How Our Commercial Energy Management Systems can Benefit You

February 27th, 2015

Regardless of the size of the commercial space that you own or of the specifics regarding the type of business that you conduct therein, you are responsible for maintaining comfortable temperatures within that space throughout the year. You are also responsible for ensuring that the lights stay on within that building, that the hot water flows when needed, and that other amenities are available and dependable. All of this comes at a cost, of course, and paying for all of the energy necessary to keep conditions within your commercial space optimal can really drain a budget more quickly than you realize. That is why you are wise to consider the installation and use of a commercial energy management system. To get the quality system and commercial energy management services in San Diego that you need, contact the professionals at Cal-West Air Conditioning. 

A commercial energy management system can help you to make your commercial space more efficient, saving you money in the process and paying for themselves in energy savings over a short amount of time. One the ways in which commercial energy management systems can achieve this goal is by offering remote HVAC control. With such a system, you can review thermostat settings throughout an entire building and adjust them from one central hub. You can also put an adjustment range in place, or opt to restrict control entirely at the local level. Fiddling about with the thermostat is, after all, one of the biggest culprits of energy waste.

For all of the physical techniques by which a commercial energy management system allows you to boost efficiency, such as those mentioned above as well as the ability to eliminate necessary energy expenditure during off-hours, the sheer amount of information that such a system can arm you with can also not be overlooked. By tracking energy usage in different parts of your property, and even down to specific pieces of equipment, you can figure out just where your energy use is going wrong. With this information, you can go about making the changes necessary to correct such behaviors.

To learn more about the ways in which a commercial energy management system can benefit you as a commercial property owner, speak with a professional representative at Cal-West Air Conditioning today. We can answer any questions that you may have.

Should you decide that such a system is just what you need, and that boosting energy efficiency is worth pursuing, count on us to complete your commercial energy management services in San Diego with the greatest of care.

When Do I Call for Emergency Air Conditioning Repair in San Diego?

February 20th, 2015

HVAC problems tend to be progressive by nature, starting small and then getting worse as they start to affect more and more of the system. For this reason, you should never just ignore a problem that develops with your air conditioning system. Always call a professional right away and schedule an appointment. There are some problems, however, which you should not let sit even for a day or two after noticing them. Let’s examine what these air conditioning emergencies are, and how you can recognize them.

Short Cycling

Shorty cycling is evidenced by your air conditioner rapidly starting and stopping over and over again throughout the day. This can be caused by a number of things, but most often it is caused by a malfunction in the compressor. The compressor is designed to move the refrigerant gas from the evaporator to the condenser, where it can be compressed into a liquid and release the heat from inside the house. If the compressor is malfunctioning, however, the steady flow of refrigerant through the system can be interrupted. That will throw the air conditioner off its normal cycle, causing it to short cycle.

Short cycling can cause permanent damage to several parts of the system. If left alone long enough, a short cycling air conditioner can become so damaged that it needs to be replaced entirely. If you notice your air conditioner short cycling, turn it off immediately and call a professional.

Loss of Cooling Ability

A sudden drop in the cooling ability of your air conditioner is a sign that it is in serious trouble. This can be caused by a frozen evaporator coil, which can happen when the coil becomes too dirty to adequately absorb heat into itself. It can also be caused by low refrigerant, which is caused by a leak in the refrigerant line.If your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, it’s only a matter of time before it breaks down completely. Call a professional as soon as you notice a drop in your air conditioner’s efficiency.

If you need emergency air conditioning repair, call Cal-West Air Conditioning. We provide emergency air conditioning repair throughout the San Diego area.

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Cal-West Air Conditioning hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

What Are the Advantages of Enrolling in a Maintenance Plan?

February 5th, 2015

If you’ve been looking for a way to improve your HVAC system without having to spend lots of money on upgrades, consider enrolling in an HVAC maintenance plan for your San Diego home. Why? Not only will you receive special benefits, but you and your system will gain the benefits that maintenance has to offer.

Why Do Maintenance?

