How Candles Affect Indoor Air Quality

Candles in home A few candles can change the entire atmosphere of a room. Unfortunately, they can change the indoor air quality for the worse as well.

Candle Health Risk Studies

In an EPA report from 2001, the agency cited studies which suggest that some candles, especially ones with added scents, can produce chemical reactions which release formaldehyde, acrolein, nitrogen dioxide, and acetaldehyde in concentration levels which exceed the EPA’s indoor air threshold levels for safety.

A study at the South Carolina State University found that paraffin candles may emit toluene and benzene which are toxic. These chemicals can cause a wide range of health issues including asthma, respiratory ailments, and help to contribute to certain forms of cancer.

Why Candles can be Harmful

Burning candles not only releases harmful invisible chemicals but may cause the formation of soot, that black smoke which may stain your walls, ceiling, and fabrics. Soot is formed when candles do not completely burn. While soot may occur with all types of candles, cheaper candles and those with scents tend to produce the greatest amount. A study from the Technical University of Denmark found soot from burning candles is the leading causes of indoor ultrafine particles (UFPs). These particles are so small that they can enter into your lung tissue and cause health problems.

How Can You Protect Yourself From the Dangers of Burning Candles?

Do all the health risks associated with burning candles indoors mean that you should never again light a one inside your home? While that may be the best option, it is probably unrealistic. Here are some steps you can take to lessen the biggest health concerns.

  • Avoid Burning Candles in Unventilated Room: open the door and crack open the window to allow the harmful chemicals to dissipate
  • Choose the Correct Candles: Unscented, natural candles made from beeswax do not contain as many chemicals as those made from paraffin. Never purchase candles with a metal insert.
  • Maintain Candle Wick: Buy candles with a thin wick and trim the wick to a 1/4 inch before burning. This can help limit the amount of soot the candle produces.
  • Limit Amount of Time You Burn Candles: Don’t burn candles for longer than one or two hours per day.
  • Invest in an Air Purifier: Whole home air purifiers can remove the majority of indoor pollutants including those produced by burning candles.

The Best Heating and Cooling Company since 2001

Comfort Pro, Inc. in Reading, PA can help you reduce your indoor pollutants by installing an air purification system in your home. Call us today to learn more!

How to Test Indoor Air Quality

indoor air quality in homes Homeowners in Reading, PA may wonder exactly what is indoor air quality and why does it matter? The air you breathe inside your home will always have some level of pollution. Indoor air quality or IAG is the measure of the level of common indoor air pollutants and its relationship to the comfort and health of occupants. Your family is exposed to unavoidable environmental air quality issues such as excessive humidity, vehicle traffic, and manufacturer products off-gassing when your HVAC filters or air ducts are clogged and dirty.

There are steps you can take to test indoor air quality and decrease the number of pollutants that circulate through the home’s HVAC system. According to The American Lung Association, the air in your home can be 5 to 70 times more polluted than the air you breathe outside. This is due to the accumulations of contaminants such as dust mites, animal dander, and pet hair – along with biological contaminants such as mold spores, pollen, viruses, and bacteria.

Testing for Mold

The best way to test your indoor air for mold is to seek the help of a professional mold tester that also specializes in air quality issues. One way to detect mold is by smell and any obvious health symptoms. If you notice a persistent musty odor in the home or observe signs of mold growth on window frames or in the basement, then you can purchase a mold test kit. These kits contain a prepared petri dish that is left on a flat surface within the home. Afterward, the sample is incubated for a few days and observed for signs of mold or it is sent to a lab for testing.

Testing for Radon

Radon gases within the home are the result of decaying radioactive materials that leach into the home through cracks in walls, floors, the foundation, basement walls, or attached to dust that enters the home from outside. A short-term radon test (between 2-90 days) that meets EPA requirements can be completed with a number of radon test kit options, such as a charcoal canister kit. The sample you collect is then sent to a lab for analysis. If you have high levels of this toxic gas within the home, then a radon remediation service is the best way to find the source and have it safely removed.

