The Truth About DIY HVAC Hacks

DIY hacks are all the rage, especially for homeowners; however, when it comes to HVAC systems, you may want to forgo the challenge for a few important reasons. Not only is HVAC repair best left to technicians who have had extensive training to become qualified and/or certified, but they also have to keep up with current HVAC technology through mandatory ongoing training. If that’s not reason enough for you to avoid testing the HVAC repair waters yourself, read on.

Reason #1: You Need the Right Tools.

 First, and this may be the most logical reason not to DIY HVAC repair: you need the right tools to do the job and those tools are expensive. Both HVAC diagnosis and repair require very specific types of tools and gauges that you most likely don’t just have lying around your home. And, if you were to go out and purchase tools for the job, it would end up costing you more money than simply hiring an experienced HVAC professional to do it for you.

Reason #2: HVAC is Complicated.

Even if you do have all the tools to accomplish a given HVAC repair task, HVAC systems are far more complicated than one might initially suspect. There are many DIY HVAC articles and videos available online, but the thing to keep in mind is that not every system is the same; in fact, it’s more likely that yours is completely different than the one starring in the how-to video. Heating, Air, and Ventilation systems are comprised of multiple complex components and parts that are not often located in one spot. Depending on the brand, make, and model, each part of an HVAC system can not only look different from one system to the next, but also may be located in different places within the units. So, play it safe and call a pro.

Reason #3: High Voltage Electricity is dangerous.

Do you really want to mess around with high voltage electricity?! Trying to save a few bucks on calling an HVAC professional could cost you your life, which is obviously not worth the small amount of savings you may be going after. If you’re not entirely familiar with these concepts, then steer clear of high voltage DIY projects: current, current return, voltage, resistance, capacitance, inductance, ground, Kirchoff’s voltage law, and both short and open circuits. If these all sound foreign to you, then seriously think twice about DIY HVAC repair.

Reason #4: DIY could end in disaster.

If the reasons above aren’t enough to dissuade you, then think about the possibility of your DIY repair not going as planned. Even if you don’t end up harmed, you can end up harming the unit that you are working on, which could end up costing you even more money in repairs—or it could cost you a complete replacement. A couple of easy ways to really mess up your HVAC equipment is to install an incorrect part and trigger the unit’s compressor to fail, which is not only the main component in your unit, but also very expensive to replace.

All in all, we suggest avoiding any DIY hacks to your own system, and instead calling in a pro. Luckily, that’s what we’re here for. Give us a call today if your HVAC system needs repair or even a tune-up:  818-477-4547

The Top HVAC Resources for New Homeowners

It’s hard enough being a new homeowner and adapting to your new neighborhood (or state!) plus figuring out which light switch controls what. The plumbing, electrical, and structural issues are now YOUR problem, not your landlord’s or your dad’s…

On top of all of that, you’re probably exhausted from moving all your junk, cleaning the place, painting, and dealing with 150,000 address change forms, right? We get it.

It’s not in our wheelhouse to tell you how to organize your spoons and forks (third drawer from the left) or how to landscape that awkward patch of your backyard (pea gravel!) but we DO know HVAC. In addition to perusing our blog – oh, and welcome by the way! – we thought we’d grab a few other resources to help you out!

We’re not affiliated with any of these resource providers, but we did find the following articles, PDFs and other resources SUPER helpful and we hope you will, too!

Let us know in the comments or on Twitter what you thought of this list & add yours!

General HVAC Resources

  1. The 4 Most Important HVAC Basics from Amerifirst
    This article is great. It includes an outline of the top components of any heating & cooling system, so you can feel familiar with what you’re looking at. This resource also goes over the common signs of trouble for your system and help for deciding when to call your local Canoga Park HVAC professional!
  1. This HVAC Dictionary from CleanAlert
    What does BTU stand for? What the heck is refrigerant and why do I care? Do I have a Packaged system? What’s a SEER rating? This article has ALL the must-know basics.
  2. This Info on HVAC Warranty Transfer from Angie’s List
    You just bought your house with an existing, under-warranty HVAC system. Did that warranty transfer ownership? Only if you’ve followed the steps outlined here!
  3. This HVAC System Maintenance Checklist from Houselogic
    This is the ultimate maintenance list – not only for what you should hire us to do, but also that list of things you can DIY to make your air cleaner, your system healthier, and your bills lower!
  4. The Ultimate HVAC Guide from Coldwell Banker
    This article will help you better understand the systems you have now, what might be right for you if you’re switching things up or upgrading, as well as the value of maintenance. NICE!

