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Are These Things Holding You Back from Lowering Your HVAC Costs?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”? Well, when it comes to HVAC system health and efficiently, this is just not the case. Sometimes you may think that the way you are running your HVAC system is increasing efficiency when in reality it is doing just the opposite. Below, we’ll discuss some things that you may be doing that actually hold you back from lowering your HVAC costs.

Common HVAC Mistakes That May be Costing You

No one wants to waste money. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the most common HVAC mistakes that homeowners make and how you can avoid them:

Setting your thermostat to fan-on mode.

Some homeowners may think that setting their thermostat to the “fan-on” position instead of “auto” will make their home more comfortable throughout the day. However, this can actually cause a lot of trouble in your home. When there is humidity in the air, this may cause the perfect breeding ground for mold, especially if you have an oversized AC unit. Not only can mold be costly to remedy, but it can also have a significant impact on your family’s health.

In addition, your energy bills will be higher because you fan is constantly running instead of just turning on when it needs to bring the temperature up or down. Leaving your fan on all of the time can also increase duct leakage, which can then lead to an increase of air leakage across your home. To avoid these issues and the possibility of increased HVAC costs, set your thermostat to “auto,” and allow your cooling system to determine when it needs to run.

Closing or blocking air vents.

Some homeowners are under the assumption that closing air vents in unused rooms will help them save energy and lower their HVAC costs. In reality, closing air vents does just the opposite. When you close air vents in certain rooms, this offsets your home’s airflow, which will cause your HVAC system to work harder than it should to keep your home a comfortable temperature. This decreases efficiency, and ultimately, raises your heating and cooling costs.

Another common HVAC issue that homeowners face is blocking air vents. Air return vents may not be the most attractive element of your home. However, hiding these vents behind furniture or curtains can mess with your air flow and drive your HVAC costs up. If your HVAC system does not get proper airflow, this can decrease efficiency. Homeowners should always keep air vents uncovered and clean to promote an efficient and healthy HVAC system.

Using the most efficient air filter.

Most homeowners want to provide the healthiest home environment for their families. Buying the least expensive air filter may result in poor indoor air quality, so some individuals opt for more efficient air filters with higher MERV ratings. The issue here is that air filters that are extremely efficient are typically very thick and they can cause too much of a drag in air flow. The standard residential HVAC system was not designed to use these types of filters, especially the older units, and using these filters can cause a decrease in overall efficiency as well as additional wear and tear to the unit.

Instead of buying the most efficient air filter possible, do some research and read the HVAC manual to find the right type of air filter for your system. If you are concerned about indoor air quality or have family members with weakened immune systems, contact an HVAC professional to discuss your options for upgrading your air filter.

Looking for more ways to save on HVAC costs? We would love to help! Call us today for more information about our energy-saving HVAC systems and programmable thermostats from Carrier: (951) 663-4895.

Stop Making these HVAC Mistakes in the New Year

The new year is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to start anew. As 2017 approaches, many people are reflecting on the past year and creating their New Year’s Resolutions for 2017. As you start thinking about what you would like the new year to look like, consider your home comfort. Below, we will outline some common HVAC mistakes and how you can stop making these mistakes in the new year.

Most Common HVAC Mistakes

Many homeowners may not realize it, but they are making HVAC mistakes that can end up costing them. Here are a few ways to stop making these HVAC mistakes in the new year:

Mistake #1: Skipping your annual HVAC maintenance appointment.

How to Avoid: It can be easy to forget about your annual HVAC maintenance appointment, especially when your system is running just fine. However, preventative maintenance is important, and it’s one of the best ways to maintain efficiency and prolong the life of your HVAC equipment. The best way to avoid this HVAC mistake is by scheduling your annual maintenance visits ahead of time. Make yourself a reminder on your calendar when your HVAC system is due for maintenance, and be sure to call and schedule an appointment sooner rather than later.

Mistake #2: Ignoring loud noises coming from your HVAC system.

