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Posts Tagged: maintenance

Tips to prepare your home for freezing temperatures

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating No Comments on Tips to prepare your home for freezing temperatures

Plumbing tips

Leave the water running

dripping faucet

As water freezes it expands which leads to burst pipes and expensive water damage. The best protection is to ensure all lines are insulated. As a reliable fail-safe when temperatures drop below freezing, we recommend leaving one faucet on so that a drip leaves the faucet every second or so. This simple step keeps water moving and will prevent freezing from occurring.

Get an insulated hose bib

insulated hose bib cover

Ensure outdoor hoses are disconnected and install insulated hose bibs over your faucets which you can acquire at your local hardware store.

Mechanical system tips

Condensate lines for high efficiency furnaces, tankless water heaters, boilers, and heat pumps.

unthaw condensate line

One of the most common heating system failures during freezing temperatures is when a condensate line freezes and doesn’t allow water to leave the system. You can tell if your system is high efficiency if the venting material is PVC. If your furnace vents in metal then it does not condensate. During freezing temperatures, periodically check the condensate line (pictured) to ensure it is draining properly and not freezing.

If you notice that it is frozen, take a bowl of hot water and pour it over the exterior termination of condensate line. Another strategy is to use a hair dryer to warm the line. Use caution with an electric appliance around water. Heat until all ice is gone and keep an eye on it until temperatures warm up.

Check your furnace filter.

dirty furnace filter

Your system will be working hard over the next few days. Restricted airflow from dirty filters is a common failure in both freezing and non-freezing weather. If your furnace filter is dirty, change the filter immediately.

Rest assured

During these cold snaps, our service team is working around the clock to keep our homeowners warm and safe. This very high demand can lead to delays in service and long hours for our service team. These simple tips will help you keep your home safe and your family warm.

As your home partner, we hate having to charge a service call for a very preventable issue—so don’t let it happen to you!

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Is your furnace ready for fall?

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating No Comments on Is your furnace ready for fall?

Show it a little TLC.

Fall is the perfect season to schedule a furnace service, repair, or tune-up. The coldest days of winter are not an ideal time to start thinking about this—do it now before your furnace gets kicked into high gear.

Call Washington Energy for the following furnace services:

Precision Tune-Up: This 37-point inspection ensures that your furnace will continue operating efficiently through fall, winter, and beyond. One of our expert technicians will visually inspect, test, clean, tighten and lubricate all of your system components and explain any key findings or recommendations with you. According to ENERGY STAR, regular tune-ups will extend the life of the system and keep it working efficiently.

Our Guardian Maintenance Club offers even more peace of mind with annual tune-ups, 24-hour emergency service, club discounts, and more.

Maintenance and Repair: Did your furnace just barely scrape by last year? Give it the attention it needs! Whether it’s just a bit out of sorts or has completely stopped working, call WES. We’ll perform diagnostics and repair service to get it running smoothly once again.

Get a fresh filter for fall.

Go ahead—take a look at your filter. Is it looking a little worse for the wear? Typically, a 4″ filter should be replaced every 90 days. A 5″ filter should be replaced every six months. If you can’t remember when you last changed your furnace filter, it’s time to do it again. Clean filters can help extend the life of your furnace, keep energy costs down, and maintain healthy air quality.

Want to make it really easy? Sign up for our Filter Program. You’ll get the correct furnace filter automatically shipped to your home when it’s time to change them out. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Is it time to say goodbye?

There are a few considerations to make when you’re deciding if it’s time to upgrade your furnace.

Age
If your furnace is nearing (or beyond) fifteen years old, it’s safe to assume it’s not as efficient as it once was. If you want optimum efficiency in your home, you could find it with a new furnace.

Strange Noises
This is a telltale sign of an old furnace. If yours is rattling, clanging, popping, or simply sounds like it’s working too hard, it may be time to replace it.

Dry Air and Home
Old furnaces have trouble providing moisture in the air, which can result in dry, dusty conditions. This is especially troublesome for those with allergies to dust, mold, dander, and other airborne elements.

High Energy Bills
Put simply, if the bill is high, the furnace may be the culprit. Upgrade for lower energy bills!

Fall is here. Make sure your furnace is up to the task of warming your cozy nights inside… after cool days outside.

