How Does Winter Affect Indoor Air Quality?
If you’re like most Seattle residents, winter makes you turn up the thermostat, dress in warm clothes, and reach for that extra blanket. But there’s one effect of winter that you may not have considered before—its impact on your indoor air quality . You might be surprised to learn that the cold season affects your household’s air at all, but it does. These are some of the ways in which winter weather influences the quality of your air:
More insulation means more contaminants
Most of us are more likely to notice drafts when it’s cold out, which means we’re more likely to have professional insulation installed. What you may not realize is that making it harder for warm air to escape your home also means that contaminants such as mold and bacteria are trapped inside. As a result, your indoor air quality can decrease drastically after you have your house reinsulated.
A dirty furnace can contribute to poor air quality
When you use your furnace frequently, dust, dirt, and other pollutants can get clogged in the vents. One of the best ways to ensure that your furnace continues to work efficiently—and that your air stays clean—is to change out your air filters once every 90 days or so. If you use your furnace constantly, you may want to change the filter even more frequently.
Pre-winter furnace inspections are a must
It’s important to remember that simply changing your air filters won’t keep your entire furnace clean. Having your HVAC system inspected by a professional before the start of the winter season is a good way to guarantee that your furnace is clean and that all its components are fully functional. A pre-winter furnace inspection will provide you with the assurance that you won’t have to deal with poor indoor air—not to mention a malfunctioning furnace—when the weather is cold.
Quick Tips for Improving the Performance of Your AC
When the weather starts to warm up, you’ll be grateful for having air conditioning in your Seattle home. If you aren’t careful to take the time to keep up maintenance on your air conditioner, however, you may find that it will not provide you with the level of service you deserve. Having your air conditioner routinely serviced by a maintenance professional will help to ensure that it stays efficient and effective. Here are some other steps you can take to keep your central AC system in excellent condition:
Install a ductless AC. If you simply want a certain area of your house to stay consistently cool throughout the day, you can avoid relying too much on your central AC by having a ductless mini-split system installed there. Ductless AC systems are extremely energy-efficient, and they operate unobtrusively since the compressor is located outside. Installing a ductless system may even qualify you for a federal tax credit.
Change your air filters regularly. Without a clean air filter, your air conditioner’s vents can become contaminated with dust, debris, pollen, and various pollutants. Along with harming the quality of your indoor air, this can make it harder for your air conditioner to cool efficiently as well. Check your air conditioner’s air filter regularly, and change it out for a new one when needed. During periods of heavy AC use, you’ll want to replace the filter at least once a month.
Buy a programmable thermostat. Running your air conditioner when nobody is home is wasteful, and it can also contribute to your high utility bills. If you purchase a programmable thermostat, you can schedule your AC to stop running while your house is unoccupied—or late at night, when everybody is asleep. Exercising more control over your temperature settings can help you conserve your air conditioner’s power for times when you really need it.
Common Causes of AC Compressor Failure
There are numerous reasons why you might need emergency service for your home’s air conditioning system, but one of the most common issues arises when your AC compressor fails. Replacing your compressor too frequently can be costly, but you can reduce your need to do this by investing in routine preventative maintenance for your AC system. Before you call an air conditioning contractor out to your Seattle home, take a look at this list of the most frequent causes of a failed AC compressor.
Refrigerant leaks. When refrigerant leaks through a gap or crack in the lines, the level of refrigerant in your air conditioning system naturally begins to decline. This means that a great deal of strain will be put on your compressor—which can eventually lead to a breakdown. If your refrigerant lines become blocked, the same problem can result. Periodic inspections of your refrigerant lines can help to prevent this from becoming an issue.
A dirty system. Everything in your house needs to be cleaned from time to time, and your air conditioning system is no exception to the rule. Over time, the inside of your air conditioning system can become clogged with dust and dirt, which can reduce the effectiveness of your air conditioner and can also put unwanted pressure on your compressor. A routine professional checkup of your entire AC system will ensure that it stays clean, efficient, and effective.
Grime on the coils. If dust and grime are allowed to accumulate on your AC condenser coil, it will force your air conditioning system to work harder in order to provide your home with cool air. This increase in pressure can overwork your compressor and make a breakdown much more likely. The best way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is to schedule routine checkups and cleanings from an experienced air conditioning professional in your area.