Testing for Other Indoor Air Pollutants

VOCs are the gases emitted from certain materials and liquids. There are actually thousands of household and consumer products that emit VOCs, and the long-term health effects of these pollutants include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and much more. An indoor air quality monitor can pick up a wide range of harmful air pollutants such as smoke, carbon monoxide, dust, and the VOC fumes emitted from inks, paint, glue, perfume, household cleaning products, and alcohol-based liquids.

Your Air Conditioning Experts

Contact Comfort Pro Heating and Air Conditioning for air duct cleaning to reduce the number of air pollutants that are entering your home. We can also discuss your concerns with residential indoor air quality!

5-reasons-geothermal

5 Reasons You Should Use a Geothermal Cooling System

Looking to upgrade your home’s HVAC system? You might want to consider a geothermal heating and cooling unit. As one of the most energy-efficient cooling systems on the market – roughly 400% more efficient than a standard A/C – geothermal air conditioners and heaters result in massive energy savings for homeowners.

Even with such excellent energy savings potential, most homeowners don’t know much about geothermal heating and cooling.

These systems work by utilizing heat transfer. In a geothermal installation, a series of coils are buried underneath your lawn. In the ground, the temperature stays a constant 55 degrees. A water-refrigerate solution is pumped through the coils of the geothermal heating and cooling systems. In the summer, the heat from your home is pumped through the coils, and the heat transfers to the ground and the cooled solution is what cools your home. In the winter, it’s the exact opposite.

In other words, geothermal energy systems are wholly sustainable and utilize 100% renewable energy. OK, now you’re paying attention. Here are five reasons why you should consider a geothermal heating and cooling system.

  1.    Energy Savings

The energy savings from geothermal cooling systems is hands-down the No. 1 reason to consider this type of technology. A geothermal heat pump reduces energy costs by 30-70% on average. That’s why homeowners can typically recoup costs of a geothermal installation through energy savings in 5-7 years.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, geothermal heating and cooling systems have the lowest cost over their lifetime compared to traditional methods.

  1.    Cooling and Heating

A geothermal system has many uses around the home. Not only does it provide energy-efficient cooling, but a single system can also be used to provide both heating and cooling. Geothermal heat pumps can also be used for hot water heating and pool heating. As a heating and cooling system, geothermal heat pumps can cut maintenance costs, as there are fewer components that can break.

  1.    Stable, Always Producing

Compared to other types of green energy systems, geothermal provides steady production. For example, solar-powered heating and cooling systems only collect energy during peak sunlight hours. Wind-powered systems only operate on windy days. A geothermal system functions at all times, thanks to the stable temperature underground. These systems can always transfer energy, making them ideal for home heating and cooling.

  1.    Energy Efficient

Many homeowners and businesses have made energy efficiency and reducing their carbon footprint goals. And that’s goals a geothermal heat pump can deliver. This is one of the most efficient cooling systems on the market. On average, geothermal systems are 400% more efficient, compared to traditional gas or oil furnaces which max out about 75-98% of efficiency. Overall, about 70% of the energy created by the system comes from the renewable sources.

  1.    Long-Lasting, Little Maintenance

The major components of a geothermal heating and cooling system are buried, and they often have warranties of up to 50 years. Inside the home the heat pump unit has a lifecycle of up to 25 years, making this one of the most long-lasting systems on the market. Another benefit: Geothermal systems generally require less maintenance.

Consider a Geothermal Heat Pump for Your Home

Geothermal installations tend to cost more on average than traditional systems. But the energy savings, reduced costs of maintenance and energy efficient heating and cooling can offset the costs and even pay for itself during its lifecycle. Life of a geothermal system is 25 years.

If you’re considering a geothermal system, contact Comfort Pro. We’d be happy to talk about your options and provide an estimate. We offer all types of geothermal installations and maintenance for existing geothermal systems.

 

 

Why Does My Heater Come on When-System-Is-Set-to-Cool

Why Does My Heater Come on When System Is Set to Cool?

Noticed a sudden spike in your electricity bill? Or maybe your air conditioning runs for extended periods of time without cooling the house?

