April 6, 2023
April is a great time in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties. The flowers are blooming, sun is shining, and the weather is ever changing. At some point in the day you may be using your air conditioning for a relief from the heat and then at another point in the day, you may turn to your heater to stay warm. The multiple temperature range, even throughout just one day, can really put a strain on your HVAC system. There are some things you can do to try and reduce the stress your HVAC system is incurring and increase your home’s comfort levels, one of which is embracing ceiling fans. That leads us to the question, “Should you use your home’s ceiling fan and HVAC at the same time”?
What are Ceiling Fans?
Most people are familiar with ceiling fans and very likely have one or more in their home; however, for those who aren’t, we are going to provide a brief review before discussing if you should use your home’s ceiling fans and HVAC at the same time.
A ceiling fan is a mechanical fan mounted on the ceiling of a room or space, usually electrically powered, that uses hub-mounted rotating blades to circulate air. Ceiling fans come in all different shapes and sizes and some include lighting fixtures.
Ceiling fans have been around for over 100 years, since the early 20th century. Philip Diehl, a contemporary of Thomas Edison, is credited with being the inventor of the electrically powered ceiling fan in 1882. They were originally invented for commercial use to cool factories and hotels, and were added into homes in the 1920s. Now, research shows that more than 75% of all homes in the U.S. have ceiling fans.
Should You Use Your Home’s Ceiling Fans and HVAC at the Same Time?
If you are looking to save money on cooling or heating your Bay Area home, could using a ceiling fan help? Below we review how a ceiling fan can not only help to keep your home at ideal temperature and comfort levels, but it can also lower your energy expenses if used in conjunction with your home’s HVAC.
Using a Ceiling Fan with Air Conditioning
Homeowners can find value in a ceiling fan by using it in conjunction with their air conditioning to keep their home cool. When the air conditioner is running, ceiling fans circulate cooled air and make people feel even cooler. A ceiling fan works similar to wind chill on a cold day, as the wind makes the air feel colder than the reading on the thermostat. A thermostat in a room with a ceiling fan running may display a specific temperature, but to the occupants, the room may feel up to 5 degrees cooler due to what is called the fan chill factor.
If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 3-5°F with no reduction in comfort. This allows you to increase the temperature of your air conditioner's thermostat several degrees without causing a decrease in comfort. On average, for every degree you can move the air conditioner thermostat up, you reduce the duration of “on” cycles of the air conditioner compressor by 10%, cutting energy consumption and prolonging the life of your air conditioner, and increasing comfort in your home.
Using a Ceiling Fan with Heat
Most people don’t think about using a ceiling fan when they are trying to stay warm, but could using your ceiling fan and HVAC at the same time, when you are trying to heat up your home, help? The answer is, “yes”. Using a ceiling fan to provide extra warmth in your home can reduce the strain on your HVAC system and save you money on heating costs.
Normally, ceiling fans rotate counterclockwise, pushing air down and producing a slight wind chill effect, as we reviewed above. When you are looking to use your ceiling fan and your heater at the same time, you can switch your ceiling fan’s blade rotation to clockwise, producing an updraft and moving the warm air that collects near your ceiling down into the rest of the room. Hot air rises, so reversing and utilizing your ceiling fans can push the warmth to you.
Your Home’s Comfort is the Top Priority
Should you use your home’s ceiling fan and HVAC at the same time? The truth is, it really can’t hurt and in fact can save you money and prolong the life of your HVAC system. Most people aren’t going to want to turn their blades around, to either heat or cool their home, daily; however, once the weather becomes a little more stable, you should utilize your ceiling fan for whatever season we are in.
At Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing your Marin, Sonoma, and Napa county home’s comfort is our number one priority. We are your heating and cooling experts. When it comes to your comfort, you deserve the best solutions at the best value. All of our technicians and installers are Bragg employees dedicated to providing you with personalized solutions that meet your goals and budget. If you need HVAC repair, replacement, maintenance, or something else, we are here for you.
January 19, 2023
Each season brings different temperatures and humidity levels for homeowners in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties. When it comes to being comfortable in your home and keeping your family healthy, humidity can play a major roll. Do you know what your home’s humidity level is? The average American is indoors 90% of the time, making keeping indoor air at optimal moisture levels very important. What is the ideal humidity level for your home and why does it really matter?
How Marin, Sonoma, and Napa County Humidity Changes Throughout the Year
Like the colors change with each season, so do the humidity levels. In the North Bay Area, winter doesn’t impact the humidity levels as much as it does in other parts of the country; however, with colder weather, can come drier air, and that can have an impact on you, your home, and your family.
The least humid months we have in our area are early fall, and the most humid months, are late winter and early spring (that is much different than other places in the country). In the spring not only comes flowers blooming, but also comes more moisture in the air, which can affect your home. The average humidity in the North Bay area is around 75% with the most humid month being in March.
What is the Ideal Humidity Level for Your Home?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you keep the humidity in your home between 30 and 50%. You need to reduce the humidity in your home if it is above 50%, but especially if it gets to 60% or higher.
