Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Is Your Home "Energy Ready" for summer?

     Are you ready for hot weather? I don't mean running out a buying a swimming pool or swim wear. This means making sure your air conditioning system is ready to deliver cool air on hot days. Most of the things are easy DIY things that wont cost you and arm and a leg.
     First: Change your filters in your heating/cooling system. You would think this would be a given but I have known folks that have not changed their filters in a couple of years! Change them at least twice a year and if you live in dusty or rural areas change them four times a year. Quick, easy, and cheap.
      Next, change your thermostat over to 'cool' and test the system by turning the temperature down. If the air conditioner does not run, check your breakers. If it still does not come on, call your heating and cooling professional. If your system does turn on, make sure it putting out an adequate amount of cool air. Then, set your thermostat to your desired setting, or program it to perform at your comfort level. Setting it at 73 - 76 degrees in the summer will keep your cooling bills easier to swallow. But bottom line it is all about personal comfort.
     On the subject of thermostats.Now would be a good time to install a programmable thermostat if you do not have one. You can save up to $100 a year using a new programmable set-back thermostat.
     Now, if your air conditioner is 15 years old or older then you might think about replacing it with a higher efficiency model to save money and insure a trouble free summer for many years. The older our air conditioners get, they lose efficiency and even if you bought a high efficient model back in the day, it has lost a good measure of efficiency over time. The key is, DO IT NOW before it gets blazing hot in the summer because your heating and cooling professionals will be very busy when it gets hot. They will want to check your insulation and duct work in your hot attic, look at your windows, and other things to evaluate what system is going to be best for your home.  Also air conditioners never go out in the winter do they? They always go out in July or August here in the Treasure Valley of Idaho.
     Finally, don't be afraid to install ceiling fans in your home, especially if you have vaulted or high ceilings. I know they are not 'sheek' and decorators hate them and feel they don't go with your decor. But lets face it, we don't buy them because they are hip and fashion forward. We buy them because they move air, help conserve energy,  and keep us more comfortable at higher room temperatures.
@comfortguyjerry says all of these things will keep your home 'energy smart' for the summer. For more information check our website at

Monday, March 25, 2013

Take Good Care of Your Air Conditioner

If you have central air conditioning, there are some things you can do to take care of your outside unit, so when it is blazing hot this summer it will take good care of you. Let me tell you, @comfortguyjerry has seen some outdoor A/C units so filthy, and coils so clogged up it was a wonder the motor and compressor had'nt  burned out. So, how can you take good care of your air conditioner? A couple of things I do in the early spring before we start to use it is this. Hook up a garden hose and give the A/C unit a good 'bath'. Flush out the coils both from inside out, and outside in. Over the winter there is a lot of dust, leaves and debris that get trapped in the fins of the coil and a good flushing will dislodge all of that. Let it dry for a couple of days before turning it on. The other thing I do is after I have mowed the yard, I get out my leaf blower to blow the grass off the sidewalk, patio and driveway. I always go by the A/C unit and use the blower on it as well. That keeps the dust from building up. Your unit will run better and more efficiently. Of course the best advice I could give you is to call your heating and cooling professional and have them do a 'tune up' on your unit. Not only will they clean the coil but they will go through the whole unit and check freon levels, pressures reads, electronics, etc to make sure your system is running at max efficiency. Sometimes they can see where there are potential problems that may need to be addressed. Remember: Care for your A/C now, and it will care for you all summer. At Greens Heating and Air we go through a 14 point inspection when we do a tune up. Check our website for more details at

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Going Green with HVAC

Usually when we start talking about going green we think in terms of buying a hybrid car, using recycled paper products, recycling, and the like. Literally there are numerous things we can do to be a little kinder to our planet. After all, we have no other place to live. @comfortguyjerry would like to explain the role of a new heating and cooling system, and how it can impact your life in terms of comfort, but also in terms of taking care of our environment. For instance, you might consider installing a Heat Pump instead of an air conditioner before summer. Their are several advantages to heat pumps, and they work well in most parts of the U.S.A. What is the difference between a air conditioner and a heat pump? First, a heat pump will heat your home, AND cool your home. Second, it will usually heat your home at a lower cost than gas, propane, or electric resistance heat like baseboard or ceiling heat. How can that be? Well, a heat pump uses either ambient air, water, or the ground to move heat and cold to and from the home. It requires less energy to MOVE air then it does to PRODUCE air. Furnaces manufacture or produce warm air from the get go. Heat Pumps, essentially pump or move cold air out of your home and replace it with warm air, using less energy. Now in most cases you will still need a back up heat source in the form of a furnace or air handler. Here is why. First you have to have a blower to deliver the air to the home, and your air to air heat pump will begin to lose efficiency at about 30 degrees above zero. So the thermostat is set so when the outside temperature drops below 30 degrees above zero, it will automatically switch over to your back up heat source, ie, gas, propane, or electric furnace. When you are using a gas furnace and a electric heat pump this is called a hybrid system. Its kind of like a car that runs on electricity and gas. So your heat pump will heat your home 90% of the time and the more expensive back up heat source will only run 10% of the time, therefore saving you money. What does that mean as far as going green? Well, your gas or propane furnace is putting less noxious gases in the atmosphere like carbon monoxide, etc.
     Of course in the summer when you're wanting cooling, the heat pump works just like an air conditioner, and as far as efficiency is concerned they are both rated at anywhere from 13 - 20 on the efficiency scale called a SEER rating. The higher the number, the more miles to the gallon, as it were. So if you want to save on electricity use as well, then you are smart to select the highest SEER rated heat pump you can afford. For more information on heat pumps visit our website at