There are a number of reasons why every homeowner should schedule bi-annual maintenance for their HVAC system:

  • Improved energy efficiency – your HVAC system was made to operate at a certain level of energy efficiency; with a season or more of dirt, dust and wear and tear, it is very hard to achieve this level of energy efficiency. The full tune-up that your system receives during a maintenance appointment helps your HVAC system to operate optimally.
  • Prevent repair – during a maintenance appointment, your HVAC system is thoroughly inspected; this is to allow the technician to detect any existing or developing problems and nip them in the bud. Should a significant problem exits, the technician will discuss it with you and give recommendations for repair.
  • Extends life of the system – a system that works constantly under stress, which can happen with a system that isn’t well-maintained, runs the risk of premature aging. Conversely, when maintenance is performed regularly, your system works optimally, which helps extend the system’s life.
  • Better comfort – when your system operates as it should, there is no struggle to keep up with the temperature that you’ve set on your thermostat.

Why Enroll in a Maintenance Plan?

Maintenance plans, like the one we have at Cal-West Air Conditioning, offers the above-mentioned benefits, but there are also others, such as discounts on parts, priority scheduling, discounts on new systems and special promotions.

Call the experts at Cal-West Air Conditioning today to enroll!

Enrolling in a maintenance plan gives you access to the benefits of maintenance for your HVAC system in San Diego bi-annually, plus other money-saving benefits given just to members.

What Is a Commercial Cooling Tower?

January 29th, 2015

Your commercial HVAC system works hard to keep your commercial space comfortable year-round, but there is particular emphasis on cooling in our part of the country. The commercial air conditioning portion of your HVAC system can get very hot during operation which can lead to overheating and potential problems. One way to help your HVAC system maintain its cool is with the installation of a commercial cooling tower for your San Diego commercial space. Only commercial experts should work on your commercial HVAC system, so if you are considering the installation of a cooling tower, call the people with the experience and know-how needed for the job: Cal-West Air Conditioning.

What a Cooling Tower Does

A cooling tower is akin to a large heat exchanger as it helps reduce the heat inside your HVAC system by exchanging it with another medium and expelling the excess heat into the air with the help of the medium. The two mediums used are air or water, and the mediums correlate to the two types of cooling towers available: closed circuit and open circuit.

Closed Circuit

In a closed circuit cooling tower, there are two sets of tubes: one that carries the heated water from the HVAC’s chiller plant to the cooling tower and a second set of tubes that are equipped with sprays that sit above the tubes coming from the chiller. When the hot water flows from the chiller plant into the cooling tower, a large fan in a bottom corner turns on simultaneously with the sprays; this fan helps spread the cool water that is spraying all over the chiller plant tubes. The heat from the liquid in the chiller plant tubes transfers to the sprayed water on the outside and then dissipates into the air. The liquid returns to the chiller plant cooled and ready for use.

Open Circuit

An open circuit cooling tower cools by evaporation. The hot water from the chiller plant enters the cooling tower at the top and is sprayed via nozzles onto a medium called fill. Fill can be plastic or multi-layered tubing, but its purpose is to thin out the water and hasten the evaporation as air is allowed to pass through the fill. The cooled water that remains after the evaporation process drops to the bottom of the cooling tower and, once collected, cycles back to the chiller plant; the heat releases directly into the air.

The best way to know which type of cooling tower will work best for your business space is to work with an expert.

Call the commercial specialists at Cal-West Air Conditioning today and see what a commercial cooling tower can do for your San Diego commercial space.

Keeping Your Home Safe from Carbon Monoxide Leaks

January 22nd, 2015

Carbon monoxide is well known as a deadly and virtually undetectable gas. Most homeowners also know that any combustion system, especially natural gas systems, produce a sizeable amount of carbon monoxide during operation. Though heating systems that produce carbon monoxide are outfitted with safety measures to dispose of it, there are plenty of other precautions that can be taken on your part. Let’s take a look at the ways that you can keep your home safe from carbon monoxide leaks.

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide is more or less impossible to detect with human senses. It is odorless, tasteless, and completely invisible. The only way to know that you’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide is to begin feeling the symptoms, and that’s allowing things to progress much too far. Instead of trusting your senses, it’s a very good idea to invest in a carbon monoxide detector. These are widely available from many sources, including many HVAC companies, and can give you the advance warning that you need to get yourself and your loved ones out of the house in case of carbon monoxide leaks.

