Design Comfort Blog

What to Look for with a New Water Heater

April 4th, 2014

Your old water heater now approaches retirement, and you’re on the market for its replacement. But the variety of water heaters available, which includes both storage and tankless systems as well as a variety of different fuel sources, can make choosing one tough. We’ll outline some basic questions to ask yourself about what you’re looking for in a new water heater.

Don’t make the choice alone: contact Design Comfort and speak to our Salt Lake City water heater installation specialists. You’ll receive advice to point you in the right direction, and you’ll also have the installers to finish the job.

Can it handle your demand for hot water?

No two households will require the same volume of hot water. If you have a large family, you’ll need more hot water available, especially during weekday mornings. However, a smaller family can sometimes still put large demands on hot water depending upon its habits. When shopping for a hot water heater, ask the professionals about how much hot water each unit can provide and if it will match your needs; you don’t want to install a system that can’t keep up with your family!

How efficiently does it run with multiple use points turned on at once?

This is a different issue from the volume of hot water you use during a day. Instead, it relates to how many different hot water taps might be on at the same time. It’s important to factor this into your search for hot water because some newer high-efficiency models like tankless water heaters will lose their efficiency if there are numerous simultaneous demands for hot water. In such cases, you may lean toward the traditional storage water heater.

Will the heater work with my budget plans (short- and long-term)?

Storage water heaters cost less to install than tankless models. Tankless water heaters cost less to run than storage models. Which savings works better for you? This is another place where a water heater professional can provide you with invaluable assistance; he or she will help you estimate your long-term costs and compare it to initial installation, and you’ll find out which model will serve you best.

It’s no simple task to find the new water heater that will meet your household’s demands as well as save you money. At least, it’s no easy task on your own. With trained technicians familiar with water heater installation in Salt Lake City, UT working with you, the selection job will present few problems, and you can rest easy that the heater the installers put in your home is the heater that should be in your home.

Design Comfort has made Salt Lake City a more comfortable place to live for our customers since 1982. Call us with all your water heater questions.

Things to Repair Now That Heating Season Is Over

March 31st, 2014

Spring will bring with it warm weather, ramping us up for another hot summer season. Your home’s heating system is about to go on a sabbatical (with perhaps a few “guest appearances” on select cool days) and you won’t think about it much until the cold weather returns.

But warm weather is an ideal time to take care of any repairs you may have neglected during the winter. You should never let any heating repair go for any length of time, but it’s difficult to face having your heater down during repairs. So if those malfunctions were still occurring when the winter ended, grab this time during the warmer temperatures of spring and before the busy season of summer to have heating services in Salt Lake City, UT for whatever ails your heater.

Design Comfort has NATE-certified technicians ready to assist you when you need help for your home’s comfort system. Here are some repairs to call them for now that heating season has concluded:

Leaking in a boiler

Those water pools starting around your boiler… that’s bad news. You have leaking occurring either in the connections, the valves, or along the tank itself. Water build-up can also lead to damage. Have technicians seal up leaks and find out what caused them in the first place.

Grinding sounds from a furnace

A furnace that starts making unusual noises needs to have professional attention right away. If your furnace was starting to “growl” at you at the end of winter, it could mean motors on the verge of dying… and they’ll like die the next time your turn the furnace on. Have technicians replace the troubled motors before they become worse.

Inadequate airflow from the vents

If you noticed that airflow from your vents was dropping, then there are a number of repairs might help you. Usually, this means a problem in the air handler that contains the blower motor, and under certain conditions you may need the unit replaced entirely.

Corrosion on a furnace or boiler

Rust or corrosion of any kind is something you never want to encounter on a furnace or a boiler. If this develops too far, it usually means you must replace the whole system with a new installation. Don’t hesitate to have specialists inspect the unit and find out what is happening to cause the corrosion and what must be done to fix it.

Prompt and skilled repairs are an essential part of making sure your heating system lives up to its efficiency rating and its expected service life. Catch up on those repairs now with professional heating services in Salt Lake City, UT from Design Comfort.

