Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog

Some of the Biggest Do-It-Yourself HVAC Repair Mistakes

January 13th, 2020

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Don’t try to “do-it-yourself” when it comes to HVAC repair. It’s that simple. These are jobs for professionals. Trying to fix a furnace, an air conditioner, a heat pump, a blower fan, a thermostat, or any other HVAC component will lead to increased costs, poorer performance, wasted time, and possibly safety concerns.

We wish we could leave it there, but people still feel the drive to try to fix problems on their own. The internet and its cornucopia of DIY videos don’t help.

The best way to illustrate why DIY HVAC jobs are a non-starter is to look at a few of the big DIY mistakes. We’ve often run into these problems when we’re called to look into a malfunctioning heater or air conditioner. Often, the current homeowner wasn’t the one who made the error—the consequences of bad DIY repair job echo down through the years!

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Some Typical Heat Pump Troubles That Call for Repair Work

December 30th, 2019

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We’re having an unusually cold early winter in Southern California, with mornings and evenings that can dip into the 40s and hover in the 50s. Yes, we can hear people in Minnesota and New York laughing at our definition of “cold,” but it’s still cold enough to make it necessary to switch heat pumps into their heating mode. This is one of the great reasons to have a heat pump—it mostly does the job of an AC, but when you need heat for the mild winters, the heat pump has you covered with relatively inexpensive warmth. It’s much cheaper and more effective (not to mention safer) to run a heat pump than to use a space heater.

But if you’re reading this, it’s because your heat pump isn’t working right and you think you need heater repair in West Hollywood, CA. There are a few simple checks you can make before calling our technicians, such as examining the thermostat settings and changing a clogged HVAC filter. But the problems below usually require the help of trained techs like ours.

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Terrible Advice You May Hear About Furnaces

December 16th, 2019

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One of the difficulties we often find with furnaces is that people in Southern California simply aren’t familiar enough with them. This means many homeowners can fall prey to bad advice coming from websites, friends, and unscrupulous and unprofessional contractors. We want to clear up and correct some of this terrible advice about furnaces to help you better understand your furnace. This will aid you when you’re looking for heating repair in Van Nuys, CA or if you’re considering having a furnace installed, either as the first heater for a home or a heating replacement.

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Efficiency With Gas and Electric Furnaces—It Can Be Tricky

December 2nd, 2019

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The hunt for your next high-quality heating system will probably involve looking for the best efficiency you can find. Efficiency is an important word with most home appliances today—the more efficient the appliance rating, the less power it will consume when it runs. At least, ideally. (Poor installation or poor unit selection can negate those benefits, making information about efficiency essential for any consumer.) If the type of heating system you’re looking at is a furnace, either gas or electric, you may run into a dilemma about their efficiency ratings, one that might lead you to the wrong unit.

We’re going to analyze the big trick with gas and electric furnace efficiencies to help you out. But to ensure you have the best unit that does what you need with the ideal efficiency, always call on our professionals. We’ll ensure you don’t end up with the wrong type of heating system.

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Saving Secrets From Heating Experts

November 15th, 2019

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Finding ways to save energy with your HVAC system doesn’t mean shaving off a few pennies from your bills. You can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars with only a few basic fixes. You don’t have to let your heating and cooling costs get out of control when the savings are so simple.

Below is a list of energy-saving secrets straight from our president, Dean Gilford, who has a long history helping customers get the best from their HVAC systems. Call our team for assistance with your air conditioning and heating in Van Nuys, CA and throughout our service area.

Best Tip: Change the HVAC Filter

The filter in an HVAC system affects the heating, AC, and blower fan. If it becomes clogged, it will make all three work harder than they should. Aim to swap out the filter for a clean one every month, and you’ll see a significant difference in your bills.

Annual Tune-Ups

An HVAC system is similar to a vehicle in that it needs professional maintenance each year to keep it running in peak condition. Lubricating motors, cleaning components, checking refrigerant pressure and gas lines—all these contribute not only to an energy-saving HVAC system, but a long-lived one too.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

This is one of the most cost-effective upgrades you can make to your HVAC system. Because you can program the HVAC system to automatically adjust temperatures while you’re away, you can cut down on unnecessary heating and cooling costs. A good programmable thermostat can save up to 12% on heating and cooling costs per year.

