Which Tools Do I Need to Maintain My HVAC System?

Managing airflow inside a home often requires an understanding of HVAC equipment and environmental elements, such as humidity and temperature. Because many heating and air service technicians use a set of specialized tools, homeowners often prefer leaving maintenance in trained hands. Here’s your guide to basic and advanced system maintenance.

Basic HVAC System Maintenance

For basic maintenance, your typical toolbox will likely have what you need. To troubleshoot, maintain, or repair other parts of the system, you may require a more advanced set of tools and diagnostics equipment.

3 DIY Maintenance Tasks Every Homeowner Can Perform 

Use these tips to keep your air conditioner or furnace running properly year round:

  1. Change the filter. You may have a filter in the main unit and the air return vent. Use a screwdriver to access the filter. Always replace the filter with a recommended disposable or reusable one. Check your user manual for specifics.
  2. Remove debris as needed. Inspect the outdoor unit, indoor components, and air vents for dust, condensation, and debris. Brush off the outdoor unit regularly Use a vacuum or duster to keep components clean.
  3. Check HVAC drains. Outside the home there are drainpipes taking condensation away from the system. Keep these pipes clean and clear.

Advanced Maintenance

HVAC professionals understand the inner system workings as well as the variables that may affect comfort levels within the home. They often use diagnostic equipment to identify environmental and equipment concerns. If you are interested in maintaining your entire system, take some time to learn more about the concepts of air temperature control. A users manual will provide invaluable information about the inner system workings.

5 Tools for Advanced Maintenance

These HVAC tools help service technicians and interested homeowners understand existing conditions to make informed maintenance decisions:

  1. Thermometer and hygrometer. Thermometers provide readings for general environments and specific environments, such as closet interiors or hard-to-reach basement areas. Hygrometers measure humidity levels. Unlike their store bought counterparts, these thermometers provide instantaneous, precise, and multiple measurements.
  2. Leak detector. Hazardous substances, such as leaking natural gas or radiation, present major concerns in HVAC care and maintenance. A leak detector allows technicians to identify the exact source of a leak and take appropriate action.
  3. Clamp meter. Used to measure electrical current, clamp meters help technicians identify specific problems within heating and air equipment.
  4. Vacuum gauge. This device allows technicians to determine the level of vacuum power required to remove contaminants from a system.
  5. Anemometer. This device measures the speed of airflow within a heating and air system. Technicians use these measurements to determine air exchange rates and adjust the equipment.

These tools represent a few of the specialized devices service technicians use to troubleshoot, maintain, and repair HVAC systems. Homeowners can purchase them at equipment shops and online. If you decide to maintain your system, calculate the DIY tool investment cost versus hiring a professional.

If you are not sure whether or not your HVAC issue should be handled by a professional, it might be best to call a professional. Contacting a trusted HVAC company may save both time and money. Contact us today for expert HVAC repair services.

6 HVAC Features to Look for When Buying a Commercial Building 

As you contemplate buying a commercial building, you might be quite aware that the heating and cooling requirements for this kind of property are a totally different ball game compared to residential heating requirements. Here, you have a bigger building to think about. In addition, the heating and cooling needs of the numerous sections of the building will not be uniform; the offices, warehouse and conference/meeting room will have varying heating and cooling needs of your employees, customers and guests. So, what are the critical HVAC features you should look for as you scout around for the best building to buy?

Heating & Cooling Your Commercial Building

Size of HVAC system

HVAC systems meant for commercial buildings require higher capacity to handle cooling and heating in a significantly larger space compared to their residential counterparts. However, this too depends on the size of the building you intend to buy. Correct sizing of the system will ensure your facility’s cooling and heating needs are adequately met. Consult a heating expert to assess the suitability of the size of the building’s HVAC system before you commit to pay.

Zoning 

Zoned heating in the building creates separate the zones in the building where heating and cooling levels can be controlled precisely. This ensures you only use the system where and when it is needed and at varying levels depending on the unique needs of each zone. This is one sure approach to minimizing your energy costs. A HVAC professional will come in handy in establishing the effectiveness and efficiency of the zoning that has been done on the building or in assessing the costs and advising you on what to do in order to create effective zones in the building.

