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Winter Preparation

Furnace Basics for Winter Preparation

Fall is in full swing, and that means it’s an important time of year for several basic HVAC considerations. One of the most important of these is the furnace, which will be your central resource for combatting the cold of winter once the snow hits.

At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re here to help. Our furnace tune-up services are always available if you need a quick bit of maintenance, and we can provide furnace repair if something is broken. As a homeowner, there are also a few things you can do on your own to prep the furnace for winter. Here are a few good examples.

First Time Use

If you haven’t already gotten your furnace warmed up and primed, now is definitely the time. After months without use, the furnace collects dust, which may also collect inside vents. This can create an odor as the dust is burned out of the furnace, but this should come and go in just a few minutes if you have good air circulation. If it lingers for hours, call our technicians for a tune up.

Other precautions you should take when you’re just getting the furnace going:

  • Change the filter: This should be done every few weeks or so, depending on your usage.

  • Clear the area: If the furnace is in a storage area of your home, remove any flammable materials left near it. These can be fire hazards.

  • Test thermostat: Even if the thermostat was working well over the summer, the winter can be a different animal. Take a digital thermometer into each room and make sure the thermostat is heating areas evenly.

Preparations for the Cold

Once the furnace has been warmed up for the season, there are a few other things to consider:

  • Weather stripping: Have weather stripping on all windows and doors examined, and replace it if it’s worn.

  • Chimney: If you have a wood-burning fireplace that you use during the winter, have your chimney inspected before your first fire.

  • Trees: Trim any tree limbs that could fall on power lines or through windows.

  • Carbon monoxide detectors: Test all your carbon monoxide detects – cracked furnace heat exhangers are some of the most common causes of carbon monoxide leaks, and the furnace is under more pressure during this season.

For more on preparing your HVAC system and furnace for the winter that’s approaching, or to find out about any of our other services, speak to the experts at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
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Basics and Causes of Short-Cycling

Heating the home is one of the most important functions of the HVAC system over the winter season, and the furnace is one of the primary devices used here. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re here to help provide you with the comprehensive furnace service you need to keep your family warm throughout the year. One of the more common issues we see with malfunctioning furnaces is one called short-cycling. This is when the furnace starts and stops too quickly or too often – it’s generally associated with air conditioners, but it happens to furnaces in the same way. Here’s a look at three common possible causes of short-cycling in your furnace.

Oversized Furnace

In many cases, the problem that leads to short-cycling can be traced back to installation. A furnace that’s oversized or too big for the installation space will consume far too much energy while it tries to achieve your thermostat setting. This process causes warm air to be distributed improperly, and can cause short-cycling. This can drive up energy bills, and can also cause significant wear and tear on the furnace fan. If you aren’t sure whether this is the reason for your short-cycling, contact our experts for help.

Overheating

In some other cases, the furnace might be shutting itself down early to protect from overheating damage. Furnaces that overheat create risks of cracks in the exchanger – these can lead to life-threatening risks from carbon monoxide. Overheating is generally caused by restricted airflow trapping hot air near the heat exchanger, often the result of a dirty air filter or blocked vents.

Thermostat Malfunctions

Finally, the thermostat itself might be the cause of short-cycling. A malfunctioning thermostat can lead to numerous heating issues, including short-cycling. In addition, a thermostat that’s improperly installed too close to a heat source can cause short-cycling – the thermostat thinks the temperature is higher than it actually is in this case. For more on short-cycling, or to find out about our furnace tune-up services, speak to the pros at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.

