Design Comfort Blog: Archive for November, 2012

Salt Lake City Home Energy Tip: How Your Ducts Can Help Save Energy

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The ductwork in your Salt Lake City home is designed for one purpose – to move heated or cooled air between your air handler and the individual registers located throughout your home. Because of this, it needs to be extremely well designed and insulated to ensure it will deliver that air efficiently and with as little energy loss as possible. That’s why well-designed ductwork can effectively save you quite a bit of money on your energy bills if it is matched to your needs properly. Here is how:

  • Well Designed – Well designed ductwork will maximize airflow without putting stress on your HVAC system or overloading your rooms with too much heating or cooling. This is probably the most important component but unfortunately, many homes have poorly designed ductwork. An inspection and reevaluation can help in this however.
  • Insulated – Duct insulation can greatly reduce natural heating and cooling loss that occurs as air travels from your basement to each room in your home. Without the insulation, energy losses can be as high as 30%, even when there are no leaks.
  • Sealed – Ductwork that is improperly sealed can increase energy loss by another 30% and can put unwanted stress on your heating and air conditioning systems, resulting in more repairs and higher energy bills. Have your ductwork tested for leaks to avoid this problem.
  • Cleaned Regularly – Duct cleaning should be performed once a year if possible, along with the other tasks on this list. Duct cleaning removes unwanted dust and debris from your system and ensures it works as intended going forward.

When your ductwork is all of the things listed above, it will provide ample heating or cooling to every corner of your home with only the minimal, expected amount of energy loss, sometimes even less. When these things are not done, however, energy loss can be quite costly, making it necessary to keep a close eye on the process.

Call the Salt Lake City heating and home energy experts at Design Comfort if you have further questions. Contact Design Comfort today!

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The Importance of Water Heater Maintenance

Monday, November 19th, 2012

What would happen if you never changed the oil in your car again? It would most likely start to need costly repairs from all the wear and tear. That’s why we all perform regular maintenance on our vehicles. The same is true for the water heater in your home in Salt Lake City.  Whether you have a tankless hot water heater or a hot water tank system, having your water heater regularly inspected and tuned-up is a great way to make sure that it is reliable and efficient. Below, we’ve presented some of the reasons why water heater maintenance is so important.

Increased Efficiency

Over time, things wear down. It’s a fact of life. As your water heater ages, its parts start to wear down. This makes it have to work harder to in order to heat the water in your home. As it works harder it uses more fuel and costs you more money. When you have your water heater tuned-up regularly, the technician will lubricate moving parts, clean it and repair any minor issues that they find. All of this will slow the aging process and allow it work at peak efficiency.

Reduced Repairs

Another benefit of regular heating maintenance is that it can potentially reduce the amount of costly repairs that are needed. When you have a professional technician regularly inspecting your water heater, they can find small issues before they turn into larger problems. Not only can this potentially save you water heater repair costs, but it can also save you from water damage due to leaks.

Extended Life

Many water heater replacements that we perform started from small problems. With regular maintenance, these issues can be nipped in the bud before they end up destroying your whole water heater.

Safety

With regular maintenance, your water heater technician can spot any potentially dangerous problems before they cause any damage to your home. For example, sometimes combustion gases can start to leak into your home if you have a gas-fired water heater.

If you’re interested in scheduling water heater maintenance for your home in Salt Lake City, call the experts at Design Comfort. We have years of experience offering water heater services in the entire Salt Lake City area. Give us a call today!

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Salt Lake City Heating Tip: What Type of Thermostat is Best for My Furnace or Heat Pump?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

The thermostat in your house in Salt Lake City is small and often overlooked part of your home. However, it has a very important job to do. But not all thermostats are created equal. This is especially true for furnace and heat pump thermostats. If your thermostat has stopped working, replacing it might be trickier than you think. Depending on what kind of heating system you have, you’ll want to think about the kind of thermostat that you get. We’ve put together a list of some of the considerations you should take into account as you choose a new thermostat for your furnace or heat pump.

