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The Importance of Air Filters for Your HVAC System

The Importance of Air Filters for Your HVAC

When was the last time you changed your home’s air filter? Do you know where it’s located? If it’s been a while, or if you don’t even know where it’s located, you’re not alone. But you are creating problems and inefficiency and cost that you simply don’t need.

Air filters are simple and easy to maintain, if only we always stayed on top of them. Part of the battle is just understanding just how critical air filters are for your HVAC unit and your home. Today we’re sharing some of the most important reasons to keep your air filter fresh and functioning.

Important Functions of Your Home Air Filter

1. It Traps Dust.

This is a critical function of your air filter because your home can become dusty and allergy-inducing if your air filter stops working well. Dust is everywhere, of course, but a fresh air filter will trap most of it to keep your air cleaner and your surfaces less dusty. If you start noticing a furry coat on your ceiling fan blades, or a thin layer spread across your bookshelves it may be time to replace your air filter more regularly.

2. It Clears Smells.

Whether it’s from pets, smoke, or that time you made a huge pot of strong curry, pungent smells in your home only get dispelled if your HVAC system is circulating air properly. The air filter is an important part of the process, as it helps ensure the circulating air is fresh and clean.

3. It Bars Pests.

If you aren’t using an air filter, or your air filter is very old, worn, or damaged, you are opening a gate for small pests and even animals to enter your home. You may have heard horror stories about homeowners finding birds, bats, or hornet’s nests trapped in their vents. Well, a strong, new air filter can prevent that.

4. It Protects Your HVAC.

The air filter removes the grit and grime from your air, which would otherwise slow down and put a strain on your HVAC. The only problem here is that if you allow your air filter to become completely saturated with dust and grime it means your HVAC system has to work extra hard to circulate air through the blocked filter. Regularly replacing your air filter to keep it clean and functional will help your HVAC unit operate effectively and without strain. This will increase the life of your HVAC unit as well as lowering your utility bills.

Now that you understand just how critical your air filter is to your home, hopefully, your more committed to regularly replacing your air filter. Some easy ways to remember are to set up automatic orders of replacement air filters or schedule it into your calendar to change the filter every 90 days, or whatever is recommended by your manufacturer.

Changing out the air filter is very easy, and a simple internet tutorial can teach you how to do it in under a minute. If you are worried that your HVAC problems go beyond old air filters, it’s time to give Complete Heating & Air a call. We can keep your unit working in top condition for affordable prices. Talk to our experts today!

   

Is Your House Ventilated?

Proper ventilation is extremely important. Ventilation is the movement of air through a specific area. Without it, air quality will drop, and air will feel stale and stuffy. Keep your home’s air quality high with some proper ventilation and a little air movement.

There many, simple ways to up the ventilation in your home. Poor ventilation is not only uncomfortable, but it can also put a strain on your HVAC unit.

Signs Your House is Poorly Ventilated

There is a lot of steam. If you see excessive condensation you could have low ventilation. High levels of moisture could lead to mold and bacteria growth, rotten wood, and possibly even structural damage. A little condensation is normal, but if you’re seeing too much you may want to look into better ventilation.

A poorly ventilated area will feel stuffy, warm, and humid. The space will feel uncomfortable. When you first walk into the room, do you feel a difference? Does it feel like you’re hitting a wall? The stuffy feeling of poor ventilation is sure to make you feel uncomfortable.

Areas that have poor ventilation are much more likely to be humid. This could lead to mold growth. That may lead you to a mold allergy—if so, you will feel symptoms of fatigue, sniffling, sneezing, and headaches.

Poor ventilation is particularly dangerous for carbon monoxide, radon poisoning, smoke, and chemicals from cleaners. Proper ventilation will help your breath deeper and fresher air. Newer houses tend to be more airtight, making them more energy efficient but less ventilated. Exchanging indoor and outdoor air is reduce air pollutions, maintain a comfortable humid level, and better air quality.

