Should I Upgrade My HVAC System?

Most home HVAC systems are built to last for over 10 years or more, yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t replace your system prior to the ten-year mark. Many changes and innovations to HVAC systems have occurred over the past decade and because of this, it may be wise to consider upgrading your system sooner than you anticipated.

Ranging from better home energy efficiency to the exciting integration of smart devices, there are several reasons, listed below, why you may consider upgrading your current system to a new one. It is important to understand that even though your A/C and furnace may not need to be upgraded at the same time, it’s might be in your best interest to go ahead and replace both. With a completely new system, you can save on costs in the long run, and you can rest assured that all mechanisms will work together seamlessly.

Better Energy Efficiency

If you own an older HVAC system, the chances are high that it is no longer very energy efficient, which can end up costing a significant amount of money towards your home’s heating and cooling bills.  Generally, systems that are over 10 years old are most likely to waste energy more than a newer model. If you don’t have a system that meets Energy Star standards, then you may want to consider an upgrade. Not only will you be saving money on energy costs, you’ll be wasting less energy overall, which is also great for the environment!

Improved Indoor Air Quality

An HVAC system doesn’t just cool and heat your home, it is also responsible for managing the quality of your home’s indoor air by providing good ventilation and proper humidity levels throughout your house. It also helps to filter airborne pollutants, such a dust and allergens, out of your home’s indoor air. An older system may have trouble maintaining proper indoor air quality within the home. And many older systems aren’t compatible with other accessories such as air purifiers and more advanced ventilators that can help keep your home’s air extra clean.

More Security

An older HVAC system certainly consumes more energy than most newer models, but it is also at a greater risk for needing repairs or worse—a total breakdown. If a system has not been properly maintenanced or serviced over its lifespan (and we recommend at least once annually), then it is at even higher risk for problems. Having a professional trained technician monitor refrigerant lines, inspect ductwork, repair steam traps, cleaning coils, as well as other routine tasks ensure that your HVAC system has a healthy and efficient lifespan.

Choose Top Quality for Better Indoor Air Quality

At Solano, we offer the Suisun City and surrounding Solano County areas with the very best in heating and air conditioning service, repairs and installations, AND we are also the leading provider of indoor air quality services. If you’re in need of an HVAC upgrade, or would like some more information to determine whether your home has proper indoor air quality , give the experts at Solano a call. 707-416-0845.

And, be sure to check out our extensive line of Carrier HVAC products.

Get Ready for Summer with this HVAC Checklist

Summer is right around the corner and with it, so are higher temperatures. What this means for local Suisun City residents, is it’s time to get your AC unit in tip-top shape (if you haven’t already). After the high dust and pollen season of spring, you’ll likely need to literally dust off the different components of your cooling system and carefully inspect your unit as a whole. Nothing is worse than a faulty air condenser in the summertime. For your convenience, Solano Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. has put together a pre-summer HVAC checklist to get you ready for the heat.

Summer HVAC Checklist

Clean Your Unit

If you have had an idol outdoor condenser, it has likely harbored a good deal of dust and debris over the winter and spring seasons. Clear away any plant growth, fallen branches or twigs and animal waste to ensure that nothing is tampering with your A/C unit’s performance.

Declutter your ducts

If you didn’t have to run the heat much this winter, you likely haven’t been thinking about your home’s air ducts in quite some time. You would be surprised what can fester in this components in just a short period, let alone 6+ months. Make sure that your ducts are clear and clean so that your HVAC unit is flowing efficiently.

Replace your filter

Don’t get off on a rough start by forcing your unit to work twice as hard to provide your home with cool air this summer. Check your air filter to be certain that you replaced it after last year’s warm season. If not, replace it now to improve your system’s efficiency and longevity. The same goes for wall vents and registers. Give these components a proper vacuuming to ensure that your home’s A/C can keep you cool this summer.

Tweak your thermostat

Getting your system ready does no good if you have a faulty thermostat. Make sure that the batteries in your thermostat are in working order and dust the inside and outside of your thermostat. Make sure that it doesn’t give off any false readings by being too close to breezeways, major appliances or any other sources of higher or lower temperatures that could influence its abilities to give a true temperature reading.

