Monday, June 3, 2013

Do I Need a Whole-House Dehumidifier?

 


Air conditioning alone can't satisfy your home's humidity requirements. Your air conditioning system is designed to control temperature, not humidity, and only removes humidity as a byproduct of cooling. During the spring and fall seasons when it’s still cool outside but damp inside, your air conditioning isn’t running and your house is uncomfortable — you need an Whole-Home Dehumidifier.

Why Do I Need a Whole-House Dehumidifier?


Have you ever experienced any of the following uncomfortable and/or unhealthy conditions:
  • Do you have trouble sleeping at night due to clammy skin or stuffiness in the air?
  • Have you ever reduced the temperature setting because you're uncomfortable with the stuffy feeling?
  • Have your floors or other surfaces ever felt sticky or “sweaty”?
  • Are you concerned with mold and mildew growth in your home?
  • Do you have musty odors or smells in any area of your home?
  • Do you have condensation on your water pipes?
  • Have you seen wet stains on walls or ceilings?
  • Do you or a family member have allergies (over-moist air can encourage the growth of mold, bacteria, and dust mites—three commonly known household allergens).

Experiencing any of the above conditions can make sleeping and even daily activities miserable — plus some conditions can be hazardous to your family’s health or your home’s furnishings.

What Happens When Humidity is Too High?

When there is too much moisture in your home, wet air can get trapped in corners, basements, and other closed areas. This is usually most noticeable in bathrooms, where moisture gathers in corners and on ceilings and creates mildew that is often difficult to remove. Condensation can also accumulate in windows, causing water to drip down the window and wooden frames to rot. Bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms are also prone to having higher humidity levels.

This excess moisture provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold (which can be harmful to your health if left unchecked), and also makes your home more inviting for pest and insects such as cockroaches and termites.

Does the air in your home feel stale and musty? Do you have problems breathing at night because it's too dry or too humid? Komfort Heating & Cooling can help. Contact us today to learn more about our dehumidifiers and air quality products and services.

For More Information or to Schedule
Your Spring Tune-Up

Contact us at


262-723-2662

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring HVAC Tips

Spring Cleaning Begins with HVAC!


Spring cleaning is a common practice and it can be difficult to remember to do everything that is on your list. Although it can be overwhelming, an easy place to start is with your home air conditioning system. As a home owner one of the most important things on your spring cleaning list should be your home heating and cooling system. As the weather warms up, you want to make sure your HVAC system is working properly and efficiently to take on the summer heat. Clean air is a clean home! Here is a list of things to get you started on your home AC spring cleaning:






 

Top 5 Spring Cleaning Tips

  1. First things first, always check your air conditioning and heating equipment at the beginning of each new season to make sure it is running properly to avoid high energy costs.
  2. Replace your air conditioning system filter at least once every month. There are many different kinds of filters depending on your needs. Call one of our service representatives and we can help decide which is best for your system.
  3. Make sure your doors and windows are caulked and sealed properly to keep heat and humidity from getting inside your home causing your AC system to be overworked.
  4. Wash your exterior condenser unit off with a hose to remove dirt and debris from the fin area.
  5. Having an A/C company inspect the entire system is extremely recommended for best results. Komfort Heating & Cooling offers Spring Tune-Ups as a part of our Preventative Maintenance Program to make sure your system is ready to take on the extreme temperatures of the summer.

Spring Energy Saving Tips

  1. Spring is a great time for free heating & cooling from the outside. Open your windows when the temperature is right outside. You can also use natural ventilation by turning on your fans to circulate your home air.
  2. Annual air conditioner service/check up is important to make sure your system is working efficiently and not wasting energy. (We can help with this!)
  3. Turning off your air when you're not home can make a world of a difference. Running your AC at 78 instead of 72 degrees can save you between 6 and 18 percent on your energy bill!
  4. 90% of incandescent bulbs' energy is given off as heat. Try CFL or LED lights that run cooler and save energy. Avoid running appliances like your oven on warmer days and use natural lighting from outside.
  5. Use greenery like trees from your landscaping to create shade and keep the heat from your home.

For More Information or to Schedule
Your Spring Tune-Up
Contact us at
262-723-2662


 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Guidelines for Floods and HVACR Equipment

After a flood, homeowners are advised to take important safety precautions with regard to their home’s heating and cooling systems. A house or basement exposed to standing water can damage your home’s water heater, furnace, boiler, air-conditioning, ventilation, and heat pump system — putting your family at risk.

Replace, Don’t Repair

Flood-damaged heating and cooling equipment and systems should be replaced and not repaired, according to AHRI. All inspection and replacement work on flooded equipment should be performed by qualified heating and cooling contractors, not by homeowners. You can turn misfortune into opportunity by considering new, energy-efficient models that will lower your future energy bills. Also ask your local utility about available rebates for new energy-efficient gas or propane furnaces.

