How Smart is Your Home Comfort? 4 Tech Updates to Get the Grade

Technology continues to progress at a rapid rate. The trickle down of modern tech advancements creates an accessibility and affordability for homeowners. Smart home technology can now be utilized in the average American household to create an automated and optimized home comfort experience.

Home Automation

Home automation is the wireless control of electronic devices. These devices can include lights, appliances, doors, HVAC systems, security systems and more. This allows homeowners the ability to optimize their home’s performance from a smartphone, tablet or other smart device.

Home automation enables your home to operate seamlessly. Whether an appliance is no longer in use or you’re just entering your home, connected electronic devices can intuitively operate your home to simultaneously maximise energy efficiency and home comfort.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats allow for the automation of the home’s HVAC system. A wi-fi thermostat has much more capability than a simple programmable thermostat. They are able to be conveniently controlled from a smart device and have a number of unique features that greatly improve home comfort and efficiency.

 

  • Vacation settings – Take advantage of intuitive and convenient vacation settings that are built in to your smart thermostat. You can save time and money by choosing energy efficient settings for your HVAC system while you are away on vacation.
  • Auto changeover between cooling and heating – Old, manual thermostats required users to switch from cooling to heating at nights when the temps drop. There are many days where both hot and cold are required, so an auto changeover allows for homeowners to comfortably and unnoticeably experience outdoor temperature fluctuation.
  • Humidity level identification – High amounts of moisture in the air can make you feel cooler when it’s cold and hotter when it’s hot. It can also compromise the integrity of your home. Identifying humidity levels allows homeowners to deploy humidifiers and dehumidifiers when necessary to create optimum levels of comfort.
  • Dirty filter detection – It can be easy to forget to change a filter. This simple task can unfortunately lead to big consequences as it can compromise your HVAC system’s performance. Smart thermostats can let you know when your filter needs cleaned or replaced to maximize your system’s efficiency.
  • System maintenance reminders – If you have a smart thermostat, your HVAC system will run like a dream. That can make it easy to forget that it still needs to be regularly cleaned and maintained. Your smart thermostat can be scheduled to alert you when it’s time for its annual, or bi-annual maintenance visit.
  • Integration with home automation devices – If you’ve got your hands full or don’t want to forget to schedule something on your smart thermostat, tell your Alexa or Google Home to change your thermostat’s settings or schedule a vacation.
  • Real-time energy use tracking – How energy efficient is your home? Before, you would just have to wait for your monthly energy bill. Now, you can eliminate the surprise and make improvements to your energy consumption throughout the month to reduce your energy costs.
  • Occupancy sensing and automatic energy savings/comfort setting transitioning – Whether you’re leaving or entering your home, your smart thermostat will register this difference and automatically change to either an energy efficient or comfort setting.
  • Local weather forecasting – Another feature to make setting your HVAC system at its optimal temp is a built in local weather forecast. Take a look at the next week and plan your heating and cooling around it.

 

  • Remote access and control from smart devices – Take complete control of your home’s HVAC from the office or on the road. Smart technology is always with you so that you can always make the necessary changes to your HVAC system to ensure the best efficiency and comfort.

IAQ Products

Beyond temperature control, advancements in tech allow HVAC systems to provide further home comfort through improved indoor air quality. IAQ products can help clear the air, eliminating dust, allergens, bacteria and mold from the air that can harm you and your family’s health. Utilize these IAQ products to give your home comfort a boost:

 

  • Air purifiers
  • Humidifiers
  • Dehumidifiers
  • UV germicidal lights

 

Smart Security

Another important factor of home comfort, is the safety and security of your home. A smart security system can provide peace of mind in terms of preventing break-ins and theft. Utilizing smart technology, homeowners are enabled to control the safety and security of their homes anytime, anywhere.

Whether you’re sitting at the couch or in the office, you can check who’s at your door or whether or not your home is locked and secure.

Security systems are extremely convenient, allow for total awareness of your the goings on around your home and property and reduce your home insurance payment.

Smart home comfort tech can provide immense boosts to your peace of mind, productivity and energy savings. Get the most out of your home by contacting Sheldon’s Heating and Air Conditioning today!

Choosing an HVAC System for Your Multifamily Housing Complex: A Guide

Managing a multifamily housing complex can be a challenging balance of constantly justifying your qualitative and quantitative initiatives. From ensuring the financial security that keeps your building running to maintaining your tenants comfort, it can be a constant back and forth.

Perhaps the most evident example of this is in the building’s HVAC system. Your tenants will want as much control of their individual comfort as possible. However, achieving the heating and cooling needs of dozens of families can be expensive and energy inefficient. In order to achieve the right balance of fiscal responsibility and comfort, you’ll want to pay close attention to the details within this guide and work closely with your dedicated HVAC services provider.

