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Posts Tagged: home upgrades

History of Home Heating

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Air conditioning, Ductless heat pump, Furnace, Heat pump No Comments on History of Home Heating

Let’s take a closer look at the history of home heating systems, to get a better idea of how people have been warming their homes since the first cities.

2500 BCE – 1400 AD: Ancient Furnaces

‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ How does this relate to ancient home heating technology? One word: fireplaces. Stretching as far back as 2500 BCE, central hearths have been unearthed in Ancient Greece, showing that people have been using one of humanity’s first inventions (fire) to warm their homes. 

Ancient furnace technology looks similar to types of home heating we see today including modern wood-burning fireplaces, cooking stoves re-appropriated for heating, and even underfloor home heating systems. These early furnaces used stone, but as new building materials evolved, like iron, they were applied to the construction of medieval and more modern furnaces. Medieval furnaces, with improvements in technology such as chimneys and flues, came onto the scene as humanity left the Dark Ages for the Renaissance, during the 15th century.  

1400s-1900s: Technology and the Modern Furnace

Since the furnace’s humble beginnings, there have been many technological improvements that have brought us to the heating capabilities of today. For example, the use and understanding of chimneys and flues took off in the 14th century, diverting smoke away from living areas, and keeping people from choking on harsh smoke. Steam heating was an industrial age revolution that allowed households to utilize the unique heating properties of superheated water, instead of simply using fire on its own. 

Beginning in the mid-19th century, boilers and fans were additional ways to create and disseminate heat in homes. Finally, the all-powerful thermostat, invented in the late 19th century became the remote control to our furnace’s television. 

2000s: Washington Energy Services is here for you

Lucky for you, you no longer need an Ancient Athenian lighting a fire beneath your floorboards to ensure warmth for you and your family. If you’re looking for a new furnace for your home, check out our great selection of Bryant Furnaces. Washington Energy Services is your top choice for heating and cooling solutions throughout Washington State, thanks to our reputation for the best products and exceptional customer service.

Get a free estimate

 

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Windows in pane? When to repair, and when to replace.

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows 1 Comment on Windows in pane? When to repair, and when to replace.

Windows are a key aspect of curb appeal, home décor, and most importantly, home efficiency; time, hassle, and cost are also factors. In the midst of all of these considerations, there are a few simple questions you should ask yourself before you reach for the toolbox or the window catalogs:

Do your windows have ongoing problems?

An occasional window repair makes sense from a time and cost perspective. Frequent window work, such as continuously removing condensation between panes, painting wood frames, or fixing drafty windows is another story. If you regularly find yourself opening your wallet simply to open your windows, it might be time to consider replacing them.

How do they affect day-to-day comfort?

For homes with single-pane windows, winters can be especially frigid, and summers frequently unbearable. Double-pane vinyl windows are budget friendly and energy efficient, as they help block the heat in summer and contain it in winter. Plus, they’re more resistant to condensation. Whether you’re shivering due to icy drafts and cold-to-the-touch glass, or melting in the beaming rays and stagnant heat, vinyl windows are an attractive option to make your home more comfortable and efficient year-round.

How feasible is window repair?

If you have the time, patience, and experience, your windows might be repairable. Minor (and quickly attended) rot can be patched with epoxy and small drafts can sometimes be eliminated with fresh caulk and new weather stripping. If you live in a historic home, with original or era-specific glass or window frames, repair is probably the best option, as replacing them can affect the home’s overall appeal and resale value.

However, there are some instances, when replacement is simply the better option:
  • Repair would result in exposure to lead-based paint
  • Pervasive rot
  • Fog between glass panes
  • Window hardware is no longer manufactured
Fog between glass panes

Preserving your windows

Ultimately, the best way to fix problem windows is to prevent issues before they start. Each year before the winter season, check your windows for seal breaks, rot (if wood framed), condensation, drafts, and broken hardware. Preserving your windows might be as simple as purchasing a tube of caulking or weather stripping. You may also find that professional repair or replacement is necessary. In any case, complete the work before the issue results in heat and energy loss.

Still not sure what to do? Feel free to give us a call to discuss your options. Our residential window experts will work closely with you to find the right solution for your unique home, style, and budget. After all, windows should provide light and a view of the world—not become a source of headaches.