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5 home maintenance tips to help you spring into spring

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows, Air conditioning No Comments on 5 home maintenance tips to help you spring into spring

These five tips are a great place to start.

Recover from winter window wallops.

spring-windows
Your windows take a beating in the winter. Harsh wind, frozen temperatures, and sheets of rain can weaken the seal around your windows. Take a look at your windows’ caulking and weather stripping to ensure they’ve stayed intact. If you see cracking, or feel air entering your home through the seal, apply new caulking or weather stripping. If condensation has crept between the panes, it’s probably time to get the window replaced.

Let the good air roll.

spring-ac
Sure, hot temperatures are still a few months away. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare your air conditioner now. Doing so allows you to check it off your list and get any necessary repairs done by a professional before the summer rush. When inspecting your air conditioner, be sure to:

  • Change the filter
  • Check hose connections for leaks
  • Ensure drain pans are properly draining
  • Vacuum dust from the unit and connections

If you suspect that your air conditioner or heat pump isn’t working as efficiently as it should, give WES a call—we can make a diagnosis and recommendation that will keep you and your family cool all spring and summer long.

Check the attic.

spring-attic
It may not be a fun job, but it’s necessary to inspect your attic—and spring is a prime time to do it. First, keep a look out for insects or vermin. If you see signs of a creepy crawler infestation, take quick action or call the proper eradicators.

Next, examine your attic for mold, which looks like grayish-black splotches. Your mold inspection should be thorough, as it can present serious structural and health issues.

Finally, inspect your attic’s insulation. This can be tricky if you’re not sure what proper insulation looks like, but it can greatly affect your home’s energy efficiency. Contact WES to schedule a Home Energy Audit – in addition to potentially large energy savings, the audit will give you peace of mind and a better understanding of your homes’s insulation situation.

Prep your gutters for April showers.

spring-gutters
Make sure spring’s downpours will have a clear path in your gutters. Winter winds can cause damage and debris to build up in your gutters. When your gutters become clogged, water backs up and can cause damage to the roof, fascia, soffits, and siding. Climb a ladder and inspect your gutters, removing any debris. Also examine the surrounding area and keep an eye out for areas where the gutter may have pulled away from the house. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, call a professional who can not only clean the gutters, but also assess any damage and help you implement repairs.

Get on my lawn!

spring-plants
While it may be a bit early to get out there and toil in the yard, a few simple tasks can help you get a head start on a beautiful lawn. Take a look at these spring lawn tips, courtesy of Bob Vila.

  • Rake the lawn to remove any branches, debris and leaves that you might have missed in the fall (if left, they can suffocate the grass beneath)
  • Prevent weeds from germinating with an organic herbicide
  • Make sure outdoor water systems—pipes, faucets, and in-ground sprinkler systems—are in working order.
  • Once the ground thaws completely, start preparing new garden beds for summer plants.
  • Take stock of your garden tools and lawn-maintenance equipment, including lawn mowers, trimmers and hoses.

We are in the homestretch for warm weather, long days, and fun in the sun. Take on these springtime maintenance tips now so you can bask later. If your home isn’t as comfortable as it should be – we’re only a phone call or an email away. Our estimates are free!

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Getting your home A/C ready for spring in Seattle

Posted On: Filed Under: Cooling, Air conditioning No Comments on Getting your home A/C ready for spring in Seattle

Throughout the winter season, keeping your heating system functioning efficiently is your main concern. However, even while it’s not in use, it’s important to continue caring for your air conditioner to prevent problems in the spring. Although warm weather may still be a few weeks away, there are several steps you can take today to help get your air conditioner ready for the cooling season. Now is also a good time to schedule your home’s spring HVAC tune-up—a professional inspection and cleaning is the very best way to enjoy problem-free cooling throughout the spring and summer months.

Check and clear the outdoor uUnit

Central air conditioning systems are comprised of one unit located indoors near your furnace, and a second unit located outside. While the outdoor component of your A/C is designed to withstand the winter weather, it’s a good idea to check on it periodically and clear the area of any debris. As the cold weather begins to wane and the growing season begins, check this area again and cut back any trees, landscaping, or other plants to keep the space within three feet of your air conditioner’s condenser clear in all directions. Inspecting the unit for signs of damage from falling objects or pests over the winter gives you time to address any concerns you may have or make any repairs necessary well in advance of the cooling season.

