Don’t Pay to Heat and Cool Your Attic!

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningIf you read the post headline and thought, “Of course I don’t pay to heat and cool my attic! Hardly anybody goes up there during the year, so why would I have it heated or air conditioned?” It’s true that, unless you’ve converted the attic into a living space of some kind, there’s no reason to have vents from the AC and heater opening into it. And when you consider how incredibly hotan attic gets here during much of our warm-to-roasting year, it would take an immense amount of air conditioning power to cool it down.

However, we’re not talking about intentionally heating or cooling the attic. You may be accidentally doing it, and wasting money.

How does this happen?

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Ductless Mini Splits Mean Automatic Zone Heating and Cooling

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningCentral heating and air is one of the best of all modern home conveniences. And it’s also one that we often take for granted, so much so that we infrequently notice one of the basic drawbacks of the standard central AC and heater: a homeowner doesn’t have much control over where the heated and cooled air actually goes.

If you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, yes I do! The air goes to the rooms hooked up to the ducts?” That’s true. But can you control which rooms are receiving the conditioned air? If nobody is currently spending any time in the upstairs bedrooms on a hot day, can you shut off the cooled air from being sent to them?

If the answer is no, then you don’t have the level of control that you think you have over comfort levels in your house.… Read more

Let’s Look Over Your Heating System for Repairs—Before You Need It!

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningYou might see the word heating in the title of this post and feel a laugh coming on. The temperatures outside are still hitting 100°F during the middle of the day! You’ve already got enough heat on your mind, and using your home air conditioning system as efficiently as possible so you can make it through this fall heat wave is priority #1.

However, much of home comfort is about planning: anticipating your needs so you can have them taken care of before they become actual needs. We do experience cool winter evenings here in the Southern California deserts, and if you want your heat pump, gas furnace, or electric furnace to work its best from the start, it’s a smart idea to use the time when you don’t need a heater to see if there are any problems with it.… Read more

Some Ladder Safety Tips for Safe Holiday Decorating

Safety during the winter holiday season in Southern California presents a number of different challenges than it does in many other parts of the country. After all, “winter” is a relative term in the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities. We’ll experience some cooler days and perhaps cold nights, as well as some rain, and wearing light jackets outside might be necessary. But since we don’t receive snow and freezing cold days, we don’t have many concerns about dangers from slick roads and pavements, or worries about letting our pets outside.

Actually, our #1 safety concern during the holidays is ladder safety! Each year, more than 164,000 people in the U.S. are treated in emergency rooms because of improper use of a ladder.… Read more

What to Do When Your Furnace Trips a Circuit Breaker

Here’s a situation you don’t want to run into during one of our colder days: you turn on the heat to get the furnace warming up your home, and the furnace turns on for a moment… only to shut down because a circuit breaker has tripped. You reset the breaker, try the furnace again… and the same thing happens. What’s wrong? And is there anything you can do about it?

Yes, this can happen to a gas furnace as well

If you have a gas furnace, you might wonder how this might occur in the first place. But take a moment to think about how a gas furnace runs. It does require electricity for some of its components, such as the blower.… Read more

Is a High-Efficiency Air Conditioner Automatically Your Best Option?

So you are in the market for a new air conditioning system for your home. What type of system should you choose? This is a difficult question to answer, and it has only become more difficult during the last ten years, when more and more models of AC have become available, many with very high energy efficiency ratings.

It may seem like the easiest way to pick an air conditioner for installation is to find the one the highest efficiency rating. But this isn’t always the best route; to make sure that you pick an air conditioning system that matches your cooling and budget requirements, speak to an experienced HVAC technician about the various options. (After all, you will need to technician to perform the installation itself, so bring the expert in at the very start.)… Read more

Why Are Gas Furnaces So Common for Home Heating?

Today’s homes can have many different types of heating systems warming them: heat pumps, boilers, ductless mini splits, electric furnaces, and radiant in-floor heating. But the gas furnace is still the heating king, found in millions of home from the midnight sun regions of Alaska to the palm-dotted beaches of Florida—as well as here in the dry deserts of Southern California. What makes this type of residential heater so common?

