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.

October 10th, 2016 Newsletter

5 Common Furnace Problems

It’s that time of year when the furnace starts to kick on to battle those cold fall mornings. However, since it hasn’t been used in quite some time, the furnace might experience some issues. Here are some of the most common furnace problems, and how they can be avoided or repaired:

1. Frequent Cycling

If the furnace is turning on and off quite frequently, it could indicate a problem with air flow. Check the air filter to make sure it is not clogged. If the filter is clean, it could be a bad setting on the thermostat.

2. Wear and Tear

Over the years, wear and tear is normal, but it can lead to some issues like improper airflow, heat-control issues, or overheating. Continue to get the heating system serviced regularly to combat wear and tear, and be prepared to purchase a new furnace when the cost of repairs outweighs replacement.

3. Not Enough Heat

If the heater isn’t bringing the house up to the desired temperature, the filter could be clogged, or the furnace may simply be the wrong size for the home. Check the filter first, and if that is not the problem, have Diamond Heating and Cooling help determine if you have the right size furnace.

4. Noisy Furnace

Noises coming from the HVAC system can be normal, but if they have suddenly developed and were not present before, it could be cause for concern. Rumbling, squeaking, and rattling sounds are good reasons to call Diamond Heating and Cooling to come take a look.

5. Lack of Maintenance

Without proper annual furnace maintenance, the furnace will deteriorate at a faster rate and develop problems. Schedule maintenance to keep the furnace running smoothly for as long as possible.

Many furnace problems occur unexpectedly, but generally, annual maintenance can catch these issues before they become a larger and more expensive problem. If any of the above issues pop up this furnace season, Diamond Heating and Cooling is here to help.

Furnace Size Matters

Furnace size matters and bigger is not always better. Finding the right size furnace will depend on the size of the area it needs to heat. Diamond Heating and Cooling can help determine the proper size for your home. Take a look at what happens when people get the wrong size furnace:

Undersized Furnace

A furnace that is too small for the space it is heating will have a hard time reaching the desired temperature programmed on the thermostat. This means it will run more often if not constantly, trying to keep up, which will waste energy and increase energy bills.

Oversized Furnace

While an oversized furnace will be able to keep the house at the desired temperature, it might do its job a little too well. Some areas of the house may get overly warm before the overall temperature reaches the thermostat setting.

It will also be less efficient, constantly cycling and using extra energy. This will not only increase energy bills, but will reduce the life of the furnace as well.

Perfectly Sized Furnace

The furnace that is the right size for the home will be able to efficiently reach the desired temperature, even on those cold days. It won’t short cycle or spend too much time in the “warming up” stage.

For those who suspect their furnace might be the wrong size, talk to the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling. They can determine the right furnace size, install it, and guarantee that it will reach desired temperatures, or they will replace the system at no charge.

Fall Treats

Fall is here and what better way to celebrate than with some fun treats. Here’s a recipe for some candy corn cupcakes.

Ingredients:

(For the cake)

1 cup whole milk at room temperature
6 large egg whites at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 ¾ cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut and softened
(For the frosting)
3 sticks unsalted butter, cut and softened
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
food coloring (orange and yellow)

Instructions:

(For the cupcakes)

  1. Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners
  3. White the milk, egg whites, and extracts together in a small bowl
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together
  5. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the butter, one piece at a time, into the flour mixture. Continue to beat until to resembles moist crumbs.
  6. Beat in about all but ½ cup of the milk mixture, then increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth, light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and slowly beat in the remaining milk mixture until the batter looks slightly curdled.
  7. Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to evenly pour the batter into the muffin tin.
  8. Bake the cupcakes, switching and rotating the pan halfway through baking, for a total of 15-20 minutes.
  9. The cupcakes cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

(For the frosting)

  1. Beat the butter, cream, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth
  2. Reduce speed to medium lower and slowly add the confectioners’’ sugar, beating until smooth. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy
  3. Divide the frosting into three bowls, and tint one yellow, another orange, and leave the last one white.
  4. Using a pastry bag and tip, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes in a cone shape starting with yellow, moving to orange, and lastly white on top to resemble a candy corn.

