Improve the Air in your Home

 

If you think of pollution as something that happens outside, you might be surprised to learn that indoor air pollution can actually be worse than the grime and smog that occurs outdoors. In fact, those same energy-efficient, wonderfully-sealed windows that help keep pollutants out also help keep pollutants in. Dust mites, pet dander, chemicals from fragrances and cleaners, even chemicals from new paint, furniture and carpets can all accumulate to become harmful to your health, especially if you suffer from respiratory issues or allergies.

Warmer months bring higher humidity, and while we may go to great lengths to increase humidity during winter, too much humidity is bad for your health, too. Excess moisture in the air can lead to mold, which is a hazard even to the healthiest among us. For the very young or old, for those with compromised respiratory systems or illnesses, and for those who suffer allergies, mold can lead to serious respiratory complications. Increased moisture leads to an increase in bacteria, and it can also lead to the growth of dust mites.

If you have pets, summer is the time of year you probably find yourself following your four-legged friends around with a vacuum cleaner. During warmer months, pets shed more profusely, leading to an increase in airborne allergens like dander.

It’s a good idea to follow some simple precautions to keep air free of excessive pollutants, like making sure you keep pets groomed, vacuum often, and be sure to change the filters on your HVAC system regularly. You can also take advantage of HVAC technology to substantially reduce particles that contribute to indoor air pollution, respiratory problems and allergies, including UV lights and air purification systems.

The challenge inherent in air conditioning units is that the coil is perpetually wet, which can make it a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. To combat this, you can have UV lights installed inside your ductwork, the purpose of which is to disrupt the damp, dark environment loved by mold and bacteria. The UV rays also damage the physical structure of biological pollutants, preventing them from growing and multiplying, which is why hospitals use UV light to protect against infectious diseases. Another option is to use an air purification system, which will reduce airborne mold and bacteria particles. A good air purifier can eliminate as much as 99% of these harmful particles.

Some air purification systems use electrostatic precipitators to put an electrical charge on particles that are then trapped on collector plates that act as magnets. This works well for odors, too, because it can trap smoke particles that can pass through media filters. If you have any questions about your current HVAC system, or a new one, make sure to contact us.

Keeping your Home Cool and Comfortable

 

HVAC units are not all about the cold or warm air that is pumped into your home. Whether you need air conditioning repairs or you want to install a new system, you want to be sure that you understand more about HVAC units and their options to be sure that you will get maximum value from the money that you are spending. From indoor air cleaners to solar heating and cooling to hybrid systems and more, you want to do your research to ensure that you will get what you want and what you are paying for. If you are considering purchasing a new HVAC unit or are thinking about repairing your own, you want to understand more about the systems in general. This can go a long way to allowing you to get the most value from the system that you choose, as well as get the system that you will be most comfortable with.

 

Ductwork is the foundation of any HVAC unit, unless you have a ductless air conditioning system, as it is the conduit in which your air travels from the unit into your home or business. Having the ducts in the right location in your rooms can make the difference between keeping your home cool during the summer and warm during the winter. Duct cleaning can keep these ducts efficient for your use and make sure that you have the best chance possible at keeping your home or business in a comfortable temperature zone.

 

The energy that your HVAC unit will run on is another decision maker that you will have to consider. Whether you choose energy-efficient boilers, a geothermal heating and cooling system, or a solar heating and cooling system, you will want to be sure that you consider your needs as your wants as far as energy usage. Whether you choose a system that will work entirely on alternative energy or you choose one of the many hybrid systems, you will find one that will work great for you.

 

Some optional things that you will want to consider in an HVAC unit are indoor air cleaners, in-floor heating, comfort zone finder, and more. While you may think that these are not necessary options, you may be surprised by how much that they can add to your home. Keeping the air clean can help to keep everyone healthier, while having a comfort zone finder can help you to save money on your electrical costs. If you are tired of your feet being cold when you walk around during the winter, in-floor heating may be something you want to consider. By thinking about your family and your life, you will be able to determine which optional features you want to include.

Why the Filter is Important for your Air Conditioner

 

 

During the inspection of the air conditioning system, all parts should be checked to ensure it is working efficiently. The inspection should include examining the outdoor cabinet, refrigerant lines, the indoor unit, and ductwork.
Examine the compressor/condenser unit. Note the presence of an electrical disconnect, clearances around the unit, the condition of the cabinet and fan blade, whether the cabinet is level, whether the refrigerant lines are kinked or damaged, and the insulation on the lines.

