Indoor Air Quality
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How Often Does My System Need to Be Serviced?
Most manufacturers recommend having your home heating system serviced once a year. These visits allow technicians to clean and inspect all parts of the system and perform any necessary repairs. They keep systems functioning much more efficiently and can help to extend the life of the entire system.
What Types of Air Conditioners Are There?
There are generally four different types of air conditioning systems you can have installed in your home. Ductless splits are the most basic but also the most flexible in that you can install a single unit in up to four different rooms to work off the same external source.
If you need something a bit more powerful, though, you may want to opt for a split system. These types of air conditioners are made up of an outdoor unit and an indoor unit and they generally work well to cool a couple of rooms in a house. This type of air conditioning system can be especially appropriate if you have recently built an addition onto your existing house.
Packaged air conditioners can cool an entire house. They also have an outdoor component which feeds cooler air into a series of ducts. The cooled air then travels throughout your house, cooling all areas uniformly.
If you have an especially large space to keep cool, you will probably be best off with a larger central air conditioning unit. This operates much like a packaged system, but it’s more powerful and can effectively cool large buildings and meeting spaces.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
The quality of the air inside a building is simply referred to as "indoor air quality", or IAQ. Air quality usually focuses on allergens, viruses, gases and other particulates in the air that aggravate allergies or cause even more serious health issues. While the average person generally only thinks about these items when considering their home's indoor air quality, HVAC professionals consider other factors that impact the overall quality of the air.
When determining the quality of a home's air, a ventilation technician considers temperature, humidity and air movement. There are a number of issues that can arise if all of these conditions aren't optimal, but among the most common are the dry eyes and nosebleeds associated with a home with low humidity. These homes often benefit from the installation of a humidification system.
How Do I Know if I Need My Ducts Cleaned?
In general, it can be hard to tell if you need to have your air ducts cleaned. However, there are certain warning signs you can watch for that will tip you off that your ducts may need to be cleaned. For instance, if you find yourself constantly dusting and cleaning all areas of your home, there is a good chance that a lot of that dust is simply cycling through your ducts over and over again and it is likely building up in there.
You may also notice that your home heating or cooling system is not functioning as efficiently as it used to or that it is heating or cooling various areas of your house unevenly. This can be a sign that buildup in your ducts is impeding and affecting airflow within the system. This is certainly easy to fix and addressing the problem sooner rather than later allows you to get the most out of your home comfort system.
Another warning sign to watch for is a buildup of dust or other debris around the vents in your home. You may also need your ducts cleaned if your air filters need to be changed more often than the manufacturer recommends.
When Should I Replace My Heating System?
There are several reasons to replace your current home heating system with a newer model. Of course, if your system isn’t working or is frequently in need of repair, you should probably consider an upgrade rather than continuing to pay repair costs.
However, even if your system is working fine, it may still be worth making the transition to a newer model. That’s because the heating systems available now are so much more efficient than their predecessors that the monthly energy savings you’ll receive on your bill will quickly offset the cost of the installation. Even if your system isn’t that old, it’s worth finding out how it compares to the energy efficient models on the market today.
How Do I Know What System is Right for Me?
To a certain extent, you should be able to get an idea about what type of air conditioner is right for you based on the size of the space you need to cool. However, professional HVAC technicians have years of experience working with air conditioners and are a good resource when you’re trying to make this type of determination. They can help you figure out both what type of system you’ll need and how powerful you need it to be.
How Do I Choose an Air Filtration System?
Choosing an indoor air filtration system can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re new to this type of thing. HVAC experts can help you sort through all of the information on the various products available to find the one that’s best suited to your needs.
Of course, it’s always ideal to be able to eliminate as many contaminant particles from your indoor air supply as possible. But not all air cleaning and purification systems are able to target all types of contaminants equally well.
For instance, some of these systems are more effective against mold and allergens, while others do better at removing dust and odors. Depending on what particular contaminants you or your family members are sensitive to, one of these systems may make more sense than others. Trained experts can help you figure out which one.
How Often Should I Have My Ducts Cleaned?
There are no industry recognized standards governing how often you should have your air ducts cleaned. To a great degree that is because each individual situation is different. Your house may be relatively free of the contaminants that can build up in air ducts. In that case, you would not need to have any type of in depth professional cleaning carried out on a regular basis.
However, plenty of houses are prone to developing mold and dust buildup issues that make it necessary to clean out the air ducts more often. You may have a general sense of what the conditions in your house are like, but it is often helpful to consult with a reputable professional who can help you come up with a realistic estimate for how often you will require duct cleaning.
How Do I Know What Type of Heating System Is Right for Me?
Each type of heating system, whether based on a furnace or a heat pump, is more appropriate for different types of homes. Heat pumps are generally installed along with central air conditioning systems, so if you’re ready for the whole system overhaul, this may be the best option for you. However, there are many instances in which a gas furnace may be the better choice.
The best way to find out what system suits your home best is to consult with a professional. These experts can take a look at your home and make recommendations based on the layout of your house and your particular needs.
When is it Time to Replace My Old Air Conditioning System?
If your air conditioning system doesn’t seem to working like it used to, it may be worth looking into a replacement. While you may be put off a bit by the costs of air conditioning replacement, there is actually a lot to be gained by transitioning to a newer model.
