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How to Help Your Air Conditioner Run Efficiently

Posted on: August 1st, 2020 by admin

Ocean County Air Conditioner Repair being done on outdoor condenserIt’s summer!  And it’s a hot one!  We bet everyone has had their a/c on pretty continuously so far this summer.  We thought we’d cover a few tips on how to keep your air conditioner running smoothly, efficiently, and effectively in order to avoid needing Ocean County air conditioner repair.  There are some pretty easy things you can do at home to help keep your home cool while not putting any extra strain on your appliance.  Of course, if there are any issues with your HVAC system, give us a call to come take a look.  If you are noticing any strange sounds, smells, or if it feels like your a/c isn’t able to actually cool your home or maintain a temperature, we should inspect it to make sure there is no major damage or soon-to-be issues to take care of.  The sooner a problem is identified, the easier (and less expensive!) it is to fix! 

From general maintenance to strategic planning, here’s some tips on how to help your a/c function better.

Vents

Take a walk around your house.  Take a look at your vents and registers.  Are they blocked by furniture?  Do they look like they are clogged with dust and pet hair? One super easy thing to do that allows your air conditioner to run effectively is making sure all vents are unblocked and clean of debris.  This not only allows clear air flow, it’s better for you and your family too.

If you’ve heard the myth that closing off vents in rooms you don’t use will save you money, don’t believe it.  It is in fact false.  Your HVAC system was installed as an entire unit.  Meaning it’s meant to function as it was installed. It was designed to function most efficiently with all vents and registers open. When you close off certain air routes, your system is still working as if they are open.  So, by closing or blocking vents and registers, you are causing unnecessary strain on your unit.  Blockages lead to increased pressure which can lead to leaks and breakdowns.  That means higher energy bills and a visit from one of our highly-trained Ocean County air conditioner repair technicians.  Not that we don’t enjoy visiting our customers, but we’re sure you only want to see us for your regularly scheduled maintenance visits!

Thermostat Use

First, we highly recommend having a programmable or smart thermostat installed.  This allows you to set your thermostat to come on and turn off during certain periods of the day depending on your schedule.  Turning the temperature up while you’re not home gives the appliance a break.  Plus, you save on energy bills by not cooling your house when no one is home.  Then, you can set it to come on a little bit before you arrive home so your home is cool on your return.  You can do the same in winter with your heat. 

Secondly, consider moving the setting a few degrees higher than what you normally set it at.  As long as you and your family are still comfortable, a slight change in degrees (down in winter and up in summer) allow you to save money and protect your HVAC system from excessive use.

Lastly, make sure there is no heat-producing appliances installed near your thermostat.  Having anything that produces its own heat near your thermostat will cause it to run when it is not necessary.  If the air around the thermostat is warmer than the rest of your home, you’re a/c will think it needs to keep running when it does not. Extended running time causes unnecessary wear and tear on your entire system leading to early repairs and premature system failure.

Keep it Clean

No, this isn’t a moral request.  We’re talking about both the indoor portion of your unit as well at the outdoor condenser. When it comes to indoors, other than keeping vents clear and clean, make sure the area around your air handler is clean as well.  Ensure there is plenty of room for airflow surrounding the unit.  Making sure there is not a build-up of dirt and grime at the base of the unit and that there’s nothing stored close to or surrounding it.

As far as taking care of the condenser outdoors, don’t plant bushes, trees, or large flowers close to the unit.  It should have a clear flow of air around the entire machine.  A good rule is to keep a full 24 inches of space surrounding your unit. If you think your condenser needs a good cleaning, you can give us a call anytime.  You can also read this for some surface, non-invasive cleaning tips for your condenser.  Just make sure you turn off the power to the unit at your fuse box. Remove any obvious dirt, grime, and debris and rinse the unit well with your hose.

General Maintenance

Besides cleaning the individual portions of your air conditioner, make sure the filter in the air handler is changed at least every 3 months.  If you have a reusable filter, clean it often.  A clogged filter will restrict air flow reducing the efficiency of your unit.  Additionally, we should be inspecting your unit annually.  By having a qualified professional come in and thoroughly check your HVAC system, any small problems can be identified and fixed before they become major, expensive issues. 

If you need your unit inspected, or if you are noticing anything strange about the function of you’re a/c, give us a call today!  When it comes to Ocean County air conditioner repair, look no further than Toms River Heating and Air Conditioning.

Choosing an Air Filter Can Be Confusing

Posted on: June 1st, 2020 by admin

Air filters for furnace repair ocean county, woman looking confused with polka dot bandanna in hair and checkered shirt

The subject of air filters for your furnace can be a confusing topic. You will discover they are sorted by different ratings, have diverse components, and come in distinct sizes. How is an average homeowner supposed to know which air filter is right for their HVAC unit? Which one is right for the dwelling as well as the furnace? With the appearance of COVID-19, it seems like a good time to review the options.  It is important, possibly now more than ever, to keep everything in your home clean and sanitized. Give your home a breath of fresh air by changing your air.

