Does My HVAC Need an Air Filter?

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC filterAs you move into your new home, one of the things you’ll want to be mindful of is the HVAC unit. Short for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning,” this unit is important because it will play an essential role in how comfortable or uncomfortable your home’s climate feels. Heating and cooling are two of the main concerns, but one thing that new homeowners may forget is that the filter used within the HVAC is just as important.

Let’s get the big question out of the way first: do you need to have an HVAC filter for your unit to function? Technically speaking, no you don’t. Air will still push through the system, and your house will cool down or heat up as you desire. However, in the long run, there will be some significant issues that will crop up.

Low-Quality Air

The filter is put into your HVAC for a significant reason: to help filter out airborne particles that are bad for your health. With a filter, mold, dust mites, and other things will not be collected and will run rampant in your house. They can make you sick, and because the particles are circulating in your home, you run the risk of getting sick again and again.

Freon Tube Damage

Your air conditioner functions by having air blown onto the perpetually wet tubes filled with freon. Because they’re wet, anything that wasn’t caught with the filter will get stuck onto them. Eventually, all the gunk will build up, and they won’t function the way they should. Your AC may not cease to produce cool air.

Humidity Level

The filter helps to keep your AC functioning so that water condensation evaporates and doesn’t assist breeding mold and other airborne particles (which are bad for your health). This is also important because if you rely on your AC for dehumidifying your home, it won’t be able to without a filter.

Ductwork Damage

Much like your freon tube, your HVAC’s ductwork will be affected by condensation that collects in its aluminum casing and eventually will have mold spores growing within them. These will travel down from the ductworks and spread across your house via the ventilation shafts. Mold can cause health issues for you and your visitors.

When moving into your new home, we strongly advise that you not only make sure to have a filter in your HVAC for the reasons above but to make sure to change it periodically. We recommend checking it each month and replacing it based on your living situation. If you’re in a climate in which you have the unit on year-round, you may want to change it as often as every one-two months. If you live with multiple pets, you’ll also want to change filters every couple of months due to animal hair and dander floating around. Every three months is recommended for those who don’t use the unit that often. But you should be able to determine which frequency works for you if you’re checking it each month.

For more information on HVAC filters, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

What Are The Different Types Of HVAC Air Filters

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC air filtersOne of the most critical parts of your HVAC system is the air filter. The air filter is responsible for keeping the air that enters your home clean of contaminants. Bad air quality can also clog your HVAC system. Understanding the different types of HVAC air filters will help you to determine which is best for your home.

Fiberglass or Synthetic Filters

If you are looking to spend the least amount of money, what you are looking for are fiberglass and synthetic filters. These are both affordable and disposable. Particles 50 microns or larger are filtered out up to 80% by these filters. Particles between the size of 3 and 10 microns are filtered at 25%. BY using these filters, you can filter out dust and dirt but not all harmful contaminants from your home or office.

Polyester Based Filters

Filters made from polyester are one of the highest quality that you can get. Particles at or above 5 microns are filtered between 80 and 95%. You will get extreme filtration but at approximately four times the cost of the fiberglass or synthetic filters mentioned above.

Electrostatic Filters

The fibers in these filters are self-charged to create electrostatic attraction. Both standard versions of electrostatic filters and washable versions are available. Between the two there will be a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of 4 to 10 depending on the specific filter. Washable filters will last longer than disposable filters.

Pleated Filters

For those that desire to catch the smallest particles floating around, the pleated filter is the right option. They can catch particulates that are down to .3 microns in size. That includes most contaminants and allergens. At the same time that pleated air filters give you the best filtration, they allow decent airflow.

HEPA Air Filters

Out of all of the HVAC air filters, a HEPA filter is the most effective. It will capture up to 99% of particles that are .3 microns or above. HEPA filters provide fantastic filtration at the cost of some airflow. Your system will have to work slightly harder when using these filters, costing more money.

Now you know the major types of HVAC air filters out there you can make an informed decision about which one is best for your system. Are you okay with minimum filtration with the benefit of cost saving or do you need something more robust? If you already have an HVAC system in place, make sure that the filter you decide to use is compatible with your system.

