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!

February 2nd, 2017 Newsletter

Furnace Purchasing Tips

 

Buying a new furnace is a significant investment. It’s important to get the right one the first time around so homeowners don’t end up wasting money. Use these tips to find the right furnace for any home:

1. Size Matters

In the world of HVAC, bigger isn’t always better. A furnace that is too big for the house can create inconsistent temperatures and can have a huge impact on efficiency and energy bills. A furnace that is too small will have a hard time heating the entire house or reaching the thermostat temperature. This will cause it to run constantly, wasting energy. Have one of the technicians at Diamond Heating and Cooling come out to measure the space and help find the right size furnace for your home.

2. Operating Costs

You will also want to check out the annual operating costs for the model being considered. Just because it’s a lower price doesn’t mean the energy bills will be lower. Furnaces with a higher efficiency rating are likely to cost more up front. However, they will save homeowners money annually on heating bills for the life of the furnace.

3. Installation and Maintenance

Professional furnace installation is important. An improperly installed furnace can be a safety hazard for both the person doing the installation and those living in the home after the installation is complete. Regular furnace maintenance will also save homeowners money on maintenance and repairs.

Finding and installing the right furnace doesn’t have to be hard with the help of Diamond Heating and Cooling. We offer high quality furnaces and a guarantee. If the furnace doesn’t reach the desired temperature range, we will replace the system at no charge. Talk to us about our Silver Club maintenance program too!

 New Homeowner’s Guide to HVAC

 

There’s so many aspects to consider when buying a home that some items often get overlooked. One of those is the HVAC system. It can be a hidden cost to homeowners that might not surface for a while. Here’s what homeowners need to look at regarding the home’s HVAC system:

  • Unit

HVAC systems are expensive to replace. That’s why new homeowners should inspect the units to look for decay. If they look worn out, they’re probably old and going to be in need of a replacement soon. Ask the previous owner for maintenance records if they have them and look for technician notes.

  • Insulation

A home’s HVAC efficiency is directly related to the insulation in the home. Ask about insulation, what kind it is, how thick, how old, etc. Be aware of any drafts that can be felt throughout the house. If it seems in need of new insulation, that can be a costly endeavor.

  • Air Leaks

Examine all the doors and windows and check for proper seals. Most homes have air leaks, but they can be fixed with new seals or weather stripping. Sealing all of the air leaks will help the HVAC system run more efficiently in a new house.

When buying a new house, take the time to look at how the HVAC system could impact costs over time. Another option is to have Diamond Heating and Cooling come and inspect the system. We can provide a professional inspection and make you aware of any potential problems before you purchase the home. We can also provide routine maintenance after the home purchase to make sure everything is working properly.

If a new HVAC system is needed, it’s best to get one right away since it can impact the energy bills. If necessary, we can help new homeowners find and install the perfect HVAC system.

 Valentine’s Day Recipe

Sometimes the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is with a home-cooked meal for that special someone. End that meal with a colorful and decadent dessert like these Red-Hot Velvet Brownies. Here’s what you’ll need:
Brownies:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 one-ounce bottle red food coloring

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk

Brownie Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with tin foil. Coat the foil with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in granulated sugar until combined. Stir in the eggs and bottle of food coloring.
  3. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack
  5. Prepare the cream cheese frosting. When brownies are cool lift them out of the pan using the foil and frost generously. Chill until the frosting is set and then cut into squares and enjoy.

Frosting Directions:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.
  2. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until combined.
  3. If the frosting isn’t spreadable, add a tablespoon of milk at a time to make it spreadable.

 February Diamond Hugs

 

This year we are continuing our Valentines for Veterans program for our February Diamond Hugs. We will be taking handmade valentines to the Veterans on Valentine’s Day. If you would like to participate, make some valentines and drop them by our office. Last year we delivered around 45 valentines to the veterans and this year we are hoping to hit 100!