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How can you benefit from a furnace upgrade?

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Furnace

An efficient home heating system will provide the level of comfort you want throughout the winter season at the lowest cost possible. If it’s nearly time for new furnace installation in your home, choosing a high-efficiency furnace product offers many clear advantages. Even if your existing furnace is in relatively good shape, it’s still important to consider its expected lifetime and the potential savings you could gain from a furnace upgrade sooner rather than later. If you have questions about upgrading your furnace and the potential advantages of this move, your Seattle-area home heating service can help.

A more comfortable home

One of the biggest advantages you’ll gain from making a furnace upgrade is a more comfortable home during the winter. A heating system that is efficient will simply perform better over the long term, keeping your home at exactly the temperature you want, even when the weather outside grows cold. Upgrading your home heating system to a more efficient solution, such as a variable speed furnace, will ensure that every area of your home is kept warm in a more even and regular manner, eliminating uncomfortable hot and cold spots and temperature swings throughout the day.

Monthly energy savings

Upgrading your furnace can offer more than just comfort—a more efficient furnace will also reduce your monthly energy costs, allowing you to save money rather than spend it on heating your home. Furnace efficiency is measured via a value called AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, which calculates the amount of heating your furnace provides per unit of fuel. The higher your furnace’s AFUE, the less fuel the system wastes because more fuel is turned into heat for your home. Today, furnaces are available with extremely high AFUE ratings, allowing you to get more from each dollar you spend on home heating so you can pay less without sacrificing the indoor environment you want.

Less worry about furnace problems

Especially if your furnace is approaching the end of its expected lifetime, a furnace upgrade is a smart move that you won’t regret. The older your furnace gets, the higher the chances become that you’ll experience a problem or failure that requires professional furnace repair or even complete system replacement. If you’re already calling your heating service frequently because your furnace isn’t reliable, you can certainly benefit from the elimination of this drain on your time and mental energy. Upgrading your furnace to a newer, more reliable system with a completely clean slate in terms of maintenance and repairs will put an end to worry about whether your furnace will provide the heating you need without a service call.

 A furnace upgrade for your home can offer both short-term and long-term savings when you choose an ENERGY STAR-rated furnace with 95% AFUE that is eligible for a $250 rebate. If it’s time to invest in a high-efficiency furnace from Bryant in the Seattle, Everett, or Tacoma areas, contact us today to schedule an evaluation of your home’s current furnace system.

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Combo boilers: splotlight on the navien condensing combination boilers

Posted On: Filed Under: Tank water heaters No Comments on Combo boilers: splotlight on the navien condensing combination boilers

Combination boilers, also called combi boilers, offer a space-saving solution for homes that incorporate boiler-based heating systems. A combi boiler is a compact tankless appliance that handles both home heating and water heating for higher energy efficiency and space efficiency, replacing the separate—and large—boilers and tank water heaters used in the past.

Today, combi boilers are quickly growing in popularity for several reasons; keep reading for a closer look at the Navien brand of condensing combination boilers and their benefits.

Major benefits of Navien Combi boilers for Seattle home owners

Maintaining a separate boiler and water heating system is costly in many ways, from the cost of maintaining and repairing these systems separately to the costs of producing heat and hot water for your home. Additionally, both traditional boilers and storage tank water systems take up space, reducing the amount of available square footage for other purposes in your home. Navien combi boilers eliminate the need for a separate boiler and water heating system, replacing both of these large units with a single compact system capable of delivering hydronic heating and hot water for all of your daily needs. These systems occupy up to 80% less space than your previous appliances and use cutting-edge heating technology to reduce wasted heat for more efficient home and hot water heating. Navien systems can use your existing 1/2” gas piping and require low gas pressure for easy retrofitting and conversion from natural to LP gas, reducing installation costs and time as well.

Top reasons to choose Navien products from Washington Energy Services

Navien is considered one of the industry leaders in condensing tankless water heating technology, as well as a worldwide leader in green technology. This Korea-based company specializes in residential boilers and water heaters, developing high-quality products with features that have both convenience and energy savings in mind. Not only are Navien combi boilers effective, but they are also easy to use, featuring clear instructions and a simple control panel. Navien products are highly desirable and often recommended because of their consistent performance, longevity, low maintenance requirements, and unique features that provide sophisticated control and maximum energy savings without sacrificing comfort. These combination boilers qualify for the ENERGY STAR label in terms of both home heating and water heating; Navien also offers a 10-year warranty on each unit’s long-lasting and corrosion-resistant dual stainless steel heat exchangers, which outperform aluminum and copper heat exchangers in terms of longevity and reliability.

