Next Generation Air & Heat, Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Suntree’

Indoor Air Quality Options

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Maintaining high indoor air quality is always worth investing time and money in. After all, if the air inside your home isn’t healthy, it can cause all kinds of health problems for you and your family. The state of the art home heating and cooling systems we have today make it possible to enjoy a perfectly temperature controlled indoor environment all year long, but they also trap indoor air pollutants and contaminants inside without proper ventilation.

Choosing a System that Works

Luckily there are a number of great products out there designed to remove these pollutants before they cause you and your family discomfort or illness. Before you run out to buy a new system, however, you should first consider what each has to offer and what pollutants you need to remove. You might have some idea about this already, but the best thing to do is talk to a professional who can help assess your indoor air and determine which types of contaminants are most prevalent in your home.

Different types of indoor air cleaners are better at targeting different types of contaminants. For instance, HEPA filters can remove up to 99.97% of particulate contaminants that measure 0.3 microns or larger. This includes things like pollen, pet dander, dust mites and mold spores, so if these are the things you want to target, an indoor air system that uses HEPA filters is probably right for you.

However, if you’re more concerned with getting rid of smoke odors and cooking fumes, you probably want a system that targets even smaller particles. Air ionizers are more appropriate for these types of indoor air quality issues, as they can effectively remove much smaller particles than most HEPA filters. On the flip side, ionizers aren’t as efficient at removing the larger contaminant particles, so if you want to target both small and large contaminants, you need a system that combines both of these technologies.

Bacteria and viruses are also a problem when they find their way into your indoor air and they can be particularly tricky to get rid of. HEPA filters and air ionizers both have trouble completely eradicating these pathogens, but UV germicidal lights can be incorporated into your indoor air cleaning system to tackle biological contaminants effectively.

No matter what type of home air quality problem you have, there is a system on the market that will target and remove the pollutant. The key is to know which pollutants effect you the most and which products will do the best job of removing them from your home.

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Mold…What if I Have Mold?

Monday, July 18th, 2011

No one wants to find mold. But, even if you’re not aware of it, mold is probably lurking somewhere in the damp, dark crevices of your home. And mold is particularly likely to grow in homes with improperly regulated humidity. Luckily, because we know that, there are quite a few things we can do to stop the growth of mold in its tracks and save your home from unsafe air quality and the damaging effects of those little spores.

The Dangers of Mold

As mold grows, it can do damage to your woodwork and other areas of your home. It also contributes to indoor air quality issues because mold spores are a significant indoor air contaminant. Many people are allergic to mold spores, so if you or someone else in your household has experienced allergy symptoms that you can’t explain, mold spores are a likely culprit.

If you find out there is mold in your home, don’t panic just yet. There are some things you can do to address the problem and get mold out of your house for good. Your main task will be getting rid of the mold that is already there. This isn’t necessarily easy because of the areas mold tends to grow in. But, even with the proper air quality treatment, your home and health is still at risk if you don’t target that existing mold fast.

Stopping Mold in Its Tracks

Just getting rid of existing mold won’t solve the problem, though. Mold keeps coming back as long as there is an environment to support it – and that means moisture. Mold requires water to grow, so the chances are that if you have a mold problem in your home, you also have a humidity problem. Getting your indoor humidity under control will make it much easier to remove and keep mold out of your home for good.

There are plenty of good humidification systems on the market today. They can be easily integrated into your home heating and cooling system and provide great, consistent humidity control. Make sure you get one that’s large enough for your home. An indoor air quality professional can help you make that determination. Once you have a good humidification system in place, you’ll notice a huge difference in your overall indoor air quality, and hopefully the problem won’t return anytime soon.

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Worst Rooms in Your Home to Collect Allergens

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Your home is a haven for allergens, but some rooms in particular are much worse than others. They are damp. They are warm. They often have garbage in them. These are the rooms that need especially close attention when trying to maintain air quality in your home.

Basement

First on the list is your basement. A basement is the biggest problem when it’s either unfinished or not used very often. If you have water leaks in your basement or poor insulation, it’s important to have a moisture barrier put in and have your pipes checked. If the water comes from a drainage pipe or your sewer line, repairs can be made. If it comes from excess ground water or leaks in the foundation, a sump pump or drain tile system will help remove the excess water. Either way, the wetter your basement gets, the higher the risk of mold and other contaminants becomes.

Beyond moisture, a basement tends to collect a lot of dust. After all, it is where we put many of our old and unwanted possessions, and because the furnace is often in your basement, all that damp, allergen filled air gets cycled back into your home.

Bathroom

Bathrooms are allergen havens for two reasons. They are filled with moisture, and without proper ventilation they will soon be filled with mold and mildew. Additionally, when not cleaned regularly they can house buildups of hair, skin, and other dust building residue that tend to trigger allergies.

The easiest way to handle this problem is to clean your bathroom regularly and make sure it is properly ventilated. Short of an exhaust fan in your bathroom, keep the door and windows open to help it dry faster.

Kitchen

Your kitchen produces allergens like mold and mildew due to the presence of garbage and fruit. It can also attract bugs and the dirt that accrues from people passing through constantly. Pets tend to eat in the kitchen, leaving behind dander. Additionally, plants and vegetables in the kitchen release pollen that circulates through your home to trigger additional allergies. Exhaust from cooking and smoke can also be a harmful allergen trigger.

