Energy Efficient HVAC Systems



Benefits of an Energy Efficient HVAC System 

Energy efficiency is an important concept to consider as a homeowner. The less energy you spend, the better. The Sacramento HVAC professionals at Gilmore know that your HVAC system is a major appliance in your home with the potential to use up a lot of energy.  With it, you are able to improve the overall conditions inside your home and enjoy the level of comfort you want. 

The fact that you are likely to use it all year round makes it even more important to explore the energy-efficient options. This means either replacing your old HVAC system or installing an energy-efficient unit in your new home. But what really are the benefits of having such a system in your home? 

It saves you Money 

This is, perhaps, the best and biggest benefit for many homeowners. According to the US Energy Information Administration, home air conditioning accounts for about 12% of energy expenditure at home. 

Newer HVAC systems are built to use less energy while performing better than their older less efficient counterparts. They use technology to conserve energy by storing air thus reducing runtime for units in large spaces. Units with the Energy Star rating are built to operate on less energy and will reduce the amount of money you spend on energy bills by significant margins. 

It provides a Superior Service 

Money is not the only reason that should get you to think about HVAC replacement. Modern AC units do not come with some of the trademark quirks from older models. For example, an older system will shake or rattle every time a cycle starts. Modern units are less noisy thanks to their noise absorbing materials. Gilmore Heating, Air & Plumbing notes that you will hardly tell that the HVAC system is running. 

Helps Reduce Your Carbon Footprint 

Energy-efficient models help you play a part in saving the environment. Modern units do not produce greenhouse gases thanks to the materials used in making and running the systems. Additionally, the units are able to store energy which can be used later when needed.

Increases the Overall Quality of Life 

Modern HVAC units come with different modes and settings that allow them to provide you with the best ambiance without necessarily using up too much energy. You can maintain a perfect airflow in your home by making use of the different speed motors which increase and reduce the pressure in the ducts as needed. 

Programmable thermostats that can be operated using your phone give you complete climate control in every room in your house from anywhere.  This way, you can turn on your HVAC system when needed and turn it off when there is no one in the house. 

It Increases the Value of your Home 

Due to the many benefits of having energy-efficient homes, most people are interested in modern and efficient HVAC systems for their homes. If you are planning to sell your house, an energy-efficient HVAC system might just give you an edge. Sacramento tilt-up contractors, Headwaters Construction Inc. advises that potential homeowners are more likely to buy from you. This is because you have eliminated the stressor having to replace the unit.  

Comfort does not need to come with a heavy price tag. You can increase the level of comfort in your home by simply investing in an energy-efficient HVAC system. If you do this, you will enjoy the benefits for years to come. Contact Gilmore Heating, Air & Plumbing for more information. Our Placerville HVAC professionals would love to assist you with your AC replacement

Common Pet Damage to HVAC Systems



Are your pets causing damage to your HVAC system? 

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that in 2017, 68% of all homes in the U.S. had pets. While the pets people keep may vary from one home to another, dogs and cats are by far the most common. Many Sacramento homeowners are surprised by the common pet damage to HVAC systems. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent further damage. If your household has a pet or two, read on and learn some of the adjustments that you need to make in order to stop the pet damage to your HVAC systems.

Changing the Air Filters Regularly

If you have furry pets, it is imperative that you change the filter regularly since pet fur and dander can quickly clog the filter. This happens when that fur and dander are sucked into the vents of the HVAC system, and they end up in the air filter and ductwork. Changing the filters as recommended will ensure that your HVAC system is running more effectively. Here’s how to install an air filter in a furnace

Changing your air filter frequently is an important step to maintaining your HVAC system. If the airflow is being blocked, your HVAC system will have to work even harder than usual. To ensure that everything is running properly, contact the best HVAC company in Sacramento for help. This expert will assess the conditions present in your home and recommend the most appropriate intervals at which you need to change the air filter.

When you follow that recommended schedule, the indoor air quality, and the performance of the air conditioning system will improve greatly. 

Protecting the Outdoor Unit

If you have a dog, the chances are high that it urinates on the outdoor AC unit as a way of marking its territory. Folsom AC service technicians explain that dog urine is very corrosive and will damage the AC unit. Your dog may also claw at the outdoor unit, and this can eventually cause serious damage to the unit in addition to putting your dog at risk of being electrocuted.

HVAC experts recommend building a fence or barrier around the outdoor AC unit so that your pets (especially dogs) cannot access it. If you aren’t sure about the barrier that will do a good job, talk to our professionals from Gilmore Heating and Air for advice.