We have reviewed before how dry air can affect your home and family, and the same is true with air that is too damp. High humidity can lead to HVAC issues, mold and mildew, and damage to your home and belongings. Mold, mildew, bacteria, viruses, and more, thrive and grow when humidity levels are in excess of the recommended levels mentioned above. Not to mention, when the air in your home is too damp, it can be uncomfortable.
How Can High Humidity Affect Your Home and Family?
Now that we have reviewed what the ideal humidity level is for your home and how it changes throughout the year, as we look towards some of the most humid months we will face, it’s important to understand that high humidity doesn’t just make things uncomfortable, it can have negative effects on your home as well.
Below we review some of the reasons you will want to keep your home’s humidity within the ideal levels.
How to Keep Your Home Within the Ideal Humidity Level
When it comes to adding moisture to your home you can do that with humidifiers, plants, and other methods. Reducing humidity in your home can be solved by adding a dehumidifier, using vents and exhaust fans, having an HVAC system that is maintained with a clean air filter, and resolving any areas throughout your home where moisture may be entering through.
When it comes to your Marin, Sonoma, or Napa County home’s comfort, Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing can help. We know that you rely heavily on your HVAC system for year-round comfort. Our experts are here to help with your indoor comfort needs and make sure you enjoy peace of mind no matter the season.
Whether you are looking to replace your AC, fix a broken furnace, or tune up your comfort systems, you can count on our experts for quality solutions that will help you enjoy improved indoor comfort and greater energy efficiency. Contact us today.
November 22, 2022
When it comes to the fall and winter time, there is nothing that quite sets the mood like cuddling up in front of a fireplace and listening to the crackling wood. In the North Bay Area, using a fireplace comes with several restrictions, that may be overwhelming enough; however, nothing seems to replace the ambiance these wood burning devices tend to set, so when you can use yours, you likely take every opportunity to do so. The question is; should you use your fireplace with your home’s heat source?
Should You Use Your Fireplace with Your Home’s Heat?
As if the guidelines involving wood burning devices that we have to follow in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties aren’t enough, you should also think about if burning your fireplace is saving you money or costing you. When considering if you should use your fireplace with your home’s heat, the answer is about as simple as the laws we have to follow to use them.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wood and gas fireplaces are the most inefficient heat sources for the home. The U.S. Department of Energy says that the primary reason for the energy loss is the fireplace’s damper; either it being left open or not properly sealed. They estimate that this circumstance alone can result in your energy usage increasing by up to 30%, or around $200 a year. It is estimated that between 80% to 90% of heat produced by a wood burning fireplace goes up in smoke, literally, and you and your home don’t feel the effects of it.
With all that being said, when it comes down to if you should use your fireplace in conjunction with your home’s heat, it depends on your home and your heat source and its effectiveness. Your ductwork, thermostat, and type of furnace can all play a major role. It is widely believed that a furnace is the better choice for heat, as it’s more efficient and can distribute the heat evenly throughout the home.
Reasons you Should Keep Your Furnace on While Enjoying a Fire
As we have reviewed above, your home’s heater is the best option when it comes to heating your home; however, if you are going to enjoy sitting in front of your home’s fireplace, you really shouldn’t turn off your home’s central HVAC. Why?
It will cause energy to be lost and wasted. If you shut off your HVAC unit to utilize your fireplace, your heater will eventually need to be turned back on. When you go to turn your heater back on, many of the rooms in your home have probably cooled down quite a bit, meaning your furnace will have to work harder and longer to warm them back up. That can use a lot of energy and put a strain on your HVAC system.
A fireplace cannot thoroughly heat your home. As we reviewed above, your fireplace should not be used a main source of heat for your home. Using a fireplace to heat a home is less efficient than using a furnace. Furnaces have less heat loss than fireplaces and can circulate air better. A fireplace heats the immediate area or a home but lacks ductwork to distribute the heat throughout the entire house.
You cannot leave a fire unattended. A fireplace can be a good source of heat for the short term, usually in a small space, but it’s not a good idea to shut off the heater and leave the fire burning overnight, unattended. Also, as we know per our California guidelines, the air that is produced from a fireplace can have some safety risks.
Should you use your fireplace with your home’s heat? Like we said, there is not an easy answer. To put this simply you should not use a fireplace to replace your home’s heating source; however, if using one, you should still keep your HVAC on.
If you have a problem with your home’s heat, Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing can help. We are very good at troubleshooting furnaces and getting you back into heat in no time. We service and repair all makes and models. The right tools and expertise make all the difference. We are your North Bay Area heating experts.
Regardless of whether it is a repair or replacement, you can depend on Bragg for expert consultation that meets or exceeds your expectations. We will always give you an honest assessment of your heating situation so you can make an informed decision. Contact us today.
November 8, 2022
In the North Bay Area the fall and winter seasons don’t impact the humidity levels as much as it does in other parts of the country; however, with colder weather, can come drier air, and that can have an impact on you, your home, and your family. While our humidity levels average to be around 75% throughout the year, when you turn on your heater for the season, that can make your home less humid, which can lead to skin irritations, illnesses, and damage to your home. We are going to take a look at some ways you can combat dry air in your home.
