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.

 

 

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.

 

A melting ice cube on a blue surface representing why air conditioning units freeze.

Why Do Air Conditioners Freeze?

An air conditioner unit has the potential to freeze. It’s a strange sight, especially in the middle of a hot summer day, but that’s when it’s most likely to happen. A frozen air conditioner is a common problem and can sometimes be fixed easily. Other times, however, you’ll need an air conditioner repair technician to take a look at it.

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A standard dehumidifier representing how a dehumidifier functions.

Do Air Conditioners Dehumidify?

dehumidifierIn the summertime, the heat brings humidity to many homes around the US. Humidity is a result of moisture in your home, which can come from a variety of sources. During summer, however, the weather brings moisture with it and combines with moisture you create in your home passively. Moisture can lead to health problems, such as allergic reactions to mold and mildew. Mold and other fungi are fond of wet areas, making your basement the ideal place to grow. Your AC does some dehumidification, but that’s not its primary function.

Air conditioners work by pulling air out of your home via return ducts, cooling the air, and then recirculating it throughout your home. But sometimes all your home needs is dehumidification. Along much of the East Coast, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC, Delaware, and New Jersey, a lot of our heat is unbearable because of the humidity levels in the air. The sticky, thick 90º weather is awful, but when the humidity finds its way inside our homes, sometimes all you need is the movement of air. Ceiling fans are a common choice in homes with temperatures around the upper 70ºs. A ceiling fan can reduce the temperature you feel in the room by up to 10º in some cases. But do air conditioners dehumidify your home or just cool it?

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Insulated Residential Energy Smart Electric Water Heater

Why Does My Hot Water Heater Pilot Light Keep Going Out?

The hot water heater is one appliance that we often take for granted. When you hop in the shower or in the bathtub you expect that when you turn the nozzle to “hot”, you’ll get hot water. For some homeowners, the water comes out cold because, quite simply, the water heater is completely off. Hot water heaters go off for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common reasons we find is the pilot light simply won’t stay on. Read More

A red stop sign with a second sign below it that reads noise representing the need to stop and inspect your heating and air conditioning unit if it is making abnormal noises.

Why Is My Air Conditioner So Loud?

You may be wondering “why is my air conditioner so loud?” Air conditioners make noise because they are large machines with a lot of moving parts that work hard to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. However, if noise from your AC unit has reached new decibels, it could be the first sign of a serious issue. Read More

5 HVAC Danger Signs You Should Not Ignore

hvac unitYour HVAC system is designed to make your home comfortable and livable, but sometimes things go wrong…horribly wrong. Aging, lack of maintenance, poor installations, and pure bad luck contribute to potentially dangerous malfunctions that should be fixed immediately. If you see any of these signs, please take the appropriate action! Here are 5 danger signs you should not ignore: Read More