Monday, December 1, 2014
Sometimes, when facing decisions, the answers we seek are in the questions we ask. Well, not always directly. If you ask, “What’s for lunch?” hamburger and fries show up nowhere in those words. But it does start the thinking process about the “problem” of lunch that eventually leads to a solution (hamburger and fries). In homeownership, you see this happening with questions that begin with, “Are these energy bills ever going to stop going up?” Or maybe you’re asking, “Does it feel too cold in here to you? Can you do something with that thermostat? How old is this thing anyway? Didn’t we have a breakdown last year too?” When questions like these keep popping up, you know you’re heading into a decision-making mode in your home comfort. Are you there yet? Getting closer? Take a look at this info, which asks important questions about your home heating.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Most heating and cooling systems will come with a warranty whenever you purchase a new system. The length of coverage ranges depending on the system and you can even extend them sometimes when your coverage is almost up. Warranties are great for those unforeseen repair needs, especially if your system is only a few years old. But did you know that your warranty could be voided if the manufacturer determines that neglect of maintenance was the cause? Just like you would get an oil change or tune-up on your car, your heating and cooling system needs this same attention. You don’t want your car’s transmission to blow up just like you don’t want your heater to stop working this fall. Especially if you’ll be stuck with the full bill because it could have been prevented with a tune-up. Unfortunately sometimes, we’ve just got to learn, but we have come up with a few ways to help you avoid this trouble with “How to Avoid Lessons Learned the Hard Way.” Take a look; it could save you a lot of money in the future.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Every so often I’ll get motivated to start a new exercise plan. Since it’s been a long time in between my workouts, I have to make sure I stretch well and I usually end up sore anyway. It takes a couple weeks to get into the swing of things and back to my normal pace. It’s like this with a lot of things. Football players have off-seasons where they aren’t playing as often so when the season rolls back around, they’ve got training camps, workouts and even practice games. We don’t expect them to take a break and come back performing better than last year. So why do we do this with our home comfort systems? We haven’t used them all year and when the cold comes rolling in, we expect them to work 100%. Our systems are kind of like us; during the summer, they’ve done a lot of “sitting” so when the winter arrives, they need a little bit of help to be in their best working condition. It makes them much more efficient and can actually save you a lot of money. Want to learn how to get your system performing better? Read “There’s No Business Like Slow Business” to find out how to give your home comfort system the “workout” it needs.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
As with most things, the better care you take of your heating and air conditioning unit, the better it will perform and the longer it will last. If you neglect your system, then it could be underperforming, and this can really show on your energy bill. There are simple things you can do to help take care of your system like changing your air filters. This keeps dust and dirt from getting into the system and clogging it up. However, through your system’s months and years of service, it still can collect dust. This dirt buildup reduces airflow through your system which makes it have to run longer to heat or cool your house. If your system is outside, it can also pick up debris from items like your dryer vents, leaves and lawn mower dust. It’s important to get your system cleaned and tuned up at least once a year to keep it running safely and efficiently. Read this report about “The Cost of Neglecting Your Home Comfort System” to see more about the hidden costs of putting off maintenance for your home comfort system.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
About half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. That means your home comfort system can have a big effect on your utility bills. So taking care of it can save you a lot of money on your energy bills and also improve your home comfort. A good way to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently through each season is to get a tune-up. I know what you’re thinking; that’s what you do for a car. But your home cooling system, like a car, requires maintenance to run well. Just like a tune-up for your car can increase your gas mileage, a tune-up for your cooling system can increase efficiency and comfort. If you are interested in learning more about how to get your system tuned up and ready for the weather change, read “Smart Home Value.” You can get your home comfort system where it needs to be and start seeing instant savings.
