is the single most vulnerable area. There are a number of reasons for this. First, the attic is often a very large space, more or less an entire extra floor in most homes. Second, warm air naturally rises. When using a forced air system, all of that hot air that is meant to heat your home will tend to rise through the house and into the attic. If your attic is not insulated, you’re losing a great deal of that warm air at fast rate.

Once you’ve insulated your attic, you will have essentially put a lid over your house to keep all that warmth inside. Your home will lose heat much more slowly, your heater will be able to turn off sooner after starting, and your heating bill will drop. In fact, the US Department of Energy estimates that you can save between 10 and 50 percent of your heating bill by properly insulating your attic. That’s more than enough savings for the insulation to pay for itself.

If you’d like to know more about attic insulation, call Shaw’s Air Conditioning. Our heating technicians serve all of Lemoore.

Will Thanksgiving Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

November 26th, 2014

We’ve all heard it before: you feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal because of the main event: the turkey. For years, people have credited extraordinary levels of tryptophan in turkey as the reason we all feel the need to nap after the annual feast. But contrary to this popular mythology, tryptophan is probably not he largest responsible party for your post-meal exhaustion.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means it’s something that our bodies need but do not produce naturally. Your body uses tryptophan to help make vitamin B3 and serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that sends chemicals to the brain to aid in sleep. But in order to get this essential amino acid, we have to eat foods that contain it.

Turkey has somewhat high levels of tryptophan, but so do many other foods, including eggs, peanuts, chocolate, nuts, bananas, and most other meats and dairy products. In fact, ounce-for-ounce cheddar cheese contains a greater amount of tryptophan than turkey. In order for tryptophan to make you feel sleepy, you would have to consume it in excessive amounts, and serotonin is usually only produced by tryptophan on an empty stomach.

The truth is, overeating is largely responsible for the “food coma” many people describe post-Thanksgiving. It takes a lot of energy for your body to process a large meal, and the average Thanksgiving plate contains about twice as many calories as is recommended for daily consumption. If anything, high levels of fat in the turkey cause sleepiness, as they require a lot of energy for your body to digest. Lots of carbohydrates, alcohol, and probably a bit of stress may also be some of the reasons it feels so satisfying to lay down on the couch after the meal and finally get a little bit of shut-eye.

If you feel the need to indulge in a heaping dose of tryptophan this year, go ahead! Turkey also contains healthy proteins and may even provide a boost for your immune system. Here at Shaw’s Air Conditioning, we hope your Thanksgiving is full of joy and contentment this year. Happy feasting!

Why Consider a Ductless Heating System?

November 21st, 2014

If you are looking for a system that can offer you both heating and cooling, and is easily installed to just about any home, you may want to consider the installation of a ductless heating system. Using heat pump technology, a ductless heating system can both heat and cool your home without needing expensive ductwork. While the system is fairly straight-forward, the installation of a ductless heating system should always be handled by a trained professional. The technicians at Shaw’s Air Conditioning have installed many ductless heating systems in Lemoore, so if you are interested in a ductless system for your home, call us today!

How Ductless Heating Works

Ductless heating systems have the same components as a ductless cooling but with one exception: the system uses heat pump technology to be able to both heat and cool your home. An outdoor unit contains the compressor, condenser and reversing valve, and the indoor blowers deliver the air. The reversing valve is the component that allows your heat pump to switch between heating and cooling. It does this by changing the direction in which the refrigerant flows. As the homeowner, all you have to do is press a button on your dual-mode thermostat and the heat pump does the rest!

Why Consider a Ductless Heating System?

In addition to offering both heating and cooling, there are some other benefits a heat pump offers that are worth considering:

  • Good energy efficiency – heat pumps do not use any fossil fuels and they only use a small amount of electricity to operate. Additionally, there is no potential air loss as there can be with a traditional ductwork system.
  • Easily expanded – to expand the system, simply install another blower. An outdoor unit supports up to 4 blowers, so as long as you have the support, you can easily mount and connect another indoor blower to your system.
  • Customized heating – each indoor blower operates individually, allowing you to customize your heating.

Ductless systems are great for new homes or retro-fitting an older home that doesn’t have ductwork. If you think a ductless system is a good fit for you, contact Shaw’s Air Conditioning today!

What Are the Benefits to Heating Maintenance?

November 14th, 2014

Cooler weather is finally here. You’ve got your heater on throughout the night and you feel perfectly comfortable in your home. There’s no need to worry about calling a technician for heating service, right? Actually, if you haven’t considered calling a technician for heating maintenance this year, you’re missing out on a valuable service that could just save your wallet from unexpected expenses and protect your family from a sudden loss of heating.

When you schedule heating maintenance, a technician looks over every single component of your system, making some adjustments and cleaning key parts along the way. If you schedule this service every year, you may notice any of the following benefits.

