February 15th, 2018 Newsletter

 

Ideal Temperature for Your Home This Winter

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Advantages to a Smart Home

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

4 Main Reasons for a Smart Home

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Keep the Romance Going All Month – Boise Style

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

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

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

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

January 10, 2018 Newsletter

 

Importance of a Good Furnace Filter

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Replace vs. Repair

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

There are a few factors to look at when deciding:

  1. Age of Furnace

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

  1. Cost

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

  1. Efficiency

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

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

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

 

 

Comforting Winter Soup Recipe

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

Meatball Sub Soup

Ingredients:

Meatballs-

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

Soup-

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

Instructions:

To make the meatballs:

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

To make the soup:

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

 

December 7th, 2017 Newsletter

Common Winter Furnace Issues

Furnace Issues

It’s December and the weather has finally begun to change. The temperature has dropped, and Boise experienced its first taste of snow. This also means it’s time to crank up the furnace to stay warm. With increased demand, more issues can pop up. Keep an eye out for these five common furnace issues:

  1. Dirty Filters

Dirty furnace filters are such an easy fix, unless they’ve been left for months. The dirtier the air filter, the harder the system must work. This results in high energy bills and possible broken or damaged furnace parts.

  1. Poorly Calibrated Thermostat

This issue can happen year round, but is noticed often in winter while trying to get the house to a comfortable temperature. If the thermostat is poorly calibrated, the furnace will cycle frequently, increasing the energy bill and likely wearing out faster.

  1. Incomplete Combustion

Incomplete combustion can occur because of a whole variety of reasons, such as blocked vent systems, damaged heat exchanger, etc. This produces carbon monoxide, which can poison those in the home. To prevent incomplete combustion, have the furnace serviced each year. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, install carbon monoxide detectors in the home.

  1. Dry Air

Winter can make the air inside the home very dry. This can wreak havoc on skin and sinuses. To eliminate dry air, invest in some humidifiers for the bedrooms.

  1. New Noises

As the furnace begins working harder, it might begin to make strange noises. If this happens, be aware that it could mean there’s something loose or broken inside of the system.

These five furnace issues are dangerous, but can be prevented with regular furnace maintenance and filter checks. If the furnace begins acting up this winter, call the HVAC pros at Diamond Heating and Cooling for assistance.

 

 

Benefits of Buying a New AC Now

While everyone is focused on heating right now, it might be the ideal time to focus on cooling. If the air conditioner was on its last leg over summer, it might be best to research and purchase a new air conditioner this winter. Here’s why:

  • Low Demand

The higher the demand, the higher the costs rise. However, during the cooler months, AC demand is at its lowest. This means homeowners can find an AC unit for a better price than in spring or summer. While they won’t likely be on sale, they won’t cost quite as much as they would in the middle of summer during an emergency.

  • Service Interruption

Since the air conditioner isn’t currently being used, installation is no sweat. There’s no disruption in comfort like there can be during a summer installation. There’s no going days without cooling until the unit can be installed.

  • Research Time

When homeowners are forced to purchase a new air conditioner due to an emergency in the summer, they might not have as much time to research brands and types. If they focus on finding a new air conditioner when it isn’t needed, they will have more time to find the perfect unit.

After finding and having the perfect air conditioning unit installed, it should be winterized to protect it from cold weather. First, turn off the exterior power to the unit to prevent accidentally turning it on. Then, clean all debris away from the area to prevent it from entering the unit and causing issues later. And lastly, cover it to prolong its life.

Homeowners anticipating the need for a new air conditioner next spring and summer should talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about it now. The HVAC experts can guide homeowners through the research process and install the new unit once purchased.

 

 

Christmas Ornament Craft

Make the Christmas tree sparkle even more this year with sparkling star ornaments. These easy to make ornaments can be a fun craft to make with the kids. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Toothpicks
  • 1 ½ inch foam balls
  • Silver spray paint
  • Fine silver glitter
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • String

Cut some of the toothpicks in half. This will make the spikes come out of the ball at different lengths. Push the toothpicks into the foam ball until it has a sufficient amount. Apply one or two coats of silver spray paint. While the paint is still wet, dust it with the glitter. Attach a string with a dab of hot glue. See this and more ornament ideas here.

 

 

December Diamond Hugs

For December we are continuing to work on our furnace giveaway project. We teamed up with 89.5 KTSY and a couple other local businesses to give one lucky family a brand-new furnace and home remodel.

October 11, 2017 Newsletter

Seal Air Leaks for Energy Efficiency

To save money on the energy bill while staying cozy this fall and winter, take time to seal up any air leaks in the home. Cracks and openings around windows or doors can leak air, letting warm air out and cold air in. This makes the furnace work even harder to keep the home comfortable.

