December 7th, 2017 Newsletter

Common Winter Furnace Issues

Furnace Issues

It’s December and the weather has finally begun to change. The temperature has dropped, and Boise experienced its first taste of snow. This also means it’s time to crank up the furnace to stay warm. With increased demand, more issues can pop up. Keep an eye out for these five common furnace issues:

  1. Dirty Filters

Dirty furnace filters are such an easy fix, unless they’ve been left for months. The dirtier the air filter, the harder the system must work. This results in high energy bills and possible broken or damaged furnace parts.

  1. Poorly Calibrated Thermostat

This issue can happen year round, but is noticed often in winter while trying to get the house to a comfortable temperature. If the thermostat is poorly calibrated, the furnace will cycle frequently, increasing the energy bill and likely wearing out faster.

  1. Incomplete Combustion

Incomplete combustion can occur because of a whole variety of reasons, such as blocked vent systems, damaged heat exchanger, etc. This produces carbon monoxide, which can poison those in the home. To prevent incomplete combustion, have the furnace serviced each year. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, install carbon monoxide detectors in the home.

  1. Dry Air

Winter can make the air inside the home very dry. This can wreak havoc on skin and sinuses. To eliminate dry air, invest in some humidifiers for the bedrooms.

  1. New Noises

As the furnace begins working harder, it might begin to make strange noises. If this happens, be aware that it could mean there’s something loose or broken inside of the system.

These five furnace issues are dangerous, but can be prevented with regular furnace maintenance and filter checks. If the furnace begins acting up this winter, call the HVAC pros at Diamond Heating and Cooling for assistance.

 

 

Benefits of Buying a New AC Now

While everyone is focused on heating right now, it might be the ideal time to focus on cooling. If the air conditioner was on its last leg over summer, it might be best to research and purchase a new air conditioner this winter. Here’s why:

  • Low Demand

The higher the demand, the higher the costs rise. However, during the cooler months, AC demand is at its lowest. This means homeowners can find an AC unit for a better price than in spring or summer. While they won’t likely be on sale, they won’t cost quite as much as they would in the middle of summer during an emergency.

  • Service Interruption

Since the air conditioner isn’t currently being used, installation is no sweat. There’s no disruption in comfort like there can be during a summer installation. There’s no going days without cooling until the unit can be installed.

  • Research Time

When homeowners are forced to purchase a new air conditioner due to an emergency in the summer, they might not have as much time to research brands and types. If they focus on finding a new air conditioner when it isn’t needed, they will have more time to find the perfect unit.

After finding and having the perfect air conditioning unit installed, it should be winterized to protect it from cold weather. First, turn off the exterior power to the unit to prevent accidentally turning it on. Then, clean all debris away from the area to prevent it from entering the unit and causing issues later. And lastly, cover it to prolong its life.

Homeowners anticipating the need for a new air conditioner next spring and summer should talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about it now. The HVAC experts can guide homeowners through the research process and install the new unit once purchased.

 

 

Christmas Ornament Craft

Make the Christmas tree sparkle even more this year with sparkling star ornaments. These easy to make ornaments can be a fun craft to make with the kids. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Toothpicks
  • 1 ½ inch foam balls
  • Silver spray paint
  • Fine silver glitter
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • String

Cut some of the toothpicks in half. This will make the spikes come out of the ball at different lengths. Push the toothpicks into the foam ball until it has a sufficient amount. Apply one or two coats of silver spray paint. While the paint is still wet, dust it with the glitter. Attach a string with a dab of hot glue. See this and more ornament ideas here.

 

 

December Diamond Hugs

For December we are continuing to work on our furnace giveaway project. We teamed up with 89.5 KTSY and a couple other local businesses to give one lucky family a brand-new furnace and home remodel.

November 9th, 2017 Newsletter

When Is It Time to Replace the Gas Furnace?

Gas Furance Repair

Once the furnace has reached the end of its life, it should be replaced. However, it can be hard to tell if the furnace just needs some repairs or a complete replacement. Here are five signs that it is time to replace the gas furnace:

  1. Frequent Repairs

If the furnace is needing more and more repairs each year, it’s probably time to replace it. Continuously repairing the furnace can end up costing more than installing a new furnace. Keep tabs on any repairs needed and talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling if they start to increase.

  1. Loud Noises

When the furnace starts to make noises it didn’t make before, there could be significant structural issues. These issues might be bad enough that the furnace should be replaced instead of repaired.

  1. Uneven Heat

A properly working furnace should be able to evenly heat the entire house. If some rooms are warmer than others, the furnace is to blame. The older it gets, the harder it can be for the furnace to evenly get warm air to the entire house.

  1. Higher Energy Bills

As the furnace loses efficiency, the energy bill will start to climb as it tries to keep up with heating demands. When the energy bill starts to increase, it might be time to ask about replacing the furnace.

  1. Age

Furnaces aren’t made to last forever. When it starts getting up there in age, around 15-20 years old, there’s a pretty good chance it will soon need to be replaced.

