February 15th, 2018 Newsletter

 

Ideal Temperature for Your Home This Winter

The average home temperature in the winter in the United States is 70° Fahrenheit, but customers often ask what temperature they should set their thermostat at in the winter time to balance a comfortable home with the cost of heating. In most cases this is a matter of personal preference combined with financial choices however, there are some situations that have scientific evidence to support a specific temperature range.

Sleeping – Doctors agree that the temperature in your room when you sl0eep can affect both how well and how long you sleep, so getting it right can have a real impact on your quality of life during the day. Generally the recommendation is between 60-67° Fahrenheit. Research finds that sleeping in a cooler room increases the amount of time spent in REM (rapid eye movement), which is an important, deep state of sleep.

Baby – Most parents want to be sure their baby isn’t too cold at night. The current recommendations for baby safety are that the baby be put down without a blanket, this often results in parents turning up the heat in the room to compensate. This is generally not necessary though. Babies have been shown to sleep best in a single layer of pajamas, in a room between 60-65° Fahrenheit. Just like adults, a baby’s brain target temperature goes down at night. Core temperature has to drop slightly in order to fall asleep so no need to bump the heat up.

Cost – By reducing the temperature in your home by 7-10° F for just 8 hours a day the energy bill can be reduced by up to 10%. Of course the savings would be even higher if the thermostat was set lower around the clock, but many people just aren’t comfortable at that cool of a setting. However, if no one is home during the majority of the day it might be worth throwing on a sweatshirt for a few hours in the evening and leaving the thermostat alone.

While it seems that most people are generally comfortable during the day with their house set around 70 degrees it might be worth the effort to turn the temperature down at night. The benefits of a better night’s sleep combined with the cost savings, make this a no brainer. Many people have a hard time getting in the habit of checking the thermostat twice a day so consider adding a programmable thermostat to handle it automatically. Diamond Heating and Cooling would be happy to make recommendations, just give us a call.

 

 

Advantages to a Smart Home

Smart home automation was a $60 billion global industry last year, but what makes it so appealing to consumers? While there are a wide range of reasons people decide to automate their home, they primarily boil down to a few main goals. In order to understand the why first let’s look at the what. What is smart home automation? Generally this refers to any set of appliances, devices or systems that all connect into a common network which can be remotely controlled. This could include controlling anything from your lights and TV to your thermostat and refrigerator with new items being added to the list almost daily.

4 Main Reasons for a Smart Home

Energy Efficiency – most people set their thermostat at a certain temperature for the winter and another one for the summer months but don’t change it much in between however, there are far more efficient ways to utilize these systems. A smart thermostat allows customers to set preferences such as, cooling the house an hour prior to the homeowner’s return from work each day in the summer while allowing the temperature to increase when no one is home. It could also be used to lower the blinds in certain areas during the heat of the day to keep the temperature down. Finally, many smart home systems will make recommendations based on temperature preferences to keep the home running at maximum energy efficiency. Diamond Heating and Cooling can install a smart thermostat on nearly any HVAC system and has the knowledge to take care of any changes in wiring that may be required.

Time Efficiency – controlling every system in the home through just one app on the phone or tablet is certainly the most time efficient way to operate, but there are practical uses for simpler smart home set-ups as well. If dinner needs to be ready at a certain time and no one can get home to turn the oven on, simply start it preheating remotely. Or if someone comes to let the dog out but all of the doors are locked, no need to drive home simply unlock one remotely or open the garage door.

Security – there are many home security features currently being employed in the smart technology arena. This includes using motion activated cameras to get a real time image of who is at the front door, checking to make sure doors and windows are locked, and turning lights on and off at various times while a homeowner is away.

Comfort – while not necessary, there are many smart home features that improve the comfort of home. If the baby wakes up earlier than expected a smart device can start the coffee maker from bed. Let’s say the animals need to eat on a consistent schedule, a smart pet feeder can provide a preset amount of food at the same time every day. What about that middle of the night trip to the restroom? A smart home can light a path.

The potential uses for a smart home are nearly endless and with such a rapidly growing industry it’s likely that many of these will go from idea to reality in the very near future. Maybe next time the TV will handle telling the kids TV time is over and it’s time to start homework!

 

 

Keep the Romance Going All Month – Boise Style

Valentine’s Day may have come and gone but are you and your sweetie still looking for romantic date ideas? There are a host of uniquely Boise ways to celebrate the month of love. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

The Egyptian Theater – take your loved one to fantastic show at the historical theater located in the heart of downtown Boise. Throughout the month of February they will be featuring musical movies, silent films with orchestra and organist Ben Model, Jim Brickman, Chasing Coral nature film, and many more. This is both an intimate and unique way to spend the evening.

