Protecting Your Indoor Air Quality During the Winter

The colder months of winter can keep you and your family indoors and limit the amount of fresh air in your home. Dust, dander and mold can become trapped inside, impacting the health of the air you breathe. When the doors and windows stay shut, you want to ensure that you are reaping the benefits of a good air filtration system and controlling the humidity. Here are some tips to help protect your air quality and the health of your family during the cooler winter months.

Change Your HVAC Air Filter

All the air in your home is circulated through your HVAC system. For many homes, the HVAC filter is the main source of air purification, making it a vital component to maintain. Not only can a dirty air filter lead to poor air quality, it effects the efficiency of your HVAC system. Make sure to change it as needed to maintain healthy air and limit stress on your HVAC system.

Clean Vents and Ducts

In addition to your air filter, your HVAC vents and ducts can collect dirt, mold and dust. Make sure to regularly clean the vents throughout the winter. Ducts should be cleaned every few years to remove any debris, mold or pest residue that may collect inside, impacting your air quality.

Monitor Humidity

If mold is a common problem in your home during the winter, you may need to monitor and control humidity levels. Have your humidity levels checked and if they are above 50-60%, discuss adding a dehumidifier with your local HVAC professional.

A few maintenance items can help protect your indoor air quality throughout the winter. Make sure to keep up with HVAC maintenance to ensure good air quality and a healthy home for your family.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
Marietta, GA 30066
(770) 505-7426

3 Reasons Your Furnace Is Short-Cycling

Does your furnace turn on, run for a few minutes, then shut off again, just to restart again a short while later? This is called short-cycling and it is a sign that something is not working correctly in your furnace. This constant starting and stopping causes more wear and tear on your furnace and will drive up your heating costs each month. There are a three common reasons for short-cycling – some easy to fix, others that are larger problems.

Thermostat Malfunction

One of the simplest reasons your furnace is short-cycling is a communication issue in your thermostat. If your thermostat is older, or just malfunctioning, replacing it could stop the short-cycling problem, lowering your energy bills and reducing wear on your furnace.

Overheating Issues

If the heat exchanger in your furnace is overheating, this can be the reason that the furnace turns off after just a short period, then restarts when it cools down. This can be a serious problem; it can cause cracks in the heat exchanger that can lead to carbon monoxide leaks in your home. However, it is usually caused by restricted air flow or a dirty filter, which can be easily fixed.

Your Furnace is Too Large

If you have a new furnace and short-cycling is occurring, your furnace may be too large for your home. Bigger is not always better – when purchasing a furnace, it should be right sized for your home or it can cause problems. A furnace that is too large will heat too quickly and often the air is not distributed properly, causing the unit to turn on and off more often.

If you are not sure what is causing your short-cycling problem, the best solution is to have your furnace inspected by a local HVAC service.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
Marietta, GA 30066
(770) 505-7426

Fall Checklist for Your Furnace

When the trees begin to lose their leaves and the air becomes a little cooler, you know what time it is – time to tune-up your furnace. There is a good chance your furnace has not been on since March or April, and it needs a little maintenance before it begins heating your home this winter. Here is a quick fall checklist of furnace maintenance items to do before the winter months arrive.

  • Change the filter. It is always good to start the season with a fresh filter. Most furnace filters need to be changes once a month or every other month, depending on the amount of use and the type of filter.
  • Burn off the dust. The first time your furnace turns on, it is usually a little unpleasant. Dust in the vents and inside the furnace can create an odor. Fire up your furnace for a test run and open the windows and doors to air out the house while you burn off the dust of summer.
  • Clear vent areas. Blowing cold air is different than hot air. For safety, make sure nothing flammable is near vents or the furnace, and that the areas in front of vents are clear.
  • Schedule your tune-up. It can behoove you to schedule your annual furnace tune-up every fall to make sure everything is still in good working order. Routine HVAC maintenance can help efficiency and inspection of the equipment can identify issues that need repair before winter arrives.

Don’t wait for the cold weather to begin worrying about your heating system; get your furnace ready for winter this fall by crossing these maintenance items off your list.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
1925 Lena Carter Road
Buford, GA 30519
(770) 475-9528

Fall Tune Ups for Your Heating System

Even when the days are still warm in the fall, winter is never that far away. Don’t wait for the nights to get cold to get your heating system ready for winter. Every heating system needs annual service to ensure it is ready to take on the role of warming your home. Whether you have a heat pump or a furnace, fall is the time for your tune-up.

