Understanding HVAC Equipment

Are Your Dirty Ducts Making Your Business Sick?

Overlooking your commercial exhaust system is a big mistake. Just because you can’t “see” a problem with it, it doesn’t mean that there’s not one. Dirty exhaust vents can house a wide variety of harmful bacteria and chemical residue, not to mention the typical dust and debris that ventilation systems pick up through their everyday use. If you aren’t keeping your exhaust and ventilation system cleaned and maintained, here are some of the problems you might experience.

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick building syndrome is a term used to describe a building in which the indoor air quality is poor enough to lead to illness among the occupants. This typically refers to businesses or office buildings, but residential properties can also have this condition.

Employees or visitors to the building may complain of headaches, nausea, dizziness or other general discomfort which goes away after they leave the building. The cause of the symptoms is usually unclear, but they are generally attributed to sick building syndrome.

What Makes A Building Sick

The causes of SBS (sick building syndrome) can vary. One widely accepted belief is that poor air quality plays a large role in affecting the symptoms experienced by SBS sufferers. Factors that can affect indoor air quality include poor ventilation and the presence of chemical contaminants, both from inside and outside the building. Dirty air that is trapped in the ventilation system is recirculated over and over again, spreading germs and chemical residue that can make the building’s inhabitants very sick.

Who Suffers From Your Dirty Air

People who spend the most time in the building are the most likely to suffer from SBS, but other visitors can have problems, too. If you own a restaurant with poorly maintained exhaust vents, bacteria and mold can be circulated and infect food, which can lead to serious illnesses including food poisoning

If your ventilation system is pushing dirty, polluted air outside your building, you could be affecting the air outside your building, too. Dirty dryer vents can pose more of a threat than regular air vents because not only do they push out dirty air, they could be a major fire risk for your building. This is why commercial dryer vent cleaning is particularly important; if your building catches fire, so can the ones around it.

Employees exposed to dirty air are more likely to suffer from breathing problems and allergies. If your employees are sick from the air in your building, they are more likely to miss work and cost you time and money. 

Dirty ventilation systems also drive up your energy bill. A system that is choked up with dust and debris has to work harder and won’t be as efficient as one that is properly cleaned and maintained. The bottom line is it costs your business more to have dirty air.

How To Spot The Signs Of Dirty Ducts

There are some signs you might see before your air gets dirty enough to lead to illnesses among your employees and visitors. Watch for:

  • dust blowing in the air near the vents
  • dust accumulation on the return vent
  • mold growth on the grill of the vents
  • dust accumulation on the air conditioning coil of your HVAC unit

You might think that there’s no harm in “a little” dust accumulation, but consider the fact that dust is comprised of dead skin, hair and bacteria, and you’ll see why it’s so important to keep it out of your ventilation system.

Nobody wants a “sick” building, but that’s what you’ll get if you ignore your commercial exhaust system. Keep your business and employees safe by hiring a company like Clearzone Services to carry out regular ventilation cleaning and maintenance, so you can breathe easy knowing your building is a healthy one.

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Shopping For A New Furnace? 2 Exciting New Features You Should Look For

When you start shopping for a new furnace, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by similar-looking options. In an attempt to save time and money, you might be tempted to side with a low-end, basic model. Unfortunately, choosing the first furnace you come across might leave you with the same heater issues you have struggled with for years. Here are two exciting new features you should look for, and how they can help:

1: Air Quality Systems

If you suffer from allergies or like to minimize housework, you might be constantly looking for ways to clear the air. Unfortunately, every time you open the front door or your kids stomp through the house with muddy shoes, fine particulates like dust, pollen, and dirt can fill your breathable space.

Fortunately, furnace manufacturers have found ways to clean and sanitize your indoor air, keeping dust off of your bookshelves and pathogens away from your nose. Here are a few ways your new furnace could help you to control your air quality:  

  • Media Air Cleaners: If you have ever replaced your furnace air filter, you might wonder how efficient that webbed, inch-thick filter really is. Fortunately, some systems have space for much thicker media air cleaners, which act as complex filtration systems inside of your furnace. To increase the surface area, these filters contain layers of interior pleats. In addition to lasting longer, high-efficiency media filters can trap more allergens that traditional varieties. For example, a media air filter with a MERV rating of 12 can filter as much as 95% of airborne pathogens.
  • Humidifiers: Dry air can make your home arid and uncomfortable, in addition to drying out your skin and hair. Fortunately, some furnaces contain humidity control systems, so that you can customize your indoor air.
  • Germicidal UV Lamps: If you really want to keep germs from swarming through your home, consider looking for a heater fitted with germicidal UV lamps. These systems use blasts of ultra violet light to destroy contaminants like mold, yeast, and viruses. In addition to making your air safer to breathe, these systems can also eradicate organisms before they can make your house smell musty. 

