Monthly Archives: September 2013

Is Your Heating and Cooling System Ready for Winter?

Fall-Leaves-beautiful-AutumnFall is fast-approaching in the Pacific Northwest! The leaves on the trees are starting to change colors, cafés are rolling out their lines of pumpkin-flavored drinks and pastries, and, little by little, the weather is definitely getting chillier. Here at Home Comfort, we can always tell that summer is ending when our schedule begins to fill up with HVAC maintenance appointments. At this time of year, the extreme heat of summer is ebbing away, and the cold winter days have yet to set in. The beginning of fall is a great time of year to consider scheduling a routine maintenance visit for your HVAC equipment.

Routine maintenance is a service mechanical contractors perform to clean, lubricate, and adjust the many moving components of your HVAC system, as well as replace air filters and test basic equipment operations. Routine maintenance visits are performed in order to optimize the system’s performance before it has to operate in periods of extreme weather. During a maintenance visit, your HVAC technician can also point out any components that are due for replacement and notify you of issues that need to be addressed. Fixing minor issues between summer and winter can reduce the likelihood of a major breakdown occurring when you need your equipment the most – like a frigid winter day!

Whether the onset of fall or spring prompts you to call your mechanical contractor, or you’re already set up with a prepaid maintenance plan, scheduling routine HVAC maintenance can provide peace of mind and help you keep on top of caring for your heating and cooling system. If you think your equipment is due for a maintenance visit, give Home Comfort a call. Our technicians can help you make sure your family is ready for those long winter nights.

Pipes and Plumbing: A Comparison of Common Piping Materials

You hardly ever see them, but the pipes in our homes are one of the biggest reasons we’ve achieved such a high standard of health and living in the developed world. Plumbing systems are the reason we can have water for hot showers and dishwashing, as well as fresh, clean drinking water at the turn of a faucet. Your plumbing helps you complete your chores, maintain your appearance, and stay healthy. That’s why when it comes to selecting pipe for new construction, a re-piping project, or even a simple repair, selecting durable, quality materials is extremely important. In this article we’ll discuss the pros and cons of three common pipe materials to help you make your selection for your next plumbing project.

Copper

Copper: When it comes to home plumbing, copper is by far the most common piping material that comes to mind. That’s for good reason, too – copper has a stellar reputation as a reliable and durable product. Copper can be used to supply both hot and cold water, and is corrosion resistant. Its main drawback is that is an expensive material when compared to the plastic-derived alternatives on the market. It’s also not recommended for do-it-yourself projects; it requires a fair bit of skill and patience to properly install and solder copper piping, so installing and replacing this type of pipe is best left to a licensed professional plumber. However, if you’re willing to invest the extra money, this material can last an exceedingly long time in home plumbing applications when it is properly installed and maintained.

PEXPEX: Over the past decade, PEX has been gaining in popularity for residential plumbing projects. “PEX” is shorthand for “cross-linked polyethylene,” a durable plastic material that can be molded into pipes and tubing. PEX costs significantly less than copper pipe per foot, and can be installed much more quickly. While PEX is corrosion-resistant and has been tested to withstand quick pressure and temperature changes, keep in mind that the use of PEX pipe in plumbing projects is still a fairly new concept in comparison to other materials.

CPVCCPVC: Like PEX, CPVC pipe is derived from plastics and is a cheaper alternative to copper, but it has been around on the plumbing scene for a longer period of time. CPVC pipe is versatile, with different types and thicknesses available depending on how you want to use it; hot and cold potable (drinkable) water and sewage piping are among the most common applications. Many plumbers and contractors debate the lifespan of CPVC, but CPVC is immune to galvanic corrosion and electrolysis, processes which can affect your water taste and quality in houses with metal pipes. Some people have complained of a “plasticky” taste in their water after installing CPVC pipes, but for those who are interested in do-it-yourself projects, CPVC is valued due to its affordability and the ease with which it can be cut into a variety of sizes for different projects.

Each type of pipe on the market has its drawbacks and advantages; it all depends on a number of details, from the type of piping you need to do down to the acid content in your area’s drinking water. If you’re building a home or decide that its time for a re-pipe, the best thing you can do is contact your local licensed and trusted plumber. Plumbers have the training and expertise needed to install your plumbing properly, which can lengthen any piping material’s overall lifespan. They can also answer more detailed questions about a variety of piping materials, and provide their professional opinion on which types of material are common and trusted for homes in your area. When in doubt, calling a trusted plumber like Home Comfort can bring you peace of mind on your next plumbing project
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Understanding HVAC Design: Manual J Load Calculations

blueprint

Installing a new HVAC system is a hefty investment; depending on the type of equipment you choose to have installed, as well as the size of your home, some new systems can cost as much as a brand new car or truck! With the price tag in mind, and the comfort of your home hanging in the balance, the overall design of your system can be just as important as the installation process itself. One particularly important component HVAC designers take into consideration is called a Manual J Load Calculation.

A home’s Manual J Load Calculation measures how much conditioned air each room of your home will need to maintain a consistent level of comfort during hotter and cooler periods of the year. It does this by taking into account a number of factors, including the size of the individual rooms, different types of surfaces, the location of your home’s duct system, and even the number of appliances in your home! Manual J Load Calculations help an HVAC designer determine how powerful your HVAC system needs to be to properly heat and cool your home.

Determining which system will have just the right amount of power to maintain the temperature in your home is important, mostly because of our human tendency to overestimate our energy needs. There are plenty of newer homes on the market that have an HVAC system that is simply too powerful for the size and layout of the building. In some cases an over-powered system can be just as bothersome as an under-powered system – over-powered systems may encounter a problem called “short-cycling,” which means that the system is so big that it can heat or cool your home too quickly, causing the system to turn on and off at a frequent rate. Short-cycling can waste energy, and in some cases can shorten the overall lifespan of your system, costing you even more on top of your initial investment. Determining your home’s heating and cooling needs with the Manual J Load Calculation is a smart way to help you choose an efficient and long-lasting system for your home.

Choosing an efficient HVAC system doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. Call Home Comfort today and our team of HVAC estimators and designers will help you make the most of your heating and cooling investment.

Works Cited:

http://www.energyvanguard.com/hvac-load-calculations/