Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog:
Archive for November, 2014

Reasons to Consider a Radiant System

Friday, November 28th, 2014

The methods used in radiant heating are actually thousands of years old. The ancient romans used to use it to heat their homes, lacking as they were in the technology required for a forced air system. In more modern times, radiant heating systems have become some of the most energy efficient and cost effective heating systems available. Despite their advantages, however, many homeowners don’t seem very aware of radiant systems as viable heating options. We will attempt to remedy that unfortunate state here. The following are just some of the many reasons why you should consider a radiant heating system.

What is a Radiant System?

A radiant heating system can be boiler-based, using water to transport heat instead of air. Water pipes are installed in the walls or subfloor of each room that needs heating. Then, this network of pipes is connected to the boiler. When the system is turned on, the boiler heats water and distributes it through the pipe network. As the hot water runs through these pipes, it transmits its heat through the pipes and into the room. This is why it is called a “radiant” heating system, because the heat radiates into the room instead of being transported by air.

Sometimes electrical heating coils are used inside the walls and subfloor instead of water.

 

Why Should You Care?

As mentioned above, radiant heating systems have a few huge advantages over forced air systems. Prime among these is energy efficiency. There are a couple of things that contribute to a radiant system’s superior energy efficiency. The first of these is that water is a much better thermal conductor than air is. This means that the water used in a radiant system will heat up faster and stay hot for longer. As such, the system itself doesn’t have to be on for as long to reach the same temperature as a forced air system.

The second reason has to do with ducts. The US Department of Energy estimates that forced air systems lose as much as 30% of their heat on average to leaks in the ductwork. By eschewing ducts altogether, a radiant system avoids this massive drain on resources.

If you’re thinking about installing a new radiant system, call Kilowatt. Our HVAC technicians offer professional heating services throughout Los Angeles.

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Will Thanksgiving Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

We’ve all heard it before: you feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal because of the main event: the turkey. For years, people have credited extraordinary levels of tryptophan in turkey as the reason we all feel the need to nap after the annual feast. But contrary to this popular mythology, tryptophan is probably not he largest responsible party for your post-meal exhaustion.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means it’s something that our bodies need but do not produce naturally. Your body uses tryptophan to help make vitamin B3 and serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that sends chemicals to the brain to aid in sleep. But in order to get this essential amino acid, we have to eat foods that contain it.

Turkey has somewhat high levels of tryptophan, but so do many other foods, including eggs, peanuts, chocolate, nuts, bananas, and most other meats and dairy products. In fact, ounce-for-ounce cheddar cheese contains a greater amount of tryptophan than turkey. In order for tryptophan to make you feel sleepy, you would have to consume it in excessive amounts, and serotonin is usually only produced by tryptophan on an empty stomach.

The truth is, overeating is largely responsible for the “food coma” many people describe post-Thanksgiving. It takes a lot of energy for your body to process a large meal, and the average Thanksgiving plate contains about twice as many calories as is recommended for daily consumption. If anything, high levels of fat in the turkey cause sleepiness, as they require a lot of energy for your body to digest. Lots of carbohydrates, alcohol, and probably a bit of stress may also be some of the reasons it feels so satisfying to lay down on the couch after the meal and finally get a little bit of shut-eye.

If you feel the need to indulge in a heaping dose of tryptophan this year, go ahead! Turkey also contains healthy proteins and may even provide a boost for your immune system. Here at Kilowatt, we hope your Thanksgiving is full of joy and contentment this year. Happy feasting!

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How Does Insulation Help Heating?

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Having good insulation in your home is critical to your comfort and the overall energy efficiency of your home. This is why having good insulation is a year-round concern. If you’ve been concerned about the level of insulation in your home, and how it is affecting your heating, Kilowatt offers the insulation services in Los Angeles you need to help your home become more energy efficient. Call us today!

What Does Insulation Do?

Insulation slows the transfer of heat. Heat moves in three ways:

  • Conduction – the way heat moves through materials
  • Convection – the way heat moves through liquids and gases
  • Radiation – heat moves in a straight line and heats anything in its direct path

Looking from a seasonal perspective, during the summer, insulation slows heat from transferring into the cool areas of your living spaces. In winter, it slows heat from transferring to areas like your attic, basement and the outdoors. It also helps to retain your cool air during the summer and your warm air during the winter. Insulation provides the barrier you need to stay comfortable all year long.

How Does Insulation Help with Heating?

There are a few ways in which insulation helps with your heating:

  • Energy efficiency – without proper insulation throughout your home, you could lose a great deal of your home’s heat – up to 30% of it. When this occurs, your system needs to work harder to achieve the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat. Any time your heating system has to work harder, it uses more energy to do so.
  • Less stress on your system – having the right amount of insulation means that your home retains its heating. This allows your system to work normally, reducing stress levels.

Lastly, having good insulation helps reduce noise levels and improves your indoor comfort.

As we head into another heating season, you may be wondering if you have enough insulation in your home. The best way to assess this is to work with one of the professionals from Kilowatt. Call us today and schedule an appointment with one of our insulation experts.

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What Are the Benefits of Solar Heating?

Friday, November 7th, 2014

If there’s one thing we have plenty of in Los Angeles, its sunlight. With a solar heating system, you can make that sunlight do more than give you a tan. Solar heating isn’t new, but with better products, solar heating systems are more popular among homeowners than ever before. There are a couple of ways in which solar heating works, as we’ll explain below, but if you are interested in seeing what a solar heating system in Los Angeles. can do for you, call Kilowatt today and schedule an appointment with one of our installation specialists.

How Does Solar Heating Work?

There are two ways in which solar heating works: the first way is by using photovoltaic (PV) panels and the second is by using a method called solar liquid.

PV Panels

PV panels are the most common way solar energy is used. The panels are typically mounted on your roof, and the cells that make up the panel collect the sun’s radiant energy and convert it into electricity. This electricity can be used any way you want: it can add power to your electrical panel or be directed to power certain appliances or systems. As such, you can direct the electricity from the PV panels to power your heating system. Your home’s grid electricity will serve as a back-up should the PV panels fail to generate enough electricity.

Solar Liquid

A solar liquid system uses a heat-absorbing liquid. This liquid is inside durable tubing that heats in a component known as a solar collector. Like PV panels, solar collectors are placed on the roof of your home. The heated liquid is then circulated through the tubing to a storage tank filled with water, where it is pumped through a heat exchanger submerged in the storage tank. The heat from the warmed liquid transfers to the water in the storage tank; the newly-heated water is circulated through your home to provide heating. As with PV panels, a back-up heating system can be installed to ensure you always have heating for your home.

Benefits of Solar Heating

  • Environmental – with solar heating, you can significantly reduce your usage of fossil fuels (if you use them); additionally, solar systems do not emit pollutants during use, making them very environmentally friendly.
  • Financial – you can significantly reduce your energy bills with a solar heating system.
  • Long lifespan on equipment – the average lifespan of solar equipment is 20+ years, as compared to combustion heating systems, which are 15-20 years.

Solar heating systems are complicated to install, so if you are considering a solar heating system, call the people you can trust: Kilowatt.

 

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