The holiday season officially begins month. It is a time for joy, celebrations, and spending time with your family and friends; however, it's also a time when homes' energy consumption tends to spike, leading to higher utility bills. The last thing you should have worry about during this season of thankfulness and togetherness, is how much your HVAC system usage is going to cost you. Are there some HVAC upgrades you can and should make to lower your holiday bills? Below we review some effective HVAC upgrades that can help you lower your holiday bills and make your home more energy efficient in the process.
HVAC Upgrades to Lower Your Holiday Bills
During the holiday season, as more people are in and out of the home, the North Bay Area outside temperatures start to drop, and you are looking for an extra cozy indoor environment, energy costs can rise significantly. The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of this going to heating and cooling costs (EnergyStar). As we approach Thanksgiving, we enter into the time of the year where more and more energy is being consumed, meaning your costs go up.
If you want to feel extra grateful this holiday season, making some HVAC upgrades to lower your holiday bills, may be just what you need to take things to the next level. We have reviewed before how an energy efficient HVAC system can save you money, but did you also know that with the right HVAC improvements, you can ensure a cozy and energy efficient holiday season while keeping your energy bills in check?
Here are some HVAC upgrades you can make to lower your energy costs this season.
This holiday season, by making some HVAC upgrades, you can lower your holiday bills, while enjoying a comfortable and cozy home. When it comes to your home’s heating system, the team at Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing is here for you. We have duct cleaning services, offer heating tune-ups, are experts in heating repair, have HVAC maintenance plans, and can install a new energy efficient HVAC system for you. We are your team for all of your heating needs in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa Counties.
The leaves will start falling soon, is HVAC maintenance calling? When it comes to your Marin, Sonoma, or Napa County cooling and heating system, the majority of problems homeowners face are caused by a lack of maintenance. There are things you can do to prepare your furnace for the fall, with one of the main things being for you to have an annual heating tune-up. While you may only use your furnace for a short time each year, regular system inspections and maintenance are crucial to ensuring your comfort come fall and winter. We are going to review some of the benefits of a fall HVAC tune-up.
What is a HVAC Tune-up?
Before we get into the benefits of a fall HVAC tune-up, we wanted to first touch on what exactly it is. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and a HVAC tune-up is a preventative maintenance service performed on your heating and cooling system. It involves a thorough inspection and cleaning of various components of the system to ensure it is running efficiently and effectively.
During a HVAC tune-up, a licensed cooling and heating technician will inspect and clean the system's air filters, coils, blower motor, and other components. They will also check the system's refrigerant levels, thermostat, electrical connections, lubricate parts, check belts and fans, and overall system performance. Any issues or potential problems that are identified during the tune-up will be addressed and repaired to prevent larger, more costly problems down the line.
Overall, a HVAC tune-up is a proactive step you can take to help ensure that your heating and cooling system is operating at peak performance, which can save you money on energy costs and help prevent breakdowns or repairs in the future. It is generally recommended that you schedule a HVAC tune-up twice a year, ideally before the start of the heating and cooling seasons.
Benefits of a Fall HVAC Tune-up
With fall on the horizon, now is a great time to schedule a heating tune-up for your Marin, Sonoma, or Napa County home. There are several benefits of a fall HVAC tune-up before the start of the heating season. Below we review some of the key ones:
Overall, a fall HVAC tune-up is a smart investment in the long-term health and performance of your heating system. It can save you money, improve indoor air quality, and give you peace of mind during the fall and winter and throughout the year.
Our team at Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing are HVAC experts in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa Counties. We provide thorough heating tune-up services for the North Bay Area. Contact us today to schedule yours.
If you want to ensure that your home’s air conditioning helps you cartwheel into the fall, there are some actions you need to take to avoid any disruptions. With fall right around the corner, many people are jumping for joy and excitement about the changing colors and temperatures, but unfortunately, the falling leaves can cause issues for your HVAC system. Should you clean the outside portion of your HVAC system this fall and throughout the year? Let’s review.
What is the Outside Portion of Your HVAC System?
If you have central cooling and HVAC, odds are you can’t really miss the outside portion of your system. The outdoor unit consists of the compressor, refrigerant lines, condenser coils, and fan. The indoor unit's evaporator coil absorbs excess heat from the home's air. That heat is then transferred to the condenser coils, which release it outside. After the heat is released, the cooled refrigerant flows back to absorb more. This part of your HVAC system is key to your home’s comfort.