Test your unit

Once you have cleaned your system and prepared it for the summer ahead, give it a test run to make sure that there is nothing seriously wrong with your unit. Place your thermostat even a few degrees lower than you would normally set it to double-check that your system and handle the harder workload of the warmer months to come.

Routine Servicing

Even if your test run of your unit went smoothly, it’s still a good precaution to schedule routine maintenance of your A/C unit to ensure that there are no underlying issues with your system. The last thing you want is for your system to run fine in the milder June weather, only for it crash in late July or early August. Contact one of our local Suisun City HVAC specialists, and one of our professionals will provide quick and courteous maintenance on your unit to keep your home comfortable.

 

Why​ ​a​ ​Home’s​ ​HVAC​ ​System​ ​Is​ ​Different​ ​Than​ ​a​ ​Commercial​ ​One

While all HVAC systems have the same goal, and each type works along the same principles no matter where it is installed, there are important differences between the systems in private residences and commercial buildings.

7 Important Variables Between Commercial and Residential Systems

Many things are the same between HVAC systems in commercial and residential locations, but there are also many differences. Important differences include:

  1. Size. The greatest difference between commercial and residential systems is the size of the equipment. Commercial structures are usually much larger than homes and are filled with more people and electronics that create more heat in the building.
  2. Installation location. Residential systems are usually installed on the ground outside the structure. Those installed in commercial buildings are often put on the roof to save space and keep them from being vandalized.
  3. Standalone or modular systems. Residential systems are usually standalone models which cannot be modified or expanded, only replaced. Commercial setups are modular in nature, allowing them to be upgraded or downgraded as businesses need it.
  4. Packaged or split systems. Residential systems are split into indoor and outdoor sections. Commercial systems are considered “packaged” because they combine all necessary parts into one place.
  5. Drain system. Residential systems normally drip into a pan which then drains outside. Commercial systems require a more complicated drainage system due to the increased size of the system and the location of the unit.
  6. Venting. Residential systems normally require no additional ventilation consideration. They are outside where they can vent freely or can easily vent through a home’s windows. Ventilation is a concern for commercial systems because they are often placed inside of structures with no windows for protection. Such structures need to be vented for proper functioning of the equipment.
  7. Technical difficulty. Residences have relatively straightforward HVAC systems compared to those installed in commercial structures. Commercial systems require more thermostats (which require more wiring) and much more ductwork that must be run in more complicated fashions and other issues.

Repairing and Replacing Commercial and Residential Systems

Because commercial systems are larger and more complex than residential systems, they require more specialized training and experience with the equipment used in these setups. An experienced HVAC technician can diagnose the system in a business structure, but the work of repairing it may require multiple technicians.

The nature of modular commercial systems makes them more challenging to diagnose and repair than the single unit of a residence. Problems in a residential system can only be located in one or two locations, commercial setups have many more possibilities.

Businesses need to be sure when they hire an HVAC company that they choose one with technicians experienced in working with commercial systems. Residential setups are much simpler to diagnose and repair than larger commercial systems, and cannot properly prepare a technician to work on commercial buildings without proper training.

Whether you need a new HVAC unit for your home or your business building, Solano Heating has got you covered. Our technicians are trained and experienced in both residential and commercial HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance. Contact us today for more information.

Heating and Cooling Features: Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Buying a home for the first time? If so, you know the numerous decision making challenges you are facing. Buying a home is not something you do every day. You want to buy a home that meets all your expectations and reflects the true value of your investment. The HVAC system is one vital component that merits your attention. You don’t want to make a down payment for a house without this vital facility. But what are you going to consider as far as this system is concerned? Look for these heating and cooling features before you buy.

Heating and Cooling Features for First Time Homebuyers

Here are just a few things that you can check for when looking at HVAC systems in potential homes:

Type of HVAC System

Broadly speaking, these systems come in two categories: room air conditioners and central air conditioners. The first are room-specific while the later are meant for the entire house. Central air conditioners are more efficient than room conditioners. This implies that it makes more economic sense to buy a house fitted with a central air conditioner. This type of system will lower your energy costs by using less energy than room air conditioners.

