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Paul Wyatt in a face mask

The following is a message from our owner, Paul Wyatt, concerning the spread of COVID-19. For more information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/ (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or https://www.doh.wa.gov/ (Washington State Department of Health).

COVID-19 Letter

Are you interested in getting a $500 tax credit this season? How about $1,000+? Today, we’re going to tell you how you might be eligible to do just that!

This credit is for people who have installed Energy-Star-certified products in the 2019 tax year. If you’re saying, “Oh man, I installed my new efficient furnace back in 2017!” … you are still eligible for the credit if you are willing to go back and file an amended tax return for that year. (We recommend consulting a tax preparer if you plan on doing this!)

The tax credit is also for people who installed any renewable energy products last year. (With the same note about filing an amended return for installations done prior to 2019.)

So now, you’re probably wondering: “What products are eligible, and how much money am I getting off my tax return?”

These are both great questions!

For Renewable Energy Improvements:

– geothermal heat pumps

– wind turbines

– solar energy

– fuel cells

(We have installed and replaced plenty of water heater geothermal systems!)

The tax benefits for these improvements are quite significant. The tax credit is a percentage of the overall cost of the system. It also depends on when the system was installed. For systems installed in 2020, you get a credit equal to 26% of the system’s cost. For systems installed in 2021, you get a credit equal to 22% of the system’s cost. And unfortunately, if you install a system in 2022 or beyond, there are currently no tax credits in place, but they could always be renewed!

In fact, the renewal of the tax credit policy is exactly what happened with Energy-Star-certified systems.

For Energy-Star-Certified Home Improvements:

Back in 2018, people thought that it would be the last tax year to install these improvements and still get a tax credit. But in 2019, they announced that the credits have been extended through December 31st, 2020!

That gives us hope that these credits might keep being renewed in the coming years!

So, what qualifies for this credit?

Any Energy Star home improvement, like an A/C system or furnace, a water heater, insulation, roofs, or windows. Unfortunately, buying an Energy Star appliance like a refrigerator doesn’t count!

The full list of qualifying improvements and how much you’ll be credited can be found at this official link.

For example, if you installed a new and efficient air conditioner last year, your tax credit amount is $300, and if you installed an efficient gas furnace last year, you get a $150 credit.

For insulation and roofs, the credit is more significant, with insulation (bulk insulation or other weather-stripping solutions both being qualifying purchases) and metal / asphalt roofing netting you a credit of 10% of the cost. (There is a $500 limit.)

It’s true that the tax credits for renewable energy improvements are a bit more significant than the tax credits for the Energy Star products, but it’s so simple to get the credits! We’re glad we could share this opportunity with you.

If you’ve got any more questions for us (although unfortunately we can’t do your taxes for you!), you’re always free to give us a call at (509) 248-8368 or contact us online.

Right now, it’s more important than ever to take every precaution to clean and filter your air!

If you’re stuck inside, why not take a moment and read this blog on air quality solutions related to your ductwork? The average homeowner will invest in a high-quality filter … but then never think about how dirty ducts undo all that hard work!

Duct Sealing

Many people don’t know that if their ducts are leaking, dust and other contaminants can get through and pollute the home. That’s in addition to the danger that leaks cause due to fumes and exhaust leaking from your system into your home.

The best way to prevent this is with Aeroseal duct sealing, which not only stops contaminants from leaking through your ducts, but also ensures that cool and warm air is getting to where it needs to be – saving you money!

Did you know that up to 1/3 of money spent on heating and cooling the average home slips through the cracks, because of leaky ducts?

Up to HALF of all heated and cooled air doesn’t make it to the room it’s supposed to. That’s why you need to seal your ducts from the inside, with Aeroseal.

Duct Cleaning

For the same reason that you want to seal your ducts up tight, getting them cleaned routinely is also important.

You may know that your system recirculates the same air through your home many times a day. You’re breathing the same air over and over, so of course you want that air to be as clean as possible! That means you need some way of removing contaminants inside the ducts, no matter how tightly sealed they are.