Heat Pump Tune Ups

Heat pumps require similar tune ups as air conditioning units. Since they do not use fuel, there is no pilot lights or other heating elements to check. However, they still need to have the moving parts lubricated and other elements inspected. The filter needs to be cleaned or changed, belts adjusted, connections inspected, and the thermostat checked for efficiency.

Furnace Tune Ups

Like a heat pump, a furnace will need the filter cleaned or changed, and the various moving parts lubricated. A full inspection of the system should be completed, from the thermostat and wiring to the duct work and blowers. Furnaces will also need the heat exchanger, vent pipe, pilot light and flues inspected. Any soot or corrosion should be removed and a check for carbon monoxide should be performed.

While some maintenance for heat pumps and furnaces like filter changes can be performed by the homeowner, a full tune up by a professional is recommended. When completed in the fall before the temperatures drop, a tune up can ensure the system is ready to perform at the highest efficiency and catch any repairs that need to be done before winter arrives. Schedule your tune up for your heat pump or furnace with your local HVAC pro this fall and be ready for winter when it arrives.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
Marietta, GA 30066
(770) 505-7426

How to Clean Your AC Unit

Dirt, dust and other debris can cause performance issues in your AC unit. This is not just in your air filter which should be changed regularly, but on the coils and vents of your indoor and outdoor units also need cleaning. Cleaning your AC unit should be part of your routine maintenance; it can reduce strain on the unit and improve efficiency, as well as extending the life of your unit. Here are some simple tips to clean your AC unit to keep it in tip-top shape.

Cleaning Your Indoor AC Unit

For indoor units, or split units, clean the indoor air conditioning by focusing on the vents and coils. First dust and clean the vents to make sure they are free from blockages. Next, the evaporator coils can be cleaned. Check your manual for the location of your coils on your unit; usually you will need to remove an access panel. The evaporator coil can be cleaned using compressed air, brush or coil cleaner, removing the dust and dirt that accumulate on the coil.

Cleaning Your Outdoor Unit

It is important to keep your outdoor unit free from any obstructions on the outside and clean the coils on the inside. Brush or rake away any debris, creating a 2-foot clearance around the unit. To clean the coil inside, first turn off the power to the unit. Then, remove the cover and clean the coils using compressed air, brush or cleaner; usually the coils can be hosed clean with water to wash away any debris that is loosened. Make sure to also clean all vents to ensure air flow and turn the unit back on when you are done.

Cleaning your AC unit is just part of the maintenance that should be performed. Save yourself time and schedule a service and cleaning through your local HVAC service to keep your AC unit maintained.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
5950 Shiloh Road East
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 475-9555

Why Spring is the Best Time for AC Service

Budding trees and blooming flowers are signs of spring; they are also signs that it is time for annual service on your air conditioning system. You should have service performed on your AC unit at least once a year, but there are good reasons to plan service every year in the spring. Here are a few reasons why spring is the best time of year to get a tune-up, inspection and service on your air conditioning system.

  • Beat the rush. Once the temperatures start rising, the phones at HVAC service companies start ringing. Beat the rush and get your system checked and serviced before you need to wait longer to get an appointment.
  • Avoid breakdowns in the summer. Sure, you can get your AC serviced any time of year, but it is best to have it done right before the hottest season. If parts need to be replaced or there are other issues, get them fixed in the spring to avoid breakdowns during the summer when you need your AC the most.
  • Special deals. Often HVAC services will have a springtime deal on tune-ups and services to encourage their customers to get maintenance done early. You may be able to save money by not procrastinating until the warmer weather hits and your HVAC contractor is too busy to give a discount.

Let the blooming flowers and trees in spring be a reminder each year that it is time for an AC service. Contact your local HVAC contractor to schedule your annual service to get your air conditioning system ready to perform its best for the hot summer months ahead.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
264 Buchanan Highway
Dallas, GA 30157
(770) 505-7426

How to Stay Cool When Your AC is Out

It is not a coincidence that AC units tend to breakdown when temperatures are in the triple digits. The constant strain to keep your home cool can be too much, especially if your unit has not been maintained. Unfortunately, when your AC unit stops working at 9 pm at night, you are probably not alone. There may be dozens of other homeowners in your area experiencing the same problem, putting you at the back of a long line for AC repair.

