Shaw's Air Conditioning & Heating Blog: Archive for February, 2014

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

Thursday, 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.

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Giving the Gift of Warmth

Friday, 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!

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How Do AFUE Ratings Measure Heat Efficiency?

Monday, 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!

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The Original Valentine’s Day Greeting Cards

Friday, 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.

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How Insulation Affects Heating Costs

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

When the time comes to save money on heating, homeowners naturally focus on the heater itself. Here in Fresno, heating repair services often take calls designed to upgrade or otherwise improve a heater’s efficiency, as well as installing newer and more efficient heaters to help homeowners save money on monthly costs. But there’s more to saving money on heating than just the heater. Your home itself plays into the equation, especially the amount of insulation you have in your attic and walls. Here’s how insulation helps heating costs.

Insulation works on the principle of slowing the transfer of heat. It’s made of material that heat passes through very slowly, keeping it in your home for longer than it might otherwise. In olden days, people would use straw or clay bricks as insulation. (There’s a reason why medieval villages used straw to build their rooftops.) Here in the 21st Century, we have much more efficient materials available, such as fiberglass and mineral wool. When placed in your walls, they slow down the escape of all the heat generated by your furnace. The more insulation you have, the better your home can do that.

The principle works just as well in the summer as in the winter, since the insulation keeps the heat outside from filtering into your home, and helps the cool air from your A/C unit stay comfortable. It’s best to look at your house as a bottle, holding in all of your conditioned air. Insulation acts like a blanket wrapped around it, adding that much more protection to the air inside. In light of that, it often makes sense to add new layers of insulation on top of your existing ones, especially in the attic or upper stories where hot air rises.

For more information on how insulation affects heating costs, or to install insulation in our attic or walls, contact the the Fresno heating system experts at Shaw’s Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. We can help you determine how much more insulation is practical for your situation, then perform the installation with courtesy and care. In Fresno, heating repair services like ours are your best friend when it comes to saving money on heating. Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!

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