  • Increased Performance: Sure, your heating system may seem to work just fine, but with heating maintenance, you may notice enhanced performance. Dirty or worn down parts can cause your system to take longer to heat your home, but with a tune up you may notice a more accurate temperature and faster heating cycles.
  • Fewer Repairs: When parts of your system are dirty or if they require an adjustment, they simply cannot work as they are supposed to. This means you may make frequent calls to the repair technician, often at inconvenient times of the day. With heating maintenance, you can find out about repair needs ahead of time, so your system doesn’t break down in the middle of the night. Cleaning and adjustment also helps ward off repairs, possibly for the remainder of the heating season.
  • Lower Utilities: Finally, regular tune ups can help lower your utilities, as a clean system in top shape uses a lot less energy to heat up a home. The savings may be quite noticeable, since your heating system generally comprises a large portion of your bills.

So when is the best time to schedule heating maintenance? Right now! Many experts recommend scheduling maintenance right before the heating season begins. However, it’s not too late; heating maintenance at any time of year can still provide all of these benefits and more. If you want professional heating maintenance in Lemoore, call Shaw’s Air Conditioning today!

3 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Heating System

November 7th, 2014

Replacing a heating system is a great opportunity to increase your energy efficiency, improve your comfort, and have a reliable heating system installed in your home. Knowing when it’s time to replace your heating system is the key to avoiding potentially expensive repairs and possible breakdown with an aging system. Our Shaw’s Air Conditioning & Heating technician have put together a list of some common signs that can indicate may be time to replace your heating system. Have questions? Call us today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Age of Your System

The average combustion heating system lasts about 15-20 years. Electric furnaces and heat pumps have an average lifespan that is a little longer – between 20-25 years. If the age of your heating system is as old or older than these average lifespans, it may be time to consider replacing it. Today’s heating systems are very energy efficient – much more energy efficient than systems from just 10 years ago. Even if your current system is still running well, you could be missing out on significant energy savings by hanging on to an aging furnace.

Too Many Repairs

As a system ages, so do the components, and when components age, they can malfunction and breakdown. Too much malfunctioning and too many breakdowns results in too many repairs – repairs that can become costly. At some point, you may spend as much on repairs as it would have cost to install a new, reliable system. If you are looking at continued repairs this winter, take some time to assess where your money is better spent: on nursing an old system, or installing a new, reliable one.

Not Heating Evenly or Effectively

Aging systems can struggle to heat your home as you need it to. Common signs of this are ineffective heating and uneven heating. The reason you have a whole-home heating system is to stay warm and comfortable during the winter months; if your system isn’t doing this for you, it may be time to consider the installation of a new heater.

If you are seeing the signs that it’s time to replace your heating system, take advantage of the opportunity to install a new system. Call Shaw’s Air Conditioning & Heating today and schedule the installation of your new heater in Lemoore with one of our HVAC experts.

What Is a Thermocouple?

October 31st, 2014

Your heating system uses a number of safety devices and switches to ensure that the system is working properly and safely. In heaters using a standing pilot light (a pilot that is on continuously), one of these safety devices is a thermocouple. Malfunctioning safety devices can cause ignition and operational problems. Operating your heating system with a malfunctioning or failing safety device can be dangerous, so it’s best to call a technician for repair. The trained and certified technicians at Shaw’s Air Conditioning have the knowledge and expertise to handle every kind of heating repair, so if you are experiencing issues with your heating system, call us today.

Why a Thermocouple Is Important

A thermocouple is a device used to measure temperature. Thermocouples are composed of two metals that are soldered. When heat is applied at the point of contact, it creates a voltage; this is known as the Seebeck effect. As heat increases on the point of contact, the voltage becomes stronger. This is how the thermocouple measures temperature.

With a standing pilot light, a small stream of gas is always flowing in order to keep the pilot lit. It is necessary for your system to know that the pilot is lit so that your furnace can turn on and ignite when needed. The thermocouple is placed directly into the pilot flame and lets the system know that the pilot is lit and ready to work when needed. Should the pilot go out, the thermocouple will no longer have a voltage, and it will close the valve of the main gas line so that ignition can’t occur.

Common Problems with a Thermocouple

One of the most common problems with a thermocouple is that it gets dirty. A dirty thermocouple may not measure the heat accurately, which can cause the thermocouple to turn off the gas; in turn, the pilot light will go out. A second problem common to thermocouples is corrosion. The metal strips used in a thermocouple are quite thin, and with regular usage, they can corrode and breakdown. The average lifespan for a thermocouple is about 2 years, so if you experience issues with your pilot light, one of the first things your technician will inspect is the thermocouple.

Safety devices are installed on your heating system in Lemoore for a reason, so it’s important to keep them operating properly. If you experience problems with your standing pilot light, make a heating service appointment in Lemoore with your Shaw’s Air Conditioning technician today.

What Is a High-efficiency Heating System?

October 24th, 2014

Energy efficiency is always important when it comes to your heating system in Lemoore. One way to achieve better energy efficiency is to use a high-efficiency heating system, also known as a condensing system. The two types of condensing systems available are boilers and furnaces, and Shaw’s Air Conditioning carries both. In addition, our technicians are trained in how to install, repair and maintain high-efficiency heating systems, so if you are considering one, call us today.

