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Create An Allergy-Free Home
Posted: June 21, 2018 by Andy
Each year, the warmer weather brings sneezing, congestion, and watery eyes. The air is filled with the pollen produced by newly budding plants, causing respiratory discomfort from allergy symptoms while you're trying to enjoy the warmer days.
Eventually, this pollen makes its way into your home, and higher levels of humidity can create ideal conditions for mildew to grow, further advancing the assault on your sinuses. Fortunately, you can improve the quality of your home's air to help alleviate any allergy symptoms you're experiencing.
We aim to make your home a comfortable and irritant-free place to be. Here are some tips to help keep your air clean and keep those pesky allergy symptoms away.
Add a dehumidifier
During the cold winter months, a humidifier helps soothe irritated nasal passages caused by the cool, dry air. When summer comes, your humidifier can end up causing you allergy problems. In warmer areas of the country, humid air promotes the growth of mold inside your home, inflicting you with the same symptoms as outdoor allergies.
Using a dehumidifier indoors helps prevent any mold or mildew growth by keeping the moisture in the air at a low level and under control. Set it, so humidity levels are around 45-50%, thus preventing mold from growing, and keeping your allergy symptoms from flaring up.
45-50% humidity might seem low, but consider the average humidity is typically around 50% and can go as low as 35% in the afternoons.
Besides preventing mold, a dehumidifier also keeps dust and mites in check. Just like mold thrives in high humidity environments, so do these microscopic relatives of the spider. They tend to live in your bedding, furniture, and areas where dead skin cells accumulate. Fortunately, a low-humidity home prevents dust mites, as they cannot survive when humidity dips below 50%.
Add an air purifier
Over 30 million people suffer from respiratory allergies that are triggered by pollen in the USA alone. While blooming flowers do bring beauty back into your neighborhood after a frigid winter, for most, they also bring itchy eyes and runny noses. Fortunately, adding an air purifier can help make your day more comfortable by removing pollen and other airborne particles from your home.
There are two primary types of air purifiers. A filter-type air purifier is the most common and its filters screen out airborne pollutants. Each time air passes through the purifier, it becomes progressively cleaner, before distributing it back into your home.
A UV light air purifier uses ultraviolet light - which is invisible - to kill airborne organisms safely. This includes mold, pollen (which is comprised of living cells), and floating bacteria. Some UV air purifiers combine a filtration system with the light to destroy not only the floating allergens, but also prevent them from getting back into your air.
Invest in your central air system
The way your air conditioning system functions plays a significant role in the quality of your home's air. If your AC unit is not correctly sized for your home, it could be turning off prematurely throughout the day. When this happens, it may not run long enough to remove the humidity from the air.
Additionally, if your equipment is outdated or hasn't been maintained adequately, this can also cause issues. When your evaporator and condenser coils get dirty or clogged, your AC can't adequately transfer heat, resulting in humidity build-up and mildew starts to grow. By giving your AC system at least an annual tune-up, you can prevent an allergy issue or breathing problem before it starts.
Clean, well-routed ductwork also plays a crucial role in how air moves throughout your home. If certain rooms and areas aren't well ventilated, the stagnant air can allow humidity to rise and airborne particles to linger. For maximum allergen relief, you should make sure your home is well optimized for airflow and that you have the right equipment. If you're in doubt, let our HVAC experts take a look.
Replace your air filter regularly
While dehumidifiers and air purifiers provide the best results, a small step you can take for cleaner air is by replacing your AC system's air filter. These filters keep contaminants from entering your air conditioner so it can run efficiently year-round, but it's also useful in removing dust from the air. Be sure to replace your air filter on a regular basis. If you're prone to allergies, you should change your filter at least every other month, if not more often.
Also, the right filter goes a long way toward solving your allergy woes, and you want one with a high MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating MERV stands for - the higher its MERV number, the better the filter will be at removing dust and dirt from your home's air. Before selecting a new air filter, consult your system's filter recommendation or give us a call if you're uncertain. Some air conditioners are designed to be most effective with a filter of a specific MERV level.
By following these tips, you'll keep your home's air clean and free of pollen, dust, and other particles. You'll also minimize the adverse effects that allergy symptoms have on you, and you'll breathe easy knowing that unwelcome dust mites and mildew won't be able to survive - the only living things sharing your home will be your family, friends, pets, and houseplants!
Is My Air Conditioner Low On Refrigerant?
