August 10th, 2017 Newsletter

Northwest Begins to Rely on AC

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

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

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

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

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

 

Using Shade to Conserve Energy

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

Trees

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

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

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

Shrubs

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

Vines

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

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

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

 

DIY Back to School Teacher Gift

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

Supplies:

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

Instructions:

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

For more detailed instructions and pictures, click here.

July 6th, 2017 Newsletter

 

How to Stay Cool if the AC Breaks

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

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

1. Draw the Shades

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

2. Use Fans

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

3. Avoid Cooking

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

4. Ice

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

5. Shower

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

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

 

Should I Upgrade My Thermostat?

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

The 3 main benefits of having a programmable thermostat are:

1. Comfort

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

2. Energy Savings

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

3. Options

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

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

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

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

 

Popsicle Recipe

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

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

Directions:

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

 

July and August Diamond Hugs

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