Look Out For Bird Droppings In Your HVAC Units

As gross as it sounds, its very important to remove any bird droppings or feathers that have fallen into your outdoor HVAC units. Not only can they increase the likelihood of mechanical errors in your systems but they can carry harmful bacteria that often cause illness in building occupants. Bird fecal and feathers usually contain microorganisms such as Salmonella, so when blown through the ducts and vents into your home, can initiate significant health problems. These droppings can also clog the fresh air intake and evaporator coils within the heating and cooling system, and decrease the airflow from the fan.

The last thing you want is to be breathing in dirty, germ-filled air. To prevent these health risks from impacting you and your home, an HVAC professional should check the areas in and around the unit or system for bird nests and droppings on a regular basis. If a nest, droppings, or feathers are spotted, the nest should first be moved while the birds are away. Then, any other remains and debris should also be removed, but be sure your HVAC technician is wearing gloves or other protective gear to avoid touching any harmful microbes and germs. Next, the ducts and cooling coils should be given a thorough environmental cleaning. This will kill any bacteria or microorganisms that the birds may have left behind and will help to eliminate any clogs in the system. Your unit should then be back in business to keep you cool and ensure your system is working properly.

Courtesy of HVAC Insider

Many people try to use their A/C as little as possible to keep their utility bills low, but when the summer heat becomes too hot to handle, it is almost impossible not to turn on your air conditioning. Here are a few strategies to help you save both money and energy even when its one of those days where the A/C is a must.

Service Your Unit

Basic HVAC maintenance is the best way to ensure your air conditioning unit is always performing its best. If it is working properly, your unit won’t need to use unnecessary energy to keep it going and will thus keep your energy bill down.

Check Your Ducts and Vents

Make sure that your air ducts are properly insulated so you aren’t losing any cool air as it travels through the parts of your home that don’t use the A/C. In addition, be sure that all of your vents are open and your furniture is arranged in a way that doesn’t block the airflow that is coming out of the vents.

Turn Off The Lights and Close The Blinds

Turning off lights when you don’t need them can help to reduce the heat in your home, as well as closing the blinds when you leave a room. This will eliminate any extra heat that your air conditioning system has to compete with, and will allow you to cool your home faster and more efficiently.

Try 78 Degrees

The closer your indoor temperature is to the outside temperature, the less strain put on your air conditioner to try to keep your home cool. 78 degrees is a good point to set your A/C so it doesn’t have to compete with the outside heat and can run at optimal performance. When the air is on, 78 degrees is cooler than you think!

Use A Fan

A fan can act as extra help for an air conditioner to keep a room cool. Fans circulate the cool air that comes out of the vents much faster so not us much air needs to be pumped into that room.

Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

HVAC experts recommend a yearly furnace inspection to prolong the life of your system and to keep it working as efficiently as possible. An annual inspection can also help to decrease any health risks that could occur from an outdated and ignored furnace. One of the most common reasons for furnace issues in the winter are due to lack of maintenance. A yearly checkup with keep you and your family from being left in the cold.

What Is Usually Done During A Furnace Inspection?

– Clean the heating system to increase efficiency
– Check all controls for safety
– Make sure the system is running at peak performance
– Check thermostat settings to make sure the system is running correctly
– Inspect electrical connections and test voltage to prevent future component failure
– Lubricate and moving parts
– Make sure the condensate drain is unobstructed
– Ensure start-up and shutdown controls are operating properly
– Change the filter

Benefits of Furnace Inspections

– Reduces energy consumption
– Saves you money
– Eliminates air quality-related health hazards
– Helps prevent future furnace breakdowns
– Reduces risk of possible fire or explosion
– Eliminates fuel waste
– Keeps you and your family comfortable during cold winter months
– Gives you peace of mind that everything is working properly

Courtesy of Angies List

The American Residential Services (ARS) has marked Thursday, June 22nd as National HVAC Tech Day to note the efforts and hardwork of the technicians we rely on but often take for granted. Most people don’t think about their air conditioning until it stops working the way it is supposed to, so as the first official week of summer has begun, take a moment to appreciate the HVAC technicians that help keep us cool and comfortable all summer long.

What Do HVAC Technicians Do?

HVAC technicians help to keep us cool in the summer and cozy in the winter. Whether they need to get up to your attic, down to your basement, into a tight crawl space, or fit into some other claustrophobic location, these pros combat the dust, debris, and bugs to find your HVAC unit and make your home as comfortable as possible. HVAC technicians can also help you save money by choosing the most energy-efficient system for your home and your heating and cooling habits.

How You Can Show Your Appreciation

– First and foremost, take care of your HVAC system. Make sure your home is properly insulated and change your air filter when necessary to make your technician’s job a little easier.

