5 HVAC Questions Our Technicians Get ALL the Time

 

Throughout our 35+ years of service to Grass Valley and the surrounding communities, we often find ourselves answering the same questions about HVAC systems over and over again. No matter what type of home you have and what your heating and cooling needs are, it is important to keep your HVAC system working properly and running efficiently to keep your family healthy and comfortable. Today, we are going to answer some of your questions about HVAC maintenance and repair.

5 Common HVAC Questions Answered

Over our years of experience, we have put together a list of the 5 most common HVAC questions we get from our customers:

1. How often should I change or clean my air filters?

This is probably the question that we get most often. Some people change their filter at the start of each season, while others replace it once every month. The best answer to this question is that you should change your air filter when it is dirty. The frequency depends on a number of factors including the type of air filter, home air quality, pets, number of people in your family, and the level of outdoor pollutants and allergens in the area. To keep your system running efficiently, check your filters once a month and change them when they become dirty or clogged.

2. How often do I need to have my HVAC system serviced?

Your HVAC unit is a mechanical device with a motor and electrical components that require routine maintenance. Just like an automobile, your HVAC system needs to be serviced regularly to keep it running smoothly and working efficiently. If you do not have your system serviced regularly, you may experience complications and the unit may become less energy-efficient overtime. Aim for an annual tune-up where an HVAC expert will clean and lubricate your HVAC system components to keep your system working effectively year-round.

3. Why is my AC unit freezing up?

This is a common problem that homeowners face. There are many different reasons why you may be experiencing a frozen AC unit. As a homeowner you can make sure that the air filter is clean or replaced and the airflow is not restricted. Beyond that, you will need to call an HVAC professional to diagnose and fix the issue. Some potential issues that may be causing your AC unit to freeze up are low refrigerant, a dirty evaporator coil, or a defective blower motor or relay, all of which can be diagnosed and fixed by an HVAC technician.

4. Do I need to purchase an indoor air quality system (humidifier, dehumidifier, air purifier)?

No two homes or comfort levels are exactly the same. The answer to this question really depends on the needs of the individual and their family. Whole-house humidifiers can help reduce moisture for homes in humid climates while humidifiers can help add moisture to homes in dryer climates. As for air purifiers, they can be beneficial to those who have severe allergies or asthma, but it depends on the person’s threshold for irritants and allergy triggers.

5. How can I increase the efficiency and life of my HVAC system?

There are many ways that you can increase the energy-efficiency and longevity of your HVAC system. One of the best ways to increase energy efficiency is by adjusting your thermostat to a temperature closer to outdoor temperatures when you are not home and using the space. You should also make sure that your home is well-insulated and you are replacing or cleaning your air filters regularly so that your HVAC system is not working harder than it has to.

Have a question that we didn’t cover? Contact us today for help with your heating and cooling concerns.

4 New Technologies to Be Aware of for Home Heating & Cooling

 

New technologies across a variety of industries continue to make our day-to-day lives much easier. Heating and cooling your home is no exception. As new HVAC technologies continue to hit the market and improvements are made to existing devices, keeping your home comfortable has never been easier.

New Technologies for Heating and Cooling

By getting to know which new HVAC technologies are available or may soon be available for your home, you can make strategic plans for upgrading or replacing your unit. Here are 4 HVAC technologies that have the potential to transform the way that you heat and cool your home:

1. Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats are one of the most popular and affordable HVAC technologies on the market that help homeowners keep their home more comfortable. These devices are connected to the internet and allow homeowners to adjust heating and cooling settings right from their smartphone. This technology allows you to control the temperature in your home throughout the day so that you can save energy when you aren’t home and make sure that your home is the just the right temperature when you return.

2. Vent Sensors

Vent sensors work with your current heating and cooling system so that you can control airflow to make every room in your home comfortable. This HVAC technology allows you to continuously check the temperature, humidity, and pressure in each room and make adjustments for maximum comfort. The sensors connect to Wi-Fi thermostats, so that you can control your home comfort level and air quality right from your smartphone.

3. Self-Diagnosing HVAC Systems

Another new technology that has the potential to change the face of the HVAC industry is self-diagnostics. This technology would allow homeowners to find out what is wrong with their HVAC system when the air conditioner or furnace goes out. This is especially helpful if it will take a while before a technician can take a look at the unit. Though you may still need to call an HVAC technician to repair your unit, self-diagnostics would allow you to diagnose the issue quicker and do some research so that you are more informed before you start getting cost estimates.

