Lennox It Is

After careful consideration, and many meetings with multiple equipment manufacturers, we have decided to become a Lennox dealer. We decided to make a change, so that we can offer our customers the best, most innovative products on the market; Lennox affords us that ability. Lennox is consistently leading the industry in innovation, with products that save homeowners money, as well as keeping them as comfortable as possible. Those goals align perfectly with ours, and that’s why we chose to go with Lennox.

We are excited to be able to offer the quietest, most efficient gas furnace on the market, the Lennox SLP98, as well as some great heat pump and air conditioner options. Lennox also offers three heat pumps, and three air conditioners that are solar ready. That is a very exciting piece to us. We will soon be going through some additional product training, and will be able to offer a complete installed solar set up.

Aside from the great product offering that Lennox provides, the thing that really sold us is the customer service. From the start of the process, they listened to what we were looking for, provided solutions, were quick, responsive, and we felt like they deliver the same kind of service that we do. We feel that our partnership with Lennox will make us an even better company, and will give us better products to be able to meet your comfort needs.

Lennox

How Much Will a New Air Conditioner Cost?

If you are interested in adding air conditioning to your home this summer, one of the first questions you will ask is “how much will a new air conditioner cost?” The answer to this question is not as easily determined as it may be for other home appliances. There are multiple factors that can sway the cost of an air conditioner installation, such as size required, installation procedure, electrical requirements, etc. In short, asking “how much will a new air conditioner cost” is about the same as asking “how much is a bag of groceries?” It depends on what goes into it, right? Let us outline what this process looks like.

What Size Air Conditioner Will Properly Cool the Home?

One of the first things we determine during a comfort consultation, is what size heating and/or cooling equipment is needed for the home? We use a load calculation program called Manual J, which takes into account cubic footage of the home, square footage of exterior walls, square footage of windows, insulation values, the home’s directional orientation, and weather data for your area. Window sizes and directional orientation play a huge role in determining the size of air conditioner required. South and West facing windows take on much more solar gain than North facing windows, and can make a big difference in cooling loads.

How Will the Air Conditioner be Installed?

Air conditioner installation is an elaborate process. First, we need to determine a location for the outdoor unit. Questions such as “Where would you like to see the air conditioner?” “Are there property line set back requirements in your area?” “How will we route the refrigerant lines to the air conditioner?” will all need to be answered. Once we have a spot picked out for the air conditioner, we need to look at the furnace. We will need to install an indoor evaporator coil at the furnace, which will connect to the outdoor air conditioner using refrigerant lines. This indoor coil is the part that actually cools down the air as it flows. At times we have to raise the furnace to allow for the indoor coil, which can add to the cost. During this evaluation process, we also look at how long the refrigerant lines will need to be, and how we will route them, as well as looking at the electrical panel to make sure it will be able to handle the new air conditioner.

Which Air Conditioner Would You Like?

Once the air conditioner’s size and installation process is determined, we then look at the air conditioner options that are available. There are many different types of air conditioners varying in efficiency and operation. There are base efficiency air conditioners which will cool the home adequately, but will cost more to run; and there are high efficiency air conditioners which will use less electricity to cool the home. Some air conditioners also have different modes of operation. Single stage air conditioners always run at their full capacity, and are either on or off. There are also two stage air conditioners, which have a low and a high setting. Two stage air conditioners will run on low if they can cool the home from there, and will automatically kick into high cooling if needed. The latest technology are variable capacity air conditioners, which have a wide range of operation from low to high, and will vary to provide the exact amount of cooling that the house is requiring at any given time.

Now, How Much?

Now that you know more about the process of selecting an air conditioner for your home, I hope you can see why it is not easy to answer “How much will a new air conditioner cost?” There is a lot that goes into making sure we have the right air conditioner for you and your home. Once we have answered all the questions above, we provide you with an air conditioner installation proposal, which will generally feature a few systems to choose from. At this point we can talk about financing options, and any other incentives that might be available. The entire described process costs you zero, but can be the difference in having a comfortable home this summer, or not. If you would like an in home comfort consultation, please contact us today!

