Design Comfort Blog

Why is NATE Certification Important with Heating Service?

October 10th, 2014

When you hire an HVAC technician to conduct maintenance or repairs, you want to be sure that you’ve hired a certified professional. Improperly maintained heating systems can cost you thousands of dollars, and even be a threat to your health. With that in mind, it is always a good idea to check your technician’s credentials before scheduling a heating service appointment. That’s where NATE comes in.

What is NATE?

NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence. It is the largest non-profit certification organization for HVAC professionals. In order to become NATE certified, HVAC technicians have to pass a series of tests to demonstrate expert knowledge in their field. These tests are themselves developed by a committee of HVAC professionals, so they accurately represent the challenges that technicians will face in their day-to-day jobs.

Why does it Matter?

NATE certified technicians have been tested by their peers and confirmed to be professionals. When you hire a NATE certified HVAC professional, you know that they are qualified to conduct any kind of repair or maintenance you might need. This is also a sign of commitment. A certified HVAC technician is a consummate professional, willing to put extra time in to prove to you how reliable he or she is. There may be some heating professionals who don’t think NATE certification is worth the effort. Who would you rather hire, though: Someone who seems capable, or someone who is proven to be capable by a third party?

Ultimately, NATE exists not only for the benefit of the customer but that of the entire industry. When a company hires a NATE certified technician, they know that person is qualified for the job. When that technician conducts a service call at your house, you know that the job will be done right the first time.

If you are looking for a company to service your heating system, look no further than Design Comfort. We only employ the most experienced HVAC technicians, all of whom are NATE certified. Our team of professionals conducts heating service throughout Salt Lake City.

When is a Good Time to Schedule Heating Maintenance?

October 3rd, 2014

As we get closer to the winter season, people are getting ready to fire up their heating systems on a daily basis. Before we get there, however, it would be a good idea to talk about heating maintenance. You should get your heating system checked at least once a year.

When is the best time to actually conduct maintenance, though? Read on to find out.

Optimal Maintenance Season

The optimal time to conduct maintenance is during the fall season. There are a number of advantages to this, the first of which being timing. The best time to check and repair any appliance is just before a period of heavy usage. In the case of heating systems, that period of heavy usage is in winter. Therefore, it makes the most sense to check your heating system in fall before you intend to use it daily. This ensures that your heating system is in top condition when you need it most.

The second advantage of fall maintenance is that of convenience. Fall season is the most popular season for heating maintenance. Everyone is getting their heating checked before winter starts, and there are fewer lengthy repair calls. This makes it more likely that you will get timely service. Once you get into the winter months, however, it becomes the repair season. Everyone who hasn’t had their heating system checked and had it break down will cause a spike in demand for HVAC technicians. If you wait until the winter season to conduct maintenance, you’ll have to wait much longer on average to get a service call. You also run the risk of your own heating system breaking down, which you definitely do not want happening in the middle of winter.

So, if you haven’t scheduled your annual heating maintenance for this year yet, call Design Comfort. Our HVAC technicians are experts in diagnosing and fixing any heating problems you may have. We offer heating maintenance in the Salt Lake City area, so call now. We’ll make sure that you spend the winter warm and comfortable.

Don’t Put Off Any Needed Air Conditioning Repairs

September 26th, 2014

Calling a technician for AC repair may seem like a hassle, but it’s sometimes a necessary step in owning an air conditioner. If you want your air conditioner to last for years to come, it’s important that you pay attention to the signs that your AC is not in top shape. Whether you hear strange sounds from your unit or notice your home is not quite as cool as you’d like it to be, it could signify major damages. When you run into any problem with your unit, it’s important to schedule air conditioning repair right away, for the following reasons.

  • Reduce the Chances of a Breakdown: One of the worst feelings on a hot day is coming home to a broken AC. Even if a repair need seems minor now, it can develop into something big, causing your unit to become overworked and, eventually, to break down entirely.
  • Increase the Lifespan of Your Unit: An air conditioner is a big investment, so you want it to last for many years to come. However, problems with your AC could put strain on the most important components, such as the compressor, which may mean your unit needs to be replaced prematurely.
  • Save Money: Sometimes, reduced cooling indicates a problem that is fairly simple for a trained technician to correct, such as a dirty condenser coil. But this seemingly minor issue could cost you more every month on your energy bills. Whenever your unit has to work too hard to compensate for damages, you’ll end up paying a price.

