Our Reputation speaks for Itself
A-1 Guaranteed is a family-owned and operated business that serves HVAC and Solar Services Serving All Of Solano, Napa and Contra Costa Counties, Fairfield, Vacaville, and the Bay Area with Heating and Air Conditioning, Solar, Tankless Water Heaters, Windows, Insulation and/ or Duct Replacement needs. As one of the premier service businesses in the area, we have helped thousands of satisfied, loyal customers improve the energy efficiency of their homes and offices.
We are available Monday through Friday and by appointment on Saturday. Our fast and efficient attention to your needs will prove our dedication to our customers is the foundation of our business. Our professional staff is knowledgeable and looks after your best interests when it comes to your environmental comfort needs. We are an Energy Upgrade CA participating contractor. We are honored that our customers consider us #1 in providing trustworthy service and dependable comfort.
- Voted best heating/cooling company for 14 years
- Voted Best of The Bay for 5 years of KRON 4 TV
- Commercial and Residential Installation
- Angie’s List Super Service Award for 2 Years
- Energy Upgrade Participating Contractor
- Factory Trained Installers and Techs
- Drug-free Environment Enforced and Maintained
- Better Business Bureau Honor Roll 20 Years
- Diamond Certified Company
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certified
- Bay Area Certified Green Business
- All employees fully background checked for your safety
Cooling Your Home without the Air Conditioner Running
Summer means many things to different people. To most, it means swimming, cookouts, camping, and baseball games. It really is the season of enjoying the great outdoors and spending time with friends and family. However, one of the defining points of summer can also be one of the most uncomfortable and frustrating: the heat. Some people prefer to stay inside where they have their air conditioners running, and while that is a great way to combat the heat, it is also a great way to spend lots of money and energy. However, there are ways that you can cool off your home without running your AC, and following are a few of them.
1. Add Less Heat Inside
You may not realize it, but inside your home there are many sources of indoor heat ranging from appliances to electronics. Keeping these turned off or limiting their use can cool off your home a great deal. Here are some of the heat sources in your home and how they emit heat:
- Lighting: Traditional incandescent light bulbs use more of the electricity they use into heat, rather than light. To ensure your light bulbs aren’t giving off heat into your home you can switch to LED light bulbs or fluorescent bulbs.
- Showers: If you enjoy starting your day with a hot shower, make sure you turn your bathroom fan on to get all the steamy air out of your home. Leaving the steam in your bathroom can let it spread throughout your home and allow heat and uncomfortable humidity to build up.
- Cooking: Using smaller cooking appliances can help your home stay cool. When you use the oven or the stove, your air conditioning unit has to work harder to get the heat out of your home. You can use a toaster oven, slow cooker, or a microwave to lessen the amount of heat your appliances give off.
2. Absorb Less Heat
There are actions you can take to make your home less absorbent to heat, so you don’t have to run your air conditioner as often. Here is what you can do to make your home absorb less heat:
- Shade Plants: Plants like vines and shrubs can be put in specific locations around your yard and your home to provide shade. Climbing vines can shade a patio, large plants like bamboo can be put in front of windows to prevent sun shining through, and many other plants can be used to provide shade.
- A Cool Roof: When it is time to replace your old roof, consider for your next one a roof made out of special materials or ones with coatings that reflect the sun’s rays and result in a cooler interior for your home.
- Light-Colored Paint: One of the key factors of keeping your home cool in the summer is the color of your home. Painting your house a light color will help it stay cooler in the summertime; dark colors absorb light and heat, while lighter colors reflect them.
3. Insulate and Seal
Adding insulation to your home has many benefits, and the majority of them are apparent in the summer. Having insulation slows down the transfer of heat through walls by interrupting heat transfer, keeping the hot air out and the cooler air inside. There are ways to improve your home’s insulation:
- Insulate Your Attic: Many people may dismiss the value of insulation but in reality, it matters a great deal. If your attic is well-insulated, it’ll keep hot air up and away from the living areas of your home better. With A-1’s insulation and air sealing services, your indoor air quality will dramatically improve and energy costs will go down, so be sure to contact us for a free, no-obligation quote.
- Seal Doors and Windows: Sealing air leaks in doors and windows with weather-stripping or caulk can prevent hot air from moving through large gaps and into your home. Most weather stripping is needed at door and window seams.
- Keep Windows Shut: The mistake people make here is leaving their windows open during the day to get the hot air out of their home. What you should be doing is keep your windows shut during the day because the insulation your windows have can keep the heat out. In the evening is when you should open the windows because that’s when the air has cooled off.
