Thursday, December 22, 2016

InVENTive Ways to Lower Energy Bills Without Closing Vents

My heating bill is what?! Please tell me that’s a phone number and not how much I owe… With the kids at college, their rooms sit unused. Maybe If I close the vents in their rooms I can save on my bill?

Why you shouldn’t close vents:

Closing vents will waste energy- As the warm air from the furnace tries to come out of the closed vents, it is stopped by the vent cover. Instead, it will leak out back into floor cavities or into the basement. Your energy cost will be the same, but you’ll be heating your attic or crawlspace.  The buildup of pressure can also cause a leaky piece of ductwork to burst completely. The average homeowner loses 20-30% of the heat they pay for because of duct leakage. By covering a vent you’ll increase the pressure in the HVAC system and lose more heat through these common leaks.

It can damage your home- Furnaces are installed based on square footage. If you begin taking away from the square footage your furnace is heating the furnace will need to work harder to pump heat.

What you should do instead:

Change your filter often- A filter that is dirty doesn’t allow for optimal airflow. Take out the filter and look for signs of dirt and debris. If you can’t see light through it, it should be replaced. A typical filter lasts 60-90 days but can last up to one year depending on the conditions of the home.
lower energy bill

Clean registers- vacuum out any debris that accumulates in your registers. This debris can obstruct the airflow. 

Replace with high-efficiency equipment- Any system with ENERGY STAR will be most efficient. If your system is more than a decade old, it may be time to replace. Though the upfront cost may be a bit much, the new HVAC system will pay for itself in just a few Washington winters.

If you’re looking for ways to save energy don’t close your vents, click here for safe effective tips

When it comes time to service your Heating, ventilation, and air condition (HVAC) system, trust the professionals at Sturm Heating & Air Conditioning.  We’ve been serving the Spokane, Washington and Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho and surrounding areas since 1945. We service all brands, but we specialize in Trane, Amanda, Mitsubishi, Rheem, Ruud, Daikin, and Honeywell. To set an appointment, give us a call at (509) 325-4505.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

5 Reasons to Get Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Reasons to Get Your Air Ducts CleanedDust and mold are often unseen to the naked eye, but can wreak havoc on the health of allergy sufferers. While you probably take the time to clean areas of your home where you know they will build up, what is lurking behind the walls in your home is quite often another story. Air ducts are a great place for dust and mold and other pollutants to proliferate and thrive. The warm environment allows mold spores to grow, and the forced air does its part to blow dust and other allergens all over your home. Here are five reasons you should consider getting your air ducts cleaned today.
1.    Mold – Many homes in our area have basements where typically your HVAC system is housed. Because basements are at least partially underground, they can become damp and even wet. In addition to warmth, excess moisture is exactly what mold needs to thrive, which then moves into your air ducts.
2.    Dust – Have you ever noticed how dust is far more plentiful during months when you are running your heat or air conditioning? This is because the dust that lives in your air ducts is being blown back into your home. Additionally, if you live in new construction or recently remodeled, drywall dust and construction debris can also find their way into your vents.
3.    Pet hair – Similar to dust and mold, fur from your four-legged friends can also become trapped in your air ducts. Even if you don’t own a pet, if you recently purchased a home, fur and dander from the previous owner’s pets can be blowing around your home long after they have vacated the property.
4.    Allergies – If you or someone else in your home suffers from allergies, dirty air ducts can hold bacteria, mold, fungi and other allergens which could make you or your loved one suffer being inside.
5.    Efficient heating – If your ductwork is not properly cleaned and is filled with hair, dust, mold and other pollutants, the air that is supposed to flow through it will not circulate as efficiently, making your furnace and air conditioning work harder and longer to get your home to the desired temperature. Thus, using more energy and wearing out your furnace long before its time.

The HVAC experts at Sturm Heating and Cooling have been keeping residents in Spokane and surrounding communities comfortable since 1945. Contact us today about our duct cleaning services.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

All about the Air Scrubber Plus

Why Invest in the Air Scrubber Plus?

Did you know the average American spends 90% of their day indoors? Or that indoor air pollution levels are 2-5 times higher than outdoor air pollution levels? With numbers like these, we can’t afford to be careless about our indoor air quality, especially because imperfect air can lead to a variety of health problems. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to improve the air quality of your home. The Air Scrubber Plus effectively removes 99.9% of household toxins, with 90% being eliminated within 30 minutes of use. Keep reading to learn more about how the Air Scrubber Plus can benefit your home!

How Does It Work?
Based on technology developed by NASA to keep air fresh on the International Space Station, the Air Scrubber Plus adapts this technology to home use. The Air Scrubber Plus works with your home’s HVAC system, being installed above the air handler. It effectively draws your home’s air in and kills any unwanted microorganisms that cause indoor air pollution.

