When To Clean Your Air Conditioning Vents

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Clean Air Claims

In order for your forced-air furnace or HVAC to deliver warm and cool air into your rooms, that air has to go through a system of ducts. So that would mean that you’re breathing in any dust, cobwebs, pet hair, and dander that line those ducts.

Although that sounds harmful to your health, that is not actually the case according to a study done by the U.S Green Building Council.  There has never been data that suggests duct cleaning has a positive impact on indoor air quality and human health. However, that is only true when your ducts are airtight.

Leaky ducts can pull in dirty air and allergens from basements, crawlspaces, garages, and attics — and blow it all around your house.

So unless your ducts are leaky (easily fixed with foil-backed duct tape and insulation), or you have a special need, like a compromised immune system, nasty allergies, or you just did major construction, you probably don’t need to worry about air quality when it comes to the state of your air ducts. However, for those that do have special needs like those mentioned above, it is best to consult with a professional HVAC professional in your area, like HVAC Philly, who are located in the greater Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery County, PA area.

Special Circumstances

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Both the EPA and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommend professional duct cleaning if you have mold growth, vermin, or excessive amounts of dirt and debris in your ducts.

How, exactly, do you know if you have vermin in your ducts? You can actually look yourself. Do a visual inspection by pulling off the register grill and looking around with a flashlight, or stick your arm in and take a photo with your phone.

If you see mold, or a dead mouse, or any type of evidence that there may have recently been a live vermin, like droppings, go ahead and call in a pro. Get those ducts cleaned!

Another situation that calls for cleaning, is right after lead paint remediation. You wouldn’t want to have that being dispersed into the house when you turned on the heat.

And finally, if you just feel better knowing that your air ducts are clean, or the thought of dirty ducts is upsetting to you, be your own special circumstance. It is an individual preference.

Be Wary of Scammers

If you have finally weighed your options and decided that you would like to proceed with having your air conditioning vents cleaned, you just need to be wary of scams. Stay away from companies willing to clean your ducts for $49 or another too good to be true figure. In most cases they’ll do a quick inspection and some vacuuming, tell you there’s mold growth and charge you thousands for clearing it out. It is common enough that the National Air Duct Cleaners Association has an anti-fraud task force.

Look out for duct cleaners claiming they will sanitize your system. By definition sanitizing or disinfecting requires extremely high kill rates and there is no way that a professional can guarantee 100 percent saturation.

Cleaning your ductwork alone is not going to make a difference. A real professional will know that, and should do annual maintenance on your entire system, including the air handler Otherwise it’s the same as dusting your ceiling fan after you’ve vacuumed.

So how much will it cost, and how long is it going to take? Typically, duct cleaning takes two to five hours, but it can go on for two days if you have a large house with lots of ducts. On average you should spend $300 to $700.

Follow us on FacebookGoogle+TumblrTwitter,or LinkedIn to learn more. HVAC Philly is readily available to answer any questions or to schedule an appointment. www.hvacphilly.com

HVAC Service Provided to

PhiladelphiaSouth Philadelphia FeastervilleBensalemBristolLanghorneYardleyFairless hillsChurchvilleNewtownSouthamptown,  Warminster,  Holland,  Jamison,  MorrisvilleElkins parkCheltenhamGlensideAbingtonHuntingdon valleyWillow grooveHorsham and Jenkintown.

 

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4 Tips to Protect Your Air Conditioner during Hurricane

The Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, but most hurricanes occur during the fall months.  However, natural disasters like cloudbursts or hurricanes do not strike with prior notice. When they do strike, it is often with such severity that it leaves many households in shambles.  The hardest hit are mostly electronic gadgets like home air conditioners take the hardest blows. Even after the effect of a severe hurricane subsides, you may find the cooling unit in an unstable condition.  HVAC Philly the local HVAC experts who serve the greater Philadelphia, Buck and Montgomery County, PA area,  give helpful tips on how to protect your air conditioning system from a thunderstorm’s catastrophic effect.

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Tip #1: Take precautionary measures before storm strikes.

Start by taking preventive steps before the hurricane season sets in. If you are aware of the approximate time when the storm is going to strike, and luckily we live in an information age where we are able to be pre-warned with ample time, then prior to that, turn on the air conditioner. Adjust the setting in a way that the indoor temperature turns several degrees cooler than normal level. By pre-cooling it helps keep the home temperature comfortable for longer hours, even if power failure happens accidentally.

Tip #2: Turn off your cooling unit during the hurricane.