Design and Type of Ductwork

Ensure the ducts are sized and properly balanced for comfortable and even air conditioning. It is better if the ducts are round and externally insulated; these are the most efficient. Say no to long runs of flexible duct as these will waste a lot of energy.

The Refrigerant

Check the type of refrigerant that the system uses. Some refrigerants are not environment-friendly. Avoid such systems and if possible ask for a replacement.

Adjustment of Heating and Cooling Temperatures

The system should have well calibrated and effective temperature controls. These controls should give you a reasonable range to manipulate the preferred temperatures in the house. A programmable thermostat comes in handy here. It will give you flexibility to program your system to deliver preferred temperatures without you having to keep making adjustment at different times of the day. For more convenience and remote operations you can check if the HVAC comes with a smart thermostat. This will enable you to control and adjust temperature settings from the comfort of your smartphone. For the thermostat to function correctly it should be located away from heat sources such as supply registers and windows.

Air Filter Location

These filters should be situated where it is easy for you to access them. This will make it easy and convenient for you to replace these filters about every three or so months.

Return-Air

Bear in mind that for conditioned air to enter the room, a similar amount of air must leave the room to create space for the conditioned get into. Ideally each room should have a return-air diffuser and an entering air diffuser.

Location and Installation of the Air Conditioner

Make sure the HVAC system is installed and located correctly. This way, it will serve you efficiently for many years without it raising any major issues.

Noise

The system’s condensing unit should be conveniently located where its noise will not irritate you or your neighbors.

As you contemplate on buying your first house, seek the inputs of heating and cooling experts. For more information on the heating and cooling features to consider as first time homebuyer, contact us for a consultation. We are always happy to serve our clients promptly & affordably.

 

Enjoy the In-between: Improve your Home Comfort without Running your HVAC system.

Oh, the joys of great weather. You can open the windows for the fresh air without worry of overtaxing your air conditioning system. And now is a great time to allow your air conditioner and your heater a deserved rest while the weather is nice!

However – temperature fluctuations are still in-season and the nights and mornings can be chilly, and the afternoons? Sweaty. How do you keep up with the flux of fall without running your HVAC system ragged switching from air to heat? We’ve got a few ideas.

How to Maintain Home Comfort without AC

Here are a few ways that you can enjoy a comfortable home environment without turning on your AC:

  1. The Great Outdoors
    Embrace the great outdoors. If it’s too chilly in your home and the sun is shining, take a walk. If you find your bedroom a little stuffy at night, pop open a window and enjoy the breeze.
  2. Light a Fire
    In the colder nights when you know the warm weather is returning in the morning, you may not want to kick on your furnace. Instead, kick on your fireplace! If your home doesn’t have one, a little electric unit might do the trick.
  3. Bundle Up
    If things get a little Netflix and chilly, you could also wrap up in a sweater or under a blanket with some popcorn. Pretty soon, you’ll be glad you didn’t kick on the heat because you’ll be feeling just-right.
  4. #1 Fan
    Hot afternoons that don’t quite call for AC can always be improved with a nice oscillating fan and a homemade popsicle.
  5. Humidify
    Humidifiers come in warm-mist or cool-mist varieties, which can add just enough comfort and temperature regulation that heat and air conditioning just aren’t needed.
  6. Get Ready
    The best way to spend the “in-between” season is by inviting an HVAC expert to your home. In what we call the “shoulder season” of fall, we can inspect your air conditioner and rectify any issues that have come up over the summer and also check into your heating system, making sure that it is winter-ready before it becomes an emergency.

Contact Solano to get your in-between inspection & maintenance call taken care of before winter comes and leaves you unready.

The Most Frequently Asked Home Comfort Questions for Californians

The truth of the matter is that many California homeowners are not as familiar with their HVAC system as they would like to be. Knowing how to properly maintain and use your HVAC unit is important to achieving home comfort. Below, we will cover some of the most commonly asked home comfort questions from our customers.