Basics on Furnace Filter MERV Ratings

When it comes to the quality of air in your home, furnace filters are a vital factor. These filters, which help remove contaminants and other particles from your air as it flows through your HVAC system, come in several varieties. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, our furnace service includes a full range of expertise on furnace filters. The biggest factor here? Your MERV rating, which speaks to the fineness of particles that will be caught by a given filter. Let’s go over the basic range of MERV ratings, and which is right for you. Number Ranges MERV ratings, which stand for “minimum efficiency reporting value,” range from 1 to 20. Here are the basic ranges:
  • MERV 1-4: Filters that catch large particles like dust, mites, pollen, carpet fibers, insects, and various pieces of insect waste. Most common for residential HVAC systems.
  • MERV 5-8: Catch finer particles, mold spores, pet dander and aerosol sprays. Used in some homes, and in most commercial areas.
  • MERV 9-12: Filters that grab auto emissions, welding fumes, lead dust and certain larger bacteria. These are rarely used in homes.
  • MERV 13-16: Heavy-duty filters that catch all ranges of bacteria along with smoke, oil droplets and even sneezing particles. These are mostly used in hospitals and surgical centers.
  • MERV 17-20: These catch viruses, carbon dust and the smallest smoke particles. Generally used in clean rooms where sensitive medicines or electronics are produced.
Identifying Your Number In most cases, as we noted above, residences will use filters with MERV ratings between 1 and 4. If you’ve noticed that your filters aren’t removing allergens or other contaminants as well as you’d like, speak to one of our experts about getting a higher number – without risking any huge cost increases, of course. You also want to be sure you don’t use a filter that has a MERV rating higher than your system’s limit, as this can hurt your energy efficiency and cause expensive fixes in the future For more on MERV ratings, or to learn about any of our AC repair or HVAC services, speak to the pros at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.

Staying Warm During Winter Without Major Cost

It’s winter time, and when your home needs to stay warm, you turn to the heating and air experts at Airtime Heating & Cooling. Our professionals can hep you with everything from inspection to HVAC parts replacement, and we’ll keep you and your family toasty warm during the cold season. Another of our services involves offering basic tips and expertise on some simple hacks to increase your warmth without running up your energy bill. Here are a few tips we can offer.

Ceiling Fans

Many people think ceiling fans are only for summer cooling use, but these folks are mistaken. Did you know that you can actually flip the directional switch on most ceiling fans, causing their blades to turn clockwise instead of counter-clockwise? Instead of pushing cool air down, this causes an updraft that gently circulates warm air that normally just sits around near the ceiling.

Natural Heat

Another simple way to bring more heat into your home is to maximize the help the sun gives you throughout the day. Be sure curtains and blinds are open during periods where the sun is hitting them, as long as you also remember to close them when it gets cool to prevent warm air from seeping out.

Thermostat Concerns

The simplest way to directly lower your heating bill without sacrificing an ounce of warmth is by adjusting the thermostat during long periods when you’re not at home, such as during work hours. Lowering the thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours per day can save you up to 10 percent per year on your energy bill, per the Department of Energy – look to make these changes as long as your home is empty for some period during the day. A programmable thermostat upgrade can be very helpful here.

Inspection

Finally, having annual inspections done on your furnace is a vital area for keeping your home warm without a major expense. A furnace that isn’t properly tuned can become very inefficient, and is much more likely to sustain major damage that will present a huge cost to repair. For more on how to stay warm in winter without a big cost, or to learn about our heating or AC repair services, speak to the pros at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.

Fall Heating Maintenance Tips

It’s fall time, and that means we’re just a couple short months away from winter. With the cold getting ready to approach, making sure your home’s heating system is up to speed and working properly is a vital consideration. We’re here to help at Airtime Heating & Cooling, where our heating and air technicians are happy to come and check your system for yearly maintenance. In the meantime, here are a few other areas you can check out yourself to make sure your system is running optimally.

Air Filters

Dirty air filters can present two issues: First, they create dust and other air issues that can complicate allergies and asthma while causing other health concerns. Second, they significantly reduce the system’s efficiency and capacity – this will decrease your comfort in the home while simultaneously increasing your monthly energy costs.

Air Ducts

Be sure to listen to your air ducts, and also feel for any air escaping from ducts in places it shouldn’t. This could signal that ducts are not airtight, and might need some basic maintenance to make sure they’re not losing vital efficiency.

Vents and Airways

All vents should be clear of any dust or pet hair, blockers that might decrease the capacity. If you have radiators or baseboard heating, remember that any furniture in front of these elements can block the path of heat and stop it from circulating properly around the room.

Thermostat

Check the thermostat itself to ensure that it’s performing properly. Make sure it’s actually creating the temperature you set it to, and consider a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one – these are both more effective and will help you save energy each month.

Preventive Checks

Finally, having a professional inspection and tune-up done at least once a year is vital for your HVAC system. Our technicians can make sure your system is clean and all parts are operating at their peak efficiency, and we can detect minor issues before they turn into major ones. For more information on pre-winter heating considerations, or to find out about any of our other HVAC services, contact the pros at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.

