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.

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.

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.

 

Remembering to Clean the Filter for your Air Conditioner

 

The air filter’s job is to keep dust and debris out of your HVAC equipment. You would be amazed how much builds up on there in a very short time. Just think about the air quality outside, and the dust that you pick up every day. Imagine how much grime would accumulate if you did not clean for a month. That is how much debris is clogging your air filter, and much more if you have not remembered to change the filter in a while.

 

 

When the filter gets clogged, dust and dirt start getting into the air conditioner itself, causing wear and tear on the parts. This can mean even more wear and tear on the parts, the sooner they wear out and you are dealing with a breakdown. The clogged filter also prevents enough air from flowing through the system to keep it working properly.

 

 

According to research, you should check and change the filter every month during peak season. Make sure to check the filter so it is not clogged with dirt. If you do notice that filter is clogged, or if the HVAC system is not working efficiently, make sure to contact us so we can inspect it for you.

 

Why Programmable Thermostats are Beneficial in your Home

 

Adding a programmable thermostat to your heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit is an easy project that you can quickly do on your own. You simply purchase a thermostat, and then remove your old unit from the wall, noting where and how the wires are connected. Next, you connect the wires to your new thermostat. It’s important to read over your new thermostat’s installation and setup guide in order to take advantage of all that it can offer your system. You can also contact us and we can install the programmable thermostat for you.

 

There are several benefits for having a programmable thermostat, the first one is that you will save money in the long run. With programmable thermostats, you can adjust the temperature to the exact point of your own personal comfort. For every degree you raise or lower the temperature in your home during the heat of the summer or the cold of winter, you can save up to 2 percent on your utility bill. You can create a schedule that follows your family’s routine, and keeps the temperature warm while you’re there, but eases up on the energy usage when you are away.

With the help of a programmable thermostat, your family and friends can feel more comfortable in your home all year long, and you can avoid major hot or cold spots in different areas of your house.

Using a programmable thermostat can eliminate all of that time spent in front of your manual device. You can set a schedule one time per season, and then forget about it, so you can focus on feeling comfortable instead.

Another benefit of programmable thermostats is that they allow you to take advantage of the different times of day and the temperature variations depending on the position of the sun and the season. During the colder parts of the year, you can reduce your heating power and let the warmth of the sun help take over the warming duties. During the cold winter nights, you will likely need to boost your HVAC’s heating power to help keep your family comfortable.

Spending the small amount of money that is needed for a programmable thermostat can be one of the most cost effective investments for your residence. You can expect to take advantage of additional energy savings that may be reflected in a lower utility bill. If you have any questions about a programmable thermostat, contact us, and we can advise you on the options.

 

Why Cleaning the Ductwork is Important

 

 

You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if you notice visible mold growth inside hard surface ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists. Also notice if the ducts are infested with vermin, rodents, or insects. Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Most people are now aware that indoor air pollution is an issue of growing concern and increased visibility. If not properly installed, maintained and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for mold growth is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the home’s living space. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them. Failure to clean a component of a contaminated system can result in re-contamination of the entire system, thus negating any potential benefits.

How to Prevent Duct Contamination

Whether or not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, committing to a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize duct contamination.

To prevent dirt from entering the system:

Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of your heating and cooling system. Also remember to change filters regularly. If your filters become clogged, change them more frequently. Be sure you do not have any missing filters and that air cannot bypass filters through gaps around the filter holder.

During construction or renovation work that produces dust in your home, seal off supply and return registers and do not operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust. Remove dust and vacuum your home regularly. (Use a high efficiency vacuum cleaner or the highest efficiency filter bags your vacuum cleaner can take. Vacuuming can increase the amount of dust in the air during and after vacuuming as well as in your ducts).

If you need to have the ductwork cleaned in your home, make sure to contact us. We can inspect the system, and schedule a cleaning. This can help the air in your home to be clean, as well as having an efficient furnace.

Maintaining the Filter for your Furnace

 

When the furnace heats up, another control turns on the blower fan, which circulates warm air throughout the house. In the case of a hot-water system, a pump circulates hot water into radiators located throughout the house.

 

It is best to have us conduct inspections and adjustments on your furnace. This way we can ensure the parts and components are working efficiently with one another. When we inspect the HVAC system, we can check the furnace, thermostat, ductwork, and filter.

 

The best place to start on your furnace is with the filter. A dirty filter will cause excessive strain on your furnace, increase heating costs and reduce the life of your equipment. Make sure that the furnace filter has a cover over the slot, ensuring an efficient return-air system. Not having a cover poses a safety issue.

 

Also remember to never operate the furnace without a filter in. This can cause dirt and dust to get into the moving parts of the HVAC system, and causing further damage. It will also allow the dirt and dust to circulate back through the air in your home. If you or your family members suffer from allergies or asthma, having clean air in your home is important.

 

If you ever notice anything out of the norm with the HVAC system, make sure to contact us. This way we can inspect the furnace system for you, and keep it operating as efficiently as possible for you.