(801) 396-2446 High-Efficiency Experts / Service & Installation
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AC HVAC preparation checklist

Pre-Spring AC and HVAC Preparation Checklist

We’re nearing the end of the winter period, and for homeowners throughout Utah, this means it’s almost time for an important transition. The move from winter into the spring and summer seasons means your HVAC system will switch from heating to cooling, and ensuring the entire system is ready for this transition is vital. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we offer a variety of furnace and air conditioning tune-up services, the type that are perfect for these transitional seasons during a given year. In addition to these, here are several basic areas we recommend you keep a careful eye on as you prepare your system for the spring, ensuring your air conditioner and other vital HVAC components are in great shape as the temperatures change.

Cleaning Areas

For starters, there are two major cleaning areas to perform before spring hits:
  • Outside unit: Many homeowners take good care of the interior elements of their HVAC system, but neglect the vital unit outside the home. This is the AC condenser, the one in charge of cycling out warm air and providing cool air during the summer – you should take the time to clean off all dirt, debris, branches, leaves or other items from this area. This will prevent costly maintenance on this unit that may arise due to built-up deposits, which can slow the unit down and damage it.
  • Air ducts: It’s also vital to clean your air ducts and visible vent areas of all dust and debris, allowing the system to work without any strain or air loss.

Changing Filter

HVAC filters should be changed regularly throughout the year, including during the winter-to-spring transition if they have not been swapped out recently. Filters that are left too long will build up significant blockages and clogs, slowing the passage of air through the system and raising your monthly energy bill. In the process, they will also diminish your air quality.

Test Run

Chances are, your air conditioning system has been completely unused for most or all of the previous winter. Take the time to switch the system to cool and run it for around 30 minutes – check in individual rooms to ensure cooling is taking place, and listen/look for any issues that may come up. If you’re scheduling professional maintenance, be sure to mention any such issues to your HVAC expert.

Schedule a Tune-Up

Finally, as we noted above, there are few better ways to guarantee the quality of your AC and HVAC system headed into spring and summer than to hire our pros for a quick, affordable tune-up. We’ll inspect and clean basic elements of the system, plus check for minor issues that have arisen over time to ensure your unit is in tip-top shape headed into cooling season. For more on pre-spring HVAC tips to consider in your home, or to learn about any of our heating and cooling services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
air quality indoor candle burning

Health and Air Quality Tips for Indoor Candle Burning

As your comprehensive HVAC specialists throughout Utah, one area our team at Airtime Heating & Cooling is always cognizant of when providing services for your home is indoor air quality. Our whole-home air purifier solutions offer the kind of air that improves breathing, skin quality, sleep and numerous other potential actors for home occupants, plus allows you to control humidity throughout the year. One area that often is perceived incorrectly by homeowners when it comes to their air quality: Burning candles inside the home. While many forms of candles are fine to burn inside, there are also several popular types that research has shown to be harmful to indoor air quality, and you should be very careful about regularly burning these types. Let’s look at everything you need to know about which candle materials to avoid and how to burn candles in safe, healthy ways if this is something you enjoy.

Candle Materials and Air Quality

When it comes to determining whether a given candle is good or bad for your indoor air quality, the primary theme is assessing the materials the candle is made from. Specifically, research has shown that candles containing a substance known as paraffin – one of the most popular types available, sadly – emit toxic chemicals such as toluene, benzene and even formaldehyde. These chemicals can lead to everything from respiratory concerns like asthma to nervous system disorders and even heightened risk for certain forms of cancer. Now, not all candles are made using paraffin. The same research showed that soybean candles or beeswax did not have the same outputs of toxic chemicals, though there is still debate about whether these types are truly safer. Overall, researchers noted that even for paraffin-based candles, occasional use is generally okay and will not pose a health or air quality threat. If you constantly are lighting these candles, however, especially in spaces with poor ventilation, this is when issues can begin.

