Add These HVAC New Year’s Resolutions to Your List

How often do you actually stick to your New Year’s resolutions? Though some have the resolve it takes to remain steadfast in accomplishing their goals, many others fall a bit short. The good news is now that 2017 is right around the corner, you have a new chance to make some changes for the better. Why not make a resolution to save money by being a little better to your HVAC system? Below, we’ll tell you which New Year’s resolutions you can adopt this year to keep your home comfortable while cutting back on energy costs.

HVAC New Year’s Resolutions

Here are just a few of our favorite HVAC New Year’s resolutions that can help you take better care of your heating and cooling system:

Invest in a programmable thermostat.

If you don’t already have a smart or programmable thermostat, make 2017 the year that you finally invest in one. A programmable thermostat helps you cut down on energy costs by allowing you to run your heater and air conditioner more efficiently. You can program your thermostat for your preferred temperature while you and your family are at home, and then switch it to a more energy-efficient setting while you are away. These devices help you

Schedule your annual HVAC maintenance visit.

Another way that you can resolve to be good to your HVAC system in the new year is by scheduling an annual furnace and AC maintenance visit with your trusted Los Angeles HVAC company. Many homeowners do not worry about HVAC maintenance until something breaks down. However, an annual tune-up will help promote a long and healthy life for your AC and furnace equipment and keep your system running efficiently. During the tune-up, an experienced HVAC technician will clean and lubricate your system’s parts while checking for any repair needs. This is the best way to ensure year-round efficiency. Not to mention, this annual tune-up allows you to take care of repair needs as soon as they arise, instead of waiting until more costly repairs are needed.

Keep outdoor HVAC unit free of foliage and debris.

Though lawn maintenance may not be your idea of a good time, it is important to maintain the foliage around your outdoor HVAC unit. Any leaves, branches, or other debris near the unit can cause an obstruction. To be on the safe side, keep all bushes, shrubs, branches, grass, and other foliage clear within about 2 feet of the unit in each direction. This will not only help ensure that the greenery does not interfere with your HVAC system’s operation, but it will also provide enough space for an HVAC technician to work on the unit if necessary.

If you need help sticking to one of the HVAC New Year’s resolutions we’ve discussed here, we would be happy to help! Whether you need to schedule your annual tune-up, find the best air filter, or learn more about indoor air quality products, our HVAC experts are here to help. Call today for more information: (310) 836-0606.

HVAC Hacks: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do Yourself

Tempted to Hack Your HVAC Repair?

You’re handy around the house. You’ve stained some kitchen cabinets, repaired a few leaky faucets, and maybe even built a deck. You’re that homeowner. Now that your HVAC system is in need of a repair, you’re probably thinking “hey, why not?” Maybe, you’ve even considered replacing the system entirely – no technician needed. You’ve seen a few YouTube videos, plus you knew someone who did it and it went alright.

Slow down. DIY HVAC repair is dangerous and the consequences could include your family’s safety, your own safety, the condition of your system and your home, and the financial burden of a job done wrong.

DIY? Don’t!

HVAC service technicians are highly trained and licensed – there are years of schooling, tests, and ongoing trainings required to be an HVAC tech and maintain licensure. You would never walk into an operating room and feel qualified to perform surgery. This is hardly different! Your heating and cooling systems have dangerous components, require the use of electricity, and have dire consequences if installed improperly. Plus, only certified technicians should handle some of the equipment and materials required to perform repairs.

What could go wrong?

Electrocution

HVAC system installation and repairs can require interaction with high voltage electricity. By handling this poorly, you could blow a fuse in your home or worse, electrocute yourself.

Chemical Contamination

Refrigerant is a chemical used to keep your air conditioning system functioning. This chemical compound is cold enough to burn your skin and can be deadly if inhaled or handled poorly. Not only does refrigerant misuse put you at risk when performing repairs, but it also endangers everyone inside your home, as it could cause a gas leak.

One more thing, the EPA requires 608 certification for anyone who handles refrigerant. If you don’t have the certification, you are putting your life in danger.