Should you operate your air conditioner during a hurricane? The answer is a big No. Make sure that the air conditioning unit is switched off as the storm strikes.  In many areas, the power supply gets interrupted during a heavy storm or downpour. If the air conditioner is running at that time, it could cause severe damage because of erratic power failures. When natural disaster strikes, irregular power interruptions can put additional pressure on the compressor and other components of the cooling unit. You might end up changing the entire unit or some of its crucial components, once the stormy season is over.

Tip #3: Turn on the cooling unit as soon as the storm passes.

It is suggested that you turn on the cooling unit, as early as possible. Some delay might happen because of power problems, however you should still try to operate your air conditioner once your power condition returns to normalcy. Keeping the unit idle for too long will invite mold to grow in the unit’s ducts and system. Your home as well as the air conditioning system has just now gone through an extreme heat and high moisture weather mayhem. This provides perfect setting for mold to thrive.

You should also be careful if you suspect something is amiss with the central air’s operation. If you do feel that the storm’s severity has created damage inside part of the cooling system then trying to run it would make the situation even worse. Detection or evidence of any electrical smoke should be taken very seriously. In such a scenario, get it immediately checked by any skilled HVAC professional.

Tip #4: Prepare your air conditioner to ward off the effects of the storm.

One thing to keep in mind is that it is not always a hurricane which harms your cooling system. Sometimes heavy wind and rain play havoc too by damaging the air conditioning unit. After any such natural disaster, you should consider a thorough checkup of the cooling system with special stress on duct cleaning.

No matter how devastating the hurricane looks, by following these simple tips you can efficiently protect the air conditioner throughout the stormy season.

Follow us on FacebookGoogle+TumblrTwitter,or LinkedIn to learn more. HVAC Philly is readily available to answer any questions or to schedule an appointment. www.hvacphilly.com

HVAC Service Provided to

 PhiladelphiaSouth Philadelphia  FeastervilleBensalemBristolLanghorneYardleyFairless hillsChurchvilleNewtownSouthamptown,  Warminster,  Holland,  Jamison,  Morrisville.Elkins parkCheltenhamGlensideAbingtonHuntingdon valleyWillow grooveHorsham and Jenkintown.

 

Why is my air conditioner blowing hot air? Common reasons why.

There is absolutely nothing more uncomfortable than sitting in your home and coming to realize that your air conditioner is not only not cooling your home, but in fact blowing hot air.   Even worse is if it is during the sickeningly hot summer months.

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It is best to deal with the issues prior to the dog days of summer, you don not want to be looking for answers for why your air conditioner is not working when you and your family are burning up inside your home. It is, of course, always best to know the reasons ahead of time so you will know how to avoid them and/or when to call the professionals at HVAC Philly, who have been serving the greater Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery County, PA areas for over 20 years,to fix the issue.

So why is your AC blowing hot air? Here are the most common reasons:

Your thermostat is turned to heat mode

Although this may definitely be a big hand to forehead moment,  if you are getting hot air, you may just have accidentally flipped your thermostat to “heat” mode. It happens to all of us. If that is the case, switch it back to “cool” and you’re good to go.

Your evaporator coil may be dirty, which is caused by a dirty air filter

Chances are, your thermostat is set to cool, and you’re still getting hot air. Now what?

The cause could be a dirty evaporator coil caused by a dirty air filter. This keeps your air conditioner from properly cooling your home. You can change the filter, but you’ll need a professional to clean the evaporator coil.

Your outside AC unit is not properly maintained

Walk outside and look at your air conditioner’s outside condenser unit. What do you see?

Is there anything blocking the condenser coils air flow? Are they blocked with dirt and debris?

If so, this seriously impacts your air conditioner’s cooling ability.

Cleaning the condenser coils needs to be a regular activity during the summertime.

Low on refrigerant/Freon

This is the usual culprit. Your air conditioner needs a proper refrigerant (usually Freon) charge to cool your home.

So a Freon leak can leave you feeling the heat since you’ll have a complete loss of cold air.

You can tell if your air conditioner doesn’t have enough Freon if ice forms on the inside and outside units.

Getting a Freon charge is best left to a professional.

Get AC maintenance should be done annually

Keeping an eye on these problems will not only will this keep your air conditioner from blowing hot air, it will also prevent a costly breakdown. And the last thing you want is a breakdown during summer.

So it only makes sense to get preventative maintenance done during the spring before it gets too hot.  However life sometimes gets in the way, it is better late than never.  So if you find that you are in need of a professional AC maintenance service, call today HVAC Philly today!