How Do High-efficiency Systems Work?

In non-condensing furnaces and boilers, there is one heat exchanger that heats the air or water, depending on the system. During the heating process, noxious gases are created inside the heat exchanger, which are vented out the flue. This exhaust contains heat energy, which is lost in a non-condensing system. In a condensing furnace or boiler, the exhaust is funneled to a second heat exchanger that extracts the heat energy from the vapor that is created during the heating process, capturing this extra heat; this heat is then used in your system, minus the harmful gases. By condensing the exhaust vapor, your high-efficiency heater captures extra energy that can be used to heat your home.

What Are the Benefits of a High-efficiency System?

Here are some of the benefits of a high-efficiency heating system:

  • Better energy efficiency – whether you have a boiler or furnace, or use oil or gas, the AFUE for high-efficiency heaters is 90% and above, with some rating as high as 98%.
  • Increased comfort – the efficiency and heating ability of a condensing boiler or heater is higher than non-condensing units, which helps increase your comfort.
  • Saves space – condensing heaters are compact, particularly condensing boilers, because they do not need a water vessel as they are connected directly to your water source.
  • Smaller carbon footprint – condensing units can use up to 40% less fuel than non-condensing heaters, which can reduce your carbon footprint.

If you are in need of a new heating system in Lemoore, and high-efficiency is one of your priorities, a high-efficiency furnace or boiler may be just what you need. Call Shaw’s Air Conditioning today and schedule your heating service in Lemoore with one of our installation experts.

Signs Your Heater Needs Service

October 17th, 2014

Without expert knowledge, it’s difficult to tell if your heater requires repairs or is simply developing some harmless quirks. There are some signs, however, that indicate an immediate need for professional service. Below are some of those signs.

Uneven Heating

Cold spots, temperature swings, and other signs of uneven heating could indicate a need for professional heating repair. Before you make that call, however, check the vents in the room where you are experiencing uneven heating. If the vents are clear and unobstructed, make sure that warm air is flowing through them. If it isn’t, you may have a blockage in your ducts. You should call a professional to take a look at that point.

Short-Cycling

Short-cycling occurs when your heater keeps rapidly turning on and off throughout the day. There are a number of possible causes for this, but the most common is an oversized heating unit. When an oversized heating unit starts, the excessive heat output causes the system to think that the unit is overheating. Safety measures trigger as a result, shutting down the heater to prevent a fire. The unit then restarts because the thermostat is still set to “heat,” and the cycle continues indefinitely. There are other things, like a dirty air filter, that can also cause short-cycling. You’ll need an HVAC technician to diagnose the root of the problem, however.

Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit

In gas powered systems, the pilot light is the small flame that lights the burner for the furnace or boiler. Without this pilot light, your heater will be unable to turn on. Pilot lights going out is a fairly common occurrence, and not a major concern. When the pilot light refuses to stay lit, however, it is a sign of a more serious issue. A bad thermocouple is often to blame for this kind of problem. This sensor is what is responsible for controlling the gas flow to the pilot light. When it is malfunctioning, the thermocouple can shut off the gas flow to the pilot light, suffocating it.

If you are having issues with your heater, call Shaw’s Air Conditioning. Our HVAC technicians provide heating service throughout the Lemoore area.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Furnace

October 10th, 2014

Fall is a great time to assess the efficacy of your furnace, particularly if you are getting close to needing a replacement. However, you may have already noticed some signs that your furnace’s days are numbered. To help you decipher some of the signals a furnace can display when it’s giving out, our Shaw’s Air Conditioning technicians have compiled a list of signs and factors that may indicate it’s time for replacement. Shaw’s Air Conditioning offers heater installation as part of its heater service in Lemoore, so call us today.

Signs It May Be Time to Replace

Here are some common signs that it may be time to replace your furnace:

  • Decreased comfort – an aging system may no longer keep up with your heating needs. Typical symptoms of this are cold spots and an inability to reach the set temperature. Pushing your system will not help, and may actually hasten breakdown.
  • Constant repairs – if you needed a lot of repairs last year, and are facing even more this year, you may have to ask yourself if it’s worthwhile to continue repairing your current system or better to invest in a new one.
  • Significant rust/visible corrosion – your furnace shouldn’t have any rust, and if you see significant rust on your heater, you may be looking at corrosion. This can be very dangerous, as cracks and holes can leak harmful fumes, including carbon monoxide.
  • High monthly energy bills – high energy bills are one of the earmarks of an aging system. Many times this is because the system has to work harder to achieve the set temperature. Whenever your furnace has to work harder, it uses more energy.
  • Age – the average lifespan for a well-maintained furnace is 15-20 years. If your furnace has reached this age, or is older, it may time to consider replacing it before age-related problems emerge.

Staying warm and comfortable during the winter requires having a heating system upon which you can rely. Additionally, you have to consider where your money is best spent. If it’s time for you to replace your furnace, work with the professionals who offer expert heater service in Lemoore: Shaw’s Air Conditioning.