Homeowners noticing one or more of these signs should talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about replacing their gas furnace.

 

 

Choosing a Furnace Filter

There are a lot of options available for furnace filters, which can be confusing for those trying to choose one. Looking at their MERV, cost, and how much it takes to maintain them can help homeowners choose the right one. Here’s a rundown on the different types of furnace filters:

Fiberglass

These are the most basic style of filter and generally only cost $1. They’re MERV rating is between 1 and 4, which is not the best, but they will get the job done. Fiberglass filters do the bare minimum, which can work well in a household with minimal or no allergy issues, and for those who don’t mind changing the filter every month.

Polyester/Pleated

These filters have a higher MERV rating than fiberglass, landing between 8-13. They are great at trapping dust, a common irritant in homes, and they cost around $10. Pleated filters can usually be left in place for 3 months, which is good for households who might forget to change the filter out monthly. They are also the most commonly used.

Washable

Washable filters seem like a good idea in theory, but they have quite a low MERV rating (1-4) for having a price tag of $20. They are also known to collect fungus and bacteria. They are often avoided because of the maintenance required to keep them doing a good job.

Washable filters will work well for those who are diligent about washing and drying them extremely well to prevent bacteria and fungus.

High Efficiency

To remove the most air pollutants possible, get a high-efficiency filter. With a price tag of $25 and a MERV rating of 14-16, they are a great choice for many homes with allergies or asthma. However, these filters can be too restricting with air flow, causing efficiency issues with some HVAC systems.

High efficiency filters are a good choice for those who are worried about allergies and asthma when used in conjunction with the right HVAC system.

For those who need help picking the right filter, Diamond Heating and Cooling can be of assistance. We can point homeowners in the right direction based on their furnace and needs.

 

 

5 Ways to Make Your Home Cozier This Winter

Keep the dreary feeling of the winter cold away by making the house a little extra cozy. Just a few quick steps can make the house feel warmer and more comfortable for the colder months. Here are some suggestions:

  • Stop Drafts

Drafts can make the house even more chilly. Get a door draft stopper and weather-strip the windows to prevent cold air from seeping in. It also helps with energy efficiency.

  • Rugs

For homes with hard wood, tile, or linoleum flooring, winter can be hard on feet. Invest in some nice rugs for bare floors. They look nice and keep bare feet from becoming icicles.

  • Throws

Drape a throw or two over the furniture. They look as stylish as they are functional. Having extra throws around is perfect for snuggling under and warming up with a big mug of hot chocolate.

  • String Lights

Although most people decorate with lights outside during the winter, they can be used inside too. Hanging up some string lights in the family room or a bedroom creates a peaceful, cozy atmosphere that can be enjoyed during winter or all year long.

  • Pillows

Winter can be a great time to bring out those extra throw pillows and arrange them on the furniture. Pillows can add an extra layer of comfort and warmth when curled up on the couch or in a favorite chair.

The best way to make sure the house is cozy, is by having a properly-working, energy-efficient furnace. Talk to the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling to schedule maintenance or emergency repairs this fall and winter.

October 11, 2017 Newsletter

Seal Air Leaks for Energy Efficiency

To save money on the energy bill while staying cozy this fall and winter, take time to seal up any air leaks in the home. Cracks and openings around windows or doors can leak air, letting warm air out and cold air in. This makes the furnace work even harder to keep the home comfortable.

Before sealing and caulking every window or door, it can be helpful to have a blower-door test done by technicians. This helps identify the house’s leakage points so homeowners can properly seal them. Some homes have air leaks that can actually be felt inside while walking past a door or window but other leaks are less obvious.

Here are a few ways to reduce air leaks inside the home:

  1. Weatherstrip

Doors often have gaps around them, which can easily be fixed with some weatherstripping. This helps to lessen the gap so that less air has a chance to escape. If the gap under the door is significant, a door sweep would work better.

  1. Caulking

Caulking can be installed to many gaps or cracks that are less than ¼ inch wide. Use it around windows, electrical boxes, or any other small gaps around the house. It’s a quick and easy way to seal openings around nonporous materials.

  1. Flues and Chimneys

Flues and chimneys are notorious for having open spaces around them that let in quite a bit of cold air. These can be easily covered with aluminum flashing and caulk. Be careful to maintain the spacing where needed though for proper ventilation.

Preventing air leaks early in the season will help keep energy bills lower and increase the comfort level in the home. For any other energy efficiency questions, ask the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling.

 

Taming a Loud Furnace

Furnace Maintenance

Loud furnaces can be bothersome, especially if they wake homeowners up at night. If these loud noises are unnatural, they could be stemming from a variety of problems. Identifying the type of sound is the first step to determining the cause.

  1. Whistling

If the furnace is whistling, it could be one of these three issues:

  • Gaps in the duct
  • A clogged air filter
  • Ducts that are too small and are limiting air flow

Check the air filter first, to rule it out. If the problem is with the ducts, Diamond Heating and Cooling can come out and diagnose the issue.