Follow us on FacebookGoogle+TumblrTwitter,or LinkedIn to learn more. HVAC Philly is readily available to answer any questions or to schedule an appointment. www.hvacphilly.com

HVAC Service Provided to

PhiladelphiaSouth PhiladelphiaFeastervilleBensalemBristolLanghorneYardleyFairless hillsChurchvilleNewtownSouthamptown,  Warminster,  Holland,  Jamison,  Morrisville.Elkins parkCheltenhamGlensideAbingtonHuntingdon valleyWillow grooveHorsham and Jenkintown.

The Link Between Employee Productivity and Air Conditioning

When your office space is at a premium rate and saving money is an extremely necessary priority, you may think updating or installing air conditioning for your business may seem like an unnecessarily and frivolous expense. _68786418_464_businessman-sweat

While fans and wall units may provide some sort of relief from the paralyzing Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery County, PA heat, your staff will be the first to tell you that they are not completely effective, in fact by circulating all of that stale humid air around, you may be making matters worse.

Here is the really big news…. Did you know researchers have found a conclusive link between stagnant indoor temperature and workplace productivity?

Comfortable Working Environments Will Mean Employees Can Focus On Doing Their Jobs

You would not dream of making your employees use typewriters, or to work in total darkness. Most likely, you would not consider playing hardcore rap at top volume throughout the day either. And why not? Beyond even basic courtesy: these decisions would have a severe impact on workplace productivity. The temperature of your office environment is absolutely no different.

Cornell University Finds Definitive Evidence Connecting Temperature with Profits

According to scientists at Cornell University, the association between indoor conditions and performance measures is a direct one. As you might expect, workers make more mistakes, use their computer mouse less frequently, and accomplish fewer concrete tasks the more uncomfortable the workplace.

Furthermore, along with loud noise and excessive vibration, unpleasant indoor temperatures (either too hot or too cold) are shown to result not only in deleterious effects to performance rates, but also to your bottom line. The same studies demonstrate that profit generation declines in such environments.

Faulty Air Conditioning and “Sick Building Syndrome”

As if that weren’t bad enough, faulty or ineffective air conditioning also plays a role in the health and well being of your employees. “Sick Building Syndrome,” is a set of nonspecific illnesses ranging from frequent headaches and flu-like symptoms to more serious respiratory problems that are caused by mold, pollutants and poor ventilation. It has been shown to result in increased absence and significantly reduced employee productivity. With an improperly installed or poorly maintained air conditioning system making people sick, your building can literally become a real safety hazard, fast. This doesn’t just harm your profits­–it can result in serious, long-term health problems for employees that lead to lawsuits, disability and ruined lives.

Indoor Air Temperature Makes a Difference

There is a solution. Your trained, experienced air conditioning consultant can discuss cost effective indoor air quality and environmental systems that can not only save you money in the long term, but make you money in the form of employee satisfaction, health and overall productivity. Let our technicians at HVAC Philly do a complete assessment of your building’s existing ventilation, temperature control systems, and overall energy efficiency. With so many unknowns in the business world today, why not rely on those changes you can bank on?

 

Not sure if your building is safe for your team? Want to discuss cost-effective ways to keep everyone comfortable and productive? Get in touch with HVAC Philly, http://www.hvacphilly.com, to schedule your appointment with one of our licensed, experienced consultants. We look forward to speaking with you. Call today! (215)725-6111. 

Follow us on FacebookGoogle+TumblrTwitter,or LinkedIn to learn more. HVAC Philly is readily available to answer any questions or to schedule an appointment. www.hvacphilly.com

HVAC Service Provided to

PhiladelphiaSouth PhiladelphiaFeastervilleBensalemBristolLanghorneYardleyFairless hillsChurchvilleNewtownSouthamptown,  Warminster,  Holland,  Jamison,  Morrisville.Elkins parkCheltenhamGlensideAbingtonHuntingdon valleyWillow grooveHorsham and Jenkintown.

 

When You Are Not At Home Should You Turn Off Your Air Conditioner?

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Like most homeowners, you would assume that the best way to save money on cooling costs is for you to turn your air conditioner off when you are not at home.

However there is a much better way to save money, and that is to actually turn your thermostat up instead of turning the AC completely off.

More specifically, we at HVAC Philly, suggest turning the set temperature up 7 to 10 degrees while you’re away for the day.

How could turning up the thermostat possibly be the better option?

Three very good reasons:

  • Protects your home from mold and bugs
  • Saves you money
  • Keeps you comfortable

HVAC Philly takes a closer look at these benefits.