Most Common HVAC Home Comfort Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions that we get from California homeowners about their HVAC system:

  1. How does my HVAC system help improve indoor air quality?

Indoor air-quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality inside of home and buildings, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of the occupants. Your HVAC filters help to reduce a number of the pollutants, allergens, and other particles that enter your home by filtering out these contaminants in the air before distributing the air throughout your home. Those with severe allergies or asthma may also consider an air purifier, which can help reduce more of these pollutants, making it easier to breathe.

  1. How durable is my HVAC system?

Most modern HVAC systems are durable and reliable. However, proper maintenance is required to extend the life of your HVAC system. In addition to regularly cleaning or replacing the air filter, homeowners should also have their system serviced at least once per year. During this tune-up, a qualified HVAC technician will make sure that your system is clean and well-oiled, as well as identify any potential problems or maintenance issues. As a general rule, the better and more consistently you care for your HVAC system, the longer it will last.

  1. Which size HVAC unit is right for my home?

When it comes to HVAC, bigger is not always better. If you install a unit that is too big for your home, the system will turn on and off more frequently as it takes less time to get the home to the desired temperature. This can cause premature wear and tear on the system’s parts. Similarly, if you get a unit that is too small for your home, it will have to work twice as hard to adjust the temperature, causing the system to wear out too soon. Contact an experienced HVAC technician to help you determine which size HVAC unit is right for your home.

  1. Do I need a humidifier?

In drier climates, some homeowners will use a humidifier to counteract with the dry air, which can cause breathing issues, cracked skin, and other health problems. However, using a humidifier when you don’t need one can lead to a buildup of moisture, which invites mold and mildew into your home. Again, the best course of action here is to speak with an experienced HVAC technician who can help you determine whether or not you need a humidifier.

Have more questions about your HVAC system? We would be happy to answer them, and help you find the right HVAC system to meet your home comfort needs. Give us a call today.

Everything You Need to Know about the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas, and your chances of being exposed to it may be far greater than you think. If your furnace or stove develops a carbon monoxide leak it could everyone in your home or place of business at risk.

Where Does Carbon Monoxide Contamination Come From?

Carbon monoxide is an inevitable byproduct of the fossil fuel combustion process. Indoors it is produced in potentially dangerous quantities by furnaces, boilers, stoves, water heaters and space heaters that run on gas, oil or propane. Fortunately combustion-style HVAC equipment, gas stoves and water heaters do incorporate exhaust venting systems that divert and expel carbon monoxide outdoors, and as long as they function properly you should have no problem.

But if leaks develop in these systems entire buildings can become flooded with carbon monoxide, which is colorless and odorless and impossible to identify without a carbon monoxide detector. In the case of space heaters, if they are operated indoors good ventilation is required and if it is not provided carbon monoxide could build up to hazardous levels.

What are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

When carbon monoxide is inhaled it crowds oxygen out of the bloodstream, slowly smothering you in the process. The symptoms of this type of oxygen deprivation include dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, nausea, headaches, difficulty breathing and an inability to concentrate or think clearly.

After extreme exposure you could lapse into unconsciousness, and without medical treatment you could ultimately stop breathing altogether.

Reacting to a Carbon Monoxide Emergency

Where carbon monoxide is produced carbon monoxide detectors must be installed, it’s as simple as that. These detectors will catch most but not all carbon monoxide leaks, however, so they are not a reason for complacency.

Naturally if a detector alarm is sounding, or if people are becoming ill for no apparent reason, you should evacuate the building as rapidly as possible without causing a panic. While the focus should be on getting everyone out, if you and others have the opportunity to open windows and doors on your way out of the building by all means do so.

If the suspected source of the leak is close you can try to cut off its power and fuel supply before exiting. But if doing so isn’t quick and convenient you should call your gas company and/or your HVAC contractor and ask them to take care of that.

Should anyone exposed to carbon monoxide lapse into unconsciousness, emergency medical assistance should be requested immediately.

Strategies to Reduce the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Leakage

Besides installing carbon monoxide detectors there are other steps you can take to reduce the chances of a carbon monoxide leak occurring.

The first and most obvious is to arrange for semi-annual maintenance inspections of your HVAC system. Trained technicians will be able to spot signs of wear, tear or damage that might indicate a likelihood of carbon monoxide leakage.