As you peruse the aisles of your HVAC store, try to identify your air quality goals by asking yourself a few questions. Do you have pets or allergy sufferers in your family? How often do you dust? Although air quality issues might be hard to identify if you have been living with problems for a while, taking the time to figure out what you need might help you to fend off future issues.

2: Variable Speed Controls

Traditional thermostats have one simple goal during the wintertime: turn on your furnace when the temperature dips below a certain point. Unfortunately, this outdated “stop and go” technology might mean that your system cycles on and off more frequently than it should, which can damage your equipment. To remedy this problem, HVAC manufacturers have developed furnaces with variable speed controls, which means that your system can run at partial capacity. Here are a few benefits variable speed controls can offer:

  • Quiet Motors: During the winter, it can be jarring to listen to your furnace turn on and off. In addition to interrupting your baby’s sleep schedule, heater noises can also make it harder to talk quietly or enjoy your favorite television show. After all, who likes to shout above the sound of those chopping fan blades? Fortunately, variable speed furnaces are designed to start up slowly, so that you don’t have to deal with all the noise.
  • Steady Temperatures: Instead of blasting air through your house whenever the temperature gets too low, variable speed furnaces can carefully monitor the temperature and run a little at a time. In addition to reducing your energy consumption, this constant flow of warm air can also keep your home a steady, comfortable temperature.

By investing in a cutting-edge furnace, and check out the site like one here, you might be able to breathe a little easier.

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Severe Allergies Or Illness? 3 HVAC Upgrades For Your Health

If you or a loved one have severe allergies or a chronic illness, your HVAC system can be your ally or part of the problem. Modifications to your HVAC system can reduce allergens and immune system threats to prevent serious health complications. Read this article to learn more about improving your air. Read this article to learn more. 

Balance Humidity Levels

The humidity levels inside your home can have a significant impact on your ability to minimize airborne particles, such as dust, inside your home. Household humidification and dehumidification capabilities are essential to reducing indoor allergens, and are more effective than room-by-room appliances. By regulating the humidity throughout your home with a household humidification and dehumidification system, your HVAC system can prevent allergens from sticking to objects inside your home and reduce the chance that mold spores will grow.

With the appropriate humidity level inside your home, you are less likely to deal with dry, irritating air from using your heating system. Dry air can make allergies worse and further irritate your sinuses and throat, contributing to nosebleeds and a dry cough. If a member of your household has severe respiratory problems, the combination of reduced allergens and balanced humidity inside your home can prevent respiratory distress.

Invest In Electrostatic Filters

Most air filters commonly purchased at retail stores are made from fiberglass. Although they are helpful for trapping larger particles when changed regularly, they are not as effective at keeping small particles from being recirculated into the air. Electrostatic filters attract particles in the air by giving particles an electrostatic charge as they move through the filter. Other types of air filters work purely based on the size of particles, often allowing small particles to pass through. Electrostatic filters allow smaller-sized particles to remain stuck in the filter.

Electrostatic filters are available in disposable and reusable types, although your ability to use reusable filters may be limited due to the specific dimensions of your HVAC system’s air intake. Reusable electrostatic filters must be cleaned regularly to remove accumulated visible and microscopic particles. Although reusable filters can last for several years with proper care, eventually the filter will lose its ability to trap particles and will need to be replaced.

The air filters you choose for your HVAC system are only a small component of reducing allergens and airborne infectious agents in your home. When possible, you should consider having a household air filtration system installed. A household air filtration system works in conjunction with your HVAC system to filter the air as it passes through the system and can help catch allergens and microorganisms missed by your air filter.