If you are considering upgrading your boiler or water heater, our experienced technicians can help you evaluate your options and determine if a Navien combi boiler is right for your home. Contact us today and we’ll get your appointment scheduled as soon as possible.

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Signs of a failing HVAC system

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Cooling, Home energy audit No Comments on Signs of a failing HVAC system

While regular maintenance will ensure you get the best performance and greatest longevity from your furnace, air conditioner, boiler, or heat pump, the time will come when replacement is a smart investment in your home comfort and your home energy consumption. Knowing how to spot the signs of a failing HVAC system gives you a head start that allows you to take your time when considering your new heating and cooling options so you can pick the system that is right for you and schedule new HVAC system installation when it is most convenient.

Rising energy bills

Home comfort is one of the largest areas of energy consumption in the average home. Thus, an increase in your heating and cooling bills is always cause for a closer look. While any HVAC system will lose efficiency over time if it is not maintained, regular tune-ups and repairs are often sufficient to keep heating and cooling appliances that are in good condition functioning efficiently. If you notice that your energy bills appear to be on the rise without any change in your HVAC maintenance schedule, it could be a sign that your appliances are beginning to reach the end of their expected lifetime. An aging HVAC system will perform poorly and consume more energy over time as components begin to fail and the system as a whole is unable to achieve the efficiency it once produced.

Frequent problems

While the occasional minor repair should be expected over the course of your HVAC system’s lifetime, a change in the frequency with which you experience heating or cooling problems may be a sign that your HVAC system is reaching the end of that life. As your HVAC system ages, it will experience more wear and tear that is associated with more frequent problems and breakdowns, even if you address each issue as soon as you notice it. Although a few small repairs are not a pressing reason to replace your heating or cooling system, an increasing number of minor repairs can lead to costs that add up over time. If you are concerned that your heating or cooling system is breaking frequently and requires service visits more often than it once did, it is worth considering putting the money you might otherwise spend on repairs into a new HVAC system. Additionally, any time your HVAC system experiences a major problem associated with a costly repair, it’s worth discussing the price of the repair versus the price of new system purchase and installation with your repair technician. If the cost of repairs is more than half the cost of installing a new system, it may be a smarter long-term choice to replace your damaged system with a newer, more efficient solution that is guaranteed to last for decades.

If you have questions or concerns about the performance of your HVAC system, our experienced technicians can help you determine whether repair or replacement is the best choice for your needs. When it comes time to replace your heating and cooling system, we will work with you to determine your Seattle home’s comfort needs so you can select a system that reduces heating and cooling costs while delivering exactly the temperature and humidity control you want. Contact us today to schedule your free estimate.

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Energy-saving resolutions for 2016

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit No Comments on Energy-saving resolutions for 2016

 

Get a baseline.

What does your energy usage look like? Where is the most energy being wasted? Is your home performing at its optimum level? How can you improve it? These questions are nearly impossible to answer on your own. That’s where WES comes in. Our detailed Home energy audit will give you a thorough understanding of your home’s performance, including:

  • Customized color report detailing audit results
  • Prioritized list of opportunities to improve home’s performance
  • Tips to improve indoor air quality
  • Utility savings modeling on home
  • Detailed breakdown of available incentives and rebates

Go DIY.

Want to save some dough and stay in shape? Go DIY this year. While professionals should take on the more advanced projects, oftentimes, with a little elbow grease (and perhaps a YouTube how-to video), we can tackle the easier projects ourselves. Plus it’s a great step to staying in shape, allowing you to check two resolutions off your list. Take a look at these calorie-burning projects, courtesy of houselogic.com:

  • Building a fence: 340 calories per hour
  • Cleaning rain gutters: 272 calories per hour
  • Installing ceramic tile: 238 calories per hour
  • Interior painting: 136 calories per hour
  • Mowing the lawn: 306 calories per hour
  • Planting shrubs: 238 calories per hour
  • General gardening: 204 calories per hour

Save for the upgrades.

