Design Comfort Blog

Why Should I Consider Installing an Energy Recovery Ventilator?

July 23rd, 2014

Energy efficiency is important for your air conditioning, home, family and finances in Salt Lake City. There are a number of things homeowners can do to be more energy efficient, and one way to really achieve energy efficiency is with an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) from Design Comfort.

What is an Energy Recovery Ventilator?

An energy recovery ventilator is a ventilation system that exchanges your indoor air with the outdoor air while using the energy from the outgoing air to pre-cool (or pre-heat) the incoming air. The component responsible for this exchange is the heat exchanger, which is the core of the ERV. Within the heat exchanger, the stale air from your indoors is sent outdoors while the energy of it is used to pre-treat the incoming fresh air.

For instance, during the summer, as your stale, conditioned indoor air is expelled, the heat exchanger inside the ERV removes heat from the fresh, hot air that’s coming in. This action cools the incoming air and reduces the amount of energy needed to cool it to a comfortable level inside. In winter, the opposite happens.

Benefits of an Energy Recovery Ventilator

  • Energy savings – the ability of the ERV to pre-treat the incoming air using existing energy from your indoor air decreases your air conditioner’s need to cool the air entirely on its own.
  • Decrease in humidity – ERVs transfer moisture with the air they remove. This helps maintain a comfortable relative humidity level in your home, which reduces the stress on your air conditioner.
  • Better air quality – ERVs provide a steady stream of fresh air into your living space, increasing indoor air quality and removing pollutants as the air exchanges.

Make the Most of Your Indoor Air with an Energy Recovery Ventilator

An energy recovery ventilator added to your air conditioning system in Salt Lake City can save you money and increase the quality of your indoor air, all at the same time. Since 1982, Design Comfort has helped many customers with their air conditioning needs. Call us today and see how an energy recovery ventilator can help you.

3 Common Repairs for Salt Lake City Air Conditioning

July 18th, 2014

During the summer, it’s common for homeowners to need repairs on their air conditioning systems. Your AC works hard all summer long, so it’s not surprising if something in your system becomes worn or needs repair sooner than expected. The air conditioning experts at Design Comfort have put together this list of three of the most common air conditioning repairs in Salt Lake City.

Refrigerant Leaks

Your air conditioner needs a constant level of refrigerant in order to run properly. The refrigerant in your AC absorbs the heat from inside of your home and releases it outdoors. The refrigerant itself will never dissipate, so any loss of refrigerant is usually due to a leak somewhere in your system. Signs that you may have a refrigerant leak include a loss of cooling power and a hissing sound. Only AC technicians are qualified to handle refrigerant and repair leaks.

Failing Compressor

The compressor is a vital part of your AC system. As refrigerant reaches the compressor, it is a low-pressure gas. The compressor changes it into a high-pressure gas so that it can give off heat at the condenser coil and make its way through the rest of the system. There are many things that may go wrong with your compressor. There may be a loose electrical connection causing the compressor to malfunction. But if your air conditioning is hard starting, struggling to turn on and off, you may have a serious repair issue.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

Another common repair need for air conditioning systems is a frozen evaporator coil. As a fan blows warm air over the evaporator coil, refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas and absorbs the heat. If your home is not receiving cool air, it may be because the evaporator coil has frozen and heat exchange is ineffective. The coil often freezes because of a dirty air filter, so make sure you change your air filter about once a month. However, you should still call a technician to see if a frozen coil has led to damage in other parts of your system.

For more information or to schedule repairs for your air conditioning system in Salt Lake City, talk to the experts at Design Comfort today!

Improvements You Can Make to Your Air Conditioner

July 8th, 2014

Your air conditioning thermostat puts the cooling power in your hands, letting you adjust the temperature to whatever will be most comfortable and keep your energy bills manageable. You may not be aware, however, that there are even more ways to control the temperature in your home to make your family happy and your savings high.

Digital, Programmable Thermostats

A manual thermostat with dials and sliders may not be the best way to ensure the temperature in your home is what you’d like it to be. These models can be difficult to read and it may be difficult to gauge whether the temperature you’ve selected is accurate. If you still have a manual thermostat, you might consider a digital thermostat with a clear display for increased accuracy.

Many digital thermostats are programmable. You can set your AC to turn on and off when you will be home so you don’t have to worry about leaving it on all day. Similarly, you can set the temperature higher or lower at certain times of the day to save energy. One of the newest upgrades available for air conditioning systems today is a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats can be controlled remotely from a computer or mobile device with internet access, and can also learn users’ preferences to predict usage patterns.

Zone Control

For even greater temperature control, another improvement is zone control, which allows you to vary the temperature in different areas throughout the house. Different family members may want a different temperature setting in the rooms they occupy throughout the day. With zone control, a technician installs dampers in your ducts that open and close via individual thermostats installed in each room or zone or with a master thermostat that controls each zone.