Ductwork

If you have a central forced-air furnace in the house you are repairing, pay attention to your ductwork too. A qualified heating contractor will not try to salvage duct insulation that has been in contact with flood water, but will replace it because it is impossible to decontaminate. Your contractor also will clean, dry and disinfect the ductwork. Doing a thorough job will require disassembling the ductwork. These repairs to your ductwork also give your contractor the opportunity seal joints in the ductwork and improve insulation to reduce heat loss.

Gas Furnaces and Boilers

If there is any question whether flood water has reached a gas appliance, have the unit checked by a qualified heating contractor. Natural gas furnaces, space heaters and boilers all have gas valves and controls that are especially vulnerable to water damage from floods and that damage may not be easy to detect. Corrosion begins inside the valves and controls, and damage may not be readily visible, even if the outside of the device is clean and dry. At a minimum, this damage can result in reliability problems.

Electric Furnaces

An electric furnace consists of electrically heated coils, a fan to provide air circulation across the coils, and controls which include safety relays. Just like the gas-fired warm-air furnace, the electric furnace is susceptible to corrosion and damage, resulting in reliability problems or safety hazards. If there is any question whether flood water has reached an electric furnace, have the unit checked by a qualified heating contractor.

Propane Heating

Use extreme caution when there is the potential for propane leaks and get propane equipment checked, repaired and/or replaced by a qualified heating contractor as quickly as possible after a flood. In every case, your contractor must replace all valves and controls that have been in contact with flood water. Propane systems also require attention to their gas pressure regulator. This regulator contains a small vent hole in its body to sense outside pressure. For effective gas pressure regulation, this hole must always remain unobstructed. During a flood, debris can easily plug the hole, causing dangerous malfunction or corrosion. The regulator should be replaced, as water from floods can carry corrosive chemicals.

Heat Pumps and Air Conditioning Systems

Split air conditioning and heat pump systems have power and control wiring between the indoor and outdoor parts of the system, and the piping that moves the refrigerant from inside to outside the home and back.

Even if the system is in contact with flood water for a long period, this sealed system is likely to remain intact. However, if flood water has repositioned either the indoor or outdoor units of a split system by only a small amount, there is the potential for a breached refrigerant system. The heat pump (or air conditioning system) will then require major repair or full replacement.
If the refrigerant system remains intact after the flood, the entire system should be cleaned, dried, and disinfected. You should have a qualified heating and cooling contractor check all electrical and refrigeration connections for both indoor and outdoor units, including all control circuits. The decision to repair or replace should be made by a qualified professional on a case-by-case basis.

Water Heating System

Whether your water heater is gas-fired, oil-fired or electric, if it was exposed to flood water, the unit should be replaced. A new water heater is a relatively small investment, and replacing it is fairly easy to do.
 
In a gas unit, valves and controls will likely corrode. In an electric unit, the thermostat and controls will likely corrode. In both types, the insulation surrounding the unit will be contaminated and will be nearly impossible to disinfect. Additionally, the insulation would take a long time to dry, leading to corrosion of the tank from the outside.
Even if water heater components have been cleaned and the unit seems to operate properly, parts may corrode in the future. Both gas and electric water heaters have a pressure relief valve that can corrode and stick after being exposed to flood water. Be sure, therefore, to replace this valve as well.

For More Information
Contact us at
262-723-2662

 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall & Winter Tips


Fall and Winter Tips from 

Komfort Heating & Cooling




Have your Heating system tuned-up for the season, so that you are running at peak efficiency. Operating at peak efficiency will save money because the system doesn't have to work as hard to do its job.

Replace your furnace or air handler filters on a regular basis. Lack of regular filter changes and maintenance is the Number 1 cause of system breakdowns and costly repair bills.

Keep the thermostat constant. Continuously adjusting the thermostat can be very inefficient. You can, however, lower the thermostat 2-3 degrees during the day while you're away to save money. For every degree you lower the setting, you can expect to cut energy consumption by up to 3-5%.

Flip the fan switch on your thermostat into the "fan on" mode when heating the house. This process will ensure that air is always being stirred to prevent hot and cold pockets from forming.

Consider a Heat Pump if you are going to replace your outdoor unit. Although a Heat Pump cannot produce air as hot as your gas furnace, when you combine a Heat Pump with your gas furnace you have a system that is much more efficient and still able to deliver the warmth we all love. 

Set air vents on the second floor to receive approximately 45 percent of the heated air. This will help even out the temperatures from the first to the second floor of the home. (Remember, hot air rises)

Open the shades and curtains to help produce radiant heat of the sun.

Replace older windows with more efficient low-E glass. These windows help to reduce the heat loss of your homes HVAC system. Also, keep storm windows closed. This saves money and extends the life of the system.