Secure Electrical Cords

As a pet owner, you probably know how common it is for pets to chew on anything in sight, including cords and wires. This poses a grave risk to your pets and home. 

HVAC repair experts in Sacramento recommend that all wires and cords be enclosed in conduits so that those wires are safe from the action of pets. 

Clean and Groom Your Pets

Another helpful tip that can help your air conditioning system is becoming more vigilant about cleaning and grooming your pets. You’re probably wondering how this is beneficial to your home’s HVAC system?

When pets are groomed, preferably by a professional, there will be less loose fur and dander to be sucked into the HVAC system. Fox Valley plumber at Tureks Plumbing also adds that loose fur can also damage your plumbing system and clog your drains. Therefore, your ducts and filters will be much cleaner. For this reason, Sacramento HVAC experts encourage pet owners to clean and groom those furry family members. 

Vacuum the Home Regularly

In addition to cleaning and grooming your pets frequently, Gilmore Heating and Air also recommends vacuuming your home frequently. This will get rid of any fur before it is sucked into the ductwork and filter.

This proactive approach will ensure that pet fur doesn’t put an unnecessary strain on the air conditioning system.

While the suggestions above can go a long way towards maintaining your HVAC system, many HVAC professionals recommend getting an annual HVAC tune-up with your local HVAC company. An annual tune-up performed by the experts at Gilmore Heating and Air is the best way to ensure that any defect will be caught early and rectified. This will keep your HVAC system working for many more years to come. 

Why a Clean Air Filter is Important



Importance of Clean Air Filters

Gilmore Heating, Air & Plumbing⁣ knows that changing out dirty air filters can be a hassle. Many people wait too long to install clean filters in their homes. There are many reasons to make sure that your air filters are clean and ready to perform their job. Switching out your dirty air filters could be considered a great investment in your home. Here’s why:

Clean Air Filters Protect Your Home and Health

A dirty air filter can degrade the indoor air quality of your home and increase the chance of health issues. Poor air quality can lead to the spread of disease and the aggravation of asthma symptoms.

Clean Air Filters Ensure Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems

Dirty air filters can also negatively affect the functioning of your HVAC system. Dirt in the filters can impede airflow and decrease the energy efficiency of your entire home. This can cause your energy bills to go up both in the summer and winter. This can also cause your air conditioner and heater to work harder than it would with clean air filters. This can shorten the life of a unit and cause it to have more problems.

Clean Air Filters Can Help to Prevent Issues

When you have clean air filters in your system, you can have the peace of mind that they won’t cause any issues with your HVAC units. This way, if your HVAC system does have a problem, it’s one less thing to worry about. It will save an HVAC technician time when it comes to diagnosing an issue.

Your Heating and Cooling Specialists

Gilmore Heating, Air & Plumbing⁣ has been offering exceptional heating and air conditioning repair, installation, and maintenance services since 1979. We maintain an A+ rating with the BBB and back all of our results with a satisfaction guarantee. All of our rates are kept as low as possible to ensure our services are accessible. To learn more about our heating and air conditioning services in Placerville, CA, call Gilmore Heating, Air & Plumbing⁣ today.

Main Causes of AC Failure and How to Prevent Them



The air conditioner is generally considered to be among the most important appliances in a residential property. Like any appliance, it’s prone to suffering from issues due to all of the parts and mechanisms that are included. As a homeowner, it’s essential to be aware of the main causes of AC failure and how to avoid them.

1. Low Refrigerant

The refrigerant in the AC system is used to remove the heat from the air as the interior setting is cooled. Leaks can often develop in the refrigerant lines, which means the air won’t get cool. This problem can be avoided by hiring a professional from a company like Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing⁣ to perform a tune-up every six to 12 months. This will allow you to monitor the condition of the refrigerant lines.

2. Thermostat Issues

Your thermostat may eventually begin to malfunction, especially if it’s an old dial-type that’s not calibrated correctly. Your AC system may not be getting the right instructions from the main control system. The problem can be avoided by replacing an outdated thermostat early on or checking the manual to ensure the settings are accurate.

3. Issues With the Fan

A faulty motor or a lack of lubrication can prevent your AC fans from operating. To address the issue, hire a technician to lubricate the parts every six months with tune-ups that are scheduled. This will keep the fan operating properly.

4. Dirty Condenser Coils

Condenser coils are prone to getting dirty and accumulating grime. Once the dirt becomes too thick, the AC will break down or turn off frequently. Make it a point to clean the coils to improve the operation of the parts.

Quality AC Repair

Contact Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing⁣ in Placerville, CA, today to learn more about the main causes of AC failure and how to avoid them. Our team also performs cooling and heating repairs and installation.

