Barron Heating AC Electrical & Plumbing Blog: Archive for the ‘A/C’ Category

Is Heat Pump Maintenance Really Worth the Investment? A Full Breakdown

Monday, May 13th, 2024

Maintenance is a pretty general term. It’s a service that mechanics provide for automobiles, IT departments perform on computers, and HVAC specialists use for heating and air conditioning systems. But there are major differences between these kinds of maintenance, and not all maintenance is equally important.

For instance, if you work remotely, you might not depend on your car as much to get the full benefits from maintenance. Likewise, many people use their phones instead of their computers, so computer maintenance isn’t as valuable. But there are very few people in the world who don’t rely on some kind of heating or cooling system for their home. You’re just more likely to get the full benefits of heat pump maintenance than any other kind of maintenance.

But what does heat pump maintenance in the San Juan Islands consist of? And how do you know when it’s worth it? We’ll break it down for you today.

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Cleaning Your AC Coils: Barron’s Best Practices

Monday, May 6th, 2024

We talk a lot about best practices that customers can take to improve the efficiency and condition of their air conditioning equipment. From changing your air filter to cleaning vents and adjusting thermostat settings, there’s a lot to consider. But one of the lesser-known things that customers might find helpful is the cleaning of AC coils.

Your air conditioner is comprised of an evaporator coil (the inside one) and a condenser coil (the outside one) which are both in charge of absorbing and dispersing heat. These coils need to be kept clean, otherwise you can come across some pretty bad situations. Dirty coils lead to bad efficiency, ice growing on them, and even uncomfortable indoor temperatures.

So, if you’re looking for how to clean AC coils in Bellingham, or would like to know Barron’s secret easy tip for getting this done perfectly every year, then keep reading!

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Everything You Need to Know About the PSE Heat Pump Rebate

Monday, April 15th, 2024

Rebates, tax credits, legislation… A lot is going on in the world of high-efficiency HVAC systems. Right when the Inflation Reduction Act passed Congress, heat pumps started flying off shelves and providing customers with a new and affordable way to keep their homes warm during the winter or cool during the summer.

But heat pumps in Bellingham can be expensive, and purchasing a whole new HVAC system for your home is never a light investment. So how do you take advantage of the programs available for you to achieve better comfort, efficiency, and savings?

That’s what we’re here to help you with. Utility companies like PSE in our area are starting to offer major heat pump rebates, alongside federal and state tax credits that can net you big rewards for upgrading your HVAC system. Keep reading to learn more.

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The Best Place for a New Mini Split Setup

Monday, March 11th, 2024

Mini split systems are not the same as conventional heating or cooling units. Those systems are not very aesthetically pleasing, specifically because they sit in your basement or crawlspace where you’re not going to interact with them. Conventional, centralized HVAC systems work behind the scenes and are not meant to be nearby.

However, a mini split heat pump is different. Ductless mini splits in Ferndale are more aesthetically appealing and also work independently of one another. You can have several set up in your home to maximize comfort and efficiency.

This means that more thought needs to go into the look and feel of your home if you’re planning on investing in one of these systems. Where might it fit best? Where is a good spot for it if your home is unconventional? That’s what we hope to explore in this blog post.

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Barron’s HVAC Guide to Spring Cleaning

Monday, March 4th, 2024

Spring is clearly here, even if it might not feel like it yet. As we watch the temperatures change and experience more daylight on a regular basis, we can only start to prepare for the seasons ahead. That’s why we have spring cleaning, right?

Spring cleaning is great because it allows us to start opening some windows and making adjustments to our home comfort so we’re ready for the summer. Open windows and sunlight help to disinfect the air and make things more breathable. You can say goodbye to the cabin fever you felt a month or two ago, and hello to some fun outdoor activities.

But before you leave the house on your next hiking adventure, make sure you do some spring cleaning for your HVAC system. It’s time to pull that air conditioner out of retirement and schedule AC maintenance in Geneva, WA.

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Refrigerant Changes on the Horizon: How It Impacts Your Home Cooling Budget

Monday, November 13th, 2023

The entire HVAC industry is undergoing a massive shift in the materials and chemicals used in our everyday installations, repairs, and tune-ups. One of the biggest changes happening right now is the introduction of two refrigerants that aim to help reach different greenhouse gas emission goals across multiple states. This is what that all means for your wallet.

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Get Your AC Unit Ready for Summer

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Don’t wait until your family is uncomfortably hot this summer to check in on your air conditioning unit. Make sure its ready to beat the heat by following these simple steps below.

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Is Your Home A/C Ready?

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Wes Diskin performing a Home Performance Assessment

The first step in purchasing an Air Conditioner

Before you buy an Air Conditioning Unit, you’ll want to be sure the cool air you’re paying for is not being lost through faulty ducts, home air leakage, and poor insulation. There is a lot a green air conditioning contractor can do to get your home A/C ready!