Air Quality Resources

  1. The Top Ten AQ Tips from ASHRAE.org, the authority on sustainability in the HVAC industry
    We chose this resources because it includes a brilliant & shareable PDF! Tips include choosing a reliable air cleaner and how to properly ventilate certain areas of your home, plus so much more!
  2. This DIY Advice from Today’s Homeowner
    Danny Lipford is one of many authorities on Home Improvement. We like his approach to Indoor Air Quality which includes an explanation of common pollutants to watch for, and tips you can actually implement on your own.
  3. Which Air Filter do I Need? A guide from Canoga Park Heating & Air
    We put together this useful guide to the types of air filters that exist and ways to tell which one suits your system and your home.

Energy Efficiency Resources

  1. This Expert Energy Saving Guide from the Department of Energy
    With more than just heating & cooling tips, this guide will help you DIY your way to savings on your energy bill & improvements to your carbon footprint.
  2. These Heating & Cooling Efficiency Tips from HowStuffWorks
    Check out the simple adjustments you can make to your windows & doors, your attic, your vents, and other parts of your home to save energy AND cash!
  3. These Winter Conservation Tips from the Family Handyman
    This article breaks out into SO. MANY. Other useful topics! You can learn about how to keep your fireplace from escaping your home’s heat, how to find leaks in your home and seal them, add insulation, and so much more!

Were any of these resources helpful for you as a new (or seasoned!) homeowner? Let us know and add yours by commenting below or Tweeting @cphac.

Just How Much Money Do You Spend?

Ever wondered how much money you spend each year on keeping your home comfortable? Have you ever looked at your energy bill and thought to yourself

I need to lower my bill?

Here are two things that just might surprise you. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Give us a call today and we will be more than happy to come to your home or office to help ease your mind.

Just How Much Money Do You Spend?Just How Much Money Do You Spend Each Year?

Home Improvement Jobs for the Pros

Not all home improvement projects are created equal. If you’re changing up the color of your walls you can go ahead and paint those without any serious issues. If you’re replacing carpeting with tile floors, that is another job you can do yourself if you’re really so inclined. But there are some jobs that no homeowner should attempt to do both for safety and legal reasons.

Jobs for the Pros

Say last year the mighty oak in your front yard was struck by lightning and it has since died, leaving you with Paul Bunyan’s tumbleweed in your front yard. Cutting that rotting hunk of arboreal coral down is not something that any homeowner can just decide to do themselves one day. The possibility for massive damage to not only your home, but your neighbor’s home, your cars, and any power lines nearby, necessitate the need of a professional. They will come and cut the tree down not in one fell swoop usually, but branch-by-branch first and then by cutting the trunk down a dozen feet at a time or so.

Another project you cannot attempt yourself is the pumping of your septic tank. Why anyone would want to do this themselves is a mystery for the ages but it has apparently been tried enough times that laws have been passed to prevent you from attempting it. Your septic tank is the kind of festering biohazard that would make the CDC blush. All sorts of unpleasantness resides in that dark cavern and it can only be handled by licensed professionals who specialize in that sort of thing. And what would you do with all the stuff you pumped out anyway? You can’t dump it down the drain. Call the pros.

These are just two examples of jobs that require the carefully-trained expertise of professionals. Whether a government worker, utility company technician, or private company employee, all will have been trained and certified in their fields and able to handle the task safely and in accordance with all laws and regulations. By no means is this an exhaustive list — there are many more projects that require a professional.

One of them is servicing your HVAC system. If you’ve been thinking about performing some maintenance on it don’t. Give us at Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning a call instead, today!

The Benefits of Going Ductless

If there’s one thing people hate it’s a large utility bill. That shock of a large payment just to maintain a comfortable temperature in the home is something that has frustrated people since central air became used. Depending on the home and the setup of the HVAC system, the traditional forced-air system with its mazes of ductwork, might not be the best option.