Peak load flexibility

Choosing a system that is rigid in its capacity is a major risk for multi-family property owners. Estimating how much energy will be required for the system to function throughout the year is extremely challenging. Owning a system that can withstand a variety of peak energy loads will ensure that no matter what the weather brings or your tenants do, your system can handle it.

Individual comfort controls

This is the key differentiator between centralized and decentralized HVAC systems for apartment complexes. A centralized system, while being more efficient, will not provide temperature controls in each housing unit. This can be a major negative towards tenant retention.

Decentralized HVAC systems offer each family or individual their own unit for heating and/or cooling. While this may lead to certain tenants choosing less efficient comfort settings, it can go a long ways towards accomodating a variety of occupants long-term. Consider the long-term benefits of your building’s reputation for treating tenants vs. the long-term costs of a more expensive HVAC system. We recommend securing tenants to sustain your building and saving on HVAC expenses through other means.

Ease of maintenance

On larger systems, routine maintenance is an absolute necessity and even still, repairs will be needed. Choosing a system that is relatively easy to maintain, will ensure that HVAC contractors don’t have to charge double the time to perform their work. You will also save money over the span of your system’s life if parts are cheaper and easier to obtain for your contractor. Consider these ongoing expenses when choosing your new multifamily HVAC system.

Centralized vs. Decentralized

For a multi-family complex, owners have two options for HVAC systems – Centralized and decentralized. Centralized systems are more expensive upfront, but are much more energy efficient. Centralized systems work to heat the entire building from a centralized location (typically the basement or a penthouse). This makes it challenging to achieve comfort control for all tenants, but allows the owner to control energy costs. Centralized systems are often preferred in larger complexes due to their energy savings and upfront cost (once the complex reaches a certain number of units, it is no longer cheaper to install individual systems for each tenant).

Below are the options for centralized (left) and decentralized (right) HVAC systems for multi-family complexes. The systems are in order from cheapest to most expensive to install as well as from least to most energy efficient.

CentralizedDecentralized
Hot water baseboard – These units work to provide tenants with hot water from a central location. The water will flow through the radiator as the radiator pulls in cool air and heats it. Electric baseboard heat – These are simple baseboard units that are only capable of providing heat.
Two pipe systems – The two pipes are for sending hot OR cold water and returning the water back to the system. Because of its design, only hot OR cold water can be sent at once, meaning all units receive either hot or cold air at a given time. Wall unit A/C – Simple units that are mounted on the wall. Typically these systems only provide cooling.
Four pipe systems – Just like the two pipe system, this system operates with a central water boiler and a central cooling plant. Unlike the two pipe system, the four pipe system has double the capacity and so can provide both hot or cold water different apartments or condos. Packaged thermal air condition – Commonly used in hospitality buildings, these are forced air systems that are mounted on the wall. They are capable of providing both heating and cooling.

*These systems are not very efficient

Geothermal – Geothermal gets its name because it utilizes a water loop in the ground to heat and cool water. These systems can utilize either a two or four pipe delivery method. Self-contained systems – These are forced air systems capable of heating/cooling that are installed in individual units (wall mounted or closets). They offer the best efficiency of individual comfort control systems.

To ensure that your building’s heating and cooling needs are being executed effectively and efficiently, work with an HVAC company with the knowledge, capacity and honesty to provide quality work. Whether you just need routine maintenance, general guidance or emergency servicing, Sheldon’s has the team you can trust to get the job done right the first time. Give us a call @ (877) 411-9888.

What Ductless Can Do For Your Energy Bill

For much of America, energy costs are rising. This is certainly the case for Riverside residents, as California has one of the highest energy rates in the nation (50% higher than the national average).

This prompted many HVAC companies in Riverside like Sheldons to carry more energy efficient solutions. While modern Carrier products are extremely energy efficient, there is a completely new category of HVAC products that are built in a way that guarantees a higher level of energy efficiency than even the most efficient centralized systems.

Ductless A/C and heating systems, also referred to as mini-split systems, multi-split systems or split-ductless systems, are complete HVAC systems that provide home comfort without the use of ductwork. These all-in-one systems are simply mounted on the wall and provide impeccable results that match that of a whole home system. The key benefit for ductless systems is its energy efficiency through the lack of duct leakage.

What is Duct Leakage?

We’re all familiar with the standard setup of a centralized heating or air conditioning system. This involves an indoor and outdoor unit. Both units are connected to the rest of the house through a network of ducts that direct the air to each room.

These ducts are prone to experience shifting and wear which creates cracks and holes. As the air that is generated from your HVAC system travels throughout the various parts of your home through this ductwork, it will LEAK through these cracks. This results in major system inefficiency.

Research has shown that ductless systems can save between 20-30% on monthly energy expenses. Over the course of a year, this can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings.

By providing a direct source of cool or warm air, ductless systems don’t have to work as hard to provide the same amount of comfort. Less strain leads to less need for repairs and longer system performance.