– Let your HVAC tech know how much you appreciate them with a handwritten card or thank you note. Being told you’re doing a good job can make anyone’s day.

– Make your technician a goodie bag of things they could use throughout their workday, whether it be a water bottle, sunglasses, or some on-the-go snacks.

– Recommend your HVAC tech or company to your friends and family. Everyone loves new business.

– Post about National HVAC Tech Day on your social media to let your followers know how much you appreciate your tech and to encourage them to recognize their technicians as well.

Courtesy of HVAC Tech Day

Dear Pet Owners,

We know that if you’re like us, your pet is more than a dog or a cat—they are a family member. Pets affect your life in a lot of different ways, including ways you might not even realize. One such way a pet can affect your life and home is that they can do a number on your HVAC system. What do we mean? Below are some of the most common issues that pets can cause with your HVAC system.

Shedding

Unless you’re lucky enough to have some sort of hypoallergenic miracle dog, you’re likely to have a pet that sheds. Sure this can be annoying to clean up off the floor and the furniture and even your clothes. But the real damage is being done to your HVAC system. Loose hairs clog up your ventilation and filters, and that can be a huge hazard. Make sure to regularly groom and bathe your pet to minimize the amount of shedding taking place.

Bringing the Outdoors In

When you bring your pets inside, they bring the outdoors with them. Dirt and dust and twigs and debris that get stuck in your pet’s coat while they’re outside, and once they come inside, all of it can get dragged into your vents. Like their hair, this can clog up the air filters and block the vents. It’s important to thoroughly clean your pet each time they come in the door. Also keep up on maintaining your vents and filters.

Marking Their Territory

We all know how dogs mark their territory—and this can spell disaster for your outdoor A/C unit. If you have an outdoor condenser that your pet keeps urinating on, it can cause the coils to degrade over time. Consider putting up small fence around the A/C unit to keep the puppies away.

Even if you take all of these measures, your pet may still have some effect on your HVAC system. They may claw or chew on wiring, they may dig away at your outdoor unit, or their dander may decrease your indoor air quality. Getting your HVAC system periodically maintained by a professional can help reverse the effects of your pet and stop big problems from happening.

Heatmasters can help you keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape regardless of whether you have pets or not! Give us a call today!

Be Proactive

Being proactive about HVAC maintenance can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. Preventative measures are a whole lot cheaper than repairs, so our advice would be to schedule regular maintenance for your heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. One area of your home’s ventilation system that often gets overlooked is the dryer vent. If you fail to take proper care of your dryer, you could end up with a big problem Not only can improper maintenance lead to less efficiency and longer dryer times—which may end up shrinking your clothes or damaging fabrics—it can also drive up utility bills! What’s worse? Neglecting your dryer is a HUGE fire hazard! Dryer fires are among the most common reasons for residential fires in America, and failure to clean the dryer is the number one cause for these fires. Here are our tips for maintaining your dryer and minimizing the risk of a dryer fire.

Lint Screen

Believe it or not, cleaning out the lint screen is something that people forget to do all the time! This is a super easy habit to get into, and you should start if you haven’t already. You need to empty the lint screen every single time you use the dryer. This isn’t a weekly or monthly thing—it’s an every-single-time thing. The reason for this is that too much lint in the lint screen will block airflow, which will prolong drying times and increase the amount of heat buildup.

Moisture Sensors

If you have a newer dryer, it likely has moisture sensors which help the auto-dry cycle detect moisture in the laundry load. When the moisture sensor detects a low enough level of dampness, the machine will shut off to avoid overusing any energy. After enough laundry cycles, these sensors can get mucked up with a film which can cause them to work improperly. This is especially prevalent among users of dryer sheets. This will cause the dryer run longer than needed and excess heat to build up. To clean your moisture sensors, get out a cotton ball and some rubbing alcohol and scrub off the film buildup.

Dryer Vent

Your dryer vent needs to be cleaned a few times a year. Our suggestion? Every four months. Here’s why: Although your dryer’s lint screen does a lot to help block all the little fibers and particles from your clothing from getting into the vent, it’s not fool-proof. Some of those particles still get through and they can really build up in your vent. This buildup is EXTREMELY flammable and can ignite at the first sign of a little spark. We can’t stress enough how dangerous this can be. If you can pull the dryer away from the wall, then you can perform this task yourself. Disconnect the dryer from the power source and separate the vent from the dryer and vacuum out both the dryer and the vent. If you can’t access the vent, it might be time to enlist a professional. Sure you might be thinking that this is an annoying expense, but trust us—it will cost a lot less than a house fire!

Indoor humidity can play a big role in your comfort. In fact, it sometimes may even play a bigger role than air temperature. Humidity is the concentration of moisture in the air. When humidity is high, it affects the way the air feels to us. But humidity in your home can do more than cause discomfort—it can cause mold and add to intensity of allergies.