HVAC Filter Impact

One note for those who burn candles often, even if you’re burning beeswax or soybean candles that don’t emit toxins: Soot and smoke released from candles will generally clog up your HVAC filters faster than they would have otherwise. You should check your filters often and replace them more commonly if you burn candles regularly.

General Tips

Some general ventilation and other tips for burning candles safely and without health or air quality risks:
  • Stick with beeswax or soybean candles, and cotton or paper wicks
  • Ensure candle wicks are trimmed down to limit smoke and soot output
  • Use a lighter instead of a match for lighting candles – the former emits fewer toxins
  • Burn candles in a properly-ventilated area
  • When possible, choose odorless candles and use essential oils for improved aromas
For more on the possible issues with candles and air quality, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, including central air, furnace repair or even pre-spring air conditioner installations, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling.
locating removing rodents HVAC ductwork

Locating and Removing Rodents in HVAC Ductwork

No one enjoys the presence of rodents like mice or rats anywhere in their home, and they can be particularly problematic if they invade – and eventually die in – your HVAC system’s ductwork. Often entering this area to attempt to find shelter and warmth, such rodents can lead to not only health issues and contaminants in your air, but also damage to your ducts and related HVAC performance issues. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re happy to assist with a variety of areas, from furnace replacement to general upkeep and tune-ups of various HVAC systems, including your ducts. If you believe a rodent has died in your duct system somewhere, here are some general steps to take in terms of locating it, removing it and remedying any damage that was created – either on your own or with the assistance of our HVAC professionals.

Tracking Odor

For starters, the most common indicator that will signal a rodent’s presence in the duct system is the odor that comes from it. At the same time, however, such a smell could be coming from several sources or locations, and you have to follow it to determine the precise area. If you’ve already checked other primary areas or believe the ductwork is the location, find the strongest area of smell nearest to a vent cover you can access. Remove this cover and use a flashlight to check inside.

Careful, Safe Removal

In cases where you can see the dead rodent and it’s close enough to the vent opening to reach it, you can likely perform this task yourself if desired. It’s vital, however, to take proper health and safety precautions: Wear gloves, use disinfectant products and ensure you have a strong, durable garbage bag for storing the remains. If the rodent is out of your reach, however, you may need to call our team for assistance. We have special tools and expertise that will allow us to reach the rodent and remove it without damaging your ductwork in any way. Once the rodent has been removed, thoroughly disinfect the area, including any section that was touched by the animal.

Repairing Leaks or Damage

Finally, once the area is clean and sanitary, it’s important to inspect the system and understand how the rodent was able to enter it to begin with. Our pros will be able to help you ascertain this location, which often includes a small leak or hole that allowed the rodent to get in. We’ll also assist with simple, affordable repairs or replacement to ensure this cannot happen again, plus increase your energy efficiency. For more on what to do if a rodent has died in your HVAC duct system, or to learn about any of our heating and air services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
preparing HVAC system holiday guests

Preparing the Home’s HVAC System for Holiday Guests

With winter upon us, homeowners and families everywhere are preparing for the festive holiday season, or have already kicked it off in some cases. Those who plan to host guests in their home during the holidays, particularly family or friends staying for long periods, have a few important areas to think about, one of which is comfort and air quality – both dictated by a strong HVAC system. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re here to help. We offer a variety of quality HVAC services, from furnace installation to heater repair and even air quality solutions to keep your home comfortable and healthy for anyone who visits over the holidays – plus you and your family, of course. Here are several areas to prioritize, from those we’ll assist you with to others you can handle on your own in many cases.

Inspection and Maintenance

For starters, having your HVAC system and furnace inspected and maintained by our quality HVAC pros during the late fall or early winter is vital, both for this and several other reasons. The last thing you want to be running into is a broken furnace or some other temperature issue while company is around, the kinds of issues that could have been prevented with a basic inspection and upkeep appointment. We’ll perform tasks ranging from basic cleaning to minor repairs as needed, also lengthening the lifespan of your system.

