Thursday, June 27, 2013

Air Conditioner Preventive Maintenance - Rx for Longevity

     This morning I had a doctors appointment to see why I have been having shoulder pain, and It got me thinking about the importance of having health problems checked out by a medical professional. A doctor can evaluate the problem, do a diagnosis, and offer different types of treatment to restore our health. Sometimes it's a simple fix, other times it may involve extensive treatment or even surgery.
      Now, the question is; what does this have to do with my air conditioner, or my HVAC system? Well, think about it. We spend a pretty good chunk of money to invest in a heating and cooling system to keep us comfortable year round. We also hope that we can get some longevity out of that system, so we can feel we have made a 'healthy' investment in our home.
     We usually go once a year to get a physical for our own health and longevity, so, why not see the same importance for the longevity, and health of our air conditioner. Here in the Boise, Idaho area we are going to see temperatures reach 106 degrees in just a few days and that is going to make our air conditioners work overtime and put real strain on its 'heart', the compressor.
   During the 'house call', your HVAC 'doctor will do a physical inspection, run some 'tests' as to the health of the electronics, the 'brain', take the 'blood' pressure of the freon, running through the copper 'arteries' of the system. The 'doctor' will also clean out the system. If you are having problems, he will 'diagnose' the problem and write out a 'Rx' to bring your air conditioner back into a state of health. If something has broken or burned out, he most likely will perform 'surgery' to correct the defect so it can 'live' healthy for many years to come.
  This is why we should have a yearly 'physical' done on our A/C to make sure our system is healthy and operating at maximum efficiency. A yearly check up is really the 'Rx 'for making our A/C operate trouble free for many years.
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Save Energy with Proper Insulation

     Almost half of your electric bill goes to heat and cool your home. If you want to save money on your heating and cooling bill, then start by looking at your home insulation.

     Insulation is important to minimize, or eliminate the heat exchange/loss inside your house. Good insulation keeps the interior warm during the winter, and cold during the hot summer. A well insulated house allows your heating and cooling systems to effectively work as needed. The proper amount of insulation can save as much as 10% on your monthly electric bill.
   If your house has air leaks, or if it has insufficient insulation, air will pass through
 and heat exchange will be greater in areas where insulation is inadequate. This will result in heat loss and make your HVAC system run more, and use more energy. Even if your cooling in the summer, and their are leaks or poor insulation, the cool comfortable air will pass right out of the house. Many mobile homes and manufactured homes are perfect examples of this. Because of the style of construction, they have inadequate insulation in the walls and ceilings, so they fail to trap and keep the warm or cool air in the house.
     Make sure you consider factors such as building design, budget, local codes and climate when selecting the R-values of insulation material. Consider parts of your house such as the attic, floors, kitchen bathroom, windows, walls, doors, etc. If you are building a new home, check on some construction materials that provide both structural support and good insulation.
     Some utility companies offer incentives or rebates, to upgrade your insulation.  For more information, contact your local utility company to see what they offer.
     Be sure to read more of my home tips at or go to our website at

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What Matters Most In the Summer

It's good for us to stop for a minute and think seriously about our planet, and our use of it's resources. Slowly, we here in the western world are becoming more and more aware of our energy consumption, the waste we dispose of or recycle, and how we care for our small piece of the planet. Sometimes we think it is just too overwhelming for us to think about protecting the resources we have come to love and appreciate. So my suggestion is to start small, start in our own homes. If each of us would start there, our small differences would eventually make huge differences for our water, our atmosphere, our food, not to mention our health.
     Here in the Boise, Idaho area of the Treasure Valley, Idaho Power Company has outlined some things we can do to in our small corner of the world. Did you know that heating, air conditioning and water heating account for 46.7% of our energy consumption in the summer months? Our home appliances account for 13.6% of our energy consumption. So if we want to rein our summer electric bills, then we need to concentrate on the biggest pieces of the pie first.
     Questions we can ask ourselves:
        Are you using fans to stay cool and cooking outdoors when possible?
        Does your A/C filter need cleaning or replaced?
        Are the coils on your A/C unit dirty or clogged up?
        Can you adjust your Thermostat up or use natural ventilation to cool at night?
        Are you doing full loads of laundry and dishes, line drying your clothes if  
        Any incandescent that could be changed to compact fluorescent lights?
        Could you upgrade appliances or HVAC units to 'energy star' rated products?
        Do you have an extra refrigerator that could be recycled?
        Is your water heater temperature set at 120 degrees farienheit?
Most of the things I have listed from Idaho Power are fairly inexpensive to do or cost us nothing. It's just something we need to think about more often. You would think the power company would be interested in selling you MORE energy but in reality there is only so much energy to go around and so they are very much interested in our saving energy and I am sure all power companies are as well. I hope this blog causes all of us to think a bit more about our planet and to let you know that @comfortguyjerry is interested in more than just 'comfort'. For more information go to our website at

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Air Conditioners Vrs The Enviroment

     Let's face it. When it comes to air conditioning, most of us are more concerned about how cool we can be during the summer, than we are in it's impact on the environment.
You're probably saying, "impact on the environment?". When it's over 100 degrees outside, we could care less about the environment. And besides, what impact? It's only electricity after all.
     Well, many energy conservationist say that air conditioners result in up to 80% percent of co2 emissions released by power plants who produce the electricity to run the millions of air conditioners in residential and commercial applications.
During the hot summer months here Boise, Idaho our air conditioners are running full blast for a good portion of the day. That means a high consumption of energy during the summer. One of the easiest ways to lower that consumption is to use a programmable thermostat so you can control when it is running, and what temperature you want to maintain when your home and away.
     The next thing, is to consider is changing out your old air conditioner to a super high efficient model. Newer units require less energy to run, and some units offer two stage cooling that requires less energy. Most homes only  need 100% of cooling capacity for about 20% of the time. If you have a unit that is 15 years old, it may have started out as a 10 SEER rated A/C but they lose efficiency over time and so now it would be doing good to be rated at 7-8 SEER. Just moving up from 8 to 14 SEER your annual savings on your energy bill could be as much as 40%. That can help offset the initial cost of purchasing a higher efficient model. The newer units also use R10A refrigerant that has less impact on the ozone layer then the old R22 freon.
     Little things we can do are, keeping blinds and drapes closed during the hot part of the day. Using draperies that are lined with a heavy material to block out the suns heat. Installing ceiling fans to keep air circulating. Setting our thermostats a couple of degrees warmer or planting shade trees around our house, especially on the west side that gets the afternoon sun.
     For more energy saving ideas, read my other blogs at or go to our website at