A duct cleaning reduces dust moving through your living space. And of course, if left unchecked, that dust lands on your bedding, your floor, your kitchen surfaces … everywhere!

It also removes contaminants from pet dander to pollen to bacteria.

You might be wondering, how can we clean ducts that well? Well, our powerful vacuums are able to reach not only supply and return ducts, but also the diffusers and registers in every room.

Did you know that properly sealed and clean ducts are one of the most important components of indoor air quality, just as much so as air filters and air purification systems?

Either way, we hope we taught you a thing or two in this post!

If you’re interested in our duct-cleaning or duct-sealing services, or our high-quality air filters, schedule an appointment or call (509) 248-8368 .

At ThermAll, our guiding principle has always been to “Take care of our customers and our team members.”

This principle rings even louder as we take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19; while, as an essential service provider, we continue to support the health, comfort and safety of our community. We care deeply about the well-being of our customers and our team members and will continue to implement sanitizing and protective measures so that our office staff and technicians are here to help you with any heating, cooling or indoor air quality concerns.

If you need us, please do not hesitate to call us at (509) 248-8368 . Our office staff and technicians are here to help.

Thank you for trusting ThermAll to serve you!

Most of us can say we’d love to have a beautiful yard. Most of us can also say we haven’t had the time or the motivation to turn our yards into a perfectly manicured space that looks like it belongs in Better Homes and Gardens magazine! But what if we said, there’s a very easy way to make it look great? 

All you have to do is hide your A/C unit, or find another way to pretty it up.

Sure, we’re committed to selling reliable, top-rated, energy-efficient systems that save you money and save you the hassle of a breakdown. But while we are very happy with our Daikin A/C systems and other products, we admit that nothing about HVAC could be described as “beautiful” or “decor.”

And while the main function of an AC system is to quietly keep you cool, that doesn’t mean they have to be an eyesore in your yard!

Here are our top tips to beautify your A/C unit:

1. Clean It Up!

If your system is still full of leaf litter, the fins aren’t straight, or it’s totally dirty-looking, that’s something you can fix without the help of the pros. All you need is a Shop-Vac to get the junk out from in between the fins. You can then realign any bent fins with the help of a fin comb brush from a hardware store, which typically only costs around 10 bucks.

However, when it comes to things like unscrewing the grille and removing the fan to clean, or doing anything that requires shutting off power to the unit, like cleaning out your fins with a hose inside the unit, you’ll want to leave that to us pros.

2. Camouflage

Chances are, you’ve seen a camouflaged A/C unit before … or you haven’t seen it! Because that’s the point!

If you’ve seen one hidden by a fence or by a box made of wood pallets, it looks a lot better in the yard, right? Often, people will call the boxes “A/C covers.”

It’s easy to make your own if you’re fairly handy! Check out Pinterest for inspiration on design ideas.

And sure, you could always just buy a commercial A/C cover made out of tarp material, but we’re trying to beautify our yard, here!

3. Plants, plants, and more plants!

First off, we want to say we can’t get enough of the idea of plants as natural air purification systems!!

What we mean by that is, not only are plants great for adding oxygen to the air, but also, indoor plants can actually neutralize Volatile Organic Compounds that inevitably exist in your home, due to the home’s building materials, your furniture, and your cleaners and beauty products. These VOCs are no doubt in your home, and plants eliminate them.

But you can also start a little outdoor flower garden with planters, to beautify your A/C system.

You can do that by adding plants to your DIY A/C cover (for example, if you have wood pallets or colored concrete blocks hiding your A/C system, and then stack pots and planters on them).

Yes, the point of an A/C unit is not to look beautiful, but to work well. But with a little ingenuity, you can have a perfectly cool house and a perfectly cool yard! If you need an A/C tune-up to make sure everything is running smoothly, contact us or call us at (509) 248-8368 .