Regular cleaning of the outdoor unit is essential to prolong the air conditioner's life and to ensure your unit functions as it should. Keeping the outside of your AC unit clean is super important, because good airflow is the key factor that enables the outdoor unit to release the heat, and it can even help reduce the amount you pay each month for air conditioning.
Should you Clean the Outside Portion of Your HVAC System?
We have already given the answer to this question away, yes, you should clean the outside portion of your HVAC system, but the truth is, many people don’t think about this until it is too late. The fall and spring are two of the most important times in the year to check and clear around your unit. With spring comes new growth and with fall there is more debris and leaves flying through the air. Homeowners should ensure periodic cleaning of the outdoor unit and take precautions to keep the area around it free from any debris.
As leaves and other items fall off trees and blow through the air, they can build up on your AC condenser and that can cause issues. A dirty condenser can cause your air conditioning to blow warm air and shorten the life of your AC unit. Airflow blockages to your condenser can damage portions of your HVAC system, including the condenser coil and AC compressor.
Below we review some things you can do to protect the outside portion of your HVAC system from a potentially costly repair and ensure that it continues to function as it should.
When it comes to if you should clean the outside portion of your HVAC system, the answer is, “Yes”. This part of your unit is essential to your home’s comfort and your air conditioning working as it should.
If you find yourself with heating or cooling problems in Marin, Sonoma, or Napa County, Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing can help. 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. Contact us today.
Being comfortable in your Marin, Sonoma, or Napa County home is important, but your family’s comfort levels can come with increased energy bills. There is a delicate balance between your family’s preferred indoor temperatures and the money you are paying to keep up with them. If you are trying to find the right place to land, when it comes to your home’s air conditioning temperatures, you are not alone. What temperature should you keep your home at during the summer? Let’s review.
What Temperature Should you Keep Your Home at During the Summer?
Having your air conditioning set to a very low temperature can not only cost you more, it can put extra strain on your system, leading to an increase in breakdowns and shortening its life. As the summer sets in and the warmer temperatures stick around, you and your family of course want to escape the heat from the outside, inside of your home; you can do so, without blasting the air.
To stay comfortable and save money this summer, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78°F (26°C) when you are home. Setting your air conditioner to this level will allow you to stay cool and avoid an unusually high electricity bill. We know, that may seem much too high for most people; however, the smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
Turning your thermostat up seven to 10° F higher while you are away at work, or any time you're out of the house for more than two hours, can help you save as much as 10 percent on cooling costs. With that being said, what temperature you should keep your home at during the summer, depends on if you are there are not. To save money and energy while you're away, set your thermostat to 88°F. The higher interior temperature actually slows the flow of heat into your home, so it won't take as much energy to cool things back down when you return home.
Tips for Keeping Your Home Comfortable While Saving Money
If you are looking to still maintain comfort levels in your home, while following the above temperature recommendations, there are some things you can do to avoid needing to turn the temperature setting down. These include:
As we said, when it comes to what temperature you should keep your home at during the summer, we know that there is a balance between comfort and costs. At Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, our goal is to ensure that you are comfortable in your home all year long. We can help you find the right HVAC unit for your home and family, repair AC issues you may be facing, tune up your cooling system so it works at its best, and more. 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.
The warmer weather is setting in. Lots of people are likely jumping for joy, but others are probably thinking about how it can impact the money in their piggy bank. Keeping your Marin, Sonoma, or Napa county home cool during the spring and summer, can really put a dent in your pocketbook. We are going to review some tips for how to keep cooling costs down this spring and summer while not impacting your home and family’s comfort.
How to Keep Cooling Costs Down this Spring and Summer
Let’s be honest, when it comes to cooling your home, one of the most undesired parts about it, is the cost. There are things you can do to try and elevate some of the expense and most of those things are free or cost very little. What are those things? Keep reading to find out.
When it comes to keeping cooling costs down this spring and summer, there are many things you can do without really impacting the comfort level of your home. While we have reviewed a few tips above, for more, you can check out Energy.gov’s Energy Saver 101 infographic, covering everything you need to know about home cooling.
In Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties, Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing is here for all of your Bay Area cooling needs. Whether you are looking for new AC installation, repair, or a tune-up, we have got you covered. Contact us today.
Are you looking out your window to embrace the spring views, while still trying to stay cool in your North Bay Area home? It may look great outdoors, but if your air conditioning isn’t working inside, it can be miserable. While the May weather in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties isn’t too hot just yet, the heat will be here before we know it, and one of the most important things is ensuring that your air conditioning is ready to take on the task of keeping you and your family comfortable. We are going to review some of the most common AC problems for spring and summer, so you can proactively keep your eyes peeled that a problem may be looming.