Run humidifiers to help maintain the warm feeling in your home. Proper humidity can make the air feel up to 3 degrees warmer. Which means you can turn down your thermostat a couple of degrees and save money on your utility bills and still feel the warmth that we all love on those cold days in winter. (Depending upon your environment, you may still need a dehumidifier running in the basement)

Clear or cut back shrubs and bushes from the outdoor Heat Pump unit. The sides of the unit require at least 12-18 inches of clearance for proper performance.

Keep fallen leaves, grass clippings, foliage and other dirt and debris away from your outdoor Heat Pump unit. And keep the indoor coils clean, following manufacturers' instructions.

Don't block vents or ducts inside the house to assure air flow in the home.

Caulk and install weather stripping around windows and doors (especially the attic) to close air gaps.

Consider use of a programmable thermostat to automatically increase or decrease temperatures during day and night to suit a family's lifestyle and reduce energy cost.

Keep windows and doors closed to help with the homes natural heat loss.


For More Information or to Schedule Your Fall Tune-Up 
Contact us at 
262-723-2662



Monday, September 17, 2012

Thermostats Controlled With Mobile Devices


More than 234 million Americans age 13 and up used mobile devices. Nearly 116 million of those using mobile devices are estimated to use a smartphone on a monthly basis by the close of 2012, according to New Media Trend Watch.

That exponential growth is expected to continue. By the close of 2016, an estimated 192.4 million Americans, or approximately 58.5 percent of the U.S. population  will use a smartphone on a regular basis.
A recent study, conducted by O2, reveals that smartphone users spend at least two hours each day on their devices, surfing the Internet, utilizing social media, listening to music, gaming, and performing other activities. One of those other activities: setting their thermostat.
New Improvements
Over the last five years, thermostats have changed dramatically. As adoption of smartphones and tablets has increased, consumer expectations have changed. Touch enabled devices and easy-to-use interfaces are now the norm. Technology advancements like Wi-Fi connectivity and the ability to have control through the cloud are no longer limited to just early adopters; they have transitioned to the mainstream.”
Cutting-edge thermostat technology has nearly replaced standard BAS systems panels with multi-input and output points. Thermostats in commercial HVAC applications have evolved into complex networked controllers. These new room controllers are not only capable of sending and receiving information from the central front end to control room devices, but can collect data for analyzing trends for optimum building control management.”
While climate-controlling devices have emerged smarter and more intuitive. The manufacturers of these devices have been able to use the technology available to put more computing power behind them and provide vast amounts of data for the installer and end user. 
With concerns about rising energy costs, consumers are looking for wireless thermostats that are easily installed and work with both new and existing systems. 

The Future
While thermostats and controls have certainly upgraded with the times, many manufacturers predict even further advancement is on its way. The next five years will change the face of HVAC controls, especially the good, old thermostat. It will be mobile, agile, and intelligent; and will be a major partner in energy conservation. Increasingly we will see web page control panels, smartphone-accessed controls, and the use of sensors on walls instead of the normal reporting thermostats.”
I believe that thermostats and controls will likely become even more discrete, convenient, and portable. “Smart device apps will grow more sophisticated as technology advances, providing homeowners with more monitoring and control capabilities. A greater number of thermostats and controls will be accessible via mobile apps, giving users more options to measure and monitor their HVAC systems remotely. Additionally, as homeowners work to use less energy and save money on utility bills, I predict that thermostats and controls will give users the ability to more closely measure HVAC energy usage.”
Push-button controls have transitioned to touch-screen controls and monochrome touch-screen devices are now being replaced with color touch screens. I believe HVAC controls will have a much larger influence on home operations. In the next few years controls will become a system differentiator and will truly become the home control. Remote access will allow you to stay connected with your home like never before.

A match made in heaven

Whether it’s energy savings, added peace of mind, or the convenience of mobile apps and easy-to-use web portal our customers have lots to say about our commitment to offering practical energy-saving solutions for both home and business.

For more information on installing a smart thermostat contact us at Komfort Heating & Cooling.

Call Us Today at


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Don't Wait Until You Need It: Furnace Repair Before Winter


The end of summer is the perfect time for furnace repair and maintenance, and other heating repair issues. One reason for this is the availability of furnace technicians. Another is that preventative maintenance is always less stressful than furnace repair when it’s freezing outside.

When temperatures are dropping along with the leaves this is when many homes are getting ready for colder weather. October is usually when homeowners turn on their furnaces for the first time, to ward off chilly fall evenings, and every year, our company sees a corresponding rise in calls for HVAC systems that aren’t heating homes well, or (worse yet) are refusing to heat at all.