Being Ill-Equipped

Equipping yourself with the right tools is essential. This will require more than what you’ve got stored in your toolbox or out in the shop. In fact, there are special gauges and tools that are required specifically for the HVAC industry including those that measure refrigerant gas leaks and other MAJOR issues. Failure to procure and properly use this equipment will result in major risks to your health and safety, as well as to the integrity of your system.

Fixing Your Mistakes Will Only Cost More!

With incorrect handling, your faulty system repair may not only need to be redone by a professional – which could cost more than it would have to rectify any problems your repair has caused. Also, the mistakes you make could compromise other components of the system which will then need to be repaired or replaced as well. Surely, you can see the HVAC bills piling up. It’s better to handle the problem with a professional from the very start.

HVAC DIYs You CAN Do

The desire to be involved in all aspects of home ownership and maintenance is a noble one. In fact, there are things you should be involved in, as a dedicated homeowner, to help your HVAC technician care for your system in between visits.

Swap your batteries: Your thermostat and your smoke & carbon monoxide detectors operate on batteries – swap these out regularly to ensure that your system and air quality are being monitored properly.

Swap your filters. Nearly all heating & air conditioning systems have filters to help manage debris and keep your air clean. If you’re not sure where your system’s filters are located, how to switch them, or which ones you need to buy, consult your Owner’s Manual.

For more information on HVAC system maintenance – both routine and repair – contact Brody Pennell Heating & Air today!

What are UV Air Treatment Systems?

Did you know that there are areas of your HVAC system where mold and bacteria like to hang out? These organisms can start to grow in the indoor coil and drain pan of your air conditioning unit and impact airflow and efficiency. Not to mention, these organisms can also become airborne, negatively affecting the air that you and your family breathe.

A UV air treatment system is designed to kill the mold and bacteria that collect in the moist environment of your home or office HVAC system. Using the natural power of UV light, these systems help significantly improve indoor air quality while keeping your HVAC equipment running efficiently.

Benefits of Ultraviolet Air Treatment Systems

Whether they are hard at work in the office, relaxing at home, or running errands at various stores, many people spend the majority of their day inside. What they may not consider is that indoor air is often just as dirty (or dirtier) than the air outside. Every time you enter your home from outdoors, you may be tracking in mold, bacteria, dust, dander, pollen, and other organisms that can impact the quality of the air you breathe. Ultraviolet air treatment systems help improve indoor air quality by killing airborne bacteria and germs that pass through your ductwork.

You may be wondering if your home or office needs an ultraviolet air treatment system. A germicidal UV lamp can help those who suffer from asthma, allergies, frequent cold and flu symptoms, headaches, runny nose, sore throat, itchy or watery eyes, and even fatigue. In fact, a single UV lamp model kills up to 70% of airborne bacteria in your air conditioning system while a coil irradiation model kill sup to 99.9% of surfaced mod on your cooling coil and other central AC components.

In addition to improving indoor air quality, these UV systems also protect your heating and cooling equipment and can improve the performance of your HVAC system. This is because particle buildup can restrict airflow and cause your system to work harder than it needs to when heating or cooling your home.

Carrier Germicidal UV Lamps

Carrier, a leader and innovator in home comfort systems, offers Germicidal UV Lamps as part of their Performance™ Series. These lamps kill mold and bacteria that start to grow on the indoor coil of your air conditioning unit. By eliminating these organisms, the UV lamps not only improve your home’s indoor air quality, but also increase system performance by allowing your system to run more efficiently. As a Carrier dealer, Brody Pennell can help you choose and install the Carrier Germicidal UV lamps that are a fit for your home comfort needs.

UV air treatment systems can be extremely effective at helping purify the air in your home or office, making it possible for everyone to breathe a bit easier. However, these systems are only effective if they are the right system for your home or office space and if they are installed properly in your HVAC system.

If you are interested in installing a UV air treatment system or any other indoor air quality product in your home, contact us today. Our HVAC experts will help you find the IAQ products and systems that are right for you and your home comfort needs.

Improving the Performance of Your HVAC System Over Time

HVAC systems are complex, expensive systems to replace. Luckily, homeowners can take steps to get more out of their existing systems. With proper care and maintenance, many homeowners can extend the lives of their systems years beyond the average life expectancy. Here’s what you need to know.

