Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog

Saving Secrets From Heating Experts

November 15th, 2019

truck

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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!

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 option to our customers!

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.

Continue Reading

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.


Continue Reading

Updating the Electrical System of a Vintage House

October 21st, 2019

usb-outlet

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.

Continue Reading

The Troubles With Aluminum Wiring in Your Home

October 7th, 2019

home-electrical-wiring-types

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.

Continue Reading

How to Handle a Second Floor That’s Too Hot

September 23rd, 2019

One of the reasons window air conditioning units are only useful for apartments or for a single office is because of their limited reach. The only way to cool a whole house with window units is to place them in windows in every room—which isn’t always possible and blocks up so many windows you’ll end up with a perpetual twilight in the house! And even with all the window ACs, you’ll still end up with hot spots.

With a central air conditioning system, you don’t have to worry about having rooms all around the house cool. Or you shouldn’t. Unfortunately, uneven cooling still happens, and the most common case we run into is an upper story of a house that’s hotter than the lower one. Heat rises, and in the San Fernando Valley the AC may not be equipped to deal with it.

Continue Reading

Know Your Air Conditioner’s Capacity!

September 9th, 2019

Everybody loves Kilowatt HVAC installer Joe Valle

September is often the hottest month in Southern California. We can expect days in the 90s all the way through to October. So no, your home’s AC is not going to get any long vacation from work in the immediate future. In fact, because of the heat, the air conditioner is going to deal with, we want to share with you important information on an air conditioner’s limits. The same way you cannot force your car to drive 200 mph, you can’t force your air conditioner to cool past certain barriers. Think of it this way: if you wanted your house to be cold enough to turn ice into water, you couldn’t make the AC do it! (Not that you would want to…)

Continue Reading

The Job of Your AC’s Compressor

August 26th, 2019

Kilowatt AC Service technician with rooftop compressor

If you’ve read other of our blog entries or articles about air conditioning systems, you may have seen compressors called the “heart” of air conditioners. You may also know that when a compressor dies, it often spells the end of the whole air conditioner. (Whether you need to replace the compressor, the whole condenser, or the entire AC system depends on several factors we addressed earlier this year.)

Aside from these points about a compressor, many people don’t know what it is the compressor does that allows for an air conditioner to work. We’ll put the compressor under a microscope in this post to help you understand more about how your air conditioning in Van Nuys, CA works from day-to-day.

Continue Reading

AC Coil Cleaning – How Important Is It Really?

August 17th, 2019

So, your service technician recommended a coil cleaning and I wanted to explain it’s value.

Not many people even know what an air conditioning coil is!
This is what an indoor coil looks like:

…and an outdoor coil:

Coils have lots of delicate metal fins that create surface area where temperature transfer can occur. Warm air becomes cold as it passes over the coil. Sometimes your coil looks clean but we can tell by the rust in your drain pan that things are not functioning properly. 

To give you some idea about how important clean coils are: 1/100th of an inch of dirt on your air conditioner’s coil hampers efficiency by 5%.

Now I understand that you may think, “So what. Five percent? I can live with that!”

But what’s worse is what it does to the condensation!

You know how water condensates on your cold drink in hot weather? Well, the same condensation forms on your cold air conditioning coil in hot weather. Sometimes so much condensation forms that it cannot easily be dispersed through your air conditioning system back into the air in your home. That’s why you have a condensate drain line.

Dirt on your coil is TERRIBLE when it mixes with condensation because the dirt grabs onto the water and keeps it pressed against the cold coil. That water then FREEZES and sets off a chain reaction of freezing and grabbing more condensation and freezing and grabbing until your WHOLE COIL becomes frozen.

Like this frozen coil:

Shocking, isn’t it? 
When the coil freezes like that ^^^ your whole system shuts down. You can see that the coil in this photo doesn’t even look that dirty!

Now, here is the important part: Before your coil becomes a block of ice it has probably had many days where it partially freezes. It may produce just enough frozen condensation to cause your system to be less effective and efficient during the day. Then at night the ice melts and sits in your drain pan causing rust – that little telltale sign that something is wrong.

So, yes, it seems like your system is working. You may even ask yourself, “Why is Kilowatt telling me that I need a coil cleaning, my system is fine!”

Then a particularly hot day comes along, your system is producing and freezing more and more condensation and suddenly the system shuts down.

Dust on the coil is like high cholesterol in the blood stream – a silent killer. The symptoms are not dramatic but a dirty coil can cause serious damage.

That is why we are recommending a coil cleaning.

Obviously, investing in a coil cleaning is your decision. No hard feelings if you choose to wait. But I wanted to make sure that you understand  why we are recommending one so that you can keep an eye on your system. Here is a list of things that can exacerbate the situation…
Watch out for:

• Pet fur
• Loose fiber glass insulation
• Ashes and soot from wildfires
• Street grinding and repaving
• Construction dust
• Tree trimming
• Pollen and other plant matter
• Dusty wind  • Smoking indoors – tar build-up on the coil

As always the best thing you can do for your system is regularly scheduled professional maintenance twice a year and changing the filter yourself as needed in between visits. Other than that we are a phone call away and at your service.

Coil Cleaning advice from Lisa

Continue Reading