Take Control of Your HVAC Experience

Rather than relying on different zoning solutions to create a customized home or office comfort experience, you can utilize individual wall-mounted ductless systems to control the temperature of a given area. Each unit will function as its own system, leading to complete temperature and air quality control.

Ductless systems are perfect for homes and businesses that need to support multiple lifestyles. Why subject your home or workplace to one person’s preference? With ductless systems, each room, floor or office can set their desired temp.

Is Ductless Right for Me?

A singular ductless system can perfectly heat most single story homes, smaller homes that can’t afford the loss of square footage to bulky ductwork and HVAC units and add-ons. Ductless systems can heat or cool most spaces, however, forcing air upstairs or throughout a larger home from one unit can be challenging. Utilizing multiple units (one upstairs and downstairs) can ensure the same impact of a centralized unit, without energy inefficient ductwork.

Most home and business owners could benefit, especially long-term, for converting to a ductless system. While ductless units are more expensive than centralized units upfront, it can be more expensive to add or repair ductwork than to install a ductless system. This is due to the increased labor cost of installing complex and bulky ductwork as opposed to simple and sleek ductless systems.

If you want to invest in the future of efficient heating and cooling solutions, or would like to hear more about this new HVAC technology, give the experts at Sheldons Heating and Air Conditioning a call at (877) 411-9888.

Get Your AC Ready for Summer in Riverside, California

Summer is just around the corner, so there is no better time to get your air conditioner checked and ready to go for the months ahead. For an intricate system such as an air conditioner to run efficiently and consistently for months at a time, it’s important to ensure that each and every component is up to the task. Ideally this just requires minor maintenance, however the longer an AC unit goes unchecked, the more potential there will be for expensive malfunctions to occur. A functional and reliable air conditioner is an important investment for homeowners in Riverside. Maximize the potential of your air conditioner and get the most out of your investment with necessary seasonal care. Here’s how:

Perform an Inspection of Your Property

There are a lot of components that can impact your air conditioners efficiency and stability. As a home or business owner, you can look for obvious signs of issues to come, even without a complete understanding of the HVAC industry. Here is what YOU can do to get your air conditioner ready for summer:

  • Look for obvious signs of wear and tear.
  • Clear away debris and dirt from your outdoor unit.
  • Inspect your unit for leaks.
  • Listen for signs of strained performance.
  • Check for cracks or misalignments along entry points, vents, ducts, windows, etc.
  • Investigate your attic and exterior wall insulation.

Your system’s effectiveness relies on more than just its own components. If air is leaking out of your property, it won’t matter how great your air conditioner is, you’ll lose money on over-use. Addressing these issues before the heaviest heat has hit will majorly help your monthly energy bill.

Test Your Air Conditioner

Running your air conditioner can not only provide necessary quality assurance that your system is ready to keep you cool this summer, but it’s also a terrific way to diagnose potential issues. You’ve likely had your AC on for the spring months, but it’s important to really pay attention to what your AC could be telling you. Ask yourself these questions when listening and watching your air conditioner:

  • Is your system louder than you remember?
  • Does it make an grinding noises?
  • Is there any visible leakage from any component of your air conditioner?
  • Will your system run and shut off properly, or is it over cycling?
  • Is your air conditioner in sync with your thermostat (does it feel like what your thermostat is set to)?

Change/Clean Your Filter

You likely haven’t been thinking about your AC filter since you haven’t been running your AC as often through the cooler months. However, just because your unit hasn’t been running, doesn’t mean your filter hasn’t been sitting and collecting dust throughout the year. If you didn’t change your filter before the spring, you’ll absolutely want to do it now. Your air filter helps to protect your system from dust and debris. The dirtier your system is, the less efficient it operates, the higher your energy bills become and the shorter your system’s lifespan will become. Don’t let something as simple as cleaning or replacing your air filter affect your air conditioner; DIY this task or give one of our Riverside HVAC technicians a call.

Upgrade Your Thermostat

Already have plans for summer vacation? Utilizing a smart or programmable thermostat can help you schedule your system to work less hard while you’re gone. The most high-tech thermostats can even intuit this information based on household activity (or lack thereof). If you’re on the fence about replacing your old thermostat, these months just before summer are the perfect time to consider an upgrade.

Schedule Routine Maintenance

The best way to ensure that your system is ready for summer is through bi-annual maintenance appointments. Having an HVAC technician come out and examine your system will guarantee that there is nothing holding your system back from operating at its maximum capacity. Small details won’t get overlooked and underlying issues will be serviced on the spot. Keeping your system clean and error-free will improve its overall lifespan and current performance and give you the peace of mind that your home comfort is guaranteed through the heat season.

Don’t let any detail get overlooked. Call (877) 411-9888 to schedule your routine maintenance today!