How to Improve Your Ventilation

Natural ventilation is a great option and easily obtained. Simply keeping doors and windows open will naturally air out your home. Don’t close off rooms, even if you don’t use them often. During the summer, be sure to open windows in the early morning and evening when outside temperatures are cool, will better your home’s air quality. Be sure to close those windows during the heat of the day though. Throughout the winter crack windows in different rooms throughout the day and evening.

Keeping air flow going throughout your house for proper ventilation. This can be done when you keep windows and doors open, using fans, and creating a healthy indoor environment will keep your home’s air clear. Your home’s environment is impacted by things like carpet, beddings, pillows, and furniture. Keeping these things clean and washing them regularly, will help to keep dust and debris out of your air.

A dehumidifier may also help your air quality. Too much condensation and moisture in the air will not only cause problems in your house but contribute to the stuffy, uncomfortable feeling of poor ventilation. Investing in a dehumidifier for particularly humid parts of your house, like the bathroom, will help ventilate.

If you notice poor ventilation in a particular room, try adding a fan to that room and keeping airways open.

   

Utah’s Coldest Days of the Year

We are deep in the bitter cold of a Utah winter. We’re months away from regular temperatures in the 60s, and still, have to experience many more days in single digits before the thaw. You may be worried about what this means for your back since you’ll probably need to log more time shoveling your driveway and sprinkling ice-melt on your walks. Unfortunately, there is a long list of additional inconveniences that come with the coldest days of the year.

It’s important that you resist the urge to hibernate until Easter and instead take some time to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your home to withstand these remaining weeks and months of Utah’s coldest season. We have a few ideas that can help you stay warm and comfortable.

5 Dangers of Utah’s Coldest Days

1. Illness

The virus causing the common cold loves those cold temperatures. With more people trapped inside, runny noses, coughing and wiping it’s far too easy for germs to make their way from person to person. You’re less likely to exercise and eat well when it’s cold since it’s more inconvenient. You may feel like you’re fighting off illness all winter long. Take proper precautions when a cold snap is coming: wash your hands, get your flu shot, ramp up your Vitamin C consumption, and stay hydrated and rested.

2. Injury

Whether it’s shoveling snow, negotiating an icy sidewalk, skiing, or whiplash from a snowy car pileup, injuries are common in the winter months. Do everything you can to avoid injury by staying indoors, wearing proper footwear, shoveling early and frequently, and driving extra slow.

3. Breathing

While we are so blessed to live in an area with epic scenery, the tradeoff is that we are often stuck with the dreaded inversion effect. Pollution and allergens get trapped close to the earth, which can spell disaster for those with asthma, allergies, or weakened respiratory systems. Even when the air is clean, the colder temperatures can strain the respiratory system and trigger asthma. Stay inside, change out your filters, dust frequently, limit your car trips, and use humidifiers to soothe your airways.

4. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning goes up in the winter because we spend so much more time indoors and we rely on our heating systems to keep us comfortable. Faulty heating systems can cause you to feel dizzy, nauseous, or out-of-breath, and eventually lead to unconsciousness and even death. Check your carbon monoxide monitors and have one of our experts at Complete Heating and Air come assess your current heating and air conditioning system for weaknesses or dysfunction.

5. Depression

Seasonal depression is common in men and women, especially when the winters are darker and colder than normal. It can make you feel exhausted and miserable. For some people, a Vitamin D supplement or lightbox can work wonders. Try to get outside safely, with plenty of warm and protective clothing. Exercise when you can and seek support from loved ones.  

Although winter can be draining, there are ways to make it more comfortable and safe. We wish you a warm, safe, and happy winter season from Complete Heating and Air.