The Most Common AC Problems for Spring and Summer
Air conditioning, in this day and age, isn’t just a convenience, it has shifted to more of a “must have”. When your home’s AC isn’t working or isn’t up to par, it can create an uncomfortable situation and make your home less enjoyable. By knowing and watching for signs of an issue, you can try to stop a problem before it becomes much larger.
Below we take a look at some of the most common AC problems for spring and summer that we see many of our customers face.
Your AC is running, but there’s no cool air coming out. If you hear your AC running, but don’t feel any air, or warm air is coming out, there is likely an issue. There are multiple reasons why this may be occurring, and some are easier than others to identify and fix. Some of the main causes of this issue include: a dirty air filter, an air duct obstruction, the condenser or belts have an issue, refrigerant is low, or something else.
Your system is making loud and unusual noises when it turns on and off. Your AC should not be making loud noises and should be no louder than a hum. New sounds indicate an issue. If you notice a hissing, clicking, thumping or rattling, screeching, or buzzing, that is not normal. The new noises could indicate that there is a refrigerant leak, blower or motor issue, the condenser fan motor has a problem, there are loose parts, you have faulty electrical, or more. For any of these problems, you’ll want to contact a HVAC professional as soon as possible.
The system is short cycling (constantly turning on and off). One of the most coming AC problems we receive calls about is when a system is short cycling. This means that instead of completing a full cooling cycle, the AC starts up over and over. This is a serious issue that can damage the compressor. This problem may be caused by something as simple as clogged air filters or thermostat issues, or it could be a much larger concern.
There is liquid or it looks like something is leaking around your AC unit. It’s usually rather simple to spot when you have liquid somewhere in your home where it shouldn’t be; however, an AC refrigerant leak may appear within the unit, so it’s not as easy to detect. If you notice colored stains or liquid near your air conditioner unit, you likely have a problem. It is okay to see some condensation on the outside of the unit, but there should never be excessive moisture or colored stains. These types of leaks can be caused by multiple reasons, and usually always require the help of a professional to resolve the problem.
Your AC will not turn on at all. Talk about a problem! One of the most common AC problems for spring and summer is when your air conditioner just will not turn on at all. The first step to diagnosing this issue is checking your thermostat. Ensure it has power, is set to the right setting, and that the temperature is low enough for it to kick on. If all is well there, check your circuit breaker and power source to ensure it hasn’t tripped and that the unit has power. If that is not the issue, you may have loose wiring or another issue and should call in a North Bay Area cooling expert for help.
There are new unpleasant odors coming from your system. If you find yourself plugging your nose when your AC is on, there is a problem. Whether it’s a burning or musty smell, something isn’t right. Electrical and smoky odors may mean that the motor has wiring issues. If your air filters are clogged, it can cause the system to overheat, leading to burning smells. Mildew smells are related to improper drainage. If you detect a burning smell, turn the AC off right away. Check the air filters. If they look dirty, replace them.
The above are some of the most common AC problems you may face this spring and summer; however, you could have other issues with your air conditioning as well. If you are having trouble with your air conditioner, don’t hesitate to contact Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing, for professional cooling troubleshooting. We will take the time to explain what’s causing your cooling problem and discuss your options for repair.
At Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing we offer annual HVAC service agreements that include comprehensive AC tune ups every spring. This all-inclusive service covers coil cleaning, refrigerant inspections, and more. We are here for you and all of your Marin, Sonoma, and Napa county AC needs.
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.
March 7, 2023
Flowers are starting to bloom, the days are longer, and warmer weather is setting in. That can only mean one thing, spring is in the air. Spring officially begins later this month and if you, like most of us, can’t wait for more hours of sunshine, you are likely ready to get everything prepared for the season ahead so you can enjoy it. Warmer weather signals a time to turn off the heater and turn on the air conditioning. Is your AC ready for the hotter months ahead? Our spring HVAC tips can help you ensure that it is. Check them out below.
Spring HVAC Tips
While our California winters may not be as brutal as they are in other parts of the country, the colder weather can still cause issues for your HVAC system, especially when you are officially ready to switch it over to air conditioning. Much like you should prepare your furnace for the fall and winter, you should do the same with your air conditioning for spring and summer.
Spring is in the air, and if you want to ensure your home’s air conditioning is working as it should, when it is needed, following the above spring HVAC tips can help, and so can Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing.