4. Maintain Your Air Conditioner
Keeping your air conditioning unit maintained will ensure that it is running efficiently, and it will prevent it from working harder than it has to. Having a poorly maintained AC unit results in less efficiency, a bigger workload, turning on and off more often, and more repair costs. The best way to maintain your system is by having one of our experts in HVAC in Richmond come out and do it for you. In addition, you can:
- Clear Away Debris: Make sure there are no dead leaves or tall grass in the condenser unit of your central AC system to open up the air flow and allow heat to disperse efficiently.
- Clean the Coils: Check your evaporator coil for debris and dust occasionally. An easy way to clear out the debris is using the upholstery attachment on your household vacuum.
- Keep your thermostat at the highest comfortable temperature setting possible, especially during the day. Don’t turn off your thermostat if you are gone for the day, just turn it up. This puts much less stress on your system.
There are many ways you can keep your home cool in the summer without using your air conditioning non-stop. Not running your AC unit unless it becomes absolutely necessary will be cost-effective for you and it can also improve the lifespan of your unit. To make sure your air conditioner is always running efficiently, take advantage of our maintenance services for HVAC in Richmond. Contact us for more information
The Importance of Annual HVAC Maintenance
Many people often question whether it is really necessary to have their HVAC units serviced annually. Plenty of people go years without annual maintenance being done on their systems, so what’s all the fuss about regarding the upkeep?
While you may think annual tune-ups aren’t necessary, what you may not realize is that little by little, without maintenance, your system works harder than it should be, it’s losing efficiency with each passing year, it’s wearing out sooner than it should be, and it’s costing you more money to run. The cost of a tune-up is paid for and then some when you consider all the money you save on heating and AC bills, repair charges, and the cost of a new system when yours fails prematurely due to neglect.
Following are five reasons why it is a good idea to get your HVAC units serviced annually.
1. Regular Maintenance Usually Costs Less Than a Repair Job
There is no way to guarantee that your unit won’t break down if you skip your annual tune-up. It may or may not continue to work through to the next year. However, if it were to malfunction, it would cost you much more than a servicing appointment would. It’s true, tune-ups can’t prevent HVAC unit problems from happening in the future, but during these appointments, your technician can find small problems with your unit and take care of them before they escalate into bigger, more expensive issues.
2. A Well-Cared for HVAC Unit Lasts Longer
If your HVAC unit is serviced annually, it likely won’t need as many repairs (or repairs that are as costly) as a unit that is not annually serviced. Fewer repairs are good news for your wallet, your comfort level, and your stress level! In addition, maintaining your HVAC unit will ensure that it is running at high performance. There are many options available to you if you’re looking for services for your HVAC in Walnut Creek and the surrounding areas with A-1 Guaranteed.
3. A Spring Tune-Up Will Give Your HVAC a Head Start
Springtime is a great time for getting your HVAC unit serviced so it can be ready for the summer. Not only will this ensure that you’ll be nice and cool when the warmer summer months hit, but it will also reduce your chances of being caught off guard with a system breakdown leaving you hot and uncomfortable in the heat. Emergency calls and off-hour service calls can be expensive – reduce the chance that you’ll need one with regular maintenance.
4. Neglecting Regular Maintenance Can Void Your Warranty
Most HVAC units come with a warranty that is limited from the manufacturer. Little do people know that some warranties may call for regular maintenance on your HVAC unit. Make sure you check your warranty to see if this applies to you and if it does, the next step is finding a service company to schedule tune ups for your unit. A voided warranty can be an expensive shock when your furnace or A/C goes out unexpectedly and the repair or replacement costs aren’t covered.
5. The EPA, EnergyStar, and the USDE Recommend Regular Maintenance
Due to the energy efficiency benefits that come along with having your HVAC unit serviced annually, EnergyStar, the USDE, and the EPA all recommend annually servicing yours. It is crucial to have your HVAC systems serviced every year and better yet, twice a year: your furnace in the fall, and your air conditioner in the spring. From saving you the trouble of paying for a repair job, to simply ensuring that your home is kept cool in the summer and warm in the winter, servicing your HVAC units is completely necessary.
The Whole-House-as-a-System Approach
If you’re in need of maintenance for your HVAC in Walnut Creek, we have you covered! We also are the area’s leading insulation and air sealing experts, which are two extremely important components of keeping energy costs and consumption low. We take an approach to home performance that considers a house as an entire system; after all, a well-maintained air conditioner is only going to go so far keeping your home comfortable if poor insulation and air leaks let the cool air escape!
This house-as-a-system approach goes above and beyond what the average HVAC company understands, but it makes sense because each system is directly connected and closely related to the others in a home. Proper insulation and air sealing, in addition to a properly maintained HVAC system, will prevent small concerns from becoming complex problems. For example, what starts out as tiny air leaks in the building’s shell can cause irregularities in the inside pressure, drawing in dirty, unconditioned air from the attic and underfloor areas. Now you’d have an indoor air quality problem, along with possible breathing issues, eye irritation issues, and more. With A-1’s insulation and air sealing services, your indoor air quality will dramatically improve and energy costs will go down, so be sure to contact us for a free, no-obligation quote.