   
The 4 Different Types of HVAC Systems

Different Types of HVAC Systems

Did you know there were different types of HVACs or heating ventilation air conditioning units? Depending on your house and your space, there may be a better option for you. Different systems have different strengths and weakness. If you have a smaller home that may not have room for multiple units or a duct system, there still great option for heating and cooling your home! Learn more about HVAC systems, they different types available, and what will best suit your needs before you invest in a pricey unit.

1. Heating and Air Conditioning Split System

This is the most popular type of residential heating and air conditioning. A split system is an outdoor unit that is made up of a condenser and compressor, and an indoor unit made of an evaporator coil and blower, often connected to a furnace. You can also have a furnace with no air conditioner, if this is the case then a split-system is the most efficient and cheapest to install.

Split systems typically have a refrigerant that uses a series of pipes to circulate to and from the indoor and outdoor units. This system also usually has ducts that carry air throughout the structure being heated or air conditioned. There is also a thermostat involved, allowing you to control the target temperature.

2. Hybrid Heat Pump System

A hybrid heating and cooling system uses a heat pump in conjunction with a furnace. The heat pump used is powered by electricity and burns natural gas, propane, or fuel oil. This once device both heats and cools your home. It uses a heat pump to heat and cool refrigerant. Ducts are also used to circulate air throughout a structure. A hybrid system will also have a thermostat to control temperature.

The hybrid is an energy (and money saving option) as it is one unit that functions as a heater in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer. However, one downside is that when temperatures dip below 40 degrees, it is not as efficient.

3. Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump

Duct free HVAC systems are a good option for spaces where ducts may not be doable. These mini-split unites are installed in areas of the home that need heating and cooling directly. Without ducts to circulate the air, it will not reach all areas of the home or building equally. You can install up to four indoor units for each outdoor unit you have. The ductless unit involved a heating pump with a compressor, condenser, and fan, and a thermostat or control panel.

4. Packaged Heating and Air Conditioning System

Packaged heating HVAC systems contain a compressor, condenser, and evaporator in the same unit, which is usually located on the roof or near the foundation of the house. Because it’s just one unit, it can save on space. It includes an air conditioner and heat pump together with an evaporator and fan coil, and a thermostat. Some units also have air quality improvers.

   
A Break Down of Your Furnace

A Break Down of Your Furnace

This time of year, your furnace is running in full force. Know more about this important piece of your home to ensure that continues to function at full capacity. We’re breaking down the part of your furnace to give you a better understanding of this useful heating element in your house.  

Different Types of Furnaces

A furnace is typically the main heating source for your home. There are three standards types—the forced air furnace, floor furnace, and wall furnace. The forced air furnace is the most popular. With a controlled thermostat you can dictate your desired temperature, then air is pushed through vents in your house to achieve that temperature. This air is warmed by a furnaces’ heat exchanger, run through a filter, and then blown through vents and air ducts.

An alternative to the forced air furnace is the floor furnace. This can be portable but is usually in a fixed location. Because it is usually just in the one fixed location and does not use ductwork, it can be very effective for heating a particular place in the house (where it is located) but less effective for heating an entire house. The wall furnace is similar, as it is usually located in a fixed location on your wall. Vented wall heaters take oxygen from outside and heat it as it comes inside. A ventless wall heater draws air from the room to hear. Heat exhaust from a wall furnace is vented back into the room.

Three Main Components

Furnaces have three main components to make them run—the heat source, the heat distribution system, and the control system. The heat source is usually a furnace but can also be boilers or heat pumps. A heat distribution system is a method that delivers the heat into your house. It often works through ducts and vent to spread heat evenly. Lastly, the control system controls the temperature settings and regulates the amount of heat distributed in the home—this is usually your thermostat.

