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.

April 28, 2016 Newsletter

Oversized Air Conditioners Inflate Bills

Bigger isn’t always better. This is especially true when it comes to air conditioning systems. If the system is too large or powerful for the building it is cooling, it can lead to a lot of wasted money and energy. Here’s how air conditioner technicians determine the proper size needed:

Load Calculation

To calculate how large an HVAC unit a home will need, technicians first look at the size of each room the system will be cooling. Then they also take into account the home’s orientation toward the sun, any shade that is present during the day, window type, insulation, building materials, and regional weather patterns. Together, these factors will help them decide which system will work the best and be as energy efficient as possible.

How can homeowners tell if their current air conditioning system is too large? The system will turn on and off very quickly. This allows it to cool the house quickly, but it won’t remove humidity. Removing humidity is a very important part of comfort during the warmer months.

To remove the moisture in the air, the air conditioner needs longer runtimes. The air moving over the cold evaporator coil causes water vapor to condense, so the more air to move over it, the more water vapor gets condensed and carried away. The system needs about 15 minutes of runtime before there’s serious dehumidification of the air, something an oversized system doesn’t allow.

If high energy bills, humid air, and short runtimes are making homeowners question the size of their air conditioning system, they should give Diamond Heating and Cooling a call. They can determine if the system is too large, and help homeowners install a new, properly-sized HVAC system.

How Mold Affects Indoor Air Quality

Many factors affect indoor air quality. One of the worst is mold and mold spores. Different types of mold are present at all times, but generally in low levels. They don’t become a problem until their presence increases. People with allergies, asthma, and suppressed immune systems are at a greater risk of being affected by mold and mold spores.

Some types of mold don’t have any effect on people because they don’t produce mycotoxins. These compounds are toxic to other organisms. It is believed molds produce mycotoxins as a protection against competing organisms.

About 400 mycotoxins have been identified by scientists, and some of them are extremely hazardous to humans. When people come into contact with mold that produces mycotoxins, they can exhibit a range of symptoms such as:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Skin rashes
  • Lesions
  • Bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Depression
  • Long-term nerve and organ problems
  • Altered immunity
  • Cancer

People have villainized “Black Mold” to be the culprit of many health issues, but it isn’t strictly the species of mold that has an impact on what type of mycotoxin will be produced. The growing conditions, and nutrients also have a say in what type of mycotoxins the mold will produce.

The severity of symptoms and health issues cause by a certain mold depend on the type of mycotoxin it is releasing. At least 400 different types exist, and some have a lower effect on people than others. Some mold might only cause mild allergy symptoms while others can be quite severe.

Since it can be difficult to determine the type of mold without having it identified in a lab, homeowners who discover mold in their home should take steps to get rid of it, whether it is harmful or not. The longer it is present, the more mold spores are allowed to drift into the air, affecting the indoor air quality.

Ask Diamond Heating and Cooling about improving the indoor air quality in a home or business. It will give owners peace of mind, and allergies and asthma sufferers more comfort this allergy season.

Spring Recipe: Rhubarb Apple Pie

The weather is warmer, the sun is shining, and fresh produce is starting to be in season. To celebrate, try to new springtime-inspired recipe, such as this Rhubarb-Apple Pie.
Ingredients:

  • ½ package refrigerated pie dough
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 ½ cups sliced fresh rhubarb
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 4.22 ounces all-purpose flour, divided
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnut halves (optional)

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Put pie dough on a lightly floured surface, then roll into a 12 inch circle. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray before putting the dough into it. Turn the edges under, flute.
  • Combine the rhubarb, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and apples. Sprinkle the mixture with cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 3 table spoons of flour, then combine again before putting it into the pie crust.
  • Weigh and spoon remaining 3.38 ounces of flour (about ¾ cup) into a dry measuring cup, then level with a knife. Combine this with remaining 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and brown sugar. Cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the walnuts if desired. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the rhubarb mixture in the pit crust.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes
  • Reduce oven temperature without removing pie to 375 degrees and bake on this temperature for about 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Let the pie cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.

May & June Diamond Hugs

For the months of May and June, We will be focusing on Hope House in Marsing, Idaho.

”Hope House exists to provide a home for children who are emotionally impaired, developmentally disabled, and/or come from disrupted adoptions or dysfunctional families.  Hope House exists to provide a home for children who are emotionally impaired, developmentally disabled, and/or come from disrupted adoptions or dysfunctional families.”

