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Stewart's Comfort Tips

Stewart Heating & Air Conditioning is a Bay area HVAC contractor who provides industry leading heating & air solutions. We're a Bryant® Factory Authorized Dealer, a BBB A+ business and we care about your comfort!
Stewart's Comfort Tips
Planning Ahead for Your Next Furnace

February 15, 2018
Planning Ahead for Your Next Furnace

 Hope you’ll take this thought with the optimism with which it is presented: “Nothing lasts forever.” There are lots of reasons why that’s a good thing. For example, do you really want to be placing your mobile calls on a phone the size of a man’s shoe (some seemed that large)?  Do you want to be using a dial-up modem (if you know what that is) to check your email?

That’s what the march of time does. As technology improves, older stuff gets further and further behind. Outdated. Inefficient. Breaks down too often. Costs more to keep up than it does to replace.

We’ve all been there. And some of you may be in just that place with your home heating. So how do you know if you’re really there now? Well, when it’s time to replace your furnace, there are some signs you can look for. In particular:

Increasing Age/More Frequent Repairs – That speaks to the first point: nothing lasts forever. If you have a furnace 15 to 20 years or older, you’re facing a situation where you will need an increasing number of repairs. You’ll see this especially in the last two years of furnace life. Plus, as older models continue to age, their replacement parts will be harder to find – meaning, repair delays are another sign.

Higher Energy Bills – A furnace in its declining years will lose its efficiency, and you’ll see that in higher energy bills. In addition, since technology improves over time, the efficiency of these new systems is the best that’s ever been. So you’ll find you’re operating a piece of equipment that is far less energy efficient than the very high-efficiency models now available.

Inconsistent Comfort – Are some rooms too hot or too cold? Are you often adjusting the thermostat? The inability to stay comfortable is a sign that your furnace isn’t able to distribute air properly.

Strange Noises – Actually, this is a universal sign for almost any appliance or piece of equipment. If something doesn’t sound right, there’s probably a reason. Banging, popping and squealing noises, or a blower that turns on and off too frequently, are not the soothing, comforting background music for a cozy evening at home. Get it checked out.

As you keep your eye on frequency of repairs, cost of repairs, cost of energy bills and lack of consistent comfort, let us give you a big-picture look at your home’s energy use to help you in your decision.

Schedule your free energy audit today. Just call or email, and we’ll take care of you.


Predicting the Cost of Your Home Heating

November 17, 2017
Home Heating

Calculating the cost of energy to run our homes seems like such a mystery at times. But what would you expect from an industry that issues something called a "Market Prices and Uncertainty Report"? That's one of the publications the federal government creates about the outlook for energy prices (though it's hard to imagine other business sectors touting "uncertainty" as if it's a given).

So what's ahead for natural gas prices this winter and how will it affect the homes around here that depend on this source for their cold-weather heating comfort?

Trying for an uncomplicated explanation here... basically, the cost to heat your home is going to be affected by how much natural gas folks "think" will get used (that's called a usage prediction). Plus, how much natural gas they "think" will be needed. That's called a demand forecast. Plus, what's available now (that's the inventory).

There's also a little factor called "speculation," which is when investors bet on the price energy will reach in the future. And you add to that one more unpredictable factor called "the weather."

That very frigid winter we "enjoyed" last time hit the inventories pretty heavily. Plus, Mideast unrest always causes concerns about oil exports. So there's much about energy costs that we cannot control. But here's the other side of the equation:

There's a LOT we can do about the energy efficiency of the systems that run your home, thus providing you savings on energy all season long.

If you'd like to learn how to beat the high natural gas prices, you can start with an analysis of the current energy usage in your home. We can do that for you free; just let us know you'd like to get that survey.

Replacing an old energy guzzler with a new, highly efficient model can save 20% over last year's energy usage - and that's just one of the perks ahead when you're ready to make a change. In fact, you'll find that a very generous trade-in allowance, super-long guarantees and extra convenient financing will make your upgrade decision very easy. Want to learn more? Just click this link: Get a energy survey analysis and see if a new system is your best bet for continued comfort.


How to Avoid Lessons Learned the Hard Way

September 26, 2017
Preventative Maintenance

If, as heating and air professionals, we could persuade homeowners to avoid one major outcome, it would be this: take care of your home comfort system equipment so that you don’t have to replace it earlier than necessary.

Heating and cooling systems are sizeable investments for any size home, and they have a direct impact on roughly half of your energy bills each year. The measures homeowners take to preserve the life of their equipment can enable it to last years longer – helping you to prevent a costly expenditure before the recommended time.

In addition, routine preventive maintenance also maintains your system’s energy efficiency, helping you to hold down monthly energy bills. Keeping your system running at peak efficiency is critical to conserving energy use. Routine maintenance also allows a professional technician to discover the occurrence of indoor air quality problems that can prove very harmful to your family – especially carbon monoxide leaks.

And there’s another valid reason homeowners are wise to schedule preventive maintenance. Some will say it’s “not needed” because their system is “under warranty.” However, if a manufacturer determines that neglect of maintenance was the cause of the problem and contributed to the equipment’s failure, the warranty may not cover the repair. This makes sense when you consider that auto manufacturers expect their vehicle owners to routinely change the oil in order to keep their warranties in force.

Given the benefits of preventive maintenance, some still learn the lesson the hard way, however. And here’s why many people choose to ignore free advice that can end up costing them a great deal more: human nature.

Most of us react to problems instead of proactively prevent them. At our shop, we see this evidence in untimely repair calls that reveal a simple truth: preventive maintenance could have kept the system running problem-free.

If you’d like to avoid the mistake of “wait and see,” we’ll be happy to take care of your preventive maintenance right away. Schedule your tune-up today.


How to Look at Your Energy Use from All Angles
Energy Audit

August 22, 2017

It's funny how the components of your home work together. The walls and roof provide protection. The doors and windows do the same, while also allowing entry and exit as desired. Your electrical system keeps things humming, your plumbing keeps things running and your heating and air conditioning make your living space comfortably livable.

To further illuminate this point: your home is not just one part. Not just one room that sees the most action (like your kitchen). Not even your favorite chair and electronic device. Your home is all parts working together. Or, sometimes, a few parts working against each other.

That's why science is highlighting more and more why energy efficiency should be viewed from a "whole house" approach.

Because your home comfort system accounts for about half of your energy bills, its performance and efficiency certainly go a long way toward keeping those bills lower and your home more comfortable. However, drafty windows and doors and poorly insulated attics will also affect its performance by creating more work for it to do. That's just the beginning in the long list of factors that siphon off energy. But now there's a way to get a more complete picture.

A "whole house energy analysis" takes a look at all the elements that affect your energy usage and shows you how and where improvements can give you better results. Whole house analyses are conducted by professionals who understand how your home operates, when problems can arise and where health and safety concerns can be identified.

These professionals have specialized training and are using technologically advanced infrared thermography. Through this process, the infrared thermography detects unseen air leaks and pinpoints trouble spots, many of which are easily resolved. You receive a list of recommendations that you can choose (or not) to implement ... it's completely up to you.

Together, the recommendations that come from a whole house energy analysis ultimately make your home cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter, with lower energy bills all year long.

Let us take a look now to see how well your house is performing. Schedule your whole house energy analysis today.


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