Contact us today to schedule your maintenance appointment or to learn more about how we can improve your entire home performance with insulation and air sealing services.
Switching to Electric Heating Systems
Signed into law in 2018, California’s SB100 makes giant leaps towards using energy that is 100% renewable. This means that gradually over the next few years the state will have to make adjustments with how they get their energy, and this includes homeowners. Most homes that are not modern come equipped with a gas furnace, so homeowners will have to know the steps to take to prepare for this change to ensure they save time, money, and hassle.
You may be wondering: What all does this law call for?
This law puts the state of California on a path to using 100% renewable energy by the year 2045. This means that the use of fossil fuels will be gradually fizzled out, and instead clean electricity that will be produced by solar means will be the main source of energy. This also means that homeowners who wait to switch to electric heating may be subject to higher gas bills. In ten years, the $200 gas bill you’ve always paid could be amped up to $600 or $800.
So, what can you do to be ahead of this change and ensure that money and time will be saved?
Replacing your gas furnace with electric heating is the most important thing you should do. With the new law, electric heating will be the most financially viable option. The process of switching, however, can be a daunting one without calling on our experts in HVAC systems for help. Finding the right system that fits your home is crucial to ensure that your home is properly heated and you don’t have to worry about unnecessary costs.
Trust the HVAC Experts
At A-1 Guaranteed Heating & Air Inc. we can provide exceptional service for you involving the switch from gas to electric heating. Our experts are well-trained and well-versed in the guidelines of the law pushing for cleaner energy, and they’re here to help you. Using comprehensive load calculations and energy audits, we determine the exact size of system your house needs to ensure you’re comfortable no matter where you are in your home.
Deciding on which system is best for your home and your budget is paramount. Though there are multiple choices of electric heating available, the one guaranteed to save you the most money is our ducted inverter systems. These systems will use as much energy as a blow dryer to heat up not only one room, but your entire home.
California’s SB100 means many different things will change in the state’s future in the push for clean energy. This involves changing certain appliances around the house, like heating, from gas to clean electric energy. There are definitely some challenges about the changes ahead, but they don’t have to be overwhelming. A-1 Guaranteed and our experts are dedicated to helping homeowners plan ahead and get started with this change from gas to electric heating. With our expertise, you can guarantee you’ll have an electric heating system installed in your home that keeps you comfortable and keeps your costs down.
Contact us today with any questions you may have regarding making your home’s appliances and HVAC system compliant with the new law, and be ready for the required change in heating for your home.
The Keys to Efficient Energy in the Contra Costa Area
Energy efficiency is a heavy buzzword lately when it comes to matters of the home – and for good reason. With air quality a growing concern and energy costs rising steadily, it makes sense that homeowners want to make sure their homes are as energy efficient as possible. Three key factors in determining energy efficiency are room by room airflow, insulation, and load calculations for HVAC systems. If you’re in the market for some home energy upgrades in Solano, you’ll need to know how these three factors can play a major role in your home’s energy usage.
Load Calculations for HVAC Systems
A common problem we see in the heating and cooling industry is that many HVAC systems today are too large for the homes in which they are installed. At first, it might seem like a good idea to have a bigger system because – well, bigger is better, isn’t it? It would make sense that the bigger the system, the quicker it will bring the air to the desired temperature and the less it will have to work, right?
Actually, having a heating and cooling system that is too large for your home can cause quite a few problems and end up costing you much more money in the long run. For example, if you have an oversized air conditioning unit, you can expect:
- A larger cost to install the unit
- A sticky house because the unit does not run long enough to dehumidify the air
- Wide uncomfortable temperature differentials
- A shorter lifespan for the system because of how often it turns on and off.
- Longer run times not allowing the proper mixture of air for true comfort
- Higher utility bills
It is important for your home to have an appropriately sized HVAC system so you won’t have to worry about the cost of these issues – which can be extensive.
If you are on a mission to improve your home with a new HVAC system or even new insulation for energy efficiency in Contra Costa, keep in mind that having a larger-than-needed system isn’t going to help lower your energy costs and will most likely increase your out-of-pocket expenses over the next several years.
You might be wondering: How do I know what size is ideal for my home?
The most common and recommended method for determining system size is by using load calculations, which the best HVAC experts in the Bay Area will know. Insist on choosing professionals who use load calculations for their customers and not just estimates or guesswork. Load calculations ensure that the chosen system will provide the amount of heating and cooling a house actually needs. Following is more information regarding load calculation and how crucial it is for proper room by room airflow.
What are Load Calculations?