Our Emergency AC Repair Services
No Seattle homeowner ever wants to be left without a working air conditioner when the summer is at its hottest. That’s why it’s essential to have an air conditioning contractor you can always depend on to provide you with capable service in a crisis. At Olson Energy Service , we offer emergency HVAC service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to customers in the Seattle area. If you’re experiencing any issues at all with your air conditioning system, our expert technicians can diagnose the problem and repair it in short order. Our team has experience responding to a wide array of HVAC problems, from failed compressors to cracked refrigerant lines. We offer preventative maintenance services to help extend the life of your AC system, and we’ll also be happy to replace your current system with a brand-new one. When you’re having trouble with your AC system, don’t hesitate to contact our team for immediate assistance.
Should I Replace My Air Conditioner?
When the summer season arrives in Seattle, you will want to make sure that your air conditioner is ready to keep your home’s interior cool and comfortable. If your air conditioner is more than 15 years old, it could be reaching the end of its lifespan. With services from an HVAC company that specializes in air conditioning near Seattle , you will be able to replace your unit before the summer months kick into full gear. To help you decide whether it is time to set up an appointment with your HVAC contractors, here is a look at some signs that it is time to replace your air conditioner.
Your System Is Getting Old
Age is a primary factor to consider when you are deciding whether to replace your air conditioning unit. When you install a brand new air conditioner in your home, it will have an expected lifespan of about 15 years. Relying on the same air conditioning system for 15 years or longer could eventually lead to efficiency and maintenance problems.
You Are Facing Costly Repairs
At a certain point, the cost of repairing your old system may be more than the price of purchasing a brand new unit. If you are deciding between air conditioner repair or replacement, you can ask your HVAC technician to provide you with an estimate for the costs of your repairs. Rather than footing the bill for a major repair service, you may be better off simply purchasing a brand new unit.
You Can No Longer Purchase the Right Coolant
Older air conditioning systems typically rely on R-22 Freon, which is a special type of refrigerant. Due to the environmental impact of R-22 Freon, this type of refrigerant is harder to find and more costly to install. If your air conditioner needs to be recharged wit R-22 Freon, you may end up spending hundreds of dollars on this service. With a brand new air conditioner, you can rest assured that your system runs on a coolant that is affordable, environmentally friendly, and easy to find.
Understanding Common AC Efficiency Terminology
Is your air conditioner as efficient as it could be? Most Seattle homeowners may not be sure whether their air conditioning system is up to modern standards of efficiency. If you’re concerned that your bills are too high or that you are needing to run your air conditioner for long hours to keep your house cool, it may be time to contact an HVAC professional to talk about having your system replaced with a new one. If you want to better understand how air conditioner efficiency is measured, here is a guide to some of the most commonly used terms.
BTU. BTU is a term that stands for British Thermal Unit, and it represents the amount of heat that is required to increase the temperature of a pound of water by exactly 1 degree Fahrenheit. If you strike a single match and let it burn down, you have used up approximately 1 BTU.
Horsepower. This is a common unit of power with a number of distinct meanings. In terms of your air conditioner’s efficiency, horsepower is used to measure cooling capacity—or the amount of heat your air conditioner is able to remove from a room.
COP. COP stands for Coefficient of Performance. In terms of your HVAC system, the COP is the ratio of the amount of work you put into your system to the amount of heating or cooling you get out of it. The higher your COP is, the more reasonable your utility bills will be.
EER. EER stands for energy efficiency ratio. For the purposes of your air conditioner, it is the ratio of every BTU of energy your system uses to every watt of electrical energy it produces. The EER is used to measure the efficiency of room air conditioners, while a different ratio called the SEER—the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio—is used to describe central air conditioners.
Energy Star. Energy Star is a program in the United States that certifies the most energy-efficient products on the market, helping consumers to make the best decisions for their budget and the environment. In order to be labeled with the Energy Star symbol, a product such as an air conditioner must meet the minimum requirements of the EPA.
How Indoor Air Quality Can Affect COPD
According to The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, more than 120,000 annual deaths in the United States are attributed to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a term used to describe a group of health conditions characterized by breathing difficulty. These include severe asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Unfortunately, many people who have COPD do not even realize that they have it. COPD can be worsened by a number of invisible pollutants in the air inside a home, including mold spores, dust mites, chemical fumes, and pollen. The quality of your indoor air has a significant effect on your quality of life, particularly if you have COPD. If you’re concerned about your indoor air quality, a professional air duct cleaning by an HVAC company in Seattle is the perfect place to start.