 

October Diamond Hugs

 

For the month of October, our Diamond Hug Program is once again working with the Chrysalis Women’s Facility. We did a second golf tournament with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Check out our Facebook page for photos from the event and to learn how you can be involved in supporting this great Boise organization.

September 8th, 2016 Newsletter

Saving Money with an HVAC Professional

There are a lot of articles out there teaching homeowners about DIY projects around the house including how to fix certain things on the HVAC system. However, attempting to fix or replace the HVAC system by oneself could result in disaster and could cost a lot more than the DIY attempt was supposed to save.

Hiring an HVAC professional isn’t only the smart choice, it’s a choice that could save money. Here’s how:

1. Knowledge and Experience

While homeowners have access to limitless information on the internet about HVAC systems and parts, a professional has experience with all kinds of problems the system can encounter. They will be able to confidently diagnose the issue. They will know exactly what needs to be fixed to get everything back up and running so there’s no guessing and spending money on parts that don’t need replaced.

2. Safety

HVAC systems can deal with flame sensors, motors, electricity, and other dangerous items. If handled improperly, the homeowner’s safety is at risk. HVAC professionals know how to carefully handle these things, making the process safer for everyone involved.

3. Confidence

DIY projects don’t always go as planned and could end up causing even more problems. When an HVAC professional repairs or replaces an HVAC system, homeowners can feel confident that it won’t break down a few days later because it wasn’t installed correctly.

Instead of DIYing the next HVAC issue, call a professional at Diamond Heating and Cooling. They will help fix the problem, save money, and get peace of mind. With a low diagnostic fee of $79 and 24/7 service, they will fix the problem as soon as possible without breaking the bank.

Use Less Energy During Fall

Soon all of the air conditioners will be turned off for the season and homeowners will start thinking about turning on the furnace. Fall can be a great time to save energy and money with these five tips:

  • Change the Filter

Air conditioners get a lot of use during the summer, and have probably collected a lot of dirt, dust and other particles. Those who haven’t already done so, should change out their air filter. A clean filter will help the HVAC system transition smoothly into furnace season. It also helps the furnace to run efficiently, saving energy and money.

  • Furnace Maintenance

Annual furnace inspection and maintenance will help to catch any issues and ensure everything is running smoothly before the system is needed. This will not only keep repair costs down, but also keeps the system running at peak performance and using the least amount of energy possible.

  • Adjusting the Thermostat

With chilly mornings quickly becoming the norm, it will be time to adjust the thermostat soon. Some people can get away with leaving the HVAC system off during the beginning of fall because the temperature isn’t too hot or too cold. Whether the furnace is used to warm up the house in the morning, or the air conditioner is used to cool it down in the afternoon, try to keep it on a schedule. This way less energy will be wasted.

  • Air Leaks

Trying to battle air leaks in the fall and winter can be costly with the furnace constantly running to keep up. Instead, find and seal air leaks before the cold weather hits. Check windows and doors, and even the basement or attic for air leaks.

  • Fireplace

The fireplace can be a source of heat loss when it isn’t in use. Have it cleaned and checked before planning to use it. Then, when it isn’t being used, make sure the damper is closed so air isn’t being let out. Also check for proper sealing around the fireplace and hearth.

Contact Diamond Heating and Cooling about fall HVAC maintenance. Or, save money by joining their Silver Club Membership. Visit the website to learn more.

After Labor Day Home Improvements

Labor Day signals the ending of summer as the Treasure Valley starts to move into fall. Before cold weather hits, homeowners should consider these three essential home improvements:

1. Windows

A lot of heat is lost through single-pane windows. If the energy bill skyrockets during the cooler months, homeowners should consider replacing older windows with a new, double-pane alternative. They should also look for any leaks or gaps around the windows where cold air might be coming in.