Have your Heater Serviced Regularly

This is a good idea regardless of carbon monoxide leaks. However, it works in this case for the same reason. Carbon monoxide leaks often happen due to either a cracked heat exchanger or a blocked exhaust flue. These are parts that you can’t really visually inspect without opening up the heater. As carbon monoxide is undetectable to human senses, you don’t really have any other way of determining whether or not there is a problem with these parts. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to have a professional inspect your heating system on a regular basis. If a problem is found with either the exhaust flue or the heat exchanger before it’s had a chance to progress to dangerous levels, it can be fixed without much trouble. The faster you catch issues like these, the safer you’ll be.

If you’re worried about carbon monoxide leaks, call Cal-West Air Conditioning. We provide carbon monoxide safety services throughout San Diego.

How Duct Sealing Saves You Money

January 15th, 2015

Ducts are things that most people don’t really think about very often. Truthfully, that’s not very surprising. Ducts are simple, uninteresting, and often unseen. That doesn’t make them any less important, however. Ducts are the reason that your central air and heating is even possible. In this article, we’ll take a look at why it’s important to take care of your ducts with duct sealing and what can happen if you don’t.

The Vulnerability of Ducts

Though most ducts are comprised of sheet metal, they are surprisingly thin in many areas, especially at the junctions where the different sections meet. This makes ducts quite prone to developing leaks. Though these leaks are usually quite small, if there are enough of them they can cause quite a bit of damage. The US Department of Energy has stated that the average home heating system loses as much as 30% of its heat to leaks in the ductwork. That translates to a staggering amount of money wasted each year, as almost a third of the system’s heat output leaks out of the ducts before reaching its destination. That’s where duct sealing comes in.

Duct Sealing

Duct sealing is a process by which the ducts are inspected and sealed to prevent leaks and other issues. First, the technician will visually inspect each section of the ductwork for leaks and other issues. In addition to wasting quite a bit of heat, leaks in the ducts can let in moisture and dust. This promotes mold growth, which releases spores that can lower indoor air quality and make people sick. Once the leaks are found and closed, a number of different chemicals can be applied as antiseptics. This kills any viruses or bacteria that might be lurking in the ducts. Though you may be tempted to try and seal the ducts yourself, it’s not a good idea. Professional technicians possess the tools and knowledge to find any possible leaks and seal them. If you try it yourself, it is very likely you will miss some of them.

If you’d like to know more, call Cal-West Air Conditioning. We provide duct sealing services throughout San Diego.

What Are the Steps of Air Balancing?

January 8th, 2015

Have you ever wondered if there was a way to make sure that the air coming from each register in your home was equal? There is, and it’s called air balancing. Air balancing isn’t just the simple act of seeing how much air comes from each register. It is a process by which a number of different tests and necessary adjustments help to balance the air in your entire HVAC system while also determining the performance of your system. If this sounds like something you and your HVAC system will benefit from, call Cal-West Air Conditioning today and schedule an appointment for air balancing in San Diego today.

TAB

Air balancing is also known as TAB – testing, adjusting and balancing. The reason air balancing has become important is that HVAC systems have become increasingly more complex over the years; this has made it difficult to know whether or not air is being delivered in a balanced way. Air conducting allows you to know exactly how much air is coming from each register.

How It Works

At the start of an air balancing appointment, a certified air balancing expert will arrive at your home and discuss the issues you may be having, including problems like hot and cold spots and varying temperatures room by room. Then the technician will set up a device known as an air balancing hood at each supply register to accurately measure the volume of air flow coming from that particular register. The air balancing hood helps verify if your ductwork is installed properly, can help pinpoint any issues involving room comfort and will also tell you how many BTUs of energy are being delivered into a particular room. Once testing with the air balancing hood is complete, the technician may also employ use of manometers to measure the pressure throughout the system and hygrometers, which measure the temperature and humidity levels of the air coming through each supply register. Once these tests are complete, the technician will have a clear picture as to what needs adjusting in order to correctly balance the air in your system, and he or she will embark on that work.