Maintain a Healthy Home by Reducing Indoor Pollutants



It is a fact that indoor air is usually more polluted than outdoor air. Even with fire season and the summer sizzle outside, the irritants inside of buildings and homes are more prevalent.

Evaluating Ventilation Improvements

Utilizing outdoor air improves indoor breathing quality. Furthermore, it helps prevent the overuse of your heating and cooling system. The weather does not always allow people to open up their home. But, taking advantage of cooler breezes saves on energy cost and improves air quality.

You can also use attic fans. However, utilizing attic fans is not always possible on hot days. Warm air rises, and the fan only tends to make it worse. However, when not at home, attic fans filter fresher air into a stuffy home and improve overall air quality.

Another method available is air conditioning units. Air conditioning units with vent control increase the ventilation rate. They draw outdoor air and cool it for indoor use. Or, consider fans. Exhaust fans remove contaminants directly from specific rooms.

Here is a breakdown of how to improve indoor air quality using the outdoor air:

  • Open windows and doors
  • Use attic fans
  • Install a quality air conditioning unit
  • Use fans for specific rooms

Short-Term Pollutants

Short-term activities cause a drastic decrease in air quality. Cooking, welding, sanding, painting or paint stripping are all parts of owning a home and enjoying hobbies. However, each produces high levels of irritants and pollutants.

Utilizing ventilation methods or moving the activity outside is best for everyone. Also, heat recovery ventilators, or air-to-air heat exchanges, brings outdoor air indoors.

Analyzing Air Cleaners

Air cleaners are part of a long-term plan for indoor air quality. Maintaining the AC is part of manufacturer directions to remove pollutants from the air.

Houseplants are natural air cleaners. A reasonable number of shrubs, bushes and other greenery remove a significant quantity of irritants from offices and homes.

Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣ serves Placerville, California, and the surrounding areas. Indoor air quality matters to us. We find and seal leaks, track unpleasant smells, and repair faulty units. Our crew wants to ensure that you remain healthy in your home or business. We also provide heating and plumbing services. Give us a call today to learn more.

How to Choose the Right HVAC Contractor



With an influx in the number of HVAC contractors, finding one can be an uphill task without having the essential comparison criteria. The silver lining is that this guide intends to help you settle on the right HVAC contractor. Here are a few areas worth considering when comparing HVAC contractors.

Reliability

What current and previous clients are saying about a particular HVAC contractor should have a significant impact on your final decision. Those contractors with a satisfied clientele ought to be at the top of your list, as hiring them is likely to result in you joining the satisfied clients’ list. However, contractors with a significant number of dissatisfied clients are likely to frustrate you.

You can establish the reliability of a contractor by looking at their online reviews. Alternatively, you may ask around to see the kind of referrals they have. You may also choose to look at their licensing, as obtaining a license is an endorsement of their practices by the issuing body.

Cost

In most homes, the air conditioning system is the most expensive item. Therefore, proactive steps need to be taken to ensure that it’s taken care of so that you don’t incur the expense of purchasing a new model.

When choosing an HVAC contractor, don’t just settle on the one with the lowest cost. Instead, choose one that offers the best services within your price range. The contractor should come to your premises before quoting a price since there are other factors to consider, such as your space and home layout.

Additionally, if they offer to look at your entire system, then they might save you unnecessary costs. Before making a repair or replacement decision, ensure that they’ve walked you through your various options.

Efficiency

Air conditioning systems come in different models. Each model consumes a unique amount of energy. More efficient models are being developed as the years progress; hence, your chosen HVAC contractor ought to be familiar with their evolution and the efficiency of each model. The contractor should also be familiar with the federal government’s Energy Star-rated models.

Choosing the right HVAC contractor can have far-reaching consequences. Gilmore Heating Air and Plumbing⁣ is an experienced contractor that specializes in maintenance, repair, and installation of heating and cooling systems. Contact us today and allow our qualified and competitive staff to meet your heating and cooling needs in Sacramento, CA.

Do You Need Duct Cleaning?



 

Every home is different, so it is typically hard to generalize whether a home needs duct cleaning or not. However, there are ways to determine if duct cleaning would be beneficial for you and your family.

You May Not Need Duct Cleaning if:

  • No one in your household suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses
  • After a visual inspection of the inside of the ducts, you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty odor or visible mold growth)

It is normal for the return registers to get dusty as air is pulled through the grate. This does not indicate that your air ducts are contaminated with heavy deposits of dust or debris; the registers can be easily vacuumed or removed and cleaned.