If so, you might be experiencing a malfunctioning HVAC system. More specifically, your system’s heater is turning on even though the air conditioner is set to “cool.”

What is causing your heater to activate? Electrical issues within your central AC unit are the most likely causes of your heater turning on when it shouldn’t. Shorted wiring, faulty electronics in your furnace, or an electrical problem with your thermostat, for instance, could all explain the issue.

Bottom line, when you suspect your heater is turning on improperly, contact an HVAC specialist. Working with live wires and electrical components can be very dangerous. But the good news: This issue can typically be reversed with a quick repair.

3 Air Conditioner Issues that Can Cause Your Heater to Turn On

One of the quickest fixes for this problem: Check to see if your thermostat is set to “cool.” It sounds overly simple, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to change settings accidentally.

If your air conditioner is, in fact, set to chill, a range of issues could be triggering the heater to turn on. The most common include:

  1.   A Faulty Thermostat

Most solutions for this problem require the expertise of an HVAC technician. But you can examine your system’s thermostat. If the thermostat has lost power, this could be the source of your problem, for example.

If your thermostat is battery powered, try changing the battery. Also, if you see a blank screen, check to see if a breaker has tripped. Worst case scenario, the thermostat is defective, in which case, you’d need to have the thermostat replaced.

  1. Thermostat Connection Is Faulty

The thermostat’s connection to the furnace and AC unit may become disconnected. Or the wiring from the thermostat to the units could short out.

In other words, your thermostat may be in “cool” mode, but their furnace and AC unit have no way of knowing that. This can trigger the heater to turn on. These shorts can be caused for some reasons. For example, water damage and even rodents can both cause a short. Ultimately, a heating and cooling expert can help you restore the connection.

  1. Electrical Problems at the Furnace

Your AC and heater work in close cooperation together. In fact, even during summer, the blower within your furnace is responsible for circulating cold air throughout the home.

Inside the furnace though, there’s a complex network of wires and circuit boards. Over time, or due to water damage, these boards can malfunction and short out. And that’s a common cause of the heater issue.

In a nutshell, the furnace’s motherboard tells it exactly what to do. When it’s not properly working, the “cooling signals” the furnace receives from the AC unit and thermostat can’t be properly understood – which can trigger the heater on.

Contacting a Heating and Cooling Company to Restore Your AC System

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as a malfunctioning HVAC system. But the good news is that most HVAC problems tend to have relatively quick and low-cost solutions.

In the case of a heater that’s turning on, the simplest fix might be changing batteries in your thermostat or resetting a tripped breaker. Even more complex solutions like a circuit board replacement or wiring restoration can be finished quickly and easily.

Bottom line, if you’re experiencing this problem, contact a heating and cooling specialist. A technician will be able to diagnose the cause quickly, and get your AC system up and running in no time.

 

ac-and-dehumindifier

Why Doesn’t My AC Unit Come with a Dehumidifier?

Your air conditioner is cracking, but the air in your home still feels clammy. This shouldn’t be happening right? Well, this all-too-common problem tends to be the result of high levels of humidity in the air in your home.  

Here’s why this happens: Your AC acts as a natural dehumidifier. During the air cooling process, moisture is collected from the air, condensed on coils, and then drained away.

But in areas with high levels of relative humidity, the air conditioner doesn’t dehumidify the air fast enough, and the result is that wet, cold air. Fortunately, there are a variety of routes homeowners can take to dehumidify interior spaces.

Solutions for Dehumidifying the Home

You can remedy the problem by running your AC for longer periods of time, but this solution is costly. Your home’s heating and cooling costs will quickly increase.

A better option: Standalone dehumidifiers. Independent units are designed to focus only on dehumidification – and they’re much less costly to operate and much more efficient than air conditioners.