Why Are Frozen Pipes So Damaging?

March 28th, 2014

If you live in a region of the world that can experience sub-freezing temperatures, frozen pipes are among the #1 dangers to your plumbing during the winter. Without proper precautions, frozen pipes can end up causing serious damage to your plumbing that will result expensive replacement work.

What is so destructive about frozen pipes? It’s more than just blocking up the water flow: a frozen pipe can easily cause ruptures… and not for the reasons that you might think.

When you need plumbing repairs in Salt Lake City because of burst pipes or any other damage, turn to Design Comfort and our team of professional plumbers for help. We have around the clock emergency service for whenever you need us.

The dangers of frozen pipes

When water freezes, its hydrogen and oxygen molecules settle into a pattern that creates greater volume than in its liquid state. If you’ve ever put a glass of water in the freezer, you’ll see this in action: the glass will crack because of the increased volume of the ice.

However, this isn’t the reason that freezing pipes burst. The metal and plastic construction of modern piping is strong and flexible enough to resist the swell of size when water freezes to ice. The actual cause of bursting pipes is pressure from the unfrozen water that gets trapped between the ice plugs and a closed faucet. And this happens when the pipes begin to thaw. So technically, the thawing of ice inside the pipes is what makes frozen pipes so damaging.

You can help prevent this problem by letting faucets trickle a bit through the night when you know the temperature will be extremely low; the water movement through the pipes helps prevent freezing. However, the most efficient way of stopping pipe-freeze is with proper insulation along your plumbing. Contact an experienced plumber to help you prep your pipes against the cold. You can also summon a plumber to help you carefully thaw your pipes without causing damage to them.

From winter to spring

Winter is ending and spring has arrived, so make sure that you don’t have any frozen pipes that might turn into burst pipes as the warm weather arrives. For the plumbing repair in Salt Lake City, UT that will keep your pipes healthy, contact Design Comfort. We’ve helped residents solve their plumbing issues successfully since 1982.

Design Comfort Wants You to Join our Winning Team!

March 26th, 2014

Design Comfort is looking for honest, hardworking individuals to join our team! Design Comfort is well established HVAC company with an excellent reputation for performance and as a place to work.

Tech Home Visit

Ideal candidates will possess good driving records, excellent communication skills. Candidates should also be self motivated, mechanically inclined, eager to learn and well-groomed. If this describes you and you love to help others, then call Design Comfort to join our team. We have competitive pay and benefits. The work is to perform light duty residential maintenance on air conditioning systems, recognize customers’ needs and discuss solutions Design Comfort can provide to address those needs. All applicants should be able demonstrate competence with all forms of digital modern communication. New hires must provide verification of the right to work in the United States. The company performs background checks on all new hires.

Design Comfort is a company with more than 20 years of history. When you need truly outstanding heating, air conditioning and plumbing services in Salt Lake City, UT, you need to call Design Comfort. Our skilled and highly trained technicians have the expertise and experience required to ensure that your home is as comfortable and convenience as possible. The company cares about its co-workers, and insists that they care about their customers.

Apply Online today!
We look forward to hearing from you.

How AFUE Ratings Affect Your New Heater

March 17th, 2014

If you’ve looked at the cabinet of a furnace or a boiler, you may have noticed something called the “AFUE rating.” This is one of the most important stats to know about the new heating system you decide to install, because it will have an effect on your heating bills for many years to come… as many years as you the heating system lasts. We’ll explain what AFUE means and how it affects your new heating system.

Make sure that you don’t purchase a new heater without help from professionals. Design Comfort installs many types of systems and provides heating repair service in Salt Lake City that will keep any heater humming away.

AFUE rating and what it means for you and your heater

AFUE is a way of rating the efficiency of heating systems like furnaces and boilers. (Heat pumps have a separate dual rating, SEER/HSPF.) The initials stand for “annual fuel utilization efficiency,” and is expressed as a percentage. The percentage represents how much of the heater’s fuel supply it changes into heat. For example, a gas furnace with 78% AFUE produces 78 BTUs of heat for every 100 units of gas available. This means it produces a waste of 22 units of fuel, which goes unburned. The higher the percentage, the more completely the heater consumes fuel and turns it into heat power.