Additional heating and cooling equipment

Most HVAC systems have add-on components meant to improve equipment efficiency, system performance and overall comfort levels. You don’t want to incur further costs installing these additions into the system after you have sealed the purchase. Check and confirm the presence and quality of the following cost saving features.

Economizers

These will help in cooling by pulling in more air if the air outside the facility is cooler than the air inside. This will save costs by allowing the HVAC system to run less.

Programmable thermostats

These give you accurate and precise control over the operation of your cooling and heating equipment. They can be programmed to automatically decrease cooling and heating when it is not required, for instance when the facility is closed, and then rise HVAC operation in time for the facility’s interior to be comfortable by the time you open for the day.

Carbon dioxide sensors

Also called demand sensors, these allow the system to accurately detect the number of people in the building or specific zone of the building and adjust cooling or heating production accordingly. This is a vital cost-reduction strategy that ensures the system’s output matches with the requirements of the people inside. With this you avoid unnecessary use of energy for your air conditioning needs.

These are just a few of the features you need to look at as you embark on buying a commercial building and making sure it’s heated and cooled properly. For more information on this important topic, contact us. We are always ready and willing to provide you with all information and solutions concerning all your commercial HVAC needs.

How to Achieve Home Comfort Between Air Conditioner Season & Heat Season

More than half of the utility bill of your home is comprised of heating and cooling costs. The HVAC system uses more energy than any other system. You would want your home to be very comfortable, perfectly warm during the winters and suitably cool during the summers. At the same time, you would also want to keep the energy costs in check. The best way to do this is to make sure that the HVAC system installed in your home is maintained & in fine working condition.

There are many wonderful advantages of having air conditioning and heating. Home air conditioning keeps a home cooler during the summer months than fans. Using fans in a home sometimes just keeps the warm air circulating throughout a home. But with an air conditioner unit you do not have to worry about that problem. Home air conditioners will keep every room in a home nice and cool. Similarly, heating systems keep your home warm and comfortable for not only you, but your children and visitors to your home.

It is best to set home comfort systems at a set temperature this will keep the comfort level of a house consistent throughout the day and night. You do not want to constant change the temperature or turn the unit on and off, this can cause a huge change in your electric bill. Keeping it set on the same temperature will regulate the temperature and your bill.

How to Maintain Your HVAC System

Just as you do with your vehicles or other appliances, you must ensure periodic cleaning and servicing of your heating and air conditioning systems. Ideally, maintenance services must be performed on the system at least twice in a year. Consider these items that you can handle on your own to-do list:

  • Clean your system. The outside unit must be cleaned to prevent the buildup of mold and mildew within the fins.
  • Monitor your air filters. It is most important to clean the air filter on a monthly basis. Your system can have a permanent filter or a disposable one. With use, the filter gets clogged with debris, dust and pollutants, hampering the amount of air moved by the system. This reduces the efficiency of the system even as it increases the energy usage. While a dirty disposal filter can be replaced, the permanent filter should be cleaned thoroughly.
  • Clean your vents. Cleaning the vents is another thing to be done. The buildup of dust and debris blocks the air from reaching your rooms and the indoor air quality suffers. The vents must be dusted or vacuumed every month to keep them free-flowing.
  • Seal leaks. Make sure that all possible places of air leaks in the home are sealed. The attic is a key area for cooling or heat loss and you must see to it that it is properly insulated. The crawlspaces, basement and spaces around the windows and doors should also be checked.
  • Stay up-to-date. If your home has an old HVAC system, you can think about getting it replaced with a new, more efficient, energy star rated system.

Timely repairs and regular maintenance services help you have an efficient HVAC system and enjoy a comfortable home. It is better if you don’t rely on DIY methods to handle the heating and air conditioning issues. You must hire the specialized services of a certified, trained and experienced HVAC professional. To find the leading HVAC companies in our area, you can search online and you’ll find our site among our competitors’. By contacting us, you will get all the information required to help you decide what your system needs this year.

