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Zoned AC for Two Story Bay Area Home

How to Use Zoned AC to Cool a Two-Story Home

If you own a two-story home in the San Francisco Bay Area, a zoned AC system may help improve your whole home comfort. Setting up a central air conditioner with one thermostat to evenly cool a two-story Bay Area house can be difficult. You might find that some rooms are perfectly comfortable, while others are still way too warm. Or are too cold! Your AC unit will struggle to deliver an air flow that cools hotter rooms upstairs without over-chilling downstairs rooms.

Zoned AC Systems Cool Bay Area Homes More Evenly

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Upgrade Home Insulation to Save on Energy Bills

Bay Area Home Insulation Basics

Home insulation is one of the most important hidden qualities of any Bay Area residence, yet because it is hidden in attics, walls and crawl spaces, it’s something that homeowners don’t often think about. Good insulation lowers energy bills and keeps your home feeling comfortable throughout the year, so it’s always something to consider when building or renovating your home. Let’s go over some of the basics of insulation so you can get a better idea of how you should insulate your attic.

How Home Insulation Controls Heat Flow

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Element Home Solutions Whole House Fans

Whole House Fans Cool Bay Area Homes in Summer

If you are always looking for ways to lower your summer utility bills, a whole house fan may be a good addition to your home HVAC system. We all think about how to keep our houses cool in a heat wave without relying too much on the air conditioner. The whole house fan is a more affordable alternative, available through Bay Area HVAC servicers. And it can keep you from running your air conditioner full blast all summer and running up your monthly utility bills.

How Whole House Fans Cool Bay Area Homes

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Zoned Air Conditioning System Home Comfort

Is Zoned Air Conditioning Right for My Home?

Zoned air conditioning systems are rising in popularity in the Bay Area. Homeowners use it improve home comfort in every room. Most HVAC systems only have one thermostat. This only measures the temperature in one spot. This may work for some smaller Bay Area houses, but what if your family can’t agree on a comfortable temperature? What about homes where it is significantly hotter upstairs or cooler in the basement? One HVAC system that controls everything isn’t enough in these cases. That’s where zoned HVAC systems come in!

How Do Zoned Air Conditioning Systems Work?

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air conditioning service

Seven Air Conditioning Service Tips for Spring

Tips for Air Conditioning Service Before Summer

Spring is approaching, which means you may need to get your air conditioning service done before the warmer weather.  Bay Area homeowners may have a long list of projects they wish to tackle once Spring truly arrives. So let’s plan to get the AC unit ready for summer as a priority! This is especially if you wish to get your Bay Area air conditioning repair done before the first heat wave arrives! Some tasks are DIY, like removing winter covers, clearing debris and changing filters. But deeper inspections should be conducted by   HVAC services for Bay Area. Continue reading

Protect Your HVAC from Pet Hair Element Home Solutions

Protect Your HVAC From Your Pets

There are a lot of elements to home furnace maintenance. One big challenge how to protect your HVAC system against pets. Pet hair and dander do not always mix well with your ventilation system (the V in HVAC). This is especially if your household is allergic to pet dander. Good air filtration systems can cut down on the amount of hair and dander that gets into your home ventilation system. So that is one step to protect your home’s HVAC system from your pets. Fortunately, controlling pet hair and dander isn’t as difficult as you might think. Just follow these simple HVAC maintenance tips.

Protect Your HVAC Components Against Pet Hair and Dander

The best way to protect your HVAC system from your pets is to keep things as clean as possible. This will obviously mean cleaning your home of excessive pet hair, but it should also include changing your furnace filter regularly, wiping the dust from grates and air vents, and keeping your outdoor AC unit clear of dirt and debris if you have one. Not all of this is related to your pets, but it’s still an essential part of keeping your HVAC system in good working order.