Adjust your cooling program

Programmable thermostats make maintaining home comfort easy and convenient by adjusting the amount of heating or cooling your HVAC system delivers to fit your schedule. If your cooling program from last year is still programmed into your thermostat, check it against your upcoming schedule to determine whether changes are needed, based on the times you will be at home and away. The best way to save energy and reduce stress on your HVAC system is to call for less cooling during times when you aren’t home, and more during the hours you’re present. Making adjustments to your cooling schedule now means you can’t forget to do it later, allowing you to enjoy energy-efficient cooling from the moment you activate your air conditioner for the season. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, it’s never too late to consider installing one to enjoy the benefits it can offer.

Test your A/C

Even though the weather may still be cool, there is no better way to ensure your A/C is ready for the spring than to test it. Take a moment to set your thermostat to a temperature at least three degrees cooler than the current reading and switch your system to cool. Make sure your air conditioner activates, and take note of the delay between switching your A/C on and the activation of your cooling system; if the delay seems longer than you remember, your air conditioner may need attention. Let your air conditioner run for a few minutes to make sure it seems to be operating as you expect—if you notice any loud or strange noises while the A/C is running, call your HVAC service for an inspection to handle the issue before the cooling season begins.

Taking care of your cooling system, even during the off season, will ensure efficient function and reduce the risk of breakdowns when you’re ready to switch on the A/C. For Seattle air conditioning service, trust Washington Energy. We provide the highest quality HVAC service in the Seattle market. Request an appointment online today or call to schedule an appointment at 800-389-4463.

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Is it time to re-side your home?

Posted On: Filed Under: Siding No Comments on Is it time to re-side your home?

But we just painted a few years ago! Is there some way to lower the maintenance and cost? And that doesn’t look cheesy? Yes, new siding.

Siding not only protects your house but good siding can add energy efficiency. But it’s a major investment, so how do you know when it’s really time to re-side. This is one category you will want to research – and you can start right here by asking yourself these need-to-know questions.

What is the condition of your current siding?

  • Is there evidence of deterioration such as sagging, cracking, buckling or discoloration in vinyl siding.
  • Are pieces missing or loose?
  • Is the siding showing moisture or water stains? Water behind your siding can cause mold and rot on your home’s structure, and is a breeding ground for termites.
  • Is paint peeling? Do you have to paint frequently?

Whether you choose to look at siding replacement for damage control or because it will give your home a beautiful new look, there are also energy saving benefits to doing so.

The benefits:

  • Whether its composite (vinyl) or fiber cement, siding products today are made to last and be low maintenance, even in our wet climate. The warranties run from 15 years to lifetime (and transferable).
  • If you painted every 5 years, you’d save at least the cost of 3 paint jobs or more if you had lifetime warranty siding.
  • New man-made siding products can look beautiful, even like cedar shake. They come in designer colors, with matching trims and moldings.
  • The new materials used today and methods of application can lower your utility bills. For example, Cedar Ridge Siding says” If your home doesn’t realize a 20% improvement in energy savings in the first year, we’ll pay the difference”. You can install insulation under fiber cement siding or buy insulated composite siding. This can decrease your heat loss and make your home more comfortable.
  • Many siding materials now include recycled materials. The US Green Building Council, for example, recognizes fiber cement siding for its sustainability. (Source: James Hardie Siding).
  • Protection – some types of siding, such as fiber cement are non-combustible. Siding can straighten wall imperfections, and fortify corners and windows to prevent heat loss. And it can take a pounding – even hurricane force winds.
  • Costs vary by region but typically, vinyl and composite are lower cost. Fiber cement is in the middle and cedar and masonry are highest. You’ll want to speak to any contractor about their installation methods as these are important to having a good, energy efficient finished product and making sure your install meets warranty requirements.

To find out more about siding and learn how re-siding is done, contact Washington Energy Services at 1-800-398-HOME. Washington Energy Services sells top name brand composite – vinyl and fiber cement siding and has design and installation professionals trained to make your siding experience turn-key and your home beautiful.

