Welcome to our blog where we share ongoing HVAC news and tips for homeowners. We also share articles pertaining to everyday home improvement. Check back often to stay up to date with the latest home improvement and HVAC advice!


Jun 30 2017

What Temperature Should My Air Conditioner Be Set At?

The temperatures are rising outside with the full and true onset of summer, and that means your comfort indoors is experiencing serious limbo. When you’re cozy on the couch all day, catching up on Netflix, a warm 80 degrees may seem just perfect. After you’ve played some sports in the backyard or return from a long sunbathing session with friends, anything above 65 may seem unbearable.

Yet while the air conditioning thermostat is bouncing back and forth with your whims, your electricity bill is going up. Considering how energy costs already rise thanks to the hot months, that’s a punch to your bank account your budget won’t tolerate.

So when asking how to survive the summer and keep your electricity bill at least reasonable – the real question is, “What temperature should my air conditioner be set at?”

Setting Thermostat in Summer – The Short Answer

According to our Reno experts, Americans prefer their home be kept at a cozy yet breezy 70-75 degrees in the day. This is cool enough to offer instant relief when you return home from the blazing sun, yet is easy to adapt to when spending a day indoors. Whether you’re from the deep balmy south or the more alpine north, this middle ground is enjoyable for all.

However, there are some deciding factors involved. Keeping your home at 73 is ideal, but that doesn’t mean you should set your thermostat to that temperature. On the contrary, if you live in warmer climates, maintaining that level with an AC unit can make your energy consumption skyrocket. Every degree higher you set your thermostat is 3% to 5% you’re saving on your monthly bill.

Alternative Ways to Improve Home Comfort

Start by setting your AC thermostat to 80-85. Don’t panic – we know that sounds unbearable. Luckily your home won’t ever reach that uncomfortable level of heat.

Instead, this setting will work as an emergency safeguard for when the temperatures climb out of control unexpectedly. Once things get as warm as 80, you’ll want the AC to kick in and save you fast. Otherwise, these two cheap hacks will keep your home that lovely 70-75 without the high electricity consumption.

Swamp Coolers (or E-Vap Coolers)

These handy little machines come in a variety of sizes, able to fit comfortably in your home or be attached from the outside to peek in your window if you require a larger one. These operate by being filled with water, which it then blows warm air through. The air is cooled by the water and comes out ice cold. Since it’s relying mostly on natural cooling methods, swamp coolers require less electricity – while still providing the same benefits. Just beware, though; when summer really heats up and the air is scorching, the water can’t cool it fast enough and they’re not an effective solution. That’s where your AC unit becomes a back-up.

Hanging Wet Towels and Fans

Dryers naturally pump heat into the air, no matter how high quality yours is, and this makes it wise to try air-drying your clothing. While you’re at it, however, use it to improve the conditions as well as maintain them. Hang up your wet towels (since these retain the most water) and set up a few fans in the area. This will work much like the swamp cooler, blowing cold air into the room to cut down on energy costs, while also helping you do laundry.

For more home comfort tips, follow Sierra Air on Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to comment with any questions you may have or provide your own home comfort hacks.

 

 

May 31 2017

4 Ductwork Horror Stories That Will Make You Want to Clean Your Ducts ASAP

If you’re a new homeowner, or have yet to have professional duct cleaning in your home, there is no telling what could be hiding in your floors and ceilings. Not even new builds are immune to fostering out of place and even unhealthy items and pests within their ductwork.

So what are some of the worst things that have been found in air ducts? Just think about all of the times you’ve accidently dropped something down a vent or register. That’s not great, but pretty mild. Now think about kids and all of the different things they find and like to make disappear through the magical little gate on the wall. Getting warmer. Now imagine the construction worker helping to build your home and him not wanting to walk all the way to the dumpster to throw away his half-eaten lunch. Now you’re starting to see your vents in a different light. Don’t let these 5 ductwork horror stories happen in your home by routinely cleaning your ducts.

1. Human Waste

There have been multiple occasions of Reno duct cleaners finding waste inside of ductwork. While this is expected of rodents, believe it or not, human waste has been found in ducts. Whether it be a toddler’s mistake or, sadly enough, an adult at a house party gone wrong, this is definitely not something you want in your airways.  