Summer Energy Conservation Ideas

It’s time for another hot, dry Utah summer, and that means heavy usage of air conditioning and other cooling tactics. The AC carries a much larger burden during the summer months than the rest of the year, with temperatures up in the three figures. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, our AC repair and other HVAC services will keep you and your family comfortable during the hot season. There are also a few general tactics you can take around the house to keep your energy bill down while keeping everyone cool – let’s take a look.

Light Bulbs

Many people are using highly inefficient light bulbs in their homes, but aren’t aware of it at all. Incandescent bulbs are still widely available, despite the presence of LED bulbs in the marketplace – these cost a tad more, but offer up to 85 percent energy savings compared to their outdated counterparts. If your energy bills are consistently higher than you’d like despite smart conservation tactics elsewhere, consider upgrading bulbs.

Curtains and Drapes

The air conditioning isn’t the only way to cool the home – a few smart habits like heat-blocking curtains can go a long way as well. These will limit the energy the AC uses, and they can double as attractive home decoration items.

Ceiling Fans

Not many people realize it, but the direction in which your ceiling fans spin can directly affect energy costs. When fans move counterclockwise, they push air downward and help circulate cool air. This means you can raise the thermostat a couple degrees and still feel the same.

Air Filters

During non-summer months, air filters in the AC should be changed about once every few months. During the summer, up this to once a month – this will improve air quality, and will keep energy bills down. Dirty filters lead to a system that has to work harder to pump the same amount of air, and they can also lead to significant damage in the system. To find out more about summer conservation or air conditioning service. Contact the pros at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.

Signs of Dirty or Clogged Air Ducts

As your go-to source for air conditioner repair and other heating and cooling considerations in the home, we at Airtime Heating & Cooling have seen it all when it comes to air services. One of the most common issues we deal with related to central air systems? Dirty or clogged ducts. Ducts that aren’t properly maintained can cause numerous issues, from health concerns to energy cost problems. Here are a few of the most common signs that your ducts might be clogged.

Mold

If you start to notice mold on the visible sections of your ducts, know that this could just be the tip of the iceberg – there are often much larger quantities of mold inside the ducts. Mold thrives in a moisture-heavy environment, and can lead to major health issues. It could signal poor insulation or leaks somewhere in the ducts, or it could be a sign of faulty condensation pans.

Pest Infestation

One of the larger potential causes of duct issues are pests in the home, often either rodents or insects. These pests come with various health concerns, often due to their feces, which can build up in the ducts and cause everything from imperfect air flow to significant breathing risk. Once particles from feces enter the airstream of the home, they can spread everywhere and become an issue for anyone who enters. If you have an infestation, chances are you’ll notice it either through visible droppings or via bits of noise (when rodent are involved). If this is the case, contact our experts plus an exterminator right away.

Dust

Dust itself can be a cause of blockage issues in many cases, or dirt and debris that builds up over time. These items can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms in many people as they’re spread into the air, and can also limit airflow and lead to increased utility bills. If you start to notice small clouds of dust popping out of vents every time air is turned on, this could be a telltale sign that your ducts need maintenance. Want to find out more about AC repair, or any of our other services? The experts at Airtime Heating & Cooling are here to assist you.

Why Winter AC Service Makes Sense

It’s still winter in Utah, and your heating and air focus is squarely on keeping you and your family warm during these months. It’s far too early to begin thinking about spring and summer items like air conditioner installation or repair, right? Wrong. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re here to tell you that now could be the perfect time to look into a new or replaced air conditioner. How could this be the case while winter is still here and warm months aren’t a real consideration yet? Let’s find out.

Installation Ease

From a raw logistics standpoint, installing a new or replacement air conditioner is much easier before the warmest months of the year get going. It’s easier for our workers to operate in non-sweltering conditions, and because most of the major processes come inside the home, there’s no concern about inclement weather disrupting installation. This is part of the reason many vendors, including Airtime, offer specials during this time of year.

Cost Savings

That’s a big chunk of the benefit, as well. Easier installation means it takes less time, which can mean the price is reduced. Many AC manufacturers also lower their costs or offer rebates during winter months, for similar reasons. We all want to spend less money on things like this, and installing now instead of later can accomplish this.

The Problem With “Trying it Out”

Many people choose to simply give the AC a little “test” period – the beginning of the warmer months, in other words. If things go wrong, the thinking goes, it’s simple enough to replace at that point. Here’s the problem with that: If issues don’t present themselves for a couple weeks or a month, you could be in some major trouble once they do. What happens if your system breaks down for good on a Sunday afternoon in mid-July? You’re stuck paying huge rates for emergency service, that’s what happens. Instead of all this, updating your system early can be a great way to avoid getting into that sort of pickle. Want to learn more about the right times for AC repair or installation, or any of our other heating and cooling solutions? Speak to the experts at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.