  1. Squealing

A squealing noise is likely coming from the blower inside of the furnace. Often it is the sign of a loose or slipping blower belt. If the noise is ignored, the blower could break, leaving homeowners with no heat.

  1. Rattling

If the furnace is making a ratting sound, it usually isn’t serious. It usually means something is loose like the panels or ducts. Try adding screws to the ducts, duct taping loose equipment pieces, or putting something underneath the furnace like rubber.

  1. Grinding

The grinding sound of metal on metal can signify a blower malfunction. It’s commonly made by the bearings or belt in the blower. In this case, the blower will likely need repaired.

  1. Banging

A banging sound when the furnace turns on could be a couple of different issues. The first is oil-canning ductwork. This just means there is a weak spot in the ducts that needs extra support. It can be easily repaired. The second possibility is a problem with the ignition. There could be a burst of flame when the furnace starts up causing the sound. This is easy to see, but harder for homeowners to fix themselves.

If the furnace is making one of these sounds, or any other unusual noises, give Diamond Heating and Cooling a call. We can easily diagnose and resolve the issue.

 

Placing Furniture Around Air Vents

Keeping air vents clear is more important than some people realize. If air vents are blocked, it affects the efficiency of the HVAC system, and could even damage it. There’s a balance that is achieved when installing the HVAC system, and even one blocked air vent could disrupt that balance, causing issues.

The furniture that is placed over the air vents can also be damaged. Upholstered furniture can incur mold and mildew if placed over an air vent. Wood furniture could shrink and swell, becoming damaged due to the humidity.

Here are some guidelines for placing furniture around air vents:

Leave at least 18 inches between a piece of furniture and an air vent. This allows for maximum air flow and reduces the chances of furniture being ruined. If that 18 inches isn’t possible, homeowners can invest in vent covers. These attach to the vent with magnets and can redirect the air away from the furniture.

As for the HVAC system, when vents are blocked, both the air conditioner and the furnace will have to work extra hard to pull in and push out air. This wears the system down faster and can cause components to begin breaking down if the vents are blocked for long periods of time. Homeowners will pay higher energy bills and need to buy a new system much earlier than planned.

If any air vents have been blocked for a long period of time, call Diamond Heating and Cooling to inspect and repair any damage to the HVAC system that is present.

 

Caramel Apple Cider Recipe

With the temperature dropping, it is a perfect time to curl up under a blanket with a warm drink in hand. Try this caramel apple cider for a delicious fall treat.

Ingredients:

  • Apple Juice or Cider
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Whipped Cream
  • Cinnamon Dulce Syrup

Directions:

  • Add 6 tablespoons of Cinnamon Dulce Syrup to the bottom of a sauce pan.
  • Add 12 ounces of apple juice or cider. Heat on medium until just before boiling.
  • Pour into mug and top with whipped cream and caramel sauce.
  • Enjoy!

 

September 8, 2017 Newsletter

Proper HVAC Installation

HVAC InstallationFor the best efficiency and comfort possible, the HVAC system needs to be installed properly. A poorly installed system will use more energy, become damaged more easily, and not last as long. It can also raise energy costs by up to 30%.

Each home has different needs, and different heating and cooling loads from room to room. The HVAC experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling know how to accurately assess these loads to make sure everything is correctly matched.

Some common mistakes that can occur during a poor HVAC installation are:

  1. Wrong Size

There is a complex formula to fitting an HVAC system with a home. If the calculations are off, the system could end up being too large or too small. This results in a higher energy bill and an uncomfortable home. The desired temperature may never be fully reached, or the HVAC will constantly cycle on and off, creating excess humidity.

  1. Leaks

If the ducts in the home are not properly sealed, air leaks are bound to happen. The air ducts should be fully inspected before installation to reduce leaks, making the system more efficient.

  1. Refrigerant Problems

When installing the air conditioner, it needs to have the proper refrigerant charge. Low refrigerant can cause the system to ice over, causing damage and cooling issues. An overcharged system won’t run efficiently, which can be seen on the energy bill.

Avoid these problems by choosing a trusted HVAC installation and maintenance company like Diamond Heating and Cooling. We will walk homeowners through the installation process, and also keep the system running efficiently with yearly maintenance.

 

Indoor Air Quality Pollutants

Indoor Air QualityPoor indoor air quality due to pollutants can cause health effects that are felt right away or years down the road. Knowing how air pollutants affect residents and which ones to be aware of can help reduce these health effects.

Exposure to some indoor air pollutants can result in health issues right away. Common effects are headaches, fatigue, irritation of the nose, eyes, and throat, and dizziness. Those with asthma, allergies, or other pulmonary issues can feel the effects faster or more intensely than others.

After being exposed to certain pollutants for long periods of time, more severe health effects can appear. Some illnesses include respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer. Symptoms of these might not be noticeable for years, unlike the immediate effects listed above.

Here are five common indoor air pollutants that can cause health issues:

  1. Carbon Monoxide

This odorless, invisible gas stops the body from obtaining the oxygen it needs. Having a carbon monoxide detector installed is the best defense against this pollutant. Also have the furnace checked for leaks yearly.