For a gas furnace to earn the EPA’s ENERGY STAR label for efficiency in Utah, it must have 95% AFUE or greater. All furnaces produced in the U.S. must have at least 78% AFUE. For boilers to receive the ENERGY STAR label, they must have 85% AFUE or higher.

A furnace’s AFUE rating isn’t a guarantee of heating effectiveness. You may not get the level of comfort you desire from a high-AFUE furnace or boiler, especially if it was installed poorly or sized incorrectly for your home. However, a high AFUE rating does mean lower energy bills. For example, if you changed from an old 70% AFUE furnace to a new model of 90% AFUE, for every 1000 BTUs you burned, you would save $136. The savings with higher efficiency furnaces and boilers can be substantial.

However, higher AFUE models are usually more expensive. When it comes to picking a new furnace or boiler, you’ll have to weigh upfront costs against long-term budget plans. In most cases, you can expect larger savings from a higher AFUE model. But you should consult with an installation professional to help you make the best choice possible.

Design Comfort has a staff with NATE-certified technicians with many years of experience installing heaters and providing heating repair in Salt Lake City, UT. They can assist you with picking a heater with the AFUE rating that will work for you and keep you warm for many years.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Low Flow Toilet Installation

March 5th, 2014

If you look over your water bill each month and wonder how you can lower it without sacrificing your comfort (you still want to shower each day!), one of your best options is to have a plumber install special low-flow fixtures in your house. At Design Comfort, we often recommend that our customers consider installing a low-flow toilet for their bathroom plumbing. Low-flow toilets cut down on the amount of water used with each flush without significantly lowering performance.

It’s important that you have skilled plumbers perform this installation; otherwise you could end up with a defective, leaky toilet that wastes water instead of saving it. Contact Design Comfort today to talk to our reliable Salt Lake City, UT plumbers about doing an effective installation that will leave you satisfied.

The pros and cons of low flow toilets

Before you decide on installing a low flow-toilet in your home, you’ll need to consider the advantages and disadvantages and also talk to a professional plumber. Here are a few of the benefits and drawbacks of going low-flow in your bathroom:

  • Pros: Standard toilets us approximately 7 gallons per flush, while the regular low-flow toilet model uses 1.6 gallons per flush. (Some models are even more efficient.) This means an automatic reduction in you water bills each month, and over a full year the savings can add up to be tremendous. Conserving water will also benefit the environment.
  • Cons: Like most advanced technology and efficient home fixtures, low-flow toilets cost more to install than standard toilets. They have also been known to have more frequent problems with clogs because they are not as powerful as standard models. However, advances in hydronic power in low-flow toilets, such as pressure models, are starting to make up for this issue.

You will need to discuss with a plumber your choices for low-flow toilet models. In some cases, you can reduce the drawbacks: a more powerful model, and water use reduced to such a level that the installation quickly pays for itself.

Help reduce water use throughout your home

A low-flow toilet is only one of the options you have for water-saving fixtures in your home’s plumbing in Salt Lake City, UT. Call Design Comfort today for help conserving water and cutting down on your bills. We offer quality installation, repairs, and maintenance for the plumbing in every part of your home.

Why Are the Pipes Under My Sink Curved That Way?

February 27th, 2014

Have you ever had a child stump you with a question that seems simple on the surface, but is actually difficult to answer when you have to put it into words? Most of us have; children wonder about things adults often take for granted, such as the color of the sky… or the shape of home plumbing.

“Why does the pipe under the sink have that funny curve in it?” We don’t know if a child has ever asked you this question, but we’d wager that most adults don’t have a good answer. We’ll give you one, and help you better understand your home’s plumbing at the same time and why you need that curved pipe taking up valuable storage space in your cabinet. If you need more than answers—you need repairs—then look among the plumbing services in Salt Lake City, UT to find Design Comfort.