Central Air Disadvantages

The drawbacks of a forced-air system aren’t limited to just a large bill. As any homeowner with central air knows, not all parts of the house will receive the same level of cooling and passive heat loss/gain from the environment. Uneven heating and cooling has led to numerous fights over control of the thermostat.

You house will lose and gain heat naturally. And that heat loss doesn’t happen homogenously across the entire home, either. Rooms that share a wall with the outside sun-facing walls will naturally gain heat faster and the rooms that don’t receive sun will lose heat faster in winter. To change the temperature in one room requires you to adjust the thermostat and cool the entire house for that single room. It’s not a terribly efficient way of doing things.

Speaking of inefficiencies, a large, central machine to handle the heating and cooling needs of a house isn’t always the best option. Not only does it have the affected inefficiencies from using it to cool a single room versus the entire home, it is also not as efficient as other systems of cooling. Size is a factor but also the ductwork itself. There are inherent losses simply by using ductwork.

Going Ductless

Rectifying all of those disadvantages is actually surprisingly easy – ditching the ducts and using a ductless setup. A ductless system uses a number of smaller heat pumps to provide heating and cooling for the home instead of one large one. Think about a hotel with its small AC unit for every room. That’s a ductless setup.

The issue of uneven cooling and heat loss/gain is neatly controlled with ductless systems. Every individual room, and even whole floors or zones, within a home can be independently controlled of the other ones for efficient temperature management. Each pump will have its own thermostat as well. This means that when the system is running, the air doesn’t have to reach the triggering temperature at a central location in the home, but as each room changes it can be managed.

This system of smaller heat pumps is incredibly efficient. The losses of ductwork is no longer an issue and with the right setup these systems can attain efficiency ranges that blow a large central heat pump out of the water. In the right configuration, efficiency of 300% or more aren’t uncommon. That’s a massive gain over other systems. A high number in efficiency means a low number on your utility bill. And since 40% of a utility bill is typically from heating and cooling, that adds up to considerable savings.

A ductless system isn’t the best option for everyone. Each home and every customer are unique and will have their own needs and benefit from one method over another. If you want to discuss your options in heating and cooling don’t hesitate to give us a call at Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning to discuss your options.

What is a Ductless HVAC System and What are its Benefits?

Ductless HVAC SystemEverybody loves central air. It’s an absolutely wonderful invention that allows us to live comfortably in otherwise disagreeable climates. But there are several major drawbacks to central air as a heating and cooling method which have left homeowners frustrated and wanting a better way of doing things. In time past, there wasn’t much in the way of different options to alleviate these frustrations, but recent advances in technology and new ways of using “old” systems has opened up new options for homeowners. Let’s go over how ductless HVAC systems have changed the game for indoor air.

Looks Like a Duct, Sucks Like a Duct

Looks Like a DuctWith central air there is usually a single return per air handler where the warm air from inside the home is sucked into that air handler. Some homes will have two returns for a single air handler, or will have two air handlers for a single floor of the home if it has a large square footage. There is also usually one air handler per floor of the home. But even those extra returns aren’t sufficient to adequately perform some basic functions.

Those returns are where the air in the home is filtered. Trying to pull the dust-laden air from the most distal room of the house through those returns is very hard. There is a lot of air that won’t be filtered. That means lots of dust.

Duct workThat indoor air pollution (IAP) of dust, pollen, allergens, etc. is one of the major complaints about central air. That labyrinthine system of ductwork provides a lot of surface area for dust to collect on. Every time the air handler kicks on it’ll dislodge some of that dust and blow it throughout the house, aggravating allergies and making for more household cleaning. The lack of adequate filtration from those returns doesn’t help anything in this regard, either.

In fact, dust is such a problem in central air that duct cleaning has now become a common service offered and performed by most HVAC contractors and companies. The service involves using an industrial-sized vacuum with a very long hose that has a spinning brush on its head. The brush will scrape the insides of the ductwork clean and the vacuum hose will suck up all that it dislodges. The bags inside of the duct cleaning machine after the service is performed is really a sight to behold. You’d never think there would be – that – much dust, debris, even dead animals, inside of the ductwork!