We are super excited to help Hope House as our Diamond HUG for May and June! We plan on taking our team out to work on their grounds and perhaps even their HVAC equipment. We will also be collecting monetary donations to give to them in June.

March 3, 2016 Newsletter

Cooling Maintenance and Plans

Getting an annual air conditioner checkup can prevent a lot of issues with the HVAC system. During Diamond and Heating’s annual A/C maintenance check, they make sure the cooling system is running properly before the heat of summer hits.

Their A/C maintenance comes in different levels, ranging from Air Conditioner Safety Inspection all the way to System Rejuvenation. During the safety inspection, Diamond Heating and Cooling tests the blower and the capacitor on the furnace, looks at the cleanliness of the coil, drainage condensate, refrigerant charge, amp draw, capacitor of the outdoor unit, and inspects AC lines for restrictions. From there the cleaning and inspections get more intense and cover a larger range of services.

Many homeowners skip annual air conditioner maintenance because of the cost. With a Silver Club Membership through Diamond Heating and Cooling, homeowners can experience great maintenance without breaking the bank.

For just $11.95 per month, Silver Club members get a visit from Diamond Heating and Cooling twice per year to preform maintenance on their HVAC system. That’ not the only perk though, Silver Club members also receive:

  • Guaranteed appointments within 24 hours
  • Free safety check
  • Free Fall maintenance on furnace
  • Free Spring Maintenance on air conditioner
  • Two free 1” standard pleating filters per year
  • 20% discount on all parts and labor
  • $19.95 Diagnostic fee
  • 20% discount on IAQ
  • Blower motor pulled at no charge once every three years of membership

Instead of paying the $79 maintenance fee, join the Silver Club membership and save on maintenance plus a whole lot more with Diamond Heating and Cooling.

Decorating for Easter

It’s time to break out the eggs and chocolate bunnies! Easter is on the way, and now is a perfect time to decorate the home in all pastels. Here are some cute ideas to help everyone decorate for Easter:

  • Easter Picture Display

Have some cute Easter pictures? Create a cute display to share all of the memories. It could be on a side table, mantle, or replace some pictures on the wall. It brings a personal touch to the holiday decorations.

  • Chicks and Eggs

Baby Chicks and colorful eggs are always part of the Easter celebration. Put some colorful plastic eggs around the house, maybe have some with little chicks poking out. These can also make a great mantle piece or table centerpiece.

  • Easter Egg Garland

Get the kids involved with decorating. Have them color or paint cutouts of Easter eggs. Then, string the paper cutouts up along the wall for some color and creativity.

  • Break out the Pastels

Some people prefer a little more toned down decorations. Switch out kitchen towels for lighter pastel colored ones. Find a pastel or Easter-inspired table cloth to use for dinner too. Some homeowners change out their curtains to light colors in the spring and summer, why not use pastels to tie into Easter?

Hope these ideas get everyone in a creative decorating mood. Happy Easter from the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling.

Houseplants that Help Allergies

Spring is on its way, which means allergies aren’t too far behind. For many, certain plants are what cause their allergies. However, there are plants that can actually help those with allergies too. These houseplants collect pollen and pollutants, helping to clean the air inside.

NASA conducted a Clean Air Study to determine which plants would work well in closed environments. Here are the plants the recommend:

  • Mum and peace lilies to remove PCE from the air
  • Golden pothos and philodendron to control formaldehyde
  • Gerbera daisies to control benzene
  • Areca palm to humidify the air
  • Lady palm and bamboo palm as general air cleaners
  • Dracaena to grab allergens from the air and trap them in its leaves.

House plants are known to collect dust when sitting around the house, so they should be diligently cleaned to prevent dust collection.  Wipe down the leaves with a damp paper towel once a week or so.

Try out a few of these plants to see if they help relive allergy suffering in the home. Another alternative to suffering through allergy season is investing in a Micro Power Guard Air Cleaner from Diamond Heating and Cooling. This electronic polarized media air cleaner filters out sub-micronic allergens, dust and dirt. Many are seeing the difference this air cleaner brings to the home by experiencing less allergies and asthma attacks.

March and April Diamond Hugs

Diamond Heating and Cooling’s Diamond Hugs Program for the months of March and April is focusing on Royal Family Kids Camp, which is a camp and mentor club for children of abuse, abandonment and neglect. Diamond Heating and Cooling will be accepting donations toward camp scholarships during these two months. They are also going to have a table at the Black & White Ball on April 30th. This event is Royal Family Kids Camp’s main fundraiser. Contact Diamond Heating and Cooling to learn more about donating to this cause.