The p-trap

That curved J-shaped pipe is known as the p-trap, and it serves the function of preventing sewer gas backflow from your drains. When water runs down your drain, it flows through the p-trap without obstruction, but when you shut off the water, a small amount of liquid remains in the p-trap. This water forms an air-tight seal against air from further down the pipe from coming up through drain. Without this water plug, sewer gases from decomposed matter in the drain waste vent would come back up through your sink drain and create a noxious smell in your home. The sewer gases can even harm your health in large doses. That simple curve in your pipe makes home life much more pleasant.

You need to make sure that the p-trap has a water seal inside it. Usually this only requires running the water in your sink regularly, so it isn’t something you’ll need to think about often. However, if there is a sink in your home that rarely receives use, the p-trap can dry up because of water evaporation. If you notice sewage smells coming from a sink you don’t often use, run water through it to restore the plug—and try to run water through it at least once a week.

P-traps are where clogs usually develop in sinks: they catch hair, soap scum, and grease. Sometimes you’ll need a professional plumber to clean out your p-trap, wither with hydro-jetters or by removing the pipe. Make sure you let a professional handle this job: trying to work on a p-trap yourself can get messy.

We hope this has answered your question (or your child’s) about the curved pipe under the sink. It may take up space you could use for storage, but life without it would really, well, stink.

When you need any plumbing services in Salt Lake City, UT, call Design Comfort!

Benefits of Zone Control Heating in Salt Lake City

February 17th, 2014

When you are installing one of the many different kinds of heating systems in your Salt Lake City, UT home, you’ll have the option to put in a zone control system as well. These systems use dampers inside ductwork and a series of connected thermostats to control where the heat from the HVAC system flows. Instead of heating your entire house at once, you can choose to heat only particular “zones.” However, you don’t need to have zone control put in during installation. Skilled technicians can retro-fit your ductwork for this technology; it’s available to anyone who wants to enjoy the advantages.

Here are some of the major benefits you’ll get from a zone control system. Call Design Comfort today to talk to one of our Salt Lake City Heating Systems specialists to learn more about zone control and how we can put it to work for you.

What’s great about zone control heating

  • Energy savings: The most noticeable benefit of installing a zone control system will appear on your monthly heating bill. Unlike standard centralized heating, where you must heat the whole house whenever you need any heat at all, zone control permits you to only heat the rooms that require it. Guest rooms or unused storage areas no longer need to be heated. This will result in major savings.
  • Adjust the heat for everyone in your home: How often have you heard someone complain, “This house is too hot,” or “This house is too cold”—sometimes different people at the same time? Everyone has individual temperature needs, and zone control allows you to tailor the house’s temperature to fit them. The local thermostats give them temperature control wherever they are, so they can have the comfort they need without interfering with the rest of the house.
  • More evenly spread warmth: In a standard whole-house heater, the heat spreads out to all the rooms upstairs and downstairs at once, and the rising heat often leaves areas cold. Zone heating lets you vary where heat is going so that it spreads throughout the home in a controlled way, so new heat fills in places that will lose it as it moves upstairs.

How you can start with zone control heating

Adding a zone control system to your existing heater takes a significant amount of work: not only do dampers need to be placed inside the ducts, but a new network of thermostats must be installed that will link together as one system. However, if you call heating experts, the installation should go smoothly, and soon you’ll enjoy all the above benefits and more.

Get in touch with Design Comfort and highly trained teamed today. We can install many types of heating systems in Salt Lake City, UT, and we make your satisfaction our #1 priority.

Stages of Installing a New Heating System

February 6th, 2014

Having a new whole-house heater installed isn’t like putting in a window air conditioning unit or plugging in a space heater. There are many steps involved in the correct installation of a heater; we’ll go over the basic ones in this post. Each type of heating system will have its own particular steps, and some will take more time than others. If you’ve hired the right installers for the job, you should experience no troubles with your installation.