Posted: June 14, 2018 by Andy
Something's wrong with your central air system. You're pretty sure it's low on refrigerant, but how can you be sure before you call in the experts to fix it?
Air conditioning units are fairly straightforward machines that serve one function: keeping you and your family cool and comfortable when temperatures outside are high. However, the inner workings of an AC unit are something not most people are familiar with, which is why you call Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man to do the job. We understand, so here are some of the most common indications that you have a low refrigerant problem with your air conditioner.
Your system is blowing hot air
To cool the air throughout your home, your air conditioner needs the proper amount of refrigerant. Too little refrigerant can cause your system to blow room-temperature or even warm air. Of course, other things might cause this problem as well - a dirty outside unit, setting your thermostat's fan setting to ON instead of AUTO, or issues with the compressor itself. With those potential issues in mind, look for these other signs.
The refrigerant line is iced over
You might know that spraying a can of compressed air for a long time makes the can feel very cold. This is because the low pressure in the can quickly lowers its temperature.
Something similar happens when your air conditioner runs low on refrigerant. Low refrigerant causes low pressure, and low pressure causes low temperatures, which will eventually freeze the system's evaporator coil. When the coil freezes, cold liquid refrigerant flows through the refrigerant line, causing the moisture in the surrounding air to condense onto it and freeze.
You hear a bubbling or hissing sound
Refrigerant lines are highly pressurized, so if there's a significant refrigerant leak, you'll hear a hissing or bubbling noise - somewhat like when squeezing a balloon with a hole in it.
By the way, a leak is more or less the only reason why your system would be low on refrigerant. You see, refrigerant isn't consumed like a car uses gasoline. A properly-filled air conditioning system should stay that way for a long time, barring a leak.
Your compressor stops
The compressor is the heart of your central air system. Its job is to compress refrigerant vapor into liquid and pump it through the system, cooling the surrounding air. The compressor has a pressure cut-off switch, which protects it operating at low refrigerant levels by turning the unit off when its refrigerant pressure falls below a set value. The compressor will then start again once refrigerant pressure is restored.
When forced to run with low refrigerant pressure or without refrigerant entirely, a compressor can become very hot. If the compressor is damaged due to overheating, it will no longer reset and will need to be replaced. On some models, internal safeguards may exist to protect the compressor, even if the cut-off switch fails or has been bypassed.
Thermostat stops the compressor prematurely
It's the thermostat's job to start and stop the compressor, but only when the selected temperature level is reached. However, high heat loads will result if the thermostat stops the compressor prematurely. A compressor that is stopped before it can lower the temperature to the set level is probably lacking refrigerant.
Short compressor run times
Very low refrigerant levels often result in noticeably short compressor running times. This symptom also tends to present itself with unusual noises coming from the compressor and a loss of cooling.
A low refrigerant level in your AC system isn't a problem you should try to fix yourself. Equipment damage and possibly serious injury can result. Instead, trust our well-trained HVAC experts to come to your home, determine the issue, repair it, and recharge your refrigerant to the correct level. Once we've taken care of the problem, your AC system will be back to its optimal cooling capacity, providing you with the level of comfort you desire.
OK, your AC lacks refrigerant - what to do now?
By law, a technician cannot "top off" a system with more refrigerant if they know there's a leak. Even if someone did add more refrigerant, you'd regret it in short order because the leak allows the refrigerant to escape again (and that stuff is very expensive). Also, a leaking AC unit will work inefficiently and eventually become damaged.
What we recommend: Call us immediately to find the leak and fix it - only after we've done that will we add more refrigerant. Your family will be cool and comfortable before you know it! That's how neighbors should treat neighbors!™
4 Essential HVAC Safety Tips
Posted: June 7, 2018 by Andy
Since June is National Safety Month, let's spend a little time talking about HVAC safety in your home. A little bit of attention and prevention goes a long way toward keeping your family safe!
Your HVAC system should provide years of dependable service without interruption. However, sometimes HVAC systems do malfunction or lose efficiency. When this happens, it's usually best to contact the HVAC professionals to have your system inspected - it's unsafe to attempt HVAC repairs on your own. Also, an annual preventative maintenance check-up is the best way to avoid a breakdown. You can do the following easy tasks on your own, though, to help prevent problems with your system and keep your family safe.
Another significant addition to HVAC system safety is to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. They are essential if your home has a gas furnace. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas that can be very dangerous. Play it safe. It's equally important to routinely check the batteries in your CO detectors and smoke detectors on a regular basis. At the very least, this should be done once each year.