  1. Smoke

Tobacco smoke can cause a plethora of health issues in homes, even for those who don’t smoke. Keep all smoking outside in a designated area to limit exposure.

  1. Asbestos

This group of minerals is not hazardous when intact, but disturbing the fibers sends them airborne and makes it possible to inhale the asbestos. When inhaled, asbestos can cause lung disorders. Intact asbestos can be left alone, but having it safely removed can eliminate worry.

  1. Mold

Not all mold is dangerous, but some types can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks, along with more severe illnesses. Keep humidity and moisture levels in check to prevent mold and have it professionally taken care of when it is present.

  1. Lead

Lead was used in house paint until it was banned in 1978. Some houses still have lead paint in them, which can become airborne. Exposure is very dangerous, especially to children. If the home has lead paint, keep all areas clean, mop frequently, and wipe down window ledges often with a damp cloth.

Talk to the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling about how to improve IAQ and reduce the risk of health issues.

 

Healthy After School Snack

With school back in full swing, kids are going to need a brain-boosting after school snack to get them through homework. Try these PB&J bites! They’ve got the taste of the sandwich, but with denser nutritional ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chunky natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • ½ unsalted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 12-ounce jar strawberry preserves

Directions:

  1. Mix peanut butter, maple syrup, and 1/3 water in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, sunflower seeds, and quinoa. Then stir in the peanut butter mixture until combined.
  3. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with wrappers. Scoop 2 tablespoons of the peanut butter and oats mixture into each wrapper, and press it down with a spatula. Spread 2 tablespoons of the strawberry preserves over that before adding 2 more tablespoons of the peanut butter and oats mixture on top.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until brown. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

 

September Diamond Hugs

For the month of September, the Diamond Heating and Cooling staff will be supporting the Garden City Police Department through fundraising. On September 16th, we will be participating in the Garden City Police Department Golf Tournament. This is their fundraiser for the Shop With a Cop program and we are excited to be part of this event.

 

August 10th, 2017 Newsletter

Northwest Begins to Rely on AC

The northwest region of the United States has relied on air conditioning less than anywhere else in the country. However, that looks like it might be changing. So far, this summer, temperatures in the region have consistently stayed in the upper 90’s and low 100’s, making more residents of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho crave the comfort of air conditioning.

While other regions depended on air conditioning to grow, the Northwest didn’t. Summers were still livable without air conditioning. Compared to the rest of the country, the number of homes with air conditioning has been lower over most decades. A study done by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance in 2014 indicated, in rural Idaho, it is estimated that only 53% of homes have AC while in urban Idaho, 72% of homes have AC. Comparing that to new homes being built in the Midwest or Northeast, eighty-six percent of new single-family homes in the Northeast are built with AC, while 94% in the Midwest are built with AC.

These new homes are increasingly built to accommodate central air, and not much thought is given to using windows and cross breezes to keep homes cool. Before the 1940’s that was not the case. Then, only 33% of homes had central air, with 47% having room air, and 20% having no air conditioning.

Still far below in the number of households using central air or in-room air conditioning units, the Northwest has seen a pretty sharp uptick in that number. Whether it’s getting and staying hotter for longer, or people are getting less tolerant of the heat, the region is turning to air conditioning for comfort.

For those looking to add central air conditioning in their home, or upgrade to a newer system, talk to the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling. We want to make sure everyone in Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley is comfortable during these extreme temperatures.

 

Using Shade to Conserve Energy

While increasing curb appeal, landscaping can also have an impact on energy usage and expenses year-round. Properly placed trees, shrubs, and even vines can be beneficial for homeowners and their energy bills. Here’s how to go about using shade to conserve energy:

Trees

Large, deciduous trees should be planted on the east, west, and northwest sides of the house. While they might take a few years to grow enough to provide shade, they will live quite long, which is a bonus for those who don’t plan on moving anytime soon.

To help block the wind, dense evergreen trees are a great choice. They’ll also continue to provide shade during the fall and winter since they don’t lose their foliage.

No matter what type of trees are planted, you will want to keep them an adequate distance from the home. Once the trees mature, their roots systems and branches could damage the home or foundation if planted too close.

Shrubs

Keep walls and windows shaded with a row of shrubbery. Within a few years they should start providing good shade. They can also be used to shade the ground or pavement around the home. Be careful planting dense shrubs too close to the house. This limits the airflow, creating a warm, moist environment perfect for mold growth.

Vines

Add a lattice or trellis with climbing vines along the side of the house. While providing shade, it also allows for circulation of cool breezes.

These tactics provide shade in summer and insulation in the winter. This can help lower energy expenses by reducing the need to run the air conditioner or furnace.

Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about other ways to reduce energy expenses like installing a newer, more energy efficient AC or furnace, regularly scheduled maintenance, changing out the air filter, and more.

 

DIY Back to School Teacher Gift

Make heading back to school a little easier on everyone with a gift for the teacher that’s not only cute, but useful. This mason jar organizer holds extra pens and pencils for when students needs a writing utensil.