First let’s discuss comfort. As an HVAC company, this is often at the top of our priority list. A home’s level of humidity can have both beneficial and adverse effects on comfort. Just because a house is cool during the summer months when it’s hot outside doesn’t mean that house is comfortable. If the air is quite humid then the humidity and the cold together create a clammy atmosphere that can be uncomfortable.

Next: mold. Mold thrives in moist atmospheres. In order for mold to grow at all, there needs to be moisture. When your home is excessively humid, it creates an environment that encourages the growth of mold. Mold is especially fruitful when it is in an enclosed, dark, damp space. Mold is a nuisance and can have negative health effects on those around it.

Finally, let’s talk about allergies. Generally speaking, this is kind of an offshoot from the mold discussion, but it’s still worth noting. A lot of people are allergic to mold and when your home has excessive moisture or humidity that encourages mold growth, you may experience a proliferation of allergies. Humidity and mold affect the respiratory system, so they can also make symptoms of asthma worse.

Why the humidity? There are a lot of factors that could be causing excessive humidity in your home. One of the most common reasons we find excess humidity is the size of someone’s air conditioner relative to their home. A/C units that are too big for your home will cool the entire house and then shut off before it removes the moisture from the air. Make sure when buying an air conditioning unit for your home that you get the right size for your homes needs! Contact one of our Comfort Consultants to learn more!

Is your AC on but not blowing, or blowing weakly from the vents? This is a sign that airflow is restricted in your HVAC system. There are a number of reasons for this. It could be a function of things like your air filter, your ducts, your vents, or your evaporator coil. Below we’ll explore some of the possibilities.

Air Filters

One reason your air conditioner may not be blowing, or have a weak airflow, is that the air filter is dirty. Clogged air filters suffocate your air conditioner making it extremely difficult for air to circulate throughout the system, and thus throughout your home. Regularly checking & replacing your air filters is paramount to having a properly functioning A/C system.

Vents

If your vents are blocked in any way, it is probably a likely culprit for decreased airflow. Not only will blocked vents reduce the airflow, it will make your A/C system have to work harder to produce airflow and end up putting unnecessary strain on the system.

Ducts

Air ducts are the channels through which air from your air conditioner is distributed throughout your home. Flex ducts are generally made from some sort of plastic, and as the name suggests, are flexible. This means that there can be kinks in the ductwork that can restrict airflow. Severely kinked ducts may need to be professionally straightened out.

Evaporator Coil

This one relates back to a dirty air filter. When your air filter becomes dirty or clogged, or if you choose to run your air conditioner without an air filter, the evaporator coil on the A/C unit can become dirty and lead to some serious problems down the line. We highly recommend hiring a professional to clean these coils, as attempting to do it without the knowledge and experience of a trained technician can make the problem worse.

Blower

The fan located inside the air conditioner which blows air in and out of your home’s vent may be broken. It may be because the fan gets clogged or dirty, but it could be due to a broken motor or loose fan belt

Calling an HVAC company in Chicago is probably not on the top of your list of things you’d like to do this year. Besides the expense, there’s the time it takes to schedule the appointment and meet the HVAC pro at your home. Knowing when, and when not, to call an HVAC company will help you save both time and expense.

Common Issues

Angie’s List reports several issues with A/C and heating units that are usually easy to fix and don’t require an HVAC pro in Chicago. Here are a few:

  • Air filter—an air filter that hasn’t been changed recently may restrict airflow and cause problems. This is an easy fix you can perform. Air filters are readily available at most home supplies stores.
  • Thermostat batteries—if your display isn’t lighting up, it could be as simple as dead batteries.
  • A/C Drain Line—check for water under the unit. This may mean your drain is clogged. Empty the water and flush out the drain line.
  • Power Source—check the power source for your unit. It may be as simple as a shorted circuit or a switch that was accidentally turned off.

Checking for these simple, but often overlooked issues may help you avoid the frustration of calling an HVAC company only to pay for them do something you could have done yourself.

HVAC systems have made huge advances over the years, spawning complex systems. Dealing with HVAC problems these days requires knowledge and training in electricity, natural gas, oil, and toxic cooling fluids. Don’t start taking things apart. It will end in more frustration, expense, and is very unsafe.

If you’ve checked everything we mentioned above, and you’re still not sure what’s wrong, it’s time to call an HVAC professional.

That’s where the Heatmasters would come in. Angie’s List says it’s important to make sure your HVAC in Chicago is licensed, bonded, and insured, and we are! We’ve been proudly serving the Chicagoland area since 1950. Our HVAC pros provide quality heating, cooling and indoor air quality solutions for each client.

Visit us on the web to learn more about our Chicago HVAC services, or give us a call at 1-800-HEATING!