4. Variable Refrigerant Flow

Sometimes your HVAC system is only needed to heat or cool one part of your home. Over time, this can waste a considerable amount of energy. Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) allows homeowners to heat and cool different parts of their home, adjusting each room to a different temperature. This helps conserve the energy by only heating or cooling the rooms that need a temperature adjustment.

These are only a few of the best HVAC technologies available to help homeowners keep their homes comfortable while also conserving energy and lowering utility costs. Want to find out what new HVAC technologies might be right for you? Contact us today for more information.

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Fix Up These 7 Things First

 

It always pays off to make a few quick fixes before selling your home. However, you want to make sure that you are making repairs that will offer a return on investment. There is no golden rule about what should be fixed before selling your home, but if you are putting your house on the market, you may want to take a look at some of the most common repairs that will allow you to recoup some of the repair costs.

Fixes to Make Before Selling Your Home

Chances are that you don’t have the time or funds to fix everything in your home before putting it on the market, but there are a few elements that are worth the effort. Here are 7 fixes that you can make to make buyers more interested:

  1. Exterior

It is important to make a good first impression for potential homebuyers. Not only are cracks in the sidewalk or broken railings unsightly, but they can also pose a safety risk. Patch cement cracks, resurface asphalt driveways, and repair any fences. Replacing doorknobs and locks and working on the landscaping are also simple and relatively affordable fixes that can have a significant impact on the look and feel of your home.

  1. Flooring

Homebuyers love hardwood floors, so it is worth your while to clean and refinish your floors so they are looking their best. If you have hardwood underneath carpets, consider having it removed and refinishing the hardwood. If this is not an option, replace carpeting with a neutral color for best resale value. You should also replace any chipped or cracked ceramic tiles and clean or replace grout.

  1. Wall and Ceiling Paint

A fresh coat of paint can go a long way. Though everyone has their own unique tastes when it comes to interior color schemes, sticking with neutral and soft wall colors is a safe bet. Remove any wallpaper and remove any popcorn ceiling material as this can contain harmful chemicals, and many buyers are turned off by the look.

  1. Kitchen Cabinets & Countertops

The kitchen is a big selling point for many homebuyers. Replacing cabinets and countertops is not always necessary. You can resurface the cabinets and install new hardware to give them a refreshed look. Countertops can often be cleaned up or resurfaced to look like new.

  1. Sinks and Faucets

Buyers don’t want to have to deal with leaky faucets or stained sinks. Make sure all of the faucets are in working order and all sinks are clean. Installing new faucets and sinks can be a relatively affordable way to drastically improve the look and appeal of your kitchen.

  1. Bathroom Floors, Fixtures, & Lights

The national average of recouped costs for bathroom repairs is more than 100%, so there is a good chance that all of the money you put into renovating your bathrooms will pay off. Replace bathroom floors, fixtures, and lights, especially if your current bathroom seems a little outdated.

  1. HVAC System

Though replacing your heating and cooling system is most likely not necessary or cost-effective, it is important to make sure that your HVAC unit is running smoothly as potential homeowners may be turned away at the thought of having to make costly repairs right after buying the house.

Need to fix up your HVAC system before you put your home on the market? Contact us today to make an appointment with an experienced HVAC technician.

 

 

 

Don’t Try This at Home: Illegal DIY Projects

Home improvement projects are fun, provide a great sense of satisfaction, make your home better (tasteful ones, anyway), and can save you loads of money. But did you know that there are some projects that are illegal for you to attempt yourself? There’s lots of them, actually.

DIY Projects You Need A Professional For

It’s possible to break down these illegal projects into specific hazards for convenience sake, which is what we’ll do.

Fire, Explosion, Water Damage, & Electrocution

  • Changing range tops from gas to electric, or vice versa
  • Installing a new hot water tank
  • Installing a new (Not replacing) a light fixture
  • Repairing an HVAC system

Not only do utility companies frown upon people messing with their carefully installed infrastructure, they actively advice against it. It’s not unheard of for a home to blow up in the middle of the night even with professionally-installed gas equipment. Trying to configure a gas line yourself is a remarkably poor idea.

This goes for attempting repair on your HVAC system, installing a water heater, or attempting to configure new wiring in your home. These activities require special training and certification to make the work safe for the inhabitants. In other words: Don’t try it.