Zone control can help to reduce your energy bill every month as well. You can save energy, for example, by turning off the air upstairs when all of your family members are seated in the downstairs living room.

At Design Comfort, we install zone control systems and offer digital and programmable thermostats, including smart thermostats. If you want improved performance and efficiency for your air conditioning system in Salt Lake City this summer, call now!

Leading the Way with Independence Days!

July 3rd, 2014

The term “Fourth of July” is the popular name for the U.S. federal holiday officially known as Independence Day. It isn’t surprising that we would come up with a different name from the official one, since “Independence Day” is one of the most common holiday names across the globe. Most of the nations in existence today won their independence from another power, whether through wars, treaties, or long transitions.

What might surprise many people is how old U.S. Independence Day actually is compared to the similar holidays of other nations. Although the U.S. is still considered a young nation, it was one of the first to make a full break for its colonial master with a new constitution. Most countries that celebrate a national Independence Day are commemorating events that occurred in the second half of the 20th century, when many older empires at last relinquished control over their colonies.

How substantial is the difference in time for the U.S.A. and the rest of the world? U.S. Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776, making our country unusual in that almost no existing nations celebrate an independence event from the eighteenth century.

In terms of age, there is only a tiny handful current countries that celebrate an independence day that occurred earlier than the United States. Switzerland celebrates its independence from the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans in 1291 with “Swiss National Day,” held every August 1—although this only gained status as a national holiday in 1994. Sweden Celebrates “National Day of Sweden” to commemorate events in 1523 and the election of King Gustav I during the War of Liberation against Christian II of Denmark and Norway. Romania comes almost a hundred years after U.S. Independence, with its 1877 freedom from Turkish rule.

The most recent Independence Days to come into existence are for Montenegro, which gained independence from Serbia in 2006 and celebrates the day on May 21, and South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and celebrates the day only a day after the U.S., on July 5.

Does anyone else celebrate a literal “Fourth of July,” an Independence Day that also falls on the fourth day of the seventh month? Yes: Abkhazia, a small Central Asian country that declared its independence from the Republic of Georgia in 1999 (although not all countries recognize it). Coming a day (like South Sudan) on July 5 is the independence of the small Atlantic island nation of Cape Verde, which became free from Portugal through signed agreement in 1975.

Everyone at Design Comfort hopes you and your family enjoy a vibrant Independence Day/Fourth of July this year!

How Does Zone Control Work for Centralized Air Conditioners?

June 26th, 2014

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to set different temperatures throughout your home to achieve the best comfort level? Or thought how great it would be to turn the AC off in rooms or parts of your home that don’t get used very much? Zone control systems can do these things and more for your air conditioning in Salt Lake City.

What Is a Zone Control System?

A zone control system is a system of motorized dampers placed into the air ducts of your property. Each damper is connected to a thermostat, which establishes the “zones” for your cooling. With these individual thermostats, you can control the cooling of each zone independently of one another instead of having your entire home controlled by a single-set thermostat.

What Are the Benefits of a Zone Control System?

There are several benefits to adding a zone control system to your air conditioner:

  • Increased efficiency – a zone control system allows you to cool only the spaces that need it; for spaces that are unoccupied, you can turn off the AC to that room entirely. This can help you save energy and money.
  • Better comfort – does the single-set thermostat in your home leave some people cold and others warm? With a zone control system, individual rooms can be set to the exact temperature you want without affecting the rest of your home. This helps increase comfort levels and eliminates uneven hot and cold spots that can be created by single-set thermostats.
  • Great for variable architecture – if you have vaulted ceilings or a wall of windows, your cooling load for that particular space is probably different from the rest of your home, possibly making it challenging to keep it the same temperature as the rest of your property. With a zone control system, this type of challenge is no longer a problem, as the space can be cooled separately from the rest of your property.

Is a Zone Control System Right for You?

There are great benefits to installing a zone control system to your air conditioning system, but the best way to assess if a zone control system will work for your air conditioner is to consult with a Design Comfort expert, so give us a call today and schedule air conditioning service in Salt Lake City!

Air Conditioning Problems Caused by Low Refrigerant

June 19th, 2014

Refrigerant is the chemical in your air conditioning system that makes it possible to cool the indoor air. Refrigerant can do this because it can easily turn from a liquid to a gas and back again, all within the closed system of your air conditioner. The interesting thing is that the refrigerant in your air conditioner doesn’t deplete; it was designed to stay at a set amount for the life of the air conditioner. As such, the only ways refrigerant can run low in an air conditioning system are: a) the amount of refrigerant put into the system during installation was incorrect or; b) there is a leak. In either case, your air conditioning system needs the help of a trained professional, so call the ones to trust: Design Comfort.