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Think 'Ductless' Heat Pump for Problem Homes

Here in the Treasure Valley of Idaho many home owners complain of rooms in their house that are too hot,  too cold, too often. Think about it. If you have a a two story home I can almost guarantee that you complain about that bonus/family room upstairs being too hot in the summer. Many have bedrooms upstairs, or master bedroom at the far side of the house and always seems cold in the winter. Or maybe you have put on a room addition, sun room, or decided to have a shop or craft room put in the garage and now you need it to be comfortable. What is the solution? @comfortguyjerry would highly recommend a ductless heat pump. They are a perfect solution. What is ductless? It is just that. No built in duct work like your present furnace and A/C use. Instead you have an outdoor compressor about the size of a large suitcase. From there they run all the copper lines, electrical, etc up the wall in a covered channel and drill a three inch hole in your wall for the lines to through to the indoor wall unit, which is the evaporative coil/fan. The wall unit usually is mounted up close to the ceiling. The fan runs at whisper quiet, and special technology uses electronic sensors to locate hot and cold areas of the room and adjust the variable speed compressor to make sure of even comfort. No blast of cold air like from a widow air condition and not hot radiant heat that you can't get to close to or you will roast.
The benefits are numerous! No duct work, real comfort.  Highly, highly efficient, and super quiet. Clean air to breath through a series of air filtration systems that give you clean air continuously. They provide both heat and cooling in one unit. There are several brands out there but @comfortguyjerry recommends Mitsubishi Ductless Heat Pumps for quality and durability.
Ductless units are being used in over 80% of homes in Japan, China and Europe already, and have been used for decades. For more information check these websites: or

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

There Is A Difference!

Investing in a new Air Conditioner or complete heating and cooling system might compare to getting professional advice from your doctor when you have a major medical issue. GET A SECOND OPINION. Lets face it folks, heating and cooling systems are not getting any cheaper. And even if a company is trying to get you to buy 'right now' or because they bought a 'truck load' or 'business is slow', etc, it is smart to shop around and get other proposals that will compare apples to apples. @comfortguyjerry is here to tell you; there IS a difference between brands. Just check the Consumer Reports article in the May 2012 issue. That issue shows which brands of central air conditioners and central heat pumps that have the least repairs. Trane brand is one of the top three with the least repairs. So do your homework before you buy. Check out ratings and number of complaints for heating and cooling companies on the Better Business Bureau website. Don't get caught up with someone offering a 'free' furnace if you buy and air conditioner. We are smarter than that. There are no free rides. If someone was offering you a new Cadillac for half price, what would be the first thing you would say? You would say 'whats wrong with it?' Someone offering you a free furnace if you buy and air conditioner? Whats wrong with it?
There is also a strong correlation between number of repairs and the installation. I'm saying, even you buy quality equipment but have it incorrectly or poorly installed, your not going to get the efficiency you paid for and may have more repairs down the road. Personally I would rather justify the price than apologize later for the poor quality. Tweet me @comfortguyjerry. Like us on Facebook at Greens Heating and Air Conditioning or check our website

Monday, March 4, 2013

Do More than Air Condition Your Home

The weather will soon begin to warm up in southwest Idaho and so we start thinking of how to stay cool. Comfortguyjerry says that air conditioning is NOT the only answer. There are several other factors to consider and things we can do to stay cool AND stay energy efficient.
Feeling comfortable in hot weather  requires two things to happen together. Obviously the first consideration is the temperature. The one we often don't think about is relative humidity or RH for short. The RH and the temperature have to both be low enough to keep you from sweating. Here in the Treasure Valley we live in what is called high desert and the humidity is fairly low all the time. The lower the RH the hotter it can be and we still feel pretty comfortable. Living here it can he 80 outside and we can handle it but if you live in Florida or North Carolina in it's 80 with humidity at 70% we are sweltering! So ideally we want to keep our humidity in our home at about 40-50% to be comfortable. In some areas people have to install dehumidifier's to deal with excessive humidity. We rarely if ever do that in Idaho. Traditional air conditioning units are good at removing excess humidity from the air. However there are other things we can do to help stay cool with out lowering out thermostats more and more.
FIRST: Dress for the weather. If its hot inside your home wear light weight clothing when at home and you may be able to adjust the thermostat up a few degrees and still be comfortable.
SECOND: Turn on a fan. Air circulating on your skin will make you feel cooler. So think about ceiling fans or circulating fans that can move the air toward you. If you are not having it blow on your skin then it is not going to do much good, so shut if off when your not in the room. Make sure your ceiling fan blades are turning clockwise in the summer and counter-clockwise in the winter for them to be the most efficient.
THIRD: Open the windows and doors when it 's cool at night or in the morning. Then before it gets too hot, close them all up, usually around mid-day or early afternoon. Use the air conditioner until it cools down enough that you could open doors and windows again. You will stay comfortable and also save energy. The trick to this is don't let it get too hot in the house before you turn on the air conditioner. It will take more time and energy to cool down the house to the desired temperature.
FOURTH: Sun shining on widows produces a lot of passive solar heat, heat, heat. Close the blinds and drapes on the south, west, and east of your house. You might even consider installing outside awnings or sun shades if you receive a lot of intense heat. Sun rooms are just that. Sun Rooms. They can turn into a real sauna and literally warm up the rest of the rooms adjacent to them and then your A/C will work overtime to trying to keep up with the demand at the thermostat. For more information follow us twitter @comfortguyjerry or like us on Facebook page at Greens Heating and Air Conditioning. Consult are website at Stay cool my friends.