Uneven Heating and Cooling

Uneven Heating and CoolingThe other issue that homeowners have about traditional central air is that the heating and cooling provided is not even, and trying to control those asymmetrical changes in temperature is terribly inefficient. Every house will naturally have parts of it that gain and lose heat faster than other parts. Southern, western, and southwestern rooms will naturally gain heat faster than other parts of the house due to the amount of sunshine those rooms receive.

With a traditional HVAC setup, there will be either a single thermostat to control the entire house, or alternatively, one thermostat per floor of the home. If you’re aiming to change the temperature of those rooms that are out of range with the rest of the home, you’ll have to either wait for the thermostat to kick on when the air around it heats up, or manually turn it on. If you wait for it to kick on automatically, essentially what you’re doing is waiting for the air surrounding the thermostat to warm up past the set temperature, just to cool that one part of the home that’s out of sync. If instead you turn the AC on just to cool that one part of the home — you’re cooling the entire house just to cool off one room!

It’s not hard to see why that way of doing things is obscenely inefficient; having to heat or cool the entire house to change the temperature of one or two rooms is not something that is acceptable these days. Maybe back in the dark ages, but we’re not savages anymore. We have better ways of doing things!

Ducts. Who Needs ’em?

Ducts Who Needs-emEnter the ductless system. A ductless heating and cooling system, depending on the needs of the homeowner and the layout of the house, is superior to a traditional forced air system in several key ways. The way a ductless system is setup, by having multiple heat pumps (AC units) throughout the home, you can easily adjust the temperatures as needed, from much smaller, much more efficient, machines.

The smaller heat pumps of a ductless system consume vastly-less energy than the single, or twin, large units of a central air system. When you combine that with the extreme efficiency these ductless systems have, you have a way of heating and cooling your home that will have – much – lower costs of operation than a forced-air system would.

Air conditioner - DuctlessSo for those rooms that are warming up too fast in summer, instead of kicking on the HVAC system of an entire home or floor to deal with one, single, room – you can use one, single, heat pump within that room to change the temperature of that room. This ability to heat and cool on a smaller scale is where the majority of the savings come in. When you consider that 40% or more of the electric bill of a typical home is directly attributable to heating and cooling costs, that’s an incredible benefit!

With some ductless systems you also have the ability to link multiple heat pumps together, creating ‘zones’, within the home and allowing them to be activated in unison and programmed that way. There are whole ductless systems that have gone ‘smart’ and will allow you to control the environment within your home from your tablet, smartphone, and computer.  They are highly programmable and adjustable which will allow you to fine-tune the system for maximum savings.

Indoor Air Quality Thru Ductless HVAC Systems

Indoor Air QualityIAQ is an often overlooked benefit of a well setup ductless HVAC system. As mentioned earlier, traditional central air systems will have one or two returns in which to pull and filter all of the air of the house through. With the ductless systems, there is one filtration point for every heat pump within the system. Having a filtration point within each room, hallway, and several within a zone, creates a massive difference in the air quality within the home when compared to a traditional central air system.

The filtration on ductless heat pumps is also multi-stage. These heat pumps will filter to a much, much, higher standard than what the returns on a forced-air system can. When you have multiple HEPA filters throughout your home, up to and more than one per room, you can see how much better a ductless system is at filtering household air than what the traditional forced-air system can do.

With all of these benefits it’s not hard to see why many homeowners are switching over to a ductless HCAC system for all the heating and cooling needs of their home. But – and this is key to remember – not every home will benefit from a ductless system. Every home, and every customer, is different. Each is unique and will have their own needs, which means benefitting from one system over another. A properly set-up and well-designed traditional forced-air system can operate just as well as a ductless system in the right home.

Who You Gonna Call?

This is where Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning’s expert staff come in. Whatever questions you have about an HVAC system for your home, we would love to go over your options with you and work with you to discover the best system for your needs and your home, so give us a call today!

8 Easy Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value

There are a number of ways you can increase the value of your home without spending a fortune. The items on this list are not difficult, and most of them can be completed for a few hundred dollars or less.

  • Power wash your home’s siding.

The exterior of your home gets dirty and grimy over the winter, and can even attract mold. To make it look clean and bright, have it professionally power washed by a licensed contractor. Once the work is done, your home will look much more attractive.

  • Update the exterior to create curb appeal.

An easy way to add value to your home is to update its exterior. Painting the front door a bright color, updating its hardware and replacing outdated an outdated light fixture can go a long way toward increasing the value of your home.