Structural Integrity

  • Installing a skylight
  • Knocking out a wall

Second up on the list is cutting into the structure of your home. That should be pretty easy to understand why it’s a bad idea. Weakening of the structure can cause some pretty nasty things to happen. Like the roof pancaking you while you sleep! This is another job for the professional only. Care must be taken to not take out a load-bearing wall or rip into a truss of the roof.

Bodily Harm

  • Pumping your septic tank
  • Replacing a garage door spring
  • Disturbing old insulation
  • Wildlife infestation removal

There are quite a few DIY projects that can be mortally dangerous without involving fire or electricity. Replacing a garage door spring, or disturbing old insulation are two of those. Garage door springs are wound incredibly tight and have the potential to inflict quite the injury. Disturbing old insulation can be particularly bad if it contains asbestos. And pumping your septic tank or removing wildlife (think cholera and rabies) is just a bad idea all-around for any number of unpleasant reasons. Call a professional.

At Brewer Refrigeration, we can help you with at least one of these issues: HVAC repair. So give us a call today if you’re in need of HVAC system servicing!

Installation and Maintenance of HVAC Coils

Ensuring Proper Installation

The first step in making sure that your HVAC coil is installed properly is to use a reputable and professional company, like us here at Brewer Refrigeration. After that, it all comes down to the technician following standard procedure for installing the coil. Such as using appropriate soldering or brazing techniques and pulling a vacuum in the line to be sure that it is not going to leak any refrigerant. This is a job for a trained professional and should not be attempted as a DIY project.

Maintaining Your HVAC Coils

The second most important thing in making sure your coils run efficiently and smoothly is proper maintenance of them. This is something a homeowner can do if they wish, or it can be a part of a maintenance agreement.

Maintaining the coils in an HVAC system comes down to keeping them clean and free of any dust or debris buildup. On a split system, the condenser coil is going to be the one that is most easily reached by a homeowner for basic maintenance. Cleaning this coil is pretty straight-forward and should be done at least once a year.

First, pull the disconnect from the power box either mounted on the condenser unit itself, or on the wall nearby, flip it over so “off” reads right-side up, and reinsert it. This will keep power from going to the unit and it turning on while you’re maintaining it.

Next, remove any debris from around the outside of the condenser box. Next, take a garden hose and thoroughly spray down all sides of the unit and wash off any small debris. Using a coil cleaning agent, spray down each side of the condenser coil, being sure to get in between the fins.

Once that has set for the time according to directions, spray it off again with the hose and then reconnect the disconnect. Lastly, use a fin comb to straighten any bent fins.

By using this simple maintenance method at least once a year, your coil will function efficiently and trouble free every season. Follow the Brewer Refrigeration blog to stay informed on how to maintain your HVAC system.

Tips for Home Energy Saving

Saving Energy around your home is extremely important. In the long run, you can save money and make sure everything is working properly. If you need any help of advise on how you can save energy, please give us a call today!

10 Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a New AC or Furnace

When looking for a new furnace or air conditioner, you’ll want to take the time to make a wise investment. Purchasing the right system can save you time and hassle, and you’ll most likely be able to enjoy quality heating and cooling for years to come.

Avoid These Pitfalls When Buying a HVAC System

Steer clear of these common mistakes when you’re in the market for an air conditioner or furnace.

1. Getting Just One Estimate

Try for at least free estimates before you decide on a company. Good companies offer free estimates, and they will all vary in what they provide.

2. Ignoring SEER

The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating is an important consideration. Ideally, the system you choose should have at least a 13 rating, and at best, a 16 or higher. These systems will expend less energy and save you money.

3. Not Getting a Maintenance Contract

In order for your HVAC system to continue working properly year after year, you’ll want to get annual service performed. When you have a maintenance contract, the service is already included, and you’ll be working with your trusted company.

4. Choosing the Lowest Price

Often, the lowest price HVAC system won’t save you the most money overall, and systems tend to last between 12 and 15 years. Going for quality over cost can save you money in the long run.

5. Getting the Wrong Size Equipment

It’s very easy to get the wrong size equipment, and the results can be quite damaging. You’ll most likely encounter high energy bills, as the system won’t be working efficiently. It will be more prone to breaking down and won’t heat your home well.

6. Using Untrustworthy Contractors

Choose contractors who are affiliated with the BBB and have a good rating. It’s also a good idea to contact a few former customers to make sure they were satisfied with the service.