Go outside once more to check the outdoor unit. Check fan operation and feel for warm air blowing out of the unit. Also, feel the refrigerant lines for an indication of any problems. The larger line should feel cold and be insulated and the smaller line warm.

Allow the cooling system to continue operating while you listen to the indoor evaporator unit. Check the temperature of air before and after the coil for appropriate differential (14-22 degrees).  Note any excessive vibrations, fan motor problems, condensate leaking, or any other issues.

Finally, turn of the system by turning the thermostat back up to either whatever the seller had it set at, or if it was off, turn it back off. Then inspect the indoor unit more closely, checking the condition of the air handler for rusting and corrosion, the presence and condition of the air filter, and the condition of the condensate tray and lines.

If you notice anything out of the norm with your air conditioner, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the system to ensure it is working properly and efficiently for you this summer.

The Benefits of a Generator

 

There are several reasons why a generator can be installed on your house, no matter what age it is, would be a good idea for the future. By having a generator, you will be able to keep your home running in the time of a crisis or bad weather. If you have a generator, make sure to inspect it so it can operate efficiently when you need it to. You can also invest in a generator so that you will have one incase the power goes out. If you are not sure what type of generator is right for your home, make sure to contact us, and we can recommend one.

 

 

Even though there is the initial expense of the generator, that will pay for itself over the years as the power shuts on and off and you save in other ways. The first way is to think of the contents of your refrigerator and freezer. Having a standby generator to kick on when the power goes out will prevent any spoilage of the food. Therefore, since you do not have to empty the contents of the freezer or the fridge, you will save money. Restocking one or both can be very expensive and costly, especially if there was a large supply of meat on the inside. Another way generators save money is that if your own few lights, they will turn on during a power outage, then you can stay in your home. Even with minimal functions on, the house can be comfortable and lived in until the power comes back. Then there will be no expense for a hotel stay where the air is the right temperature and there are lights to see by.

 

Since the generator can run several functions through the house, then you can be comfortable. Your house will not be affected much because the generator will still run and power the air conditioning unit that will keep the house at a more comfortable level than if the power were to go completely off and leave you in the sweltering heat. The same is also true for the reverse conditions. Having a generator kick on during any electrical malfunction can also be a safety factor. No matter what type of device it is, with a generator on standby, then you know it will always work and be able to help your loved one, no matter if the real power is off for one hour or one whole day. If you need help deciding what type of generator is right for your home, make sure to contact us and we can recommend one based on your home.

Improving the Air in your Home

 

When you are indoors, you will want the air to be the best quality possible. Air that has been filtered in some way has been proven to be healthier for people who breathe it. A variety of respiratory illness symptoms have been directly linked to the quality of air breathed by the victim. An air filter is specifically designed to filter incoming air and trap many harmful known airborne substances. An individual who suffers from asthma, hay fever, and allergies find that using a special filter helps to relieve some of their breathing problems. There are numerous harmful particles that float around aimlessly in air, a filter added to an air handling system helps to trap these particles and prevents them from being breathed in. Adding an air purification device to boost the benefits of an air filter helps keep most of the air safe to breathe.

Many people have discovered that using air cleaners in addition to specialty filters in their air handlers provides an even higher quality of air. There are two types of air cleaners on the market today; one is known as an electrostatic precipitator and the other an ionizer. Both of these air cleaning devices make a great addition to the use of a HEPA filter in an air unit and have been known to provide tremendous results.

An electrostatic type of cleaner pulls air into its system and charges particles with either a negative or positive charge. The air is then passed through to a set of plates that hold an opposite charge and trap the particles by attracting them to the plates where they get stuck. An ionizing air cleaner basically does the same type of charging process, however charged particles are released into the air with the electronic charge and they become attracted to surfaces and stick to them. Generally the charged particles will fall to the floor or become attached to fabric surfaces such as curtains. Both types of cleaners have been proven to be extremely efficient at providing cleaner air for breathing.

People who suffer from breathing conditions such as COPD, emphysema, asthma, and other breathing conditions benefit the greatest from air purifying devices. These devices are designed to trap the very particles that irritate breathing conditions. Many people who have tried an air cleaning device experience far less breathing symptoms and find that their overall health can improve as a result. It is important to keep an air purifier clean for maximum results. In addition to keeping air purifying devices clean it is equally important to vacuum and dust on a regular basis as well. People with breathing problems that use air cleaners to clean the air in their home have a wide array of brands to choose from. If you are not sure which one is right for you, make sure to contact us.