Before sealing and caulking every window or door, it can be helpful to have a blower-door test done by technicians. This helps identify the house’s leakage points so homeowners can properly seal them. Some homes have air leaks that can actually be felt inside while walking past a door or window but other leaks are less obvious.

Here are a few ways to reduce air leaks inside the home:

  1. Weatherstrip

Doors often have gaps around them, which can easily be fixed with some weatherstripping. This helps to lessen the gap so that less air has a chance to escape. If the gap under the door is significant, a door sweep would work better.

  1. Caulking

Caulking can be installed to many gaps or cracks that are less than ¼ inch wide. Use it around windows, electrical boxes, or any other small gaps around the house. It’s a quick and easy way to seal openings around nonporous materials.

  1. Flues and Chimneys

Flues and chimneys are notorious for having open spaces around them that let in quite a bit of cold air. These can be easily covered with aluminum flashing and caulk. Be careful to maintain the spacing where needed though for proper ventilation.

Preventing air leaks early in the season will help keep energy bills lower and increase the comfort level in the home. For any other energy efficiency questions, ask the experts at Diamond Heating and Cooling.

 

Taming a Loud Furnace

Furnace Maintenance

Loud furnaces can be bothersome, especially if they wake homeowners up at night. If these loud noises are unnatural, they could be stemming from a variety of problems. Identifying the type of sound is the first step to determining the cause.

  1. Whistling

If the furnace is whistling, it could be one of these three issues:

  • Gaps in the duct
  • A clogged air filter
  • Ducts that are too small and are limiting air flow

Check the air filter first, to rule it out. If the problem is with the ducts, Diamond Heating and Cooling can come out and diagnose the issue.

  1. Squealing

A squealing noise is likely coming from the blower inside of the furnace. Often it is the sign of a loose or slipping blower belt. If the noise is ignored, the blower could break, leaving homeowners with no heat.

  1. Rattling

If the furnace is making a ratting sound, it usually isn’t serious. It usually means something is loose like the panels or ducts. Try adding screws to the ducts, duct taping loose equipment pieces, or putting something underneath the furnace like rubber.

  1. Grinding

The grinding sound of metal on metal can signify a blower malfunction. It’s commonly made by the bearings or belt in the blower. In this case, the blower will likely need repaired.

  1. Banging

A banging sound when the furnace turns on could be a couple of different issues. The first is oil-canning ductwork. This just means there is a weak spot in the ducts that needs extra support. It can be easily repaired. The second possibility is a problem with the ignition. There could be a burst of flame when the furnace starts up causing the sound. This is easy to see, but harder for homeowners to fix themselves.

If the furnace is making one of these sounds, or any other unusual noises, give Diamond Heating and Cooling a call. We can easily diagnose and resolve the issue.

 

Placing Furniture Around Air Vents

Keeping air vents clear is more important than some people realize. If air vents are blocked, it affects the efficiency of the HVAC system, and could even damage it. There’s a balance that is achieved when installing the HVAC system, and even one blocked air vent could disrupt that balance, causing issues.

The furniture that is placed over the air vents can also be damaged. Upholstered furniture can incur mold and mildew if placed over an air vent. Wood furniture could shrink and swell, becoming damaged due to the humidity.

Here are some guidelines for placing furniture around air vents:

Leave at least 18 inches between a piece of furniture and an air vent. This allows for maximum air flow and reduces the chances of furniture being ruined. If that 18 inches isn’t possible, homeowners can invest in vent covers. These attach to the vent with magnets and can redirect the air away from the furniture.

As for the HVAC system, when vents are blocked, both the air conditioner and the furnace will have to work extra hard to pull in and push out air. This wears the system down faster and can cause components to begin breaking down if the vents are blocked for long periods of time. Homeowners will pay higher energy bills and need to buy a new system much earlier than planned.

If any air vents have been blocked for a long period of time, call Diamond Heating and Cooling to inspect and repair any damage to the HVAC system that is present.

 

Caramel Apple Cider Recipe

With the temperature dropping, it is a perfect time to curl up under a blanket with a warm drink in hand. Try this caramel apple cider for a delicious fall treat.

Ingredients:

  • Apple Juice or Cider
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Whipped Cream
  • Cinnamon Dulce Syrup

Directions:

  • Add 6 tablespoons of Cinnamon Dulce Syrup to the bottom of a sauce pan.
  • Add 12 ounces of apple juice or cider. Heat on medium until just before boiling.
  • Pour into mug and top with whipped cream and caramel sauce.
  • Enjoy!