Clear out any weeds and trim shrubs and trees on your front lawn. Plant some bright flowers near the front door. You can add flower beds, hang plants, or place attractive pots or flower boxes, depending on your preference and the style of your home.

  • Update your front door to a steel model.

Steel entry doors are not only stylish, but they also help to keep you, your family and possessions safe and secure. Change out the existing door for a steel one and you will give your home’s value a boost. You should be able to recoup the cost of this investment if you decide to sell your home, since potential buyers will pay more for a home with this feature.

  • Apply a fresh coat of paint.

Painting your home (inside and out) is a relatively inexpensive way to give it a fresh new look. If you are thinking of putting your home on the market, stick to neutral colors when making your selection. Make sure you pay special attention when doing the necessary preparation work before applying your paint by caulking around windows, doors and tubs to give your top coat a clean finish and to protect against water damage.

  • Update your kitchen cabinets by applying a coat of paint.

If you don’t have the budget to replace your kitchen cabinets, you can give them a new (and more expensive) look by giving them a thorough cleaning and applying a couple of coats of paint. For a stunning modern kitchen, consider painting your cabinets black and adding silver hardware. If you want to keep a very clean, classic look, paint your kitchen cabinets white. You can then add white, metal, or colored handles and drawer pulls.

  • Pull up carpet to expose hardwood floors.

You may have hardwood floors under older carpeting in your home. To find out, gently loosen a corner of the existing flooring and pull it up to reveal what is underneath. If there is hardwood flooring, you will need to remove the carpet and pull up the staples securing it in place.

Depending on the condition of the hardwood, you may be able to clean it and then use it right away. If not, you’ll have to refinish the wood and apply a protective coat of polyurethane first.

  • Remove stucco ceilings.

The popcorn ceilings look was popular for a few decades, and it was a good strategy to hide minor imperfections in a ceiling. Now, this decorating feature is considered outdated and should be removed. Either doing this job yourself or hiring a professional to remove the stucco and repainting the ceiling will give your home an updated look.

  • Have your HVAC system inspected.

Contact a licensed HVAC contractor to have your furnace and A/C unit fully inspected and serviced. You want to make sure that they are running efficiently and catch any minor problems with these systems before they turn into major (and more expensive) ones. Be sure to keep records of when the inspections were conducted and the results to prove that these systems are in good working order.

Canoga Park Heating and Air Conditioning is your Greater Los Angeles HVAC contractor. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your heating and air conditioning system inspection and tune-up.

Business Owner’s Guide to Commercial HVAC Installation Cost

In your business is in the market for a new commercial HVAC system, you may have a hard time interpreting the installation quotes you receive from various contractors. There’s also a pretty good chance that you may not fully understand the available equipment options or installation requirements. Lack of knowledge in these areas can lead to unnecessary expenses and confusion. Fortunately, you can improve your understanding of commercial HVAC installation costs by following a few simple guidelines.

 

Get a Thorough Cost Breakdown

Contractors who specialize in commercial HVAC systems may use a number of different methods to quote your installation expenses. This means that services grouped together by one contractor may be listed as separate expenses by another contractor. You can eliminate any potential confusion by asking each firm you’re considering for the job to submit a complete cost breakdown that covers all aspects of the proposed installation from beginning to end.

 

Familiarize Yourself With System Types and Manufacturers

In addition to standard heating and cooling technology, the commercial HVAC market includes modern technologies such as chilled beam systems, VAV (variable air volume) systems and VRF (variable refrigerant flow) systems. In terms of cost versus long-term benefit, each of these approaches has its pluses and minuses. You may find that a system that costs more to install will actually produce significant savings over time when compared to another system that costs less to install. The same general cost-versus-benefit principle also applies to commercial HVAC manufacturers. Installation of a cheaper product today may produce unnecessary replacement costs later down the line.

 

Budget for Ducts and Pipes

The ductwork and piping required to operate a commercial HVAC system may add substantially to your installation costs, especially if you don’t plan to reuse the ducts and pipes from a previously installed system. You also need to consider the impact of your ongoing business operations. If you plan to stay open to the public will HVAC work is performed, your contractor may charge more in order to offset the expense of a more complicated installation environment.