There are benefits to all of the systems we listed above. Finding the one to meet a home’s comfort needs can be thorny, and this is why it’s necessary to have the assistance of HVAC professionals when it come to a new heating installation. The gas furnace, however, has a long list of benefits that often give it a leading edge.… Read more

Ways to Increase Your Air Conditioning Efficiency

As we come closer and closer to the summer (the official start is less than a month away now!) our residential air conditioners are going to do more and more work. You know what this means: higher electrical bills. But your bills may not need to be too high. If you take some of these steps below, you can significantly increase how efficiently your air conditioner uses energy. This will not only save you money, it’ll help the AC system work longer.

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3 Things to Consider Before Installing a New Heating System

Spring has arrived and with it, your heater will see reduced use as you slowly shift to air conditioning season. That makes this an ideal time to consider installing a new heating system, especially if your existing system is old, inefficient or has suffered serious problems over the course of the winter. Here in Redlands, heating installation makes a lot of sense at this time of year, when temperatures are still mild and our scorching summer heat hasn’t yet forced us to turn our attention to our air conditioners. A new heating system can be a boon to your household’s comfort levels come winter, but you need to do a little preparation when you decide to make the purchase.

Did you know that Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning can help you understand the things to consider before installing a new heating system, then set up your new heater with courtesy and care.Read more

Is It Too Late for Air Conditioning Maintenance?

Here in Yucaipa, our air conditioners tend to work harder than in many other areas of the country. They need to be powerful, of course, but they also need to be energy efficient in order to keep costs to a minimum during the hottest part of the year.

If you haven’t already signed up for routine AC maintenance, then you may be wondering if it’s too late, considering it’s nearly August. It’s not. In fact, there’s never a bad time to call for routine care for your HVAC system. While we do recommend enrolling in a maintenance program, you can still benefit from a comprehensive tune-up. 

The Benefits Remain the Same

Whatever time of year it is, it’s vital that your system remain clean.… Read more

How Air Conditioning Problems Get Worse without Repairs

When you notice a minor problem with your air conditioner during the summer, you may be tempted to simply ignore it and only schedule repairs if something worse occurs. Or you could simply wait until the next scheduled maintenance visit (usually in spring) to have a technician locate what’s wrong.

This is a big mistake! There really isn’t such a thing as a “small” AC problem, because most air conditioner malfunctions are progressive: they worsen the longer they goes on, and may kick off a chain reaction of problems in other components. So when you notice your air conditioner is turning on and off rapidly, struggling to evenly cool all the rooms, or making unusual sounds, call for technicians right away to catch the trouble in the early stages.… Read more

Best Ways to Get Started with Better Indoor Air Quality for Your Home

If you have concerns about the quality of the air in your home, you’re not alone. Numerous residential (as well as commercial) buildings today suffer from an excess of airborne contaminants circulating through the HVAC system. The heavy insulation that seals off buildings from outdoor temperatures tends to worse these problems, since it prohibits fresh air from sweeping through to remove the contaminant build-up. But there are methods to improve your air quality, and here are some good ways to get started.

  • First, take stock of what problems in your house have altered you to the air quality problem. Increased allergy and asthma symptoms? A higher level of dust that requires more cleaning than normal? A general stuffy feeling to the air?
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Does Heating Maintenance Really Do Any Good?

A few weeks ago, when it was still officially summer, we posted about the importance of getting heating maintenance scheduled during October. It’s still hot here in the Southern California deserts, and that means you have time to arrange for maintenance if you haven’t done so yet.

You might think that this seems a bit extreme. Is this maintenance job that important, and does it have to be done every year? The answer is yes all around, as we’ll show below.

Here are ways heating maintenance makes a difference

  • Safety: If you have a natural gas furnace for a heating system, it must have an annual inspection from licensed HVAC technicians. This will uncover if the furnace has any repair issues that will lead to unsafe conditions if not corrected.
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Help, My Air Conditioning Isn’t Sending Out Cold Air!

This isn’t a situation you ever want to run into during a hot Southern California summer day: an air conditioning system that’s only sending out room-temperature air, rather than the crisp, cooled air you expect.

The first thing to keep in mind when you run into an AC that isn’t doing its job is not to panic: the issue may be a simple one that you can correct yourself. And if it isn’t, there’s help easily available with only a phone call to our professionals.

Here’s what you can do when you have a “no-cooling” emergency

First, check on the thermostat. It’s always possible there was an error in the settings that has caused the AC to believe that the compressor doesn’t need to come on.… Read more

Plan in September for October Heating Maintenance

Summer weather in Southern California extends right through September and into October, with maybe a few spots of overcast and cooler days popping up during that time. Most homeowners won’t even think about turning on their heating systesm until December.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give some thought to your heating system during this time of the year—even when it’s occasionally over a 100°F outdoors! Planning heating maintenance in September for an October visit is a good timetable for preparing your home for whenever cooler weather arrives. It’s all too easy to forget heating maintenance entirely during a hot autumn in Southern California, so get on it now so that it’s taken care of!