The Breakdown

Part of understanding your furnace is understanding all the different parts that go into it. Here is a little breakdown of what keep your house toasty:

  • Thermostat: a control system that regulates the temperate in your house.
  • Burners: furnace burners are tubes where a gas valve, igniter, and flame sensor work to control gas ignited flames. These flames radiate heat into your home.
  • Heat exchanger: These metal tubes are heated by burners in order to warm air that is coming into the furnace. Damage to the heat exchanger can lead to gases leaks in your house. This is why it’s important to have a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Blower: This is a fan that will direct the air that comes into the heating system.
  • Hood fan: A fan that directs heated air from the burners to the heat exchanger where harmful gases are vented.
  • Flue: This piece collects the combustion gases that are created while making heat and sends them outside.

 

How to Extend the Life of Your Furnace

How to Extend the Life of Your Furnace

With winter upon us, your furnace is working harder than usual. When it isn’t properly cared for, this extra work can wear it down quickly. Extending the life of your furnace and getting more use out of it will save you both money and time. Avoid having to deal with a cold house during the winter months with an effective and long lasting furnace. Keep your HVAC system not only running longer but running more efficiently with a few of these easy tips.

Maintenance Checks

Your furnace gets used a lot in the winter. Be sure that it’s ready for its most used season by getting a maintenance check in the fall. These maintenance checks and tune-ups will usually involve tests for carbon monoxide leaks, cleaning your filters, and checking for other potential concerns. To ensure that your furnace keeps running strong, avoid problems before they become problems with maintenance checks.

Replace Filter

Replacing your filter regularly will keep your furnace running smoothly. Many people don’t ever change this filter, which can lead to unclean air in your home and potential damage to your furnace. When your filter is backed up, your furnace has to work hard to pump air through it—using more energy and wearing down your furnace faster.

Replacing a filter is fast and cheap! You can do it yourself in no time. How often you should change your filter will depend on how many people are in your house, if you have pets, if anyone in your house has allergies, how big your house is, etc. But it is generally good practice to be replacing your filters at least every six months.

Seal Air Leaks

If there are air leaks in the line somewhere, your furnace will have to work harder to warm your home—causing it to wear out faster and use more energy. Bring down your energy bills and keep your furnace working longer by sealing any potential leaks. This also applies to your house.

If there are many air leaks to outside, which is common in older houses, then your HVAC system will have to produce more to warm or cool your house. You may need to replace old window pains and seal other leaks to prevent heated air from leaking outside.

Install Thermostat

This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people either do not have a thermostat or have an outdated one. It’s much easier to keep your furnace healthy if you know how it’s operating. If you need a thermostat installed or replaced, contact a professional to ensure that it is properly done. Knowing how your furnace is operating is the first step to maintaining it.

Clean Furnace Space

Keep your furnace and its surrounding air clean to ensure that it is pumping clean air and running smoothly. A furnace can potentially be a fire hazard when it is placed around flammable things such as clothing, books, etc. Keep it clean and keep it longer.

Tips for Heating Old Houses

Tips for Heating Old Houses

Old houses in all their glory are built to breathe. This means that all the beautiful crown molding and vintage looking staircases will not make up for the cold drafty feel. These houses do tend to have good ventilation as air flow is consistently traveling in and out, but it also means they are more difficult to keep warm. You don’t need to compromise your comfort though, have your old house and keep warm with a few of these suggestions.

Update Windows

Warm air can easily escape through old windows. Closed or open, windows, particularly old windows with poor installment can be the problem. Windows will not only let the warm air out but also let the cold air in. Updating your windows will stop air from escaping through your window panes and keep your home feeling toasty. Replacing windows can be a costly affair, you may want to replace the windows in the rooms you spend most of your time or the windows that are in the most need of repair. Updated windows will increase the value of your home.

Block Air Infiltration

Similar to windows, there are other places in your house, particularly an old house where cold air can be let in. Block anywhere cold air is coming in. Keep doors and windows closed, use floor coverings. Rugs can block air infiltration and keep your feet warm.
Thick and heavy curtains will also block air infiltration. Curtains will keep heat from escaping through your window panes and keep cold from making its way inside. This is a cost-effective way to keep your house warm (and stylish) while saving on energy bills.