Scheduling repairs at the end of summer may be frustrating, but there are a few steps you can take to ward off trouble. Cleaning or replacing the air filter is a great way to restore some efficiency to your AC and ensure proper airflow to the evaporator unit. But you should also be sure to schedule maintenance once a year. During maintenance, a technician cleans many parts of your AC and may make some adjustments as needed, keeping repairs at bay. The technician will also let you know if your unit has any problematic components that need repair or replacement.

For air conditioning repair service in Salt Lake City, call our team of highly skilled experts at Design Comfort today!

What Are the Benefits of an Energy Recovery Ventilator?

September 19th, 2014

Proper ventilation is important for good indoor air quality. But how do you maintain proper ventilation while your air conditioner is running? A great solution is an energy recovery ventilator, aslo known as an ERV. Not only can you properly ventilate your home with an ERV, you can do so efficiently. An ERV is added to your air conditioning, so the upgrade is easy and seamless, and Design Comfort has the indoor air quality experts you need for professional installation.

What is an ERV?

An ERV is a ventilation system that allows you to exchange your stale indoor air for the fresh outdoor air – but it does more than that. The heat exchanger, which is at the core of the ERV, not only exchanges the two streams of air, it also pre-treats the incoming air with the energy from the outgoing air. During the summer, the incoming warm, humid air is cooled and dehumidified by the outgoing stale, cool indoor air. In winter, the cold, dry, incoming air is warmed and humidified by the outgoing warm, stale air – but the two airstreams never meet, so there is no worry about contamination. The result is fresh, continuous, incoming air that is pre-cooled (or heated), which gives your AC a big reduction in its work load.

What Are the Benefits of an ERV?

There are several benefits to installing an ERV:

  • Better indoor air quality – with a continuous stream of fresh air, you are assured of having healthy, clean air indoors all the time.
  • Better energy efficiency – when your air is pre-cooled (or pre-heated), you air conditioner has less work to do, which can mean less energy usage.
  • Longer lifespan for equipment – less work for your AC also means less wear and tear, which can help extend the lifespan of your system.
  • Improved moisture control – an ERV dehumidifies the fresh air before it can enter your home or system, which helps improve moisture control.

If you’ve been looking to improve both your indoor ventilation and energy efficiency, an ERV may be just what you need. Call Design Comfort today and schedule service for your ERV in Salt Lake City with one of our indoor air quality specialists.

3 Ways You Can Make Your AC More Energy Efficient

September 12th, 2014

You may not need to run your air conditioner for much longer this year here in Salt Lake City, but you can still benefit from a more efficient air conditioning system in the next cooling season. It’s been a particularly hot summer, and parts of your air conditioner become worn down overtime, which may affect the performance of your system, reducing its efficiency. Here are some of the ways you can make your AC more energy efficient for the rest of this year and the next one.

  • Change the Filter: The air filter in your AC is responsible for keeping the air in your home free of pollutants that may trigger allergies or other respiratory problems. But if you don’t change the filters regular, you may be spending too much on cooling costs. Dirty filters prevent the right amount of airflow from reaching your evaporator, lowering the efficiency of your unit.
  • Program the Thermostat: If you don’t take advantage of the features of your programmable thermostat, you may be missing out on an opportunity to save money while keeping more comfortable. Don’t keep the air conditioner on all day if you won’t be home to use it. Instead, program your unit to come on 30 minutes before you get home, and cool air will be waiting upon arrival. Don’t have a programmable thermostat? Call a technician for digital thermostat installation and you may save even more with a more accurate, programmable model.
  • Schedule Maintenance: Air conditioning maintenance is a service that experts recommend you schedule once or twice a year. During a maintenance visit, a technician cleans various parts of your air conditioner, inspects your systems and makes some necessary adjustments, such as adding lubrication to the motors if needed. When parts of an air conditioner are loose or dirty, other components will have to work harder to keep up, which means your entire system will not run efficiently. It’s a good idea to schedule maintenance twice a year, and a fall maintenance visit is a great time to make sure your unit is efficient in the following cooling season.

Need professional maintenance or a new programmable thermostat? Call Design Comfort to talk to a professional technician about efficient air conditioning service in Salt Lake City.

What Do the Coils in an AC Do?

September 5th, 2014

Each component of your air conditioner plays a role that helps achieve the cooling you need from your AC. Two components we are going to focus on right now are the coils.

There are two sets of coils in your air conditioning system: one set is in the condenser and the other set is in the evaporator. Both sets are needed for the heat release/cooling process, and while they do similar jobs, they do not do the same job. Since 1982, Design Comfort has helped customers with their air conditioning repairs, so if you are experiencing problems with your AC, call us today.