Air Conditioner

Air Conditioner installed by CEC

Common Sense Contracting

At Clean Energy Comfort, we apply a common sense approach to contracting. As a heating and air conditioning contractor, we hear all too often from our customers that they had a bad experience with a previous contractor, HVAC or otherwise. We try to provide the best experience for our customers using 4 basic principles:

Responsiveness

As consumers, when we have a question or concern, we want it answered. At CEC, we try to make ourselves available to answer these questions and/or concerns in a timely fashion.

Provide Quality Products and Service

Things are changing rapidly in the world, and the heating and air conditioning field is no exception. We go through constant product training to make sure we stay up on current innovations in home comfort, and are able to offer you the best products and service on the market.

Provide Value

Every house is different, as is every homeowner. We meet with our customers up front to determine the heating and cooling demands of the home by performing a load calculation, and then we propose a few different system options that will meet those demands, as well as satisfying the customer’s comfort needs/wants.

Cleanliness

We understand that you are asking us into your home to provide you with a comfortable experience. We will respect your home, and leave it cleaner than we found it. We also take pride in making our installations functional and form fitting.

Clean Energy Comfort is not just a name, it’s a statement. We will keep your home CLEAN, we will help you save ENERGY, and we will give you COMFORT.

What Size Air Conditioner Will Work for My Home?

If you are in the market for a new air conditioner for your home, one of the most important questions to have answered is what size air conditioner you will need. The only true way to know what size air conditioner your home will require, is to have a load calculation performed. For load calculations, manual J is the industry standard, and should be used by your heating & cooling contractor. This program will take into account the weather data for your area, cubic footage of the home, exterior wall lengths, insulation values, type and size of windows, type and size of exterior doors, as well as the home’s directional orientation.

All of these factors are calculated in the program, and the heating and cooling demands of the home are determined. These factors are very important. The old stand by was to use square footage to determine the cooling load of a home. The problem with this method is that it doesn’t take into account all of the above factors. You can take the same exact floor plan, one house being constructed to the standards of 1970, and one with today’s efficiency standards, and each house will require a different amount of heating and cooling. Additionally, you can take the same floor plan, with the same insulation, window, etc., but one house may have a majority of windows facing north, while the other has majority of it’s windows facing south or west. These two houses will have different heating & cooling requirements due to sun exposure.

The goal of a load calculation is to provide the closest match of a heating & cooling system for your particular home. Many contractors cut corners here, because of the time involved, so if you are looking to purchase a new furnace and/or air conditioner, be sure to ask that a load calculation be performed. We perform the load calculations at no cost as a part of our proposal process. If you would like us to take a look at your home, please contact us.

What is a Modulating Furnace?

A modulating furnace is the perfect gas furnace for our climate in the Willamette Valley. A modulating furnace has the ability to run at a very low heat setting, a high heat setting, or anywhere in between. By running at a lower heat setting the modulating furnace can use less gas and electricity to heat your home, and deliver a higher level of comfort. The heat setting that a modulating furnace operates at is determined by factors like outdoor temperature, and the set point of the thermostat. The colder it is outside, the more heat the furnace will need to put out to maintain the desired temperature in the home. On a more mild day, the furnace can run at a lower heat setting to achieve the desired indoor temperature. This ability to ramp up and down makes for a very comfortable home, because the furnace will not heat the home too fast under lighter operating conditions. How often do you find your furnace turning on and off? If it is happening constantly, that’s because it is putting too much heat into the home too rapidly. The set point of the thermostat is achieved before the home is able to be heated evenly. This makes for hot and cold spots in the home, causes excess wear and tear on the furnace, and costs you more money to heat your home. We also discussed the advantages of a two stage furnace in the post, What is a Two Stage Furnace?. The two stage furnace offers a lot of the same advantages as a modulating furnace, but the modulating furnace takes it to another level. It offers a greater range of operation, therefore a greater comfort level, and better energy efficiency. If you would like to learn more, feel free to Contact Us to set up a free comfort consultation.