Filter, Vents and Ducts

Changing HVAC filters is important throughout the year, and especially so if your home will have additional occupants for a period of time – this introduces a wider array of contaminants that need to be removed from the air. Ensure your filter is up-to-date and clean. In addition, take a few minutes to clean the accessible areas of your vents and air ducts, particularly if any dust or other buildups are present. This will limit allergens and other air quality detractors while also making it easier for the system to function at peak capacity.

Specific Room Prep

When preparing guest rooms or other areas where guests will stay, take some time to ensure all vents are both open and free of any impediments, such as furniture. Even if you don’t normally keep vents open in this room, you should now. You may also consider leaving an extra blanket just in case your guests need additional warmth.

Large Groups and Thermostat Considerations

Finally, for some minor cost savings, you might consider lowering your thermostat a degree or two during large holiday gatherings. This is because large groups of people give off significant body heat, often warming the room or even the entire home on their own. Combine this with potential oven use and lots of lights being on, and you can likely give the thermostat at least a minor respite during events. For more on preparing the HVAC system and your home for holiday guests, or to learn about any of our furnace, air conditioning or air quality services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
limiting allergy risks HVAC services

Limiting Fall and Winter Allergy Risks Through HVAC Services

For those who suffer from allergies, whether seasonal or on a year-round basis, indoor air quality is a vital concern. Allergies can be triggered by a number of different particle types, and homes with poor air quality tend to contain far more risks for exacerbating allergies than those with air quality systems in place. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we offer fantastic indoor air quality products from Aprilaire and Trane to help keep your home’s air clean and healthy for all occupants, particularly those with allergies. With fall in full swing, let’s look at some of the seasonal allergies that may show up during this period or the upcoming winter, plus some general tactics you can utilize to ensure you don’t have any long-term issues at play here.

Common Seasonal Allergies

The most common individual fall seasonal allergy is ragweed, which can travel all over the country through wind currents that pick it up and move it around. Ragweed causes eye and lung irritation symptoms, and is generally felt by those who also suffer from spring allergies as well. In addition, mold is a common allergy trigger that often tends to show up in greater quantities during the fall period. This is because as temperatures get colder, moisture and humidity often increase, which improves the conditions for mold to grow in. Another factor here is leaves piling up around the home, restricting air, holding in water and generally increasing the risk of mold forming.

HVAC Maintenance

There are several distinct strategies you can take to benefit your home’s air quality while also increasing HVAC efficiency:
  • Cleaning: Take time to clean dust, dirt and other debris off every area of the HVAC system, including the outdoor AC condenser. Dust is another common allergy trigger, but one you can significantly reduce within your home through basic cleaning.
  • Ducts: Another area to clean is the ducts within your HVAC system, which can also become dusty. You likely won’t be able to clean the entire duct system on your own, but our HVAC pros are happy to help.
  • Home cleanliness: Even areas like raking leaves, vacuuming dirt and other household chores will limit allergy risks.
  • Filters: Perhaps the most important tactic listed here is changing your HVAC filters, which should be done on a regular basis throughout the year for many reasons. Filters keep the air quality high and your HVAC components functioning optimally.

Other Air Quality Products

Finally, if you’ve done all the above and are still experiencing allergy or air quality risks, contact our team about our air quality products, which will clean either individual rooms or your entire house and leave you with nothing but healthy air. For more on air quality or any of our other HVAC services such as furnace installation or repair, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
themes limiting major HVAC costs

Simple Themes for Limiting Major HVAC Costs

Like any other system that operates using mechanical parts, such as a vehicle or a toilet, HVAC systems and their components require maintenance to keep them from breaking down. Such upkeep serves two primary, and related, purposes: Keeping HVAC equipment working properly so occupants of a given structure are comfortable and healthy, and limiting potentially major repair and replacement costs for systems that are allowed to wear down too quickly. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re proud to offer a number of services to ensure your HVAC system is in great shape and not costing you money, from precision AC and furnace tune-ups to a wide range of inspection and preventive services. In coordination with our HVAC professionals, here are several themes you should keep in mind when looking to keep your costs and hassle to a minimum when it comes to your heating and air system.