You’ve heard that UV rays are bad for your skin … so when you hear about UV light as a method of killing germs and improving your home’s air, does it work? And is it safe?

What is UV Light?

Before we can answer those two questions, let’s quickly go back to school for a lesson on what exactly UV light is.

Basically, it’s a kind of light with a higher frequency than the colors we can see, but not as high as x-rays. When light has a higher frequency, that means that the waves of light travel faster. Why is that important?

Because since this light is faster and more energetic (especially UVC light, which is the fastest of all), then it’s better at breaking the DNA of germs.

How Do We Know It Works?

So, putting a UVC lamp in your duct sounds like a great idea, then. But is it actually safe or effective?

It’s true that UV radiation is harmful to human skin, but, for one thing, since it’s put in your ductwork, it’s being put inside a fixture that you are not exposed to. So the air going through the duct is sterilized and disinfected, without you getting exposed to those UV rays!

So it’s safe, but does it actually work?

Well, hospitals certainly think they do!

One study comparing hospital rooms that were VERY thoroughly cleaned with liquid cleaners, versus hospitals that were clean this way but ALSO with UV light, showed that the UV light killed an additional 30% of germs.

But the figures may be even higher than that!

One study showed that UV light is 99% effective, while Clorox wipes are 99.9% effective…but even though we’re all using quite a few Clorox wipes right now, you can’t exactly go inside your ductwork and wipe them down with Clorox wipes!

And, more importantly, you can’t wipe the AIR with Clorox wipes. Yes, you can completely sanitize your surfaces, but the only way to tackle AIRBORNE germs is with UV light or a powerful air filter.

Now that we can be pretty confident in the efficacy of UV lamps, one last question you might be wondering is:

Can UV Lights Kill Airborne Viruses?

Well, a team of researchers from Columbia University said that this light kills both viruses and bacteria by messing with their DNA and making them unable to reproduce, and in fact, in the study, the light was able to kill the H1N1 virus!

Overall, UV light is one of the only known effective ways to get rid of airborne germs, and if it’s good enough for hospitals, it’s good enough for us! In the meantime, though, we do encourage you to still use Clorox wipes on your surfaces.

If you’re interested in our UV light solutions, contact us online or give us a call, and we’d be happy to install it for you and your family. 

Everyone’s typical woe during the summer is that their air conditioning won’t start! But what if you have the opposite problem? What do you do if your A/C won’t stop running?

You don’t want your A/C running continuously because it’s bad to have that constant strain on the system, and also because your bill — much like your cool air — will be shooting through the roof!

Now, if the weather is extremely hot, your A/C may need to run almost constantly to reach the temperature you want, but we are talking about when the temperature is in the 70s or 80s, and yet your A/C will never take a break. There are many possible causes, but it’s most likely a problem with the evaporator coil, which means you need a professional to come look at it!

A dirty or frozen evaporator coil can make it harder for your A/C to cool air, making it work harder all the time and never turn off.

You may be wondering, what exactly is an air conditioner’s evaporator coil? Well, the way an air conditioner works is through using refrigerant to transfer heat — in the case of A/C, transferring it from inside to outside! Inside the evaporator coil, the refrigerant is a liquid, and the warm air from inside your house passes over it. Since the refrigerant liquid has a low boiling point, this warm air, raked over the evaporator coil, is enough to turn the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas. That’s why it’s called the evaporator coil, because the refrigerant gets hot and evaporates.

Anyway, it transfers that heat inside your house away, and now that the refrigerant has absorbed the heat, a fan can blow the newly cool air into your home!

So that’s why a dirty evaporator coil can make it impossible for your house to cool, because then the refrigerant isn’t able to properly absorb your home’s heat. And an evaporator coil can also freeze, because if there isn’t enough warm air from your home to absorb (due to airflow problems), the coil gets too cold.

You would need a professional to determine whether the evaporator coil itself is the issue, or if it’s a symptom of an underlying problem. But either way, this is usually what’s at the heart of the problem when your air conditioner won’t turn off.

