Checklist: HVAC Winter Weather Prep

Winter is very much upon us!  Ideally, before you turned your system over to heat, you performed a quick HVAC winter weather prep.  If not, it isn’t too late to assess the performance of your HVAC system, as we still have plenty of cold days ahead.

There are some basic maintenance tasks you can perform on your own to check the readiness of your
system. Most newer heating systems require little maintenance, so a quick winter weather prep can greatly extend the life of your HVAC equipment.

1.  Power down & do a sound check

Turn off all power to the unit before performing any maintenance and wait for the blower to stop. Next, run a sound check by turning your unit back on and checking for unusual sounds, like banging or rattling.

2.  Look for signs of moisture

Check for moisture on windows, or rust or dirt accumulations on the vent pipe. This can indicate improper operation.

3.  Replace filtersChange filters at least four times per year

Replace air filters at least four times a year, or once each season.  If you haven’t changed them this winter, do it now. Dirty filters can cause your system to work harder, resulting in lower efficiency.

4.  Assess the room temperature

Check your thermostat’s temperature while the unit is on to ensure rooms are reaching their full comfort potential.

If, during your basic checklist rundown you discover any unusual noises, excess moisture or other signs
your unit is not functioning properly, contact your HVAC technician.

In addition to your DIY maintenance, regular inspections by a qualified HVAC technician are vital.  Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010 for full details. We provide 24/7 service so that your family doesn’t have to endure the cold if  your HVAC system stops working suddenly. We can also clean your heat exchanger, check the wire connections on your thermostat to make sure they’re connected properly, and ensure that your igniter switch is functioning. Let us provide peace of mind that your HVAC system is running properly so you can enjoy a comfortable and warm home with family and friends!

HVAC Maintenance Delivers Efficiency, Savings, and Safety

We’ve been on a weather roller-coaster with extreme temperature lows and highs this year. Swings in the seasons took us from a long, cold winter to record setting heat in the summer. This can take a toll on your home, especially your HVAC!

If you keep your HVAC in top-working condition, you will maintain a comfortable environment throughout the seasons. But, letting maintenance fall to the back burner could mean low-performing systems that result in costly repairs.

Let’s look further at what components make up an HVAC, steps you can take to avoid costly repairs, improve performance and ensure safety, and optimal maintenance schedules to extend the life of your system.

What is HVAC?

HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. The systems are comprised of products like furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners and ventilators. The ductwork connected to these pieces of equipment is another component of HVAC, as well as thermostats and other controls. Maintaining these individual parts will keep the whole system working optimally. Regular professional and DIY maintenance will ensure these hardworking parts are at their best.

What is HVAC maintenance?

There are several aspects of a proper professional maintenance visit. HVAC maintenance is when you have a trusted HVAC technician come to your home to look at your system. The HVAC technician will inspect, clean, test, and make adjustments to your heating or cooling system to ensure it is working at optimal functionality, safety, and efficiency.

HVAC maintenance involves so much and varies based on the different heating and cooling systems, but some basic components include:Technician maintains HVAC unit

  • Checking thermostat settings
  • Tightening electrical connections
  • Calibrating comfort controls
  • Lubricating any moving parts
  • Clearing the drain line
  • Assessing unit efficiency and functionality

HVAC maintenance is more than the DIY maintenance you should be tending to regularly, like changing air filters. Professional maintenance includes the more electrical and mechanical aspects of your system. Of course, if you encounter problems while changing your filters or with your regular maintenance, you should call a specialist.

Why is maintenance essential?

Preventive maintenance helps ensure that your HVAC system runs close to peak performance. This can mean saving up to 30% on your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent coils and ducts from gathering allergens, bacteria, and mold that flow through the duct work and contaminate indoor spaces. Allowing buildup to occur can trigger health problems like asthma attacks and headaches and can even bring on flu-like symptom

Proper maintenance can give your HVAC system a good 15 to 20 years of use. Without regular care, an HVAC system may only last half that time.

When should you schedule HVAC maintenance?

Your HVAC system needs professional maintenance the most right before it’s about to work the hardest. Ideally, you want to have the heating inspected in the fall and your cooling system inspected during the spring. This general schedule will prevent more serious issues like deadly carbon monoxide leaks or last-minute issues that leave you without a cooling option on hot summer days.