Heat One Room at a Time

Historically, old houses were made to be heated one room at a time using separate fireplaces. This method is more efficient than using all at once. You can heat the rooms where you spend the most time by using a programmable wi-fi radiator valve. Smaller areas are easier to heat up and to keep warm. If you heat the rooms where you spend your time, that room will likely heat faster, stay warmer, and cost you less.

Be Timely

When do you use your heat the most? Try using a thermostat that will turn off and on when you need it. For example, the hours that you are gone during the day, you may not need to have the heat pumping through your house. But the hours that you are home, you may want to turn up the heat.

Insulation

Insulation will keep heat in your house longer. Heat can disappear through your floor, walls, and roof. About a fourth of heat is lost through the roof of a house. Installing roof insulation is very affordable. You can also install wall insulation as walls are responsible for about one-third of the loss of heat. However, wall insulation is more expensive. Old houses often do not have insulation and thus lose a lot of their warmth.

If you just can’t seem to keep warm in your own home it may be time for a tune-up on your heater. Contact us a Complete Heating & Air Conditioning today and we will get your home feeling warm and cozy in no time.

How Often Should You Be Replacing Your Filters?

How Often Should You Be Replacing Your Filters?

Did you know that your HVAC system filters your air? To keep the air quality high in your home, you’ll need to change that filter regularly. How often you need to change it may depend on your home and your circumstances.

Things to Consider

As a general rule, you should be changing your HVAC filter about every three months. However, there any many factors to consider that may change that time frame. For example, take into account the needs of your home’s occupants. Does anyone have asthma or allergies? Are there any young children in the house? How many people are living in your home?

If you have any sort of special needs or an excessive amount of people, you’ll want to keep the air quality in your home high. Meaning you’ll need to change your filter more often—perhaps every month.

Pets and Allergies

Pets are also a big factor. If you have a pet in the house, particularly hair pets like dogs or cats you may need to change your filter more regularly as your filter will get dirty faster. Homes with multiple pets or a combination of pets and people with allergies should be changing their filter every month.

Your Home’s Needs

There are other things to consider about your house as well. For example, the size of your home can affect your air. If you have a larger than the average house, you may need to change your filter more regularly as they are cleaning more air. You should also take remember the area you live in. What is your outdoor air quality like? If the pollution outside is bad, that air running through your filters may be clogging them up faster.

On the other hand, if your home is a vacation home and is not lived in year round, it may not need a filter change as often. A vacation home without pets or people with allergies could safely go up to a year without needing a filter change.

One last thing to consider—the quality of your filter. Cheap fiberglass filters will likely not last past a month. A more mid-range filter should last around three months. A higher-end pleated filter could last up to six months.

How to Tell When Your Filter Needs Changing

Not sure when you last changed your filter? It may be time for a change. If your filter has a visible coating of dirt covering most of its surface, it’s like obscuring air from getting through. When in doubt, just go ahead and change your filter. If, however, you check your filter and see only a thin layer of dirt and the filter’s material is still visible, your filter is likely okay for a while longer.

You should be checking your filter regularly. After a few months of checking and changing your filter, you will better know the needs of your house and how often you need to change your filter.

5 Ways to Make Your HVAC Last Longer

5 Ways to Make Your HVAC Last Longer

An HVAC system is really a must for any house these days. Living without one can be pretty miserable. When your AC is down in the summer, it seems like the heat filled days drag on. And no heater in the winter leaves you with some cold nights. There is just about nothing more miserable. Avoid having your HVAC system break down when you follow some simple maintenance goals to keep it lasting longer and running stronger.

Replace filters often.

As the name implies, air filters filter your air. Because their job is to catch dust and debris, filters can get pretty filthy. When you have a dirty filter, air has to work harder to get through, making your HVAC work harder. This will not only cost you more money and energy, but it’ll wear down your HVAC system faster. Replacing a filter is an easy job—a replacement filter costs just a few dollars and only a few minutes to install. Take the time to replace your filters every few months and you’ll be grateful you did. Learn more about the benefits here.