Keep an Eye (And an Ear) Out

For starters, maybe the single most valuable thing you can do as a homeowner is simply pay attention to your HVAC system on a regular basis. Once you have a basic idea of how your system operates when it’s functioning properly – how it sounds, how long it runs for during heating or cooling season, how often filters need to be changed, etc. – you should also be able to identify occasions when the system is not operating normally. In many cases, the first signs here are noises like rattling, grinding, buzzing or thumping. In others, you may notice actual performance issues like weak airflow, malfunctioning thermostats or pooling water near indoor units. The keener your eyes and ears are, the sooner you’ll spot these issues and can immediately remedy them before they worsen.

Regular Filter Replacement

Every 30 to 90 days, depending on the filter type and the details of your system, you should be changing out your air filters. This frequency increases if you have pets in the home, which add to the dust and dander levels in the air. Not only does changing filters at the proper intervals lead to cleaner, healthier air, it also keeps several HVAC components functioning optimally rather than wearing down too quickly.

Cleaning Areas

There are a few areas you can clean regularly to keep your HVAC system in peak shape:
  • Vents: Vacuuming in and around vents helps remove dust and dirt that might block airflow.
  • Outdoor unit: Outdoor AC condensers need regular maintenance too – make sure they’re free of leaves and other debris, plus cut back any nearby shrubs to give them space to breathe.
  • Ductwork: If your home has ductwork, schedule an inspection at least once every couple years with our HVAC technicians to ensure there are no blockages or leaks.

Inspection, Maintenance and Service Plans

Finally, involve our team as often as needed to ensure your system stays in good shape and never presents major costs. Our basic inspection and maintenance services are easily affordable on any budget, designed to limit larger risks that come with high price tags down the line. For more on how to keep your HVAC costs low through basic approaches, or to learn about any of our heating and air services, speak to the team at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
fall furnace tune-ups vital homeowners

Why Fall Furnace Tune-Ups Are Vital for Homeowners

September is upon us, and that means many Utahns are beginning to prepare for fall season and, eventually, the upcoming winter. Homeowners have several important areas to consider this time of year, one of which is the furnace that’s likely been sitting unused for the majority, if not all, of the summer. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we offer a wide range of HVAC tune-up services, including high-quality furnace tune-ups that feature inspections and several potential improvements to your system. Why are these kinds of inspections so vital for your home this fall? Let’s take a look at several reasons.

Health and Safety

For starters, regular inspections of the furnace and overall HVAC system keep everyone in the home safe and healthy. While certain furnace problems might just lead to temperature issues or discomfort, others – such as a cracked heat exchanger, for instance – can be much more serious. In these cases, the risk of carbon monoxide gas entering the home in dangerous amounts is a very real one. However, our HVAC technicians will detect issues like these early and immediately repair them on the spot, heading them off before the main heating season is in full swing.

Detecting Issues and Improving Lifespan

Another benefit of this kind of early issue detection: It improves not only the short-term functionality of the furnace, but also its long-term lifespan. Issues in furnaces that aren’t regularly inspected will simply grow over time, often resulting in large-scale problems that require costly repairs or even an early replacement of the system. When you have pros on hand to catch the signs of these problems early, however, you don’t face these risks. Many well-maintained furnaces well exceed their general 15-year average lifespan, and many can work for 20 or more years.

Pressure and Efficiency

A common issue for furnaces that have been unused for several months at a time is a lack of pressure, which can limit the efficiency of the system and raise your energy bill. But our technicians can use professional tools to test your system’s pressure and locate any issues that might be limiting it, improving efficiency and bringing you quality heat for the minimum possible cost.