What Are the Coils?

The coils in your system are comprised of narrow, serpentine copper tubing that is protected by thin, metal fins (usually made of aluminum). Each set of coils has a job:

  • Condenser coils – as the hot, high-pressure refrigerant flows into the condenser coils in the outside unit, the heat from the refrigerant is released into the outdoor air with the help of the condenser fan. By the time the refrigerant reaches the end of the condenser coils and starts its journey into the evaporator coils, the refrigerant has cooled and returned to a liquid state.
  • Evaporator coils – the refrigerant in the evaporator coils is a cool gas. In this state, the refrigerant absorbs the heat from the warm air blown over the coils by the indoor blower. As the heat is absorbed by the refrigerant in the coils, the air is chilled and blown into your home through supply ducts.

Common Problems of Coils

There are several common problems technicians see with AC coils:

  • Refrigerant leaks – refrigerant leaks inside coils are common, but their repair can be complex. It’s important that all refrigerant leaks are repaired as soon as possible, as low refrigerant can cause a lot of different problems with your system.
  • Dirty coils – it is common for dirt and dust to cling to your coils, but if a layer develops, it can act as insulation and disrupt the heat release/cooling process of your system.
  • Bent fins – the metal fins surrounding the coils are very easily bent. When too many are bent, air flow can be restricted, which affects your whole system. Bent fins can be fixed by purchasing and using a fin comb that straightens out the bent fins.

The coils in your AC may be smaller than other parts of your system, but if there are problems with either set, you can experience system-wide problems. One of the best ways to ensure your coils are working well is with bi-annual maintenance. If you haven’t scheduled maintenance for your air conditioner, fall is a great time to set up an appointment. Call Design Comfort today and schedule your fall air conditioning maintenance in Salt Lake City – your coils will thank you!

The Very First Labor Day Celebration

August 29th, 2014

Labor Day as a federal holiday, held on the first Monday of September, has been with us now for 120 years. President Grover Cleveland signed the law that made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894. Ever since then, the three-day weekend has provided people in the U.S. with the opportunity for vacations, time with their families, shopping trips, and a general celebration of the conclusion of summer and the beginning of fall.

However, there were twelve years of Labor Day observations in the U.S. before it became an official holiday. The first Labor Day celebration took place in 1882 in New York City on September 5. According to the accounts from the time, it had a rough start and almost didn’t happen.

The main event planned for that first Labor Day was a parade along Broadway that was to start at City Hall. However, the parade ran into a bit of a snag early on. The marchers started to line up for the procession around 9 a.m., with a police escort to make sure the event went peacefully. However, the problem of the day wasn’t rowdy members of the parade—it was that nobody had remembered to bring a band!

With people ready to march, but no music to march to, it started to look like no parade would happen at all, and the first Labor Day would have ended up a failure. But just in time, Matthew Maguire of the Central Labor Union—one of the two men who first proposed the celebration—ran across the City Hall lawn to the Grand Marshal of the parade, William McCabe, to inform him that 200 men from the Jeweler’s Union of Newark were crossing the ferry to Manhattan… and they had a band!

At 10 a.m., only an hour late, the band from Newark walked down Broadway playing a number from a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They passed McCabe and the other 700 marchers, who then fell in line behind them. Soon, the spectators joined in, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people marched through Lower Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

The parade concluded two hours later when the marchers reached Reservoir Park. But the party was only getting started. Until 9 p.m., some 25,000 people celebrated with picnics and speeches and beer kegs. It was an enormous success, and all thanks to the speedy arrival of jewelers carrying band instruments.

If those musicians from Newark hadn’t shown up, perhaps we wouldn’t have the holiday opportunity that we now have every year. However you celebrate your Labor Day, our family at Design Comfort wishes your family a happy end of summer.

Signs You Need Water Heater Repair in Millcreek, UT

August 22nd, 2014

When your water heater stops working, you’ll realize just how many tasks around the house rely on hot water. Whether you need to take a hot shower, throw some clothes in the washing machine, or wash stuck-on food from the dishes, a lack of hot water is a major inconvenience. While an absence of hot water will likely cause you to call for water heater repair, it’s important to catch warning signs right away to avoid failure in the future.

While water heaters are built to last a long time, no unit is perfect and yours will probably need repairs eventually.