Working with a trusted and experienced AC professional is one of the most important factors when it comes to the long-term efficiency of your cooling system. Contact us today to schedule your AC tune-up or for any of your heating and cooling needs.
December 6, 2022
The holiday season is upon us. While we would like to say that this a stress free time, we know that for most people, that is not the case. With so much happening and people in and out of your home, including yourself, the last thing you want to have to worry about is your home’s HVAC. We are going to review some holiday HVAC safety tips to help you ensure you and your guests are comfortable and able to enjoy the season uninterrupted, at least by your home’s heating and cooling system.
Holiday HVAC Safety Tips
The last thing anyone wants to add into the mix of an already busy time is a furnace breakdown or issue. In Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties most families and homeowners want to be able to enjoy this time of the year and it would be the worst time for a heater issue to arise. The good news is, you can keep you, your family, and your guests comfortable and safe by following some holiday HVAC safety tips we have outlined below.
Make sure the area around your heater is clear and clean (interior and exterior). With new elements and decorations being added into your home, it is important to remember to keep the area around your furnace clean. Make sure there is plenty of space around the area of your heater to avoid a fire risk. Don’t forget about the outdoor portion of your unit as well. Debris can make their way inside your outdoor unit and damage your system’s components and compromise its performance. Check your condenser and make sure that it’s clean and clear. Also, be sure to keep decorations clear of the condenser.
Don’t restrict access to your thermostat. While it’s fun to decorate for the season, keep your thermostat clear of any obstructions. If your thermostat is blocked, it can misread your home’s temperature and cause your HVAC system to function incorrectly, putting it at risk of uneven heating, or a potential breakdown.
Change your air filter. This is one of the most important holiday HVAC safety tips, because air filters filter your home’s air and keep dust and other debris from reaching your HVAC unit. Dirty, unchanged filters are a leading cause of issues with Marin, Sonoma, and Napa County HVAC systems. During the holiday season with more going on, your air filters are more likely to need to be replaced. Do it now, before you forget, and it is too late and a clogged filter causes issues for your HVAC system. Not only will a changed air filter improve the efficiency of your system, it will help you ensure you and your visitors are breathing clean filtered air.
Schedule HVAC maintenance. We know, the last thing you want to add to your list right now is having a HVAC professional in your home; however, trust us, if there is an undetected issue and they are able to identify and fix it before it is a much larger problem, you will be grateful. Scheduling regular system maintenance is the most effective way to enjoy uninterrupted indoor comfort. The majority of heating problems are caused by a lack of maintenance. Routine maintenance is the most important investment you can make for your heating system. Don’t let a malfunctioning HVAC system ruin this special season with your family and friends and have a Marin, Sonoma, and Napa County HVAC professional inspect, test, clean, and ensure that your unit is working in the best shape possible.
Enjoying this time of the year can be challenging enough with everything that you have going on in your busy life, so let Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing help. Bragg Cooling, Heating & Plumbing is a full-service HVAC company that is licensed to solve all your furnace-related problems, including repair, replacement, maintenance, and safety inspection.
Following the above holiday HVAC safety tips is a good first step, and we are here to help with anything that you need. We offer fast, same-day service in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties. Contact us today.
August 18, 2022
No one wants to think about the end of summer, but it will be here before we know it and when the autumn breezes begin to set in in the North Bay Area, many homeowners turn to their furnace for warmth. After sitting dormant for months, your heater could be faced with some problems. What if you can’t get your furnace to start running? What if you hear loud or unusual noises coming from your system? What if it’s making a strange smell? While you may only use your furnace for a short time each year, you want it to work without issue when you do. We are going to walk you through some tips for how to prepare your furnace for the fall.
How to Prepare Your Furnace for the Fall
Fall doesn’t begin for another month, but now is a great time to start getting ready for it. While we may not get as cold in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties as other parts of the country, it can become rather chilly, especially at night, and you will want to make sure that your HVAC unit is ready for the heat to kick on when you need it to. Preparing your furnace for the fall isn’t much different than getting your HVAC ready for the other seasons; however, the changing seasons are always a good reminder for regular maintenance and upkeep.
Let’s review some things you should do to prepare your furnace for the fall and brisker days ahead.
As you begin to prepare your furnace for the fall, if you notice any issues or just want a professional to take a look at it, Bragg Plumbing & Heating can help. We offer annual maintenance agreements that include fall furnace tune ups. Contact us today to learn more about signing up for our maintenance program.