As the source of indoor pollution slowly die off, your home becomes a healthier place!  Install the Air Scrubber Plus and you will see a reduction in…
       Chemical Odors
       Cigarette Smoke
       Pet Odors
       Cooking Smells
       Environmental Toxins

If you suffer from allergies or seasonal colds, an Air Scrubber Plus could be the investment you’ve been looking for! The difference in air quality is noticeable almost immediately; the air is fresher and the surfaces are cleaner, with an up to 99% reduction in contaminants on surfaces like kitchen sinks, keyboards, and doorknobs. Additionally, the Air Scrubber Plus extends the life of your HVAC system. It traps loose dirt, dust, and pollen before they pass through the filters and keeps your system running efficiently. 

If you are ready to enhance the air quality in your home, Air Scrubber Plus is the ultimate purification system! To learn more about the benefits of the Air Scrubber Plus, contact Sturm Heating & Air Conditioning by phone at (509) 325-4505. We’d be happy to serve you with enhanced indoor air quality!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

How Much Does a Heat Pump Cost? What are the Benefits of a New Heat Pump?

Pricing for Heat Pump
In Spokane, a heat pump ranges in price from $4700 to $7000. The price of your heat pump will depend on a number of factors including size of your home, level of energy efficiency, installation variances and quality. The quality would be determined by a good-better-best offering and the variances would depend on the difficulty of the install. While this may be a hefty price tag, there is good news. Energy.Gov states that a heat pump can operate at about one quarter of the cost of a conventional heating/cooling appliance. That means big savings in the long run!
Additionally, there are often rebates available both from the manufacturers and/or your local utility company. Our experts are happy to help you determine what rebates may be available for you.

What is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is installed outside of a home and connects to your current system. This system draws air from outside of your home and circulates hot or cool air throughout your home. When it’s cold outside, the heat pump extracts outside heat and transfers it inside. When it’s warm out, the air will reverse and remove heat from your home.
A heat pump is an energy efficient alternative that takes the place of both furnace and air conditioning units. Smart technology has brought heat pumps to the forefront of the heating/cooling industry for their superior efficiency and eco-friendly operating system.

Benefits of a Heat Pump
There are plenty of benefits to owning a heat pump versus a traditional HVAC system. While heat pumps may seem expensive upfront, they save money by running more efficiently. Heat pumps are more efficient because they move heat instead of generating heat. They are also easier to maintain because they play double duty for both heating and cooling needs.

If you’re tired of a malfunctioning AC unit or a furnace that doesn’t heat or cool your home properly, it might be time to invest in a heat pump. For more information on the year-round performance of a heat pump, contact Sturm Heating & Air Conditioning! We work hard to provide residents of the Spokane area with superior home comfort through a range of products and services. Whether it’s the hottest day of the summer or coldest day of winter, a heat pump will provide you and your family with ultimate comfort. To schedule your appointment with a Sturm Heating & Air Conditioning technician, please call (509) 325-4505.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

5 Tips to Maintain Your Hot Water Heater

A hot water heater is generally not a piece of household mechanics to which you give much thought. However, when it breaks or malfunctions, you will wish you had taken the time to go over this handy list of preservation tips. Here are 5 things you should check regularly to keep this unsung hero of household comfort running well.
Inspect for leaks – This includes checking for water leakage and natural gas. Take some time to inspect all the plumbing joints for signs of corrosion. Put your nose to work investigating flex hose and couplings to make sure you don’t smell any natural gas. Additionally, ensure that the area is free from combustible materials near the flame.
Check water pressure – The water heater pressure relief valve (TPR) is an important safety component of a water heater, and a malfunction can have disastrous consequences. Rheem recommends testing the valve every six months. To check your water pressure, make sure the pressure relief valve opens and closes freely.  Be sure to place a bucket below the discharge tube or into a floor drain. After lifting the valve, hot water will flush through the valve and its discharge tube. Also, take a moment to turn the hot water on at a nearby faucet and listen for any unusual noises. If water does not flow freely when the valve is opened or you hear unusual noises, the pressure relief valve should be replaced. If you find that you have problems with your valve, then you will need to call in a professional.
Check water temperature - Test the temperature to make sure that it is heating to the desired warmth. Most people keep water heaters at a much higher setting than is necessary. In addition to being a huge waste of energy, it can create a risk of scalding. The recommended setting for most homes is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have small children, consult your doctor to see the ideal temperature for your heater to prevent burns. Another great tip is to turn your water heater to vacation mode when are out of town for an extended period of time. To check your water temperature run hot water at the tap closest to the water heater for at least three minutes. Then fill a glass and check the temperature. If the water is above 120 degrees, adjust the dial, wait about three hours and check again.  For a final test, check the temperature the following morning, before anyone uses hot water.
Inspect the Anode Rod – If you have an older hot water heater, it is important to check the anode rod once a year to ensure that there are no holes or excessive mineral build up. The anode rod is the most important factor in determining the life of your water heater. An anode rod is a steel core wire surrounded with one of three different metals often causing corrosion when mixed with water. In order to check the condition of the anode rod, it will have to be removed from the tank. Whether reinstalling an existing, still-good anode rod, or installing a new replacement for it, this can easily be done on a DIY basis or with an inspection from an HVAC technician.
Flush your tank – Twice a year take some time to open the spigot on your water heater and drain several gallons from the tank. In order to flush your water heater a hose will have to be put into the tank itself. All of the water will be drained out, but what’s important is that all of the sediment and mineral buildup within that tank is flushed away. This simple step will prevent sediment from forming into a solid mass . Sediment buildup in the tank can reduce your water heater's energy efficiency and also clog your water lines.  If you are unsure of the correct procedure for draining your hot water heater, contact a professional.
If you find that your hot water heater is not operating at peak efficiency, it might be time to purchase a new one. Contact the experts at Sturm Heating and Cooling. We offer a full line of conventional and tankless water heaters from top brands including Ruud, Rheem, AO Smith, Rinnai and Navien.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Why is My Air Conditioner Blowing Warm Air?