 

Budget for System Controls

Don’t forget the need to control your new HVAC system. If you’re installing a system in a large commercial building, you may need to pay for the installation of dozens or even hundreds of thermostat control points. Your expenses may also go up if your contractor needs to make modern temperature controls compatible with traditional thermostats.

 

Ask Your Contractor About Maintenance Services

Maintenance is crucial to health of your new HVAC system, which means you can’t skimp in this area. Some commercial contractors provide maintenances services for the products they sell and install. However, other contractors don’t consider these services to be part of the deal. Before you can accurately estimate your costs, you’ll need to know your chosen contractor’s maintenance policy.

Keep following us here for the latest information on commercial HVAC installation and other important heating- and cooling-related topics.

What Does The Air Handler Do For My HVAC System?

An air handler is a unit within the HVAC system which serves to monitor, regulate and circulate air within a residential home or commercial building structure. It contains different components which push and regulate air. It improves system efficiency in a bid to maintain and enhance comfort. The good thing is that, we Canoga Park Heating and Air Conditioning, provide all solutions in heating and cooling to meet all your needs.

Basics Of An Air Handler

The HVAC system provides conditioned air which must be circulated. Air handlers regulate and pushes the conditioned air with the aid of vital components like the blower, controls, heating and cooling elements as well as the mixing chamber, evaporator coils and humidifier. An air filter is fitted to trap dust and dirt so as to ensure efficiency and high quality air is in circulation. Air handlers connect the furnace and the duct work.

Types Of Air Handlers

At Canoga Park Heating and Air Conditioning, we offer a wide range air handlers which come with unique features. For instance, a single speed air handler has a fan and motor which operates at a constant speed. A five speed is similar to the single speed only that it works faster providing more accuracy and optimal efficiency. A variable speed air handler works at different levels to give variable conditions depending on your requirements. When you visit Canoga Park Heating and Air Conditioning, our technicians and sales persons will attend to you cordially in explaining the available options.

Impact Of HVAC System Maintenance On Air Handlers

Preventive maintenance of heating and cooling system is important in extending the life of your air handler as well as improving performance. It is crucial that you contact us for routine maintenance as well as conducting upgrades. This is because an air handler contains vital components which must be checked regularly to promote optimum level efficiency in circulating air throughout your home.

Be sure to contact us because we offer efficient, durable and affordable air handlers and other HVAC equipment. Unlike other companies, we’re family owned, we offer free quotes and inancing options and carry out affordable maintenance.

Follow us for more articles on heating, air conditioning and energy savings.

Read More – Discover If You’re Safe Indoors And How To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

What To Consider When Choosing To Replace Your HVAC Unit

Your HVAC systems come with an average lifespan of generally 10-15 years. Continuing to run them beyond that limit can mean higher utility costs and occasional breakdown and costly repairs. Yes, we understand that HVAC replacement can be costly, but it can also save you money in the long-run.

When Should You Replace Your HVAC?

If you are not too sure about whether it is really time for a replacement, you can always ask for a specialists’ advice from an HVAC professional like us. Sometimes, a repair may get you above the water and make your system run smoothly for another couple years. At other times, however, a repair will only add up to the expense while only delaying the inevitable, not to mention the massive utility bills you will need in the meantime.

So, when is the time you should go for a replacement? As we said, an HVAC professional will be able to advise you on this. There are, however, some pointers which will convey to you the need to go for a brand new system. So, when you see that your unit is leaking fluid regularly; is making unexpected noises on a frequent basis; is making your utility bill go higher every passing month (even when the thermostat setting is kept constant), you know that it is time to go out and shop!

What You Need To Consider When Choosing To Replace Your HVAC Unit

However, once you have made the decision to go for a replacement, another task is to decide on the type of unit and model you will like to go for this time. Contact an HVAC servicer at this point and request them to make recommendations and give you a separate estimate for each of the recommended options. Make sure the estimate includes things like installation and labor costs, energy efficiency, parts prices, etc. and that there are no strings attached.

You must also make sure to ask whether or not you will need humidifiers or dehumidifiers, depending on the place you live. Larger homes often profit from multiple zoning, so check if that is a viable option for your home, since zoning your HVAC system can be beneficial in the long run.

For more useful information and tips on how to keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently, follow and like us on Facebook.