Change your filters often
It's also vital to replace your system's filter at regular intervals. Depending on the amount of use that your system receives, checking your filter monthly and changing it at least every other month can make all the difference in your system's performance and long-term reliability. In fact, a poorly-maintained system whose filter is rarely or never changed is far more likely to experience problems and even fail long before it should.
Pay attention to your system's operation
Finally, an important safety strategy that should never be overlooked is always to make sure that your air ducts remain clean and clear of debris. Having your air ducts cleaned yearly will ensure that bacteria, mold, mildew, and dust don't accumulate in your home. Not only can dirty ducts create unhealthy indoor air, but they can also cause your system to malfunction or even fail.
Keep your system free of obstructions
In many homes, storage space can be at a premium, but don't be tempted to pile boxes and other items around your furnace. At the very least, you'll impede its airflow and cause it to work less efficiently, but you could also potentially cause a gas leak or even a fire! If things keep piling up near your system, consider using floor tape to designate a "no storage" zone around it, to remind family members not to stack things too close.
Follow these simple and sensible safety tips to ensure that your heating and cooling system operates the way it should without interruption. If you ever experience any trouble, remember that Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man is always ready and waiting to help out - that's how neighbors should treat neighbors!™
16 Easy Spring Tasks To Save You Money
Posted: May 31, 2018 by Andy
Spring cleaning is an annual tradition, but your springtime routine should go beyond straightening up and airing out your house and tidying up the yard. Most of these 16 tasks should only take a few minutes, and they'll save you potentially hundreds or even thousands of dollars, so get started!
1. Humidity introduced by spring rains can wreak havoc on your home's interior, causing doors and windows to stick, and in severe cases, mold and mildew to form. A dehumidifier is your best defense. To help keep your dehumidifier working well, remove the unit's housing and let it dry completely. Vacuum every surface and crevice you can reach, and then replace the housing.
2. Spring is the perfect time to clean your bathroom fan. A good cleaning will ensure it runs quietly and efficiently. Take the fan's cover off, wash the cover with soapy water and clean dirt and debris off the fan blades with a toothbrush. Make sure the power is off when you're cleaning it!
3. Check the flapper inside your toilet every spring as well. If it's showing its age, replace it before it starts leaking and wasting water. It's an easy job, and the inexpensive kit is available at your local hardware store.
4. Remove the faucet handles in your kitchen and bathroom and clean their internal components to keep the screws from corroding. A cleaner like CLR works wonders on these, and this simple job has the nice side benefit of ensuring that your faucet handles stay tight.
5. Spring is one of the two times to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors. An easy way to remember this: Change your clocks, change your batteries. While you're at it, vacuum the dust out of your detectors to keep them operating at peak performance.
6. Make sure you have a recently-charged fire extinguisher within quick and easy reach. Don't have an extinguisher? Now is the time to get one. Your insurance company may reimburse you for it as well!
7. Inspect the caulk around your home's windows and doors annually, and if it's damaged or pulling away, remove it and recaulk the area. Proper caulking keeps out heat, humidity, and moisture in the summer and also keeps out the cold in the winter - saving you money on your utility bills year-round.
8. Open and close all windows, inspecting them as you go. Do they open smoothly, yet seal tightly? If they don't, check the weather stripping and replace as needed. You may also need to adjust the window's guide rails to ensure smooth operation and a tight fit.
9. Remove the screens from windows and doors and give them a good scrubbing with soapy water and a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly and let them dry fully before reinstalling. Spring is also the time to take advantage of spring's milder temperatures and let the outdoors cool your home!
10. To fix small holes in a window or door screen, dab clear household cement over the hole. Be sure to test the adhesive on a scrap first, to make sure it won't melt the screen. Use the same technique to repair tears in the screen. Pull the tear together and hold it in place with tape on one side of the screen. Apply the household cement to rejoin the tear. When the glue is dry, gently remove the tape and glue the other side of the screen to complete the repair.
11. Clean winter debris out of your gutters and check them for damage from ice and snow. The preferred way to do this is up on a ladder so you can visually inspect the gutters and ensure they're thoroughly cleaned, but if you're not a fan of heights, you can find pole-mounted gutter cleaning tools at your local hardware store. Gutter screens or protectors help keep debris out of the gutters, but they can make future cleaning more difficult, so use your best judgment on these.