This advice obviously applies to any other gas, oil or propane appliances you might have, and you should search online or contact the dealer who sold you those items to find maintenance service providers in your area.
Ventilation is another important issue you should address. Even if a leak springs good ventilation can limit the gas’s effects, so if possible you should install windows or vents near any appliance that produces carbon monoxide.

Solano Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.

At Solano Heating & Air Conditioning we know the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. To eliminate the risk we provide thorough and professional HVAC check-up and maintenance services to our customers in Contra Costa, Solano, Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun City and beyond.

For your safety please call us today to arrange an inspection of your home or business’s heating and cooling system. Our skilled technicians will make sure your HVAC equipment remains in exquisite working order, and we will repair any damage we find that might conceivably leave you vulnerable to a carbon monoxide leak.

Please follow us here for more valuable information about heating, cooling and indoor air quality repair, maintenance and installation.

Can Extreme Weather Increase Health Problems Related to Indoor Air Quality?

Are you surprised to learn that extreme weather can increase health problems related to indoor air quality (IAQ)?

Many people think that the air inside their homes is free from pollution, but the reality is that this air can be some of the most polluted. Also, people tend to spend the most time indoors, which means they are exposed to these contaminants far more than contaminants outdoors.

Common Sources of Indoor Pollution

The most frequent indoor pollutants include:

  • Respirable particles
  • Chemical emissions
  • Mold spores
  • Animal allergens
  • Radon
  • Combustion gases
  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Pesticides

Some of these pollutants come from obvious sources, such as tobacco smoke or animal dander. So where does weather fit into all of this?

How Weather Affects IAQ

Extreme weather makes a difference because it can lead to an increase in mold, dampness and structural problems. As a matter of fact, a new report issued by the Institute of Medicine found that extreme weather like floods and heat waves may affect IAQ and increase the risk of chronic health problems.

For example, when the weather gets hot and stays hot, it heats up building materials that can then release emissions into the air. People tend to run their air conditioning units, so there is no fresh air to filter anything out. Not to mention, if AC units are not kept completely clean, they too can blow out mold, further contaminating the air.

Heavy rainfall and flooding also causes its fair share of problems. It dampens building materials, increases allergen production and leads to mold and mildew growth.

Populations Most At Risk

The health problems that can be caused by indoor air pollution can affect anyone of any age. However, certain populations are more at risk for adverse side effects, including young people, older people and those with allergy and asthma problems. Individuals who are immunocompromised may also suffer from more severe reactions.

Protecting Your Health

What are some of the steps you can take to protect your health? You can’t control the weather, after all! The best things you can do include the following:

  • Keep the home clean by dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, etc.
  • Open the windows to let in fresh air
  • Give your AC unit periodic breaks
  • Schedule regular maintenance checks for HVAC
  • Replace filters often and make sure to use a HEPA filter to better filter out allergens and pollutants
  • Keep a healthy level of humidity in the home
  • Don’t smoke indoors
  • Test the home for radon

Solano County IAQ Experts

If you would like to learn more about improving indoor air quality in your home, call the IAQ experts at Solano Heating and Air Conditioning. We have a full range of indoor air quality services such as IAQ testing, UV lamps, ventilators and much more that are designed to improve comfort and air quality.

Learn More About Our IAQ Services Here!

Benefits of Financing Your New Heating and Cooling System

No matter how hard you try to prepare for every financial contingency, sometimes unforeseen circumstances can put you in a bind.

This is frequently the case with HVAC systems, which people tend to take for granted right up to the point where they begin to severely malfunction. If you are encountering these circumstances you may be tempted to simply have the system repaired to keep it going for as long as you can, giving yourself extra time to save money to buy new equipment.

It’s understandable why you might take this approach. But patching things up will itself cost you money and will only work for so long; eventually the system will break down completely and then you’ll have no choice but to go all in on replacement equipment whether you’re ready or not.

If the costs of a new system seem intimidating, you should look into financing options, which every reputable HVAC contractor offers to help cover the costs of equipment purchase and installation.