The Average Life of an HVAC System

Central heating and air-conditioning systems should last for years. With typical care and use, most systems will last 15 to 20 years. However, many homeowners can increase that time by several years if they follow industry-recommended maintenance schedules and invest in high-quality products as needed.

Keeping Your HVAC System Maintained

Investing time and money in maintenance tasks can improve your system’s performance, improve energy savings, and extend the life expectancy of your current unit.

Invest in a Yearly Tune-Up

See if your local HVAC service provider offers any deals for customers who maintain an annual tune-up appointment. Your equipment will require regular support over its lifetime (just like a car or a tractor), and a trusted HVAC professional can serve as an invaluable, money-saving resource for maintenance, repairs, and replacement services.

Change the Air Filter

Follow the recommended guidelines for changing the air filter in your unit. Pay attention to the level of dust and debris captured in each filter to determine if you need to change the filter more frequently. Keeping up with air filter changes will improve the overall air quality and prevent dust and other allergens from building up in the air and causing health and operational issues.

Invest in Energy-Efficient Products

If you need to replace any component within your system, look for products with efficiency ratings from EnergyStar, MERV, and other industry guidelines. Choosing high-quality energy-efficient products allows your system to perform at its peak level for longer periods.

Ask for Professional Installations

An improperly installed system or component may cause problems down the road. Always work with an HVAC professional to ensure your system receives the best installation and service over time.

Switch to a Modern Thermostat

A programmable or smart thermostat allows users to maintain energy-efficient settings throughout the year. Use programmed settings or remote capabilities to manage your system regardless of your presence at home.

Do Not Block Air Vents

Heating and air-conditioning systems need a balance of incoming and outgoing air. Do not place boxes, wall hangings, or rugs on top of air vents to prevent the accumulation of particles and the risk of mold.

The Right Service Provider for Your HVAC System

In addition to routine maintenance, owners of long-lasting HVAC systems don’t hesitate to contact a trusted heating and air conditioning service provider. You may be able to perform some maintenance and repair tasks yourself, but a professional has the knowledge and equipment to handle significant repairs and replacements. Maintain a strong relationship with an HVAC provider to make the most of every maintenance call and installation.

We would love to help you keep your HVAC system maintained in the long term. Please contact us with any questions or to schedule a service appointment with one of our experienced HVAC technicians.

Are All Air Filters the Same? Understanding the Various Types of Air Filters

An air filter is an integral part of a heating and cooling system. It traps small particles in the air as it circulates through the system and keeps them from going back into the building. These particles may cause allergic reactions, respiratory problems, and other health issues.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers has been encouraging the adoption of air filters with a minimum MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value). MERV measures the ability of a filter to remove particles both large and small.

Different Types of Air Filters

A few types of available air filters meet necessary standards and are common in both residential and commercial systems.

Fiberglass Panel Filters

Fiberglass filters are layers of interwoven glass strands supported by a metal frame to prevent collapse. Fiberglass filters are the most common panel or square filter and are meant to be thrown away and replaced after roughly a year of use.

Polyester and Other Panel Filters

Panel filters also come in materials other than fiberglass. These air filters are more effective but more expensive and are meant to be replaced annually.

Pleated Filters

These are similar to the traditional panel filter, but the added pleats increase the filter’s energy efficiency by as much as five times. The pleats also increase filtration capabilities. Pleated filters must be replaced yearly.

Washable HVAC Filters

Washable filters are more cost effective than panel or pleated filters, because they do not need replacing, only regular cleaning. Cleaning consists of rinsing the filter off with water and letting it dry before putting it back in the system. Small HVAC systems often use washable filters, but larger systems can use them as well.

HEPA HVAC Filters

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters most often are made from fiberglass, but the fibers are arranged to be far more effective than those in a fiberglass panel filter. A HEPA filter removes 99.7% of all particles from the air passing through it. These filters are especially helpful in the homes of allergy or asthma sufferers.

Electrostatic Air Filters

Rather than counting on a fine mesh to capture airborne particulates, electrostatic filters attract and trap particles with an electrostatic charge. They have this charge naturally and do not need electricity to keep it. Electrostatic filters offer better filtration than panel filters and do not need to be replaced, only wiped clean regularly.