Here Are Three Reasons You May Need To Call For Water Heater Repairs

  • Loud Noises: Often, a rumbling sound may indicate a broken dip tube or a problem with the mixing valve, or it may mean that the water is overheating. Another unusual noise is a banging noise that may indicate a mineral buildup. Even if these repairs needs do not seem to have affected the quality of your hot water, it’s important to have them checked right away to avoid leaks.
  • Leaks: Leaks from components of your water heater are usually reparable as long as they have not affected the tank. Otherwise, a leak may require you to replace the entire storage heater. If you notice water around your unit, call a plumber immediately for repairs.
  • Temperature Issues: Another common problem with water heaters has to do with the temperature of your water. As a homeowner, you know what temperatures your hot water is typically able to reach. Similarly, you can recognize whether the water becomes cold sooner than usual. When this begins to happen, it may indicate a repair need. For example, a broken dip tube may mean that water cannot heat up completely at the top of the tank.

Don’t wait for your water heater to break down before calling for help from an experienced plumber. Only a trained contractor can diagnose and repair problems such as these to get your heater back to normal. Call on the experts in water heater repair in Millcreek at Design Comfort.

3 Reasons to Install a Humidifier

August 15th, 2014

Just as there can be too much humidity, there can also be too little, especially in climates that tend to be more arid. You can also have too little indoor humidity when your home is sealed for energy efficiency. In either case, too little humidity can cause damage to property and create health issues. A great way to combat the effects of low humidity is to have the experts at Design Comfort install a whole-home humidifier as part of your air conditioning installation.

Why Add a Humidifier?

Low humidity can have the following effect on you, your home and your property:

  • Health – low humidity can cause nose bleeds, excessively dry skin, aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms and dry out your mucous membranes, which may affect your immunity to germs.
  • Furniture – furnishings made of wood, including chairs, tables, bookcases, etc., can shrink and splinter without the proper amount of humidity in the air.
  • Walls, trim, moldings – trim and moldings can shrink and peel if painted, and wallpaper can peel without enough moisture.
  • Comfort – air that is too dry can feel uncomfortable; by adding some moisture to the air with a whole-home humidifier, you can achieve a better level of comfort.
  • Energy efficiency – adding moisture to the air may allow you to turn your thermostat up a couple of degrees, saving you both energy and money.

How Does a Humidifier Work?

Humidifiers add moisture to the air in the form of water vapor. There are two ways this can be achieved: through steam or through evaporation. A whole-home humidifier becomes a part of your overall air conditioning system; you can even adjust humidity levels at your thermostat. Maintenance of a whole-home humidifier can be scheduled bi-annually with the maintenance of your air conditioning system.

Is Your Home Too Dry?

A home that’s too dry can be as uncomfortable and inefficient as one that’s too moist; it can also affect the health of your family members. If you think your home could benefit from the addition of a whole-home humidifier to your air conditioning system in Sandy, call the professionals you can trust: Design Comfort.

What Does That Noise Mean?

August 8th, 2014

In the summer, trouble with your air conditioning system can be alarming. A sudden breakdown can inconvenience you and cause your family a lot of discomfort. When your air conditioner makes strange noises, you may be unsure as to whether the problem is urgent. But if you’re worried about sudden breakdowns, you should treat any and all noises as troublesome. Call an air conditioning repair service at the first sign of a problem. While a noise may indicate a minor repair need, that same noise may also be a big deal.

Here are what some of the most common noises indicate.

  • Banging: A banging noise may mean that there is a loose component somewhere inside your air conditioner. If you hear banging inside of your home, it could mean that a blower fan blade is loose or damaged. This could interfere with the amount of airflow over the evaporator coil, which may cause it to freeze. If you hear this noise outdoors, it may mean there is damage at the condenser fan, or it could indicate loose screws or other hardware. However, this noise may also indicate a problem with the compressor. Compressor damage should be looked at as soon as possible, so it’s best to call a professional right away.
  • Hissing: A hissing noise often indicates low refrigerant. The refrigerant in your system must stay at a set level in order to properly remove heat from your home. If this level drops, heat exchange may not take place, and you may feel no cool air in your home. Besides limited cooling, the components of your air conditioner may be affected as well. The parts of your AC are meant to hold a specific level of refrigerant and any change could cause them to overwork, damaging your system.
  • Buzzing: A buzzing noise usually indicates an electrical problem. You should never attempt to repair an electrical problem without the help of a qualified technician.

When you need air conditioning repair service in Sandy, it’s easy to find an experienced technician who can diagnose and repair your system. Just call the experts at Design Comfort at the first sign of trouble.