WiFi Connected Thermostats Offer Greater Control

Nest-Thermostat-195x187In today’s world everything is becoming connected, so why would your thermostat be any different? WiFi connected thermostats for your home allow you to monitor and control your heating and cooling system from anywhere in the world. Free apps from thermostat manufacturers have allowed you to transform your iPad, iPhone, or Android device into a control center for your comfort. You can adjust the set point on your thermostat, set up programming, adjust your fan settings, as well as monitoring energy usage. There are a number of different WiFi connected thermostats to choose from, and that number is sure to grow.

The Nest

Certainly the thermostat with the biggest amount of buzz surrounding it, the Nest is a great option as a connected thermostat. The Nest has built in WiFi, and has a very user friendly set up, and programming feature. The Nest learns your patterns for temperature adjustments, and develops a schedule based on that pattern. It is also equipped with a motion sensor, which kicks in an Auto Away feature when no motion is detected for a period of time. The temperature it reverts to in Auto Away mode is adjustable, and this can be an easy way to save money on heating and cooling costs. My favorite feature on the Nest is the Energy History display on the app. You simply click the Energy History button, and it shows a bar graph of the hours of run time for your heating and cooling system each day. It shows you each day back about a week and a half. This enables you to see how changes you make to operation can affect your energy costs. The Nest is also a cool looking, smaller thermostat, and the simple turn dial to adjust temperature is a very natural feel. The Nest Protect is an additional accessory that can be added to your Nest thermostat. It is a Carbon Monoxide/Smoke Detector that is wireless. They also have a hard wired version as well. Nest Protect is also connected, so you can get an alert on your phone if the unfortunate strikes your home while you’re away. Nest is capable of controlling gas furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, oil heat, and electric.

Honeywell

Honeywell has been making thermostats for nearly 130 years, so they kind of have it down. They offer a full line of connected thermostats, some with WiFi built in, and some that can be connected through a wireless Internet Gateway that connects to your modem. Honeywell thermostats haven’t gotten the publicity that the Nest has recently, but in many cases they can be better suited for a particular heating and cooling system. Honeywell offers better control options for tying in indoor air quality products, such as humidifiers and ventilation systems. Honeywell also has sensors that can be mounted on the supply and return sides of your duct system to monitor incoming and outgoing temperatures. The difference between these temps (Delta T) is monitored to make sure the system maintains an accepted performance. If the Delta T dips, the thermostat will alert you that there is an issue with the system. You can have up to 5 email addresses tied in for these alerts, so you can know there is an issue, as well as your trusted heating contractor, if you set it up that way. Honeywell has multiple wireless accessories that can tie into their thermostats, including a Portable Comfort Controller, which can be moved throughout the home to control and sense temperatures from different rooms. They also have wireless outdoor temperature sensors, which not only display outdoor temps on your thermostat, but can also aid in the efficient operation of a heat pump system w/ a back up heat source.

Honeywell Prestige IAQ

Find Out More

WiFi connected thermostats are a great way to help you maximize the efficiency of your heating and cooling system, as well as making sure that you are comfortable when you want it most. These thermostats are a great addition to any home. If you would like any additional information on any of these thermostat products, please email us using one of the Contact Us forms on our site, or you can always feel free to give us a call.

What is a Two Stage Furnace?

Have you heard of a two stage furnace, but are not quite sure what that is? A two stage furnace is simply a gas furnace that has two heat settings, low and high. Furnaces should be sized using a load calculation program, which takes into account the home’s efficiency (windows, insulation value, etc.), as well as cubic footage, and weather data for the area. The design temperature is generally pretty low, 23° for Salem,OR, so with the mild temperatures that we generally see in the Willamette Valley, a furnace sized at 23° will be oversized majority of the time. A two stage furnace allows us to size for those extreme temperatures, while being able to run at a lower heat setting on a more mild day. This feature not only saves you money on energy costs, but also makes for a much more comfortable home. The best two stage furnaces not only have a very high gas utilization efficiency, around 96%, but they are also equipped with variable speed fans that have an electronically communicated motor (ECM). With this feature, these furnaces qualify for a $352 state tax credit for the 2014 tax year, which is a nice bonus. Our two stage furnace of choice is a Rheem R96V. This furnace is very quiet, very efficient, and very reliable. If you would like to set up a free in home consultation to learn more about this furnace, or any others, please click here, and fill out the request form.