January 7th, 2017 Newsletter

3 Furnace Tips for Extreme Temperatures

 

Boise and the entire Treasure Valley have been experiencing some pretty cold temperatures, with some days dipping into the single digits. Those are the days when the furnace is needed most, and will have to work harder and run more frequently.  Keep it running efficiently during extreme temperatures with these tips:

1. Leave the Thermostat Alone

During regular winter temperatures, people tend to turn the thermostat down while they are away at work, and increase the temperature when they come home. In extreme cold, this isn’t the best idea. It can cause the furnace to work even harder to bring the house back up to the correct temperature.

2. Change the Filter

Clean filters help furnaces run at their peak performance. If it’s been awhile since the filter was last changed, it’s a good idea to swap it out for a cleaner one during these colder temperatures. If the furnace has to battle a dirty air filter along with extremely low outdoor temperatures, it won’t work efficiently, or be able to keep up with the thermostat demand.

3. Dress Warm

With such a huge difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the furnace may have a hard time reaching the desired thermostat setting. Dressing warmly in layers, using extra blankets, or a fireplace will help everyone stay warm without having to depend as much on the furnace.

Having a working furnace in single digit temperatures is important. Diamond Heating and Cooling is available for any heating problems homeowners in the Treasure Valley might have this winter. Stay warm and call the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling with any questions, concerns, or emergencies.

 How to Stay Warm if the Furnace Quits

 

Sometimes the unthinkable happens and the furnace quits working in the middle of winter. Diamond Heating and Cooling can help with these emergencies, but homeowners need to do what they can to protect their home and stay warm until help arrives. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Close Curtains

The sunlight probably won’t do much in winter, so close the blinds and curtains. This helps trap the warm air inside, and keeps as much of the cold air out as possible.

  • Close Off Rooms

Close the doors to any rooms that aren’t being used. This will keep the heat in the areas that are needed.

  • Open Cabinets

If there’s a chance the pipes could freeze by the time help arrives, open all of the cabinets where pipes are housed so the pipes have more access to the heat that is already inside of the home. This can prevent them from freezing.

  • Light Candles

Candles put out more heat than people realize. A few candles lit around the house can add a little more warmth. Just be sure not to leave them unattended.

  • Cook

Cooking or baking something in the oven can create a lot of heat. After the food is done baking, leave the oven door cracked open to release the excess heat into the kitchen.

  • Electric Heaters

Small portable heaters can put out some serious heat, but they need to be set up and watched carefully. If they fall over and don’t have a safety turnoff, they could end up starting a fire. Be sure to keep flammable items away from space heaters too.

  • Bundle Up

Curl up on the couch with some blankets. It won’t make the house itself warmer, but it will make everyone more comfortable.

Having a furnace quit in the middle of winter can be scary, but Diamond Heating and Cooling is available for any emergencies. We want everyone in the Treasure Valley to stay warm this winter.

 Crafts for Kids: Snow Globe

 

With the snow keeping a lot of people inside and school being canceled at times, it can be hard to keep the kids entertained. Crafts are a great way to take up some time and create something neat. Try making this DIY snow globe. Here’s what is needed:

  • Glass jar and lid
  • Water
  • Glycerin
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Small plastic toy
  • Glitter
  • Sequins
  • Spoon

Instructions:

  • Glue the small plastic toy to the underside of the jar lid. Plastic trees, figurines, or anything that fits inside of the jar will work.
  • Fill the jar up to 95% with cold water.
  • Put generous amounts of the glitter in the jar and add some sequins as well. Stir it all together with a spoon.
  • Put a few drops of glycerin into the water and stir it again
  • Screw the jar lid with the toy or figurine attached to it on the jar.
  • Shake the jar to enjoy a “snowy” scenery.