In particular, you have two options:

  • Whole-Home Dehumidifiers: Whole home dehumidifiers tie into your existing HVAC system. These units are designed to dehumidify every room in the home. Mostly, they collect air from vents within each room, and this air is sent to the dehumidifier. They’re very versatile, as you can dehumidify the home even if you’re not running the AC. Also, just like AC units, whole house dehumidifiers are available in a wide range of sizes.
  • Portable Dehumidifiers: Portable units, on the other hand, work similar to whole-home dehumidifiers. These are small, single room units that plug into the wall. Unlike whole home dehumidifiers, though, portable units collect the excess moisture in a pan in the bottom of the unit (whereas whole house units tie into drains). There are portable dehumidifiers for large rooms and spaces, as well as small units available for studio apartments and bathrooms.

A Key Benefit of Dehumidifiers. In addition to dehumidification, standalone units also act as air purifiers. As they remove moisture from the air, they filter out allergens, dust, and mites from the air. This is one reason many people install them in addition to a central air unit.

Does Your Home Need a Dehumidifier?

If you’re unsure if your home needs a dehumidifier, it’s best to contact an HVAC specialist. HVAC companies can help you determine the relative humidity of your home, and if it’s in the range of 50-60 percent, a dehumidifier might be necessary.

Plus, HVAC companies can also help you correctly size your AC unit. An oversized AC unit is a No. 1 cause of high humidity in the home. Because the unit is too large, it cools the home too quickly, before the AC can dehumidify the space. If this is the problem, right-sizing your unit might be the best option for your moisture problem.

Ultimately, a dehumidifier can save you from costly damage caused by high levels of humidity in the home. When the home’s relative humidity reaches about 55-60 percent, you might experience issues like:

  • Mold and mildew
  • Conditions for dust mites
  • Allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions can be exacerbated
  • Ruined furniture
  • Clammy and stuffy indoor air

 

Don’t settle for swamp-like air in the home. Install a whole house dehumidifier and zap the problem. Comfort Pro offers a range of solutions for home dehumidification. Contact us today to learn more about your options.

 

air-conditioner-leaking

Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking Water?

You’ve reached the hottest days of summer, and your home AC unit is cranking. But when you go outside, you notice a cause for alarm. Water is pooling around your AC unit.

Is that normal, you think? My air conditioning shouldn’t be leaking water, right?

The truth is: An HVAC leak is a common issue. In fact, according to Popular Mechanics, about 90 percent of HVAC service calls are due to leaks. Fortunately, the majority of leaks can be remedied quickly and at a low cost.

But it’s important that the problem is fixed as soon as you notice it. Leaking water can seep into your home AC unit, causing extensive damage that may require the unit to be replaced. In other words, if you notice a leak, call an HVAC company.

What’s Creating the Water in My AC Unit?

Residential air conditioners all feature the same components. Outside, you have a condenser unit, which looks like a large boxed-in fan. Inside, there’s another unit that contains evaporator coils.

Refrigerant flows through the coil, and when warm air passes over these chilled coils, the air temperature drops significantly. This ultimately is the air that flows through your ductwork and cools your home.

But the evaporator coils also accumulates condensation, just like a glass of ice water on a hot day. It’s completely natural for the coils to “sweat,” and there’s a system in place to ensure this condensation drains from the system.

From the coils, the condensation drops into an overflow pan, and then flows into a condensate drain line. This either connects into your plumbing or drains out of the house. Some homes also require a pump to send water away from the system.

Most commonly, the cause of the leak has to do with this condensation not properly draining, or too much of it being produced.

Common Causes of Leaking AC Units

 

  1.   A Cracked or Clogged Drain Pan

Over time, your AC’s drain pan can become damaged.  For example, if your AC is reaching its limit of its service life, the drain pan may have become corroded and rusted through. As such, water drains freely through the pan, and begins to pool underneath. Replacing the drain pan can remedy the issue.

Additionally, algae, dust, and debris can also collect in the pan, effectively clogging the drain hole. In this case, cleaning the pan may resolve the issue.

  1.   A Damaged or Clogged Condensate Line

If the pan is clear, the condensate line itself may be clogged. Typically, condensate lines are built with PVC pipe, and when clogged, they can back up water. Water begins to collect within the pipe and drain pan, and ultimately the system can properly drain. Flushing the condensate pipe can resolve the clog. Additionally, a cracked pipe can also leak water, which may be the source of the issue.