Benefit #1: Turning the thermostat up protects your home from mold/bugs

Turning off your air conditioner can cause your home’s indoor humidity levels to rise significantly. There are two disgusting intruders who love humidity, and they are:

  1. Mold
  2. Bugs

The thing is, your air conditioner does not just cool your air, it also dehumidifies it. So when you turn your AC completely off, it won’t take long for the humidity in your home to soar to upwards of 60%, which is ideal for mold growth and bug infestations.

However if you turn the thermostat up 7 to 10 degrees, your air conditioner will kick on every once in awhile to control the indoor humidity and maintain a healthy humidity level between 45%-55%.

Benefit #2: Turning the thermostat up keeps you comfortable

There is no one that loves coming home to a humid and stuffy home. Unfortunately that is what you are setting yourself up for when you turn your air conditioner completely off.

Instead, turning your air conditioner’s thermostat up 7 to 10 degrees will help to manage the indoor humidity and will keep temperatures at a tolerable level.

So that you may stay comfortable and save money at the same time. Which leads us to the next benefit…

Benefit #3: Turning your thermostat up saves you money

Turning up the thermostat 7 to 10 degrees for 8 or more hours a day can save you at least 10% on cooling costs throughout the entire summer.

You may be asking why and how? Simply, when you raise the thermostat, you decrease the difference between the outside and the inside temperature. And that lowers your air conditioners workload, and therefore, saving you energy.

Here is an example of how you might raise your thermostat to save money:

6 AM: You wake up and get ready for work.

7 AM:  You raise the thermostat from 68 to 78 before leaving the house.

6 PM:  You lower the temperature back to 68 when you get home.

Still not sure that you can remember to raise the thermostat every morning? Think about investing in a programmable thermostat, which can change the temperature automatically for you.

Get more summer cooling tips from HVAC Philly experts who were rated top 10 HVAC provider in Philadelphia.

Have more questions on how you can stay cool and save money this summer?

Just ask the experts at HVAC Philly. We’re always happy to help!

Follow us on FacebookGoogle+TumblrTwitter,or LinkedIn to learn more. HVAC Philly is readily available to answer any questions or to schedule an appointment. www.hvacphilly.com

HVAC Service Provided to

PhiladelphiaSouth PhiladelphiaFeastervilleBensalemBristolLanghorneYardleyFairless hillsChurchvilleNewtownSouthamptown,  Warminster,  Holland,  Jamison,  Morrisville.Elkins parkCheltenhamGlensideAbingtonHuntingdon valleyWillow grooveHorsham and Jenkintown.

Freshen Your Home With Air Duct Cleaning

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When you do your routine daily or weekly house cleaning, you probably don’t clean every little thing in your home. Some areas may remain untouched until it’s time for spring cleaning – and the more hidden away the mess is, the more likely it is to be overlooked.

The insides of your HVAC ducts are a lot like that. They’re out of sight, so they’re probably out of mind, even when other hidden spots come due for their annual cleaning. But just because you can’t see the dirt and dust inside doesn’t mean it isn’t there – or that it isn’t circulating through your home each time the HVAC system turns on.

What to Do With a Dirty Duct

Your ductwork is like your home’s lungs, and along with your HVAC equipment, it completes your home’s respiratory system. And just like your lungs, the health of your ductwork is affected by the quality of the air flowing through it.

Dust and dirt particles are basically everywhere. But your ducts may be picking up much more: pet hair, residue from smoking, airborne allergens or even construction dust from a recent remodel. Many of these particles will flow through the system or get caught in the filter, but some will stick to the duct walls, where they may contaminate the otherwise clean air flowing by.

Fortunately, many HVAC service companies, like HVAC Philly, offer professional duct cleaning services that will give you a clean slate. And if you’re not sure whether or not you need duct cleaning, a reputable service provider should be able to provide you with a low-cost inspection and report.

If duct cleaning is warranted and you schedule the service, here are some tasks commonly performed by a duct cleaning professional:

  • Brushing and vacuuming of all accessible ductwork
  • Cleaning return air chases
  • Cleaning blower wheel
  • Removal, cleaning and reinstallation of vent grills
  • Cleaning evaporator coil
  • Disinfectant spray throughout duct system
  • Application of antifungal sealant
  • Complete cleanup of the job site

What to Expect

If your ducts are truly dirty, there’s a good chance that a professional cleaning will make your entire home smell fresher. Some contaminants, like smoking residue, can produce a foul odor that may circulate through your home for years. When you purchase a home from a previous owner who smoked indoors, it’s smart to schedule duct cleaning before you move in.