Financing Your HVAC Purchases: How it Works

A variety of financing options for HVAC purchases are usually available, all customized to meet the needs of customers regardless of income and budget.

Should you decide to apply for financing to pay for new heating and cooling equipment, here’s what you can expect:

  • Quick and convenient application procedures.
  • Lightning-fast credit approvals.
  • Access to promotional opportunities that can keep overall costs down.
  • No home equity requirements.
  • Affordable, fixed interest rates.
  • No prepayments, annual fees or extra closing costs.
  • Reduced minimum monthly payments based on income qualifications.
  • Easy payment options (credit/debit cards, direct withdrawal or by mail).

To establish eligibility for financing, you will have to provide some proof of income, usually for the previous three months. Pay stubs are normally adequate but if you are self-employed you can prove your ability to meet the income requirements with tax forms or business ledgers.

Before financing is approved your contractor will run a credit check. However, even if your credit score is low you may be able to obtain financing if your income is acceptable and you can provide letters of reference from those who can swear to your reliability.

Finance and Save with Solano Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.

While financing your HVAC purchase will result in a new monthly bill, modern HVAC equipment is highly energy-efficient and should allow you to cut 30-50 percent off your existing energy bills, depending on the age of your existing equipment. Consequently your overall monthly expenses may actually go down if you choose to finance and install a new energy-efficient heating and cooling system.

At Solano Heating & Air Conditioning we can offer you multiple financing options that will help you purchase the HVAC equipment you need at a price you can afford. If you live in Contra Costa, Fairfield, Solano, Suisun City or Vacaville and are in the market for a new heating and cooling system, call us today to make an appointment and together we will assess your needs and discuss all of our available financing options.

Let our blog be your go-to resource for all things heating, cooling and indoor air quality-related.

Why Is Changing My Air Filter So Important?

Most heating and cooling systems come with air filters that need to be periodically replaced. While this should be standard practice, many homeowners forget this important component to HVAC maintenance.

Why Do I Need to Change My Air Filter?

Air filters do the hard job of trapping objects and debris before they’re able to enter your system. A dusty filter will reduce the airflow and increase the used energy by 5 to 15 percent. That means your system will have to work harder for the same level of heating and cooling. Additionally, dusty filters often lead to dirty coils, which can affect the performance of the system. Dirty air filters can also cause respiratory issues, allergies and illness, because of the circulation of bad air.

How Often Should I Change My Air Filter?

In order to keep your heating and cooling system working at peak efficiency, and to keep your home environment clean and healthy, change your air filter every three to four months. This simple maintenance can help you avoid the need for service. Replacing your air filter can go a long way toward mitigating a need for costly repairs. Some systems may need to have the filters changed as often as monthly, and you may want to do this anyway if anyone in your home has a health-related issue.

What Type of Air Filter Should I Buy?

There are a number of air filters you can choose from, depending on your individual preference and the type of system you have. Some filters block airflow, and therefore may not work as well as others.

 

  • Electrostatic air filters—These filters rely on electricity or electronic static. They don’t block airflow to the HVAC equipment, which means it can operate without clogging. They have about a 90 percent efficiency for clean air.
  • Fiberglass panel filters—You can purchase these inexpensive filters at any store. The filter traps big dust particles, but they quickly build up and cause airflow problems. Therefore, you’ll want to replace these filters frequently.
  • Media air filters—These filters are reliable and cost effective, and HVAC professionals use them quite frequently. Since they have a number of fiber layers, contaminants are stopped before they make it all the way through, and airflow isn’t affected.
  • Pleated air filters—Pleated air filters are similar to media filters but need to be changed more frequently. Particles land on the cover of these filters, so the particles are trapped without preventing airflow.
  • HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) media—These media filters remove dust mites, pollen, pet dander, household allergens and mold spores and are over 99 percent efficient
  • Activated carbon air filter—Activated carbon air filters are used in buildings with heavy smells and odors. The charcoal base helps minimize the need for camouflaging the odors, but they’re not as efficient in removing particles as some other options.

 

Consult your HVAC technician and any paperwork that came with your system in order to determine the right air filter for your needs. No matter which you choose replace it regularly for optimal performance.