Your HVAC System can help allergies

Spring has brought April showers, the hope of beautiful May flowers – and allergy season!  The air can get really bad for people who suffer from seasonal allergies, but believe it or not your HVAC system can help allergies and bring some relief.It’s not expensive or difficult to get your HVAC in shape for this tricky time of year, and it just takes a few steps and considerations.

Put in a new air filter

The air that circulates through your home has to first go through your air filter. We recommend that you change the filter at least twice a year, and if you have pets, you may want to change it more often. You want to make sure there is a new filter in before furnace season and again before you use the air conditioning. If the filter is dirty it can’t catch dust, so the air you’re breathing in your home will be dirty and unhealthy. A new, clean filter will catch dust and any particles that can bother allergies.

Talk to your technician about using a MERV filterAllergy season sign

Sometimes a regular filter is not enough protection for allergy sufferers. If this is the case in your home ask your HVAC technician about using a Maximum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) filter. They are designed to catch even more than dust and some air pollutants. Depending on the rating of the filter, they can catch dander, pollen and other allergens. The higher the rating, the more pollutants they can filter.

Consider a UV air purifier

To create the cleanest indoor air possible, consider using a UV light solution. These types of purifiers can reduce bacteria, mold, and other allergens in the air. These filters work by providing a second cleaning after treated air is pushed through the air filter. It will also remove unwanted odors from the air like pet stink, kitchen smells and perfumes. You may want to check out the Air Scrubber. It’s an attachment to your existing HVAC unit, It won’t require major installation.

Don’t forget to dust your return vents and the HVAC unit

The simple step of dusting can help cut the spread of allergies. And don’t forget to clean your return vents and HVAC unit. If you have dusty return vents, that dust will spread throughout your house. To prevent the spread, use a damp cloth to wipe around your return vents, outside condenser and any other HVAC units you can access.

Get a tune-up

If someone in your home has allergies, nothing can replace a regularly scheduled HVAC tune-up. As a result of professional cleaning and inspection, your HVAC system can help allergies. You should plan to get tune-ups twice a year to make sure no dirty air is being distributed throughout the house and that the system is problem-free.

A preventive maintenance plan will ensure that your HVAC system is served twice a year, without you having to worry. For information, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Keep pet dander and hair under control

Millions of Americans have a pet (or a few!) in their homes. Along with the joy they bring, there are duties – daily feeding, love and attention, and cleaning! It can be a challenge to keep pet dander and hair under control. To keep your pet and your family living the healthiest life, be sure and follow our tips.

Fur, dander, feathers and tracking-in outside germs all take a toll on your home’s air quality and cleanliness.

Symptoms of highly-polluted indoor air include:

  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • headache
  • sneezing
  • dry nose, eyes, and throat
  • flu-like symptoms

Follow these tips to maintain a clean and healthy home and keep pet dander and hair under control:

Clean your HVAC system with a regular maintenance appointment

Ask the technician to clean your HVAC system, so it is clear of dust, mold, pet hair, and other indoor contaminants. Do this twice a year and ask the technician if he recommends having your air ducts cleaned.

Clean your carpets

You can improve the health of your indoor air with a little spring cleaning. Airborne contaminants, especially in spring during peak allergy season, cause a worsening of asthma, allergies and respiratory illness.

Clean the rest of your home

When living with pets, dander is a major allergen found in our homes. People and pets also bring in other allergens into our homes. Wash laundry, dust, vacuum and mop often to remove allergens as much as you can.

Use an air purifier

Pet hair can impact a home's air quality

In addition to removing pet dander, a purifier can neutralize other pollutants like bacteria, viruses, mold spores, smoke and pollen.

Groom your pet

If your pet is clean and trimmed, your indoor air stays cleaner because there’s less shedded fur in the filter and ducts. You should brush your dog every few days and bathe her every two to four months.

Keep your floor vents clean

Check around your home to see which vents need attention. Pets like to lay on floor vents, so their hair can get caught in the vents. To clean the floor vents, turn off your HVAC system, remove the vent covers and clean them using a duster, cloth, brush or vacuum. You can also take an extra step and wash them with soap and water. If you do, be sure they are completely dry before putting them back. Clean floor vents will help with airflow and allow cleaner air to move throughout the house.

Keep your outdoor unit clean

Check the condition of your outdoor unit. Sometimes dogs may claw at the unit or unintentionally cause other damage, such as “marking” the unit. If you need to protect the unit from your pet, choose a small fence that doesn’t block airflow. This will keep it protected from the elements and your curious pet.

Keep the filter clean

If you have pets, you should be changing your air filter every 30-60 days. Using a HEPA or ionic filter may not be heavy-duty enough to capture pet dander. Check with your HVAC technician to find out which air filter will work best in your home.