Efficient ways to Keep your Home Cool in the Summer

Keeping your home at an ideal comfort level is important. Heat pumps, furnaces, electronic zoning, air exchangers, and ground source heat are just a few of the terms that you may hear when you are trying to choose a new heating and cooling system for your home. While you may think that it is one size fits all in HVAC units, this is not the case anymore. There are a wide variety of different units of all different types and sizes to allow you to find the one that will work best for your needs and your wants. Heat pumps can provide year round performance to help keep your home cool during the summer months and warm during the winter months. Heat pumps can move heat energy from one location to another and when it is time to cool the home, it works almost like a regular air conditioner to add cool air into the home. It is a more energy efficient way to heating and cooling a home than a regular HVAC unit.

 

A geothermal heating and cooling system works by converting the energy found within the heat inside the Earth to help to heat and cool your home. This is an energy efficient method of keeping your home comfortable, simply by using the heat energy in the Earth. The temperature inside the Earth is relatively constant and this can be used to help heat and cool your home. Geothermal is an energy source that people do not really know much about, but it can be a very viable option.

 

A hybrid system can take the best of the heat pump and the electric world and combine it in a heating and cooling system. If you are not sure that you want to go with a heat pump alone, a hybrid heating and cooling system can be a great choice for you to consider. It is energy efficient and can offer you the power and the capacity that you are looking for to keep your home comfortable, no matter how hot or cold it gets over the year.

 

If you want to keep your garage comfortable to help you to be able to work out there year around, you will want to consider a ductless air conditioning system or a heat pump. The fact that you do not have to have a duct system can make it a great choice for a garage or for an outbuilding that you want to be able to use all of the time. Anytime you notice something out of the norm with your HVAC system, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the air conditioner and other parts to ensure they are working correctly and efficiently.

Getting the Most out of your Air Conditioner

 

Most of the electricity used in the home during the warmer months is by the air conditioner. This is one area where homeowners can save money. By becoming aware of certain habits that need to change, the home will run more smoothly. The first tip for saving money is to choose the air conditioner size correctly. Sometimes, people think that bigger air conditioners will provide more home comfort and feel that it is the best for the home. This is not always true. Using an air conditioner unit that is too big for the home will not provide uniform temperatures or lessen humidification, so in this case, bigger is not necessarily better.

 

 

Placement of the thermostat and proper usage can help save money. Many times when people come home from work, they flip the thermostats to an excessively low level thinking it will make the air conditioner get colder faster. This is not true and can damage the unit and cost more money when the unit works harder to get to the low temperature. It will not enhance the air conditioning and repairs may be necessary from overuse. The placement of thermostats is another great factor to consider when saving money. It should never be located around warmer items, like televisions, lamps, or stereos. This could accidentally trick the thermostat into working harder than is required.

 

 

Another common mistake that wastes money is placing the air conditioner in a spot that collects heat. Just because there is an available space beside the house does not make it the best choice. Make sure that the unit is placed in a shady spot or else it will have to work harder than necessary. Being in direct sunlight hinders the unit from working properly. Similarly, you will not want to place it behind bushes or shrubs to hide the unit. This will obstruct ventilation and can clog the condenser coils so that repair is needed, along with making it less efficient to run.

 

 

If your home currently uses several window air conditioning units to provide home comfort, it would be less expensive to cool the area with ductless air conditioning. These units are revolutionary cooling solutions and situate in one or two story homes. Many homeowners are switching to the ductless air conditioning these days, due to the money saving factor of running traditional air conditioning units. If you have any questions about your current air conditioner, or if you are looking for a new one, make sure to contact us, and we can advise you on the options you have.

Setting the Thermostat to the Right Temperature

 

 

The right thermostat settings can do wonders for your energy costs. You can save up to five percent in heating costs for every degree you lower your thermostat between 60 and 70 degrees. Many people find that setting the thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter provides a comfortable home environment and keeps heating costs under control. At the night, or during the day when everyone is away, the temperature can be set to 6-10 degrees cooler to provide more savings.