Schedule inspections regularly.

Like any other advanced system, an HVAC should have regular inspections to ensure it’s running at high capacity. It’s generally a good idea to have your system inspected before season changes, particularly summer and winter when you will be using your system the most. Taking this sort of preventative measures could save you from spending summer days with no AC or winter night with no heating. Contact us today for an inspection!

Clean your air vents and ducts.

Air vents and ducts can easily be polluted by dust and other debris. Similarly, to your filters, when vents and ducts get dirty, your HVAC must work harder to pump air into your home. Cleaning out your vents and ducts will also bring better air quality into your home. Keeping your airways from getting clogged up will save you some money in repairs and help your HVAC to last longer.

Give your HVAC a break.

Running your HVAC 24/7 can cause it to wear down quickly. Give it a downtime once in a while—open up your windows, turn on your fans, do what you can give your system a little break. You may be able to give it a break for a few hours in the night, or during the day when you aren’t home. Just make sure it gets some downtime once in a while.

Create air circulation in your house.

Your HVAC will have an easier time circulating air through your house when you keep out any obstructions from air circulation. Give your HVAC a hand by keeping interior doors open to encourage air flow, even if you don’t use the room often. Don’t block vents with furniture or any other obstacles. Good airflow will keep your house ventilated and reduce the risk of mold and bacterial growth.

How to Ventilate Your Home

How to Ventilate Your Home

Why is it important?

Ventilation is vital for a healthy home. Proper airflow prevents air pollutants from affecting your respiratory health. By moving air in and out of the house, it can eliminate allergens that may be in your home. It can also rid your house of unwanted smells, that stuffy feeling of stagnant air, and make your house feel fresher and cleaner. Ventilation can even be effective in lowering the concentration of radon gas.

For a clean feeling and clean air, ventilation is extremely important. Each house may have different ventilation needs. For example, old houses tend to have more cracks for the house to breath, letting more air in from the outside. This can make your HFAC work harder in cooling or warming your house, but it also means better ventilation. Your house’s ventilation needs will vary based on its location, age, and build.

Keep airways open.

Opening windows, vents, and doors is step one to proper ventilation. Having windows open particularly when cooking or showering will stop humid air and other odors from being trapped in your house. Keeping doors open can be a big help too. Any time airflow is restricted, ventilation stops. This can not only mean stuffy air, but it may also mean that your HVAC has to work hard to pump air throughout your house. Even if you don’t use the room often, leaving the door open is a good idea.

Clean vents regularly.

Cleaning and replacing the vents in your home will greatly increase your air quality. When your vents are clogged up, air can be contaminated, and air flow can be restricted. Not to mention your HVAC will have to work hard to push air through these vents, potentially costing you more money. Keep those vents clean and clear will help your air to also be clean and clear. They are very easy (and cheap) to replace and should be replaced regularly. Keeping those vents clean and unobstructed is also very important to allow the airflow to continuously spread throughout the house.

Use dehumidifiers.

Watch the moisture level in your house. Ideal humidity levels should be around 40 to 50%. Excessive humidity could lead to mold growth, wood rotting, and other needs house repairs. Your air may also turn stagnant and uncomfortable. Using a dehumidifier, particularly during humid seasons or if you live in a humid area, can be very helpful for your air quality.

Balance indoor ventilation systems and outdoor air.

When you’re ventilating your house, use a balance of indoor and outdoor air supply. Meaning, sometimes use your HVAC and fans to get the aid flowing and sometimes utilize the outdoor air by opening up those windows. Giving your HVAC a break every once in a while, will help it to last longer and run more efficiently. Try turning off your HVAC at night and opening up windows. Take advantage of the windows in your bathrooms and kitchen. These areas usually need more ventilation than others.