How to Avoid: An HVAC system that is working properly should not be making any loud noises. However, this might be easy to ignore if the system appears to be running fine otherwise. Loud noises coming from your heating and cooling equipment may be a sign that there is a bigger problem with your system. Ignoring this could not only be costly but also dangerous for everyone in your household. If you notice loud noises coming from your unit, call your HVAC technician at the first sign of trouble. He or she will inspect your unit and make repairs before the problem gets any bigger.

Mistake #3: Failing to change your air filter regularly.

How to Avoid: Most homeowners know that they need to change their air filter. But knowing you need to do something and actually doing it are two very different things. In order to keep yourself on track with air filter changes. Check your air filter at the same time every month, and clean or replace the filter if it is clogged or dirty. If you are forgetful, you may want to make a reminder on your calendar each month, so that you don’t forget to check and change your air filter. This will improve both your efficiency and indoor air quality so that you and your family can breathe healthy air.

If you have any questions about your HVAC system or think you may need a repair, give us a call today: (951) 663-4895. Our team would be happy to help you get your heating and cooling system back up and running in no time.

What is a HEPA Filter, and Do I Need One?

 

Sometimes when we hear the words “air pollution,” we tend to think about smog or other outdoor pollutants, but the truth is dust, dirt, and other harmful contaminants can make their way into your home every day. One of the best ways to prevent pollution from circulating in the air in your home is purchasing a quality air filter and replacing it regularly.

You may have heard of the HEPA filter, but is it right for you? Below, we’ll talk about what a HEPA filter is and how they can help improve indoor air quality as well as the benefits of regularly changing your filter.

What is a HEPA filter?

HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. HEPA filters are used in medical facilities, vehicles, and homes, and they work by filtering forced air through a fine mesh. The filter helps trap harmful pollutants such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and tobacco smoke before they circulate throughout the area. In order to qualify as a HEPA filter under U.S. government standards, filters are required to remove 99.97% of particles from the air that passes through.

Do I need a HEPA filter?

For many, a standard air filter offers enough filtration to improve the indoor air quality of the home without needing anything more. However, those who suffer from severe allergies or asthma may benefit from a stronger filter. Households with individuals who may have trouble breathing can benefit from an air purifier device that uses a HEPA filter .

Though HEPA filters are great for removing nearly all toxic microorganisms from the air, most residential HVAC systems are not made for the standard in-duct HEPA filter. HEPA filters require powerful air volume to overcome the air restrictions from the thick filters. That being said, there are a variety of indoor air quality upgrade options for homeowners that want to provide cleaner and healthier air in their homes, including stand-alone air purifying units.

Why Changing Your Air Filters is Important

No matter what type of air filter you decide to get for your home, it is important that you replace or clean your filter regularly to ensure that it is filtering your air properly and not preventing your HVAC system from running optimally. When your air filter is dirty or clogged, it can cause your HVAC system to work harder than it needs to in order to heat and cool your home. This causes wear and tear to your system and can send your energy bills through the roof.

If you have any questions about your air filter options or which choice is right for you, contact the HVAC experts at J & M Air Conditioning and Heating. We are ready to help you find the best options for improving your indoor air quality.

Why Heater Maintenance is Important (Even if You Don’t Use Heat That Often)

With the moderate temperatures and beautiful weather in Southern California, you may not find yourself turning on your heater very often. However, even if you do not use your heat often, it is still important to get annual maintenance on your heating system. Damage and wear can occur while your heater is dormant for most of the year, leading to system failure or other malfunctions when you finally start it up again in winter. A fall tune-up can help you prolong the life of your heater and keep it working efficiently when you do want to use it.

Why Heater Maintenance is Important

Even if you are not running your heater constantly, it is nice to have a working heating system when you need it. Some HVAC experts have reported that up to 75 percent of the service calls they get for broken heaters in the winter are related to lack of maintenance. If you don’t get your furnace serviced annually, you may find yourself left out in the cold this winter.