  1.   A Faulty Condensate Drain Pump

Finally, if your home uses a drain pump, there’s a chance that it’s not working properly. This ultimately backs up the entire condensate draining system. In this case, the pump would need to be replaced.

  1.   A Dirty AC Filter

Dirty AC filters can cause a range of issues. That’s why it’s important to schedule yearly and seasonal maintenance for your home AC. Why does a dirty filter cause leaks? A dirty filter can freeze up the evaporator coils. When the coils thaw, they produce too much water for the drain pan to handle.

  1.   Low Refrigerant

An AC without enough refrigerant can cause a number of issues. Most noticeably, the system won’t cool as effectively. But like the dirty filter, the low refrigerant can also cause the coils to freeze, which will overflow the pan after it thaws.

  1.   Low Outside Temperatures

Late in the summer, and in early fall, temperatures tend to fluctuate more dramatically. Running your AC in cool weather –  low 60s and cooler – the coil block can freeze. Again, after it thaws, your drain may overflow.

Solving a Home AC Leak

As you can see, the cause of your leaking air conditioning might not be as serious as you think. Replacing a drain pan, line or pump, or the AC’s air filter doesn’t require a significant investment, and it can ensure your AC keeps running in tip-top shape.

The key though is catching these issues early. During cooling season, regularly inspect your home’s AC unit. A small amount of water is normal, but if you notice a lot of water pooling up underneath, you might have a problem. In this case, it’s best to call an HVAC company to have a look.

 

 

should-i-buy-smart-thermostat

IoT and HVAC Technology: Should I Buy a Smart Thermostat?

Your home’s HVAC system relies on various components to keep the home feeling comfortable throughout the year, and one of the most important is the thermostat. Without a proper thermostat, your air conditioner would run and run, and never know when to turn off.

That’s what the thermostat helps to do; it regulates your HVAC system. But how does it do that?

In the simplest terms, a thermostat for home heating and cooling works like a thermometer. It gauges the interior temperature of your home. Yet, the thermostat also serves the function of telling your heating or cooling system when to turn off. Thermostats are hardwired to the HVAC unit’s airhandling system or furnace. Therefore, you select a temperature, and when the air conditioning system has lowered temperatures to that point, the HVAC system cycles off.

Thermostats have come a long way in the last decade. Today, smart thermostats have become the norm, replacing standard programmable thermostats. Smart thermostats offer a number of benefits for homeowners, including web and mobile integration, sensor technology and mobile programming, and by optimizing your home’s heating and cooling, smart thermostats have the ability to help reduce your HVAC costs.

Smart Thermostats vs Programmable Thermostats

In the last decade, programmable thermostats have become commonplace in modern HVAC systems. Essentially, a programmable thermostat allows homeowners to set perimeters for the unit. For instance, you might program in different settings during the evening or while you’re away from work.

You can also add in preset preferences for the thermostat, i.e. an away setting. Smart thermostats, on the other hand, are like programmable thermostats on steroids; they add in a range of advanced capabilities.

Most importantly, a smart thermostat, like many home automation technologies, can be accessed via the web. A smart thermostat connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network, and homeowners can then access the thermostat via a mobile app or desktop app, which has been connected to the device. Therefore, you could be on vacation in Fuji, but you’d still have the ability to turn off, raise or lower your thermostat settings. Yet, in addition to remote connectivity, smart thermostats offer a range of additional features.

Key Benefits of Smart Thermostats

A smart thermostat for home heating and cooling actually “learns” about the environment around it. Therefore, it can automate setting changes, which can help you lower your home HVAC costs. A few beneficial features include:

  •  Algorithmic learning: Smart thermostats “learn” about your heating and cooling preferences and automatically adjust settings. For example, a smart thermostat might learn you’ve changed your schedule, heading into work an hour later, and revise its away-mode scheduling accordingly.
  • Reporting: With smart thermostats, you can access real-time and historical data about your system. For example, a smart thermostat allows you to view real-time energy consumption estimates, as well as monthly, yearly or quarterly data. Want to see how much energy you used last winter? That data is readily available from your thermostat’s dashboard.
  • Remote Sensing + Geofencing: Most smart thermostats have advanced sensors that can detect when you’re in the home. If you get home early from work or stay home sick, the thermostat will adjust accordingly. Additionally, the smart thermostat offers geo-fencing capabilities, meaning it can sense how close your smartphone is to the home. Therefore, you might set a preference to switch from home to away mode if your phone was more than 7 miles from the thermostat. That way, if you’ll be away for longer (signalled by being 7 miles or more from home), your thermostat can adjust.
  • Auto Environmental Adjustments: Is today a little more humid than usual? Are you in the middle of a winter cold snap? In these types of situations, you’d likely adjust your thermostat settings manually. Smart thermostats, though, have the ability to detect these variations and adjust settings automatically. This can help you avoid having to crank the thermostat in any of these situations, which can increase run costs.
  • Home Automation Integration: Many of today’s smart thermostats can be integrated with other home automation systems, like automated lighting or appliance systems. Therefore, all of your home automation tools can be accessed from the same dashboard.

Is a Smart Thermostat Worth It?

Standard thermostat units are usually reasonably priced.  Smart thermostats, on the other hand, do increase upfront costs.  That certainly might discourage some homeowners, but remember, they can help you save on heating and cooling costs.

How exactly do they cut costs? By learning about your preferences, Nest thermostats can limit the run time of your HVAC systems. For example, the makers of the Nest thermostat estimate that heating savings are about 10-12% and cooling savings are about 15% compared to a standard programmable unit.

Additionally, you receive more control, with the ability to the access the system from anywhere in the world with a Wi-Fi connection. And you can completely customize your preferences. Therefore, the customizability and the cost savings are the two biggest reasons why you might consider a smart thermostat.

 

 

attic-vent-comfort-pro

How Does Your Attic’s Ventilation Affect Your Energy Bill?

Attic ventilation plays an important role in maintaining a comfortable environment in the home. In fact, problems like mold and mildew and hot attic temperatures in summer can all be offset by adequate attic ventilation.

In winter, for instance, attic vents help to remove moisture from the home. This ensures problems like mold and mildew are avoided.

Yet, in summer, the attic ventilation helps to keep attic temperatures down. And that can result in real energy cost savings.

Here’s why: The summer sun beats down on the roof of your home, pushing attic temperatures over 120 degrees. This super-hot air eventually radiates into the living space, resulting in warmer interior temperatures. Ultimately, you’ll have to run your air conditioning unit longer to offset this unwanted heat gain.

How Does Attic Ventilation Work?

If you’ve ever had to retrieve something from the attic in August, you know it gets hot up there – very hot. Fortunately, your home’s insulation prevents a lot of this heat from seeping into the home. Yet, on the hottest days of the year, insulation alone isn’t enough.

Proper ventilation helps to offset the stress that’s put on the insulation.  Basically, attic ventilation systems facilitate air circulation in the attic. Air intake and exhaust vents generate a natural flow of air – cooler air in via the intakes, warm air out via the exhaust vents – that helps to push the super-heated air up and out of the attic.

What Types of Attic Vents Are Available?

Attic vents are necessary for creating a circulation flow of air within the attic. In terms of exhaust, there is a range of options available; the most common include:

  • Power Vents: Power vents, sometimes called PAVs, resemble box vents, but they have an electric or solar-powered fan within that help to draw moisture and hot air out of the attic. The most advanced PAVs have thermostats and humidity detectors that trigger them on.
  • Ridge Vents: Ridge vents sit along the length of the roof’s horizontal ridges. An advantage: Ridge vents help to prevent hot and cool spots in the attic; creating a more even cooling effect.

What Role Do Attic Fans Play in Ventilation?