Air balancing in San Diego can greatly improve comfort and your energy efficiency. Think your home can benefit from air balancing? Call Cal-West Air Conditioning today!

Types of Safety Devices on a Gas Furnace

January 5th, 2015

Furnaces used to have a poor reputation as they were not only very inefficient for heating, but also posed serious safety threats. The earliest furnaces used a standing gas pilot that was lit at all times—unless some outside circumstance caused the flame to go out. If the homeowner was not home at that moment and couldn’t feel the lack of heat, or if there was no need for heating at the time, there would be no way to tell that the pilot light had gone out. But gas would continue to flow from the gas valve, which meant a gas leak which could prove deadly.

Thankfully, this began to improve many decades ago, with the standard changing to standing pilot ignition systems that also contained a thermocouple, a part that is able to detect when there is no flame present. The thermocouple shuts off the gas and the system would need to be manually reset in most cases. But these days, modern furnaces do not use a standing pilot ignition system, are incredibly efficient and have even more safety features than ever before, some of which are described below.

  • Flame Sensor: Today’s furnaces generally use an intermittent pilot or a hot surface ignition system, both of which only utilize the gas when the heating cycle begins. Although the pilot light does not need to remain lit at all times, there is still a type of flame sensor that detects when the gas is running but there is no flame so that it can send out a signal to the controls and the gas valve can be closed off.
  • Air Pressure Switch: Modern furnaces contain an important part that older ones did not: the draft inducer. This is a blower that helps to push gases out of the combustion chamber after the heating cycle so that they can fully vent and so that none are left behind that may interfere with the next cycle. As an added feature, an air pressure switch senses when there is not enough pressure moving through the vents due to a draft inducer problem, and it shuts off the gas.
  • Limit Switch: The limit switch essentially keeps the furnace from overheating. If the temperature in the furnace chamber exceeds the set temperature on the limit switch it will also make sure gas stops flowing from the valve.

Call the trained professionals at Cal-West Air Conditioning and ask whether a new efficient furnace may be your best option for heating in San Diego.

When New Year’s Day Was Not on January 1st

January 1st, 2015

Some holidays fall on shifting calendar days for every year, such as Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November) and Easter (the first Sunday after the first full moon to occur on or after March 21). Other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween, are fixed. No holiday has a more solid calendar date attached to it than New Year’s Day. It has to fall on January 1st because it celebrates the first day of a new year. That only makes sense…

…except that, like most things that at first appear obvious, there is a bit more to the story. The beginning of the year was not always on the first of January. As with an enormous numbers of traditions in the Western World, the establishment of January 1st as the inaugural day of a new year goes back to the ancient Romans.

The modern solar calendar is derived from the Roman model, but the earliest Roman calendars did not have 365 days in a year spread over 12 months. Instead, there were 304 days spread over 10 months. The Romans believed this calendar originated with the mythical founder of the city, Romulus. If Romulus were a real person, we can credit him with a poor understanding of the seasons, as this abbreviated calendar soon got out of sync with Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Numa, one of the Kings of Rome (probably also fictional) receives credit for creating a longer year with two added months, Ianuarius and Februarius, bringing the number of days in the year to 355. The new month of Ianuarius, named after Ianus (Janus in contemporary spelling), the god of beginnings, would eventually be known in English as January. But when this new calendar was instituted, January was not the first month. March, named after the god of war, remained the first month, and March 1st was New Year’s Day.

This extended calendar still did not keep in synch with the seasons. In 45 BCE, Julius Caesar instituted reforms to align the calendar correctly according to calculations of astronomers, with an additional 10 days distributed across the year. January also became set as the first month, and offerings to the god Janus on this day started the tradition we now know as New Year’s. The date still fluctuated during the ensuing centuries, with a number of Western European holy days treated as the beginning of the year instead. It wasn’t until the next calendar reform in 1582, the Gregorian Calendar, that the date of the New Year was fixed at January 1st.

However you choose to celebrate the beginning of the current calendar, everyone here at Cal-West Air Conditioning hopes you have a wonderful 2015!