The Major Factors in Air Quality

Most people recognize HVAC specialists like ours at Airtime Heating & Cooling for what the name suggests: Air conditioner and furnace services aimed at providing temperature-related comfort in the home or workplace. These are indeed our primary services, but another that’s very important and often overlooked are our air quality solutions. Whether it’s central air, a thermostat or any other format, there are several factors which can affect air quality. Without the right precautions and maintenance from professionals like us, air quality can pose major health concerns for you and your family. Here are some of the most important factors in indoor air quality to be aware of.

Ventilation and Temperature

Beyond simply causing discomfort, extreme temperatures can have health effects. In addition, controlled ventilation is vital for air quality – especially in heavily insulated buildings which may allow limited air exchange with the outside world. Poor ventilation can allow contaminants to remain trapped in common areas for unhealthy periods, and can reduce air quality.

Humidity

Too low a humidity level can lead to things like eye irritation and dry skin or rashes. On the flip side, too high a humidity level can lead to water damage and mold problems in many areas, especially bathrooms and areas with frequent water. Reaching an optimal humidity level eliminates concerns on both ends.

Chemicals and Gas

Many air quality complaints come as a result of smell and eye irritation, and chemicals are some of the primary sources here. Specific chemical combination can lead to these side effects and more, and the health effects aren’t always totally known. In addition, gasses like radon occur naturally in some regions, and can diffuse into some buildings through soil. Radon has been linked with lung cancer.

Particles and Microbes

Ranging from coarse to ultra-fine, microscopic particles in the air can affect air quality tremendously. They may come from outdoor pollution, or from some indoor forms of heating or cooking. Different but related are microbes, which refer to things like fungi and viruses. These can play a big role in the development and worsening of asthma or allergy symptoms, and can be a particularly large problem in damper areas or buildings.

Pets and Pests

Many indoor pets and various pest infestations are known as primary causes of asthma and other respiratory issues. This will depend on individual climates. Want to learn more about air quality, or in need of AC repair or any of our other HVAC services? Speak to one of our expert technicians today.

Warnings Signs that it is Time to Replace Your Furnace

More than likely you have a furnace heating your home, and you need that furnace to be in good working condition to maintain a healthy home. If your home heating system is more than 20 years old and you have spent money on furnace repairs in the last two years, it might be time to stop paying for services and replace your furnace. Here we are going to show you the top warning signs that you need to replace your furnace.

Your furnace is over 15 years old

Most furnaces are expected to last about 18 years, if your furnace is nearing that or over it might be time to look into replacing it.

Your furnace makes strange noises

Old furnaces have a tendency to make strange popping, banging, and squealing sounds when they are nearing the end of their life. Another sign your furnace needs to be replaced is if your blower is turning on and off more frequently.

Health Issues

If anyone in your family is moaning about everyday headaches, burning sensation in their eyes or nose; or even nausea it might be time to replace your furnace. Older furnaces can develop holes or crack in the heat exchanger, which can emit carbon monoxide gas into your home. This is a dangerous situation that should be addressed right away!

Dry or dusty house

Your heating system is not providing acceptable moisture or clean air in your home, another sign it is time to replace your heating system. Extreme dryness can affect the walls, furniture, and plants in your home. This excessive dryness can cause problems for you and your family as well if anyone is allergic to dues or pollen. So, when you see your walls starting to peel or your plants drooping over, it is probably time to get a new furnace.

Thermostat never keeps you comfortable

Are some of your rooms too hot or too cold? Are you continually adjusting the thermostat to be comfortable? This may be due to your furnace no longer being able to distribute heat properly through your home, yet another sign that it may be old and faulty.

Your heating bill has increased

This could be cause by a range of problems, but if you have had your furnace serviced by a reputable company and had your ducts sealed your energy bill should not noticeably increase. The extra money you are putting out into gas and electricity could easily go toward buying a new furnace. You shouldn’t rush into buying a new furnace if you are only experiencing one or two of these signs, add up the signs the more that pertain the more you should look into buying a new furnace from a heating company you trust.

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High-Efficiency Experts / Service & Installation
(801) 396-2446 High-Efficiency Experts / Service & Installation
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