Take Advantage Of UV Light

You may think of ultraviolet (UV) light as the harmful, invisible spectrum of light that contributes to skin cancer. However, UV light can be integrated into your HVAC system to work at purifying the air inside your home. The effect of UV light takes air filtration a step further by killing microorganisms in the air as they pass through the ductwork inside your home. Since the UV light is hidden inside the ductwork, you have no risk of UV exposure.

Purifying the air in addition to filtration can be important if someone in your household has a weakened immune system and is highly susceptible to infection. Although an air purification system will not eliminate the possibility of airborne pathogen transmission if someone else in your household is sick, the risk of viruses circulating throughout the home can be reduced. Some air purification systems are known to emit a small amount of ozone during use. Although the risks are negligible, if someone in your household has respiratory problems, you should specifically choose an air purifier that does not emit any ozone.

Investing in upgrades to your current HVAC system can be invaluable if you suffer from severe allergies or an illness that increases your susceptibility to infections. Your HVAC system should work to make your household more hospitable, not only in temperature, but by improving air quality. For more information on the options available to improve your air quality, talk to a local air conditioner and furnace installation company. 

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Decorating Tips For Your Home’s Heating And Air Parts And Equipment

Having a comfortable, valuable, and functional home is most likely important to you as an owner. However, incorporating a bit of style and personality into your space is also beneficial. While your heating and air conditioning system plays an important role in your family’s comfort, the necessary equipment can be unattractive. Thankfully, you can enhance the look of your heating and air equipment. Using these simple solutions, your outdoor units, thermostat, and vents will be functional and appealing.

Thermostats

Although unseen by neighbors and passerby, some thermostats can be eye sores inside your house. Unfortunately, these small wall-mounted fixtures are necessary for controlling the temperature inside your home. If you want to change your thermostat’s look, consider a picture frame.

Purchase a decorative 4×6 or 5×7 frame in a bold color. To ensure the frame stands out, select a bold color that is different from your wall and thermostat color. Remove the picture frame’s glass and cardboard backing. Mount the decorative frame directly over your thermostat.

If you have more than one thermostat in your home, mount a frame over each one. Framing your thermostats is an inexpensive and simple solution to add a little personality to your home.

Register and Grills

Registers and grills allow heated and cooled air to flow into your home, but these vented covers can be unattractive sites in your house. Located on a wall or ceiling of your home, register and grill vents push conditioned air into your home. Due to this conditioned air flowing from your ductwork, you will most likely develop a dirty, dusty residue on the vents.

Unfortunately, covering them is not an option since it inhibits airflow. Without proper airflow, you will have uneven temperatures, possible moisture problems, and increased energy costs. Of course, you can still enhance the look of your registers and vents.

One of the easiest ways to add style is by replacing your outdated vent covers with decorative pieces. Available in most home improvement stores, decorative covers are affordable and easy to install. Be sure to change filters and vacuum inside the openings before installing your new covers.

If you want to change the look of your wall registers quickly, consider using a rubber doormat. Purchase a decorative rubber mat. Be sure it has plenty of openings, which will serve as vents for your register. Cut the mat to fit the size of your register cover. Spray paint the mat in your favorite color or use in its existing color. Attach two-way Velcro tabs to each corner of the mat and register cover. Then, stick the mat directly onto the large, unattractive register cover.

Outdoor Units

Curb appeal plays an important role in your home’s overall value, so your heating and air units should always appear clean and in good working order. Use the following solutions to improve the appearance of your outdoor units:

  • Screens – Arrange a lattice privacy screen around your outdoor units. The hinged screens are easy to arrange around one or two units without taking up too much space. Do not place the screen up against the units as this will block the flow of air.
  • Landscaping – Create a flowerbed or natural area around your outdoor units. Use a tiller and edger to dig up the hardened dirt around your units. Install a few shrubs in your new bed. Boxwoods and gardenia shrubs add lush greenery to your bed. Also, consider a few colorful perennials that will bloom each year.

In addition to adding appeal to your home’s exterior, shading your unit with landscaping can reduce energy costs.  Using shrubbery around your outdoor units can increase your system’s efficiency up to 10 percent.

Heating and cooling your home is essential for your family’s comfort, but the system and equipment does not have to be unattractive. With these unique ideas, you can add appeal and personality to your home’s heating and air. For more ideas on unit maintenance, contact an air conditioner repair specialist.

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