Design Comfort Blog

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.

Ways You Can Upgrade Your Current Air Conditioning System

July 31st, 2014

Upgrades to your current air conditioning system can improve and enhance your system’s energy efficiency, indoor air quality and overall comfort level. There are many different types of upgrades from which to choose, and each offers its own benefits for your air conditioning. Since 1982, Design Comfort has helped Salt Lake City customers get the most from their air conditioners in Salt Lake City, and we can do the same for you.

There Are a Number of Different Upgrades to Consider For Your Air Conditioning System

Zone Control System

Do you hear constant complaints about it being too hot or too cold? Do you want better control over your cooling? A zone control system can help you with these issues and more. With a zone control system, individual motorized dampers are installed directly into your ductwork. Each damper is attached to, and controlled by, its own thermostat. Through a central control panel, you control these thermostats as per your zone plan. A zone can be separate rooms or separate floors in your home – you decide. Zone control systems allow you to cool only what needs to be cooled, helping to improve both comfort and energy efficiency all at the same time.

Air Cleaners

Are you experiencing problems with your indoor air quality? Do you just want to improve it? Air cleaners can help reduce allergens dramatically, and an air purifier like UV germicidal lighting can destroy biological pollutants. Our air cleaners are for whole-home use, and as such, become part of your air conditioning system. There are a number of types of air cleaners available, which is why speaking to a trained professional is strongly suggested.

Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV)

Imagine taking the energy from your indoor air and using it to be more energy efficient. You can do just that with an energy recovery ventilator. How? 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. This happens in the heat exchanger, which is the core of the ERV. The energy streams don’t mix, but are close enough to each other to be able to exchange energy. ERVs can help tremendously with energy efficiency and maintaining excellent indoor air quality.

As you can see, there are a number of different upgrades you can make to your air conditioner to help with energy efficiency and comfort. Think you may benefit from an upgrade to your air conditioning? Call Design Comfort today and speak with one of our professionals and set up your air conditioning upgrades in Salt Lake City.

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!