Monday, September 15, 2014
With the economy the way it is and rising natural gas costs, we have to try and find a balance of cost over comfort. That’s why being energy efficient is so important these days because it can save you a lot of money on your energy bills. At Stewart heating and Air, we have several ways to check your system to make sure it is running at optimal performance and keeping more money in your pocket. There are also some small things that you can do to cut down on energy costs. Change your HVAC filters monthly during peak heating and cooling seasons. They only cost a few bucks to replace and a dirty filter makes your system work harder and longer. You can also look for any leaks around your windows or doors that could be letting the heat escape. If you want to know more about what to expect come this cold season, read our free report “Predicting the Cost of Your Home Heating.” You can see more about the costs of natural gas and a way to cut down your energy usage by 20% from last year.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Let’s face it: It seems like it’s getting colder every year. As the temperatures go down, we depend more and more on our home comfort systems. If you’ve got a well-maintained, fairly new, energy-efficient home comfort system, you’re probably thinking “No problem. I’ve got this.” But if your heating and air conditioning system has struggled to make it through the last few winters, then you may be thinking something quite a bit different. Your system may be trying to warn you of a bigger problem. You may have noticed inconsistent comfort, or even more repairs than usual. Your energy bills could even be higher due to your home comfort system underperforming. These colder temperatures are going to put more strain on your system and consume even more energy. And as if that is not enough, we are also going to see an increase in natural gas prices to go along with these lower temperatures. If your system is not working to its full capacity, it can end up costing you a lot come this winter. If you want some help beating these high natural gas prices, then we have some good information that’ll get you through this price surge. Read “Beat Natural Gas Prices” to learn more.
Monday, August 18, 2014
The common expression “One thing leads to another” certainly holds true in your household energy use. A cracked door here, an open window there – while your air conditioning system is churning out cool air – will lead you from energy efficiency to extra energy usage. And that leads to higher energy bills. Any number of vulnerabilities in the air tightness of your home can cause your home comfort system to work overtime – needlessly sending your energy bills upward. In your mind’s eye, you can almost picture your nicely cooled air escaping through these various openings. But now with a special test, you don’t have to settle for your imagination or guesswork. You can get a very clear picture of what’s happening with your energy use throughout your whole house. We’ve got some information about how trained technicians employ high-tech equipment to pinpoint trouble spots, and you can find out more in this report, How to Look at Your Energy Use from All Angles. Please check it out
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Maybe you’ve heard of the “Butterfly Effect?” I won’t get into all the principles of this incredible idea that a butterfly flapping its wings in a distant forest somewhere causes a hurricane to form many miles away. Too complicated for me. But I do get the point that “one thing affects another.” And sometimes, seemingly small things can set into motion really big results. To be more specific to the kind of problems we see, one part of your house affects another. For example, an open window on a hot day – even a very small open window – affects how hard your powerful air conditioning system has to work to keep you cool. Sometimes you don’t even realize these small things are happening. Fortunately, technology has stepped up to the plate and come up with an incredible solution: infrared thermography. This is how we can pinpoint for sure the places air is leaking in your home and show you what you can do to tighten up these leaks. It’s just a simple fact that the parts of your house collaborate or counteract each other. Basically, that means they work together, or they don’t. To find out which parts of your home are causing you problems, take a look at this whole house solution.
Monday, July 14, 2014
The Stewart Heating & Air Blog: Being Uncomfortable Is a Matter of Degrees: Thermostat settings on your air conditioning system are most times directed by personal preference as well as energy saving preference. For...
Thermostat settings on your air conditioning system are most times directed by personal preference as well as energy saving preference. For example, the Energy Star program recommends a setting of 78 degrees for conserving energy and staying comfortable while you're in the home - plus, programming your thermostat for higher temperatures when you're away during the day. Others might be more comfortable at 75 degrees, or lower. Again, it's a balance between your personal comfort and your desire to save on energy usage. Then there are those very unfortunate times when the temperatures in your house are not at all what you want them to be. And with growing discomfort, you watch those temperatures inside your house rise to 80,85,88... Not good. Not good at all. However, there's one solution we recommend as your best option to avoid this scenario. Please take a moment to look at this report, Why Your Air Conditioning System Needs Prep Work for Summer's Long, Hot Run.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Have you ever noticed life feels like you're going from one extreme to another? Like, low, high, cold, hot. We've certainly seen those extremes in weather this year - and will be seeing even more. you'd think that serious cold would be followed by a milder summertime. But that's not what the weather people see happening. Instead, after a really cold winter pretty much across the country, we're moving right into another extreme: a really hot summer. So those really low temperatures are headed really high, and those uncomfortable cold days are about to become uncomfortably hot. But here's the good news. The fact of weather life does not mean that you have to be uncomfortable, especially in your own home. In fact, there's an important step you can take right now to ensure that your home comfort stays steady whatever ups and downs the thermometer shows. This info tells you lots more. Please take a look.