 

Lower Your Energy Costs on St. Patrick’s Day

5 Ways to Save Green with Lower Energy Costs on St. Patrick’s Day, and Beyond

First of all, happy St. Patrick’s Day to you. Hope that you are having a great day, and that if you are partaking in some green adult beverages, I hope you do so responsibly. The following is a list of 5 ways that you can lower your energy costs, thus saving you some of your favorite green item, MONEY! These energy saving tips are not the only ways to save energy of course, but I just wanted to list 5 relatively simple, and low cost ways that you can lower your heating and cooling costs.

1) One of the most simple ways to lower your energy costs is to make sure that your furnace filters are clean. Some furnace filters are washable, and some are replaceable. If you have a replaceable style filter, we recommend that you replace it with a good pleated filter. There are a lot of products out there that claim to be high efficiency, electrostatic filters, but they end up doing more harm by slowing down airflow, than they do good. Your furnace filters are more than likely either located right at your furnace (above or below), or they could be located in your cold air return vents in the house.

2) Another low cost, energy saving tip would be to have regular maintenance performed on your heating & cooling system. As part of maintenance your furnace filters would be replaced, but a good maintenance should also include a thorough cleaning of both your indoor unit (furnace & coil), and your outdoor unit (air conditioner or heat pump). The cleaning should include, but is not limited to the burners and blower wheel on a gas furnace, and the indoor and outdoor coils on an air conditioner or heat pump. Your heating and cooling system generally is the highest energy user in your home, so by making sure it is running efficiently, it can help lower your energy costs.

3) Program your thermostat if you have gas or oil heat. A simple program to set back the temperature when you are away, or sleeping, can save you money. I limit this to gas furnaces or oil heat, because these furnaces recover from a setback quicker than a heat pump system, and therefore it makes sense to use a setback with them. A heat pump system has to work too hard to recover from a setback most of the time, and can actually consume more energy by trying to recover, than if you had just left it running. There are some great options available for programmable, and even smart connected thermostats that know when you’re away via motion sensors, and can learn your programming habits.

4) Adding to the insulation in your attic can be a great energy saver. I personally had this done recently, and it has made a big difference in the operating hours of my heating system. Insulation will settle over time, and if your house was built prior to the 90’s, the energy codes were a bit more relaxed to begin with. Adding attic insulation is a relatively low cost way that you can make a big dent in your heating and cooling costs.

5) Having your ductwork sealed and insulated can also be a big help. Most duct systems in Oregon are located in a crawl space or an attic, where they are exposed to harsh environments. Again, if your house is a little older the insulation may be very poor, or non-existent. Most ductwork is also very leaky, so a lot of the heating and cooling that your system produces is being lost to the elements. Ductwork can be sealed using mastic paste, which once it dries, forms a hard, almost rubber texture. This holds up much better than duct tape. Imagine that, duct tape is good for almost anything, except sealing ductwork. As for duct insulation, we recommend using insulation with an exterior barrier (vinyl or foilback). This will help to keep rodents out, and holds up better over time than open faced insulation.

Hopefully you find at least one of these tips helpful, and you can continue saving the green beyond St. Patrick’s Day.

 

WiFi Connected Thermostats for Your Home

WiFi Connected Thermostats Offer Greater Control

In today’s world everything is becoming connected, so why would your thermostat be any different? WiFi connected thermostats for your home allow you to monitor and control your heating and cooling system from anywhere in the world. Free apps from thermostat manufacturers have allowed you to transform your iPad, iPhone, or Android device into a control center for your comfort. You can adjust the set point on your thermostat, set up programming, adjust your fan settings, as well as monitoring energy usage. There are a number of different WiFi connected thermostats to choose from, and that number is sure to grow.