Insulate

A house with poor insulation can cost 20% more to keep comfortable around the year, either from heat escaping or heat entering. There are many options for loose-fill insulation using cellulose, fiberglass, or even recycled denim, and blown-in insulation can reach between walls and other places that are otherwise hard to reach.

Blocking Air Leaks

Gaps around windows and doors contribute to plenty of energy waste. In fact, add up most of these “minor” leaks, and it could be the equivalent of a nine-foot hole in the wall. Plug up these leaks and you can see 10% savings.

Seal the Ducts

Your home probably uses ductwork for the HVAC system, and that ductwork may have many holes in it. We see this so often in homes that it’s honestly a bit depressing. Leaky air ducts can allow up to 30% of the air moving through the ducts to escape to closed off parts of the house, like the attic. Do you want to pay money to air condition or heat the attic? Of course not, and having professionals seal the ducts will give you back that 30% of the air you’ve already paid to heat or cool.

Know When It’s Time to Replace

In the last two years of a furnace’s life, it can turn costly to keep in repair. You can get around those costs and start saving money with a replacement furnace. If your current furnace is over 20 years old, you’re likely paying far more to run it than to replace it. Replacing that ancient furnace with an ENERGY STAR-certified system can mean a 15% efficiency boost.

Rebates, Tax Credits, & Utility Incentives

There are many great rebates, credits, and incentives for installing ENERGY STAR equipment. Talk to us and we’ll help you navigate these programs to make upgrading to energy-saving new systems more affordable than ever.

Call on Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical for great HVAC services throughout Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

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Wildfires and Cleaning Your AC’s Coils

November 4th, 2019


Air conditioning maintenance in Van Nuys, CA and elsewhere in So. Cal is usually something you schedule during the spring. That way your AC is ready to go when the hottest weather arrives.

But right now during the fall, we have an emergency situation in Southern California, which is the outbreak of major wildfires. These fast-spreading fires are an unfortunately regular occurrence at this time of year, but the fires of 2019 are more numerous than usual. We’re hoping you are reading this email from your own house and that you and your family have been safe during the fires. We also recommend you take steps to protect your comfort and valuable HVAC equipment with maintenance. Not the regular maintenance that’s done in spring, but a specific maintenance job—cleaning your air conditioner’s coils.

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Safe & Reliably Tested Furnaces Available Here! Rule 1111 Variance accepted!

October 28th, 2019

GREAT NEWS! Your family does NOT have to be test subjects for the nation after all. American Standard, the #1 most reliable brand of furnaces, has received a Variance from the government’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) ultra-low-Nox Furnace Rule 1111.

If you need a new Furnace but are worried about the high-temperature flame technology in the newly released ultra-low-Nox furnaces we’ve got you covered with the most reliably tested energy-efficient furnaces available in the San Fernando Valley. That’s correct! The #1 brand of heating equipment has received a variance from the South Coast Air Quality Management District Rule 1111 and we are able to sell and install the excellent American Standard equipment we have been installing for years without issues or problems.

Let us give you some background information regarding the new furnace regulations passed in Los Angeles County and a few surrounding areas:
In order to improve air quality in our communities SCAQMD mandated that furnaces sold in our community needed to reduce Nox Gas emissions from 40 ng/j to 14 ng/j. You don’t have to understand the technology to see that reducing anything by more than 2/3 is a tall order. You may be ready for a flying car, but mandating that one be built by a certain date doesn’t mean the technology will be ready for you 🙂

For the past 10 years world-wide HVAC equipment manufacturers have toiled with inventing new technology for our relatively small community. Keep in mind this regulation, known as Rule 1111, doesn’t apply to any other State in the nation, it doesn’t even apply to San Diego or Ventura County. It is strictly a regulation on furnaces sold in Los Angeles County and some surrounding areas.

In order to comply with Rule 1111 manufacturers vastly increased the flame temperature in the furnace to burn up more Nox gas faster. To keep customers safe from the new furnaces over heating manufacturers changed the installation requirements to require more empty space around the furnace.