Groom Your Pets

Furry animals shed. That’s a fact of life. Even short hair dog and cat breeds will leave fur on your carpet and on your furniture. At least some of that fur will end up in your home’s vents along with your pets’ dander. You might not be able to avoid this completely, but you can make your pets a little more HVAC-friendly by grooming them regularly. Pets with more fur or that shed more often will need more grooming than other animals, but at least brush your pets’ coats regularly if you don’t want to put too much stress on your HVAC system.

Add an Air Purifier to your Ventilation System

If you or anyone in your home is experiencing allergy symptoms due to pet dander, consider installing an air purifier in your home. Air purifiers remove harmful particles from the air in your home more effectively than a regular HVAC system. It can make a big difference if pet allergies are a serious issue in your home.

Don’t Skip Your Winter Furnace or Heater Inspection

Finally, never skip your winter heater inspection. Even if you’re experiencing a mild Bay Area winter, your HVAC system should be inspected at least once a year, preferably before the main heating season. Having a licensed HVAC contractor look over your heating and cooling system might uncover issues that need to be repaired before they get out of hand. If that isn’t the case, the peace of mind you’ll get from a professional inspection will be well worth it.

Protect Your HVAC Against Pets With a Great Air Filtration System

If you haven’t scheduled an HVAC inspection in your home this year, contact Element Home Solutions today. We service homes in Oakland, San Jose, East Bay, and the surrounding areas. We will be happy to assist you if you are in need of a qualified HVAC professional.

Element Home Solutions Furnace Inspections

Serious Furnace Issues that Go Unnoticed

As much as you might want to think that you will notice serious furnace issues, there are a number of HVAC-related problems that can go unnoticed for some time, especially if you don’t keep up your regular furnace maintenance. Some issues might be easy to ignore during a mild Bay Area winter, but many of them can be hazardous to your family’s health and/or damage your HVAC system, shortening its life.

Furnace Issues can Build Up Over Time Unnoticed – Some Have Health Implications

Here are just some of the more severe HVAC problems you might miss if you skip your winter heater inspection. Continue reading

Ventilation System Repair Element Home Solutions

Improving Indoor Air Quality in a Bay Area Winter

The V in HVAC means ventilation, which means it’s your HVAC system’s job to maintain your indoor air quality. As long as you schedule a regular winter heater inspection and keep up with your home furnace maintenance, air quality shouldn’t be a serious problem. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to overlook these crucial tasks, as the signs of allergens and viruses in the air are hard to spot.  

Home Air Filtration Systems Catch Allergens and Viruses

The biggest reason why you should keep up with your heater maintenance this winter is to keep as many allergens and viruses scrubbed out of your indoor air as possible. Yes, there are always things that get past even the best air filtration systems, but for the most part a good HVAC air filtration system will keep dust, dander, pollen, and anything else that could trigger one’s allergies out of your home. And a high-level air filtration system will also capture viruses. On the other hand, when your HVAC system isn’t doing its job, you and your family could suffer reactions. Continue reading

Gas Furnace Maintenance Inspections

Four Gas Furnace Issues to Watch Through the Rainy Season

Winter in the Bay Area may be milder than in other parts of the country, but you could still suffer a few uncomfortable months if you don’t keep your home furnace properly maintained. There are a lot of issues that could come up with your furnace in the winter, and a furnace inspection done now will catch many of these problems before they get out of hand.

What Issues Can You Expect With an Older Gas Furnace?

Here are four typical issues that arise with furnaces:

A Broken Thermostat

Your thermostat regulates the temperature in your home, and it can malfunction. If your home always feels too cold or too hot, it could be that your thermostat is malfunctioning or needs to be recalibrated. Fortunately, this is usually a quick fix. Many modern thermostats are programmable, so check whether yours needs reprogramming to a more winter-friendly setting. If that doesn’t work, an HVAC contractor can take a closer look at it and determine if it needs to be replaced.