2. Insulate

Some homes don’t have insulation in areas such as the attic, crawl space, dryer vent opening, garage, and more. Installing insulation in these areas could help keep cold air out and keep the warm air from escaping. Not having insulation in areas like this could be wasting hundreds of dollars each fall and winter.

3. Carbon Monoxide Alarm

A sealed up house might be warm and cozy, but it could also be dangerous. Fuel-combustion appliances such as gas or wood stoves, fireplaces, or kerosene lanterns can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside, which is poisonous. Install CO alarms to protect the family since the gas isn’t detectable by color, odor or taste.

If after Labor Day home improvements include installing a new furnace before colder weather hits, contact Diamond Heating and Cooling. They’ll work with homeowners to determine the right furnace for every situation, and make sure everyone is satisfied.

September Diamond Hugs

 

For the month of September, our Diamond Hug Program is working with the Chrysalis Women’s Facility. We sponsored a golf tournament fundraiser Friday, September 9th. Check out our Facebook page for photos from the event and to learn how you can be involved in supporting this great Boise organization.

August 6th, 2016 Newsletter

Adjusting the AC at Night

With Boise and the Treasure Valley hitting very high temperatures, skyrocketing energy bills can be a concern. One way homeowners consider lowering the electricity bill is by turning off their air conditioner at night when the temperature outside cools down. This may or may not be a good technique. Here’s why:

Air conditioners not only absorb the heat inside the home and cool it down with a chemical coolant, but they also condense the moisture out of the air in the home, lowering the humidity. If the temperature outside is humid, turning off the air conditioning might be the wrong move. If the humidity comes inside, once the air conditioner is turned back on, it will have to work harder to reduce the moisture inside. This won’t help to save energy and money.

If there is little to no humidity in the air and the outside temperature cools the house down to a lower temperature than the air conditioner can, then turning off the air conditioner at night and opening the windows is likely to save the homeowner some money.

Try other tricks to lower energy usage like ceiling fans at night, or turning up the thermostat a few degrees while away from home and at night. If the house is cool enough by the time everyone heads to bed, turn the air conditioner off, but leave the fan on. It will still help to circulate the cold air that is already inside.

If homeowners are concerned that their air conditioner is using more energy than before, contact Diamond Heating and Cooling. The system may be experiencing a problem causing it to run longer or harder and increase the energy bill.

What Every Homeowner Should Know About Their AC

When people look at buying a new house, generally all they consider when it comes to air conditioning is whether or not the house has an AC system. Truthfully, every homeowner should know this information about their air conditioner:

Age

Knowing the age of the air conditioner is important for a few reasons. The most important being when it will be time to replace or repair the AC unit. If the air conditioner is nearing the end of its lifespan, it might just be cheaper to replace than repair. Usually the date it was manufactured is stamped on it, or can be looked up online using the serial number.

Energy Efficiency

For replacing parts, it is a good idea to know the SEER rating of the air conditioner. Mismatching SEER components won’t provide the proper maximum SEER rating. Diamond Heating and Cooling can help homeowners figure out their SEER rating and find the correct components to minimize this issue.

Wellbeing

Keep an eye on the energy bill and how well the air conditioner system seems to be working. If it is running too often, but the home isn’t getting cooler, there could be a problem. Just being aware of how it usually runs and works can help determine if there is a problem.

One way to ensure the wellbeing of the air conditioner is by scheduling regular HVAC maintenance with Diamond Heating and Cooling. By getting the system regularly serviced, problems can be prevented and the system will run smoother. Also remember to change the filter regularly as that can affect how well it runs and its efficiency.

For those unsure about the above information on their air conditioner talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling. They can assist homeowners in dtermining the age, SEER rating, and wellbeing of the air conditioner.

Summer Ice Activities

One of the best and fastest ways to cool down on a hot day is with ice. Ice can also be used to keep younger kids entertained during the summer. Check out these sensory games involving ice to keep children cool and occupied:

Ice Block Discovery

Need:

  • A bin (something that can fit in the freezer)
  • Toys that can get wet
  • Colored liquid

First, put a layer of the toys in the bottom of the bin and then pour colored water over top, just enough to cover them. Then put it in the freezer until solid. Next, put another layer of toys and colored water before putting it back in the freezer to solidify. Repeat this process until the bin is full.