Keep the ducts clean

Dander, tiny particles of skin that animals with fur or feathers shed can be a problem for those with allergies. While most people will experience typical symptoms, prolonged exposure to pet dander can lead to bronchitis and other respiratory problems. If ducts aren’t clean, they will continue to circulate particles in the home every time the HVAC system is turned on. We recommend professional duct cleaning every 3-5 years.

For professional assistance, call the experts at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Improve Indoor Air Quality with HVAC Technology

Americans are spending an average of 90% of their time indoors! Therefore, indoor air pollution poses a major health risk. This is especially true for young children, older adults and people who have heart or lung diseases and spend even more time indoors. Fortunately, HVAC technology offers ways to improve indoor air quality and prevent air pollution.

What are some causes of indoor air pollution?Dust can cause indoor pollution

Dust and other fine particles from vehicle exhaust, boilers, construction, etc., can get indoors through windows, doors and other openings. They can also get drawn indoors through a building’s HVAC system. In addition, mold, pet hair, dander and dust mites can build up over time and contribute to indoor air pollution.

Air quality issues can develop if proper ventilation is lacking. Improper ventilation allows for the buildup of hazardous pollutants. Cigarette smoke, synthetic building materials, carpeting and furniture, personal care products, pesticides, cleaning solvents, air fresheners and dry-cleaned clothing, can all contain pollutants.

Then there are pathogens — viruses and bacteria that can linger and spread contagious illnesses. These pathogens can even be distributed throughout a building by the HVAC system or be recirculated through ductwork.

Additionally, some of the newer building features such as airtight construction and improved insulation can increase all of this indoor air pollution because it limits the flow of fresh air into the building.

Here are seven ways that HVAC technology can improve your home’s air quality.

1.  Use UVC technology

UVC is the most damaging type of solar radiation, but it is completely filtered out by the atmosphere and does not reach the earth’s surface. UVC-emitting lights are useful for air purification because UVC can kill virtually any microbe. Today, UVC is used in many healthcare facilities as part of air disinfection systems. It’s also used in other buildings where air quality and preventing the spread of illness is a concern. Schools, offices, senior living facilities and large residential buildings can benefit from UVC.

2. Incorporate good ventilation design

A properly designed ventilation system reduces indoor air pollution by providing fresh air, controlling odors and eliminating contaminants.

3. Use VRF for humidity (and temperature) control

As part of your indoor air quality testing, you can use a humidity gauge to see if the humidity in your building is at a healthy level — between 30% and 50%. To maintain a good, consistent humidity level and temperature, consider a zoned HVAC technology called Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF).

4. Explore the HEPA filter option

Standard air conditioner and furnace filters do not remove pathogens like UVC does,but these everyday filters still play an important role. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters reduce indoor air pollution by trapping 99.97% of dust, pollen and smoke particles.

5.  Clean the ductwork to reduce indoor air pollution

Whatever fine debris is floating in your building’s air can accumulate in the ductwork, thus impacting air quality. The particles in your ductwork can end up back in the air you breathe.  Clean your ductwork to help prevent

6.  Bring in a professional for mold remediation

By the time you learn you have mold in your air ducts, then the problem could already be widespread. Unchecked, mold is more than an air quality issue, it is a health issue. It is crucial to call an HVAC professional, if you have mold. An HVAC professional will determine where and how the mold problem started, and help you resolve the underlying issue so that mold does not recur.

7. Stay on top of air quality with routine HVAC maintenance

Your HVAC system circulates the air you breathe, so be sure and schedule regular inspections. Investing in routine HVAC maintenance, along with duct inspection and cleaning, helps you detect, prevent and eliminate sources of indoor air pollution.  This ensures that your HVAC system is performing properly.

For peace of mind and control of indoor air pollution, ask the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical, about their Whole House Maintenance Agreement!

Heating and Air Affects Health

Heating and air is not something that we consider unless something is wrong, even though it is such an important aspect of our everyday comfort. Did you know heating and air can do much more than just change the temperature of our homes? It’s true – heating and air affects health.

There are many ways homeowners can maximize health and comfort with their heating and air systems. With smart heating and air solutions homeowners can:

  • Improve air quality for better peace of mind
  • Expect consistent heating and air performance no matter the system’s age
  • Keep heating and air from damaging the home
  • Help the heating and air system last longer and work better
  • Save money from expensive repairs

Heating and air affects indoor air qualityDusty filters can impact indoor air quality

Every day, we breathe in thousands of microscopic particles particles and pathogens in our own homes. Often, outdoor air is cleaner than the air inside our homes. Homeowners who regularly use their heating and air conditioning benefit from air filtration. This is because all indoor air passes through a filter installed in the heating and air system before it is conditioned.