You May Need Duct Cleaning if:

  • Family members experience unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think might be related to your home environment; you should discuss the situation with your doctor.
  • There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.

Here are important points to understand about mold detection in heating and cooling systems:

  • Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
  • Although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.
  • If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy, it can’t be effectively cleaned. Remove and replace it.
  • If the conditions causing the mold are not corrected, it will recur.
  • Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects)
  • Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

Note: EPA has published Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction for Health Professionals that can be obtained free of charge by contacting IAQ INFO at the number listed in this guide. You may obtain another free EPA booklet from IAQ INFO entitled The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality for guidance on identifying possible indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or fix them.

We Offer Professional Duct Cleaning

If you think duct cleaning might be a good idea for your home, but you are not sure, talk to a Gilmore professional. We’ll help make sure you get the thorough service that you need.

Freon (R-22) Ban and How It Affects Your Air Conditioner



Until a few years ago, many air conditioners sold in the United States used the refrigerant chlorodifluoromethane, usually referred to “R-22.” R-22 is one of a number of gases marketed under the brand name Freon, and has been commonly used as a coolant in air conditioners, heat pumps, and other appliances.

R-22 is an extremely effective coolant, which made it popular among HVAC manufacturers for many years. However, it was discovered that its causes damage to the ozone layer, and that it is also a powerful greenhouse gas. This is why, in 1987, the United States agreed to an international accord that would call for the reduction of HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) production, beginning in 2004. R-22 is one of the products affected by this agreement.

 

Obtaining R-22 for air conditioner servicing is extremely costly, and will soon become impossible.

Enforced reduction of the use of R-22 began in 2004, and in 2010 its use was banned in new HVAC systems. However, R-22 has continued to be produced since then in order to service existing air conditioners. Soon, this will no longer be the case.

In 2015, the next step in the R-22 phaseout plan was triggered, further reducing the permitted production and import of R-22. As a consequence, prices have quadrupled. This will only get worse, as the EPA’s final phasedown schedule for R-22 indicates that production and import of the coolant will be completely banned as of 2020.

For homeowners whose air conditioners and heat pumps use R-22, this raises the question, “What are my choices?” These options can be broken down as follows:

Hold off on HVAC replacement or upgrade for a few years.

You can simply wait for a few years. However, if your cooling system requires replacement of its R-22 supply in the meantime, it may cost you dearly. We currently charge more than $600 to fully recharge an air conditioner with R-22 (plus the cost of removing contaminants from the system), and full expect this cost to rise in the future. In a few years, it may cost thousands of dollars.

Upgrade your system to use a modern coolant.

The EPA has approved several new coolants, the most popular of which is R-410A, commonly marked under the brand name Puron. However, you can’t just pour R-410A into a cooling system that uses R-22. Some of the system’s parts will have to be replaced. In addition, while your system can be adapted to work with R-410A, you likely won’t see the same level of performance as before, resulting in higher energy bills.

Replace your HVAC system with a new EPA-friendly system.

The most advisable option is to simply replace your existing air conditioner or heat pump with a new system that is designed to use R-410A, or other permitted coolants. While this is the most costly option in the short term, the simple fact is that the other two options may well cost you more in the long run, and then you’ll have to replace your system anyways!

This is why Gilmore strongly advises that you replace your air conditioner or heat pump now. Replacing your system eliminates the risk of having to pay a fortune for R-22 replacement in a few years, or paying higher energy bills for the next several years due to reduced performance.

It really is the best time to replace your HVAC system, and as a bonus, you will immediately begin to enjoy savings on your energy bill! If you’d like to learn more about how replacing your air conditioner or heat pump can save you money, call the experts at Gilmore Heating & Air!

Save $250 Off of a New Air Conditioner!

Avoid future price hikes for replacing the R-22 in your old air conditioner by upgrading your system today! Click on the image below for an easy-to-print coupon entitling you to $250 off of a new A/C system from Gilmore Heating & Air, or click on this link for a PDF with a summary of the above information, and a copy of our coupon. But don’t wait too long, this offer expires at the end of 2016!

 

Why is My Heat Pump Blowing Cold Air?



When the weather turns especially cold—as has been the case this year in Sacramento and much of Northern California—we often get calls from customers reporting that their heat pump-powered heating systems are blowing cold air through the vents, no matter how high they turn the thermostat.

This is a common complaint, and in order to explain what’s going on, first we have to backtrack and explain what a heat pump is.

How a Heat Pump Works

Classic furnaces work by generating heat—usually by burning natural gas or powering an electric heating element—and then using that heat to warm air that is blown through a heat exchanger.