Children can try getting to the toys with plastic tools, salt, or they can just play with the ice block until it melts and they can discover what is inside. It takes time, so definitely do this the night before.

Ice Painting

Need:

  • Non-toxic Paint
  • Ice Cube Tray
  • Toothpicks or popsicle sticks

Fill the ice tray a third with non-toxic paint, and the rest water before putting it in the freezer for two hours. Then put the toothpicks or popsicle stick in each one. Let the paint cubes freeze completely. Once they are frozen give them to the kids with a large piece of paper and let them color. You will want to do this activity outside on the picnic table for easy clean up.

Get creative and come up with a different ice game to keep everyone cool and entertained.

 

August Diamond Hugs

 

Our August Diamond Hug is a canned food drive for the Boise Rescue Mission. Donations of canned goods can be dropped by the office or donated when we are out doing maintenance or service.

July 12, 2016 Newsletter

Avoid Rising Energy Costs

To lower the energy bill, homeowners must first understand how they are being charged, and what it means. Sometimes homeowners are charged for consumption and demand. Consumption is what they are charged for the amount of energy used over the month. Demand represents the highest amount of power used at a given time.

Consumption is separated into two different rates, which are on-peak and off-peak. On-peak can be described as when they majority of buildings are using a lot of energy. Homeowners can get charged extra for their highest demand of energy being during on-peak hours.

This penalty is designed to limit demand. Utility companies have to account for the highest demand on the grid, and this penalty helps to avoid having everyone use a lot of energy at the same time. To avoid these charges, reduce peak load with these tips:

1. Major Appliances

Major appliances like the washing machine, dyer, and dishwasher use a lot of energy. Try scheduling to use them during off-peak hours so they don’t rack up too much energy. This doesn’t mean homeowners have to do laundry at 1 a.m., but be more mindful of when large appliances are being used.

2. Air Conditioning

Peak hours are generally during the day. Generally, most people are away at work during some of these hours, which makes it the perfect time to set the thermostat to a slightly warmer setting. This way the air conditioner will run less during peak times, and it doesn’t inconvenience anyone.

3. Kitchen

Summer can be a great time to fire up the grill or enjoy cold foods, which means the kitchen gets less use. Using the stove and oven can heat up the kitchen, making the AC run more as well. Try to avoid using the kitchen too much during peak hours, and opt for using an outside grill instead.

If the energy bill has skyrocketed, there could be an issue with the HVAC system that is causing the spike. Talk to the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling to schedule an AC tune up and for more tips on reducing AC energy usage during peak hours and hot summers.

Surprising HVAC Filter Facts

Not all filters are equal. There are many types of filters made of different materials, and nobody can quite agree on which one is the best. Whether it is made of fiberglass, polyester, or cotton, the main job of the filter is to protect the HVAC system.

While protecting the HVAC system, filters can also improve indoor air quality a bit, but that isn’t their main function. Most filters can’t collect the particles floating in the air that cause allergies and asthma attacks. This is because these particles are less than one micron in size, which filters aren’t equipped to handle.

Even high-efficiency filters might not get the job done and could actually harm the HVAC system. Some high-efficiency filters slow airflow, which reduces the HVAC unit’s efficiency and can cause damage over time. They could also freeze the condensing coils similar to the effects of a dirty filter.

One filter that is equipped to handle submicronic particles to improve indoor air quality is the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner. It’s an electronic polarized media air cleaner, not just another filter. With allergies and asthma prevalent in the Treasure Valley, filtering out those triggers, while still protecting the HVAC system is important.

Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner and how it can reduce allergies and asthma attacks this summer when pollen is rampant. It also comes with a year’s supply of replacement media.