Routine HVAC maintenance schedule – what to expect and when

HVAC systems have many moving parts and components that rely on each other to make the whole system work. When something goes wrong, it can be very costly to repair. Good routine maintenance will help avoid big repairs and keep your system working properly, especially when you need it most.

Here’s what you can do at home to help keep your HVAC system running perfectly:

  • To prolong the life of your HVAC unit, make sure it stays clean. Eliminating environmental factors will ensure better system performance. Examining the machine and clearing it of debris such as grass, leaves, pollen, and dust will allow it to maintain optimal functionality.
  • Be sure to take a look at your refrigerant lines and inspect for damage, leaking, or other factors that may be damaging the functionality of the lines.
  • Keeping your filters changed is one of the easiest ways to ensure a solid running HVAC. Even the high quality filters need to be changed on a regular basis to keep your air conditioning system running smoothly. Regularly changed filters cut down on the system’s strain and can avoid the need for repairs.
  • Check the ground your unit sits on. Foundations and ground can shift, so it is good to perform an annual inspection on the ground that holds your AC unit. If the ground has shifted, it is best to call a professional to reinforce the foundation.
  • Some maintenance is as even more about safety than a well-running machine. Replace the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector. While they may not have completely died, the batteries should be replaced each and every year. Carbon monoxide can be highly dangerous, so it is better to be safe.

For more information or to schedule professional maintenance, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning at 800.461.3010.  We look forward to helping you keep your home comfortable in every season!

 

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!

Inconsistent Temperature in your Home

Have you ever noticed that there are certain areas of your house that always feel colder in the winter and warmer in the summer?  Rooms like this will sometimes be at the end of a hallway, or on a second or third floor. If the issue isn’t something like blocked air vents or returns,  it might be that you need to consider adding an additional HVAC unit or re-configuring ductwork to improve airflow.

Older homes can have ductwork that is torn or sagging from natural wear and tear, which can allow air to escape in the crawl space or attic. Older homes might also have HVAC units that can’t really handle the load of heating and cooling your space. Particularly, if you’ve added on to your home or increased the livable square footage, adding a second unit might be necessary.

Even if you live in a new home, your HVAC unit might not truly be adequate enough for your square footage. This can take years off of the life of your system.

Having to use secondary sources of heating and air, like a window unit or space heater, can significantly increase your electric bill, so here are some things to check:

  1. Make sure all vents are clear and not being blocked by furniture
  2. Make sure all return vents have clean filters
  3. Keep doors open – even rooms that you’re not using
  4. Close vents in rooms that seem too cold when using the air conditioning and too warm when running the heat

If you’re still having issues with air temperature consistency in your home, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electric at 800.461.3010 to have your HVAC system and ductwork inspected.

How to stay Warm and Safe During Winter Months

Although the merriment and festivities make winter one of the most sentimental and exciting times of year, it also is the season for higher energy bills and higher safety risks.

We’ve highlighted the ways for you to keep your warmth and safety a priority while also enjoying the holidays:

  • Space heaters are great for heating smaller rooms so you can turn down your thermostat and save on energy. Be sure to keep doors shut to the rooms you don’t need to heat all the time.  Make sure that you don’t accidentally leave them on overnight or when you leave the home. It can easily become the cause of a house fire.
  • In addition to turning off heating devices, make sure that all your smoke detectors are installed and tested. Home fires are reported at the highest rates during winter months, so now is the time to test your smoke detector to ensure that it’s running properly.
  • Since we often spend more time indoors, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is also increased during these colder months. While installing your fire detector, now is a good time to also install and test a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Consider using a humidifier which can often help alleviate wintertime sickness. The dry air is an aggravating factor for the common cold or runny nose during the winter months. When using a humidifier, the air in your home will contain more moisture and help with these symptoms all throughout the day.

If you’re concerned about installing smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors in your home, don’t worry, Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can help! We can also install a humidifier in your home to ensure optimal comfort during the winter months. You’ll be able to turn down your thermostat and save money this winter, and avoid some of the negative health effects that the dry air brings!