Are you budgeting for home upgrades? Whether you have an appliance that’s been on the fritz, drafty windows that have condensation, or a water heater that has felt rather cool lately, this could be the year to take the plunge and replace them. Or perhaps you just want to replace an older appliance with a more energy-efficient model. Either way, stash some cash away every month for upgrades.

Start upgrading.

If you’re operating appliances from the 90’s or early 2000’s (or yikes, even before) you’re spending too much on energy—plain and simple. Water heaters, refrigerators, dishwashers, and washer/dryers can be huge energy wasters. Make 2016 the year you finally say goodbye to the energy hogs and say hello to sleek, energy-efficient models.

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Enjoying wintertime energy savings

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating No Comments on Enjoying wintertime energy savings

As the temperature continues to drop, knowing how to maximize your wintertime energy savings will not only reduce your financial costs, but also improve the overall energy-efficiency, comfort, and eco-friendliness of your home. Whether you’re interested in considering a new heating system or thermostat, or are just looking for simple ways to save money and stay warm at home, there is an option that offers energy benefits for you and your family this year.

Consider a new heating system

Most furnaces are expected to last 15-20 years, while heat pumps typically last an average of 16 years. If your heating system is more than a decade old, it may be starting to struggle with providing the heating you want with efficiency and reliability. Even an old heater that is regularly serviced will be less efficient than a newer system, simply because of advances in technology that have been made since its purchase. If your heater has been experiencing problems for a while or you have called for several heating repairs in the recent past, it’s also a good indication that you may benefit from installing a new heating system altogether. Talking to Washington Energy Services about your current heating system and the benefits of replacing it can help you decide whether this solution is the right investment in your home energy savings.

Upgrade your thermostat

Even if your heating system is still relatively new, it’s also important to take a look at its control system. An outdated thermostat can hinder your furnace’s efficiency by affecting the control you have over the appliance and the heat it puts out. Upgrading an older manual thermostat to a digital programmable thermostat is a simple way to increase your home’s energy efficiency by exerting finer control over the temperature setting you choose. Using programs to heat your home only when you are present and reduce your furnace’s output while you area away is another great energy- and money-saving strategy that takes very little time and work to establish.

Schedule heating maintenance

Even if you haven’t had your heating service take a look at your HVAC system yet this year, it’s never too late to schedule a heating tune-up and cleaning. Regular maintenance is one of the best ways to extend the lifetime of your furnace and improve its heating output, reducing wasted energy caused by poor airflow and dirty or worn components. Our technicians can also make recommendations as needed to keep your heating system working as efficiently as possible, so you can continue enjoying energy savings for years to come. Regular maintenance also holds other benefits, including a lower risk of heating breakdowns that will cause stress and inconvenience during the cold winter weather. Even better, joining our Guardian Maintenance Club will keep your system running well for years to come.

If you have questions about heating your home in Seattle, we have the personalized answers and solutions you need for greater energy savings and comfort. You can find out more about us on our website, or check out our blog for more home heating tips.

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Windows in pane? When to repair, and when to replace.

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows 7 Comments on Windows in pane? When to repair, and when to replace.

 

Do your windows have ongoing problems?

An occasional window repair makes sense from a time and cost perspective. Frequent window work, such as continuously removing condensation between panes, painting wood frames, or fixing drafty windows is another story. If you regularly find yourself opening your wallet simply to open your windows, it might be time to consider replacing them.

How do they affect day-to-day comfort?

For homes with single-pane windows, winters can be especially frigid, and summers frequently unbearable. Double-pane vinyl windows are budget friendly and energy efficient, as they help block the heat in summer and contain it in winter. Plus, they’re more resistant to condensation. Whether you’re shivering due to icy drafts and cold-to-the-touch glass, or melting in the beaming rays and stagnant heat, vinyl windows are an attractive option to make your home more comfortable and efficient year-round.

How feasible is window repair?

If you have the time, patience, and experience, your windows might be repairable. Minor (and quickly attended) rot can be patched with epoxy and small drafts can sometimes be eliminated with fresh caulk and new weather stripping. If you live in a historic home, with original or era-specific glass or window frames, repair is probably the best option, as replacing them can affect the home’s overall appeal and resale value.