Of course, if your current system isn’t working properly and you’re going to have to pay to repair it anyway, it often makes financial sense just to get a new one. Rather than paying for extensive repairs on an older system, you’ll probably be better off replacing your older system with a newer, more energy efficient model. The monthly energy savings alone can make it worth the transition.
How Often Do I Need to Change My Air Filter?
The specific life of an air filter will vary from model to model, but in general it’s recommended that you change your air filter at least every 90 days. However, depending on how high the level of contaminants is in your home and whether or not you have pets, you may be better off changing your filter more often.
Can I Clean My Ducts on My Own?
There are certainly things you can do on your own to keep your ducts from getting too dirty. Vacuuming a little way down each access point is a good idea, and you should also keep up with a good schedule for changing your air filters. But there are simply too many parts of your duct system that you will not be able to reach safely while cleaning. Cleaning on your own can definitely make it so that you need professional cleanings less frequently, but having a professional come out once in a while is important.
What’s the Difference Between an 80% AFUE Furnace and a 90+% AFUE Furnace?
The AFUE ratings on furnaces have to do with how efficient they are at turning fuel into heat. An 80% AFUE furnace converts 80% of the fuel it uses directly into heat, while a 90% AFUE furnace makes direct use of 90% of its fuel.
This means that the higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the furnace is. A 90% AFUE furnace will help you save on heating costs as opposed to an 80% AFUE model because it wastes less fuel. Of course, the 90+% furnaces are often more expensive to purchase and install.
So in order to determine which type of furnace is right for you, you’ll have to figure out exactly where your usage falls. If you live in a warmer area without harsh winters, you probably won’t save enough with the more energy efficient furnace to offset the higher purchase price. If you use your furnace a lot, however, the monthly energy savings can be well worth the larger initial investment.
How Long Should My Air Conditioning System Last?
As long as you have it installed properly and take good care of it, any new air conditioning system should last for at least 10 years. Most of the newer models will last up to 15 years as long as regular cleaning and maintenance are performed properly.
I Already Have an Air Purification System. Why Do I Need UV Germicidal Lights?
Air purification and cleaning systems work well for removing many of the particle contaminants that can invade your home. Biological contaminants, however, are often able to slip through these types of filtration systems. This leaves them free to grow and circulate through your home over and over again.
UV germicidal lights are the perfect complement to one of the various indoor air purification systems available today. After air has been filtered and other particles have been removed, the air will then pass by the germicidal lights so that biological contaminants can be eliminated as well.
What Are the Benefits of Duct Cleaning?
Professional duct cleaning can have many benefits. Clean ducts do not spread indoor air contaminants around, which helps to keep your indoor air quality high. Keeping your air ducts free of debris and buildup will also make it possible for your home heating and cooling systems to function more effectively and efficiently. You will get more out of the system and lower your energy bills in the process. It’s certainly worth spending a little every year or so to have a professional come out and clean your air ducts.
How Long Will My Heating System Last?
The average home heating system should be expected to last at least 15 years. With proper care and maintenance, these systems can last upwards of 20 years. However, you may want to replace your current system with a more energy efficient one even if it’s only 10 years old.
What Can I Do to Keep My Air Conditioning System In Good Shape?
Just like anything else, an air conditioning system needs to be kept clean and otherwise well maintained. You can take care of some of this basic cleaning on your own, but to really extend the life of your equipment, it’s a good idea to hire a professional service to carry out annual maintenance checks. Maintenance service consists of a full inspection and thorough cleaning. In addition, technicians will carry out any necessary repairs and replace worn out parts to keep your air conditioning system functioning smoothly for years to come.
Why Are Humidification Systems Important?
Maintaining the proper humidity level in your home is extremely important. It helps your heating system function more smoothly and it can also help to keep biological contaminants from prospering. Air without enough moisture will quickly dry out your skin and nasal passages. It will also make it necessary to turn up your heating higher to get the same level of comfort.
Air that’s too humid, on the other hand, can be a breeding ground for germs and mold spores. Indeed, mold quickly flourishes in a damp environment, so keeping moisture to a reasonable level is essential in containing the growth of that particular contaminant.
With a good humidification system integrated into your heating and cooling system, you can have the perfect balance of comfort all year round.
Are Ductless Split Air Conditioners Really Ductless?
Yes, the ductless split solution allows air conditioning to be installed in your home without any ducts and with only a small, three inch hole in the wall for the main conduit. Additionally, for added convenience and control of the aesthetics around your home, you can install the outdoor unit as much as 50 feet away from the house. While the split and mini-split system is ductless, regular cleaning is recommended for the outdoor unit and indoor units to maintain efficiency and avoid overuse.
How Much Does the Ductless Split System Cost?
A ductless split air conditioning system will cost between $1000 and $2000 for each ton of cooling. A single ton of cooling is 12,000 BTUs. When compared to central air installation, the cost ranges roughly 25%-30% more, however, keep in mind that you will not need to install the same ductwork in your home as you would for central air, and there are far less maintenance needs as there are no ducts to clean.
The reason for the extra cost is the specific sizing and installation requirements for each of the indoor units. Each unit must be carefully measured and installed to ensure minimal wasted air. If it short cycles, you will waste energy and have humidity and temperature problems in one or more rooms in your home.