The Nest

Certainly the thermostat with the biggest amount of buzz surrounding it, the Nest is a great option as a connected thermostat. The Nest has built in WiFi, and has a very user friendly set up, and programming feature. The Nest learns your patterns for temperature adjustments, and develops a schedule based on that pattern. It is also equipped with a motion sensor, which kicks in an Auto Away feature when no motion is detected for a period of time. The temperature it reverts to in Auto Away mode is adjustable, and this can be an easy way to save money on heating and cooling costs. My favorite feature on the Nest is the Energy History display on the app. You simply click the Energy History button, and it shows a bar graph of the hours of run time for your heating and cooling system each day. It shows you each day back about a week and a half. This enables you to see how changes you make to operation can affect your energy costs. The Nest is also a cool looking, smaller thermostat, and the simple turn dial to adjust temperature is a very natural feel. The Nest Protect is an additional accessory that can be added to your Nest thermostat. It is a Carbon Monoxide/Smoke Detector that is wireless. They also have a hard wired version as well. Nest Protect is also connected, so you can get an alert on your phone if the unfortunate strikes your home while you’re away. Nest is capable of controlling gas furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, oil heat, and electric.

Honeywell

Honeywell has been making thermostats for nearly 130 years, so they kind of have it down. They offer a full line of connected thermostats, some with WiFi built in, and some that can be connected through a wireless Internet Gateway that connects to your modem. Honeywell thermostats haven’t gotten the publicity that the Nest has recently, but in many cases they can be better suited for a particular heating and cooling system. Honeywell offers better control options for tying in indoor air quality products, such as humidifiers and ventilation systems. Honeywell also has sensors that can be mounted on the supply and return sides of your duct system to monitor incoming and outgoing temperatures. The difference between these temps (Delta T) is monitored to make sure the system maintains an accepted performance. If the Delta T dips, the thermostat will alert you that there is an issue with the system. You can have up to 5 email addresses tied in for these alerts, so you can know there is an issue, as well as your trusted heating contractor, if you set it up that way. Honeywell has multiple wireless accessories that can tie into their thermostats, including a Portable Comfort Controller, which can be moved throughout the home to control and sense temperatures from different rooms. They also have wireless outdoor temperature sensors, which not only display outdoor temps on your thermostat, but can also aid in the efficient operation of a heat pump system w/ a back up heat source.

Honeywell Prestige IAQ

Honeywell Prestige IAQ

Find Out More

WiFi connected thermostats are a great way to help you maximize the efficiency of your heating and cooling system, as well as making sure that you are comfortable when you want it most. These thermostats are a great addition to any home. If you would like any additional information on any of these thermostat products, please email us using one of the Contact Us forms on our site, or you can always feel free to give us a call.

To Double Space or Not to Double Space?

How many of you out there were taught to type with a double space after the punctuation to end a sentence?  <- See example. With the exception of the double space after that question mark, this post will contain only single spaces after each sentence. This is a big change for me, as I was taught like many of you, to double space after each sentence. The more we dive into the digital world, the more we see that this rule may no longer apply. Have you noticed that when you double space to end a sentence, that if that sentence is at the end of a line, the next line will have an unintended indent? It drives me crazy! You can try to correct it by removing the extra space on that one line, but what happens if you look at what you have typed on a different screen, such as going from an iPad to a desktop? Your indent may be in a different location. After discussing this topic with a couple fellow persnickety personalities, I have decided to scrap the double spacing. It seems that it no longer serves a purpose in the digital world we live in today, and only creates issues with uniformity in the layout of emails, blog posts, or web pages. One could argue over whether or not it is the proper way to type; in fact, many argue that it is not proper, and that it was just a way to overcome the shortcomings of the typewriter’s abilities. Either way, I am officially over it. Single spacing works for me, and if it means keeping all of the  text to the left of the page, then problem solved.

By the way, I will not be indenting the beginning of my paragraphs online either. Thank you for reading my rant, that has absolutely nothing to do with heating and air conditioning.