Due to the issue of improper sizes of HVAC systems, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) has developed the Manual J protocol to outline the calculations necessary for proper system sizing. Engineers would do these calculations in the past with slide rules and/or pen and paper. With modern computer programs today, however, it can be done more precisely, and with fewer resources and time required. At A-1 Guaranteed, we use Right-Suite Universal by Wrightsoft to make sure our calculations are accurate and provide the best results.
What Information is Needed to Do These Calculations?
Information like the home’s insulation levels, the square footage of all areas and surfaces that gain and or lose heat, orientation of the home, and more are entered accurately. The output when calculating represents how much heating and cooling the house needs when conditions demand it the most. Each room and zone in the house is registered in BTUs per hour.
How Accurate are Load Calculations?
Before Manual J load calculations, contractors had to rely on approximations, like rules of thumb, to determine the proper size of HVAC systems for homes. Calculations were based on the total square footage of the floor area, which produced a “rule of thumb” stating that areas generally use 400 to 600 square feet per ton. However, every home is different and the slightest change in variables can impact that number. The same house rotated 90 degrees, for example, could change the cooling load by 25% or more. (unfortunately, most contractors still use these rules of thumb, providing inaccurate results).
Using the Manual J load calculations, what we find is that the old 400-600 feet/ton rule is often putting in an air conditioning unit that is 2-4 times larger than needed.
In our climate area, we are averaging about 1000 to 1200 square-foot per ton when sized with Manual J.
Room by Room Airflow
One of the most critical factors that is affected by an improperly sized HVAC system is room by room airflow. The way air is brought in, flows through, and is removed from certain areas is known as room air distribution. Proper airflow is crucial to energy efficiency with HVAC systems; if you have poor airflow, your air conditioner and furnace will work harder and use more energy, reducing the lifespan of your unit.
How Proper Airflow works:
A properly installed central air conditioning system injects conditioned air blending it with room air to produce the desired temperature and humidity level. When the system is set to cool, air that is supplied is generally around 55 degrees F and is delivered through properly designed diffusers at high velocity. This velocity breaks turbulence and causes the room air to mix with the air that is supplied. This is where oversized systems miss the mark. Proper airflow dilutions requires time and velocity, two things that are not provided by a system that turns off and on frequently. The type of system used for your home will determine the overall energy efficiency of it, so choosing the correctly sized system is critical for maximum savings and comfort. If another contractor has recommended replacing your existing system with the same exact sized system, chances are that you will see very little savings on operating cost and very little change in your overall comfort.
How Insulation Affects Air Flow
Another important component of an efficient home is the thermal envelope and insulation. When you’re looking for ways to save energy and money on home climate control, insulation for energy efficiency in Contra Costa could be the first step.
It is often thought that when you’re trying to cut energy costs that large changes are necessary, like replacing all the windows, when in truth, insulation can actually have the biggest impact on energy ratings and performance. It is, by far; one of the least expensive upgrades you can invest in.
Insulation is the first line of defense when it comes to preventing unwanted and or unneeded hot or cold air from entering areas of the house. When people first think of insulation, what most often comes to mind is the “pink fluffy stuff” within the walls of our homes that keep hot air out in the summer and warm air in during the winter. Think of attic insulation as the distance between you and the uncomfortable environment that is your attic in the summer.
In reality, however; insulation includes much more than that. Sealing air leaks around recessed lights, door frames, plumbing, and even electrical boxes is also vital. A two story home often can often have large cavities that connect the attic to the center floor, these areas can contribute to a loss of energy.
You might be surprised at how much of impact insulation in these little areas makes. In fact, up to 30% of a home’s energy loss can be attributed to air leaks.
The ABC’s of Insulation
Think of it this way: the most important is A for Attic, B for Below (under the house) and C for Center (walls). If you’re interested in adding insulation to your home, the basics of thermal science is that heat rises so you may want to start with the attic; it’s the most beneficial place to add insulation and will deliver the most “bang for your buck.” It is important to have your insulation looked at by someone who understands how the insulation is interacting with the HVAC and the duct system. Many people today choose to use blow-in insulation because it’s quick to install, easy to place, and can get in between even the trickiest nooks and crannies.
The Time is Now for Energy Efficiency
Being conscientious about energy efficiency is more important than ever. There is a lot to keep in mind when thinking about home energy upgrades in Solano, and it can seem confusing to try to get everything in line for maximum energy efficiency. At A-1 Guaranteed, our team is dedicated to helping you find the perfect solution for your energy efficiency project, from the appropriate size air conditioner to the best insulation for your needs.
Our experts can also perform an *energy audit to give you detailed recommendations for actionable solutions that will maximize your home’s energy efficiency.
Contact us today for more information on energy audits, insulation, load calculations, or room-by-room airflow. Get a free no-obligation quote and take the first step to an energy-efficient, healthy home today.
*energy audits may incur a fee