Supplies:

  • Serving tray
  • Pint mason jars
  • Chalkboard paint formulated for glass
  • Multi-surface paint (any color)
  • Painting tape
  • Chalk
  • Paint brush
  • Pens
  • Pencils

Instructions:

  1. Put tape around the jars around the halfway mark. Clean the jars well with rubbing alcohol before painting.
  2. Paint the top half of the jar with the multi-surface paint. Do as many coats as necessary for desired color.
  3. Once dry, take the tape off. Re-tape over the already painted area to keep a clean line for the chalk paint. Add two coats of the chalkboard paint to the jars, allowing it to dry between coats. Remove the tape once it is dry.
  4. Write “Pens” on one jar and “Pencils” in the other before placing them in the tray. Add pens and unsharpened pencils before gifting it to the teacher.

For more detailed instructions and pictures, click here.

July 6th, 2017 Newsletter

 

How to Stay Cool if the AC Breaks

The temperatures are jumping into the 90’s and beyond here in Boise, making air conditioning a lifesaver for many people. However, if the AC gives out in this heat, it’s best to know how to stay cool until Diamond Heating and Cooling can come and fix the problem.

Here are some tips and tricks for staying as cool as possible while the air conditioner is broken:

1. Draw the Shades

Sunlight coming through the windows can quickly heat up the inside of a home. Close the shades during the day to keep the cool air in and the warm air out as much as possible.

2. Use Fans

Although they don’t cool the air, fans will help the room feel cooler when someone is in it. Use box fans and ceiling fans to circulate the air. The switch on the ceiling fan should be set to turn the fan counter clockwise. This pulls up the hot air and circulates the cooler air down below.

3. Avoid Cooking

Using the stove or oven will only heat the house, making it more unbearable. Eat cold dinners, use the outdoor grill, or choose foods that can be microwaved to avoid adding more heat.

4. Ice

Set a bowl of ice in front of a box fan and it will feel like a mini air conditioner. It might not be a permanent solution, but it can help in a pinch.

5. Shower

Taking a cool shower before bed can help lower the body temperature, making it a little more comfortable at night.

When the AC stops working, call Diamond Heating and Cooling right away. We will get the system back up and running as fast as possible with no afterhours service fees. In the meantime, try some of the tips listed above.

 

Should I Upgrade My Thermostat?

Homeowners who don’t have a programmable thermostat could be missing out on some key benefits. Upgrading the thermostat to a programmable style can make the home more comfortable, save on energy, and more.

The 3 main benefits of having a programmable thermostat are:

1. Comfort

Often homeowners must choose between keeping the home comfortable for when they return from work, or saving energy and money during the day. With a programmable thermostat, this choice is void. It can be programmed so the temperature remains warmer during the day to save energy, and kick on right before everyone gets home to create a more comfortable environment.

2. Energy Savings

When the thermostat can be adjusted for different hours and comfort levels, it saves energy. It uses less energy when programmed to be a few degrees warmer while everyone is away, which in turn saves homeowners money on their next energy bill.

3. Options

There are a wide range of programmable thermostats available to fit any lifestyle and preference. Some thermostats can control humidity, remind users to replace the filter, be controlled from a phone, etc. Finding one to work with day-to-day life, vacations, and more is easy.

Homeowners who are considering upgrading the thermostat, but aren’t sure which one to choose should ask themselves these questions:

  • Is the energy bill increasing?
  • Is it hard to keep the home comfortable?
  • Is it easy to forget to change the temperature before leaving?

If the answer to one or more of these is yes, it is time to switch to a programmable thermostat. Diamond Cooling and Heating can assist with making sure everything is set up properly for the new thermostat so homeowners can experience the benefits.

 

Popsicle Recipe

Popsicles are a great way to stay cool and enjoy a treat. These fruit and yogurt pops help kids get more of their daily fruits and cut out some sugar. Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and sliced bananas
  • 2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • ¼ cup sugar or an alternative sweetener like honey or agave
  • 8 small paper cups
  • 8 popsicle sticks

Directions:

  1. Placed fruit and sweetener into blender and blend until fruit is chunky or smooth, whichever is desired.
  2. Fill the paper cups ¾ full of the fruit mixture. Cover the top of each cup with a small piece of aluminum foil. Poke a popsicle stick through the center of each.
  3. Freeze for at least 5 hours. Remove the paper cup and foil to enjoy.

 

July and August Diamond Hugs

For the months of July and August, we will be celebrating the Garden City Police Department. We want to say a big ‘Thank You’ for everything they do. We had an incident at our office and they stopped by in the early morning hours to check on everything and gave us a call. We appreciate everything they do and it’s a comfort knowing they’re helping our community.

June 1st, 2017 Newsletter

How Air Conditioning Can Help Allergy and Asthma Sufferers

Today, it’s common knowledge that air inside the home can carry more allergens than outside air. This can cause those with allergies and asthma to suffer inside their own home. However, the air conditioner might be able to help reduce the allergy or asthma symptoms.