Surviving a Broken AC

Sometimes the AC breaks down and it can take some time to get it fixed. While waiting for a repair or an entire new unit, use these tips to stay cool:

1. Lower the Shades

The sun can really heat up the house when the shades are open. To help keep the house cool, lower the shades during the hottest part of the day, when the sun is up. It will keep the cool air inside, and block the sun from baking the inside of the house

2. Cool Air

When the temperature starts to drop after the sun sets, it can be a great time to open the windows. It will cool the house down and keep it cool the next morning. When the sun rises, shut the windows to keep the cool air in.

3. Fans

Both box fans and ceiling fans can help make a room feel cooler. They don’t actually cool off the air, so don’t waste electricity running them in a room while nobody is there.

4. Cool Down

Use ice packs or cold, damp towels to cool, down body temperatures when the heat gets to be too much. Putting damp, cold towels on pressure points is a very effective way to cool down.

If the air conditioner does go out this summer, remember Diamond Heating and Cooling is available for emergency cooling services. They charge a low diagnostic fee and but do not charge after hours fees.

Summer Grilling Recipe: Spicy Honey-Glazed Chicken Breast

Summer is the season for grilling. Celebrate with this twist from Rachel Ray on grilled chicken breasts:

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • 1 pineapple peeled, cored and cut into 8 thick rings

Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan, heat 1 table spoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook this for 6-8 minutes until it is translucent and beginning to brown. Add the honey, hot pepper sauce and chili powder and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and set aside.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Rub the chicken with the remaining olive oil and season with salt. Grill until well-marked, about 7 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until it is marked and cooked through. Put on a plate and brush with the reserved honey glaze. Cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is resting, grill the pineapple until marked, then flip and repeat. Serve with the chicken.

June 14, 2016 Newsletter

AC Settings During Vacation

When you leave for vacation, the air conditioner should be set differently. Turning the temperature up a few degrees can give it a break and help homeowners save some money. Here are some air conditioning tips for those planning a vacation:

There is actually an ideal “vacation” temperature for the thermostat while everyone is away. This summer, when leaving for vacation, turn the temperature up four degrees. If it’s moved any more than that, homeowners could spend the money they saved trying to cool the place down when they get home.

While some people believe in turning the system off completely, that could cause mildew to form due to a build-up of humidity. Also, once they get home and turn the air conditioner back on, they’ll be trying to cool it down fast, and spending a lot of money to do it.

Another idea for those who travel regularly is to upgrade their thermostat. Many newer thermostats let homeowners change the home’s temperature with a smartphone app from wherever they are. They can set the temperature to adjust back down during the night when it is already cooler and in time for it to be cool when they arrive home.

Don’t let the house roast while away, but don’t pay for the house to be 72 degrees all week long either. Use the tips above to help save money and come home to a comfortable house after a relaxing week away.

Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about upgrading the HVAC thermostat. If the house doesn’t feel as cool as thermostat says it’s set to, the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling can take a look to see what the issue is. Also visit their website for more thermostat suggestions while away from home.

Remembering to Change the Air Filter

It can be hard to remember to change the furnace filter. The experts recommend changing the filter once every three months to keep everything running smoothly. For those who have a hard time remembering when the three months is up, try these tips:

1. Date Them

Can’t remember the last time it was changed? Next time, write the date on the new filter before putting it in. This eliminates guessing when it was last changed. That date can also give homeowners an idea if three months is too long to wait. Some people use their system more frequently, and therefore need to change filters more frequently.

2. Reminders

Use that fancy smartphone to set a reminder every three months or so. Just set each reminder three months from the date the new one was put in. That way, even if a person forgets, their phone won’t.

3. Make Them Noticeable

Some homeowners buy a few furnace filters in advance and keep them in the house so they’re on hand when needed. Their mistake with this is storing them out of sight, which means they’re out of mind too. Keep them stored in a place that is visible, and even put a sticky note on them with the date the new one needs to go in.

4. Seasonal Cleaning

Making a seasonal cleaning schedule helps keep everything in working order and takes the stress out of taking care of the house. So while washing windows and cleaning gutters, also put changing the furnace filter on that list. Eventually it will just be part of the routine and less likely to be forgotten.