How Dry Air can Impact You and Your Home
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you keep the humidity in your home between 30 and 50 percent. Before we jump into how to combat dry air in your home, we thought it would be a good idea to review why it is important to try to keep your home at ideal humidity levels in the first place.
The average American is indoors 90% of the time, making keeping indoor air at optimal moisture levels very important for a number of health reasons. Some health problems associated with dry air include: respiratory issues, sore throat, dry and irritated skin, higher stress levels, and increased risk of illness.
Dry air can not only impact the health of you and your family members, it can have effects on your home as well. If your home is dry, it can cause structural damage, especially to wooden components of your home by taking the moisture out of them, create static electricity, and damage your belongings by making them brittle, which can lead to them cracking and breaking.
How to Combat Dry Air in Your Home
While we seem to battle the humidity most of the time here in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties, as we reviewed above, having air in your home that is too dry, can be a bad thing. There are things you can do to combat dry air in your home and keep your humidity levels within the desired range.
Add houseplants to your home. Houseplants are a great way not only to increase humidity levels, but to purify your indoor air as well. Plants are effective natural humidifiers. They absorb moisture through their roots and circulate it through the stems to the leaves, resulting in moisture being released into the air through the leaves. The soil for the houseplants also holds water that slowly evaporates and can increase humidity levels in your home.
Only use your heater when needed. When it comes to humidity within your home, the warmer air is, the more water vapor it can hold. Cold air holds less water vapor. With that in mind, it may seem like when your furnace is on, there should be more humidity, but the fact is, since the furnace pulls in air from the outdoors, the colder outside air is what causes the indoor humidity to drop. Try to use your heater only when it is needed, to prevent the dryer air from coming indoors.
Make sure your doors and windows are sealed properly. As noted above, the outside air can directly impact the air inside your home. To combat dry air in your home, you should ensure your doors and windows are sealed properly and are not letting any air inside. Check for gaps and drafts and resolve them if you find them.
Add a humidifier to your home. Humidifiers can make a difference when it comes to adding some of the seasonal depleted moisture back into your home’s air. A humidifier’s job is to add humidity into the air; thus, it will do just that. When the air seems too low in humidity, a humidifier can help you combat that dry air in your home and add some moisture back into it.
As we said, in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties, we don’t have to face air that is as dry as it is in other places of the country, but as the cooler breezes set in, it can have an impact on your home’s air and comfort levels.
At Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing we know that when it comes to your comfort, you deserve the best solutions at the best value. All of our technicians and installers are Bragg employees dedicated to providing you with personalized solutions that meet your goals and budget. We are here for all of your Marin, Sonoma, and Napa County heating and cooling needs. We can also help you improve your home’s indoor air quality.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
September 20, 2022
As the weather starts to become cooler in the North Bay Area, many homeowners turn to space heaters, as an alternative to turning their furnace on just yet, and as a way to heat up their home or specific rooms that stay a bit colder. The autumn mornings and evening can create a chill throughout your home, but you may not fully need your heat for the season, so these types of heaters can be a great alternative. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that space heaters are responsible for 43% of house fires and 81% of home heating fire deaths. That leads us to the question, are you using your space heater safely?
What is a Space Heater?
Whether you are trying to warm up a space that doesn’t have a built in heat source, or just looking for some warm relief, a space heater may be the solution you turn to. These, usually small and portable heaters, provide a way to warm up an individual rooms without turning up the thermostat to the entire house. They can be used almost anywhere in the home that flammable materials are not present. Space heaters differ from central heating systems, as space heaters are meant for smaller and typically enclosed spaces, while central HVAC systems are intended to heat your entire home.
There are several different types of electric space heaters:
Regardless what type you use, it’s important that you are using your space heater safely. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters, resulting in more than 300 deaths. In addition, an estimated 6,000 people receive hospital emergency room care for burn injuries associated with contacting the hot surfaces of room heaters, mostly in non-fire situations.
Are you Using Your Space Heater Safely?
As you can see, space heaters, while a great solution for providing heat to your Marin, Sonoma, or Napa county home and family, can also pose a safety risk. Are you using your space heater safely? Below we review some safety precautions you should take if using one of these heat producing devices.
Recommended space heater safety tips:
Are you using your space heater safely? It doesn’t matter if you are trying to avoid turning on your entire heating system until later in the year, warming a room that is a bit chilly, or trying to heat up a garage, when using one of these heating devices, you need to be sure you are taking the proper safety precautions to protect yourself, your home, and your family.
At Bragg Plumbing & Heating, our specialty is providing comfort to your home. We are North Bay Area furnace and HVAC professionals. Ensuring your peace of mind is our priority. Whether you are planning on replacing an old furnace or you’re looking to have your system tuned up for the season, the Bragg expert installers and technicians will make sure you receive a top-notch service experience and total home comfort.