Sweethearts Sleigh Ride – think sleigh rides are just for Christmas? Think again there’s nothing more romantic than cuddling up under a blanket while enjoying a horse drawn sleigh ride. End the ride with a delicious dinner & dessert. Linn Canyon Ranch in Victor and Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Sandpoint are just two places that offer this service.

Wine Tasting – with over a dozen wineries to choose from on the Sunnyslope Wine Trail couples could spend an evening or a whole weekend touring these beautiful and romantic settings. While it may be considered the off-season all of these locations have weekend hours and fewer guests just makes for a more romantic setting. Several of these wineries offer special pricing on wine tastings as well as various food paring options throughout the winter months. With so many great wineries in the Sunnyslope area, plan on spending the day with your sweetheart and visit several spots.

January 10, 2018 Newsletter

 

Importance of a Good Furnace Filter

While the crew at Diamond Heating and Cooling takes care of many furnace components during annual maintenance, there is one thing homeowners should focus on themselves all year round: the filter. Having a good, clean, functional furnace filter is very important for an efficient furnace.

Everyone knows the furnace filter is important, but they might not know exactly why. Its importance comes from the fact that it removes particles from the air in an effort to protect the furnace from built-up debris, and also aids in cleaning the indoor air as a result.

If the furnace filter is dirty, or the wrong type for that system, it can have a negative impact on the furnace and energy usage in the home. A dirty filter is the most common reason for furnace malfunctions and breakdowns, and is also the easiest thing for homeowners to fix.

When finding the perfect filter for a system, homeowners will need to check the MERV rating and how it will work with that specific HVAC system. A filter that has too low of a MERV rating won’t filter debris as well, and a filter that has too high of a MERV rating could impede airflow, causing issues.

A furnace filter might seem like a small piece of the HVAC puzzle, but it is arguably the most important piece in that puzzle. Without that piece fitting properly, the whole system can be compromised, causing heating and energy efficiency issues. Be sure to change the filter every 3 months minimum, and even more often during extreme temperatures.

Homeowners with questions about furnace filters, changing them, or which type is best, can contact Diamond Heating and Cooling for help. The HVAC experts can guide homeowners to choose the best one and offer tips on remembering to change it regularly.

 

 

Replace vs. Repair

Furnaces are an investment, and with proper care they should last for many years. The average lifespan of today’s furnaces is between 16-20 years. However, many circumstances can cause them to breakdown or need repairs. In some of these situations, homeowners must choose between repairing the furnace, or completely replacing it.

There are a few factors to look at when deciding:

  1. Age of Furnace

As stated previously, a well-maintained furnace can last up to two decades. Once it reaches 15 years of age, it will probably make more sense to replace the furnace with a newer model when it starts having large issues. In some cases, well-maintained furnaces can last even longer than 20 years, and just need a simple repair to keep working.

  1. Cost

Once the cost of the repairs starts adding up, the cost of a new furnace might be lower. This is especially true if the furnace needs to be repaired more and more often. However, if the repairs are minor, and it has a long life ahead of it, repairing the furnace is an easy solution.

  1. Efficiency

Has the energy efficiency of the furnace been decreasing over the years? Are the energy bills going up? These might be signs that the furnace is on a downward slide. Sometimes maintenance and a better furnace filter can help increase energy efficiency again. If that doesn’t solve the problem, consider upgrading the furnace to increase energy efficiency once again.

Determining whether a furnace needs repaired or replaced isn’t something homeowners should do alone. An inspection and examination by the HVAC experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling can guide homeowners in making this tough decision.

No matter which decision is made, Diamond Heating and Cooling can perform the repair, or install the new furnace.

 

 

Comforting Winter Soup Recipe

There’s nothing more comforting in the middle of winter than a hearty soup. Turn a favorite sandwich into a delicious soup with this recipe:

Meatball Sub Soup

Ingredients:

Meatballs-

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Soup-

  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions:

To make the meatballs:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roll the mixture into meatballs and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake until browned and cooked through, should take about 15 minutes.

To make the soup:

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil and add onion. Cook it for about 6 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Then, add the tomato paste, tomatoes, beef brother, and milk.
  2. Add the meatballs and bring to a simmer. Add half the mozzarella and all of the parmesan. Season with oregano, salt and pepper.
  3. Ladle the soup into four oven-safe ramekins and top with a baguette slice. Top that with the remaining mozzarella and broil until browned and bubbly. Enjoy!

 

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!