In addition to vents, your attic’s ventilation system can also benefit from fans. Yet, there are a few different types, each offer different benefits. If you want to install an attic fan, the two most common types are:

  • Whole Home Fans: A whole house fan can greatly reduce your cooling costs. Essentially, this type of fan is fitted in the attic, and they’re meant to be operated at night when temperatures have cooled. Most whole home fans are floor-mounted over a central hallway within the home. They require windows on the lower floors to be opened. When turned on, the fan draws cool air through the windows, up and into the attic, helping to push warm air out of the attic. Whole house fans energy requirements are just 10-15 percent of what you could expect from the A/C unit.
  • Attic Ventilation Fans: Attic ventilation fans are typically mounted to an exterior wall in the attic. This type of system blows hot air out of the attic, but it can have a negative effect. If the home is not properly insulated, a ventilator fan can actually draw cool air out of the home, resulting in an increased cooling load.

Improving Attic Ventilation for Cost Savings

Ultimately, improving your attic’s ventilation can have a net positive effect on your cooling bill. But attic ventilation requires a balance. Too many attic vents can cause temperature fluctuations in cold weather months, and too little venting will not do enough to dissipate heat in the summer.

The best advice: Consult with an HVAC specialist. A specialist will help you choose the right type of attic venting system for your roof, they can help you maximize your energy savings, and will ensure that the venting systems are properly placed and installed.

Take a look at some tips on proper attic ventilation from Mr. Roof.

 

pest-hvac-comfort-pro

3 Ways to Make Sure Pests Don’t Enter Through Your HVAC

Pests enter your home through numerous pathways. Some are obvious like leaky windows or doors. Yet, one that’s often overlooked is your home’s HVAC system. Gaps and holes in your HVAC system offer convenient access for pests like stink bugs, silverfish, and rodents. But what can you do to ensure your HVAC is protected?

Fortunately, pest-proofing your HVAC system doesn’t require costly investments. A few minor maintenance tasks, regular inspections, cleaning and occasional pest prevention will help you avoid a full-blown infestation.

HVAC Pests: Why Prevention Is Best

From foul odors to costly damage, rodents, insects, and small animals can do a lot of damage to your home in a small amount of time. By taking regular abatement measures, you can prevent damage from occurring. What types of problems do they cause? Here are a few of the most common:

  • Home and equipment damage: Pests can cause significant damage to your home. Termites, for example, can destroy wood structures, leading to thousands of dollars in repairs. When it comes to your HVAC, damage occurs in a few ways. For one, pests love to move into your outdoor air conditioning unit. An A/C infestation can cause performance issues and even failure. Inside, pests can damage or eat through ductwork and seals.
  • Air quality issues: An infestation can affect your health by diminishing interior air quality. Odors, pesticides, allergens and pest debris can all infect your home’s air quality.

HVAC Pest Prevention Measures

A few specific pest abatement measures can help protect your HVAC system long-term. In particular, keep a close eye on areas where pests can enter your HVAC system: Exterior vents and flues, outside equipment, and your home’s ductwork. Steps you can take to protect them include:

  1.     Seal Ducts, Vents and Flues

Exterior vents like an attic vent, soffit or dryer vent all pose potential pathways for pests. Similarly, you want to ensure that the ductwork is properly sealed. Not only will this help prevent pests infestations, it can also help you save on heating and cooling. Small gaps and cracks within the ductwork can turn into pest highways, which is particularly problematic because odors, debris and allergens carried by the pests into the ductwork will be distributed around the home.

  1.     Regular Duct Cleaning, HVAC Maintenance

Even with the best seals, pests will find ways to enter the home. One strategy to prevent larger issues is proper duct cleaning. By cleaning your ducts, you’ll remove any debris and allergens that have collected, and the HVAC cleaning professional can help you identify potential problem areas. Also, pay particular interest to the dryer vent. Dryer vent inspection or cleaning should be conducted several times per year to prevent lint build-up, which can attract rodents and insects.

Another strategy: HVAC maintenance. A seasonal tune-up for your A/C or heating equipment will ensure that pests like stink bugs haven’t infested the equipment. Bi-yearly cleanings, inspections and maintenance checks are recommended.

  1.     Clear Outdoor Units

Your air conditioning unit is exposed to the elements, and without proper protection, it can become a magnet for pests. One strategy: Ensure that the unit has been properly mounted on a raised slab and that grass and weeds are regularly cut back away from the unit.