Is heating maintenance really that important?

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Is Fall a Good Time to Schedule Your Duct Cleaning?

How long has it been since you’ve had the air ducts in your home cleaned? If your first thought upon hearing this question is, “I need to have my air ducts cleaned?”, you are definitely overdue for the job! In general, duct cleaning should be arranged every two to three years, depending on how much dust and dirt circulate through your home on average.

Ways to tell that you need fall ductwork cleaning

The fall is a good time to have your duct cleaning done. Your air conditioner has just gone through a long season of heavy work, and you’ll experience a break now as the temperature cools down. Here are some ways to tell that your ducts are ready for fall cleaning:

  • Take a look inside: This is easier than it sounds.
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Getting Ready for Allergy Season in Your House

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningWhen does it officially become “allergy season”? There’s no date for it like there’s a date for the start of spring or the beginning of daylight savings time; it depends on what part of the U.S. you live in and the changes in temperature from one season to another. However, the average range for allergy season is from late February until the early summer. Here in Southern California, we’ve experienced a wetter and colder winter than usual, and right now in March with the warmer conditions arriving is the time to begin to worry about allergies—and how best to prevent them or lessen their severity.

The Reason for the (Allergy) Season

Allergies can strike at any time of the year, but there are reasons they become pronounced as winter ends and the warmer spring weather starts.… Read more

2 Ways in Which Ductless Air Conditioning Can Benefit You

Centralized air conditioning has long been the most popular method in this country for cooling a home. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s always the best option. Central air loses a lot of its output in transit from the system to its destination. In fact, the US Department of Energy has estimated that an average centralized forced-air system loses as much as 30% of its output to leaks in the ductwork.

On top of that, a central air conditioner is often linked to a single thermostat. That makes it ill-equipped to serve an entire house, many parts of which may warm up or cool off faster than the area in which the thermostat is installed. Fortunately, there are other options for those who want greater energy efficiency and control over their air conditioning.… Read more

How to Prevent and Protect Yourself from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

We recently discussed the danger of cracked furnace heat exchangers and how this can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) entering your home and posing major health risks. Any use of natural gas in a home presents some risk of CO leaks, and it’s important that you take steps to prevent this from occurring and to provide a warning should they happen.

First, Always Schedule Heating Maintenance

Without fail, arrange to have an HVAC professional visit your house each fall or early winter—the time before you have to first turn on your furnace—to inspect the system and make sure that it has no repair needs. A properly maintained natural gas heating system will be at the lowest possible risk for CO leaks. … Read more

Russell's Heating and Air Conditioning

Ways an Air Purifier Cleans Household Air

Low indoor air quality is a problem that can affect us here in Southern California around the year. With our houses so well insulated against outside heat—a necessity considering our long hot seasons and heat spells during other parts of the year—too many contaminants from indoor sources start to build up without escape. Building materials, cleaning products, hobby products, cosmetics, and exhaust from appliances all are sources of indoor pollution. Standard air filters can trap larger particles, but for many smaller ones, the filters need to be paired with electronic air purifiers, i.e. air cleaners.

There’s no single type of air purifier. They can work through a variety of methods. Here are three ways an air purifier can operate to clean your home’s air:

ONE: Ionization

The most common type of whole-house air purifier uses ionization to remove small airborne contaminants.… Read more

Another Reason to Call Us: Personal Advice for Saving Money

On our blog, we often share tips with customers about how they can save money on their heating and air conditioning costs around the year. Below is a short summary of some we’ve discussed in the past:

  • Changing the air filter in the HVAC system regularly.
  • Installing a new thermostat with extra features and higher precision temperature settings.
  • Maintaining steady, energy-saving thermostat settings.
  • Replacing old heaters and air conditioners with high efficiency units.
  • Arranging for regular duct cleaning.
  • Improving the insulation of the ductwork.

Many of these services require the work of professionals, and that’s why we would like to offer what we think is the best advice for lowering your bills: contact us for assistance!

Take Advantage of Our Knowledge

It’s simple enough to advise you about changing air filters and watching how you set the thermostat.… Read more

Why You Must Never Try to Fix a Furnace on Your Own!

