Design Comfort Blog

Will Thanksgiving Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

November 26th, 2014

We’ve all heard it before: you feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal because of the main event: the turkey. For years, people have credited extraordinary levels of tryptophan in turkey as the reason we all feel the need to nap after the annual feast. But contrary to this popular mythology, tryptophan is probably not he largest responsible party for your post-meal exhaustion.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means it’s something that our bodies need but do not produce naturally. Your body uses tryptophan to help make vitamin B3 and serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that sends chemicals to the brain to aid in sleep. But in order to get this essential amino acid, we have to eat foods that contain it.

Turkey has somewhat high levels of tryptophan, but so do many other foods, including eggs, peanuts, chocolate, nuts, bananas, and most other meats and dairy products. In fact, ounce-for-ounce cheddar cheese contains a greater amount of tryptophan than turkey. In order for tryptophan to make you feel sleepy, you would have to consume it in excessive amounts, and serotonin is usually only produced by tryptophan on an empty stomach.

The truth is, overeating is largely responsible for the “food coma” many people describe post-Thanksgiving. It takes a lot of energy for your body to process a large meal, and the average Thanksgiving plate contains about twice as many calories as is recommended for daily consumption. If anything, high levels of fat in the turkey cause sleepiness, as they require a lot of energy for your body to digest. Lots of carbohydrates, alcohol, and probably a bit of stress may also be some of the reasons it feels so satisfying to lay down on the couch after the meal and finally get a little bit of shut-eye.

If you feel the need to indulge in a heaping dose of tryptophan this year, go ahead! Turkey also contains healthy proteins and may even provide a boost for your immune system. Here at Design Comfort, we hope your Thanksgiving is full of joy and contentment this year. Happy feasting!

The Benefits of an Energy Recovery Ventilator

November 7th, 2014

Energy efficiency is always important when it comes to heating our homes, but sometimes we can make our homes so air-tight that poor ventilation becomes a problem. How can you achieve energy efficiency while keeping your home well-ventilated? Consider the installation of an energy recovery ventilator (ERV). Upgrading your HVAC system with an ERV can help with both heating and cooling, as we’ll explain below. But to truly gain the benefit of an ERV, it’s important to hire professionals who can properly install the device into your system. Since 1982, Design Comfort has helped install every kind of upgrade available for heating systems in Salt Lake City, so call us today!

How Does an ERV Work?

An energy recovery ventilator works by transferring the heat energy and moisture from your stale indoor air to drawn-in fresh air. During the winter, the ERV vents your stale, warm air to the outside; at the same time, a small fan draws in fresh, cool air from outside. As the warm air is expelled from your home, the ERV removes the moisture and heat energy from this air and pre-treats the incoming cool fresh air with it. In the summer, the opposite happens: the cool, stale air is exhausted to the outside, but the dehumidified, exiting air pre-treats the incoming moist, warm air. The result is fresh, pre-treated, clean air entering the air flow of your HVAC system for dispersal throughout your home.

The Benefits of an ERV

Why install an ERV? Here are a few reasons to consider:

  • Increase in energy efficiency – pre-treating the incoming fresh air helps reduce the amount of work your HVAC system has to do, which helps reduce your system’s overall energy usage.
  • Balanced humidity levels – during the summer, the ERV helps remove excessive moisture from the incoming air; during the winter, the ERV adds needed moisture to the dry cool air, helping to balance the humidity levels in your home.
  • Improved indoor air quality – the steady stream of air the ERV brings in can significantly improve your indoor air quality.

Make your heating and cooling work for you: consider the installation of an energy recovery ventilator. The technicians at Design Comfort are ready to help, so call us today!

What Are the Main Components of a Boiler?

October 24th, 2014

Boilers have been around for over a century, and while today’s boilers are very energy efficient, many of the main components that make up the system are still the same. Having a basic understanding of the components of your system can go a long way toward helping with the maintenance and repair of your heating system. To help you better understand your boiler and its components, our Design Comfort technicians have put together a list for your reference.