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The role of HVAC maintenance in home comfort

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Cooling No Comments on The role of HVAC maintenance in home comfort

 

Better efficiency

HVAC efficiency is essential when it comes to enjoying comfort at home. A furnace or air conditioner that is not efficient will both consume more energy to generate heated or cooled air, as well as perform poorly when distributing that conditioned air to the rest of your home. This may result in an entire home that is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, or in uneven heating and cooling that leaves some areas of your home comfortable while others feel unbearable. A perfectly-tuned HVAC system will deliver conditioned air effectively throughout your home, while running for shorter periods of time and consuming less energy overall to do so. This means you can easily maintain the even, comfortable home environment you expect with the least strain on your system, and without the need to constantly adjust your thermostat in an attempt to keep your home heated or cooled comfortably.

Better air quality

The condition of your HVAC system also affects the air quality in your home. When your HVAC system is dirty or its air filter has become clogged, your heating and cooling system will circulate that dirt and dust throughout your living spaces, causing a higher incidence of asthma, allergies, and eye, nose, throat, and mouth irritation, even in healthy family members. Dirty or water-damaged ducts and HVAC appliances can even harbor mold, bacteria, or viruses, circulating these microorganisms as well during function and posing an additional risk to your health and comfort. Finally, a dirty and dusty HVAC system will make your home appear dustier as well, detracting from its look and requiring you to spend more time cleaning, rather than enjoying your home and its furnishings in comfort.

Better performance

HVAC maintenance is the key to long-term system performance. Many HVAC appliances lose efficiency quickly over time when they are not maintained, and are also at higher risk for a major breakdown that can leave your home without heating or cooling at the coldest or hottest times of year. Investing in HVAC maintenance means investing in your future home comfort by drastically lowering the chances of a major heating or cooling breakdown that could leave your family uncomfortable during extreme weather for the hours or days it takes to repair or even replace a damaged appliance.

Our Guardian Maintenance Club offers precision tune-ups for your home so you can enjoy the longevity, performance, and efficiency you expect from your HVAC system. If you’d like to learn more about caring for your heating and cooling system’s needs, please read through our blog for additional tips and information to help you save time and money. You can also reach an HVAC technician on our website for personalized advice on maintenance, repair, and installation service in the Seattle area.

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What’s your furnace mileage?

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Furnace No Comments on What’s your furnace mileage?

 

The average car is driven 15,000 miles in that same year, which averages 540 hours of use. Based on these estimates, your furnace accumulates an average of 118,555 “furnace miles” each year.

Over time this reveals some startling information about just how much work we have come to expect from our furnaces. By comparing furnace run times to car miles:

  • 4,268 hrs/1 year 118,555 miles
  • 29,876 hrs/7 years 829,885 miles
  • 42,680 hrs/10 years 1,185,223 miles
  • 64,020 hrs/15 years 1,777,835 miles

We average 1.6 to 1.8 million miles on our furnace over its expected life span. When is the last time you were able to get 1.6 million miles and 15 years of use from your car?

You wouldn’t skip an oil change – do you skip furnace maintenance?

Why do we expect equipment that costs a lot less than our car to deliver over ten times the use? This is what we have come to expect from our heating equipment, often without the regular maintenance or service we give the car. A good place to start understanding its condition is with a furnace inspection by a qualified professional. And, if your furnace is over 15 years old, you may want to prepare for its eventual replacement. Without proper maintenance your HVAC system will work overtime, burning up those miles faster, trying to heat or cool rooms.

Don’t forget the ducts

Your system may be working more often and harder than expected because you have inefficiencies in your duct work. Ducts need maintenance the same as your furnace. Washington Energy Services has routine maintenance programs available. Click here to learn more about the Guardian Maintenance Club.

Over time, ducts can sag or collapse. Vermin and other animals can even chew holes in duct work. Ducts can also leak or even come apart at the seams. When this happens, any air that should be going to the rooms in your home is instead being wasted by ending up in your attic, your walls, or under your house. When this happens, it’s like pouring money down the drain. If duct tape was used on your ductwork originally, it’s best to have it replaced with aluminum or foil tape. Traditional duct tape deteriorates quickly. Metal seams should be cleaned and then sealed with duct mastic, which doesn’t crack. Your home energy specialist can diagnose all of these issues with your duct work during a Home energy audit.