Duct cleaning can also clear out accumulated allergens and irritants, so it’s particularly important maintenance in households where one or more people suffer from asthma or severe allergies. Pet hair, pollen and other problem particles can all be swept away in a few hours, bringing serious relief to residents and guests.

A Step Further

If indoor air quality is important to you, there are additional steps you can take to keep your ducts cleaner and the air fresher after your professional cleaning is complete.

Consider exploring your options for UV systems that use special lights to reduce the concentration of germs, bacteria, viruses, toxic gases and even common odors from your indoor air. Better yet, ask your HVAC technician about systems that combine UV technology with sophisticated air filtration systems so that you get all of those air purifying benefits plus a huge reduction in the concentration of airborne particles in your air. These supplemental systems can catch particles that are microscopic — particles that are most likely slipping right through your HVAC filter.

If you think your ductwork might be a candidate for cleaning and you’re ready to learn more, reach out to the home comfort professionals at HVAC Philly.

Follow us on FacebookGoogle+TumblrTwitter,or LinkedIn to learn more. HVAC Philly is readily available to answer any questions or to schedule an appointment. www.hvacphilly.com

HVAC Service Provided to

PhiladelphiaSouth PhiladelphiaFeastervilleBensalemBristolLanghorneYardleyFairless hillsChurchvilleNewtownSouthamptown,  Warminster,  Holland,  Jamison,  Morrisville.Elkins parkCheltenhamGlensideAbingtonHuntingdon valleyWillow grooveHorsham and Jenkintown.

 

Ten Steps To Make Hiring An HVAC Contractor Easy

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If you’re like most homeowners, just the very idea of hiring a HVAC contractor can make you break out in a sweat (especially if you are in need of an AC repair in the middle of summertime). Every HVAC contractor out there makes promises that they are the best and most affordable service, but who, among the many will actually deliver what they promise? HVAC Philly offers some simple steps and tips to make the hiring process easier:

 Step 1- Know the local requirements. All states have HVAC licensing requirements, and Pennsylvania is no exception. Make sure that you are only dealing with technicians who have current licenses.

 Step 2- Get together as many referrals as possible. Ask your neighbors, your family members and your friends for referrals to contractors they have personally worked with in the past.

 Step 3- Always follow up. Contact as many local contractors you can find in the area and ask them for references. Any reputable HVAC professionals will be happy to provide them, and you should be sure to follow up.

 Step 4- Look for quotes that have no-obligation. There should be no pressure involved in the quote process or any process for that matter. Any HVAC contractor who pressures you into agreeing to hire them when you’re at the quote stage should be raising a red flag.

 Step 5- Insist that there is a thorough evaluation. Any reputable HVAC professionals will be able to visit your home and perform a complete inspection before quoting a price or even diagnosing the problem.

 Step 6- Make sure to get it in writing. It would benefit you and your HVAC contractor to ensure that all quotes are in writing, and itemized. This protects yourself and your contractor in the event of a future dispute.

 Step 7- Make comparisons on costs and services. By calling around and comparing quotes against what other HVAC professionals are offering, you can use this as a way to drive down the price.

 Step 8- Increase your competitive edge. If the different HVAC companies you are considering know that you are looking at their competitors, they may drop their price or even sweeten the deal.

 Step 9- Check and recheck the contract. Make sure the contract is exactly as agreed upon before you sign it.

 Step 10- Always trust your instinct. You should work with someone who makes you feel comfortable. If you have a gut feeling–bad or good–go with it. Your home is your personal space, you should feel safe and secure with the contractors you choose to let in your home.

In the greater Philadelpha, Bucks and Montgomery County, PA, choosing the right HVAC contractor is easy. We at HVAC Philly are proud to have been rated one of Philadelphia’s top 10 HVAC contractors. We offer no-obligation estimates, thorough home inspections and complete professionalism. Contact us to learn more or arrange service.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about hiring a contractor and other HVAC topics, visit our website.

Follow us on FacebookGoogle+TumblrTwitter,or LinkedIn to learn more. HVAC Philly is readily available to answer any questions or to schedule an appointment. www.hvacphilly.com

HVAC Service Provided to

PhiladelphiaSouth PhiladelphiaFeastervilleBensalemBristolLanghorneYardleyFairless hillsChurchvilleNewtownSouthamptown,  Warminster,  Holland,  Jamison,  Morrisville.Elkins parkCheltenhamGlensideAbingtonHuntingdon valleyWillow grooveHorsham and Jenkintown.