If your A/C is working a little too well (i.e., all the time!) you should give us a call here at ThermAll, because not only is this a bad thing when your electric bill comes, but it’s also rough on your system. If you live in the Yakima, Ellensburg, or surrounding areas, call ThermAll and we’ll hurry out to keep your family comfortable. Contact us online or call (509) 248-8368 today! 

New start-up companies claiming that they’re going to revolutionize an industry are a dime a dozen! So if you hear that an energy start-up is planning on making an air conditioner that not only saves you money on electricity, but actually generates its OWN electricity, you might be a bit skeptical.

So are we! That’s why we decided to investigate the claim ourselves …

The company Be Power Tech has plans to create an air conditioner that runs on natural gas, which isn’t a new idea in and of itself. We wrote an article recently on why you should convert an oil furnace to natural gas in order to save energy and money.

To summarize the article, we mostly talked about how heating your house with oil costs twice as much as heating it with natural gas. We touched on the fact that natural gas can actually be up to 98% efficient, only wasting 2% of fuel!

However, we didn’t talk about why natural gas (which this innovative new air conditioner utilizes for energy) is better for the environment!

Natural gas is relatively clean energy, at least compared to coal or oil dirty combustion. Natural gas only emits half the carbon dioxide that coal does! So natural gas is definitely a preferable alternative, which is why we’re glad to offer it in new furnace installations.

But what’s this about a natural-gas-powered air conditioner, that can actually produce its OWN energy? You may be thinking … “Sure, natural gas is better, but how does it result in the air conditioner making its own electricity?”

Well, the air conditioner from Be Power Tech is able to do two innovative things:

First of all, rather than cool your home  by allowing refrigerant to absorb heat … this air conditioner uses water to cool down hot, dry air from outside. Water vapor, rather than refrigerant, cools and humidifies the air.

So then, why isn’t this technology mainstream yet? Why are we still using refrigerant instead of water?

Well, you may have noticed that we said, “water cools down the hot, dry outdoor air.”

But that only works if the outdoor air is both hot and dry!

Right here in Yakima, Washington, summers are often very dry, so this water evaporative cooling method could work – if and when the technology emerges for this 100% efficient A/C system.

It would be powered by a natural gas fuel tank that is able to convert natural gas into electricity and heat. Most air conditioners eject hot air outside and it’s wasted, but the air conditioner by Be Power Tech makes sure to use this heat produced as part of its process.

So it may be a little misleading to say that this air conditioner is generating its own electricity, as if the electricity comes out of nowhere, since that’s not possible.

The air conditioner is creating its own electricity in the sense that it doesn’t have any waste, and thus is way more efficient than the average air conditioner! This is a really neat scientific breakthrough …

But for now, it looks like we are limited to our currently existing high-efficiency HVAC systems! We have a lot of those here at ThermAll.

You can rest assured that a new system from ThermAll is the right system for you. Our techs are happy to help appraise what you need, and save you money.

If you want to know more about ThermAll’s high-efficiency system options, contact us online or call (509) 248-8368 ! We want to keep your family comfortable.

“A bad contactor” is one of the most common A/C repairs. But what is a contactor, and what causes it to malfunction?

We get this question, “What’s a contactor?” from many customers, because it is one of the components that breaks the most often!

Does that mean that contactors are poorly made? Absolutely not! But it is a problem that’s easy to fix, and today we want to explain that in more detail.

What is a contactor?

This is the part of your A/C that controls how much electricity flows in. So if your A/C is turned off, the contactor is up. And when the A/C is turned on, the contactor is down, letting electricity through.

More specifically, the A/C contactor sends electricity to the condenser and the fan components, in order to power them. The contactor has terminals on it that electricity runs through.

Contactor problems

As you can imagine, if this important piece of machinery controlling electricity is broken, then your A/C will go down! But there’s more than one possible problem an A/C contactor can have.