Types of Thermostats

There are two types of thermostats available: manual or programmable.

  • Manual Thermostat – These are normally found in older homes. They cost less but are typically not as energy efficient. Some units can contain mercury.
  • Programmable Thermostat – These thermostats can adjust your heating or air conditioning system automatically. If you have multi-stage heating or air conditioning system, the thermostat can also control the fan speed as well. These types of thermostats can potentially lead to up to 33% energy savings.

Thermostat for Your Furnace

If you have an older furnace with a manual thermostat, you will most likely be able to convert to a digital, programmable thermostat. With a programmable thermostat, your older furnace will be controlled automatically by the thermostat. This highly desirable because, with some units, you can program the furnace to turn off during the day if you’re going to be gone at work. You can also tell it to turn on at a certain time so that your home is warm when you get back. If your furnace is single stage, you’ll need to find a thermostat that is compatible with your furnace. The packaging on thermostats normally indicate if they can work with a single stage or multi-stage furnace. Also, some older homes use 110 or 240 direct current. There should be available thermostats for that as well.

Heat Pump Thermostats

Heat pumps are a completely different kind of heating system that your furnace. They require much more complex thermostats to control them. Heat pumps are very efficient heating and cooling systems. However, if they are used improperly, they can actually cost more to operate than other types of heating systems. A good programmable thermostat for your heat pump is critical to making sure that it is achieving the highest level of efficiency.

If you have any questions about heat pump thermostats for your home in Salt Lake City, contact the experts at Design Comfort. We can help you find the right thermostat for your heat pump or furnace and make sure that it is operating correctly. Give us a call today!

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Salt Lake City Heating Tip: Increase Heating Efficiency with These Simple Steps

Monday, November 5th, 2012

There’s a lot to love about winter. The holidays! The snowmen! The heating bills! Okay, maybe not that last one, but don’t worry. The Salt Lake City heating experts at Design Comfort have some great tips to help you heat your home more efficiently this winter. Follow these suggestions and enjoy the comfort you want without breaking the bank. See what else you can come up with to make this heating season as affordable as possible.

  • Keep the Heat In: There’s really no point in heating your backyard. Keep your heat inside where it will do some good. Weatherstripping doors, shrink wrapping windows and re-caulking stationary seams are all easy, affordable ways to make sure that heat you pay for is staying in your home. The squirrels can take care of themselves. Use your heat to keep your own family warm.
  • Reverse Your Fans: If you didn’t know that your ceiling fans have 2 settings you are only utilizing half of their potential. Ceiling fans have a switch on their fixtures that reverse the direction in which the fan blades rotate. On most models the winter setting will have the blades spinning clockwise. This forces the heat that has risen back down into the living space, allowing for consistent, even heating.
  • Get an Audit: Audits aren’t just for tax season, and you’re probably not seeking one out in that case. A home energy audit, though, is a great way to learn more about your home’s energy efficiency. Procedures such as a blower door test can help pinpoint areas where your home is wasting energy, allowing you to make the necessary repairs and cut down on utility costs.
  • Skip the Takeout: Cooking at home can help you save money in more than one way. Enjoy healthier meals that go a longer way than pizza place or sandwich shop down the street while also enjoying the warmth of an active kitchen. The time around the table is the icing on the cake. (Bonus Tip: If you’re not ready to leave the warmth of the kitchen, bake a cake!)
  • Use Your Thermostat: A lot of people have newer, programmable thermostats. A lot of people also completely ignore their functions and settings. Take a few minutes to look over that user’s manual and get the most out of your thermostat. Programmable settings make it easy to heat your home in a more efficient manner without having to settle for chilly evenings.

These are just a few of the many ways in which you can maintain warm, cozy temperatures more efficiently. Challenge yourself and your family to add to the list. You’ll be surprised at the big savings that can come from small changes to your home heating habits.

If you have any questions regarding your home’s heating, Call Design Comfort today! Over the years, Design Comfort has been building a loyal clientele throughout the Salt Lake City area.

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