If you have questions about your current heating system, want to schedule a home energy audit or just go right to replacement options – fill out our free estimate form.

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What happens during an HVAC tune-up?

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Cooling 2 Comments on What happens during an HVAC tune-up?

Regular maintenance and tune-ups hold many benefits, including better performance, greater longevity, and a reduced risk of problems or breakdowns when you need your HVAC system the most. Your Seattle HVAC service can help you enjoy the improved home comfort that comes with a well-tuned system by offering regular tune-up services for both your home heating and cooling systems. Keep reading to discover what to expect from a professional HVAC tune-up and why your home can benefit so much from this simple service.

Inspection

HVAC tune-up services begin with a thorough inspection of your entire heating and cooling system, including your appliances and your thermostat. This inspection checks the condition of the electrical and mechanical components inside each appliance to look for dirt, wear, or damage that may affect heating and cooling performance. Your flue and ductwork will also be inspected for damage, corrosion, or buildup. During the inspection, your HVAC service technician will closely examine any and all safety measures to ensure your system is operating within safe and optimal parameters. The batteries in your thermostat will also be checked and replaced if necessary, and any minor adjustments your system may require will be made as part of your tune-up service, such as straightening your air conditioner coil fins and checking the schedule set in your thermostat.

Cleaning

HVAC tune-up services also include a full system cleaning. Dirt and dust buildup are a common cause of increased energy bills and poor HVAC performance, as airflow and efficiency are both hindered by these conditions. Your HVAC technician will take care to clean away any buildup and corrosion inside your heating and cooling appliances, paying attention to every area, including electrical components for safety. During this portion of the HVAC tune-up service, your technician will also check and replace your air filter if necessary for cleaner indoor air and improved airflow through your heating and cooling system. If your system includes a condensate tray or drip line, these components will also be emptied and cleaned to prevent leaks and backups.

Recommendations

Once the system check and any cleaning services have been completed, your HVAC technician will brief you on the status of your heating and cooling system. He will also make recommendations based on his overall findings, such as whether components of your heating and cooling system require repair or replacement, and whether you may want to consider an additional service such as duct cleaning for a healthier home and better HVAC performance. You will also be able to ask your HVAC technician any questions you may have about your system, such as its age, general condition, and whether he might recommend upgrading or replacing the system in the future for better performance and monthly savings. If you opt to make any necessary repairs immediately, your technician will complete this service before your tune-up is considered complete.

Is your HVAC system overdue for a tune-up to improve its performance? Our experienced heating and cooling technicians in Seattle offer precision tune-ups for indoor and outdoor home comfort systems, as well as for fireplaces, generators, and water heaters. You can find out more about this service and our other home comfort solutions when you visit us on the web, or read more about how to keep your HVAC system in great shape on our monthly blog.

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The health and economic benefits of air duct cleaning

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Cooling 6 Comments on The health and economic benefits of air duct cleaning

 

Stay healthy.

According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), a typical six-room home can accumulate up to 40 pounds of dust annually through everyday living. Yes, 40 pounds. These contaminants are pulled in through the system and re-circulated up to seven times a day. This re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the ducts, so that dirty air continuously flows as the heating and cooling system operates.

While you may feel fine, this contaminated air may lead to health issues down the road (especially for children), and are particularly harmful for those with respiratory conditions, autoimmune disorders, and allergies. Duct cleaning by Washington Energy removes the pollutants, and by extension, some of the underlying causes for these health conditions.

Stay economical.

Not only are dirty air ducts potentially hazardous to your health, they can be hazardous to your wallet as well. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. That’s money being thrown away with every turn of the thermostat. Plus, the build-up of dust, dirt, dander, and allergens in your heating and cooling system causes it to work harder than it needs to, thus shortening its lifespan.

Stay on schedule.

In the Puget Sound area, many homeowners opt to have their ducts cleaned every two years, as our climate serves as a perfect host for mold, mildew, fungus, and bacteria, in addition to the contaminants mentioned previously. Fall is an ideal time to have this service completed, before you kick your furnace into high gear for winter.

If you’re concerned with the air quality of your home, have a family member suffering from respiratory issues or allergies, or simply want a fresh start with clean ducts and a renewed peace of mind, contact Washington Energy. When it comes to your physical (and financial) health, we can help you breathe easy.

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