Uneven Heating

You might find that some rooms are colder than others even when your furnace is on. This can be a serious problem that might involve multiple parts of your HVAC system. Dirty air ducts or an old furnace that doesn’t work as efficiently as it once did are possible culprits when this happens. It could also arise because of aging home insulation, or gaps around windowsills and doors. In any case, letting these issues go without remediation, will raise your utility bill as you try to keep every room in your home at a comfortable temperature.

Dirty Air Filters

Your HVAC system’s air filter should be checked every month, and switched out if it has collected a lot of dust and debris. This is true throughout the year, but it is especially important in the winter since you’ll be spending so much more time indoors and running your furnace. Your filter protects your home from dust, pollen, and other pollutants that could affect one’s allergies. A powerful air filtration system can also clear your indoor air of viruses.

A Pilot Light that Won’t Ignite

Gas furnaces rely on a pilot light that either stays lit or ignites when the furnace cycles on. If the pilot light doesn’t ignite, the furnace obviously will not work. This might happen if the flame sensor is damaged or dirty. A company that specializes in maintaining gas furnaces should be able to fix this sensor and keep your pilot light ignited for as long as you need it.

Find an Experienced Bay Area Gas Furnace Inspection and Maintenance Service

If you are in need of a furnace maintenance service in Oakland, the East Bay, or the surrounding area, contact Element Home Solutions. Our friendly staff will be happy to run an inspection of your heating system and provide you with the assistance you need.

Element Home Solutions AC Unit winter inspections

Four Steps to Protect your Air Conditioning Unit During a Bay Area Winter

Winter weather in the Bay Area is an unpredictable mix of heavy rain and strong winds. This sort of powerful weather can damage an outdoor air conditioning unit more than many people realize. The A/C units we install at Element Home Solutions are built to handle inclement weather, but why expose your investment to more stress than you have to? You likely won’t use your A/C unit when the temperature drops, so give your outdoor unit some winter protection.

How to Protect your A/C Unit from Winter Rain

If you live in an Oakland, San Jose or other Bay Area home with central air conditioning that you won’t be using this winter, follow these tips to avoid the dangers of leaving your air conditioner exposed to the elements.

1. Keep Your Unit Covered and Protected

The first step in protecting your air conditioner from winter rain is to keep the unit covered. Dedicated covers likely came with your unit, but a simple tarp with proper strapping can also provide winter protection from most of the rain and debris that comes with Bay Area winter storms. But also keep away from your unit lawn furniture, decorations, and anything else that could be blown around by a strong wind. And, have your trees grown to the point where a falling limb could land on your unit?

2. Disconnect Your A/C Unit

Since you probably won’t need your Bay Area HVAC unit for the next few months, you should shut it down and cover it up. You can cut the power to your unit with the circuit breakers, or you can simply turn off your cooling options with your thermostat.

3. Secure Your A/C Unit

One of the dangers of leaving an air conditioner exposed to the elements is the possibility that the unit itself could be damaged by inclement weather. To prevent this from happening, check to see that all of the bolts that hold your unit in place are tight and in good condition. Take a minute to inspect the concrete pad and/or metal stands your AC unit may be secured to. Are they still in good condition? If you see cracks in concrete, a lot of rust in metal supports or similar damage, give us a call to inspect it.

4. Protect Any Wires

While winterizing your AC unit against wind and rain, inspect the wiring between the unit and electrical outlets. Are they in good shape? No fraying or exposed wires? Insulated wires are usually safe from the elements, but they can accumulate damage over time if they aren’t maintained.

Never Neglect Air Conditioner Maintenance!

In effect, preparing your HVAC system for winter involves both inspecting the furnace to get it ready to heat your home properly, and inspecting the AC unit before taking it offline. Make regular air conditioner maintenance a habit! Contact us to schedule your inspection.

Leaving an air conditioner exposed to the elements during a Bay Area winter can accelerate aging. Protect your investment by catching any issues that need to be addressed before they get any worse!