December 8th, 2016 Newsletter

Cleaning Allergens Out of Chimneys

Fireplaces can be a great way to heat a home and lower the electricity bill, but their chimneys can be full of harmful allergens and chemicals if not cleaned regularly. Generally, the chimney should be checked and cleaned twice a year, once in spring and before use in the winter or fall.
Here are a few benefits that come with sweeping and inspecting the chimney:

  • Improved Airflow

When the fireplace is used, soot and creosote buildup in the chimney walls. These chemicals are not only hazardous to health, but could cause damage the next time a fire is lit. Sweeping gets this buildup out, improving the airflow through the chimney.

  • Less Allergens

Debris and allergens, such as dust, buildup in the chimney even when it isn’t in use. A twice-yearly sweep will help to get rid of these allergens, making it easier for everyone in the household to breathe.

  • Inspection

When the chimney is professionally swept, it is also inspected. This will determine if there is any damage present and what may need to be fixed. This way, there are no surprises when the fireplace is lit.
Even with regular chimney maintenance, allergens can still enter into the home. One way to help eliminate them is with the Micro Power Air Guard Air Cleaner. This polarized media air cleaner filters out sub-micronic allergens that can trigger asthma or allergies in people. Ninety-eight percent of airborne particles are below one micron in size, which normal filters cannot collect.
Ask Diamond Heating and Cooling about the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner.

Signs of a Dying Furnace

When properly serviced and maintained, furnaces can have a long lifespan of 15-18 years. When it’s time to be replaced, the furnace often gives homeowners some warning signs it is about to die. If the furnace is getting up there in age, keep an eye out for these signs:

  1. Thermostat

Has the thermostat been turned up, but there’s no response from the furnace? The furnace might not be able to keep up with the temperature demands anymore. However, check the battery and wiring of the thermostat first, to make sure it isn’t a thermostat issue.

  1. Low Airflow

If it seems like there’s less air flowing through the vents, the furnace is probably showing its age. It could also be clogged air filters, so double check that the filters aren’t filled with dust and debris.

  1. Dust

The older the furnace, the less capable it is of cleaning the air. This can result in an increase of allergens in the air, including dust. If surfaces in the home seem to be dustier than usual, or allergies and asthma are acting up, the furnace may be to blame.

  1. Yellow Gas Flames

Furnaces that are operating inefficiently can produce an excess of carbon monoxide. If the gas stove flames are more yellow than blue, this is a sign that there is too much carbon monoxide in the air, and it needs to be taken care of immediately.

  1. No Power

The most obvious sign of a dying furnace is the fact that it won’t turn on. Check the power to the furnace first, and then call Diamond Heating and Cooling.
A dead furnace won’t do much to keep the house warm this winter. Keep an eye out for these warning signs and talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about installing a newer, more efficient model.

 

Fluffer-Nutter Hot Cocoa

One of the best ways to warm up on a cold day is with hot cocoa. This sweet, indulgent treat can be sweetened up even more with some marshmallow fluff and peanut butter to create something reminiscent of a melted peanut butter cup. Here is the recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup marshmallow fluff, plus more for serving
  • 2 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • Heat the milk in a sauce pan over medium heat until it begins to bubble at the edges
  • Add remaining ingredients, let sit one minute
  • Whisk until smooth
  • Serve in a mug and top with a spoonful of marshmallow fluff if desired.

 

December Diamond Hugs

Diamond Heating and Cooling has partnered up with 89.5 KTSY to help you give a friend a new furnace. To enter: send an email to family@ktsy.org telling them about your friend and why they need the brand new furnace. In the email include your name and contact information along with theirs. You have until December 18th to send us your entries. The winner will be chosen December 23rd.

November 13th, 2016 Newsletter

5 Tips For Improving Indoor Air Quality

When fall and cold weather hits, people tend to spend more time indoors. This could lead to more asthma attacks and allergy problems if the indoor air quality is poor. To help improve the indoor air quality try these five tips:

1. Change the Furnace Filter

When was the time the furnace filter was changed? If it’s been more than three months, the filter is overdue to be changed. This can make a significant difference in helping everyone to breathe cleaner air. Particles from summer could still be trapped in the filter, causing respiratory distress. If a normal filter isn’t cutting it, consider the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner. It’s an electronic polarized media air cleaner. It filters out sub-micronic allergens that regular filters can’t extract.