The Right AC

When choosing an air conditioner, it is important to consider the family’s specific allergies. Allergens come in varied sizes, making some easier to filter out of the air than others. If someone is allergic to a smaller allergen such as pet dander, a secondary filter might be necessary. For those allergic to even smaller allergens, a system with a HEPA filter would be the best choice.

Changing the Filter

Keeping the filter in the air conditioner clean is a simple and effective way to ensure it can filter out as many allergens as possible. During milder temperatures, it is recommended that the HVAC filters be changed once every three months. In more extreme temperatures, filters need to be changed every month due to the extra use.

Closing Windows

If the allergy or asthma sufferer in question is triggered by outside allergens such as pollen, keeping the doors and windows shut during the summer can help. It’s not always recommended to seal off the house because it limits fresh air, but in some cases, it can be beneficial.

If allergy and asthma sufferers are still having reactions, extra filtration might be necessary. Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about installing the Micro Power Guard, a polarized media air cleaner. It can collect very small particles and can be easily adapted to any system that has a spot for a one inch filter.

 

 

Keeping Critters Out of Your AC Unit

The AC switch has been flipped, but nothing happens. Is it old age? Faulty wiring? Broken parts? Nope. It’s pests. Mice and other pests are often attracted to the outside AC unit because it’s a comfortable, protective environment.

When mice and other critters burrow into an AC unit, they can do a lot of damage. Many components can get chewed up causing the system to stop working. The chewed wiring can even become a potential fire problem. Sometimes birds can also decide to nest in the unit and often get stuck in the fans.

The pest droppings or carcasses can affect indoor air quality by not only creating an unpleasant odor throughout the home, but also causing allergies to act up.

To prevent pests from taking over the outdoor AC unit and the problems associated with this, take these steps:

  1. Create a Barrier

Animals live in vegetation. If the unit is surrounded by bushes or trees, animals are more likely to investigate the AC unit. Keep a large area around the unit clear from any type of vegetation. Using a pet repellant can also help deter animals. Spray it on and around the unit to create an effective barrier.

  1. Maintenance

Annual maintenance on the outdoor AC unit can find and get rid of pests before they create a huge issue. If pests have already taken over and ruined some of the components, Diamond Heating and Cooling’s technicians can make the necessary repairs before the AC is turned on.

  1. Condenser Breaker

One of the reasons animals are attracted to the unit during winter is because it stays warm due to the condenser breaker and the cover over the unit. Turn off the condenser breaker so it does not stay warm. Also consider getting rid of the insulating cover if one was used previously.

Keep an eye on the outdoor unit and call Diamond Heating and Cooling if it seems something might have nested inside or to schedule annual maintenance.

 

Summer Salad Recipe

Cooking with the oven can heat up the house making the air conditioner work harder. Instead, try making this delicious grilled chicken cobb salad from Martha Stewart.

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 medium head of romaine lettuce cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of your favorite vinaigrette
  • 1 ½ lbs. of grilled chicken cutlets thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces feta crumbled cheese
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions

  1. Cook bacon in a medium skillet and drain. Alternatively, cook it in the microwave to create less heat in the home.
  2. In a large bowl, lay out all the ingredients on top of the lettuce, Season with salt and pepper. Toss with vinaigrette or use on the side.
  3. Enjoy!

 

May 1st, 2017 Newsletter

Germicidal Air Treatment

Ultraviolet lights have been adapted for many uses over the years, such as sterilizing hospitals, curing nail polish, and even for sterilizing HVAC units. Using UV lights in this manner is called germicidal air treatment. It kills millions of bacteria, viruses and allergens as they pass through the HVAC system.

By using a germicidal UV light, homeowners can experience the following benefits in their home:

1. Better Energy Savings

Studies show that a thin layer of biofilm buildup on the HVAC coil can increase energy consumption by at least 21.5%. The UV light eliminates the biofilm that can buildup, making the system work at a more efficient rate and saving homeowners money on their energy bill.

2. Controlling Airborne Microorganisms

Germicidal air treatment reduces airborne microorganisms like mold that can grow in the HVAC system. Mold and other bacteria are commonly found growing on the coils, but if the coils are lit up by UV light, mold and bacteria are prevented from growing on it.

3. Improved Indoor Air Quality

By preventing the spread of infectious diseases and reducing allergens, a home’s indoor air quality can be greatly improved. This also eliminates odors coming from the system like mildew and musty smells. It makes the home much more comfortable.

The greatest germicidal in the ultraviolet spectrum is the C wavelength. This wavelength targets the DNA of microorganisms and destroys cells so they cannot replicate and grow. When installed correctly at the cooling coil and drain pan, a germicidal UV light will deliver contaminant destruction rates of more than 99%. Talk to the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling about improving indoor air quality through germicidal UV light.