Cleanliness

Another common result of a furnace sitting idle for the summer: It builds up dust, which if uncleaned will give off a foul burning odor for the first several uses of the furnace during the cold season. Our basic tune-ups will include cleaning these buildups and lubricating any parts that require it.

Warranty Adherence

Finally, if your furnace is on the newer end and is still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, most such warranties actually require these kinds of regular inspections and tune-ups. If you neglect to schedule them and something goes wrong with the system, requiring replacement, you might find that you’ve voided your warranty and have to cover the cost yourself. For more on why fall furnace inspections and tune-ups are so important, or to learn about any of our HVAC repair services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
signs air conditioner refrigerant leaks

Common Signs of Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leaks

The average air conditioner does quite a bit of work over the course of the hot Utah summer, and by August and the later months of the season, it’s good to check it over to ensure it’s still in good shape. There are a few minor issues you might be looking for, and one of the most common is a leak in refrigerant – the solution that helps the AC cool your home or building to begin with. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re here to help with any AC repair and service, including refrigerant leaks or related issues. What are some of the telltale signs that your refrigerant might be leaking and could require patching and recharging? Let’s take a look.

Indoor Humidity Levels

Even before you begin to notice cooling issues, which we’ll get to in a moment, you may notice that your space also becomes a bit more humid when refrigerant begins to leak. This is because refrigerant not only pulls hot air from the space, but also moisture content at the same time. Particularly if you notice any condensation or dripping water in strange areas, this could be a sign.

Limited Cooling Capability

Particularly during the hottest parts of the day, have you noticed that your air conditioner just can’t keep up? The thermostat says a lower number as the target, but the actual temperature stays high. Now, to be clear, this could be due to a refrigerant leak – or one of several other issues. But if you notice this problem along with any of our other signs in this blog, you’re on the right track to finding the cause.

Rising Bills

Even if you don’t notice specific issues with your cooling or humidity, you might notice them on the next month’s utility bill. Systems that are compromised have to work harder and harder to cool, which raise your bill in a hurry.

Extended Cycles

Another physical sign you might notice is an air conditioner that runs in extremely long cycles. If your AC is running for a half-hour at a time without stopping, for instance, this is a clear sign that it’s running behind the thermostat and has an issue like a refrigerant leak.

Hissing or Bubbling

If you want to test whether one of the issues we’ve listed above is due to a refrigerant leak, turn off your AC system temporarily and go outside to your outdoor condenser unit. Can you hear a bubbling or hissing sound? If so, the issue is almost certainly a refrigerant leak. One note: No hissing or bubbling doesn’t necessarily mean refrigerant isn’t the issue, but in cases where it is, it’s likely not severe – more significant leaks will almost always create this noise.

Ice on Coils

Finally, another clear sign that will help you narrow down refrigerant leaks versus other issues is the presence of ice on the evaporator coils of your outdoor unit. There’s no reason frosty ice crystals should be forming out there in the sun – unless they’re coming from leaking refrigerant, of course, at which time you should call our team. For more on telltale signs your AC has a refrigerant leak, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
hvac-related preventing dust mite

HVAC-Related Areas for Preventing Dust Mite Invasion

For those with allergies, asthma or any other respiratory condition, air quality is even more of a vital concern than it already should be for the general population. Ensuring proper filtration, air flow and ventilation is important for ensuring air stays fresh and clean, and doesn’t include contaminants or allergens. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re here to offer several services related directly to indoor air quality in your home or building. In today’s blog, we’ll dig into several HVAC and other areas for people with a specific common allergy: Dust mites, which are particularly common during the spring and early summer period we’re in right now. Dust mites lead to itchy skin, hives, congestion, cold symptoms and even asthma attacks in those who are prone to them. Here are several pointers for preventing dust mites from entering your home through intelligent cleaning and use of your heating and cooling system.

