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HVAC and Solar Services Serving All of Solano, Napa & Contra Costa Counties, and the Bay Area

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.

Why Choose

A-1 Guaranteed?

  • 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
Recent News

OUR BLOGS

Maximize Energy Efficiency with Load Calculations, Insulation, and Airflow

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?

Wrong.

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

4 Ways to Synch Up Your Home HVAC System to Smart Devices

After a decade of the smartphone, you can now add the new element of smart houses to your modern lifestyle. If you’re lucky enough to have both, then you can make your life even simpler by syncing your home to your device.

One of the main reasons you would want to do this is to add a little comfort in your home. Now, you can connect your smart thermostat to your smartphone so that when you walk in the door after a long day at work, your home is already at an ideal temperature for your comfort.

With the right app, you can easily sync your home HVAC system to your smartphone and never worry about coming home to stifling heat in the summer or freezing cold in the winter. With these four apps, you can control your home environment from anywhere so that your home will be perfect every time you return.

 

Ecobee

The Ecobee app provides an easy way to control your HVAC smart thermostat. The app can be used with any device with ease. Wireless temperature sensors can also be installed, which can track the temperature of different zones within your house. With these sensors, you can identify areas of the home that tend to be cooler or hotter than the rest of the house and make the necessary adjustments so you have an even temperature throughout. The app is free and can be used from both Android and Apple devices.

 

Nest

The Nest app comes with two different options: the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat E, both of which can be used on either Android or Apple devices. These apps not only easily manage your HVAC system but can apply energy saving techniques that can be adjusted from any location. In addition to managing your system, you can also manage your bills at the same time.

 

House Wise

How does saving 20% on heating and cooling energy costs sound? House Wise is an Energy Star certified comfort management device. They provide features that extend beyond your traditional “smart” device.” In fact, this device allows for access control from almost anywhere through Wi-fi. Users can also pull energy reports from any tablet or mobile device. Stayed informed, save money, and reduce your footprint with custom energy tips given right from the device itself. House Wise truly gives new meaning to the word “smart device” by setting the standard for other comfort management devices to follow.

 

Google Home

To control your system from inside your home, you can use the Google Home app. This is a smart speaker that sits in your home and responds to your voice commands. Google Home works through Google’s personal assistant. Users need only start by saying “Okay Google,” followed by their specific instructions and the device will take it from there.

You can use Google Home along with a smart thermostat or any of the other smartphone apps to gain complete control of your home environment.

 

So, whether you have just had solar power installation in Solano or you’re just looking for a simple way to control your HVAC system and maintain a consistent comfort level in your home, any one of these apps will always give you the perfect environment to come home to.

Stay Ahead Of The Change With A-1 Guaranteed

Undoubtedly, one of the most important resources we consume as humans is energy. So many things depend on it to power equipment, heat our homes, and keep the world running. Over the years, the term “clean energy” has been thrown around countless times, and it has built up more and more momentum. Clean energy is collected from renewable resources, which is the opposite of the type of energy we use now, which is fossil fuels. Eliminating the use of fossil fuels means homes will no longer be heated by gas, which is what California plans to do by the year 2045.

The Goal

In September of 2018, Governor of California Jerry Brown signed a law that would require California to harvest 100 percent of its electricity from wind power, solar power, and hydropower by 2045. This change is one of many that have been occurring around the world to combat climate change. The new law gives California the most extensive goals for clean energy of any state in the U.S., making it the leader in climate conservation efforts.

What It Means for Gas Heating

Switching from fossil fuels to clean energy means much will change when it comes to the appliances that currently run on those fuels. Heating appliances that use fossil fuels, including natural gas, will change to systems that produce heat electrically.

If this has you wondering how you can plan for new electric heating and air conditioning, the  Electrification Professionals at A-1 Guaranteed & Air Conditioning, Inc. are prepared to show you new and exciting ways to heat and cool your home.

What You Can Do to Prepare

If you need a new system, consider not replacing it with yet another gas furnace.  Let us make your home more comfortable than ever using a clean energy, energy-efficient system using mini heat pump technology.  In addition, most of the costs can be offset with just a few solar panels.

As electrification is adopted, the gas companies will need to spread their operating and maintenance cost to the ever depleting consumer base of their product resulting in gas prices potentially exploding four to five times from today’s rates over the next ten to twenty years.

With these changes on the horizon, Californians have been given the exciting opportunity to spearhead the clean energy movement. Finding heating and air conditioning professionals who are ready for the change may seem impossible , but A-1 Guaranteed is leading the challenge and staying ahead of the curve as the first in residential electrification. We can help you embrace the change!

California taking the initiative and moving forward with this clean energy project will no doubt have its ups and downs. Eliminating fossil fuels will prove beneficial to the environment and to us, but consumers must start planning now. It is important to stay ahead of this change so we’re not caught off guard or waiting until the last minute to get everything squared away.

Contact our experts at A-1 Guaranteed today to learn how we can help you get ahead of the game and make the change to clean energy for your home!

Heat Pump Water Heaters: How They Work and Help You Save Money

The Benefits of Heat Pump Water Heaters

What Is a Heat Pump Water Heater?

Known in the trade as hybrid electric hot water.  Heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of burning gas and creating carbon. They work much like the refrigerator in your home only in reverse. A small compressor – a fan – and a heat exchanger all work together to squeeze the heat out of almost any temperature air and transfer it to the water.

 

Benefits of Heat Pump Water Heaters?

This system uses a fraction of the energy of Traditional gas water heating technology.  In addition to being quiet and clean to operate, nearly all operating costs can be offset with just a few solar panels.  Water usage doesn’t have to change, still allowing you to take all the showers, washing dishes and laundry as you have in the past, but with these units; it’s all done for a fraction of the cost you paid before.  Another benefit of a heat pump water heater is that it doesn’t produce carbon, helping the environment.

In most cases, a standard 40-gallon water heater would be replaced with a 65 or 80-gallon hybrid electric water heater.  Since they use such a minimal amount of energy, the water heats over a long period of time (usually at night when rates are lower) making it available when you need it, even if you have an extra load of dishes to do.

Advanced Solar Electric Strategy is another option available to you which provides a reserve power mode.  An example of when this function would be useful is if you are expecting guests and will need more hot water than normal.  You can set the programming from heat pump to hybrid, automatically optimizing hot water production. When the guests leave, simply set it back to heat pump for ultimate performance.

The Energy Efficiency of these units is measured in coefficient of performance (also referred to as COP). The COP on most units are around 3.4 to 3.7, meaning for $1.00 worth of electricity you can make $3.40 to $3.70 worth of hot water.  Compare that to even the most efficient tankless water heater at .98% efficiency where you get $.98 of hot water for every $1.00 of gas.

 

Considerations for Installing a Heat Pump Water Heater

There are some modifications required for installation but generally the cost is about the same as an efficient gas tankless system.  If there is space in your electrical panel and garage (or wherever your existing unit is) you can likely have one installed. Heat pump water heaters are a great investment for most homeowners.  If you’re looking to save money on your utility bills and reduce unnecessary carbon production, consider installing a heat pump water heater in your home today!

If you need help with installation and repairs or have any questions about heat pump water heaters, contact A-1 Guaranteed for heating and air conditioning services in Solano.

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