How Do Filters Differ

Filters are produced by a diverse list of suppliers.  They are also made with a varied range of materials which affects their cost, overall performance, and rating. Furnace filters are rated on the MERV scale (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value).  This scores a filter by its efficiency in removing particles in the air from 0.3 – 10.0 μm in size. Air filters that filter out the largest quantity of a certain type of particle have a higher rating.

 

 

Basic Types of Filters

  • Fiberglass filters: These are a very affordable option. They typically have a MERV rating of 1 -4. Meaning, this type of material only filters out larger air particles.  So, if expense is the only factor you happen to be thinking of, they are a good alternative. Nonetheless, you have to remember that since they do not eliminate much besides dust, they are not recommended for homes with people with allergies. When you have no one in the household with allergies or immune concerns, these may be just an appropriate option for you.
  • Electrostatic filters: If you are looking for a filter you don’t need to replace, this is it. Rather than replacing this type of filter, you simply clean it. Typically, this is done by spraying it thoroughly with a hose. They work by making the air particles passing through multiple layers of material have a positive charge.  This causes the particles to stick to the filter before they have a chance to be spread through your home. They’re 97% successful in removing particles from the air.  You won’t find a MERV rating for an electrostatic filter, however.  This is because they’re not a dry media filter.
  • HEPA filters: HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and was originally developed during World War II to safeguard researchers whilst working on the atomic bomb. They needed something that would filter out radioactive particles from the air. That might give you a good idea of just how much these filters can eliminate from the air! The ability to get rid of almost 100% of particulates that are 0.3 μm in size makes a HEPA the most effective filter type on the market. That particular size is known as the MPPS or Most Penetrating Particle Size. It has been found that particles both larger and smaller are much easier to capture with a filter.  So, if a filter can grab almost all of the particles that are this size, it is very efficient.  Keeping this in mind, the capability to remove this much out of the air also indicates they may considerably hamper air flow if your system is not designed to handle that type of filter.  You can always give us a call and we can help you determine what type of filter is best for you.
  • Pleated filters: Normally in the range of 5-12 around the MERV scale, pleated filters end up right in the middle of the scale and make up pretty much the rest of the air filters on the market. A pleated filter is much more effective at removing air particulates than a non-pleated filter no matter the material. Their life span can be slightly longer than the significantly lower priced option also.  They are a great mid-range option that are usually appropriate for just about any system.

When you need a new air filter, the options can be overwhelming.  Thankfully, there are professionals like us who can help you navigate through all the alternatives.  Changing out your air filter is one of the easiest things you can do as a homeowner to help keep your HVAC system running efficiently.  It also helps keep your family healthy and helps reduce the symptoms of allergies and other respiratory issues when you select the right filter. Get in touch with us anytime and we can answer any questions you have!

Allergy Season is Here – Are You Ready?

Posted on: April 1st, 2020 by admin

Spring is finally here! While the extended daylight hours and rising temperatures are a welcome change for most, if you suffer from allergies, spring may not be your favorite season. Are you prepared? What steps have you taken to help protect you and your family members from air pollutants? Contact us today to discuss which air treatment option is best for your home.

One product we would like to highlight this month is the REME HALO® air purifier. This is an in-duct air purifier so it easily helps treat the air in your entire home. Any area that your air conditioner reaches, the REME HALO® can purify it. As stated on the product page the “REME HALO® in-duct air purifier produces Hydro-Peroxide plasma that is distributed through the air handler, through the duct system and into the conditioned living space. Unlike passive air technologies, which need pollutants to pass through the unit for purification or filtration, the REME HALO® in-duct air purifier sweeps through your home actively purifying pollutants at the source. In addition, the charged plasma induces particles to coagulate or stick together making them bigger and easier for your filter to catch.” Unlike other air purifiers, rather than waiting for the pollutants to make their way to the machine to be eradicated, the REME HALO® actively treats the offensive air particles where ever they are.

The REME HALO® reduces odor and all three types air pollutants in your home. Particulates that the REME HALO® easily treats include common allergy triggers like dust, dander, pollen, and mold. In addition, with all the talk of new viruses in the news lately, the REME HALO® kills up to 99% of bacteria, mold, and viruses. It now has a higher ionized hydroperoxide output allowing it to boast “faster kill rates for microbial contaminants in the air as well as on surfaces” according to the product description.

