Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning Blog : Archive for February, 2015

Some Things to Know Before Installing a New Hot Water Heater This Spring

Friday, February 27th, 2015

April is the time of year for flowers, taxes and this year, new water heater regulations. While new water heater regulations may not scream “headline” to you, these new mandates will affect those who purchase a new hot water heater after March of this year. What are the new regulations? They are a set of mandates that requires new standards for hot water heater manufacturing that increases the efficiency factor (EF) of all water heaters moving forward. This may seem like something of a nuisance, but it’s estimated that improving the energy efficiency of hot water heaters will save, on a nationwide basis, 152 million metric tons of greenhouse gases over the next 25 years as well as $63 billion in energy costs.

The best way to see what the changes will be are to look at water heaters by type. For the most part, tankless water heaters already meet all the standards set forth in the updated regulations. This doesn’t mean that if you have a storage tank water heater you have to run out and purchase a new one; your current water heater will be grandfathered in. Rather, it means that if you purchase a new tank water heater after March of this year, you may be looking at increased costs for purchase and installation, and you may have to make more room for your storage water hot water heater, as it will likely be larger in size. Here’s why:

Required Changes for Hot Water Heaters Powered by Gas, Oil or Propane:

  • Better insulation (this mostly affects tank water heaters)
  • No more standing pilot ignition, only electronic ignition (for combustion hot water tanks)
  • Condensing capability
  • Better baffles and dampers for flues

Required Changes for Hot Water Heaters Powered by Electricity:

  • Better insulation, including on valves and piping
  • Heat pump technology for storage tanks over 55 gallons in size

These new regulations become law as of April 16th of this year.

If you are in need of a new water heater in Colorado Springs and have concerns about how these new mandates will affect you, call Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning today.

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How Does Zone Heating Work?

Friday, February 20th, 2015

If you’ve been looking for a way to customize your heating, you may want to consider the installation of zone heating in your Woodland Park, CO, home. Zone heating allows you to heat your home in independent zones, as designated by you. There’ll be no more complaints about being too hot or too cold, issues with uneven heating or wasting energy heating space no one is in. So how does zone heating work? We’ll explain below.

The Main Components

These are the main components in a zone heating system:

  • The motorized dampers
  • The main control panel
  • The thermostats for each zone

The first step of any zone heating installation is determining with your technician what the zones will be. Zones can be individual rooms, a group of rooms, a floor of your home, etc.; the decision is yours. Once the zones are designated, your supply ducts are outfitted with motorized dampers that are connected to a main control panel. The technician will then install a thermostat into each zone and connect each thermostat to the control panel. When the system is operational, the control panel will open and close the motorized dampers as needed to maintain the temperatures set in each zone.

Why Consider Installing Zone Heating?

Here are some reasons why zone heating may be a good choice for your home:

  • Customized comfort – as mentioned above, zone heating systems allow you to customize your comfort throughout your home, increasing comfort and functionality.
  • Better energy efficiency – a zone heating system allows you to use only the heating you need because you can shut down a zone without affecting the rest of your duct system.
  • Less wear on your heating system – when you use only the amount of heating you need, your system runs less; this helps reduce the amount of wear on your system.

If zone heating in your Woodland Park, CO, home sounds like it may be a good option, call Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning today!

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Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

Saturday, 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 Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

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Ways a Heat Recovery Ventilator Helps Your Home

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Airflow and indoor climate go hand in hand, with the former affecting the latter in many ways. Often, the relationship between air circulation and climate control results in frustration for the homeowner. You may want to bring in some fresh air during the winter, but you don’t want to open a window and let heat out of the house. The alternative, however, is to let your heating system continue to dry out the air, which is uncomfortable and unhealthy. Luckily, there is actually a way to both get a steady supply of fresh air and keep your indoor climate intact. Read on to find out what a heat recovery ventilator is, and how it benefits your home.

What is a Heat Recovery Ventilator?

A heat recovery ventilator is a device designed to improve the home’s ventilation, while simultaneously maintaining its insulation from heat transfer. It can be used as an integrated part of an HVAC system, but can also operate as a stand-alone device. It is essentially a square or rectangular casing with 4 openings, one each for outgoing and incoming air flow on both the inside and outside parts of the ventilator. It is often installed on an exterior wall or in a window, as it needs access to both indoor and outdoor air.

Inside the unit is a heat exchanger, essentially a configuration of pipes through which the air flows in and out of the ventilator. As the air from inside travels out through the heat exchanger, outside air is traveling through a parallel section on the way inside. Heat always tries to move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. As such, when the two air flows pass each other in the heat exchanger, the warmer air will transfer much of its heat to the cooler air. This is why the part is called a heat exchanger.

How Heat Recovery Ventilators Benefit Your Home

This transfer of heat is what makes heat recovery ventilators so useful. By using a heat exchanger, the ventilator can bring in a constant flow of fresh air without adversely affecting the climate inside. Cold air that enters the ventilator will be warm by the time it actually enters the home, while warm air will be cool. This keeps the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

If you’d like to know more about how a heat recovery ventilator helps your home, call Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide heat recovery ventilators throughout Security-Widefield, CO.

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