For more information on HVAC air filters contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

5 Tips For Better Indoor Air Quality

Good Deals Heating and Cooling air qualityWe spend most of our home maintenance time investing in stuff like window screens, weather-proof sealants, and air-tight doors and windows. We’re taught to keep things like bugs, the heat, and cold out of our homes. It keeps us from getting sick, we tell ourselves, and yes this is true. However, if you trap the air inside your house, you’re risking air quality problems.

Believe it or not, your furniture can lower the quality of your indoor air. According to the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Some sources, such as building materials, furnishings, and household products like air fresheners, release pollutants more or less continuously.” So your couch, your blankets, and other things you’re around for hours a day can emit harmful gases and chemicals.

We live in a time in which most of us spend a majority of the day indoors. Consider the time someone sleeps in their bed, wakes up and goes to work, sits in their car to transition between home and work, and then return home. On average, many of us spend more time indoors more than outdoors now. Exposure to these pollutants are problematic for not just for people with asthma, in poor health, or are differently-enabled, but can have long-term effects on anyone if precautions aren’t taken. Here are five ways you can make the quality of your indoor air better.

Switch From Chemical to Natural

DIY (Do It Yourself) projects are all the rage online. Hundreds of videos are available and can teach you how to make virtually anything from home. These videos are helpful for creating Galaxy-style tennis shoes, and they’re also very helpful in helping raise your indoor air quality. Many chemical-based products, such as aerosols, are doing your house more harm than good. While it may make your house smell good and leave your counters sparkling, these products are also leaving hazardous particles in your home.

The better way to clean your house is to use natural products. For instance, for the removal of hard stains, instead of going to your local store and buying a chemical product, consider investing in baking soda, vinegar, and natural citrus oil to create cleaning products that are eco-friendly and smell good!

Mop, Sweep, and Vacuum Regularly

Sure, this seems like something people regularly do but how many of us admittedly wait until our floors look dirty before cleaning them? Dust isn’t just an annoyance; it’s also a breeding ground for dust mites. So, you’ll want to make it a habit to clean your floors at least once a week.

When you’re cleaning once a week, consider taking a few other “shortcuts” to help keep the dust at bay. Mopping after sweeping is a good idea because it helps to get up what the broom didn’t. Vacuuming with a HEPA filter will aid in your fight as well. Lastly, don’t keep the cleaning and vacuuming to just the floors. Remember that dust settles in your upholstery and furniture as well!

Watch the Humidity Level

In especially higher humidity climates, mold and humidity love to be in each other’s company. Between 30-40 percent is the ideal humidity range. If your home is naturally more humid (i.e., if you use a swamp cooler), you’ll want to invest in a dehumidifier. Those of you with air conditioners are in luck as these can help keep the humidity down.

Also, consider places like your bathroom. Showering creates humidity, which can create mold. Consider investing in a ventilation system if you don’t have one. Open a window, or crack the door. Wiping down the tiles after a shower also helps.

Don’t Smoke Indoors

According to the American Lung Association, cigarettes “create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are poisonous.” These chemicals linger in everything, from the furniture to clothing, to the walls and are why a “cigarette smell” lingers in smokers’ cars and houses. These chemicals, especially when you’re exposed to them over an extended amount of time may result in health issues.

Bring the Outdoors In

Don’t underestimate the power (and beauty) of indoor plants. Not only are there a wide variety of indoor plants to pick from, but your relationship with it is symbiotic. They need CO2, and you need oxygen. It’s a win-win scenario! They help to filter your indoor air as well. Some of them even give off natural fragrances, so you don’t need to buy air fresheners anymore!

Speaking of the outdoors, don’t be afraid to open up your doors and windows in specific intervals. Get a cross-breeze going by opening them on each side of the house. Doing this for five to ten minutes a few times a day will work wonders.

Keywords: Air quality, American Lung Association, US Consumer Product Safety Commission, DIY (Do it yourself)
*Author’s note: Sources are hyperlinked.

Is My AC Low on Freon?

Good Deals Heating and Cooling air conditioningAir conditioners are fantastic at keeping a home cool. Unlike fans, air conditioning adjusts to maintain a home at a precise temperature. Throughout the summer, people trust that their AC will be there to keep their house cool. That is, as long as the air conditioner has the proper level of freon. How do can one tell when an air conditioner is running low on freon? We are going to examine some of the signs today.