Having Trouble with Your Home Cooling Bills? Upgrade Your AC to Reduce Costs Next Year

Saving money on utilities is not as hard as people seem to think. If we were more vigilant and paid attention our energy consumption would be something we could easily control. Air conditioning is great to have for obvious reasons, it improves the quality of the air we breathe indoor and most importantly, keeps us cool when the temperature is unbearable. It can be hard to survive the summer without air-conditioning but air conditioners have gotten a bad rap for being energy hogs. Thankfully, technology has evolved and we now have advanced design systems that are efficient but and energy efficient. if you have an old air conditioning system that is not that efficient but there are certain upgrades that you can make to get the most out of your air conditioner and improve the efficiency of your AC and reduce its energy consumption.

How to Improve Energy Efficiency

The efficiency of air conditioners is referred to as SEER rating, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the rating is the greater the air conditioning system is, however, there has been legislation passed by governments in a bid to save the overall energy consumption in residential building and commercial building with HVAC systems. Under the new laws, residential air conditioning system should have a minimum rating of 13 SEER. Older systems have a lower rating of 7- 10 SEER.

Add a dehumidifier

A dehumidifier can help you run the actual AC less often. This is because most of the time when the air around is hot, it has less humidity. Humidity makes it hard for you to cool down naturally. To counter the drop in humidity people end up turning the AC down and running it at a colder setting than necessary. If you have a humidifier you can save money because the temperature in a room will not be affected by humidity and you might notice that you don’t have to turn your AC that often.

Use Zone Control

Zone control systems work within the ductwork. It works by having a series of dampers that open and close to regulate airflow into different rooms. This means instead of cooling an entire building, you can only cool one room or area that you are occupying and not waste energy cooling unoccupied rooms. Zone control is also good at cooling those areas that don’t always get the best air flowing through them. This all means you use energy efficiently in spaces that need air conditioning.

Install an automation system

There are technological advances that have been with regard to automated systems for air conditions. Upgrade to one that enables you to control your system remotely on a smartphone. It is easy to see or work out how much your air conditioner affects the overall energy consumption in your home.

Always compare the cost of an upgrade and the lifespan, it will have in relation to the cost of a new system that already has the required energy rating. Upgrading your old system with a SEER of 7-10 to a SEER 13 level can reduce your electricity consumption by 21- 42%.

We offer specialist services that will assess your home and the condition of your current AC system to help you identify the most efficient upgrade you can make. Contact us now to learn more about our air conditioning services.

How UV Lights Can Improve Your Indoor Air Quality and Your Health

Indoor air quality plays an important role in your health and your family’s health. You probably spend more time breathing the air in your home than anywhere else. Unfortunately, in our homes today air quality is not always great. Contaminants in the air can trigger allergies and illness, but ultraviolet, or UV, light can help you clean up your indoor air.

There May Be More Pollutants in Your House than Outside

It may surprise you to hear that your home’s indoor air may be more polluted than the air outside. The problem is a matter of circulation. Most homes today are well insulated and have high-quality windows. This is great for heating and cooling your home efficiently and not wasting energy, but it also means that your indoor air doesn’t get circulated with outside air. As a result, contaminants build up and have nowhere to go. They just circulate throughout the home.

UV Light Can Reduce Allergy Symptoms

There is a way that you can eliminate some of those contaminants without sacrificing energy efficiency: UV lights. Ultraviolet light is high energy light that kills microorganisms. Many of the common allergens you have in your home, like dust mites, can be destroyed with this kind of light. Dusting and keeping your home clean only eliminates allergens from surfaces. They are still in the air. You can’t reach them in the air with your dust cloth, but UV light can.

UV Light Can Protect You from Mold

Mold is another major health issue for indoor environments. Exposure to mold spores can trigger allergic reactions, ranging from mild to severe. Exposure over time can even cause chronic lung conditions. UV light easily kills mold spores in the air so that you and your family do not breathe in this toxic fungus.

UV Light Kills Germs and Keeps You Healthy

During cold and flu season, germs are everywhere, even in your indoor air. You can clean and disinfect surfaces, but with bacteria and viruses in the air, you are still vulnerable to getting sick. UV light kills those pathogens in the air.