Frankly, this whole Rule 1111 makes us nervous. We remember in 2000, when a catastrophe hit the heating and air conditioning industry; Reports of 50 house fires caused the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall 110,000 technologically flawed furnaces. The flawed technology was made by a company named Premier Consolidated. Many flawed furnaces were already installed in people’s homes. People were forced to be without heat while emergency services attempted to solve the problem

Premier Consolidated has long since gone bankrupt but the flawed technology and subsequent furnace recall hurt people.

We are cautious by nature and SAFETY has always been our number one priority. Our fear is that Rule 1111 is forcing manufacturers to release furnaces containing inadequately tested technology into the market place. We would not install one of these new furnaces in our home and we don’t want our customers to be test subjects for the rest of the nation.

We are big environmentalists and are proud to be on the front lines in the fight to save our planet! In fact, we install many heat pump heating systems, which are completely electric and an excellent choice for reducing the carbon footprint of your home.

We don’t know how long the Rule 1111 Variance will last but this is something we fought for and we are thrilled to offer as a reliably safe gas furnace option to our customers!

If you are interested in learning more and discovering the best system for your home please call 818-780-0701 to set up a FREE in home estimate.

Kindest regards,

Dean and Lisa Gilford

Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical chooses to sell American Standard brand heating and air-conditioning, the #1 most reliable manufacturer year after year. Although we have installed every other brand we find American Standard to be the most dependable.

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Is a Heat Pump System Right For My Home?

October 22nd, 2019

If you live in Los Angeles or the San Fernando Valley the answer to this frequently asked question is likely to be a resounding YES! Heat pump heating and air conditioning technology is safe, effective and an excellent way to reduce the carbon footprint of your home.

Kilowatt install of heat pump systems in Studio City, CA

HOW DOES A HEAT PUMP WORK?

Think of a heat pump as a heat courier constantly moving hot air from one place to another. From where it’s not needed to where it is needed.

“But what if it’s cold outside?” You may ask, “How does a heat pump work in the winter?” Even when air seems uncomfortably cold, heat energy is still present. When it’s cold outside a heat pump is able to extract outside heat and transfer it inside. In the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles there is enough heat hanging around outside of your house to heat your whole home! A heat pump is the perfect energy efficient technology to heat indoor air in our climate.

Conversely, when it’s hot outside, a heat pump reverses direction and acts as an air conditioner, removing heat from your home and dumping it outside.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HEAT PUMP AND A FURNACE?

The main difference between the two is how they create heat. A heat pump uses electricity to move heat from one place to another. A furnace burns fuel to create heat.

Los Angeles is moving away from natural gas appliances including furnaces. Not only will you feel good knowing that you are using the most environmentally friendly HVAC option, but a heat pump will put you ahead as gas prices ramp up in expectation of the phase out.


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Updating the Electrical System of a Vintage House

October 21st, 2019

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One of our specialties as an electrical contractor serving Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley is working on older homes. Southern California may not be New England—we don’t have nineteenth-century homes here. But “vintage” doesn’t have to stretch back to the gaslight era. Many houses built before 1970 have specific requirements when it comes to electrical services (as well as HVAC services, which we also handle).

There’s no wrong time to arrange for Van Nuys, CA, electrical upgrades to your vintage home. But the best time to have a major electrical system overhaul is during a home renovation. You can make the wiring, outlets, panels, and more a part of an extensive renovation project. The results may not make a significant cosmetic change, but the difference in electrical performance and safety is massive. Expert electrical upgrades pay off for many years to come.

Below are important electrical upgrades and changes to have done as part of an extensive renovation.

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The Troubles With Aluminum Wiring in Your Home

October 7th, 2019

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An important job of any electrician in Van Nuys, CA is keeping homes safe from fires due to faulty wiring. Bad wiring takes many different forms. Our electricians often run into terrible DIY jobs or amateur work on rewiring parts of a home that are against code. You may have this type of electrical danger in your house and not even know it because the previous resident was responsible.

There’s another wiring concern we often deal with: aluminum wiring. This metal was used extensively for wiring in houses built between 1965 and 1972. If you live in a home of this vintage—and there are plenty in L.A. and the San Fernando Valley—you may have a fire hazard lurking in your walls.

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