Now, adding air conditioning CAN be as simple as calling the HVAC company to install a unit. But, as with all things HVAC, the most simplistic answer is not the smartest answer in the long-run. Having diagnostic tests run on your home (or a home performance test) is the only way to know the condition of the home and therefore the only way to install the most cost-effective, comfortable, energy efficient, and healthy air conditioning possible.

Here’s a sample run-through of what you should expect before an A/C install. Be sure to choose a Heating & Cooling company that has a thoroughly trained Home Performance team.

Assess the Current Situation: Furnace, Fuel, Investment

The first thing that should happen is to look at the heat delivery system currently in place. If the furnace and ducting system test well and are in good shape, it’s possible to use the ducting that’s already there. If not, ductless may very well be the way to go. Ductless also offers the option of zonal A/C, which can be handy for certain homes.

Next, it’s important to think about the fuel type. Folks who have natural gas as their heating fuel can pretty easily add an A/C unit to the existing system (if it tests well) and go with a less expensive installation cost. However, if a homeowner is using a more expensive heating fuel like electric, propane, or oil, it probably makes more sense to convert the whole system to a forced-air or ductless heat pump (which both include A/C) because the efficiency of the heat pump technology will allow that new system to pay for itself rapidly.

Diagnostics are Key

A Blower-Door Test is the key to understanding air flow patterns and problems. What is the heat gain in the home?

To be truly A/C-ready, you’ll want a trained Home Performance Technician (all estimators at Barron can do this) to run diagnostics on your house. They will use a blower-door, an infrared camera, a smoke-puffer, and/or other devices as needed to test the air flow and leakages in your home. There are a lot of questions to answer, such as:

  • What is the heat gain in the home?
  • Where does the sun come in, which direction is the home oriented, what kind of windows are in place?
  • What is the condition of the attic?
  • How much and in what rooms are there air leakage problems?
  • Can the ducts be used effectively (are they leaky?)
  • How much insulation is in the attic, crawl space, and walls?

Without first answering these questions (and taking action to address them), there is no way to ensure you’re dollars spent on conditioned air are being spent effectively. Attic insulation is especially important, as attic temperatures can run very high, making it harder for your A/C unit to do it’s job. If you’re using ducts to deliver your A/C, having them sealed tightly is also a pretty huge deal. Because duct-work is pressurized, leaky ducts can lose massive amounts of conditioned air; not to mention leaky ducts can carry in a bevy of nasty particulates from your insulation or dirty crawl space. A knowledgeable HVAC contractor will be able to apply the principles of building science to your specific home, to get a whole-house perspective.

The Benefits of A/C Readiness

Taking the time to truly be A/C Ready has the obvious benefit of getting the most bang for your buck, but it can be nice to see all the ways and angles that your home, health, and pocketbook will benefit from looking at the big picture. Having your home tested (with Home Performance) and analyzed for A/C Readiness in the end will mean:

  • You’re investing in a permanent and lasting change in your whole home, and not just adding an A/C unit that is more or less only a temporary fix (depending on the state of your home).
  • Any energy upgrades you make will prolong the life of the A/C unit, since it won’t have to work as hard, and there will be less repairs.
  • Big changes to the building envelope and energy upgrades can help when you decide to sell your home.
  • The equipment chosen is guaranteed to be properly sized for your particular home and cooling needs. Detailed diagnostics give us all the clues to choose the best possible system with dialed-in performance.
  • The air you breathe will be cleaner and healthier, which can often relieve certain types of medical symptoms suffered by you and your family.
  • You will be assisting the planet by creating a more energy efficient home!

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Insulate Your Home for the Summer!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Insulation is important in the winter for obvious reasons, but did you know it also helps to keep your home cool in the summer?

Though insulation may seem obvious in this day and age, older homes often have very little or no insulation.

Because heating and cooling accounts for 50-70% of all energy costs, adding insulation is a critical step for anyone interested in lowering their energy bill.

It can be difficult to invest money in something you can’t even see day-to-day, but in the overall performance of your home, it’s critically important. And it’s becoming less and less hard on your pocketbook to install these much-needed updates. There are rebate programs through Puget Sound Energy and Cascade Natural Gas, and in some cases, rebate matching through the Community Energy Challenge (CEC).

Check out this great article: for a thorough description of the types of insulation, where in your home to put it, and much more!

The article also discusses geeky but useful things like R-Value of insulation. Turns out it stands for Resistance to heat flow. That makes sense! The DOE recommends an R-Value of R-49 for attics. And the better your insulation, the less hard your heating and cooling system will have to work, and therefore the longer before it breaks down. Win-win-win.

So, how do you know how much insulation you have in your home and where? Well, if you are handy and don’t mind wading through it yourself there are DIY ways of checking for insulation. However, if you’d rather leave it to the professionals, a Home Performance Assessment will tell you definitively where the insulation is. An Infrared Camera, used in most assessments, can look right through your walls!

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