Green HVAC Filters

Green filters offer a more economical and environmentally friendly alternative to fiberglass panel filters. These filters typically are made from cotton, although other green materials may be used. They do need to be replaced, but on a less-frequent schedule than other panel filters, resulting in a lower overall cost. Green filters are roughly equal in filtration capabilities to fiberglass panel filters.

The multiple types of air filters for heating and cooling systems offer home and business owners options in terms of filtration capabilities, maintenance, and cost. Choosing the right filter can save money and result in better health. If you need help purchasing the best filter for your home needs, give us a call today.

DON’T Put Your Home on the Market without Inspecting These 6 Things

If you are selling your home, you may be wondering whether or not you need a home inspection. Many sellers wait for the buyer to take the initiative. However, getting a home inspection before you put your house on the market can be beneficial in many ways. A pre-inspection reassures prospective buyers and saves you time and money by spotting any major issues ahead of time.

Home Inspection Check-List

Home Inspection Check-List

Even if you decide not to get a full home inspection before putting your house on the market, there are a few things that you should inspect beforehand to avoid any major surprises later when your interested buyer asks for an inspection. Here are the top home elements to add to your inspection check-list:

  1. Structural Components

The structural components of your home affect how long the home will stand up to forces like weather and gravity. An inspector will thoroughly evaluate the foundation, framing, and other structural components during the home inspection to get a better idea of how sound the home structure is.

  1. Roofing

Buyers typically shy away from homes that need a roof replacement, so having your roof inspected can give you a better idea of whether or not you may need to replace your roof before putting your home on the market. The inspector will look at the roof covering, draining systems, skylights, and chimneys.

  1. Plumbing

Though working plumbing used to be a luxury, today it’s pretty standard. You will want to make sure that your plumbing system is properly installed and operating effectively before showing your home to potential buyers. The inspector will examine the water supply and drainage systems, hot water heating equipment, and the fuel storage systems to make sure they are all in working order.

  1. Electrical Components

A safe, working electrical system is essential in any home. An inspector will evaluate many different electrical components including service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses. Some common areas of concern that will need to be fixed before putting your home on the market include undersized electrical service, double taps, and overheated wires

  1. Exteriors

Not only does the exterior of your home make an important first impression on potential buyers, but it can also have some red flags when it comes to safety that are important to fix before selling your house. An inspector will look at exterior components of your home to make sure it is easy to enter and exit the building and ensure that the exterior adequately keeps weather away from the structure and interior of the home. Common areas of concern are windows, siding, railing, and steps.

  1. Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

Buyers are usually looking for homes that are move-in ready without any immediate need for major repairs. That’s why having a working HVAC system is important before putting your home on the market. Some common HVAC issues that the inspector will look for are damaged condenser fins, disconnected ductwork, and leaking boilers.

Thinking about putting your home on the market? Call us today for a thorough HVAC inspection and tune-up.

 

Why You Need An HVAC Commission

One of the most important systems in your newly constructed home is the HVAC system. It will keep your home’s temperature regulated and, when commissioned and installed appropriately, save energy and keep your home environmentally friendly. If you need to commission an HVAC system but aren’t sure where to begin, let Brody Pennell help.

HVAC Commission

What Is HVAC Commissioning?

Simply put, HVAC commissioning is the thorough testing of your HVAC system’s performance. Although you are paying a contractor to build and install an HVAC system, there is no guarantee it will work perfectly after installation. To ensure it does, it’s best to have the system tested before, during, and after the building process. Commissioning saves homeowners money on maintenance costs, as well as the time it would take to repair or even replace an HVAC system. Commissioning also alerts you to potential problems before they happen, such as a system that’s prone to overheating.

Do I Need An HVAC Commission?

Many homeowners are unsure whether HVAC commissioning is necessary and are leery of spending money on one. However, you should commission any mechanical system in your new home, including the HVAC system.

Commissioning will make it easier to upgrade your HVAC system when needed. For example, if you live in a naturally hot area, you may need to upgrade chillers sooner than you estimated. Boilers, pumps, and heat exchangers may undergo wear and tear during harsh weather, leading to expensive repairs. An HVAC commission will ensure that your system has all the proper equipment when it is installed and that it all works at optimum levels.