AC Isn’t Keeping The Room/House Cold

There are two main reasons that an air conditioner might not be keeping a home or room cold. One reason is that the unit is the wrong size for the overall area to be cooled. But, if the AC unit usually works fine for cooling the area, but now it is not then it probably lacks freon. Then It is time to call a technician to check the freon levels. If the freon levels are fine, then the technician can check the rest of the unit for problems.

When the temperature in a room doesn’t feel right, compare the temperature on which the air conditioner is set with the actual room temperature. This check is an excellent way to verify if the AC unit is keeping the area regulated.

Ice Is Building Up On the AC Unit

A specific part of the AC unit, called the evaporator coil, handles the chilling of air. That means this is the only part of the unit that could build up condensation during normal operation. If ice is noticed building up around the air conditioner unit, it is running low on freon. Replace the freon before continuing to run the system. Water leaking into the wrong part of the AC unit can cause a short circuit.

Electric Bills Are Going Up

When an air conditioner unit is low on freon, it has to work harder to keep the air cold. That means that it requires additional electricity. There can be a lot of reasons that an electric bill might go up, but when troubleshooting the problem, place check freon level to the list.

While an air conditioner is capable of running without the freon topped off, it should be filled as soon as possible. Many people start to notice the lack of freon when it starts to hurt their wallets. At the same time, running the risk of a unit breaking down when the freon is low will cost more in the long run because a service call to have the freon level checked is much less expensive than replacing a unit.

If you have a question about your air conditioning unit contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

What Temperature Should I Set My Air Conditioning While On Vacation?

Good Deals Heating and Cooling air conditioningThe summer vacation is the ideal time to give residential air conditioning units a break. In fact, it is pointless and expensive to have the central air conditioner running if no one is present at the house. The one exception is if the pets are left at home, in this case, the air conditioner must not be completely turned off. Instead, the air conditioning unit should be but can be set at a higher temperature than usual.

By setting the thermostat to a warmer temperature, you can cut your electricity bill. Raising the temperature by one degree, cuts about 3% off the electricity bill. However, just because a higher setting will cut a monthly utility bill, a homeowner should not increase the temperature too much. Remember air conditioning does not only regulate the temperature in your home it also controls the humidity level. When the atmosphere within the home becomes exceptionally humid and hot, microorganisms and mildew can thrive making the indoor air unhealthy.

When the temperature is too high within the house, appliances like refrigerators can start to emit moisture and run harder to stay cool. Also when you return from vacation, cooling down the home to a comfortable temperature, the air conditioning unit will have to work hard thus eliminating some of the savings.

Therefore, the temperature should be raised about 4 degrees above the comfortable temperature the homeowners generally use. For instance, if the normal temperature is 72, increase it to about 76 before everyone leaves the house. With such a setting, the house will maintain an adequate temperature (which is not too hot) and still save some electricity. However, if there are pets in the house and the family is leaving for several days adequate measures must be taken. That means the pets should be sent to a care center or ask a friend or a relative to look them after. Even when the pets are left at the house for about a few days, the best practice is to ask the veterinarian about the best temperature setting according to the type and size of the animal.

If you have a question about your air conditioning system contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

How to Lower the Humidity in Your Home

Good Deals Heating and Cooling air conditioning repairHumidity inside the house can be pretty annoying. Constant moisture can cause various health issues, ruin the interior’s appearance and may even weaken the home’s structure. Therefore, it is imperative to take all possible measures to control the humidity in the house. According to experts, indoor humidity level should stay within a range of 30 – 50%.  When the level is above that there are some things you can try before calling for air conditioning repair.

Maintaining appropriate humidity levels can deliver several benefits: personal comfort, indoor appearance, prevent mildew, reduce odor in clothing, better air quality, reduce dust mites, etc. Many times people feel uncomfortable not because of the temperature in the house, but the humidity level. High humidity gives a person that sweaty, sticky feeling. Lower the humidity and the thermostat can be higher and still be comfortable.

Some homeowners manage to control humidity levels in their home with the assistance of air conditioners. However, to expect the best out of air conditioning systems there are a few additional tips to follow.

Letting the fan run. If you keep the fan on, the AC unit will add moisture to the air as the air passes a wet coil. Make sure the fan turns off when the AC unit isn’t running.

Vent the clothes dryer to outside. When a clothes dryer is running, the evaporating water is released into the air. By venting the dryer to the outdoors, most of that moist goes outside instead of remaining in the home.