2. Old Food

From half-eaten burgers to just about anything a kid can fit through the slats of a vent, duct cleaners in Reno have seen it all. Not only can these food items become smelly and moldy, but they will attract bugs, pests and other critters that you don’t want in your home. Things like rats and mice can be hard to get rid of once they’re in and generate waste of their own as well as…

3. Dead Animals

Certain animals have a short lifespan. One that start and end without your knowledge if you elect not to clean your ducts regularly. What this means is that not only can your ducts become filled with animal waste, but dead animals that can, again attract more scavengers, or simply rot within your ducts until they are found.

4. Drugs

Most homebuyers don’t have the fortune of knowing the owners of the home in which they are purchasing. As the drug epidemic continues to spread across our country and prescription pain medications guide more and more upstanding citizens into a life of chemical dependency, you never know where you’ll find illegal drugs. Hiding this contraband in the ductwork of their home can be an easy way to make these drugs disappear for a homeowner or their unruly child.

What we don’t know can hurt us, or at least our indoor air quality. Don’t ignore the odd smell coming from your vents and don’t assume the well-to-do couple you purchased your home from kept their ducts spotless. For your peace of mind and for the health of your family, contact Sierra Air, Inc to have a technician come out to provide comprehensive duct cleaning services.

 

May 30 2017

5 Effortless Ideas to Help Declutter Your Home

The longer we live in a space, the more stuff we tend to accumulate. Over the years that stuff can add up to whole lot of unneeded clutter. We’ve come up with 5 ways that will help you regain control of your space, and reduce the mess.

Extra clutter around the home can add to more stress, more spending (ever buy multiples because you couldn’t find something?), and less satisfaction with your space. By reducing clutter, you’ll begin to look at your home in a whole new light. Get organized and get rid of the clutter! The extra space and peace of mind will be well worth it.

5 Cheap and Easy Organization Hacks

 

Declutter Your Home

Bookmark our blog today for all the latest updates. Stay informed with news you can use. We cover topics like HVAC systems, indoor air quality, home related articles, as well as offering helpful tips geared to homeowners.

Apr 27 2017

Why You Should Care About Your Home’s IAQ

It’s a good idea to pay attention to the quality of your home’s air, as poor indoor air quality can create a variety of health problems for you and your loved ones. Since the majority of people living in the US spend most of their time indoors, it’s critical to understand what can affect the quality of your indoor air at home.

We’ve created this informative post that outlines why you should care about the quality of your home’s air. If you’ve ever wondered why it’s a good idea to maintain excellent indoor air quality, read on.

Indoor Air Quality Matters:

Why Indoor Air Quality Matters

For more home improvement and HVAC related articles, follow along with our blog. We update regularly, so be sure to check back often. You can also find us on facebook and twitter; give us a “like” and say hello!

Apr 15 2017

Want a Healthier, Happier Home? Get Rid of these 28 Things Now

Spring is the perfect excuse to rid your home of the excess clutter that you buildup throughout the year (or years!) that is not only taking up space in your home, but could be potentially harmful as well. Don’t let your home’s clutter hold you back from enjoying the better weather.

Physical clutter can not only be aesthetically displeasing, but it can also be harmful mentally. A busy room, or home, can muddle your thoughts and even depress you if it gets too overwhelming. That’s why it feels so good to purge! You’re not just cleaning up your physical space, but you’re also clearing your headspace.

Whether you take an organized approach to decluttering by putting items into three categories – keep, trash and donate – or you just want to rent a dumpster and pitch it all, take some time this spring to get rid of these commonly kept but not so useful items.

28 Things that Reno Locals Should Get Rid of This Spring Cleaning Season

 

  1. Rusty or rundown tools or equipment
  2. Clothes you never wear anymore
  3. Non-deductible receipts
  4. Magazines you never read
  5. Expired pantry items
  6. Spoiled freezer food
  7. Sentimental items that you’ve been guilted into taking/keeping so long
  8. Old sauce packets or condiments
  9. Expired spices that no longer have a scent
  10. Your partner’s 6ft tall cardboard cutout of Chewbacca
  11. Supplies for hobbies that you don’t have anymore
  12. Socks without a match
  13. Office supplies (pens that don’t work, old notes, calendars from the 90s, company mugs, etc.)
  14. That pile of clothes you’re never going to sew (and the buttons that go with them)
  15. Old exercise equipment that is just accumulating dust and an accident waiting to happen when your kids find them
  16. Kitchen accessories or appliances that don’t work or never get used (ie. that pasta maker that you’re always planning on using “next year”)
  17. Old makeup (taking up space in your bathroom and it can damage your skin)
  18. Dated technology (aux cables, headphones, CDs, stereos, remotes, cassettes, gaming systems, computers, phones etc.)
  19. Medication – You don’t want to be in the position to need it, expect that you’ve done the right thing by taking it and have it not work because it’s expired.
  20. Expired coupons, gift cards, invitations, etc.
  21. Old board games/decks of cards with missing pieces or just aren’t being used
  22. Your oldest version of “mowing shoes”
  23. Expired motor oil, car fluids, etc.
  24. Out of style or mismatched decor that you’ve replaced/upgraded
  25. Gifts that just didn’t work out
  26. Old manuals to appliances that you don’t own anymore
  27. Your old textbooks that you’ll never read through again…or for the first time
  28. Your air or furnace filter