The kitchen should be kept well ventilated and clean at all times. Check for any gaps in your insulation and have your exhaust fan and hood cleaned regularly to avoid backups of smoke or gas.

Allergens are everywhere in your home – with careful attention, however, you can stop them from affecting your family negatively.

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What Can You Do Yourself if Your Central AC Unit Does Not Work? When Should You Call a Professional?

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

If your air conditioning system suddenly stops working or is not keeping your house as cool as you think it should, the chances are good that you will have to call in a professional to make the necessary repairs and get you back on track. However, there are a few things you can do on your own before you make that call to ensure that this really is something you cannot take care of on your own.

While it may seem obvious, the first thing you should check is the thermostat to make sure that it is set to a temperature that will trigger the air conditioning to come on. If your thermostat for some reason is set too high, then the air conditioner will not receive the signal to start cooling the house. This is an easy fix, of course, and you will be back up and running in no time.

If the thermostat is indeed set where it should be, the next thing to check is the air filter. Most people with central air conditioning know that they should change the filter once every month or so, but this seldom actually happens.

If it has been a while since your air filter was changed, there is a good chance that it is clogged and therefore blocking air from circulating from the air conditioner through the rest of the house. This is an easy enough fix, as all you need to do is replace the current air filter and your system should be able to pick up right where it left of. However, if the blocked air filter has also caused ice to form behind it, you may have to wait for a couple of hours until the ice has a chance to thaw.

Next, you will want to check and make sure that the air conditioning system is actually getting power. Look to see if any of the breakers are tripped or if there may have been a current interruption for any other reason that is within your power to fix. If this is the case, though, it is a good idea to turn the air conditioning system off before you attempt to restore the power.

If none of these measures are able to get your air conditioning system up and running again, you should not hesitate to call a professional. Many air conditioning repairs are quite basic, but they still need to be performed by a licensed professional.

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Ice in Central Air Conditioning: Why Is This a Problem?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

If your air conditioner does not seem to be working as well as it should, your natural first reaction is to go out and take a look at the compressor to see if there is anything you can do quickly to correct the problem. Of course, you cannot assess the situation unless you know what you are looking for. For instance, if you see ice forming on the condenser coil or anywhere else on the air conditioning system, you will know you found the likely source of the problem.

Ice can form in your air conditioner for a number of reasons. The most common one is that your refrigerant levels are low. Since this refrigerant is contained in a closed system, a deficiency in refrigerant means that there must be a leak somewhere in that system. Only a certified professional can refill your refrigerant and determine where the leaks are in the system to make the necessary repairs.

Another reason that ice can develop in your air conditioner is because the air is not flowing fast enough through the system and across the coils. This can happen because of a problem with the fan or because there is an actual physical impediment to the air flow. Regardless of the reason, the ice will form because without adequate air flow the condenser coils will get too cold.

These coils are typically kept just above freezing by the constant flow of air across them. When the air passes by them at this temperature, the moisture from the air condenses on the surface of the coil. But because the coil is not quite freezing, the water then runs down into a collection pan. When the coil is too cold, however, the moisture from the air will freeze on the coil before it can run off.

This ice actually manages to insulate the coil and keeps it from properly cooling the air or removing any additional moisture. If left unattended, the ice in your central air conditioning system can cause real damage to the unit. Plus, it is not allowing the air conditioner to do its job and cool your house down. So if you notice any amount of ice at all beginning to form on any part of your air conditioner, be sure to call for professional service right away.

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What Are the Benefits of Having a Ceiling Fan?

Friday, March 18th, 2011

There are definitely some days every year that would be pretty miserable to get through without the benefit of a central air conditioning system in your home. And since you have a central air conditioning system in place, it may seem silly and unnecessary to think about having ceiling fans put in as well. There are actually quite a few benefits of having ceiling fans, however, regardless of what kind of central air conditioning system you have or how powerful it is.

Ceiling fans are not too expensive to put in and they take very little energy to run. But the breeze they produce can have a powerful cooling effect on a room. In fact, running a ceiling fan can make you feel up to eight degrees cooler than you would otherwise.

While this certainly is not enough on a really hot day, it can actually be plenty when the weather is not all that hot. But even if you have your central air conditioning turned on, you can still benefit from running your ceiling fan. That is because the cooling effect of the ceiling fan can allow you to turn up the thermostat for your air conditioner, resulting in a considerable savings on your cooling bill.

Because ceiling fans are so cheap to run, they can complement central air conditioning systems nicely and will provide significant savings over time. Running an air conditioning system alone can certainly keep you cool and comfortable all summer long, but it will also cost you considerably more than if you were to throw a ceiling fan into the mix as well.

And that is not all a ceiling fan can do to help you stay comfortable all year long. In fact, ceiling fans can also be of use in the winter because they help to return the warmer air to the lower parts of your rooms. Warmer air will naturally rise, meaning that your heating system will have to work harder and harder to keep the air in the lower part of your room warm. But with a ceiling fan in place, that warmer air will be re-circulated throughout the house to keep you warmer and help keep your energy bills down at the same time.

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