Humidity Control

One of the simplest ways to limit or completely eliminate dust mites is to control the humidity in your home. Dust mites thrive in higher humidity environments, especially anything above 70 percent; however, they simply cannot survive when the humidity drops below 50 percent, and anything up to 55 percent will not encourage their growth. If you’re concerned about dust mites, head to your local home improvement store and buy a basic humidity detector – they’re very cheap. From here, test the various rooms in your home for their humidity. If rooms are too high, consider purchasing a dehumidifier or simply leaving windows open for a few days to even things out.

Clean, Clear Ducts

One of the top areas for harboring several allergen types, including dust mite excrement or skin? Dirty, unkept air ducts. Not only will cleaning these regularly help keep your system functioning at peak capacity throughout the year, it will also limit any allergen deposits and help you control air quality more effectively.

Vacuuming Considerations

If you have carpet in your home, it should be vacuumed regularly for the sake of those with allergies. While doing so, if you’re one of the people in the home with allergies, we recommend wearing a mask and then leaving the room for a few minutes afterward.

Floors

We mentioned carpet above – if you’re moving into a new home soon and have a choice in the matter, we recommend hardwood flooring instead. If your current home has major dust mite or other allergy issues, you could consider replacing carpet with a hard floor.

HVAC Pros

On top of everything we’ve discussed here, it’s important to speak with our heating and air professionals about the ways you can go about preventing dust mites and other allergens from becoming a problem. We’re happy to offer high-level expertise on the proper filters needed, air purifier options, humidity control and any other areas you need assistance with. For more on any of our air quality services, or to learn about our HVAC programs today, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling.
HVAC-related tips property landlords

HVAC-Related Tips for Property Landlords, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the approaches and tips we recommend from an HVAC standpoint if you’re a property landlord. It’s important for landlords to maintain HVAC equipment both for tenant comfort and the long-term viability of the structure, and there are a few areas where standard maintenance here might differ slightly from a standard homeownership situation. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we can offer a wide range of HVAC services for landlords, from furnace tune up services to air conditioning repair and much more. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go over several other areas that are important for landlords from a day-to-day perspective when it comes to keeping the HVAC system running optimally.

Changing Filters

Changing filters in the HVAC system is vital for a couple reasons. For starters, it ensures that the air remains clean and healthy in the home. For another, clean filters prevent the buildup of dust and other debris – buildups that, over time, can wear down several major HVAC components while also raising your monthly heating or cooling bills. Changing furnace filters is extremely easy, and landlords with trusted tenants can usually rely on them to do this as necessary. Most filters require changing roughly once a month, while some others may last for multiple months. As a landlord, you should always have at least one backup filter on hand at your rental properties, and more than one if possible. If your tenants are not reliable, you can place a clause in the rental agreement that allows for you to come and change the filters regularly.

Replacing HVAC Components

For some landlords, it can be tempting to let certain HVAC issues linger – you aren’t living in the space, after all, and many HVAC issues are relatively minor. This is a major risk, though, in large part because you could be risking the health of various components in the system. Replacing or repairing worn down components will increase your energy efficiency, plus make it last longer.

Vacant Properties

As a landlord, you may deal with periods of vacancy in between your tenants. These periods allow you to be a bit more relaxed with your HVAC system – you can turn the thermostat off during the summer if no one is living there, for instance, and you can lower it to between 50 and 55 degrees during winter. The only reason you must maintain this temperature during winter is to prevent frozen pipe issues. Just be sure to check in regularly during vacant periods to make sure there are no building issues, such as rising humidity or mold growth.

Checking In

Speaking of checking in, this is a great way to keep things functioning well during the day-to-day operations with a tenant in place as well. By “checking in,” we really just mean regularly communicating with your tenants – actually showing up to the property unannounced is almost always prohibited under standard rental agreements. But simply asking your tenants about any issues regarding the HVAC system or heating and cooling concerns can go a long way. For more on maintaining your property’s HVAC system as a landlord, or to learn about any of our heating or cooling services, speak to the pros at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
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High-Efficiency Experts / Service & Installation
(801) 396-2446 High-Efficiency Experts / Service & Installation
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