If your AC unit fails and you need a get through one or more hot days and nights, here are a few tips to keep you cool until you can have your unit repaired:

  • Fans and ice. An old standby method for those with AC to stay cool is fans paired with ice. Grab a few blocks or bags of ice and put a pan of ice in front of the fan to blow cool air your way.
  • Keep the shades closed. During the day, keep your drapes and blinds closed, as well as doors and windows. At night, allow in cooler air from outside to circulate with fans in windows.
  • Cool your bed. One of the worst problems is trying to sleep when it is still 90+ degrees in your home. Put your sheets in the freezer, stick an ice pad in your pillow or slip on damp PJs – whatever you need to do to stay cool, so you can get a little rest.

Of course, the best scenario is not losing your AC at all during the hottest days of summer. Make sure to schedule preventive maintenance before the heat waves hit to ensure your AC unit is ready for hard work ahead.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
5950 Shiloh Road East
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 475-9555

How to Inspect Your Furnace or Air Conditioning Ducts

Do you have uneven heating or cooling in your home? If you have central air and heat with a duct system, you may have a blockage in your duct system. Many items can find their way into the ducts and cause a blockage. This can cut off air to one or more rooms in your home, causing uneven temperatures. It can also cost you more on your energy bill and put extra stress on your HVAC system. Here are some tips on how to inspect your ducts to find blockages.

  • Check air flow. Turn on your heat or air and check all the vents in your home for air flow. If any do not have air coming out, there may be a blockage in that duct. If low air is coming from all ducts, check your air filter – it could be clogged and need replacement.
  • Remove vents. If there are vents with low to no air, remove the vent cover. This is often where debris gets caught, pushed up against the vent cover. Clean away any debris and check the duct for any blockages as far as you can see using a flashlight.
  • Make sure valves are open. If the vent and filter are clean, but there still is no air going to certain rooms, make sure the valves for the duct are open. Most systems have valves in the ducts to close air flow to certain rooms.

If after your inspection, you are still having air flow issues, call your local HVAC service team for a system efficiency analysis. There is possibly a blockage in your ducts that may need to be cleared by a professional.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
Marietta, GA 30066
(770) 505-7426

How Often Should You Change HVAC Filters?

One of the most important DIY maintenance you can do for your HVAC system is ensure the air filter is kept clean. A dirty or clogged air filter can put extra stress on your HVAC system, causing it to work harder and be more likely to have system issues. Plus, air filters help improve the quality of the air in your home for the health of your family. So, how often should you change your HVAC air filters?

First, there is not a set rule on changing your HVAC air filter as each home and filter is different. An air filter manufacturer may say to change the filter every two months, which is a good rule of thumb, but not always accurate for all filters. Most 1-3-inch filters are suggested to change in two month intervals, but you should check the manufacturer recommendations for your filter.

Secondly, consider the environment. If you use your HVAC every day and have kids, pets and a full house, your air filter is working overtime. It may need to be changed more often than recommended. On the other hand, if you only have 1 person living in a big home and only use the HVAC system when you are home, the filter may not need to be changed for 3-4 months. The best advice? Check it regularly – if it looks dirty before it is scheduled to be replaced, switch it for a new one.

Changing the air filter is just part of maintaining your HVAC system. You should also schedule regular tune-ups and maintenance inspections 1-2 times a year. Your HVAC service tech will also check your filter and change it out if needed.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
Marietta, GA 30066
(770) 505-7426

Does Your HVAC Need a Tune-Up?

Like any machinery, your HVAC system has many moving parts that need occasional lubrication, cleaning and even replacement. When regular maintenance or service is not performed, eventually the system will come to a halt. With HVAC systems, Murphy’s Law says it will stop on the hottest or coldest day of the year, when you need it the most. So how you know if your HVAC system needs a tune-up?

For most HVAC systems, a tune-up consists of a full inspection of the system. This includes making sure everything is working correctly, looking for visible issue and listen for any odd sounds. The safety of the unit is also checked, including wiring and plugs. The system is usually lubricated where needed and cleaned. Cleaning includes the condenser coils, vents and filters. Coolant levels are checked, filled if needed, and a check for leaks is performed. The thermostat is checked and all controls.

For most systems, an annual tune-up is sufficient to keep on top of needed maintenance. A good time to schedule your tune-ups is either in the spring or fall, between the two cooler and hotter times of year. With regular tune-ups, many issues can be prevented that may cause a breakdown. Repairs can be made proactively, saving you the hassle of being without heat or air when you really need it.

Make sure you are scheduling your regular tune-ups before the busiest times of the year. If it has been over a year since your last HVAC tune-up, call to schedule yours right away. Maintenance can help improve efficiency and prevent system failures down the road, also extending the life of your unit.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
1925 Lena Carter Road
Buford, GA 30519
(770) 475-9528