The average home heating and air filter removes particles like:

  • Pet dander
  • Insects, fecal matter
  • Hair
  • Dust
  • And more

Depending on your home and preferences you can choose to upgrade your air filter to catch smaller particles including:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Gasses, vapors and fumes

If you have a family that depends on high indoor air quality, consider an upgrade. It could benefit people in your family who might:

  • Be sick
  • Have allergies
  • Suffer from asthma
  • Battle respiratory issues

Work with your HVAC contractors to determine how to fortify your home against poor indoor air. Reliable heating and air should be the last worry homeowners have. No matter what time of the year it is, homeowners should always have:

  • Reliable heating and air conditioning
  • Accurate temperature control
  • High indoor air quality
  • Low heating and air bills
  • Peace of mind

Maintenance Matters

Homeowners invest in heating and air and we expect our central air systems to deliver, but how can you maximize your heating and air systems to deliver these results?

The answer is regular maintenance.  The reason why heating and air technicians recommend regular maintenance is because it works.

Regular heating and air maintenance prevents most repairs and damages. Once your technician is through, you can expect:

  • Proper and efficient heating and air operation
  • Reliable heating and air service
  • A clean and safe heating and air system
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Improved energy efficiency
  • Fewer heating and repairs, if any
  • A longer lasting heating and air system

The main reason we use heating and air is to control the temperature of our homes and some homeowners do not know just how temperature changes can affect their home and health.

If heating and air is too dry:

  • Furnishing loses shine and luster
  • Instruments warp out of tune
  • Wood splinters and cracks
  • Paint peels
  • Skin, hair, nails, eyes and nasal passages dehydrate

In short, dry heating and air causes trouble.

Additionally, heating and air that is too dry or moist also manipulates the feeling of temperature, so even though the thermostat reads a certain temperature, your air may not feel like it. As a result, homeowners generally change the temperature until they feel what they want. This causes large energy spending, longer heating and air cycles and other inconveniences.

Fortunately, there is a solution for chronically dry heating and air. Your HVAC technicians can install a central humidifier. They analyze the home, take measurements and determine just how much moisture the air needs. As a result, the balance of your heating and air is restored.

If you have concerns about how your heating and air affects health, then contact the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010.

Are expensive air filters better?

Everyone has seen the endless aisles of heating and air system air filters, but the variety of materials and broad cost range can be confusing. Are the more expensive, pleated filters better than the basic woven fiberglass? Do they have to be replaced less often? Are filters really designed to improve the air in your house, or to keep your HVAC system running properly?

Here is a simple comparison:

Less-expensive filtersChanging air filter in home

The purpose of filters both in your HVAC system and in your air return vents is to keep debris, pet hair and dust out of your unit. Thinner, loosely woven fiberglass filters do the job and allow for better air flow. They are also cheaper so it’s more cost effective to replace them regularly. These filters come in a wide variety of sizes and can be put in air return vents as well as your HVAC unit. It’s important to replace these every 30 days.

More-expensive filters

Pleated, thicker air filters can be a good option if you have severe allergies, a smaller home, or multiple units that don’t have to move air around the entire house. These filters really still need to be changed every 30 days to get the full benefit of the additional allergen and dust filtering.  It’s important to know that if you have pets, pleated air filters can get caked with hair and dander quickly, making your system work harder to force air through.

Regardless of the type of filters you use, investing in professional duct work cleaning every 3-5 years is a good idea to extend the life of your HVAC unit.  If you’re changing your filters regularly but are still concerned about the air quality in your home contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning at 800.461.3010!

How to lower the humidity in your home

July is an appropriate time to talk about humidity!  Those of us in North Carolina can feel the humidity every time we step outside. But what about the humidity inside your home?  The humidity level of your home has a direct effect on your health and comfort and your home’s health.

Recommended humidity levels

During cold months, there can be problems if humidity levels get too low. In summer, there is risk of humidity levels being too high. It turns out that high humidity doesn’t just lead to bad hair days!

Problems with high humidityHumidity causes mold and mildew

  • Mold thrives on high humidity. Mold attracts insects and can also cause health problems for you and your family.  The CDC recommends controlling humidity in order to control mold.
  • Too much humidity can also trigger allergies and create dust mite problems.
  • Humidity can ruin the paint on your walls and can even warp the wood, in extreme cases. If the excessive humidity in your home creates mold, this mold could set into the carpet as well.

How to regulate humidity in your home

A dehumidifier will increase the comfort level of your home by pulling moisture from the air. This will allow you to sleep better at night and will help prevent mold, dust mites, insects, etc. There are a few other things you can do to minimize the humidity in your home:

  • When you are cooking, use your vent fan
  • If possible, use colder water and keep your showers short
  • Minimize the number of plants in your home to keep humidity levels down
  • Always use the exhaust fans in your bathroom while showering
  • Consider installing a fresh air intake duct in your home

Your air conditioning unit will play a significant role in the amount of humidity that is in your home. It needs to be sized properly for the square footage of your home, otherwise it won’t be running efficiently. When your air conditioning unit is sized correctly and maintained properly, it will be pulling the humidity out of your home while it’s running.

Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can install a dehumidifier directly to your heating and cooling system to ensure optimal comfort during the hot summer months. It’s also important to have your air conditioner maintained regularly. Your air conditioner should be dehumidifying the air as well, so it’s important to make sure it’s running efficiently.

Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

 

How To Enjoy Spring in the Triad

We’re blessed enough to live in the Triad – with the beach and mountains both within reasonable drive. Greensboro offers fun family activities all year round, but most especially during the spring and summer months. There are plenty of places to go and things to do outdoors and indoors as well, if that’s more your preference.  

If you have appreciation for historic events, then you’ll love the rich historical experiences that Greensboro has to offer. The Guilford Courthouse National Military Park has both inside and outside areas to visit. The Visitor Center hosts artifacts and information on the famous battle, and there’s also a tour road for those looking to take an historic drive. Get a taste of culture by visiting the Greensboro Historical Museum, or the International Civil Rights Museum, located downtown. Also located downtown is the Children’s Museum. This is a great way for your children to expend energy on a rainy spring day.

One of the greatest things about springtime in the Triad is the ability to go fruit picking! There are multiple local farms in the area that enable you to pick your own blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, apples and peaches. With trees and flowers beginning to bloom, there’s no better time to take a stroll through the Bicentennial Gardens or the Greensboro Arboretum. The Benjamin Park and Bur-Mill Park also offer opportunity to get out and enjoy nature.

What better way to relax after an eventful day than to enjoy good food and drinks? Greensboro offers many options. Multiple breweries have recently popped up in the triad. Known for some incredible eateries, there are lots of eclectic options for eating in Greensboro. From fine dining to local hot spots – and cuisine to country fried, Greensboro can satisfy any taste buds.

Also remember Spring is a great time to have your air conditioning unit prepped for Summer! From changing air filters to get rid of dust mites to servicing your unit to keep it in warranty, we can easily and quickly keep your unit running efficiently.  We want to keep your family comfortable and safe this Spring!

Call to schedule your appointment now.  800-461-3010.

 

Build Your Own Vertical Garden

 

Indoor Vertical Garden Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical in North CarolinaWhat if there was a way to have a garden for your home without taking up much space—and it also provided other benefits such as helping with cooling? Vertical gardens are a great addition to your home. As water circulates through plants, they release moisture into the surrounding air and it evaporates, creating colder air. Cooler air just outside a wall of your home can lead to less work for your air conditioner.

Head to a big-box store to get one large pallet (or more if you’d like), mounting brackets, staple gun, landscape fabric, soil and plants. You will also need waterproof plastic if it will be mounted on the side of your house. Once home, check the pallets for nails and sand the wood. (Make sure it is not pressure-treated wood.)

Use landscape fabric to cover the back, sides and bottom of the pallet and staple. (About every inch. You want plenty of staples to keep the dirt in.) For added protection to the exterior of your home, line the back of the pallet with waterproof plastic, but leave the bottom open.

Put potting soil in and add the plants in between each slat. Put in as many plants as you can fit. Don’t water the plants yet.

Grab a family member or friend to help you mount the pallet, as it will be heavy! Check that the plants did not move around in the process. Water, and wait to see your very own vertical garden bloom! You may need to add some more soil as it packs down over time.

Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

It's Humidifier Season

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Now that we’re deep into fall and winter is just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about humidifiers for your home.

Not only can dry air lead to dry skin, lips eyes and sinuses, but it can also make your symptoms worse when you’re sick and create more problems if you have respiratory issues. Dry air is also not good for your wood flooring and furnishings.

Typically, a good humidity level will be between 30 and 50 percent. If it is very cold outside, the level should be about 30 percent. If it’s not as cold, it can be closer to 50 percent. Some humidifiers will measure the levels in a room.

Many homeowners use small humidifiers in several rooms in the house, especially the bedrooms. Usually these can run up to 24 hours or so before needing to be refilled. If you need more moisture for a larger area, you can consider console humidifiers or whole house humidifiers.

Different types include cool mist, warm mist, and ultrasonic humidifiers. Cool mist versions put out a room-temperature mist and are a good choice for the kids’ rooms because there isn’t a risk of them getting hurt from mist that is too hot. Warm mist versions may use a bit more electricity to warm the water, but may also put out cleaner mist because the heating process kills germs. Ultrasonic versions come in both warm mist and cool mist types, and are very quiet.

If you’re using an older humidifier, keep in mind that a moldy, bacteria-filled humidifier will only make things worse. Some are harder to see into than others, and if you haven’t properly maintained yours, it may be a good idea to get a new one. To keep yours clean, use distilled water and clean it every few days by rinsing it out, then rinsing with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Empty it out as soon as it is no longer being used.

Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!