Design Comfort installs a variety of heating systems, from boilers to radiant floor heaters. We have the experience necessary to make your heating installation in Holladay, UT go as smoothly as possible.

Basic heating installation steps

  • Selecting the new system: There are many choices for heating systems available today, all with different pros and cons. However, some systems will make better fits for your home than others, so when it comes to picking out a new heater, you’ll need the advice of professionals. This is why you should have installers involved from the beginning. They can look over your home, analyze how much heat it needs, and lay out your best options. From there, you will need to look at your long term budget plans to help you make the choice that will give you the ideal performance.
  • Sizing the system: Next, the heater must be sized to find a unit with the right amount of heating power. A system cannot be too large or too small for the space it is supposed to heat; either will cause it to drain energy and end up giving the wrong level of heating. The installers will do a heat load calculation to take into account many factors about your house and then use that information to determine the right-sized heater to do the job.
  • Removing the older heating system: When the day comes to install the new heater, the first and usually most time-consuming step is to remove your current heating system.
  • Place the new system: The installers will put the new system in place where it can access the various ductwork, pipes, power supply, etc. that it needs. Usually, the system will be bolted to the floor.
  • Make the necessary connections: The installers will now make the connections between the new heater and its distributions system (ducts, pipes) and then its power supply (electricity, gas lines).
  • Test the system: The installers won’t leave your home until they are certain your new heater operates correctly and poses no safety hazards.

Make sure you hire professionals

As these steps should make clear, heating installation is a large task that you can’t do on your own, nor should you entrust it to amateurs. For your heating installation in Holladay, UT, rely on Design Comfort. We’ve delivered quality heating since 1982.

The Original Valentine’s Day Greeting Cards

February 4th, 2014

It’s hard to imagine Valentine’s Day without the traditional greeting cards, whether accompanying a gift of flowers and candy, or sent between children in a school room. For commercial greeting card companies, February 14th is as important to them as the December holidays, Easter, and Mother’s Day.

Valentine’s Day as a celebration of romantic love predates printed greeting cards by a few centuries. In fact, the reason that sending romantic greeting cards became popular was because of the most un-romantic thing you can imagine: a reduction in postage rates.

In 1765, Parliament authorized the creation of “Penny Posts” that used a uniform rate of one old penny per letter throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Printers took advantage of the ease with which people could send letters to each other on Valentine’s Day by crafting cards with love poems on them. Many of these verses were collected in 1797 in the book The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which was a resource for the lover with a romantic soul but not the most confident poetry style.

By the mid-19th-century, the Valentine’s Day greeting card was flourishing across England. Although people still followed a tradition of creating handmade Valentine’s Day cards from lace, ribbons, and flowers, commercially produced cards now overtook them. In 1835, the English post office mailed 60,000 valentines. As production expenses dropped, the English card manufacturers branched out creatively with humorous and sometimes vulgar cards… many of which we would find startlingly familiar in the 21st century. One of the common jokes on these cards was to design them to look like marriage certificates or court summons.

Across the Atlantic, the United States was slower to embrace the popular British custom. It wasn’t until 1847 that a U.S. printer mass-produced greeting cards for Valentine’s Day. Only two years later, American journalists noted how rapidly people in the country had embraced the tradition, turning into a fad that has never died down. The woman who printed the first U.S. Valentine’s Day card, Esther Howland, is today recognized by the Greeting Card Association with the annual “Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary.”

The greeting card industry certainly has reason to thank Ms. Howland. Her idea of going into business printing romantic greeting cards, which came to her after she received a traditional English valentine when she was 19 years old, now sells 190 million cards in the U.S. every year. That number doesn’t include the smaller exchange cards used in elementary school classrooms, which would swell the number to 1 billion. (Who receives the most Valentine’s Day cards each year? Teachers!)

Whether you send out Valentine’s Day cards—handmade, store-bought, digital—or not, we at Design Comfort hope you have a happy February 14th.