February 3, 2016 Newsletter

Troubleshooting the Thermostat

Thermostats control the temperature of the home. However, if the thermostat is working correctly, the heating and cooling system won’t run properly, leaving the house too warm or too cold. This malfunction can cause homeowners to think their entire HVAC system is broken. Before jumping to conclusions, go through this checklist to see if the thermostat is broken:

  • First, check the display to see if it is lit up. If not, try replacing the battery.
  • Depending on the temperature and season, set the thermostat five degrees high or lower than the normal setting.  See if furnace or AC comes on like it should.
  • Next, check to see if the thermostat is set to cool or heat. It might have accidentally gotten set on the wrong one. Also check the circuit breaker to make sure it didn’t get tripped.
  • Turn the thermostat off at the breaker. Then remove the cover and check the wiring for any loose wires. Then, replace the cover and flip the breaker back on.

If the system doesn’t come back on after trying the above steps, call a professional HVAC contractor. The thermostat is likely in need of repair or replacement. Or for homeowners who don’t want to mess around with their thermostat wiring, go ahead and call Diamond Heating and Cooling. They can determine whether the thermostat is broken, or if the culprit is the HVAC system.

Choosing an HVAC System

For those who aren’t experts on HVAC systems, picking out a new one can be a difficult process. It’s an important decision on an expensive piece of equipment that has a huge impact on the comfort of the home and future energy bills. To make the decision a little easier, here are some tips on finding the right HVAC system:

  • Do Some Homework

First, homeowners will need to determine the volume of all the spaces the HVAC system needs to reach in the house. This will let them know how powerful the system needs to be. Second, they should determine which energy source is the most economical in their area. Switching energy sources when getting a new HVAC system could potentially save homeowners money on energy bills.

When looking at furnaces, homeowners should know that they come in single-stage, two-stage or modulating styles. Depending on where the thermostat is set, they cycle on and off. The temperature is always wavering between high and low points.

  1. Single-stage: This type of furnace can only be on or off. This results in greater peaks and valleys in temperature, and is the most inefficient of the three.
  2. Two-stage: This one has two settings, high or low. They also have a low-burning setting which keeps the heat from dropping too far below the desired temperature. With the air temperature varying less than the single-stage, they are considered more efficient.
  3. Modulating: This furnace can adjust the flame to any point between high and off. It frequently adjusts the flame to keep the air temperature constant.
  • Stay Within Budget

Sometimes equipment, such as the HVAC system, gives out at an inopportune time. If money is tight, homeowners should stick to the essentials. Consider whether or not optional items like humidification or filtration, will work in the existing budget.

  • Biggest Might Not Be Better

Getting a system that fits the home will be more economical than an oversized system with more power. Too much heating capacity can actually be less efficient, and wear can out faster in some situations.

Diamond Heating and Cooling can help their customers find the perfect HVAC system for their home and their needs. They guarantee the new system will heat the home to the desired temperature, or they will replace the system at no charge.

Characteristics of a Great HVAC Technician

 

Residents in Boise and the Treasure Valley have dozens of choices when it comes to choosing an HVAC specialist. But what should they look for when hiring one?

  1. Experience: This can be the difference between a job well done and hours of fiddling, just to realize the system still isn’t working right. From senior technicians to lead installers, the Diamond Heating and Cooling team has a wealth of experience that they are handing down to their apprentices. Their customers can be sure they are getting someone with extensive knowledge to repair or install their HVAC system.
  2. Credentials: Make sure the technicians have the proper licensing before hiring them. This ensures both the installer and the homeowners are protected in case there’s an injury or damage sustained on the job.
  3. Versatility: When technicians know how to work with multiple HVAC systems, it can put the homeowner at ease. They tend to have more experience and knowledge when they know their way around different brands and types of heating and cooling systems.
  4. References: As with many service providers, word of mouth is a great indication of their reliability. If they don’t come with good references, they might not be the right person for the job. Ask around to family and friends, check out websites and reviews as well.
  5. Price: Price quotes should be thought of last. Experience and credentials should be higher priorities. Once a homeowner has found a couple companies with experience, they can use price to be a deciding factor.

