Airborne microorganisms are tiny, but can cause big problems for you and your children and pets. From allergies to asthma and infections, some of these germs and bacteria are actually originating in something you use to keep yourself more comfortable – your AC unit.
Many people claim that their AC unit causes a multitude of illnesses including colds in the summer, increased allergies, mold reactions, and other bodily responses to unnatural coldness. It is true that there is no air like fresh air. But AC makes us comfortable in the hottest months – and shouldn’t there be a way to be comfortable and healthy?
UV lighting in your AC unit effectively kills airborne mold and bacteria. The particles pass through the unit with the UV lights, which kill the dangerous pathogens, so they do not move back into your home and make your family sick. Filters in your AC units catch some of these germs, but not all. If the filter is particularly dirty or ineffective, it can actually become a breeding ground for new colonies of germs.
Although upfront, UV lights cost a couple hundred dollars to install, the benefits far outweigh the cost.
UV lights can save on energy consumption while improving airflow and comfort levels. Although they do not save energy themselves, UV lights improve and restore coil performance, ultimately reducing energy consumption by up to 35 percent. In a year or less, UV lights can save you what you spent on your bills, and as one person is quoted saying: “the cost is far, far less than I pay for health insurance!”
Thermostats used to come in one shape and one size. Today, the sizes are smaller, the technology smarter, and the programs easier. Honeywell has a new Wi-Fi enabled thermostat that enables programming on the go. It features:
- Control from anywhere: computer, tablet, smartphone, in the house or across the country
- Color touchscreen: customizable to fit your mood, favorite color, house theme, etc.
- Flexible Programming: Different options for residential or businesses
- Auto Alerts: Extreme temperature alerts and filter change reminders are sent to your device, including an indoor humidity sensor
- The App: Honeywell’s app is highly rated and backed by their network
- Locking screen: Password options and locking features offer security
- 1 year warranty
Ever forget to bump up the temperature a few degrees while no one will be in the house? The ability to change the temperature in your home while at work or on vacation can mean big savings on your bill. A new, smarter thermostat can mean some rewiring for older homes. But the potential for savings is much greater than the small cost and effort. Check out this review of the system http://the-gadgeteer.com/2014/04/19/honeywell-wi-fi-smart-thermostat-review/.
The dreaded AC break. It usually happens the hottest day of the year, so it goes. So you’ve checked the unit and maybe even had a professional come out and tell you you’re going to need a new one. Here are some tips about when it’s time to install a new AC unit.
A well maintained AC unit lasts about 15-20 years on average. Although that sounds like a long time, if you’ve moved into a previously occupied house, chances are you’re going to have to replace the AC unit at some point.
If you’re nearing the end of an AC unit lifespan, keep an eye out for warning signs of a failing unit. If the unit starts making unexpected or odd noises, there is a chance only a part needs to be replaced, as opposed to the whole unit. Listen for squeaks, chatters, or squeals.
Also look out for excessive humidity or water condensation. These problems can be fixed pretty easily with a new water collection pan, but left unattended, can damage your entire unit. On the other hand, the unit should not freeze either. Properly working units balance their own temperature. If you see ice forming on the unit, it may need recalibration or a Freon fix.
Clogged grills also cause units to fail. This can be avoided by cleaning the unit annually.
If your AC unit does fail and it’s time for a new one, shop around. Consider the new technology that may cost more upfront, but will save you in energy bills and future maintenance. Newer systems are smaller, have thermostats you can control from your phone, are barely louder than a whisper, and are even solar powered, using the sun’s rays instead of your energy bill!
Before you call for AC maintenance, or even better, before the weather gets warm enough for AC, you should double check to make sure your unit is operating properly.
Test to see what the problem is (if there is one!) Is it not working at all, not blowing cold air, or not cooling the house to the desired temperature? Then check controls like the plug, fuses, and cool setting on the thermostat. Then, check the actual unit for damage or excessive dirt and grime. Sometimes cleaning the unit can make a difference. If all else fails, it may be time to call in professional help.
You should also check and change your AC filter every few months to guarantee unit efficiency. While most AC units are outside, the filters are usually inside in your home’s ductwork or furnace unit. Check your owner’s manual (or Google it!) if you’re unsure. Make sure to check the filter for any type of brand or numbers/letters on it. You could also check your manual for the type of filter you’ll need. Be sure to check the size as well. Slide the new filter in and you’ll be cooler than ever in no time!
And finally, if your AC unit is functioning properly, it still needs maintenance! Here are a few things to look for in a properly maintained air conditioning unit:
- Filters filters filters. Clogged, dirty, or broken filters block airflow and reduce efficiency. A clean filter can lower your unit’s energy consumption from 5-15%
- Once a year you should check your AC coils, as they collect dirt and can reduce airflow just like a filter. The coils can also bend and block airflow.
- Protect your unit in the winter. If it’s moveable, move it inside or to safe and dry place. If it is outside, cover it to protect it from the weather.
- Check the Freon levels and recharge or patch up any leaks
Everyone’s concerned about energy efficiency these days. When it comes to finding ways to save money, consider the importance of effective insulation and proper home ventilation. During the winter months, there are many tasks you can tackle to seal in heat, improve indoor air quality and cut costs at the same time.
Correcting Heat Loss
Check around all of your home’s windows and doors for air leaks. If leaks are detected, there are many simple solutions to seal them:
- Caulking and weatherstripping of various types are available to seal windows and doors.
- Foam gaskets can be installed behind wall sockets and light switch plates.
- Foam sealant can be sprayed into large gaps around windows, doors, pipes and baseboards.
- Attic insulation should be a minimum of 12 inches deep, and ductwork should be checked for leaks and proper insulation, as well.
In order to have good air quality, you must have adequate ventilation. Here are several ways to accomplish this:
- An air purifier can remove unwanted bacteria, dust and other allergens that can affect your family’s health.
- A humidifier can keep air quality at just the right humidity level. It makes the air feel warmer, requiring less demand from your furnace.
- Air filters should be checked monthly and changed as dirt begins accumulating on them. Clean air filters maximize your furnace’s efficiency.
- Use exhaust fans to vent your bathroom, kitchen and laundry room.
For more information on insulation and ventilation in your Harrisburg home, contact the experts at All Temp Co., Inc. Air Conditioning & Heating.