7. Be Wary of Big Discounts

Some companies offer huge discounts to acquire customers, but then do a shoddy job. These companies also often raise the price once they’ve begun work.

8. Not Looking for Rebates

Many manufacturers and states offer rebates as incentives for homeowners to buy energy efficient models. Sometimes these rebates add up to over $1,500.

9. Getting Outdated Refrigerant

R-22 is an ozone-depleting gas and is restricted from use in new units. Check to make sure your new system uses R-410A or another type of approved refrigerant.

10. Not Asking for a Written Guarantee

A written guarantee can help protect you in case the system breaks down right away, or in case the workers install the unit incorrectly.

By following the above guidelines, you can help ensure that you get a quality HVAC system and enjoy quality heating and cooling in your home.

3 Signs your Furnace Needs Repairs

3 Signs your Furnace Needs Repairs

Wondering if your Furnace needs repairs or replaced? Have questions about your HVAC system? Give us a call and we can give you a affordable quote and get the heat back into your home. We service Grass Valley, Nevada City and Penn Valley. Call us today!

How Can I Reduce My Energy Costs In The Winter?

481723049-compressedWhen the days get shorter it is time to start thinking about ways you can minimize your winter energy costs. There is no escaping increasing heating costs as the outside temperature drops. Unpredictable weather patterns make it difficult to know exactly how high your heating costs will be. You have several ways you can save energy during the winter, even when your heater is running at full capacity.

The first thing you can do is turn your thermostat down two degrees. Put on a sweatshirt and throw another blanket on the bed and you will barely notice the difference. The savings you see on your first energy bill after turning your set temperature down will be worth it.

Insulating your water tank and turning the heater thermostat down two degrees is another effective way to lower your energy costs. You can consider swapping out your old shower heads for low-flow models. A low-flow shower head conserves water so there is less water to heat.

Winterizing the rest of your home will make it easier for your heater to do its job. A qualified HVAC technician can survey your home and let you know if you have enough insulation. Upgrading to double-pane windows is an effective way to prevent heat transfer. Apply caulk to any cracks in the seams around your door and window frames to keep out the drafts.

If you are still using incandescent light bulbs, swap them out for LED or CFL bulbs. These types of bulbs are more energy efficient. During the summer, they save on cooling costs because they do not give off heat the way incandescent bulbs do.

Energy companies charge higher rates for usage during peak hours. It will cost you less to run your major appliances if you do your chores between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm or 9 pm and 6 am.

Many of these habits will save you energy all year round, not just during the winter. Every little bit counts and when you add it all together, you should see a significant decrease in your yearly energy usage.

Follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently through the seasons.

Why You Should Buy Your HVAC System From Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer

You need an HVAC system for your home. You know its going to be expensive as you want a combined heating and cooling system. As it is a big-expense, you want to buy the item from a reliable manufacturer. After going through several companies, you’ve finally decided on Carrier. Carrier is a very popular company and it is well known for its prestigious products. However, the store located close to your home is a large supermarket chain that sells many different brands. It is not a Carrier factory authorized dealer. Should you buy from the supermarket chain or the authorized dealer?

 

Buying from a supermarket chain

Supermarket chains now have huge electronic sections that retail goods from all over the world. You will definitely find large companies and international manufacturers as well. However, this same variety is a drawback as well. As the supermarket deals with several products, it is up to the consumer to find a reliable company. There is no guarantee for the quality of the most expensive product or the cheapest product. Generally, its buyer beware. Furthermore, as the supermarket chain buys international products, you may get these goods in bulk but you will have problems later on finding spare parts or repair technicians. This really does not seem worth the discounted sticker price.

 

Buying from a Carrier factory authorized dealer

  • Dealers are vetted by the Carrier parent company and have to go through an intensive training process.
  • The dealership can offer company-sponsored discounts.
  • You are offered an authentic guarantee or warranty
  • For maintenance, all you have to do is get in touch with the dealership and they will send over a technician within 24 hours.

As you can see, buying goods from an authorized dealer is much more useful than buying from a supermarket chain. A dedicated dealer is more likely to send technicians over to deal with any small problems or maintenance issues and you will definitely save money on the entire deal. So why wait; find an authorized Carrier dealer right away and buy your HVAC system from them. Of course, you may have a few queries regarding this but do feel free to get in touch with us through this website or through the comments section. We will be glad to help you out.