The key to making these temperature changes effortless is to install a programmable thermostat with which you can assign different temperatures to different times of day or even different days of the week. Some households have different schedules on Mondays as opposed to Thursdays, for examples. These household rhythms can be programmed into the thermostat. For example, if people in your household wake later on weekends, you probably won’t need to raise the temperature to 68 degrees until 9am. Then on weekdays, you might like your house to be comfortably warm by 6:30am, when the earliest riser stumbles into the kitchen seeking coffee. Programming your thermostat to raise or lower the temperature according to your family’s schedule can save a great deal of money.

During the summertime, keep your air conditioners or central air unit set at 75 degrees or above for cost-efficient cooling. Your family’s habits may allow you to keep the temperature higher. Consult your family and see what everyone is comfortable with. Additionally, a box fan can allow you to raise your thermostat by making rooms feel cooler than they are, and they cost about one tenth as much to run as an air conditioner. If you notice that the air conditioner is no longer efficient, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the HVAC system to ensure it is working properly for you.

Why having a Dehumidifier is Beneficial

 

A dehumidifier may be the simple solution you are looking for to decrease the humidity in your home.  Many people don’t realize humidity is their issue because the air “feels” dry.  Air with humidity levels as low as 50% or less can substantially reduce your comfort level and cause permanent damage to your home.  There benefits of using a high quality dehumidifier in any enclosed spaces of all sizes.

Mold and dust mites thrive in moist environments.  Most people associate mold with standing water or areas with that damp, musty smell.  The truth is the rate of mold growth skyrockets when the relative humidity reaches 50%.  Not only does this mean more mold but more mold spores contaminating the air you breathe.  Dust mites react to humidity in the same way mold does.

Humidity is nothing more than the amount of moisture in the air.  Unfortunately, moisture is the perfect container for dirt, dust, mold, spores, and other allergens.  The higher the relative humidity is, the more likely an allergic reaction will be triggered.  This is especially true for people with a very low tolerance to light-weight allergens like dander, mold, and dust.

Humid air acts a tipping point in the favor of mold, fungus, and rot.  While every home is less durable when it contains humid air over an extended period of time, wood is particularly vulnerable.  This includes flooring, cabinets, furnishing, and the wood supporting the weight of your home.

One of the most popular reasons people add a dehumidifier to their home is comfort.  Air with a lot of moisture tends to feel much warmer than it actually is.  As a result, people force their air conditioners to work extra hard which shortens the unit’s lifespan and drive up utility bills.  A simple dehumidifier will go a long way in helping you save money and feel more comfortable. If you notice an issue with the air in your home, or comfort level, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the HVAC system in your home, as well as advise you on the type of dehumidifier you may need. This can help you to have a cool and comfortable home this summer.

Getting the Air Conditioner Ready for Summer

 

You will want to make sure that your air conditioner is in the best condition for the upcoming summer months. By doing so, you can help to ensure your home stays cool and comfortable during the summer months. If you notice anything out of the norm, make sure to contact us so we can inspect the HVAC system for you.

On the first really hot day of summer, the last thing you want is to flip the switch on your central air conditioner only to find that it doesn’t work. When an air conditioner sits idle for months, collecting leaves and debris, a bit of maintenance is often needed to get it running properly. If you don’t do this maintenance before summer arrives, you may end up waiting several hot days before we can come and inspect it.

A central air-conditioning system employs two main components: a condenser unit, which is typically located outdoors, and an evaporator unit mounted on the air handler or furnace. Together these extract heat from room air through refrigeration technology. The air handler or furnace blower blows the resulting chilled and dehumidified air through ductwork to the home’s rooms.

Clean or Replace the Filters

This is the easiest and often most important step. Clean or replace your furnace or air-handler filters twice a year or whenever they begin to look clogged with dust. If you don’t, air flow will be restricted, reducing efficiency, and you will recirculate dust into your home

Clean the A/C Condenser Coils

A central air conditioner’s condenser unit, typically located outdoors, is like a large fan in a metal box with sides that look like grilles. Ideally, it is protected through the winter by a condenser cover or tarp to prevent accumulation of debris inside it. Otherwise, it is likely to contain leaves, yard debris, and dirt—and you will need to clean it. A large fan inside the metal box moves air across radiator-style condenser coils. If debris has gotten inside the unit, dirt has probably clogged some of the coils, as shown at right. Anything that obstructs the flow of air will cut down the condenser’s efficiency, so these coils should be cleaned at the beginning of every cooling season if they are clogged.