 

 

Adding Central AC to the Home

Summers in Boise and the Treasure Valley can get pretty warm, but not all homes have air conditioning to battle that heat. Some homeowners might consider adding AC to the home to make the summer more bearable. First, they need to consider a few things:

1. Type of Heating System

The type of heating system in the home will determine the type of air conditioning that can be installed, how much it will cost, and how long it will take. Homes with forced air heating can have AC added fairly easily. There are other options for homes with no air ducts, but those are more costly and time-consuming.

2. Which AC is Best

When choosing an air conditioner, homeowners have to figure out which one is best for their home. They will need to take into consideration the size of the home, the type of system, and their climate. All three of these factors can have an impact on energy savings and home comfort. A system that is too large will waste energy, and a system that’s too small won’t keep the house comfortable. Having a higher energy efficient system in a climate where it will only get used a couple of months will take longer for homeowners to get their money back.

3. Electrical Load

Since air conditioners run on electricity, the home’s circuit breaker box needs to have room to support the AC. Older homes might not have the ability to support it, which could cause issues with installation. This may require an upgrade to the circuit breaker box.

With the help of Diamond Heating and Cooling you won’t have to suffer through the heat this summer. Talk to us about AC installation and assistance in finding the right system for any situation.

 

 

Rainy Day Activity

Boise and the entire Treasure Valley has been experiencing a good amount of rain so far this spring. That makes it a little harder to get outside for some fun. Cure the rainy day blues by making mini clay painted pots for plants.

Supplies:

  • Polymer clay
  • Craft paints

Directions:

1. Start with a ball of clay about the size of a kiwi. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into a circle, but make sure it isn’t too thin.

2. Pinch up the sides to turn it into a flower pot shape. Don’t worry about making it too smooth, the handmade quality is what makes these cute.

3. Let the clay dry as the directions instruct and let it cool.

4. Paint the mini pot with a fun design.

5. Plants some seeds or started plants. Bonus points if they clean or purify the air for improved IAQ!

April 4th, 2017 Newsletter

Spring Energy Savings Tips

Spring isn’t coming all that willingly to Boise and the Treasure Valley, but once it does hit things will heat up fast. Keeping the energy bill from skyrocketing during the warmer months can be difficult, but with some adjustments it can be done.

1. Thermostats

One of the best ways to cool a home efficiently is with a programmable thermostat. It is estimated that this alone can save 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs. Along with switching to a programmable thermostat, incorporate these ideas:

Keep the temperature as high as comfort allows. The smaller the difference compared to the outdoor temperature, the less the air conditioner must work.

Turn the thermostat even higher when away on vacation to save energy.

Program the thermostat to be warmer during the day while nobody is home, and cool down right before someone comes home from work or school

2. Windows

Windows have a lot to do with the temperature inside the home. From window treatments to air leaks, they can directly impact how hot or cool a room stays. Use window treatments that allow for the use of natural light while reducing heat loss and gain.

Check the seal around windows to prevent cool air from leaking out and warm air from coming in. Reseal any sections that have cracks or leaks present to help seal up the house.

3. Fans and Ventilation

Although fans do not actually cool the air down, they do make a room more comfortable for whoever is in it by reducing their body heat. This allows the thermostat to be set about 4 degrees higher than usual without affecting comfort. When not in a room, turn off ceiling fans to save on power. Also consider natural ventilation by opening windows during cooler nights. This creates a chimney effect that cools the home down.

Diamond Heating and Cooling wants everyone to stay comfortable this spring. Call the Diamond team when experiencing any furnace or air conditioner problems.

 

 

Common HVAC Problems

Different HVAC problems occur at various times of the year. Homeowners in Boise and the surrounding areas are getting closer to turning on their air conditioners, which could reveal a few issues.

1. Dirty Condenser Coils

After being neglected outside all winter, the condenser coil may be clogged with dirt or other debris. This keep the AC from cooling the home properly, using massive amounts of energy to try to keep up with demands, and other issues. During an annual AC maintenance check, Diamond Heating and Cooling will check on the condenser coil and clean it if necessary to keep the unit running efficiently.

2. Tripped Breakers

Turning the air conditioner on for the first time in the summer can be full of dread, wondering if it will turn on and work properly. If it doesn’t, don’t panic. First, check the breakers and fuses to see if anything has been tripped. This is a very common occurrence when the AC is first turned on. If that doesn’t seem to be the issue, call Diamond Heating and Cooling right away to get cool air moving through the house.

3. Contractor Failure

There’s a switch that operates all the components of the AC, both inside and out. It is located on the outside of the unit and consists of a control coil, a metal plunger, and one or more sets of electrical contacts. Although there are many reasons this could fail, one of the most commonly found issues is due to ants. Ants tend to clog contractors because they use them for warmth. This could prevent the switch from flipping, not allowing the outside unit to turn on.

Cleaning the ants out should do the trick.
Call Diamond Heating and Cooling with any air conditioner concerns or to schedule AC maintenance before the season heats up.

 

 

Kids Craft: Eggshell Flowerpots

Get children interested in gardening with eggshell flowerpots. This easy craft will teach them how to have a green thumb and maybe a thing or two about patience.

