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

Tips for Combating Airflow “Stack Effect”

Your home isn’t a skyscraper, but did you know that if you have even two stories in your building, you could experience a similar air effect as some of the world’s tallest buildings? It’s true, and this is an event called “stack effect” – one that can lead to air loss, rising utility bills and a few other issues. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, our various furnace and HVAC tune-up services include checking for various indoor air effects, including stack effect. But in case it appears during another part of the year when your inspection is past, here are some basics to know about stack effect and what you can do about it.

Stack Effect Basics

Stack effect, as we noted above, is most common in skyscrapers and other very tall buildings. It refers to a state where the peak of the structure, whether a home or building, acts as its own gigantic chimney – it funnels warm air (which naturally rises) upward, where it eventually is able to escape due to air openings that form over time. Why does stack effect happen? Because of temperature imbalances. When the temperature outside the building is much lower than the temperature inside, cold air will enter the structure at the bottom and push the warm air up. This leads to a worsening cycle where more air coming in just makes the drafts stronger, and so on. This is a larger and larger issue the taller the building is, and is part of the reason nearly all skyscrapers currently use revolving doors – because previous door types created air suction conditions so significant that people couldn’t even pull the doors open due to stack effect.

Why It’s an Issue

Within a home, stack effect is a problem when it begins to impact your air sealing. As stack effect worsens and pressure increases on the upper parts of your home, pressure will be put on the roof, insulation and other upper areas – these may crack, crumble or otherwise wear down, allowing air to escape as it rises. And as we noted above, this will only get worse with time, raising your utility bill each month and also potentially forcing you to spend on repairs for your roofing, insulation or even your foundation.

Possible Solutions

The primary combatant to stack effect is strong insulation. Stack effect may take place to some small degree in your home regardless, but if you have great upper insulation, it won’t matter. Warm air will reach the upper parts of your home and simply have nowhere to go. When you use fans and other formats to recirculate it, it will get right back into the entirety of the home instead of being lost. The most important insulation level here is the barrier between your top floor and either your roof or your attic. However, we recommend having your insulation across the home checked or upgraded regularly. For more on fighting off the stack effect, or to learn about any of our furnace repair or other HVAC services, speak to the pros at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
high winter air quality

Tips for High Winter Air Quality

The winter is here, and that means that some of our typical avenues for freshening up the air in our homes are either removed or heavily restricted. It’s not as easy to just open a window or door for a few hours and let some fresh air in, at least not without causing huge increases to your heating bill based on heat escaping the home. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re here to help with this and other HVAC-related areas this winter. We can help you with everything from properly sealing your structure to helpful tips for indoor air quality, including our whole-home solutions. Here are some basic pieces of advice we can offer on keeping the air quality in your home high over the winter despite fewer avenues for fresh outdoor air.

Vents and Registers

All air that makes its way to you in the home will pass through your vents and registers within the HVAC system, so caring for these areas is very important. Without attention, vents and registers will build up dust over the course of the year, which in turn makes your air tougher to breathe. Luckily, preventing this is easy. Just use the wand attachment on your vacuum, or even a traditional duster attachment, to reach to these areas and cut down on dust flowing around your home’s air.


Another element your air will pass through before reaching you is the filter in your furnace. You should be taking care to check and replace filters throughout the year, to be sure, but this job just takes on increased importance during the winter when there are fewer paths to fresh air in the home. If you have pets, you should be changing your filters even more often than the factory recommendations state.

Thermostat Fan

As long as you have updated filters in your furnace, running the fan on your thermostat is a great way to cycle air and clean it out. The fan will automatically run during heating cycles, but you can turn it from “Auto” to “On” and cause it to run all the time. This will continuously run the home’s air through the filter and make it cleaner – but it will also raise your utility bill, so use this tactic sparingly.

Ceiling Fan Blades

Another common area for dust accumulation is on ceiling fans, so you should clean these regularly during winter. In addition, consider flipping the direction of the ceiling fan in winter so the blades move clockwise – this will create an updraft that helps with warming.

Duct Cleaning

The worst dust and allergen buildups in the HVAC system often take place in the duct system, where it can be tough to reach on your own or even see in many cases. If you think this might be an issue in your home, talk to us about professional duct cleaning.

Air Filtration

Finally, consider a whole-home indoor air quality machine like our “Clean Effects” device from Trane. Not only does this technology clean all contaminants from your air, it also helps with humidity control as well. If you have consistent air quality issues, this is a great outlet to consider. For more on keeping indoor air quality high during winter, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, speak to the pros at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
learning home humidity control

Learning About Home Humidity Control

With the technology available to us today in the heating and air realm, it’s possible to achieve extremely precise comfort levels in the home. Advanced thermostats and better HVAC systems all around allow us to pinpoint our temperatures to our exact liking at all times of the year, regardless of the climate we live in. At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we’re here to remind you that this theme extends further than just the raw temperature of your air. Our indoor air quality solutions also include another vital area: Humidity, which can have a broad effect on the way a given room or home feels compared to the actual temperature. Particularly in a dry climate like Utah, ensuring the proper levels of moisture in the air is very important. Let’s look at what these levels are, the effects if they aren’t met, and some ways you can go about changing yours.  

Optimal Humidity Levels

When we talk about humidity levels, we’re really discussing “relative humidity,” which refers to the level of water vapor in the air as a percentage of the total saturation point of that air. In general, you want your relative humidity level in the home to range between 30 and 50 percent – you can easily test these levels using a hygrometer, which can be purchased at any Home Depot or similar hardware store. In some climates, humidity will ebb and flow fairly significantly based on what season it is. Winter might see dryer air, with relative humidity levels below 30 percent, while the hot sun can lead to levels well above 60 percent in the summer.

Effects of Improper Levels

Occasional departures from the optimal humidity ranges won’t do much damage, but homes that are consistently outside of this range could present some issues. These issues are found in both personal health and in problems with e home’s structure. They include:
  • Skin problems: Conditions like eczema, chapped lips or psoriasis can be significantly worsened by air that’s too dry.
  • Mold or mildew growth: On the other end of the spectrum, air that’s too humid can lead to mold and mildew growth in the home – this, in turn, can cause significant respiratory illnesses and other health conditions.
  • Smells: Too much moisture from an overly humid home will produce a dank, musty smell that can make certain people feel sick.
  • Wood damage: Wood in the home can crack or splinter if it’s too dry, but can also warp if its infused with too much moisture.

Steps to Take

Whether your home is too dry or too moist, there are solutions out there. We have products from Aprilaire and Trane that can help with both humidifying and dehumidifying, depending on which your home needs. These include whole-home options if the entire home is affected, or singular options if you only need solutions for a room or two. For more on humidity in the home, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.
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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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