Alternatively, you can set traps for pests local to your region. For example, in some areas, stink bugs can infest HVAC units. Setting stink bug traps around your HVAC unit can help to solve the problem. Additionally, setting stink bug traps near vents will help to limit the pest’s ability to enter the home.

 

An HVAC system that’s not properly maintained can attract problem pests. Prevent damage to your home and health by ensuring your system is properly protected. Regular duct cleaning and maintenance help to clear issues and identify problem areas. Contact us for more information today.

 

ac keeps running comfort pro

Why Does My AC Keep Running? Tips for Fixing a Constantly Running AC Unit

A properly sized AC unit keeps your home comfortable during those long, hot summer days. The key to efficient AC performance: Regular maintenance. A spring tune-up will do wonders for your AC unit this summer.

Yet, even with regular service, AC units can still have performance issues. One of the most common summertime AC problems: The AC unit runs constantly. Not only does an over-running AC create cooling issues in the home, it can also increase your electricity costs and put undue stress on the AC unit.

An efficient, well-functioning AC unit will run frequently during the summer months. But you can tell it’s over-running when you notice:

  •    Unexpected increases in your electricity bill
  •    Uneven cooling throughout the home
  •    The AC unit runs for long periods of time, with little effect on the home’s temperature

All of these symptoms may be a sign that your AC unit isn’t running at optimal performance. In these cases, you should call an HVAC specialist to help you diagnose the problem. If you’re experiencing any of the above issues, call or contact Comfort Pro today.

What Causes AC Units to Run Constantly?

A few common problems can cause your home’s central AC to run constantly, and these problems typically fall into five categories. They include:

  1.   AC Unit Is Improperly Sized

For maximum efficiency, a central AC unit must be fitted accordingly to the size of the home. An AC unit that’s too small or too large will cause issues with uneven cooling, inefficiency or rising electricity costs.

  • Is the Unit Too Small? A unit that’s too small must work harder and longer to cool the home. This increases the wear and tear on the unit, which will shorten the unit’s life. Additionally, this can cause costs to rise, due to the added runtime necessary to cool the home.
  • Is the Unit Too Large? An AC unit that’s too large will run for shorter periods of time. Yet, this is a problem, because the unit will not run long enough to remove moisture from the air. As a result, the home will have damp, clammy air. Additionally, because it runs for shorter periods, it turns off and on more, and as a result, wear and tear do occur more quickly.
  1.  Your AC Requires Maintenance

Irregular maintenance is one of the most common causes of AC inefficiency. It’s recommended that you have the unit serviced twice per year – once in spring, and before winter. Regular maintenance ensures the coils, ducts, and air filters are clean, which maximizes airflow and cooling power. A few common maintenance issues include:

  •     Dirty condenser
  •     Clogged or restricted air filters
  •     Low refrigerant charge
  •     Dirty evaporator coils
  1.  Thermostat Problems

Your home’s thermostat tells the AC unit the current temperature in the home. When the thermostat is faulty and does not properly register the current temperature, your AC will likely run longer or stop running too soon. The result is typically an unevenly cooled home.

You can test your thermostat by placing a thermometer nearby. After an hour or so, the temperature readouts should be very close. If not, you likely need to have the thermostat replaced. Additionally, the connection may have come loose, which can also cause your AC unit to over-run.

  1.  Leaking Ductwork

Insulation and well-sealed ductwork contribute to the efficiency of your AC unit. A home that’s drafty, or that has old, improperly sealed ductwork will “leak” cool air out. As a result, the AC has to work harder to compensate. Properly insulated windows, ductwork, and attic spaces can all improve the efficiency of your HVAC unit.

  1.  AC Unit Is Too Old

Finally, when AC units reach the end of their lifespan, they become much less efficient. As a result, they have to work harder and longer to cool the home, resulting in increased runtimes and ballooning electricity costs. Replacing your home’s AC unit with an energy-efficient model will reduce runtime and can help to keep your home more evenly cooled.

Is your central AC ready for summer? Comfort Pro can help. Schedule an AC tune-up today!