Bathroom and kitchen vents. Both of these rooms in the house are locations of moisture producing activities. Showers and cooking both produce steam. By having vents, the air is circulated and the moisture is removed or at least reduced in these rooms.

Moisture-absorbing plants. There are plants that absorb water directly from the air. Placing these plants in the home helps keep humidity levels in check. These plants include Boston fern, English ivy, reed palm and peace lily.

Repair broken air ducts. A broken or separated air duct will leak moisture back into the home instead of circulating it outdoors.

Install a whole house de-humidifier. Homes located in tropical or highly humid climates may need to install a de-humidifier to keep from overtaxing the AC system.
Reducing the humidity in the home not only makes for a more comfortable summer, but also may save some money on the energy bill.

If none of these tips help the humidity level in your home, you may need to call for air conditioning repair. In the Philadelphia area contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

Why Won’t My A/C Turn Off

Good Deals Heating and Cooling air conditioning repairIn general, most people don’t tolerate excessive heat and annoyingly sticky sweat during summer. Things can be more annoying if your AC unit runs without stopping. Therefore, it is always better to consider Air Conditioning Repair before you approach the summer. Otherwise, the upcoming summer will not be a pleasant experience for you. Well, here are possible reasons why your AC won’t turn off.

Wrong Size Unit

Installing equipment that is too small to handle the job can be the most common reason for your AC to run continuously. Before opting for an Air Conditioning Repair, you have to check if you have the appropriate size. If your AC is too small compared to the capacity of the home, it will have to work pretty hard to cool the air. Constant operation of the AC unit might lead to breakdowns. Likewise, if the size of the ducts you have used don’t complement the size of the AC unit, it will deliver improper airflow.

Change the Air Filter

Before calling for Air Conditioning Repair, you should check if the air filter facilitates good air flow. If the AC unit has a dirty filter, you will probably be non-stop running of the equipment. If the unit is allowed to continue to operate with a clogged air filter, an Air Conditioning Repair is on the way!

Poor Insulation or Air Leaks

If your home is not sealed correctly or it has insufficient insulation, it can make your AC to work harder. When heated air continually enters the house and cold air exits through these leaks, the AC will have to work fiercely to maintain the interior temperature. Therefore, you may have to repair those leaks and revamp your insulation before a requirement for Air Conditioning Repair occurs.

AC unit is Old

If your AC unit is old, it may not be able to comply with the requirements of the house. Malfunctioning sensors and non-working parts can leave your AC unit switched on continuously. Even if you don’t need an Air Conditioning Repair straightaway, this AC unit might cost you a lot regarding utility bills.

Make sure that you end up with the right kind of Air Conditioning Repair professional to get the job done correctly. Be sure to check if the potential service provider has a good history in the respective field.

For all your air conditioning repair needs contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

Do I Need To Have My Ducts Cleaned?

Good Deals Heating and Cooling HVAC ductworkYour heating and cooling ducts play an essential role in your home. Not only do HVAC systems control the temperature of your home, but they also are responsible for cleaning the air that you breath in your home or office. Having HVAC ductwork performed is an essential part of caring for your system.
HVAC ductwork cleaning offers you a small amount of cleanliness. That does not mean that HVAC ductwork cleaning does not have a purpose. There are multiple times when you will need to have your HVAC ductwork cleaned.

One of the most crucial times to have HVAC ductwork cleaning conducted is when you notice an odor coming from your system. A handful of different problems could cause your HVAC system to start emanating a smell. All of them need to be addressed quickly. Locating the source of the odor and removing it is priority one and then cleaning the ducts will remove any lingering smell.

Reduced airflow through your HVAC system could be an indicator that you need to have HVAC ductwork cleaning performed. When airflow becomes reduced, it is typically due to an obstruction somewhere in the system. An HVAC system with an obstacle will function at reduced capacity and will also require more power, raising your power bill.
If you live in an area that has a high level of particulates in the air, you should have HVAC ductwork cleaning performed regularly. HVAC systems are typically not designed to put up with a large number of particulates from inside or outside the home. Regular ductwork cleaning helps to ensure that the system is working as efficiently as possible.