However, there are some instances, when replacement is simply the better option:

  • Repair would result in exposure to lead-based paint
  • Pervasive rot
  • Fog between glass panes
  • Window hardware is no longer manufactured
Fog between glass panes

Preserving your windows

Ultimately, the best way to fix problem windows is to prevent issues before they start. Each year before the winter season, check your windows for seal breaks, rot (if wood framed), condensation, drafts, and broken hardware. Preserving your windows might be as simple as purchasing a tube of caulking or weather stripping. You may also find that professional repair or replacement is necessary. In any case, complete the work before the issue results in heat and energy loss.

Still not sure what to do? Feel free to give us a call to discuss your options. Our residential window experts will work closely with you to find the right solution for your unique home, style, and budget. After all, windows should provide light and a view of the world—not become a source of headaches.

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To DIY or not to DIY

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit No Comments on To DIY or not to DIY

 

Are there safety concerns?

It’s simple—nothing is more important that your safety. Plus, damaging your home costs money, causes frustration, and can result in substantial time loss. Many types of projects present safety and home damage concerns and are best left to the pros, such as:

  • Electrical or plumbing work
  • Second-story ladder work
  • Roof work
  • Lead paint removal
  • Asbestos removal
  • Large tree trimming and removal
  • Gas appliance repairs

Will I save money by doing it myself?

DIY is heralded as the golden method for saving money. And oftentimes, it is. But before you tackle a project, take the time to consider the often-overlooked costs of DIY. Equipment and supplies can quickly diminish potential savings. More importantly, the price to hire a professional to fix the damage of a botched DIY project can be catastrophic.

If possible, first get an estimate from a professional, even if you think you will do the project yourself. This gives you a baseline from which to compare the DIY costs.

What is my time worth?

Time is money. Just because doing a project yourself seems cheaper, doesn’t mean it’s the best use of your time. This is particularly true for high wage earners and those without a large amount of extra time.

For example, if it would take you 10 hours to complete a task that a professional would do for $300, you’re valuing your time at $30 an hour. Consider your salary, time constraints, and other responsibilities, and then make the determination on the true value of your time. Of course, if the project is fun, will teach you a new skill, or you simply just want to do it, go for it!

Maybe you have several projects on your list, but you’re not quite sure where to start. If those projects relate to energy efficiency or home performance, consider having a Home Energy Audit conducted by Washington Energy Services. Not only will you gain a thorough understanding of your home’s performance, but we can also provide our expertise to help you create a plan of attack for your DIY projects.

There’s a lot to consider when you’re debating between DIY and hiring a pro. Ultimately, just make sure you carefully evaluate cost, time, and your skill set before you make a decision.

Going with a pro? That’s great. DIY? Fight on, weekend warrior.

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Enumclaw home gets new wood windows: before & after photos

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows No Comments on Enumclaw home gets new wood windows: before & after photos

Wood clad windows

This lovely home is tucked away in the beautiful natural surroundings that Enumclaw offers. The unique steep angles defined by the A-frame home allows the windows to be the star of the show. There are many window materials to choose from (vinyl, fiberglass) but the style and location of this home called for the rich and traditional look of earthy wood windows.

Glass failure and leaky windows

See the murky glass in the windows? That’s what happens when the glass fails creating leaky windows -and a leaky bank account come energy-bill time. When windows begin to leak the moisture from outside air gets in. That can give your house a stuffy and stale feeling even when it’s a nice day outside. Advances in glass-making and glass-coating technologies mean that replacing your windows can instantly increase the comfort in your home and save you money. Plus, visually you’ll see the difference new glass can make after upgrading.

wood clad windows window replacement in enumclaw

Hiring a contractor

If you’re replacing your windows but also looking to change the function, add more windows, expand the size of a window etc., you can consult a window or replacement professional to get estimates on cost and work involved. Our crews never cut corners just to get windows in faster. A quality window installation is important to us so your windows will stay strong for years to come.

front

During the project: side by side photo of the difference

In these photos you can see in real time the side by side comparison that the new windows make. On the left are the new wood glass windows with the old windows on right.

wood windows

enumclaw wood window replacment

 

More before and after photos

 

porch

Final after

Wood Window replacement home in enumclaw

For more information about these energy saving projects, please contact us at 800-398-4663 .

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