Heat pumps are a different beast altogether. Heating up air uses a lot of energy and is financially costly. Heat pumps don’t have this problem because they don’t use an energy source to produce heat. Instead, they’re essentially two-way air conditioners, capable of removing heat from a home and emitting it outdoors, or vice versa. This versatility is what has made them increasingly popular: they’re relatively simple, and eliminate the need to install separate heating and cooling systems.

Whereas traditional heaters rely on heat generation, heat pumps work by transferring heat. Their operation relies on a key truth about heat: It wants to be evenly distributed, and will move from areas of high warmth to areas of low warmth. This is why your home warms up in the summertime, while the winter weather seems to suck the heat right out of your home.

Heat pumps take this process and crank it into overdrive, extracting heat from cool and even cold air. Most homes use air-source heat pumps, which run outside air through a series of coils that extract heat energy. This energy is transferred to internal air that is passed through the heat pump and then blown back into the home. Meanwhile, the outside air is redirected back into the outside environment as a blast of icy cold air.

The neat trick with heat pumps is that in summer, this process is easily reversed, allowing the same mechanism to instead transfer heat out of your home, cooling it in the process.

Why a Heat Pump Will Blow Cold Air

Here’s the downside of a heat pump: The warmth of the air it produces is entirely dependent upon the outside temperature. Generally speaking, a heat pump will produce air that is about 55 degrees warmer than the outside air. This isn’t a problem when it’s 55 degrees outside—your system will expel air that’s a toasty warm 110 degrees or so.

But when the winter weather drops to 40 degrees, that means your system will blow air that is about 95 degrees. If it drops to 30 outside, your system will blow 85 degree air, which is much cooler than your skin temperature. As a result, the air will actually feel cool against your skin.

However, this air is almost certainly warmer than the desired temperature of your home (unless you like living in a sauna), and thus will successfully maintain that temperature. You just won’t be able to warm your feet on a toasty warm vent like you would in a home heated with a traditional furnace.

Heat Pump Problems

It is important to note that occasionally, heat pumps will go through a defrost cycle, during which the unit will blow air that is truly cold. But this will only go on for a couple minutes, and won’t affect the overall temperature of your home.

However, if your heat pump blows cold air for more than a couple minutes every hour or so, then your system isn’t working properly. Check to make sure that the air intake isn’t blocked, the ductwork is properly connected, and the filter is clear. If there are no obvious issues, then it’s probably time to give your local heating and air company a call.

Common issues that require professional intervention include:

  • Low refrigerant
  • Internal debris buildup
  • Valve failure
  • Stuck in air conditioning mode
  • Compressor not operating
  • Failure of the deicing unit

If your heat pump isn’t working properly or has failed altogether, give Gilmore a call. We’ll fix it right the first time, so you can rest easy knowing that you and your family will be living in comfort again in no time!

Freon Prices Are Soaring… And They’re Never Coming Back Down



 

Back in October of last year, we posted a blog post about the upcoming ban on R-22, better known as Freon, a refrigerant used in many older air conditioners. In the post, we discussed how an agreement made back in 1987 is pushing R-22 out of the marketplace permanently, with a final comprehensive ban taking effect in 2020.

At the time, we predicted that R-22 prices, which had already been rising, would soar over the next couple years as 2020 approached.

Well, according to news stations across the country, Freon prices are indeed soaring:

These news outlets and others are reporting ever climbing prices for the precious resource. One Wisconsin homeowner was quoted a price of $900 per bottle, while the owner of a heating and air company in North Carolina quoted a price of $800 per jug, with it costing over $2,000 to repair and fully charge a system using R-22.

Some areas have seen price increases of 300% in the last year, while a Wisconsin technician claimed a year over year cost increase of 500%.

Soon, increasingly expensive R-22 Freon will simply become impossible to find.

For those needing to have their air conditioner topped off, you’ll be happy to know that we are always offering a great deals on AC checkup and top-off services.

Frankly, the reality is that within the next three to four years, it will become impossible to recharge systems that use R-22. We simply won’t be able to acquire it anymore, once existing supplies run out. And even before then, most homeowners simply won’t be able to afford the cost of Freon, even if it is available.

If you own an air conditioner that uses R-22, it’s time to start considering installing a new air condition system that uses R-410A. If you would like to learn more about the cost of an air conditioner installation, and the benefits of purchasing a new, more efficient AC, contact the experts at Gilmore Heating Air & Solar by giving us a call at 888-868-2316, or schedule an appointment using our online system.

We know that this is a challenging time for homeowners battling rising coolant costs, but we guarantee that we will provide you with the best possible support and service.