Unless you are in an above-mentioned area with heavy particulates, regular HVAC ductwork is probably not needed. However, if you notice any of the circumstances mentioned above, then you should contact your local HVAC service company. You should also contact the company if you see anything that appears to be amiss. Animal droppings or food in the ducts are a sign that there is a problem.

Don’t let a company pressure you into a service you might not need in your area. Do your research and be an informed consumer. You have already started the process by reading this article.

For more information on HVAC ductwork maintenance, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

Improve Energy Efficiency With The Right Thermostat

Good Deals Heating and Cooling energy efficiencySaving electricity and improving the energy efficiency is a lifelong battle that can be hard to conquer. Many gadgets on the market can meet your needs and reduce the burden on the electrical output. One such electronic device is a thermostat which regulates the heating and cooling in the home. If you have the right type of thermostat installed in your home, you can save enormously on your electric bill.
The different kinds of thermostat that are available are:

Programmable

A programmable thermostat is a very sophisticated unit that allows you to input a schedule with settings that best suits your everyday needs. These thermostats can help you save on the heating and cooling costs by adjusting the temperature throughout the day.

Why Use Programmable Thermostats?

When the heating or cooling in your home runs continuously, there is a lot of wasted energy used. Does the house need to be so warm when you are at work? Or in the middle of the night while you are sleeping? A programmable thermostat allows the temperature to adjust automatically during the day based on who is home. When no one is home, set the temperature at an energy-saving level then have the temperature return to your comfort level before you return home.

Mechanical Thermostats

These basic thermostats are pretty easy to install and operate by metal bars heating up and cooling down. Although these may be as accurate, they are cheaper than programmable thermostats. These thermostats are not as smartly operated as the programmable thermostats but are still widely used due to the simplicity of their operative functions. For these to be energy efficient, the homeowner must manually adjust them. However, it is still unwise to use these thermostats as every time your temperature rises by 1 degree you end up consuming 10% more energy!

Electronic Thermostats

Electric thermostats contain a sensor that controls the temperature and are programmable as well. You can control the thermostat from an app on your phone or check the temperature in your house at any time. These types of thermostats are often part of a whole-house control system which includes security, lights (indoor and outdoor), sprinklers, and thermostat.

With the right choice of the thermostat and a careful inspection of all the essential factors such as keeping track of your saving potential and making the correct and smart use of the thermostat options, you can save an enormous amount of energy and money too!

For more information on energy efficiency with your HVAC system, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.

Steps to Take Before Turning on Your Air Conditioning

Good Deals Heating and Cooling air conditioner repairAir conditioners are mostly used during the summer months when the temperatures and humidity are high. During those hot months, most people use their air conditioners regularly. Spring is the time of year when the weather is in transition, so it means it’s time to make sure the air conditioner is working. Before turning on your air conditioner, here are a few steps to follow:

Look at the thermostat: the checking the thermostat is crucial, if it’s not working correctly, install a new, programmable thermostat to make the system more energy efficient.

Check the ductwork: Ductwork can become disconnected allowing air to escape making the whole system overwork.

Check air vents: the air vents around the home can be blocked. Toys, drapes, and furniture can block the air vents and affect the airflow.

Check the drain line: the drain line should be clear. Keep the drain clear and if clogged, clean it out.

Change air filter: At a minimum, the air filter should be changed before each heating and cooling season. Changing air filters should be on the TO DO list for every three months.

Check electrical circuit: before turning on the air conditioner, the circuit should be connected correctly.

Inspect the condenser unit: Any spring maintenance routine should include inspecting the outdoor condenser unit. It should be clear of other equipment and debris to enhance performance.

Insulate the refrigerant lines: the refrigerant lines need to be insulated to improve the system’s efficiency. Insulation repair is for professionals only.

Inspect the outdoor wiring: inspecting the electrical wire both outside and inside. Any wear or damage should be repaired and re-installed by a professional before using the air conditioner.

After making sure the indoor and outdoor equipment are working and connected securely, test the system.

  • Lower the thermostat temperature before turning the system on.
  • Listen and make sure the fan is running and the air coming out is cool. Let the system run until the indoor temperature cools off during summer.

If you don’t feel comfortable around electrical equipment then schedule an air conditioning maintenance appointment with an HVAC professional.

For more information on air conditioner repair, contact Good Deals Heating and Cooling at 215-947-1166.