Most homeowners don’t think twice about performing regular maintenance on their car, doing oil changes or tune-ups every 2-3 months. And yet, when it comes to their homes, they neglect to perform regular and inexpensive maintenance on key systems like the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. A visual inspection, cleaning and minor repair tune up for your HVAC system typically costs less than $100, and only needs to be done just twice a year once in fall and once in Spring, but gives enormous value to your family’s comfort and peace of mind. Contact us at Komfort Heating & Cooling and ask about our Silver Plan that covers two service calls a year and will save you over $40. 

Keep a Reliably Comfortable Home
Your HVAC unit is the single most important system when it comes to your family’s comfort. Although we typically take it for granted that the furnace will kick in when the temperature drops, anyone who has suddenly had their furnace die out on a cold winter day can tell you that scrambling for an emergency HVAC repair service while the family is layering on sweaters in the living room is a terrible experience.
Regular fall and Spring tune-ups for your HVAC units can not only alert you to potential problems well in advance but also ensure that your system is working at peak efficiency, eliminating cold spots and giving you better air distribution throughout the home. The result - your family is kept warm and comfortable no matter how chilly it gets outside.

Protect Your Biggest Financial Investment
Your home is generally your most significant financial asset, and HVAC systems can cost lots of money to replace. It makes good financial sense to maintain your systems with bi-annual tune-ups, ensure that you’re protecting your long-term investment and making sure this expensive system has a maximum lifespan for your home.
Perhaps more importantly, HVAC systems are the biggest energy consumers in your home, accounting for up to 50% of your total energy expenditures. Aside from the potential long-term costs of replacing a poorly maintained system, inefficient systems also cost you more each month to run. The smart homeowner monitors energy usage on a monthly basis to compare to previous years. It’s not uncommon for our customers to report 10-15% savings on their gas or electricity bills after they’ve had an HVAC tune-up performed.

More Than Comfort, More Than Savings
Aside from the improvements to your comfort and monthly savings that an HVAC tune-up can offer, there’s a wider benefit - an efficient home is better for our community. A well-maintained HVAC unit consumes less energy and has a longer lifetime before it has to be replaced, making it a green solution for everyone.

Don’t Put It Off
Whether you’re getting ready to book your regular fall maintenance or you’re just realizing now that it’s long overdue, use the season’s changing as a reminder to have your system serviced. It will pay off over the short and long term. 

Again, at the end of summer, furnace repair maintenance and other heating repair issues can be taken care of by widely available professionals at a time when you aren’t relying too heavily on your heating system. And it’s likely that you won’t have to wait in line.


Call Us Today at





Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Regional Appliance Standards Take Effect May 2013




The regional standards established by the Department of Energy (DOE) that are set to go into effect May 1, 2013. For the first time, the HVAC industry is being regulated not on what is being manufactured, but rather what is being installed. What does this mean to you? 
Starting May 1, 2013, gas furnaces installed in the Northern Region will have to be at least 90% AFUE. The states included in the Northern Region are: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Gas furnaces installed in all other states must be at least 80% AFUE.
What will impact homeowners in our area, is the requirement of 90% minimum efficiency for all furnaces sold.  We’re not talking about just new construction, but retrofit as well. We are concerned about the impact this will have particularly on owners of condos and townhomes.
As of today, when it’s time to replace a furnace in a condo or a townhome, the homeowner usually has no choice but to install a standard efficiency (80% efficient) furnace.  Upgrading to a high efficiency furnace requires a pvc vent, usually (and preferrably) out the side of the home.  Energy conscious townhome and condo owners will opt for an 80% efficient furnace with a high efficiency, DC drive blower motor.

As of May 2013, condo and townhome owners will have no choice but to install a 90%+ efficient furnace.  In many cases, to make a high efficiency furnace work in a condo or townhome will require major remodeling work.
If you’re an owner of a condo or a townhome and are concerned about whether the new rules will impact you, here are a few things to consider.  Most furnaces in condos and townhomes that were built 10+ years ago are standard efficiency furnaces.  If your furnace has a metal chimney, it is a standard efficiency furnace.  A PVC vent connected to your furnace means you are in the clear.  The second thing to look as is whether the utility room is on an exterior wall.  Being on an exterior wall means running a vent out the side of your home MAY be minimially intrusive.  Keep in mind that just because it’s on the exterior wall, a number of other factors still need to be considered to determine whether a high efficiency vent will be feasible.  You can’t have exhaust fumes near a window, fresh air intake, gas meter, etc.  Lastly, running new venting is often not allowed by townhome and condo associations.  But, that will soon change!
This law puts a lot homeowners against the ropes. I urge homeowners to act now, because local HVAC suppliers are already depleating their stock of 80% furnaces.  Part of the new law bans local suppliers from selling standard efficiency furnaces. For more information contact us at Komfort Heating & Cooling.