AC Problems Caused by Refrigerant Leaks

Several problems can arise from a low refrigerant level and all can cause operational issues with your air conditioning system. Therefore, it is always advisable to repair a refrigerant leak as soon as possible. Here are some of the more common problems our experts at Design Comfort have encountered when dealing with low refrigerant:

  • Warm air – when your system is low on refrigerant, there isn’t enough of the chemical in the system to correctly execute the heat release and cooling process necessary for cooling the air. The result can be warm air blowing into your property.
  • Icing – low refrigerant causes an imbalance in the system. When your system forms ice, the parts that are supposed to be hot are too hot and not cooling off properly; conversely, the cool parts are too cold because they aren’t warming up as they should. These two very disparate air temperatures meet in the air conditioner and create condensation – but because the cool parts are too cold, the condensation quickly turns from water to ice.
  • Air conditioner won’t start – some systems have a built-in safety switch that turns on when the refrigerant goes too low. If your air conditioner is equipped with this kind of safety switch, don’t try and force your AC to turn on; call a technician to inspect your system.

Call an Expert for Refrigerant Repairs

Finding a refrigerant leak isn’t easy, and handling refrigerant requires training. The bottom line: fixing a refrigerant leak isn’t a DIY kind of job. If you are seeing signs your air conditioner may be low on refrigerant, call Design Comfort today and schedule an appointment for your air conditioning repair service in Salt Lake City.

Should I Replace My Thermostat When Upgrading My Air Conditioner?

June 16th, 2014

When you have new installation for air conditioning in Bountiful, UT, you don’t necessarily have to change your current thermostat. The installers can connect the new AC system to the older control panel, and you can continue to control your cooling system the way you always have. But if your thermostat is the same age as the air conditioner that you’re replacing, then it is a smart idea to replace the thermostat during new installation with an upgraded model.

Our Design Comfort air conditioning installation team knows as much about thermostats as they do about fitting a new AC into your home. If you want to an up-to-date thermostat as part of the new air conditioning installation job, you can arrange they job with us.

Why a Thermostat Upgrade Is a Wise Choice with AC Installation

The advances in thermostat technology have mirrored those in HVAC technology. If your old thermostat is a manual model with sliders and dials, then you should definitely upgrade to a digital model. A digital thermostat can reach more precise temperature settings, and this will mean an improvement in comfort and energy savings. Digital models also have easy to read displays that will make it simpler for you to set and understand the temperature.

But there are even superior upgrades than going digital. Programmable thermostats allow you to control when the AC turns on and off even when you aren’t home. This is about more than convenience: a programmable thermostat will save power because you won’t need to keep an air conditioner running all day just so you can come home to a cool house. Instead, you can keep the AC turned off and saving power until the thermostat activates it a half hour before you come home.

The newest innovation in thermostats is the “smart” thermostat. These units permit homeowners to control them wirelessly from mobile devices or computers anywhere they have an Internet or satellite connection. Smart thermostats also learn a homeowner’s air conditioning comfort control patterns, and develop their own pattern to provide a house with cooling that best matches the owner’s needs while also saving energy.

Choosing the New Thermostat

In general, replacing a thermostat as part of AC installation is an excellent idea. You can upgrade to better technology, and you will have a system that is specially fit to your new air conditioner. To decide which new thermostat you should have installed, call professionals who can provide a range of options for thermostat replacement.

Our technicians at Design Comfort handle thermostat installation, repair, and maintenance services. Call us for installing air conditioning systems in Bountiful, UT and also for installation of a new top-of-the-line thermostat.

3 Advantages of a New Air Conditioning System

June 5th, 2014

Many people have a difficult time deciding whether or not to replace an aging air conditioning system, particularly if it’s still working. It’s an understandable conundrum: replacing an air conditioner is a big decision that affects your household long-term. One of the best ways to help determine whether or not your air conditioning system needs replacement is to see what kinds of advantages you stand to see with a new air conditioning system.

Here Are 3 Advantages Our Technicians Have Seen Our Customers Gain as a Result of Replacing Their Air Conditioners:

  • Greater comfort – aging air conditioners struggle to reach your desired comfort level. At some point, they may not reach it at all, or you may experience varying temperature spots around your home. A new air conditioner, on the other hand, will be able to fully handle the cooling load of your property, keeping you and your family comfortable during the hot summer months.
  • Less repair work – have you had to do a lot of repair work to your current AC? Air conditioning repair bills can add up quickly, and at some point, you can spend as much on repairs as you would have to replace your system. With a new air conditioner, repair work becomes minimal, and with regular bi-annual maintenance, you can help prevent large repairs from occurring.
  • Greater energy efficiency – today’s air conditioners are up to 60% more efficient than ones from just 10 years ago. Not only are today’s air conditioners more technologically advanced, they need to have a minimum SEER number of 13; 8 years ago, that number was 10. In addition, today’s air conditioners can have upgrades like programmable thermostats, zone control systems and dehumidifiers, all of which help make your overall air conditioning system more effective and efficient.

