Design Comfort Blog: Archive for September, 2012

Salt Lake City Heating Guide: Pros & Cons of Heat Pumps

Monday, September 24th, 2012

When deciding on any major purchase, a critical step is to weigh the pros and cons. This helps you to decide on the best option and reach the best decision for your needs and preferences.

Installing a new heating system in your Salt Lake City home is a perfect example of a situation in which you would need to weigh pros and cons. There are a lot of options, and not all of them are right for all people. Take heat pumps, for example. They are great devices and serve many people extremely well as home heating solutions, but they are not without their drawbacks. Below are some of the pros and cons of heat pumps to help you decide whether a heat pumps if the way to go for you.

Pros:

  1. Inclusive – A heat pump not only heats your home in the winter but also cools it in the summer, thanks to a reversing valve that changes the flow of the refrigerant. Having one appliance for both heating and cooling can be very convenient.
  2. Energy efficient – Heat pumps are extraordinarily efficient when it comes to energy use. Because they simply move and distribute heat, rather than producing any on their own, they use minimal electricity.
  3. Simple – Operating on the same basic principles as your refrigerator or an air conditioner, heat pumps are relatively simple. More importantly, they simplify your life by putting your heating and cooling solutions in one package and running on electricity, so you don’t need any other fuels on hand.
  4. Inexpensive to operate – In addition to being energy efficient – which lowers your monthly energy bills – many heat pumps are eligible for federal tax credit. You can save a bundle by using a heat pump.

Cons:

  1. May need supplementing in cold climates – In climates where winter temperatures stay below 30 degrees Fahrenheit for a while at a stretch, a heat pump will have trouble keeping up and need to be supplemented.
  2. Don’t work in power outage – Obviously, because they are powered by electricity, a heat pump won’t work in a power outage, unlike some other heating solutions that do not require electricity.

Although the pros clearly outweigh the cons here, the cons are important as well. Carefully consider all these factors and more while deciding whether a heat pump is the solution for your Salt Lake City home. Call Design Comfort today to learn more about installing a new heating system in your home!

 

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Salt Lake City Heating Question: What Does a Furnace Fan Limit Switch Do?

Monday, September 17th, 2012

When researching your Salt Lake City furnace and potential problems it might have, you’ve probably run across a few references to the fan limit switch. And while you know that it can break in a number of ways, do you know what the switch does and what you should look for when checking your furnace its air handler for problems?

What the Limit Switch Does

To put it very simply, the furnace fan limit switch is a control that tells your furnace’s fan when to turn on and off. So, when the furnace isn’t on, it tells the blower not to operate (and send cold air into your home) and when the furnace is on, it tells the blower to turn on and start circulating the warm air.

While the primary function of the limit switch is to turn the blower fan on and off, it also has a safety role. When the temperature in the air supply plenum gets too hot, the limit switch turns off the furnace boiler to keep there from being any damage from overheating. This is handy if there is a blockage in the air vents or the controls are messed up due to water damage or improper adjustments to the settings.

 Looking for Problems

Most of the time, when there is an issue with your furnace turning off or on frequently, the limit switch is one of the first things you will check. Because the switch is electronic and is attached to a thermostat which measures temperature in the air supply plenum, a small problem can result in it not working properly. So, you can easily check it by temporarily bypassing the switch and seeing if your device turns on or off properly.

In many cases, if the limit switch is the problem, you will still need to call a Salt Lake City heating professional for replacement, but you can avoid a lot of headaches related to tracking down the source of the problem. If you suspect a limit switch problem, make sure to call Design Comfort immediately, because it does provide an important safety function and because without it your furnace won’t cycle on and off properly.

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Salt Lake City AC Guide: Why Replace Your Indoor and Outdoor AC Components at the Same Time

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Do you need to replace one of the main components of your Salt Lake City split AC system? If so, you are probably tempted to just replace whichever unit is failing in order to fix the problem quickly and cheaply. This is not always the best way to go, however. Here are six reasons why you should replace both the indoor and outdoor units at the same time.

 #1: Cost

Although replacing just the failing component – whether indoor or outdoor – will be less expensive up front, that choice often proves more costly overall. You will see just what that means in the rest of these reasons.

 #2: Advances in design

Heating and cooling technology is always advancing, so since you purchased your AC system, the products on the market have gotten quieter, more efficient and better overall. By replacing just the failing indoor component, you won’t reap all the benefits of this new technology, as the older outdoor component will still lag behind the times.

 #3: Higher efficiency

When both units are replaced at the same time, and with models that have the same technology, they work together more efficiently. That means more savings on your bills and a more comfortable home.

 #4: Matched system

Split AC systems are designed such that the indoor units are engineered to work best with a matching outdoor unit. When the system is matched, you get optimum performance and efficiency. By replacing just one component, you lose the benefits of that matching, meaning degraded efficiency and performance.

#5: Warranty considerations

A new system means new warranty coverage. Replacing both units at once means a whole new warranty that covers your whole cooling system, so you won’t have to worry about paying for any more replacements jobs for a long time.

 #6: Wear and tear

Finally, think about the wear and tear your air conditioning system has undergone since it was installed. Maybe only your outdoor unit needs to be replaced now, but since your indoor unit has tolerated the same number of hours of use, it may be on its way out sooner than later. It’s like when you buy new tires for your car– you don’t buy one or two, you buy a whole set of four so that the whole system starts fresh. That way you only do it once, and not again in six months or a year.

For all these reasons, replacing both components of a split system is often the best and least expensive route to choose when facing a replacement. For more information about replacing your Salt Lake City AC system, give Design Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning a call!

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Salt Lake City HVAC Guide: Saving Energy

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Everyone wants to make their Salt Lake City home more energy efficient, it not only saves you money but it also makes your home more environmentally friendly. Upgrading your Salt Lake City HVAC equipment is a great place to start, but it can be hard to decide what to do first.

Before you start making changes, ask yourself the following questions:

How much do you spend on energy?

Paying attention to your energy bill from month to month is very important. A sudden spike could indicate a problem with your Salt Lake City HVAC system or other appliances in your home. If you start trying to embrace an energy efficient lifestyle, your energy bill can help you keep track of how well you are doing.

Are there benefits to this upgrade?

In addition to being energy efficient, you should discover if there are any other ways that a change can benefit your home. For instance, a new air conditioner could make your home more comfortable, or zone control could make it easier to keep every room in your home the desired temperature. You’d be surprised how many energy efficient upgrades can really improve your whole home and not just your energy bill.

What is your budget?

Budgeting is never fun, but it’s important step to figuring out what you should change first. While it would be great to replace your air conditioner and furnace for ENERGY STAR rated models, it’s a big investment. You can try the little things first, like improving you insulation, repairing air ducts, and sealing air leaks. After you have saved up and improved other parts of your home you can work on replacing your HVAC equipment.

Improving the energy efficiency of your home will make it more comfortable and lower your utility bills. If you have any questions about energy efficient upgrades you can make to your home, call Design Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning today!

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