The air you breathe in your home could make you sick, but UV light can help. And you don’t have to sit under a UV light to get the benefits. You can have the lights installed inside ductwork or directly next to your furnace or air conditioning unit. In these locations the light kills contaminants before they ever make it into the air in your rooms.

If you think the quality of the air in your home could be improved, contact us today. Our professionals can talk to you about UV options for your home.

How Do I Know If I Need to Replace My AC?

Even the best air conditioning units have a limited lifespan. However, it might not always be obvious when the benefits of replacing an aging AC system outweigh the benefits of a system repair. Here are some of the things to consider before you make your final decision.

How Old Is Your Air Conditioner?

Most air conditioning units have a maximum operating life of roughly 12 to 15 years, although some units will stop functioning at an earlier or later date. If your AC is nearing the end of its expected life cycle, you may want to put replacement on the list of realistic options. This is especially true since new models have much higher efficiency ratings than units made more than a decade ago, and can help make up for the cost of replacement by providing you with greatly improved energy savings.

Does Your AC Use Refrigerant?

The refrigerant Refrigerant was once commonly used in the air conditioning systems installed in American homes. However, HVAC manufacturers stopped building units that require this refrigerant about six years ago, and Refrigerant production will cease altogether in less than five years. If your aging AC relies on Refrigerant, it might make sense to consider replacing it, especially since the cost of adding the refrigerant to your unit just once can easily soar to $1,000.

How Often Do You Need Repairs?

As your air conditioner nears the end of its useful life, its chances of requiring some sort of repair increase. If your AC requires frequent repairs, it may be time to cut your losses and spend the money on a completely new unit. This single expenditure may actually cost you less than repeated, costly system repair.

How Efficient Is Your Aging AC?

On average, the typical modern air conditioner uses much less power to cool your home than a unit made even as recently as the early 2000s. In fact, the most efficient units available today can potentially reduce your utility usage by upwards of 20 percent.  If you’re unhappy with the monthly utility costs associated with your aging AC, replacement very well may help you solve the problem. This is especially true since older units tend to grow less efficient over time, not more efficient.

As you can see, several considerations will influence your decision to purchase a new air conditioner. A reputable HVAC specialist can help you review the condition of your current system and determine if a replacement truly makes sense. For more crucial information on air conditioner replacement and repair, keep f

Solution for Cleaner Indoor Air Quality

 

Most of us forget just how important it is to make sure your home air is fresh and clean, from changing the filter to adding a air purifier. Taking care of a few small things around the house will make a huge difference!

Why Controlling Indoor Air Quality is So Important to Your Health

Have you ever heard of sick building syndrome? Sick building syndrome is often suspected when occupants of a particular edifice repeatedly suffer from mysterious signs of illness, such as dizziness, chronic fatigue, headaches, upper respiratory infections and unexplained eye/skin/nose/throat irritation.

Normally this term is reserved for commercial or business buildings, but the principle behind it can just as easily apply to homes or apartments. If you and your family are frequently becoming sick, your ‘home sweet home’ may actually be the source of the trouble.

Causes of Indoor Air Contamination

The possible sources of indoor air pollution are many, especially in commercial buildings. Noxious chemicals used in cleaning solutions, dust and dirt blowing through un-cleaned HVAC duct systems, exhaust fumes from adjacent factories or roadways, mold or fungus spores, pet dander, ozone emissions from printers or photocopiers, crumbling insulation, peeling paint—the list of potential culprits is endless.

Meanwhile inadequate air flow can significantly exacerbate the problem; in fact if your ventilation is poor even relatively small amounts of indoor air contamination can cause big trouble. Modern energy-efficient building techniques also contribute to the problem, since airtight construction and insulation practices often ramp up ventilation challenges significantly.

Finding Smart Solutions

The first step to curing a sick home or business is to clean it thoroughly from pillar to post, preferably without the use of chemical cleaning products (try water mixed with a mild soap or vinegar as an alternative).