If you are interested in having a whole-home air purifier installed, now is the time! As always, we are available to go over any questions you may have and discuss what options are best for you. Make sure you give us a call to get on the schedule for installation today to make your homes air healthier!

How to Know When to Upgrade Your HVAC System

Posted on: March 1st, 2020 by admin

Even the best-made machines eventually need to be upgraded.  Most heating and cooling systems last a minimum of a decade.  If well maintained, some can last up to 20+ years.  There are a few signs to be aware of that may indicate that it is time to repair or replace your HVAC system components.Furnace repair, HVAC replacement, close up of inside of a furnace that needs servicing

  • Long Running Time – If you notice that your furnace and / or air conditioner is running much longer than normal, it indicates that the system is having trouble running efficiently. The source of this problem could be the blower, the coils, or just an aged system.  As an HVAC system ages, it will have a harder time spreading hot or cool air throughout your home in order to maintain the set temperature.  This may be a fixable problem, but if your system is on the older side, it may be time to upgrade your unit(s).
  • Age – Just as with most things, as your HVAC system ages, repairs may become more numerous and more expensive.  If you notice you are having to call for repairs fairly often, it may be time to think about replacing parts. At a certain point, it is more financially sound to invest in a new system than to constantly be paying for costly repairs.
  • Noises – Sometimes a noisy system can be easily fixed by tightening some bolts or replacing some parts.  However, as your HVAC system ages, it has to work harder and harder to function and this can get pretty loud.  If you have had to place multiple service calls to take care of a noisy furnace or air conditioner, it may be time to replace instead of repair.
  • Inefficiency – Higher than normal energy bills could be a sign that it may be time to replace your HVAC system.  As a system has to work harder to complete its job, you will notice an increase in your energy bills.   Occasionally, this may be a repairable problem, but more often it is a sign that it is time for an upgrade.

We’re sure you’ve noticed a theme in this article.  The factor that plays the largest role in deciding when to replace your HVAC system components is age.  On younger systems, most issues can be easily repaired.  However, as the furnace and air conditioner age, it can be very costly to keep them running efficiently.  One of the best things you can do for your HVAC system is to have an annual inspection done by one of our qualified technicians.  Identifying potential issues before they become problems and keeping all parts of your HVAC system in good running condition is important in maintaining efficiency. If you notice any of these issues with your system, give us a call and we will answer any of your questions and schedule a service call to take care of the problem!

The Trouble with Winter

Posted on: February 1st, 2020 by admin

snow covered homeBesides the cold, winter can wreak havoc inside your home in other ways.  One of the most common complaints other than the cold is how dry the air inside your home gets during the colder months of the year.  Here we’ll discuss some of the more common symptoms of dry air and how to combat them.

Upper Respiratory Issues – This can include sinus headaches, nosebleeds, and the common cold.  Your nasal passages require a moist environment to be able to appropriately trap viruses and other unwanted debris before they can make their way into your system.  When your nose and sinuses dry out, you are more susceptible to colds, sinus infections, and nosebleeds.  Plus, when your heat turns on, it can stir up allergens like dust and pollen, triggering allergy attacks and irritation to your airways.

Dry Skin – Just like your nasal passages, cold air sucks the moisture out of your skin as well.  This can be compounded by hot showers.  Hot water can strip your skin of its natural oil layer, drying your skin out even further.  You may notice your lips get more chapped in the winter and your skin may have a more aged appearance due to the lack of moisture.

Static Electricity – You’ve probably realized that you create many more static shocks in the winter than during other months.  This is because the decreased moisture levels in the air cause static electricity to build up.  When that happens, clothes and blankets stick together and you may get shocked every time you touch a metal surface like a doorknob.

Harm to the Wood in your Home – Just like your body, cold air draws moisture out of wood as well.  You may notice your wood floors creaking more during the colder months.  It can affect door jambs also making some doors hard to open or close.

What can you do?

One of the best things you can do to combat winter dryness is to add moisture back into your home.  The best way to do this is with a humidifier.  While you can add a portable humidifier to one or multiple rooms of your home, there are more permanent solutions such as a bypass humidifier.  These humidifiers use your HVAC airflow to deliver moisture to your home.  An example is the Lennox HCWB17.  Another whole-home option is a power humidifier like the Lennox HCWP18.   A power humidifier does not require an air handler or furnace to distribute moisture.  Other than adding moisture into your home, you need to add extra moisture to your body.  Increasing your water intake, using a skin moisturizer, and shortening your showers can all help to combat winter dryness.