Main Boiler Components

  • Burner – the burner is the area where the air mixes with your fuel source and combusts.
  • Combustion chamber/firebox – this is the chamber where the combustion from the burner heats the heat exchanger; this chamber can reach temperatures of several hundred degrees.
  • Heat exchanger – the heat exchanger allows the heat from the combustion chamber to heat the water in the boiler’s tank.
  • Aquastats – these components sense the temperature of the water in your boiler and tell the burner when to start and stop.
  • Expansion tank – the expansion tank is a small tank off the main boiler that helps protect your system from excessive pressure.
  • Backflow valve – a backflow valve is a safety device that allows water to flow in a single direction only.
  • Circulator pump – a circulator pump is used with boilers that use hot water to heat; the circulator pump pushes the hot water through your system, allowing it to circulate to the various outlets.
  • Supply lines – supply lines are the pipes that deliver the heated water or steam to the distribution points.
  • Return lines – when the water cools, or the steam cools and changes states back to water, the return lines bring this water back to the boiler for re-heating.

Common Boiler Outlets

There are 3 main outlets for a hydronic heating system:

  • Radiators
  • Baseboard heating
  • Hydronic radiant floor heating

As you can see, there are multiple key components to a boiler, so if you are in need of repair, it’s always best to call for a trained professional. The Salt Lake City heating experts at Design Comfort are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, so if you are experiencing problems with your boiler, call us today!

3 Common Boiler Repairs

October 24th, 2014

Boilers have been around a long time, and they are still a very popular heating option for many homeowners. As with any heating system, regular operation can take a toll, and at some point your heating system will need repair. There are some problems that occur more often than others when it comes to boilers, but for any heating repair, make sure to call the people you can trust: Design Comfort.

3 Common Reasons for Boiler Repair

A boiler can need repair for many reasons, but here are some problems that can occur more than others:

  • Leaks – boilers use water to provide heating to your home. There is water in the holding tank, water in the piping and water in the distribution outlets; at some point, it is very likely that a leak will develop. Common leak locations are circulating pumps, which help move the water through the pipes; valves, which are in a number of places around the system, including radiators; and on the intake pipe, where the water from your water line or well brings water into the boiler’s holding tank.
  • Problems with the pipes – one of the problems that can develop with the pipes of a boiler system is scaling. Scaling occurs when the minerals in the water start to build on the inside of the pipes (this tends to be a bigger problem with areas that have hard water). An acid flush of the system can usually remove the build-up. A second problem can be air lock, which occurs when a pocket of air gets trapped in the system. Air pockets block the circulating warm water, which interrupts the heating.
  • Circulating pump issues – as mentioned above, circulating pumps are necessary to help push the water through the piping. Each pump has a valve and an electrical component, and both components can develop issues that affect the pump’s operation. Circulating pumps can also develop leaks, which can lower the pressure needed in the system.

It can be tempting to ignore problems with your heating system, but problems don’t get better on their own. If you are experiencing heating problems, call Design Comfort today and schedule boiler repairs in Salt Lake City with one of our HVAC experts.

 

Why It’s Important To Use Professionals for Heating Service

October 17th, 2014

When you arrive home from work on an especially chilly night, you expect your furnace or boiler to keep your house cozy and warm. But if you schedule heating service with an unskilled technician, you may come home to a unit that just doesn’t do the trick. Similarly, if you attempt to repair, maintain, or even install a system on your own, you risk damaging your system further or requiring premature heating replacement. This guide details why these heating services should only be completed by a professional.

Heating Maintenance

There are a few steps you can take to maintain your heater, such as changing the furnace filter every month and watching out for any repair needs. But this is not enough; the components of your heating system wear down over time and use a lot more energy to run, raising your heating bills and increasing your risk for repairs. With professional maintenance, a technician cleans and adjusts some components and reports any major problems back to you. Using a professional with a trained eye for maintenance may lower your utilities and prevent problems from occurring later on.

Heating Repairs

Many do-it-yourself guides attempt to teach those without experience about common home repairs. Unfortunately, these guides are not always written by experts. Issues such as loud noises or reduced heating may be symptomatic of a whole host of problems, and a trained technician is the only person who can pinpoint the damage and decide on the most reliable repair method. If you attempt repairs on your own, you may not target the correct component and you risk damaging your system even more.

Heating Installation

Finally, heating installation is a complicated process that always requires the help of a professional. If you choose the incorrect boiler or furnace size for your home, you may not get the heating ability that you need or it could consume a lot of energy. Choosing a professional installer lends peace of mind that you have the heating power you need and a system that won’t fail suddenly.

If you need heating service in Salt Lake City, call on Design Comfort for quality installation, maintenance, or repairs.

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.