5. Upgrade Thermostat

New thermostats come with a “check filter” light, much like cars with their gas lights. It lets homeowners know when it’s the most cost-effective time to replace the filter, taking the guesswork out of knowing how often to change it.

During their maintenance checks for both the air conditioner and furnace, Diamond Heating and Cooling checks the filter to see if it needs changed for their customers. Those who are part of the Silver Membership Club also receive two free one inch pleated filters per year.

Identifying Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are both serious illnesses that can occurr during summer, but with very different symptoms. Everyone should be aware of the symptoms both illnesses present so they can identify what is happening and know what to do.

Heat Exhaustion

Symptoms:

  • Cool, moist skin with goosebumps when in the heat
  • Heavy sweating
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure upon standing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If someone is suspected of experiencing heat exhaustion they need to:

  • Stop all activity and rest
  • Move to a cooler place
  • Drink cool water or sports drinks

If the symptoms worsen or don’t improve within an hour, medical treatment should be sought. Also, if the person’s body temperature is 104 degrees, they need immediate medical attention.

Heat Stroke

Symptoms:

  • High body temperature of 104 degrees or higher
  • Altered mental state or behavior
  • Skin is hot and dry
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid breathing
  • Racing heartrate
  • Headache

If it is suspected that some is experiencing heat stroke, it is best to call 911 or a local emergency services number. While waiting for help:

  • Get them in shade or inside
  • Remove excess clothing
  • Cool them down with whatever means is available

Being outside and not drinking an adequate amount of fluids attributes to heat-related illnesses such as the ones described above. Anyone can be affected by heat stroke or heat exhaustion, but children and the elderly are at a greater risk. Be smart when outside this summer. Take water, wear appropriate clothing, and don’t over exercise during high heat times.

Making a Box Fan Fort

Box fans are great for cooling down a room when it’s not quite hot enough to turn on the air conditioner, or even help circulate the cool air from the AC. Another thing box fans are great at: creating awesome forts.

Kids love forts, and with this tip, they can build the best one yet. To build this air fort, get these supplies:

  • Big sheet
  • Packing tape
  • Box fan

To make it, follow these instructions:

  • Tape one of the long sides of the sheet down to the floor.
  • Place the fan at one end of the sheet. Put the sheet over the fan and tape together.
  • Tape the remain edges to the floor

This in itself could be the fort, or this structure could be used as a sort of hallway into a larger area of a normally built fort. They entire thing just has to be somewhat sealed so the air can hold it up. Kids will get a kick out of how the fan holds the sheet up, and they will be able to stay cool while hanging out inside.

May 20, 2016 Newsletter

Easing Spring Allergies

Spring allergies can make outdoor activities miserable. Some people’s allergies are getting worse every year, which could be due to the fact that pollen counts are rising. A few of the biggest allergy triggers are pollen from birch, cedar, cottonwood and pine trees.

Take these steps to try and minimize allergy attacks and suffering:

1. Check Pollen Counts

Often the news reports the pollen counts, or allergy sufferers can also check online for this information. The level lets them know how much time they should spend outside and if they might need medication for the day.

2. Turn on the Air Conditioner

To limit exposure to pollen while indoors or in the car, close the windows and turn on the air conditioner.

3. Don’t Line Dry Laundry

When laundry is put on a line to dry outside, pollen can stick to it. Opt for drying inside to help keep pollen out of the house as much as possible.

4. Take Advantage of the Rain

The moisture that rain produces helps clear pollen from the air. Run errands, out do outside activities right after it has rained instead of on drier days.

5. Plan for Later

Plan more outdoor activities for the later part of the day. Pollen counts are generally much higher between 5 am and 10 am, so try to avoid being outdoors as much as possible during that time.

To avoid suffering from allergens indoors, an air filtration system can be beneficial. Diamond Heating and Cooling offers the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner, an electronic polarized media air cleaner. This powerful air cleaner can filter out sub-micronic allergens, reducing the allergy and asthma symptoms. Contact Diamond Heating and Cooling for more information on the Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner.