The first problem is a “pitted” contactor. As you can imagine, this means that there are little pits on the surface of the contactor. No matter how careful you are, and no matter what brand of A/C you have, eventually the effects of electricity and heat damage will make pits in the electrical terminals of the contactor.

The contactor can no longer create contact between your thermostat and your condenser.

The other common issue that happens with an A/C contactor is that it gets an electrical fault, which has the same result:

The thermostat clicks on, but electricity can’t pass from the thermostat to the contactor to the condenser.

How do you know if you have a bad A/C contactor?

It’s a little difficult for anyone who’s not trained in the field to know whether their A/C issue is with the contactor or another component, but there are a few signs that point to contactor problems …

  1. You hear a humming coming from the A/C, but it isn’t actually turning on.
  2. You hear a clicking or chattering noise, indicating that the contactor terminals are dirty.
  3. Your A/C unit never shuts off. That would mean that part of the contactor has melted due to electricity and heat, and then your A/C can’t shut off because it can’t block and control the flow of electricity. In that case, you would want to call us right away!

It is possible to test whether your A/C contactor is working using a multimeter, and connecting it to the contactor terminals … But if you’re not completely sure how to do that, we recommend calling one of our techs instead!

We can help diagnose whether your A/C issue is a bad contactor, or something else. Either way, we’ll be happy to help, especially since we know how hot it is right now in Yakima and Ellensburg! Give us a call at (509) 248-8368 or contact us online, so our family can help your family.

Some people are hesitant to replace their air conditioner and furnace at the same time, due to the cost. Or, maybe their air conditioner needs replaced, but they’re not sure whether their furnace really needs a replacement! Today, we’re here to tell you when you should replace your whole HVAC system, and when you shouldn’t.

A/C vs. furnace

It’s true that furnaces have a longer lifespan than air conditioners. Air conditioners last around 12 years, to 20 at maximum … whereas furnaces tend to last 15 to 20, and sometimes even longer!

However, despite this apparent mismatch in lifespan, we’ll explain one reason why it’s important to have what’s called a “matched system,” which is another term for replacing your whole system at the same time:

What is a matched system?

Basically, the fan in your system is used by the furnace (in winter) and air conditioner (in summer).

But the fan is connected to the furnace, not to the air conditioner.

That means, if you get a new A/C system, but you don’t get a new furnace, then you have your new A/C using an old fan from your old furnace! This makes your new air conditioner operate much less efficiently than advertised.

Just to give you an example, let’s say you just bought a super high-efficiency A/C that has a high SEER rating. (That’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio — basically dividing the cool air produced by the energy used to produce it.)

Still, if your furnace is old and has an old fan motor, then your air conditioner won’t be operating at its high SEER rating. You paid good money for your air conditioner, and now you won’t see the results!

But, do you have to replace your air conditioner and your furnace at the same time?

As you can see, if you don’t replace your furnace at the same time as your air conditioner, the older furnace also hampers the efficiency of the new air conditioner.

But what if you aren’t buying a variable speed or two-speed air conditioner, that needs a new furnace to keep up with it?

Well, if your furnace is only 8 to 10 years old, or newer, it may be worth holding off on the replacement. It’s true that it’s not recommended to mix and match, with an old heating system and new cooling system or vice versa.

But in some situations, if your furnace is not that old and your air conditioner is not so high-efficiency that replacing both at the same time is a big deal … you may opt not to replace your furnace and air conditioner at the same time.

Most of the time, customers are in a situation where it would make the most sense, in terms of the lifespans of both systems, to replace at the same time!

The real key is doing business with a company and a tech you trust here in the Yakima, Ellensburg, and surrounding area. We’ll tell you whether it makes the most sense to replace your furnace and air conditioner at the same time.

Here at ThermAll, we pride ourselves on our ability to assess your system and to help you make the best final decision for your home. Give us a call at (509) 248-8368 or contact us online today!