What to Expect During AC Maintenance Services?
Your air conditioning needs cleaning and a checkup from time to time in order to stay in excellent condition. Professional air conditioning maintenance is the perfect way to ensure that your HVAC system is ready for the summer. An experienced technician can provide you with the services you need to enjoy fully functional air conditioning during the warm months. If you’re wondering what you can expect during a routine air conditioning maintenance visit to your Seattle home, keep reading.
Checking the outside components. The first step of air conditioning maintenance is to inspect the outdoor unit. Its accuracy will be tested, its wiring will be checked, and any dirt or debris that has gathered will be removed.
Inspecting for mold. Mold growth can be a serious health hazard anywhere in your home, but it is particularly dangerous when it happens inside your air conditioning vents, where it can contaminate the air that you breathe. An HVAC technician can check to ensure that your system hasn’t become infiltrated by mold.
Changing the air filter. If your air conditioning has been running less efficiently than usual, it may be the result of a clogged filter. During your air conditioning maintenance, your HVAC technician will usually change out your old air filter for a new one.
Checking the thermostat. Checking your thermostat is another important part of routine maintenance. If your thermostat has lost calibration over time, your HVAC technician can recalibrate it in order to ensure that it provides you with accurate temperatures.
Inspecting the system components. Your HVAC technician will also take a look at the internal components of your central air conditioning system to ensure that they’re all working properly. This includes checking the condensate drain, any moving parts, and all electrical components.
Doing a safety check. Finally, a routine maintenance service will include a safety check to make sure that your air conditioning system is safe for you to use. If there is any rust in your system, for example, your technician will remove it.
Reasons to Make This the Summer You Get a New Air Conditioning Unit
Upgrading your air conditioner serving Seattle can be a great investment , and now might be the time to pull the trigger. Your heating and cooling appliances contribute to a bulk of your energy bills, and today’s units tend to be more efficient than older models. In addition to saving you money and reducing your carbon footprint, this will make your home more comfortable and more valuable. Keep reading for more on the reasons to make this the summer you get new air conditioning.
Save Energy and Money
The longer you wait to upgrade your air conditioner, the longer you’ll spend more than you have to on your energy bills. A new air conditioning installation will improve the efficiency of your home, so you can expect your energy bills to drop. If you care for your HVAC units and follow the right steps, you can even make your money back in savings over time. More efficient air conditioners require less energy, which also lessens your carbon footprint. If you’re looking for a way to go green and save some money at the same time, make this the summer you get a new air conditioner.
Efficiency isn’t just about expending energy. Efficient heating and cooling units will also do a better job of keeping you comfortable in your home. A high quality air conditioner will cool down your living space evenly and thoroughly, and you’ll have plenty of control over the temperature. Older air conditioners tend to cool the house unevenly, do an inadequate job of keeping you comfortable, or simply fail to cool your air at all. You won’t have to worry about these issues when you upgrade to a new unit.
Make Your Home More Valuable
Even if you don’t know how long you’ll be staying at your current house, a new air conditioner still might be a worthwhile investment. A modern, high quality air conditioning system can increase the value of your home. This means you can raise your listing price, and it might be easier to find a buyer who is interested. Consider upgrading your air conditioner this summer.
Save Space with a Tankless Water Heater
You need hot water for appliances like your dishwasher and washing machine, and you’ll also need it to properly wash your hands or take a shower. While traditional hot water heaters serving Seattle come with large tanks, tankless hot water heaters are a bit more versatile. Tankless water heaters offer a wide variety of benefits that their older counterparts cannot, making them a great investment for the home. If you are thinking about upgrading your home, feel free to read on and find out how you can save space with a tankless water heater.
A tankless water heater stands to be much more efficient than a traditional hot water heater. One of the reasons is that tankless water heaters aren’t susceptible to the standby heat loss that older models are. Rather than constantly using energy to keep a basin of water heated, a tankless heater simply heats the water when it’s needed. This means there’s no need for a tank, so you’ll have more freedom when deciding where to install your unit. You can even have your tankless water heater installed on a wall or inside a cabinet to save space and maintain your aesthetic design.
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