Here in the So. California deserts, the winter isn’t as intimidating a season as in the northern and Midwestern parts of the country. Yet the winter nights can turn cool, and you’ll need your home’s furnace to put in part-time work through the season. When your furnace starts to show signs that it isn’t working its best, do you tinker with it to see if you can fix it? Don’t! This is a job that requires professionals, and we’ll explain why.

The gas furnace danger

In most jurisdictions it is illegal to repair a gas furnace unless you are a licensed professional. This is true for any appliance hooked to a gas main (so don’t try to repair that gas oven or gas range yourself either).… Read more

Duct Sealing with Aeroseal

Leaks in air ducts are one of the major sources of energy efficiency loss in an HVAC system. Studies by the U.S. Department of Energy have shown that up to 30% of the heated/cooled air moving through a ventilation system can be lost to air leaks. That’s energy needlessly going to waste. If you have noticed that your heating and cooling bills are going up and you can’t account for it, you may need to have duct sealing done.

Professional Air Duct Sealing

However, you cannot do duct sealing on your own. (Duct tape isn’t an option, since it actually was never intended for use on ducts in the first place.) It requires professionals who have tools such as mastic sealant and metallic tapes.… Read more

Reasons to Call Emergency Heating Repair Service

Here in Redlands, heating issues only tend to crop up for brief periods during the year, such as this past week when heavy rains and low temperatures have kept a lot of people inside. You need your heater to run efficiently during such periods, and when it needs repairs, you want to take care of it as quickly as possible. Many repair services offer 24-hour calls for emergencies, but when is such a call necessary? That can be a tough question to answer, especially if you’re caught between a malfunctioning heater and a reluctance to pay the extra fee that usually accompanies an after-hours service call.

Here are some reasons to call emergency heating repair service rather than waiting until regular business hours.… Read more

No, Seriously: You Need Your Furnace Tuned-Up

The deserts of Southern California have a nation-wide reputation for their intense heat. But what people may not know is that winter nights here can often get a bit nippy. No, we won’t get any sympathy from someone who lives in Milwaukie, but with evening averages often in the 40s, what we do need is working heating system in our home. Sympathy from a working furnace—we can settle for that!

And that’s why we’re making one last plea before the winter officially starts: if you haven’t signed up for our heating system maintenance yet, now is the time to get on top of it. We’ll put you on the schedule to see that your furnace is ready for when the cold nights become a regular occurrence.… Read more

Is It Too Late to Schedule Heating Maintenance for the Season?

We may be in for a rougher, cooler winter this season in California, with long stretches of rain. This is still a milder winter season than much of the rest of the country will experience, but it’s still a reason for concern when it comes to caring for a home’s heating system.

HVAC companies strongly recommend that homeowners arrange for maintenance from professional technicians each fall for their heating systems, no matter if the heater is a furnace, heat pump, ductless mini split, or radiant heater. Unfortunately, people often forget to schedule this service, and when the winter arrives they believe that it’s too late to bother.

But you shouldn’t do this! If you haven’t called us to sign up for our heating maintenance, it’s not too late.… Read more

Russell's Heating and Air Conditioning

Test Run Your AC—Then Schedule Maintenance

The official first day of spring isn’t something we watch out for carefully in the deserts of Southern California—because the hot weather here never truly goes away for long. The first part of March might as well be spring, and as far as your air conditioning in Palm Desert, CA is concerned, it’s the right time to begin planning for the major work it does during the middle of the year.

The essential part of prepping an AC is to arrange for regular maintenance. However, before your annual appointment with our HVAC professionals, you can find out some vital information about the status of your cooling system by giving it a test run.

Here’s What You Do

Pick a warm spring day when the outdoor temperature is above 65°F.… Read more

The Big Heat Is Coming—Do You Need a Better AC?

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningWe enjoy our occasional cool days here in the deserts of Southern California. But we’re always aware that hot days are just around the bend. Now it’s spring and the summer months are in sight, the Big Heat is coming soon.

Are you worried that your air conditioner won’t be able to take care of those 90°F+ days when they arrive? Do you have doubts about the air conditioner’s performance? Or has it never worked as well as you think it should?

In other words … is it time to install a new air conditioner in Palm Desert, CA?

Answering the Big “Repair or Replace” Question

To repair or to replace … that is the question, at least in HVAC.… Read more