- 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.
Ceiling FansMany 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 HeatAnother 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 ConcernsThe 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.
InspectionFinally, 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.
Air FiltersDirty 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 DuctsBe 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 AirwaysAll 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.
ThermostatCheck 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 ChecksFinally, 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.
Light BulbsMany 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 DrapesThe 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 FansNot 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 FiltersDuring 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.
MoldIf 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 InfestationOne 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.
DustDust 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.
Installation EaseFrom 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 SavingsThat’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.
Ventilation and TemperatureBeyond 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.
HumidityToo 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 GasMany 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 MicrobesRanging 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 PestsMany 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.
Your furnace is over 15 years oldMost 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 noisesOld 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 IssuesIf 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 houseYour 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 comfortableAre 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 increasedThis 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.
1. Heavy CurtainsThe most important thing for homes in the winter is to keep all of the heat inside of the home. One way some of the heat escapes from your home is through your windows. You can reduce some of this heat loss by investing in heavy curtains for your windows. Keep them closed during the bitter cold, and open them up when the sun shines to let in additional heat.
2. Programmable ThermostatThe next important tip is to consider installing a programmable thermostat. Instead of hovering over your thermostat for long periods of time, you can set it and walk away. When you’re on vacation or at work, you can lower the temperature of your home and save more energy.
3. Ceiling FansNext, it’s essential to have ceiling fans in the largest rooms of your home. Make sure you set the blades to spin clockwise during the winter, so the heat circulates better within the room. Keeping the heat flowing throughout your rooms is a great way to give your heating system a break.
4. Landscaping ServicesFinally, landscaping services are another way to help control the amount of heat that stays inside of your home. Make sure your heating system is clear from extra growth of bushes or trees, so it can work more efficiently. Keep large tree branches and other growth away from vulnerable points of your home. You can feel cozy and warm all fall and winter if you make smart decisions about your home and its heating system. Be sure to recruit Airtime Heating and Cooling for all of your scheduled maintenance and repairs, so you can save even more money on your utility bill.