Supplies:

  • 12 eggshells
  • Egg carton
  • Dampened potting soil
  • Seeds
  • Scissors
  • Spoon

Directions

Crack all of the eggshells by carefully cracking the top (pointy side) of the egg off as far toward the top as possible.

Reserve the eggs for another use and carefully wash the inside of the shell out. Use scissors to cut a wider opening if needed.

Using a teaspoon, fill each shell with the soil leaving about an inch of room at the top

Scatter the seeds of your choosing on the soil and gently pat down.

Place the egg shells back in the carton and place in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Water carefully by misting the seeds starts two days after planting.

Watch them grow!

 

 

April Diamond Hugs

We are continuing our volunteer work with the Boise Rescue Mission for the month of April.

March 5th, 2017 Newsletter

3 Spring Maintenance Tips to Save Energy

 

Spring is a time for new beginnings. Flowers start blooming, birds are chirping, and people begin spring cleaning. It can also be a time to upgrade the house and get equipment serviced so systems like the heating and cooling system can run in top shape.

Summer can be a big drain on energy, leading to higher bills. But there are three things homeowners can do during spring to help their system run better, lowering its energy usage during the summer months.

1. AC Tune-Up

Just like the car, the AC needs to be regularly serviced. However, it isn’t every 3 months or 3,000 miles, it’s just once a year. During an AC tune-up, Diamond Heating and Cooling will inspect the unit and fix any issues that might have developed over the winter months. This includes looking at the coil cleanliness, checking on the refrigerant, and more. An inspection and cleaning will help the AC run at peak performance and be as energy efficient as possible.

2. Check the Air Filter

During the AC inspection, Diamond will examine the air filter. Homeowners who have a Silver Club Membership will even get a new one for free. However, the filter still needs to be checked before and after an AC tune-up. It can get dirty quite fast during the warmer months and might need changed more frequently. It can also be a good idea to stock up on air filters so they’re on-hand when needed.

3. Seal Leaks

No matter the temperature outside, air leaks waste energy and money. Inspect the seals around doors and windows this spring for any leaks. When cold air leaks outside during summer, the air conditioner has to work even harder to cool the house down, which increases energy usage and bills. Fixing leaks now can prevent larger energy costs this summer.

Let Diamond Heating and Cooling help get the house ready for spring with an AC tune-up and filter replacement. Also, check out the Silver Club Membership to start saving on HVAC maintenance and repairs.

Benefits of a Heat Pump

 

Looking to maintain a more optimal temperature in your home? Diamond Heating and Cooling can help by installing a new heat pump. It works with an existing heating or cooling system, making it more efficient.

A heat pump is a mechanical-compression cycle refrigeration system that can be reversed to either heat or cool a controlled space. This means it extracts heat from outside forces and pumps it indoors, and can be reversed to act as an air conditioner by extracting the heat from inside the home and expelling it outside.

The biggest benefit of installing a heat pump is that instead of generating heat or cold air, it simply moves the heat, which uses less energy. This means it can cost as little as one quarter of the cost of operating conventional heating or cooling appliances.

Since Boise is not in a moderate climate area, meaning it experiences much more extreme temperatures, a heat pump will not be as beneficial on its own though. It will likely need the help of a traditional HVAC system.

When used in conjunction with the heating and cooling system, less energy will be needed, lowering energy bills while still maintaining an optimal indoor temperature for year-round comfort.

Talk to the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling to see if a heat pump could be the solution for less energy usage and more comfort this year. They are also available for heat pump repairs if yours isn’t working properly.

Spring Thermostat Settings

 

Idaho is known for constantly changing weather during spring. Residents can wake up to snow in the morning and be enjoying beautiful sunshine in the afternoon. This makes it difficult to set the thermostat at a setting that will save the most money.

Most people still want the heat of the furnace while the weather is hovering around 50 or 60 degrees. For those that do, keep the thermostat set at 68 degrees or lower while home during the colder days. While away or asleep, lower it by about 10 degrees so it kicks on less.

As long as the outside temperature is above freezing, homeowners can feel safe significantly lowering the thermostat. By now, most of Boise and the Treasure Valley is experiencing temperatures that barely dip below 32 at night, so frozen pipes shouldn’t be too much of a concern when adjusting the furnace settings.

There is no set date or temperature for when to turn off the furnace and start using the air conditioner. It all depends on each household’s perception of warm and cold weather. The great thing about spring is with more moderate highs and lows, it will be easier to keep the house at an optimal temperature.

Once homeowners feel comfortable turning on the air conditioner in the warmer spring weather, keeping it at 78 degrees or higher will help keep the energy bill lower through spring until Idaho hits that hot, dry summer heat.

Make sure your HVAC system is ready for spring and the changing temperatures with the help of the HVAC professionals at Diamond Heating and Cooling. Call and experience the Diamond difference.

March Diamond Hugs

 

For the months of March and April our Diamond Hugs Program will be volunteering at the Boise Rescue Mission. Check our Facebook page for more information about this as the month progresses.

 

Baby Shower

We recently had a baby shower for our book keeper. Her baby girl is due this month and we are so excited for her!