Monday, June 16, 2014
We're used to the weather folks giving us a heads-up about what's going to happen during the day - you know, something like the lines of, "Most parts of Contra Costa County will see a few showers this morning, but sunshine returns in the afternoon as highs head towards the 90s." But if you're holding your breath that your air conditioning system will hold out for another summer, you'd probably do well with a report along these lines: "The morning will start off calm but strange noises coming from your air conditioning system will indicate that you're going to have some real problems staying cool in the afternoon as highs head toward the 90s." Obviously, our service technicians don't make predictions like that, but even so, we do know a lot about how air conditioning systems work and how the effects of time impact their performance and leave them vulnerable to poorly timed repairs. If you'd like to know how well your air conditioner system is going to perform this summer, we've got some guidance that could be very helpful. Take a look at this report, How to Predict Your Next Air Conditioning Breakdown.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Do you sense that your heating and air conditioning system is holding a piece of information you really need to know? Well, it won’t take much detective work to figure that out – because what your system is telling you about the summer heat isn’t a secret. You can pretty much guarantee that if you’ve got a well-maintained, fairly new energy-efficient home comfort system, it’s saying, “No problem. I’ve got this.” But if your heating and air conditioning system has been chugging through summer heats for a while, the message could be a bit different. For example, if you can tell that your home comfort system is undergoing strain trying to keep up with rising temperatures, it could be giving clear signs that you need to make another plan for your home comfort this summer. Some of the signs you’ll see will be inconsistent comfort, more repairs than ordinary, higher energy bills – and just an overall sense of uncertainty about whether it’s time to make a change. Well, we’ve got some news that can help you through that uncertainty – and be very comfortable with whatever decision you make. This info explains what I’m talking about. Please take a look.
Friday, May 16, 2014
It’s funny how a simple little thing like dust can cause so much trouble – especially for those prone to allergies and respiratory ailments. It can affect the quality of your indoor air as it collects, and even as it gets cleared away. Backing up a minute, dust isn’t actually one single thing. It’s a combination of substances, including human skin cells, pet dander, fabric fibers and your basic dirt and debris. All these substances gather together to form dust which gathers on lamp shades, end tables, tops of refrigerators and pretty much everywhere else. Your electronics like to collect dust. So does your furniture, your door frames, baseboards, even ceilings. Keeping these spots dust-free helps reduce allergies that flare up indoors. We’ve got some more information on that topic in a free report, Is There a Dust Storm in Your Home? Please check it out.
Friday, May 2, 2014
“Tough it out.” “Grin and bear it.” “Get over it.” If that sounds like a few choice phrases you tend to tell yourself, that might mean you’re a long-term allergy sufferer. After all, there’s not much you can do about the air, the pollen, the seasons of the year. So you just push on through. In Contra Costa County, we do have our share of allergens in the outdoor air. Unfortunately, coming inside does not always provide the protection allergy sufferers seek. For one thing, your indoor air quality can be compromised by the outdoor allergens you carry into your home on your clothes, your shoes or your body. Plus, if your pets are entering and exiting, they’re picking up allergens too. Then you mix that with their pet dander for a little sneeze-fest. And that’s only the beginning. Your home’s indoor air can also hold within it pollutants from cooking, cleaning and bathing; furnishing or carpeting your home; tending to your hobbies; and basically living life. What’s more, in an airtight home, allergens tend to stay inside and keep recycling themselves with the “help” of your air conditioning and heating system. So we’d like to suggest an alternative. If “toughing it out” is your normal response, there’s a better way. Hope you’ll take a look at this IAQ solution.