Give us a call today Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

Tips on Heating Your Home During the Winter

The energy bill during the winter months is often something that homeowners dread paying, as they spike the thermostat settings to keep their homes warm and cozy. This does not have to be a high expense even in the winter months, and there are some tips that we’ll share that can save you money and keep your energy bill lower!

Take the Following Steps to Stay Warmer at Home:

  • Open the curtains during the day.  

During summer months, you probably keep your curtains closed to block unnecessary heat. Use the sun to your advantage during the winter               months, and allow it to bring warmth into your home! Once the sun has gone down, close the curtains to keep the heat inside.

  • Heat the rooms that you actually use.

Seal off the vents in any bedrooms

  • Make sure your furnace filter is cleaned and that your vents are properly maintained.

 

  • As we talked about in a previous post, getting a humidifier for your home will help the air feel comfortable at a lower temperature. This means that you won’t have to crank up the heat and spike your energy bill in order to feel warm and comfortable in your home.

 

  • Use your exhaust fans sparingly. While it may come as a surprise to you, frequently using exhaust fans during the winter can lead you to increase the thermostat in your home. Exhaust fans pull the hot air that

 

  • Properly insulate your home, so that there is no heat escaping! You can start by weather stripping your doors and windows, then the attic to ensure that your whole home is insulated and keeping all the heat in.

Without an efficient furnace or heating system, these tips won’t do much to save you money, because your system will have to twice as hard to produce a normal amount of heat. So whether it’s preventative maintenance, full replacement, or products and services to enhance your heating, Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can provide 24/7 service to make sure your heating system is running smoothly and efficiently! While we’re out there, we can also check and repair insulation so there is no unnecessary heat loss.

Give us a call today Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

Benefits of Using a Humidifier in Your Home

Now that summer months are in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start considering how your home environment could negatively affect your health. There have been significant advancements with heating and cooling options over the past several years, so it’s time to reap the full benefits of those advancements! Long gone are the days where thermostats where limited to a dial that you had to change to set the temperature. We’ll go over the benefits of a humidifier, and some important things to note when using a humidifier.

Some of the Benefits:

  • They increase comfort levels in your home. Humidifiers also produce moisture in the air, which will enable you rest well with a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Wintertime sickness is lessened and not aggravated through the use of a humidifier. The dry air is an aggravating factor for the common cold or runny nose during the winter months. With a humidifier, the air in your home will contain more moisture and help with these symptoms all throughout the day.
  • The air will feel more comfortable and also warmer, which means that you can turn down your thermostat in the winter and save some extra money!

Now that you’re aware of the benefits of a humidifier, here are some important considerations as to how to use one:

  • Many humidifiers will measure the humidity level in a room, which comes in handy to know how much humidity is in each room. The optimal level should be 30 percent when it’s cold and 50 percent when it’s hot outside.
  • There are different humidifier options that are beneficial for each type of room in your home. It’s common for homeowners to have a humidifier in multiple rooms of their home.
  • Smaller humidifiers are beneficial for smaller rooms, especially children’s rooms. It’s best to stick with a cool mist humidifier, since it eliminates the chance of children getting burned by a warm mist humidifier.
  • There are console and whole home humidifiers that may be beneficial for larger rooms in the home.
  • If noise is an important consideration for you, there are ultrasonic humidifiers which create the quietest atmosphere.

Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical can attach a humidifier right to your furnace to ensure optimal comfort during the winter months. With the installation of a humidifier, you’ll be able to turn down your thermostat and save money this winter, and avoid the negative health effects that the dry air brings!

Give us a call today Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

Why You Should be Using a Humidifier

Now that summer months are in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start considering how your home environment could  affect your health. There have been significant advancements with heating and cooling options over the past several years, so it’s time to reap the full benefits of those advancements! Long gone are the days where thermostats where limited to a dial that you had to change to set the temperature.

You might want to consider utilizing a Humidifier in Your Home and here’s why: 

  • They increase comfort levels in your home. Humidifiers produce moisture in the air, which will enable you to rest well with a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • They help alleviate wintertime sickness.  The dry air is an aggravating factor for the common cold or runny nose during the winter months. With a humidifier, the air in your home will contain more moisture and help with these symptoms all throughout the day.
  • The air will feel more comfortable and also warmer, which means that you can turn down your thermostat in the winter and save some extra money!
  • Moisture in the air from a Humidifier can ease dry skin, dry sinuses and even cracked lips caused by dry air!