Thinking About an AC Replacement? Call a Professional for Help

Choosing a new air conditioner for your property requires calculation and decision-making that is best accomplished with the help of a trained professional. Many factors go into determining how much cooling your home needs to feel comfortable; in addition, there are several types of whole-home air conditioners from which to choose. To ensure you purchase an air conditioning replacement in Draper that best fits your home, call Design Comfort today and schedule a consultation with one of our trained experts.

How Do Air Conditioners Get the ENERGY STAR Sticker?

June 5th, 2014

This is a question that air conditioning repair and installation specialists often hear: “What is that sticker with ENERGY STAR on it mean?”

No, it’s not a brand name, nor is it similar to the stickers you often see on computers that indicate a type of proprietary technology or component inside. (In fact, it can mean just the opposite, as we’ll get into below.) What the ENERGY STAR label indicates is that the particular air conditioning system has met the requirements of a voluntary government program that oversees energy-efficient performance and pollution control among appliances for both homes and businesses.

At Design Comfort, we encourage our customers to look into ENERGY STAR-approved products when they are starting out with air conditioning installation in Salt Lake City, UT. This way, they can receive savings as well as quality cooling power. However, it’s still important to rely on the assistance of professionals when selecting a system—and our staff will always be here and ready to help you.

How ACs qualify for the ENERGY STAR label

The ENERGY STAR program started in 1992 when the U.S. EPA initiated a voluntary set of guidelines to help homes and businesses reduce energy use and the emission of greenhouse gases without sacrificing productivity or comfort. Each type of appliance has its own set of requirements that an individual model must meet in order to receive the approval sticker from the program.

For central air conditioners to receive ENERGY STAR certification, they must have a minimum SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) of 14.5 and an EER (energy efficiency rating) of 12. In addition to this, the technology required to achieve the high efficiency must be non-proprietary and available to all manufacturers. (The idea is that saving energy must belong to everyone, not just a few companies.) The units must also have basic features that the program has determined consumers want.

The ENERGY STAR requirements are a good baseline for homeowners who are shopping for a new AC to install. With the ENERGY STAR label, you can feel assured that the system will save you money over one that lacks certification, and that you are doing your part to better the environment.

However, energy efficiency isn’t your only concern when it comes to air conditioning installation in Salt Lake City, UT. You will need the work of trained installers to make sure you have the proper sized unit to provide you with sufficient cooling, and to see that it is installed correctly. Call up Design Comfort when you are getting ready for a new AC for your home. We will guide you to the right ENERGY STAR system for you, so you will have savings and comfort for many years to come.

3 Causes of Low Air Flow in Your AC Unit

May 23rd, 2014

When it comes to comfort from an air conditioning system, it isn’t only cooling power that’s necessary to keep you cool. The air conditioner must be able to blow out enough of that conditioned air through your vents to provide an even spread of lower temperatures through your home. If you notice that the flow of air from the vents has dropped, something is wrong and you should contact specialists to look into it.

When you need repairs for your air conditioning in Millcreek, UT, pick up the phone and call Design Comfort right away. You can trust our trained staff with all your home comfort concerns.

3 reasons you might experience low airflow

  1. Clogged filter: This is one of the more common troubles that can afflict an air conditioner, and fortunately it is one that you can easily prevent. The filter is designed to catch outside particles that enter the return vents and stop them from entering the AC’s cabinet. If the filter isn’t changed often enough, it will catch enough debris that it will start to cut off the flow into the AC, and that will cut down on the flow out of the AC as well. Along with lowering airflow a clogged air filter will force the system to work harder and could trigger icing across the coils. Change the filter once a month to prevent this from happening; should serious trouble start, call for repairs.
  2. Blower fan malfunction: The blower fan in the air conditioner’s air handler send air from the return vents across the evaporator coil and then into the ventilation system. This is the work horse of airflow, so if the fan malfunctions because of a broken motor or mechanical problem, you’ll need to have trained repairs to restore it and your airflow.
  3. Broken ductwork: The ducts that carry the air from the air handler to the rooms must maintain a tight seal along their length so they will not lose air pressure. It only takes a small hole of gap between sections to lead to a drop in the air pressure that will result in lowered airflow from the vents. Breaks need professional indoor air quality technicians to repair and seal them (no, duct tape isn’t the answer) not only to restore the AC’s airflow, but to protect the ducts from dust and debris contamination.

Call for the right repair technicians

Because a drop in airflow can come from either problems in the air conditioning or the ductwork, make sure that when you call for repairs from technicians with skill in both HVAC work and indoor air quality services.

For the proper work for air quality and air conditioning in Millcreek, UT, look to the comprehensive services of Design Comfort. We are ready 24 hours a day to help you.