At Sierra Air, we want all of the residents in the greater Reno area to live happy and healthy lives. That is why we offer elite heating, cooling and home comfort services in Nevada and California to ensure that locals have access to comfortable climate control and healthy indoor air quality. Contact Sierra Air to take quality HVAC system servicing off your busy to-do list.

 

Mar 01 2017

4 Top Tips for Improving YOUR Energy Efficiency at Home

Improving Energy Efficiency

What difference does energy efficiency make? Perhaps you think you’ll only save a few bucks, and it isn’t worth the trouble? Maybe you think you have to overhaul your entire lifestyle to conserve energy, and it just doesn’t seem possible? Maybe you don’t see how one little household like yours could make a difference…

It’s a GOOD idea to improve your energy efficiency and the benefits are numerous. Better yet, the fixes can be SIMPLE and require little effort to make a big impact. HVAC system operation accounts for a majority of the energy bill for most households. Check out these four ways that you can impact your energy efficiency, lower your bill, and rescue the planet JUST by making subtle, effortless changes to your home temperature experience.

4 SMART Solutions to Increase YOUR Home’s Energy Efficiency

Soak Up the Sunshine (or don’t!)

The sun is our most powerful source of energy. When it shines down on us, we’re warm. In its absence, things get colder. The same is true inside your home. When you’re working to keep your home warm, let the sunshine in – even if it’s wintry outside! That extra sun could be enough to warm small spaces so you don’t need to run a space heater AND your whole-home system shouldn’t kick on as often because the temperature is kept more even & warm. In the summer, do the opposite! Keep the miniblinds or curtains closed when you can to curtail sun exposure and retain that crisp, cool feeling without over-exerting your AC. When your system runs less often, less power is used. That was easy!

Monitor Your Temps

Did you know? You can cut back on the expenditure of energy in your home very simply by adjusting your thermostat just a little bit lower or higher than you normally would. During the winter, forgo the cozy 70ºF you usually keep in your home for 24 hours straight. You don’t have to go COLD turkey, just hit 67-68ºF for 8 to 10 hours. Do this consistently and you’ll see a decrease in energy expenditure (and cost!) in the month. Likewise, when the summer hits, you should do the same. Now, set your thermostat to a slightly higher temperature than you normally would, part time. It’s estimated that for every degree you adjust, you’ll save about 3% on energy costs. This trick works especially well during the hours you are sleeping or away at work.

Batten Down the Hatches

Sometimes, air leaks. Sometimes, things have holes. Most of the time the little gaps and leaks in your home go unnoticed and won’t freeze you out or leave you sweating. You’ll only notice the leaks later when your energy bill is astronomical and your AC or heating system is exhausted. When drafts enter the home, or conditioned air from inside escapes outward, your HVAC system is being abused as it tries, to no avail, to regulate your temperature. Not only does this use up more energy than would normally be necessary, but it also causes undue wear & tear.

No worries! It’s easy to DIY and seal your windows, door jambs, and other places where leaks are conspicuous. Weatherstripping or caulking should do the trick and soon, your system will take a much needed break from working double-duty, easing up on deterioration AND on your wallet.

Maintain Your System

Perhaps the EASIEST and most hands-off way to make sure your energy bill is reduced is to continuously take care of your HVAC system components. You should enlist a professional HVAC technician to help you perform routine maintenance on your system and diagnose any issues before they fester. Also, your Sierra Air technician can provide other tips for using the system in a way that saves energy.

If you haven’t conducted routine maintenance on your HVAC system in the past 12 months, give us a call! We’ll be happy to tune-up your system and help you achieve the maximum energy efficiency with little effort.