Summer is the time of year when your air conditioning unit works tirelessly to combat the heat. Residents of Spokane know that when July and August rolls around, the only way to find relief from the rising temperatures is in the comfort of air conditioning. If you find that your air conditioner is running but is not blowing cool air, there are a number of possible options.

Air Filter
A dirty air filter is the most common reason your air conditioner won’t work, or will block air flow. Check your air filter and replace it, if in doubt.

Your air conditioning unit will not work properly if your thermostat is set to the wrong commands or is defective. First, check to make sure your AC unit is set to the “on” position. If that doesn’t change anything, your next step will be troubleshooting the thermostat. Some beginning steps include changing the batteries, dusting the inside of your thermostat, adjusting the anticipator or completely rebooting the system.

Condenser Coils
Condenser coils need regular maintenance to keep your AC unit working properly! Since the condenser coil is responsible for producing cold air, any problems will cause it to malfunction.  We recommend you call a professional to evaluate any problems here, as a safety precaution.

Refrigerant is the chemical that cools the air within your air conditioning system. A malfunctioning AC unit is a sign that your refrigerant may be low, leaking or blocked. The only way to be sure is with a diagnosis from a professional technician.

Ductwork is responsible for delivering cool air throughout your home. If your air conditioning is not working properly, there’s a chance your ductwork was poorly designed. Poor design often leads to leaking ducts, poorly sealed registers, little to no insulation and an overall loss in cool air being delivered to your home.

At Sturm Heating & Air Conditioning, the majority of calls we receive during the summer months are from homeowners who are frustrated with their malfunctioning AC unit.  If you have checked all of the options above and your AC is still not cooling properly, contact our professional technicians!  Sturm Heating & Air Conditioning has been servicing the Spokane area since 1945 with quality HVAC products, professional service and 100% satisfaction.

To set up an appointment with Sturm Heating & Air Conditioning, visit our website or call (509) 325-4505.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Three Things To Do Before Turning On Your A/C

With the summer months upon us here in the Spokane, WA area, now is the perfect time to think about your air conditioning. But before you flip the switch on for the first time this season, there are three things you must do to ensure that is ready to go when the heat of summer hits.

  1. Uncover your outdoor air conditioning unit – While this might seem like a very logical statement, at Sturm Heating and Air Conditioning, we regularly get calls for an A/C unit that is not working properly, only to find that it was not uncovered. If your unit is not uncovered, it will not have proper air flow to function efficiently, and you could risk serious damage to your A/C.
  2. Schedule a tune up – During the months that your air conditioner is not in use, it is subject to a lot of different environmental factors. Bugs and other pests can get into the plugs and wires, which can cause them to stop working properly. Additionally, condenser could can become clogged with grease, dust and other debris. The coolant lines are also subject to wear and tear. An experienced A/C technician should examine the lines to ensure that there are no leaks or kinks. Additionally they should check to make sure the lines are properly insulated. Damage coolant lines must be replaced or your A/C unit will not function properly. 
  3. Check the fan – Turn your A/C on and walk outside to observe how it is running. The condenser fan should be free form obstructions and operate smoothly. If the fan is not running at peak performance, turn it off and call your technician. For safety reasons, Sturm Heating & Air does not recommend that you do any work around the fan. They'll safely unplug the unit from its power source and check for and clean debris and any other cause that would hinder its performance. A fan that is not operating properly can cause the motor to burn out and render the unit unusable. 
If you have questions about your air conditioning using, would like to schedule a tune-up or are having HVAC issues, contact the professionals at Sturm Heating and Air Conditioning! We will provide you with the very best in air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC installation. For more information, please visit our website or call (509) 325-4505.