Not only does a non-maintained heating system run less efficiently, which costs you money, but it can also be hazardous to your health. An HVAC technician can identify carbon monoxide leaks during an inspection, which can be quickly fixed to prevent health issues. The gas is colorless and odorless, making it difficult to detect without a furnace inspection.

Winter HVAC Maintenance Checklist

In addition to getting a regularly scheduled heater tune-up from a certified HVAC technician in the fall, there are also some steps that you can take to keep your HVAC system maintained between service visits:

  • Replace your air filters regularly. Though it depends on the type and brand of filter, typically, homeowners should replace disposable air filters or clean washable filters at least once a month. The best way to ensure that your airflow remains unrestricted is to visually check the filters and filtering equipment monthly and clean or replace when filters look dirty.
  • Keep outdoor units clear of debris. To keep your system working efficiently, you should keep any mounted outdoor units clear of clutter, weeds, and debris that may reduce the airflow to the unit. Similarly, keep any plants or shrubs at least one foot away from the unit and use caution when trimming weeds around the unit to prevent any damage.
  • Keep pets away from outdoor unit. It is also important to keep your pets away from the outdoor unit as pet urine can cause damage to the system that may be quite costly to repair.

Though some maintenance needs to be performed by a qualified technician, you can use these simple maintenance tips year-round to prevent damage to your unit and keep your system running optimally.

J & M Air Conditioning and Heating wants you to get the most out of your heating and cooling system. That is why we recommend annual heater maintenance, even if you do not use the heat that often. If you need preventative maintenance or a furnace tune-up before winter, contact us today.

Don’t Succumb to the Threat of Mold: Prevent It!

 

Most homeowners will cringe at the mention of mold in their home. Mold and mildew are fungi that can grow anywhere there is moisture. Though mold is necessary for breaking down organic materials outside, it can cause serious health issues when you or your family are living with mold in your home. Not only can mold be hazardous to your health, but it can also be hard to get rid of once it starts to infiltrate your home. The best defense against mold is taking preventative measures to keep in from growing in your home.

Prevent Mold

How to Prevent Mold in Your Home

Mold can become difficult and expensive to remove, but you don’t have to succumb to this health threat. Instead, you can take steps to prevent mold growth. Here are just a few ways that you can prevent mold from growing in your home:

1. Control your indoor climate.

Though it may be tempting to crank up your AC on hotter days, it’s important that you maintain a mild temperature so that you can dehumidify your air effectively and prevent cold surfaces where water vapor may appear. Setting your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit helps you maintain energy efficiency while preventing moisture buildup. When you leave your house or go on vacation, don’t set your thermostat above 80 degrees or turn it off completely, this can raise the temperature and humidity levels, putting you at risk for mold.

2. Reduce the amount of clutter in your home.

Clutter in your home can block airflow and keep your HVAC system from properly circulating air throughout your home. Reduce clutter and keep furniture and draperies away from vents and grilles as they can cause condensation, which is the perfect home for mold. On humid days, you can use your ceiling fans to help keep the air circulating throughout your home.

3. Monitor humidity levels.

Humidity creates moisture, which is a breeding ground for mold. Make sure that you monitor humidity levels using an indoor humidity monitor or your thermostat if it has that capability. The ideal humidity percentage is between 35 and 50%. If your humidity reaches over 60%, you need to find the source of added moisture before you run into mold issues. When it’s over 70%, some mold species can begin to grow.

4. Use a dehumidifier.

If you find that your humidity levels are too high, you can use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air. These devices are available as a stand-alone unit, which is ideal for occasional dampness, or as a whole house dehumidifier, which attaches to your HVAC system to reduce moisture throughout your home year-round.

5. Close windows and doors when your air conditioning is on.

When you open doors or windows, you are allowing humid air to enter the home, not to mention wasting energy by letting cool air escape. When humid air enters your home, it can cause condensation, which promotes mold growth.

Have you found mold in your home? This could be a sign that your HVAC system is not working properly. Call us right away so that we can help you correct the problem before mold takes over.

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