12. If a gutter is sagging, put it back into position by tightening its strap with pliers or by pounding its retaining spikes in with a hammer. Be sure not to over-tighten or hammer a spike in too far, or you may prevent the water from draining toward the downspouts properly.
13. To prevent basement flooding, make sure there a downspout's outlet is at least three feet from the side of your house. Use the following to reach that distance: Add an elbow and a pipe extension, use a splash guard that stretches about three feet, or attach a flexible extension hose to the end of the downspout and bend it away from the house.
14. Inspect and replace the filters in your heating and cooling system every month. There are a variety of filter types to choose from, depending on your needs. Fiberglass filters typically last only one month, while HEPA filters last up to six months and may be cleaned with a vacuum. If you need help choosing the right HVAC filter, give us a call!
15. Most central air conditioning units have a drainage hole or condensation drain line. It should be easy to see which of these your system has. If it has a hole, clean any debris out of it with a slender object like a straightened coat hanger. You can clean the end of a condensation drain line this way as well, and you can keep it clog-free by pouring a weak bleach or vinegar solution into it every month or so.
16. Have your air conditioning system professionally serviced before summer arrives. The harsh cold of winter can be hard on your outdoor AC condenser unit - make sure it's ready for those hot days. Call us today to schedule a tune-up and beat the rush - you'll be glad you did!
My Air Conditioner Is So Noisy!
Posted: May 24, 2018 by Andy
"Why is my air conditioner making so much noise?" This is one of the most common questions customers ask us. Just like a car or truck, your AC unit is a sophisticated piece of equipment with numerous moving parts; if it's not working well, it can get pretty loud.
A noisy air conditioner can be caused by many different problems, depending on the type and age of your unit. Generally speaking, a change in the sound of your air conditioner is a bad sign. If your AC starts making harsh or grinding noises, there is probably something wrong, and it's time to give us a call.
Fixing a noise problem is usually relatively simple and low-cost, but beyond cleaning around the unit, it isn't something you should attempt to do yourself. Here are some common causes of a noisy air conditioner. We check for all of these and more during an annual AC tune-up!
Rattling or banging sounds usually indicate that something in the system has worked itself loose. The outdoor condenser unit's housing screws could have backed out over the winter, or a piece of your home's ductwork could need reseated and tightened down. We'll inspect and tighten any loose internal and external panels, and we'll also make sure that your unit is installed correctly.
Condenser unit fan issues
If the air conditioner is making a whining or singing sound, one or more of its fan blades might be rubbing against the housing. Fan motors that are improperly or inadequately lubricated will hum loudly. Our expert technicians will diagnose and correct problems like this with the proper lubrication type and amount, or by replacing the motor itself when a lubrication problem has damaged it beyond repair. Either way, we'll ensure that your AC unit's fan motor is performing quietly and efficiently.
Bent coil fins
Your air conditioner's coil fins are somewhat delicate components that become clogged with dirt and get bent easily. Bent coil fins can cause a whistling noise and in severe cases can cause other components to rub against them, which causes even more noise and reduces their lifespan. Our comprehensive annual AC tune-up includes removing dirt and debris from your unit, cleaning it with a specialized chemical solution, and straightening any bent coil fins with a fin comb.
Aside from noise, why do you need an annual AC tune-up?
Be prepared for the heat. Getting a tune-up before summer will ensure that you stay comfortable even when the temperatures reach their peak. Don't wait until it's too late!
Increased efficiency. A professional inspection, cleaning, and maintenance by Hey Neighbor LLC | Ron the Furnace Man will keep your AC unit operating at maximum efficiency and will extend its life.
Improve your indoor air quality. A tune-up will help remove airborne allergens that pollute the indoor air you breathe. Your family will experience fewer respiratory issues as a result and live healthier lives.
Reduce breakdowns. We thoroughly inspect your cooling system for problems during a tune-up so you won't be surprised with expensive repair bills down the road.
It saves you money. Each part of our annual air conditioning system tune-up adds up to saving you money in the long run. Neglect your AC, and you'll cause yourself a major headache and expense sooner or later. Rest easy and live comfortably by scheduling your annual tune-up - give us a call today!
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We expertly service many furnace and air conditioning types, accessories and brands:
Central Air Systems - Electric Heaters - Gas Furnaces - Heat Pump Systems - Mobile Home Furnaces - Mobile Home Air Conditioners - Propane Furnaces
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