The Importance of Air Conditioner Maintenance

Homeowners often avoid contacting an air conditioner technician until there’s something wrong with their AC. What they don’t realize is the air conditioner loses about five percent of its efficiency for each year that it runs. This means even before there is a noticeable difference or complete system failure, the system has not been running as efficiently or effectively as it should be. Not keeping up with routine maintenance could also lead to parts breaking.

Having regular maintenance done on the air conditioner is important for these reasons:

  • Electric Bill Savings

To keep the air conditioner running energy efficiently and smoothly, it needs to be serviced regularly. The longer it goes without maintenance, the more power it uses, increasing the electricity bill.

  • Fewer Repairs

If the air conditioner is regularly serviced, it’s less likely to break down without warning and needing to be repaired. Diamond Heating and Cooling checks all of the components during their servicing to keep them from becoming worn and breaking.

  • Warranty Coverage

Factory warranties might be void if the owner neglects maintenance. Often, annual maintenance is required by the manufacturer for the HVAC warranty to be honored. Don’t end up paying for repairs out of pocket by neglecting maintenance.

Schedule annual air conditioner maintenance with Diamond Heating and Cooling. Or, become a Silver Club Member and never worry about remembering to schedule maintenance. With a Silver Club Membership, homeowners receive a huge variety of benefits, one being that Diamond Heating and Cooling calls them to schedule the routine service appointment.
Other benefits include:

  • 20% discount on all parts and labor
  • $19.95 diagnostic fee
  • Guaranteed appointments within 24 hours

Ask Diamond Heating and Cooling about becoming a Silver Club member to learn more about the benefits and savings available. Or visit their website to read more.

 

Repair or Replace?

Air conditioners don’t last forever, but with proper annual maintenance, they can have a pretty long life. When repairs start becoming more frequent and costly, it’s time to decide whether to repair or replace. Here are some tips for making the decision:

Age

Probably the biggest factor in deciding whether to repair or replace the air conditioner is its age. Take the age of the air conditioner and multiply that by the repair cost that’s been quoted. If that number turns out to be more than $5,000, it’s time to replace. Also, if the unit is more than 10 years old, it should probably be upgraded to an energy efficient model.

R-22

Freon or R-22 prices have soared in recent years. This is due to the EPA’s eventual phase-out. Instead of having more Freon added to the unit if a leak develops, it may be less expensive to replace the unit instead.

Other Factors

There are some other signs that it’s time to replace the unit like the house being too hot during the summer, and not cooling off like it should. Another one is if the energy bills are steadily rising even with maintenance and repairs. With older air conditioners, sometimes they just can’t be fixed enough to keep up with the home’s demands anymore.

Wondering if it’s time to replace? Contact the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling. They can assess the current system and let homeowners know what options are available. If it is time to replace, Diamond Heating and Cooling can also install the new HVAC system.

Optimal Office Temperature

Employees don’t often agree on the perfect office temperature. Some prefer it freezing cold, while others could do without such a low setting on the thermostat. Recently, there have been studies showing that air temperature has a strong effect on productivity.

According to many of these studies, even just a couple of degrees could have a real impact on comfort and productivity. Although not all of the studies completely agree on the perfect temperature, a majority of the research found the right temperature for productivity to be between 70 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit. A few degrees warmer or colder can have a five percent or more degradation in productivity.

While this is the perfect temperature for productivity, there are other factors to consider when setting the office thermostat such as:

  • Season

The thermostat is generally set differently depending on the season. People acclimate to one temperature or another depending on the temperature outside. In the winter people can handle cooler settings and warmer settings in summer.

  • Clothing

This is also related to the season. During colder months, people tend to wear heavier clothing, and can deal with a colder temperature. In warmer months, they usually wear lighter clothes and can be comfortable in a slightly warmer office.

  • Age

Those older than 55 years can be more easily affected by cold. If the office staff is primarily people of this age group, they might benefit from a warmer office temperature.

Overall, it’s important to discuss with the staff and come to an agreement that makes everyone as comfortable as possible.