2. Close the Windows

Boise and the entire Treasure Valley are still getting some nice, sunny days, but try not to open the windows. There’s still pollen in the air, and opening the windows will bring it inside. Some people are more allergic to plants that thrive during fall weather, so they will need to be even more careful about letting pollen get indoors.

3. Vacuum

Pollutants, pollen, and other particles can get trapped in carpets. So no matter how many times the air filter gets changed, there’s still particles in the home that can cause asthma or allergies to act up. Vacuum regularly to get these  allergens out of the carpet. It might even be good idea to consider a deep cleaning once or twice a year.

4. Clean

Dust can contain pollen and particles that will set off allergies or asthma. Regular dusting will help keep these out of the home and make it easier for everyone to breathe.

5. UV Lights

Use UV lights inside the HVAC systems to oxidize and reduce mold, mildew, fungi, pet odors, and more. Diamond Heating and Cooling offers the OxyQuantym LED- Unit for this purpose.

Talk to the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling about how to improve indoor air quality this fall season.

Fall Air Conditioner Replacement

During the fall, people are often more concerned with their furnace than their air conditioner. However, fall might be the perfect time to re-evaluate how the air conditioner is working, and whether or not it needs to be replaced.

Here are 3 reasons to replace the air conditioner in the fall:

1. Time to Research

If the AC breaks down in the middle of summer, homeowners are going to make decisions in a hurry to get their home cool and comfortable again. Thinking about replacing the AC when it isn’t in use gives homeowners the ability to plan, research, and make an informed decision.

Most likely, the air conditioner is an older model, and might not be the right size for the home especially if they’ve added on to the home. Because of this, fall is a good time to recalibrate what size air conditioner is needed for the home.

2. Saving Up

Air conditioners cost money. By figuring out what model homeowners want during the fall, they have time to figure out how much it will cost and begin to budget for it.

3. Less Busy

After the hustle and bustle of servicing furnaces before the cold hits, HVAC technicians will have more time to dedicate to helping with AC issues. Everyone will feel less rushed discussing the installation of a new air conditioner months before it will be needed, rather than in the middle of July.

Homeowners who want to replace their air conditioner in the fall should call the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling. They’ll be happy to assist in researching and planning for a new air conditioner for next year.

Space Heater Safety

Space heaters can be a great way to reduce the heating bill and still stay cozy. However, space heaters can be dangerous when used improperly. Each year space heaters cause more than 25,000 residential fires. To avoid a fire, follow these tips:

  • Space

When using a space heater there needs to be three feet of space around it at all times. If something combustible is placed near it, there’s a good chance it could catch fire.

  • Cords

Space heaters need to be plugged into a wall outlet and nothing else. Extension cords or multi-outlet strips are dangerous to use with space heaters.

  • Turn it Off

When leaving or going to bed, the space heater needs to be turned off. It’s best to also unplug the unit.

  • Dampness

Places that have a lot of water nearby such as bathrooms, should not be heated with space heaters. Water or dampness could cause electric shock. Heaters designed specifically for use in bathrooms should be used in these areas.

  • Quality

Get a space heater that has safety features and a UL label of approval. These often have automatic shut off features in case the heater falls over, which is important for those who have children or pets who could accidentally bump the heater.

  • Size

Space heaters are not one size fits all. The label should tell if it is the right size for the room homeowners are planning to heat.

  • Smoke Detectors

Before using a space heater, make sure all smoke detectors are in working order. Ideally there should be one in the room where the space heater is being used. If the space heater is gas-operated, it is also important to invest in a carbon monoxide detector.

Staying warm during the winter is important, but so is safety. Follow the tips listed above and any instructions that come with the space heater.

November & December Diamond Hugs

We are doing another furnace giveaway! Check our Facebook page after Thanksgiving for more information.