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Bay Area Heating, Plumbing & Air Conditioning Since 1974

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
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.

Why Your Air Conditioning System Needs Prep Work for Summer's Long, Hot Run

May 15, 2017
Hot Summer Ahead

If you've never jogged a mile in your life, how well do you think you'd do in a marathon? Could be a struggle, wouldn't you expect? Maybe some huffing and puffing and conking out before the finish line?

Well, your air conditioning system is about to launch into a serious marathon through the summer months. And unless you want it to huff and puff and conk out before the cool temperatures return, you'd be wise to get your system ready.

Great athletes know that they can't jump into their sport of choice and take home gold medals just when it's convenient. They've got to prepare for the long run. Similarly, your air conditioning system needs some prep work to make sure it's ready for the endurance test it's facing.

After a very cold winter across the country, we're heading into a really hot summer, and you can expect your air conditioning system to see heavy action during the scorching days ahead. Your best bet for preparation is preventive maintenance, which can help you detect potential problems before they occur - while also improving your system's energy efficiency.

Without preventive maintenance, the odds increases that your air conditioning system will lose its strength as it works harder and harder each day. With preventive maintenance, you can save money on energy bills while also helping avoid inconvenient repairs and shortened equipment life.

What does prep work involve? Your check-up checklist will include checking refrigerant levels; inspecting and cleaning coils; checking and tightening electrical connections; oiling parts and motors; checking blowers and grilles for clear air flow; testing and calibrating your thermostat; and changing or cleaning air filters.

Because your systems are sealed for their protection and your safety, only professional service personnel should conduct this thorough annual service. We'd be honored to have you trust your system to us. Let us hear from you.

Is Your Home at the Center of an Energy-Loss Vortex?

April 13, 2017
Energy Audit

That's not quite as far-fetched as it seems. See, your home comfort system worked very hard to keep you cozy all Winter. Now with Summer around the corner, you sure don't want system wear and tear to create a black hole in your wallet. I think we all know how expensive space programs can be!

The good news?

The positive consequences of saving energy are undeniable: it reduces air pollution while reducing the cost of your energy bills.

But when some people hear the phrase "saving energy," they think drastic measures - turning back time, living ruggedly and abandoning modern conveniences. Without going that far, you can take many steps to keep energy bills from soaring while also doing your part to protect the environment. These include:

Install occupant sensors on lighting. Intended to detect activity within a certain area, they turn lights on automatically when someone enters a room, and reduce energy use by turning environment. These include:

Making the Case When Your Furnace Doesn’t Make the Grade

February 15, 2017
Hybrid Heating

Have You Heard about Hybrid Heating?

I am sure you are well aware that energy prices are increasing at an astonishing rate, even to the point where we are paying 64% more in energy costs now than we were just 5 years ago. That is just plain jaw-dropping.

As gas prices continue to fluctuate wildly (mostly up, but sometimes just a touch down, then up again), more and more people are trading in their gas-guzzling cars for hybrids. Thankfully, the same technology that allows the hybrid cars to get amazingly good gas mileage (and save their owners tons of money in the process) can now be applied to our home heating systems.

How It Works…

A Hybrid Heating system works much the same way as a hybrid vehicle; it uses two heat sources to warm your home. The first heat source is a heat pump that draws in heat from outside your home when the weather is mild. The upside to this, of course, is that heat outside your home is free. “Free” for now, I suppose. I guess someone could always come along and figure out a way to charge for that too.

Once a “break-even” point is reached, the furnace will automatically switch itself to gas heat to continue the process of warming your home. You will never even know this is happening. It is a silent and seamless transition. The only time you will notice a change is when you receive your first utility bill and it is significantly less while your home is still as warm and toasty as you like it to be.

If you are wondering if a Hybrid Heating system is right for you, call us today at 925-203-9141 or click here to schedule a FREE Energy Analysis for your heating system.

Making the Case When Your Furnace Doesn’t Make the Grade

January 18, 2017
Cost of Your Home Heating

It’s a common question for a common experience. When your home heating system is getting past its prime, when you find that your comfort isn’t what it used to be, when energy bills appear higher than they should be and when you’ve had to call for repairs on multiple occasions… that’s the time homeowners ask, “Should I replace my furnace? Or should I shell out more for repairs?”

Your home comfort system is a significant part of your home – not just representing a portion of your overall investment, but also claiming about half of your energy costs each month. So, the equipment itself as well as its operational efficiency are integral to your family finances.

When making the case for replacement rather than repair, what should you consider? Energy Star, a program of the federal government, suggests that you first take into consideration the age of your equipment.

If your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, or if your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old, that’s the time to consider replacing your system with home comfort equipment that has earned the Energy Star label. High efficiency heat pumps can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs over the units they replace. Energy Star-qualified furnaces are 15% more efficient than conventional furnaces. Or, if you have a boiler, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR qualified boiler that is 5% more efficient than a new, standard model.

What else should you consider?

Let us help you get a complete picture of energy use in your home. Schedule your free energy analysis today. Just call or email, and we’ll take care of you.

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