Monday, April 7, 2014
Have you ever noticed that people seem a little more cynical than they used to? They just can’t quite trust the claims they’re hearing. Or, have you noticed that advertisers keep trying harder and harder to separate you from your money? They just can’t stop making bigger claims. I’d say one has to do with the other. The bigger the promises, the better the slogans, the tougher the selling… well, it just makes people wonder what to believe. We’re all familiar with the old saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it is.” But that doesn’t mean advertisers don’t keep trying to make us forget. So what’s that got to do with you? And with me? It’s just my way of saying I’d rather shoot straight with you on what you’ll get and what we’ll do for you. I promise you our best because I want to stay your friend for a long, long time. And for me, friendship starts by treating you right. Give us a chance, and you’ll see for yourself. As a matter of fact, this info shows what we can do right now for your air conditioning and heating. Please take a look.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
There was a time when “energy efficiency” wasn’t a very common term. As a matter of fact, if you are over 40 years old or so, you were born before a lot of people were giving this concept much thought. Once energy conservation started getting attention, however, a lot started happening. One of the results is that many of us eventually moved into airtight homes that were great for reducing energy use. Unfortunately, this good result had a downside, and many of us now have a poorer quality of air inside our homes. This kind of living can be uncomfortable for those with sensitive respiratory systems, especially children and older adults. But progress keeps coming. And now new concepts to conserve our energy and improve our indoor air are getting more and more attention. That’s why we’ve been glad to see terrific developments in systems that reduce energy use while cleaning your air. Hope you’ll want to learn more about that. You can start by taking a look at this report, Making the Connection Between Clean Air and Energy Efficiency.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
We hear from our customers in all the usual ways – through phone calls, email, social media, as well as in face-to-face conversations in the home. Wherever or however we are chatting, we recognize that many of you are expressing similar concerns. For example, some want to lower their high energy bills. Some want to know why the air in the home seems stuffy and stale. The problem we’ve seen in the air conditioning and heating industry is that the solutions most have relied on to solve one problem have created another. Let me explain. Airtight homes have been great for energy efficiency and help keep energy bills down. But, airtight homes also tend to keep in the same old air. This is why we’re so pleased that home comfort has a solution that improves both your energy efficiency and indoor air quality, right here in Contra Costa County. This info explains what I’m talking about. Please take a look.
Friday, January 24, 2014
I don’t know about you, but this is the time of year when money gets tight around my home. With all of the holidays – which is great fun – money has the potential to add up quickly – and then add to that the expense of trying to keep the house heated and everyone warm – well, it is an almost suffocating time of year for the dear ol’ piggy bank. I am pretty sure I want what everyone else wants – to spend less on my utilities and to put more money into savings. Energy expenses are just through the roof these days and it doesn’t seem like that will change anytime soon, if ever. But what can we really do about it? We HAVE to heat our homes; that part is not really an option and while I do enjoy a good fire every now and then, it is really not an efficient way to warm our homes all winter long. A solution may be easier to come by than you think. Read “Have You Heard about Hybrid Heating?” This is something to get really excited about and a way to let that piggy bank fill up with savings.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
The Stewart Heating & Air Blog: Predictions… Are They a Gift or a Curse?: Most people, by nature, want to know what is in their future. Some predictions are wonderful to have like... “It is going to be a mild summe...
Most people, by nature, want to know what is in their future. Some predictions are wonderful to have like... “It is going to be a mild summer.” That one is awesome, so it would definitely be listed in the “gift” category. Other predictions may make life a little difficult for someone involved in the prediction. I would imagine it is both a coaching dream and nightmare to be predicted to win a national championship. On one hand, surely it makes recruiting a breeze – who wouldn’t want to be on that team! On the other hand, I am assuming the coach would have to work very, very hard to keep the team focused on each and every game left to play. So maybe that one is a gift and a curse. Another “gift” is knowing that this is going to be a COLD winter. Knowing it in advance allows you to make adjustments to your heating system so that you save money this winter instead of spending it unnecessarily. If you are interested in learning more about saving money on energy bills, read “Who Keeps Messing Around With Your Home’s Gas Bills?”