Learn more about why Boise residents should choose Diamond Heating Cooling by visiting their webpage. Read testimonials and get to know the team.

Valentines for Veterans

 

For February, Diamond’s Hug Program will be presenting Valentines to Veterans. You can bring a smile to a veteran’s face by making or purchasing valentines and dropping them off at our new office, located at 4605 Chinden Blvd. Why not get the whole family involved? The staff at Diamond Heating and Cooling will take care of delivering the valentines to veterans on Valentine’s Day.

January 13, 2016 Newsletter

Covering the AC Unit

When winterizing the backyard, homeowners often consider whether or not to cover their air conditioning unit to protect it from the elements. While most people think it’s a no-brainer maintenance step, covering the AC unit actually has both pros and cons.

Pros:

Covering can not only protect it from the weather, but it helps to keep out sticks, leaves and other debris that could get stuck and cause issues. The top portion of the unit might have to be replaced if it sustains damage from snow, ice and rain.

Cons:

When covered, the unit can become a habitat for small animals such as mice. It’s the perfect spot to hide out for the winter. While inside, they might chew through wiring and cause major damage.

Also, if completely covered in a non-breathable fabric, condensation can build up. This will cause the unit to rust and possibly even mold.

Often the deciding factor on whether to cover the AC unit or not is climate. In places, such as Boise and the Treasure Valley, where snow and ice accumulate, it can be a good idea to invest in a cover. Some homeowners put a piece of plywood over the top to protect it from ice, snow, and debris. Leaving the sides uncovered helps prevent condensation.

If the weather has damaged the AC unit, give Diamond Heating and Cooling a call. They can help repair the damage and make sure it’s in working order for when warm weather hits.

Keeping Drafts Out

During the winter, drafts are especially noticeable in homes. In addition to bringing a chill wafting through, they make the furnace work harder, causing heating bills to increase. When most homeowners try to get rid of drafts, they focus on windows and doors. However, there are plenty of other fixtures that can cause air leaks.

Other common sources of air leaks:

  • Attic hatch
  • Wiring holes
  • Plumbing vents
  • Furnace flues/ducts
  • Basement rim joists

When trying to get rid of drafts, look for gaps or cracks at the sources listed above. Also look at the outer walls of the home. Take note of where cracks or joints are located and seal them up.

There are a few different materials needed for this job, depending on where the air is getting inside. For window frames, caulk and spray foam work well. For items that move, like doors, weather-stripping is the way to go.

When starting a project like this, it is recommended that homeowners start in the attic. By sealing up the larger spaces in the attic, they will see the most significant energy savings. Focus on using insulation in the attic to stop any drafts.

Next, they should work on basements or crawlspaces. There are a lot of things that could be causing drafts in the basement or crawlspace. Look at openings in the walls, ceiling or floor near the foundation. Also examine the openings created for gas, water and electrical lines.

Finally, check and seal leaks coming from doors, windows and walls. These are frequently the most noticeable drafts, but often they have the least impact on energy use. However, fixing these drafts can make the most used areas of the house much more comfortable.

Garage Heat Loss

Since heating and cooling can account for up to half of a home’s total energy use, losing or wasting heat can be a big deal. One place that heat could be escaping is the garage door. In some older homes, the wall between the garage and the house isn’t insulated. This could be sucking heat from the home and costs the owners a great deal in energy bills.

Take these steps to minimize garage heat loss:

1. Check the Wall Insulation

As stated before, the wall between the house and the garage might not be insulated. If it isn’t, that wall will be colder than the rest during the winter. Insulation will help warm up that area of the house as well as cut down on heating costs.

2. Insulate the Garage Door

Metal gets really cold in the winter. Most garage doors are made of metal, bringing the cold air in. Homeowners have two options to fix this:

  • Replace it with an insulated steel door
  • Add foam insulation panels to the existing door

Either way, the cold air will be less likely to get inside.

3. Weather-strip

Lastly, put weather-stripping on windows in the garage and on the door between the house and garage. It’s just one more reinforcement to keep cold air out as much as possible.

Get Ready for February Diamond Hugs

For February, Diamond’s Hug Program will be presenting Valentines to Veterans. You can bring a smile to a veteran’s face by making or purchasing valentines and dropping them off at our new office, located at 4605 Chinden Blvd. Why not get the whole family involved? The staff at Diamond Heating and Cooling will take care of delivering the valentines to veterans on Valentine’s Day.