Now that you’re aware of the benefits of a humidifier, here are some important considerations as to how to use one:

  • Many humidifiers will measure the humidity level in a room.. The optimal level should be 30 percent when it’s cold and 50 percent when it’s hot outside.
  • There are different humidifier options that are beneficial for each type of room in your home. It’s common for homeowners to have a humidifier in multiple rooms of their home.
  • Smaller humidifiers are beneficial for smaller rooms, especially children’s rooms. It’s best to stick with a cool mist humidifier, since it eliminates the chance of children getting burned by a warm mist humidifier.
  • There are console and whole home humidifiers that may be beneficial for larger rooms in the home.
  • If noise is an important consideration for you, there are ultrasonic humidifiers which create the quietest atmosphere.

Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Electrical and Plumbing today to review your heating and cooling systems.  We can address any areas of concern and how well your systems are working.

Give us a call today Call to schedule your appointment today at 800-461-3010.

The "Change Filter" Light is Flashing: What Now?

You look up and see a blinking light on your thermostat, “CHANGE FILTER.” Don’t ignore it! These filters protect your indoor air quality, meaning, they keep you and your family healthy! And by keeping them clean, it will save you money on heating and air conditioning in the long run. 

So do you call a professional or start looking up DIY YouTube videos? According to the professionals, if your filter is accessible and you feel comfortable getting to it, you can check to see its condition. The filter looks like a large windowpane. And you should replace it with the same size you already have. However, there’s no need to stick with a certain brand as long as the filter fits correctly. It goes in the same way the old filter was removed and it should be a snug fit. You can also use a permanent marker or pen to write the install date on your new air filter. That way, you won’t have any questions about when you need a new one the next time.

You should change out the standard 1″ wire media air filter every month depending on your lifestyle, especially if you have pets. But there are other types of media air filters that are thicker and take out a higher percentage of dust and contaminants. These filters usually have a longer service life. There are also electric air filters that electronically zap the contaminants and sterilizes the dust mites that survive in climates with relative humidity over 50%.

Benefits of Changing Air Filters:

  • Extends the life of your unit- systems can overheat if air filters aren’t clear and clean which can shut down your entire unit!
  • Keeps Energy Costs Down- if your filter is clean, your unit doesn’t have to work as hard, using less energy to heat and cool your home!
  • Keeps Pet Dander and Allergens at bay- keep your air cleaner by getting rid of unwanted pollutants!
  • Keeps your system clean- don’t let unwanted dirt, dander and other things clog up your system which can cost more in repairs!

When shopping, look at the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) number, which ranges from 1 to 12. The higher the number, the better the filtration is.  If your filter is in an area where you’re not comfortable reaching it yourself, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning. They will check it out for you and replace it if needed.To schedule an appointment, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning at 800-461-3010.

Get Your Home Ready for Thanksgiving

 

Getting your home ready for Thanksgiving—and all the holidays that follow—can be exciting, but also a huge chore. However, you don’t have to scrub your house from top to bottom. With a few tasks, you can get your house ready for all the people and of course, the food.

A week or so ahead of time, schedule your biannual HVAC inspection and cleaning to make sure it is in top shape before everyone arrives. The last thing you need is for your heating to go out.

The main area to focus your cleaning on is the kitchen. Wipe the counters, sweep the floor, empty the trash, and make sure all the dishes are clean and put away. If you don’t want to have a huge pile of dishes to do later, make sure to get some paper plates and disposable cups/silverware. Make your home smell like fall by boiling a few orange peels and cinnamon sticks and then letting it simmer.

Make space for extra tables and chairs if needed, and if there will be kids, make a space for them to eat and play as well. Cover the electrical outlets if there will be babies or toddlers.

Prepare as much food as you can ahead of time, especially if you’re the main cook.

Clear out a place for guests to hang coats and bags. If you don’t have a coat rack or enough room in the closet, make a bed in one room and designate that as the coat bed.

If you’ll have overnight guests, wash the towels and bed linens and make the beds.

Clean the bathroom that guests will use.

Vacuum in the areas where guests will be.

Lastly, put on some music and pour yourself a glass of wine!

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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!