How to maximize your heat this winter

Posted on: December 1st, 2019 by admin

ocean county hvac service

With the cold weather now upon us, it is, unfortunately, time to turn the heat on.  Heating bills can get expensive so make sure that whichever method(s) you use to heat your home is as efficient as possible. No matter if it is a wood-burning stove, fireplace, or furnace, making sure that the heat being produced is actively heating your home and not being wasted.  Confirming that the product used is in good working order can all help save you money this winter.  Don’t get stuck in the cold this winter!

One of the easiest things you can do to ensure your furnace is as effective as possible is to change the air filter about every 3 months.  When you leave a clogged air filter in your furnace, it has to work much harder to get the job done.  When you maintain a clean air filter in your furnace, it allows the machine to be much more productive while using less energy. If you are unsure of where to find your air filter, what type to get, or how to change it, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Scheduled maintenance for any type of heating or cooling mechanism is very important.  If you use a fireplace or wood-burning stove, an annual inspection is of utmost importance prior to using the stove each season.  This ensures you can safely use the apparatus and that it will adequately heat your home for you when necessary.  The same goes for having a furnace inspected.  Having a certified technician look at your furnace at least once a year helps to identify small problems before they become catastrophic.  Fixing small problems can usually be handled faster and are typically much less expensive than mending larger issues.

Sealing any leaks in your ductwork or fixing any drafts in your home will help keep the heat inside your home in the area where you need it most.  It can be very expensive to have to run your heater all day just to maintain a certain temperature inside your home when most of it is being lost to the outside through drafty windows or badly sealed doors.  In addition, leaky ductwork can cause a loss of about 25% of the energy generated by your HVAC system. Call us to take a look at your ductwork to make sure you don’t have any problems that are not easily identified.

There are many more things you can do as a homeowner to ensure your HVAC system or alternative source of heat is running as efficiently as possible, but these three things are a great place to start.  You can also visit the energy.gov for a free download of their Energy Saver Guide for more ideas.  The most important thing you can do is schedule regular inspections of any heating system you have in your home.  Regular checkups ensure each part is doing its job and doing it well.  Keeping your HVAC system running efficiently is one of the best ways to be sure that you are not wasting energy and money during the cold weather season.  Be sure to get in touch with us if you need to schedule a service call or regular maintenance – we’re here to help!

 

When to clean your dryer vent

Posted on: November 1st, 2019 by admin

A clogged dryer vent is a very dangerous thing for a home.  It reduces the effectiveness of the dryer, causes the dryer to work harder than it should, uses more energy than is necessary and is the cause of many home fires.  It is recommended to clean your dryer vent out at least once a year depending on type and amount of use.  If you cannot remember the last time you had the tubing that runs off of your dryer cleaned, it’s time to have it done.

A dust-filled dryer vent greatly diminishes the ability of the dryer to do its job efficiently.  If you find that it is taking you more than one cycle to dry your laundry, you may want to check the dryer vent and ductwork.  It is very possible that it is because the ductwork is filled with lint.  When air cannot freely pass through the tubing meant to vent the air to the outside, it affects the performance of the dryer.

A blocked-up dryer vent also forces the dryer to work much harder than it normally does or should.  This requires a much larger amount of energy.  So not ensuring your dryer vent and ductwork are clean is costing you money each time you have to run your dryer.

Most importantly, not maintaining the cleanliness of your dryer vent and ductwork appropriately is putting your home at risk.  Dryer fires are one of the most common causes of house fires and the most frequent cause of these fires is lint buildup in the venting.  Some things to watch out for that would indicate clogged dryer ductwork are:

  • dryer cleaning trhacA musty odor on your laundry when you remove it from the dryer – this indicates that the tubing is filled with lint and air is unable to vent properly leading to wet lint in the vent which distributes itself onto your laundry because it is unable to be released to the outside.
  • The room which holds your dryer gets very warm when you run your dryer – when a dryer has to work harder to do its job, it produces a lot of heat. While a properly functioning dryer does produce some heat, if you notice your laundry room is inexplicably hot when you run your dryer, it is a red flag to have your dryer vent checked.
  • The vent hood does not open when the dryer is running – this is on the outside of your house and should open when the dryer is on to allow the air to escape. When air is not passing through the ductwork properly, there is not enough force to open the hood.
  • Laundry is extremely hot to the touch – when the warm air from your dryer is not able to be directed outside due to a blocked dryer vent, your loads of laundry will retain much more heat than normal.

These are just a few things to keep an eye out for that indicate it is time to have your dryer vent work cleaned, but there are many others.  If it has been over a year since you’ve cleaned out the ductwork attached to your dryer, it is time to have it done.  If you simply don’t know if you’ve ever had your dryer vent and ductwork cleaned, it’s time.  If you notice any of the above signs or are having issues with your dryer, it is very likely not a mechanical issue, but instead, it may be time to clean your dryer vent.  Check your dryer vent today and protect your home from the possibility of fire.