Who Will Perform My Commission?

Usually the contractor who installed your system will be the same person who commissions it. If the contractor is unwilling or unable to do this, you must find a reputable commissioning agent immediately. During a commission, the contractor or other agent will simulate different operating conditions to test how well the system works and alert you to possible problems. Commissioning ensures these problems are fixed during installation, not left until the last minute or ignored until the project is complete and the contractor has already left.

During an HVAC commission, your contractor will mount and secure your HVAC box and ensure all controls are accessible. He or she will check each part of the system, such as fan belts, motors, coils, and piping to be sure they are installed properly and do not have wear and tear that might prevent them from working.

The contractor will check to see all system parts such as unit supply fans, dampers, and valves respond on command, and that start and stop times are programmed into the HVAC system properly. If any problems occur, the contractor will isolate the issue and devote time to it until it is resolved.

Learn More About HVAC Commissioning

If you wish to learn more about HVAC commissioning or want to schedule one, please call Brody Pennell or visit us online. Our associates are well versed in commissioning and will walk you through each step of the process.

 

How Cogeneration Impacts HVAC Systems

Saving energy is a major topic in the HVAC industry. Although the American economy is recovering, the process is slow, and for consumers and businesses, saving energy means saving time and money. However, HVAC systems often use massive amounts of energy, which naturally translates into larger energy bills for home and business owners. HVAC experts are finding cogeneration may be the answer to this issue.

What Is Cogeneration?

Cogeneration, otherwise known as combined heat and power (CHP), uses a power station or heat engine to create useable electricity and heat simultaneously. When an HVAC system generates electricity, it also generates heat. This keeps the home or business warm in fall and winter, but that energy is often wasted during spring and summer. Even during colder seasons, extra heat is siphoned into the environment, causing wasted energy. Cogeneration captures leftover heat and “recycles” it.

How The Heat Is Used

In cogeneration, the “waste heat” from an HVAC system is used to heat water, and offsets greenhouse gas emissions and fuel that would otherwise be burned away. This keeps the HVAC system from overheating or breaking down. Over time, such use saves significant time and money in terms of repairs and replacements. The longer an HVAC system lasts, the more energy it can create and the cleaner and safer its surrounding environment will be.

Cogeneration Cuts Costs

Additionally, cogeneration decreases the overall need for electricity. An HVAC system that uses CHP will use about 50% less electricity than systems that do not. As a result, home and business owners can run their HVAC systems for shorter periods, saving energy and keeping the surrounding environment free of pollutants. In addition, home and business owners who use a CHP HVAC system will learn to respond better to natural temperature fluctuations in their buildings. Over time, they may turn to more energy-saving methods of keeping themselves warm or cool, such as using environmentally friendly building materials.

The EPA and other agencies estimate that using a cogeneration HVAC system cuts energy costs and harmful emissions by at least 30-40%. Growing popularity and technological improvements guarantee that increasing numbers of people will use cogeneration systems in the future.

The Growing Popularity Of Cogeneration

Although cogeneration has existed since 1882, our over-reliance on fossil fuels has created a resurgence among home and business owners, especially those who work with HVAC systems. With cogeneration, HVAC systems are now relying more on thermal energy, a cleaner energy source than oil, gas, and other fossil fuels. This decreases air pollution and its many negative consequences, such as the impact of poor air quality on human health.

As the technology behind cogeneration improves, the EPA and other agencies estimate its popularity will only continue to grow. Right now, technological improvements include cost reduction for HVAC systems that use cogeneration, as well as improved environmental control technology. These particular improvements will allow HVAC experts and their customers to adjust individual cogeneration systems to fit their needs and surrounding environments.

Finding An HVAC Dealer in Los Angeles

There are several cogeneration HVAC systems available, so finding the right dealer is crucial. If you are searching for a Los Angeles HVAC dealer, please call Brody Pennell or visit us online. We can further explain the benefits of a cogeneration HVAC system and determine the best system for your particular needs.

Why is Changing My Air Filter so Important?