The functioning of your HVAC system is a major determinant of your indoor air quality. To make sure it is working efficiently, take the following precautionary actions:

  • Have the whole system, including the ductwork, professionally cleaned by an HVAC technician at least once every year.
  • Replace your system’s air filter on a monthly or every-other-month basis.
  • Install air filters with a high “minimum efficiency reporting value” (MERV). An MERV filter with a rating of 11 will catch four-fifths of all airborne particles sized one micron or greater.
  • Add an ultraviolet lamp to your HVAC system. It will vanquish bacteria, mold, fungi and other microbial agents that can circulate through your ductwork.

Improving your ventilation is also vital and this is an aspect of the problem you should not overlook. Adding windows, wall vents, ceiling or whole-house fans, or removing walls or doors that might be inhibiting air flow are some of the solutions you should consider.

While the above actions will certainly help, a more aggressive approach to the problem is likely to produce even better results. Air quality improvement products such as air purifiers, cabinet air filters, UV lamps, energy recovery ventilators and heat recovery ventilators will banish most contaminants and leave you breathing the freshest, purest air you’ve ever experienced indoors. If you’re in central Texas you can purchase these products directly from AB & B, an authorized dealer of high-quality Carrier and Infinity air quality maintenance products.

Breathing Freely and Safely

Indoor air contamination can be a significant threat to your health. If your home or business is showing signs of sick building syndrome the time to take action is now, since doing nothing will only make the problem worse.

At AB & B we know how dangerous indoor air pollution can be and we have the expertise to help you eliminate this problem. So if you live in Cedar Creek, Kyle or the surrounding area and need help improving your indoor air quality, contact us today and let’s get the conversation started.

Follow us right here for more great insights about heating, cooling and air quality management.

Controlling Dry Air In Your Home

Humidity levels naturally fall along with temperatures in colder parts of the year. Unfortunately, when the air in your home becomes excessively dry, you can develop a number of health- and property-related problems. You can avoid dry air and its accompanying problems by installing a whole-air humidifier, a device that gives you control over moisture levels throughout the interior of your home.

Problems Caused By Dry Air

Excessively dry air in your home can have a direct effect on your health by making you an easier target for the many viruses known to cause the common cold. Low indoor moisture levels also make it easier for seasonal flu viruses to spread from person to person. In addition, they shorten the time needed for flu symptoms to appear in affected individuals. Dry air also has an impact on children with asthma by making it more likely that symptoms of this condition will occur, and by making those symptoms more severe once they appear.

Low-humidity conditions inside your home during the winter can lead to the appearance of cracks in any hardwood flooring, as well as in your walls and exposed woodwork. Overly dry interior air can also potentially lead to damage in your valuable electronic equipment. This is true because a low-moisture environment makes it easier to generate harmful discharges of static electricity when you touch the electronics in your home.

Dry air in your home may also lead indirectly to unexpected spikes in your heating bill. This can happen because your body naturally feels colder in low-humidity conditions than in high-humidity conditions, even at an equal temperature. When you feel chilly, the typical response is to dial your thermostat up a few notches. Since even small thermostat increases lead to higher utility costs, this practice may make your monthly bill an unwelcome surprise.

Install a Whole-Home Humidifier

A whole-home humidifier is a device that connects directly to the ducting network in your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system. When you turn this device on, it adds moisture to the heated air coming from your furnace or heat pump. Since it’s tied into your ductwork, a whole-home humidifier lets you simultaneously moisten the air in every room in your house. An attached monitoring unit lets you check on current humidity levels and raise or lower the moisture content as needed.

As with other parts of your HVAC system, installation of a whole-home humidifier is best left to a trained, experienced HVAC specialist. This specialist can ensure that your humidifier is set up correctly and performs its intended function as expected. After a simple installation process, you’ll receive the year-round benefits of proper humidity control.

Make sure to follow us here for regularly updated information on indoor climate control and other important HVAC-related topics.

4 Major Reason HVAC Systems Breakdown

4 Major Reason HVAC Systems BreakdownIf you find your HVAC system breaking down on you in Bastrop, Kyle and Buda. Please give us a call for affordable rates and we’ll be sure to get your unit back to working at pristine condition.