If you want to save money, avoid expensive HVAC repairs, and have good indoor air quality, changing your air filter should be a regular item on your chore list. It’s much easier than you may think to change out the air filter, and it’s inexpensive too. For all the benefits you get, it just makes sense to change your filter out every few months.

Changing Your Air Filter is Good for Your Health

The air filter attached to your furnace collects particulate matter and prevents it from going into the air you breathe. If you or anyone in your family struggles with allergies or asthma, this is especially important. Having a good, clean filter can reduce the symptoms and breathing difficulties from these conditions. A dirty filter may also collect extra moisture, which encourages the growth of mold.

Keep Your Home Clean with a Quick Filter Change

An overdue filter change can also lead to dust build up in your home. When the filter is dirty it can no longer collect particles from the air and they will start to build up in your ducts and on surfaces in your home. If you allow your ducts to get too dirty, they may need to be professionally cleaned and this is much more expensive than a simple filter change.

A Dirty Air Filter Reduces Efficiency

A clogged up air filter means that air cannot get pushed into the vents as easily. This will cause your system to work extra hard to force the air out and it will no longer be working at maximum efficiency. The efficiency can drop significantly enough from a dirty filter that you will see the extra cost in your monthly energy bills.

Change Your Air Filter to Avoid Damage and Pricey Service Calls

A loss of efficiency is not the only maintenance problem you may see if you never change your air filter. A dirty filter can actually lead to damage. If the filter is dirty enough it can stop air from flowing and cause your entire HVAC system to freeze up. Fuel will still be burning and costing you money, but your home won’t heat.

Changing your air filter regularly is so important for health, cleanliness, efficiency, and to save money. Doing so is easy and inexpensive. If you need to figure out what filter to use or how to change it, contact the professionals at Brody Pennel to help you get started. And follow the Brody Pennel blog for more important information like this.

Why You Should Be Wary of Bargain HVAC Repairs

“You get what you pay for.”

It’s a saying we’ve all heard many times. We might have even used it ourselves on occasion. But it’s a piece of wisdom we often choose to ignore, no matter how well we understand the idea behind it.
Taking the cheap and easy way is one of the bigger mistakes people make when confronted with malfunctioning HVAC systems. We fear the cost of repairs so much we become desperate to find a bargain, and we end up hiring fly-by-night operators who will rip us off and leave us holding the bag.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

When hiring service people it’s smart to shop for quotes. But there is no law that says you have to select the lowest one, and needless to say there are many circumstances when it’s a very, very bad idea to do so.

Unfortunately lots of people have chosen HVAC companies offering cut-rate prices on repairs. In far too many cases they’ve been rewarded with cut-rate quality of service, leading them to quickly regret their decision to take the cheapest offer.

If you choose bargain-basement HVAC repair services here’s what you could be letting yourself in for:

Bait-and-switch schemes

You’re given a quote for one type of service, but after examining your HVAC system the technician suddenly announces something else is wrong and it’ll cost you a few hundred dollars more in parts and labor to get it fixed.

Incorrect installations that are impossible to detect

HVAC systems are complex, technically sophisticated and at least partially enclosed. If a service technician installs a part incorrectly you’ll never know it until that part fails and the problem you thought was fixed comes back again with a vengeance.

Totally unnecessary repairs or replacement of parts that were working just fine

You won’t realize you’ve been had until you start doing business with a more reputable HVAC company, whose technicians can analyze the past work you’ve had done and let you know if it was bogus or legitimate.

Repeated visits when they can’t get it fixed the first time

When you hire technicians who aren’t really qualified the chances of them figuring out what’s wrong the first time—and actually repairing it successfully—are relatively slim. That means they’ll have to come back again and again (if you let them). So all those wonderful cost-savings you were anticipating will never materialize, since none of these extra service calls will be on-the-house.

Know Who You Are Hiring

Before you do business with any HVAC company investigate them carefully. Pour over their website, talk to their representatives over the phone or in-person and insist on seeing the credentials of their service technicians. Read any reviews you can find online, and check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they’ve ever been the target of complaints.

If you find any red flags move on to another company and don’t look back, regardless of how much money they claim they can save you.

Please follow us for more insights on first-class HVAC maintenance and repair.