Archive for: Air Conditioning

Why is Indoor Air Quality Important? 5 Steps to Improve it! Part 2

Why is Indoor Air Quality Important? 5 Steps to Improve it! Part 2

This is the next installment in our Air Quality Series.  This article will focus on two additional steps to help improve your overall air quality.

If you missed the first step, be sure to click below and see the first part of this series.

Why is Indoor Air Quality Important? 5 Steps to Improve it! Part 1

As you read in part 1 of this series, air pollution is not something that is just outside.  The air inside our homes, offices and other buildings can be more polluted (or polluteder  <====LOL, just kidding) than the air outside. This series is designed to give you the power to make your living area less polluted.

The first step was to keep your floors mopped and vacuumed (with a HEPA filter vacuum). In addition, be sure to have a large floor mat put at your entrance ways to your home or business.

Now, on to step 2…

DehumidifierControl Humidity – The next step is something that most of us don’t think about.  What is that you ask?  The humidity level in your home.  Many people don’t realize that the humidity in our homes is partially controlled by the air conditioning (ac) unit.  The ac unit is responsible for lowering the temperature in our homes.

The other part of equation is that when the ac lowers the temperature of your home, it is also pulling moisture out of the air that is being conditioned. That is the reason that we have pipes (condensate lines) routed outside. This is where the water removed from the air goes.

Keeping the humidity in the 30 – 50% range is ideal. It helps keep the allergens, like mold and dust mites, under control.

In addition to helping keep the humidity in check, the ac is able to filter out some of the indoor pollen. This is a major plus for those of us with allergies.

Sometimes, the addition of a dehumidifier is necessary to help with humidity control. If you are finding that you are having issues with mold or you are feeling “sticky or clammy” in your home, it may be time to consider adding a dehumidifier.

mobile thermostat

New thermostats can also help control humidity by allowing the ac unit to run longer, thereby, removing more moisture from the air.

Here are a few more ways to dehumidify your home…

1. When you are cooking, bathing or even running the dishwasher, use an exhaust fan or crack open a window,

2. Be sure that you are not over watering any plants in your home,

3. Fix any dripping pipes or leaking plumbing,

4. Empty condensate pans (drip pans) from any window ac units or dehumidifiers,

5. Be sure that your clothes dryer is properly vented to the outside.

 

Here is step 3. This may not be popular, however, it is a factor to improving your indoor air quality

Smoke Outside – Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon to go into a smoke filled home. With all of the recent findings, we now know how unhealthy it is to smoke. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals.  These chemicals pollute the indoor air. Research has shown that this second hand smoke increases a child’s risk of getting ear and respiratory infections, cancer, asthma and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Kicking the smoking habit is easier said than done.  However, just because it is hard, doesn’t mean that it cannot be done. There are many options out there to help kick the habit.

Bottom line is, if you cannot quit smoking, please do it outside. This will help with the air quality inside of your home.

 

Please watch for the next 2 steps in Why is Air Quality Important?

If you find that your home is too humid, please give us a call (843-821-0937).  There are several solutions that we can offer.

A Thermostat that Adapts to YOU? Check this out!

A thermostat that adapts to you? Check this out!

round honeywell thermostatI am sure that we can all remember the old style thermostat.   These thermostats are iconic.  It seemed like everyone had either the circular or the rectangular  model.  These are the thermostats that used good ole fashioned mercury (you know, the stuff that isn’t very “green” today).  rectangular honeywell thermostat Would you believe that these thermostats are still being sold by designers?  They are using them to give the “vintage feel” to homes.

After these models, came the digital models, and after that the digital programmable models.  The programmable models were so hard to program, that most people just kept them in “permanent hold” mode.  Basically, using them as a non-programmable thermostat.

Now, we have something that is quite technologically advanced, yet SUPER easy to set up and use.  Honeywell has come out with a thermostat that not only controls the temperature, but will do so much more.  It even can sense whether someone is in the home through its geo-fencing technology (it will sense how close you are to your home based on your cell phones gps system).  Of course, with something this fancy, you have to give it a name.  That name is the LYRIC.

The Lyric is a round design in a glossy white with chrome trim. The design is one of simplicity.  The chome ring around the Lyric turns to set the temperature. Everything else is controlled by touch. If you tap the upper display, it switches between heating and cooling modes. Another interesting feature is the weather forecast button.  This will give you the current forecast plus the forecast for the next 6 and 12 hours. The home button allows the Lyric to switch between occupied and away modes, unless you have activated geofencing.

What is geofencing? Basically, this is a allows the thermostat to know when you cross a certain distance threshold.  You can set it for either 7 miles or 500 feet. If you work close to your home (like I do) then you would select the 500 feet.  For those that travel a good distance from home, a selection on 7 miles is more appropriate. When you cross the threshold that has been set, the thermostat will begin to cool or heat your home while you are on the way home.  When you leave your home, the thermostat will go into away mode, and start saving you money.  It is all about comfort and savings!

honeywell lyricSince the LYRIC’s app is on your cell phone, adjustments to the temperature can be made remotely.  This is a feature that Honeywell does have on its other wifi thermostats.

For example, Staci and I were on vacation for a couple of days in Myrtle Beach. Myrtle BeachWe set the temperature at 82°F when we left. On our way home, I pulled up the app on my phone, and set the temperature to a cool 74°F. When we got home, the house was nice and cool.  While away, we were able to save money by not having the a/c running as much.

This thermostat not only gives basic temperature settings, but has some comfort programs running in the background.  These programs take into account the outdoor temperature, the indoor temperature, as well as humidity and weather conditions. Then, based on the results, the thermostat will regulate the a/c or heat accordingly.  For example, here in SC the humidity is usually very high. Combine the humidity and the heat of the day, the thermostat might run a little longer to help pull humidity out of the home, thereby making you feel more comfortable.

There are more features to this thermostat, so give us a call if you would like to know more, or if you have any questions.

Are you ready to upgrade your thermostat or purchase a LYRIC?  Give me a call at 843-821-0937, so that we can discuss which thermostat will best suit you and your family.

 

 

 

How to prevent damaging your ac unit?

How to prevent damaging your ac unit?

Ok, let’s face it.  We have all at one time or another abused the ac system in our homes.  We didn’t mean to do that, but we did!  If we continue to do these things, we could cause damage that may cost a significant amount of money in repair fees or it could mean the replacement of the entire ac system.

Keep reading to find out how you can implement changes that will help prolong the life and increase the efficiency of your ac system.

  1. inexpensive air filterReplace the air filters on a regular basis – The air filter is an extremely important part of the entire ac system. These filters help keep contaminants out of your ac system.  Things such as dust, dirt, animal fur and dander are kept from collecting inside the duct work, air conditioner and/or furnace. When the air filter is clogged, it reduces the air flow.  This reduced air flow makes your air conditioner less efficient, work harder, and your unit become more susceptible to breaking down.
  2. Schedule a precision tune-up (aka preventive maintenance, winter/summer start up) – Your a/c should be considered the engine of your home. Just like you would take your car in for an oil change, your a/c system should be tuned up at least once a year (we recommend twice…. once before winter, and once before summer). Our techs will test your system for potential problems, and can replace worn/broken parts. The life of your home’s engine can be dramatically reduced by allowing dirty or damaged parts to cause further problems.
  3. Deal with problems upfront – No one wants to replace their a/c unit. If you are having trouble with your a/c unit, address the problem head-on and as soon as possible. If you ignore the problem, it could cause more widespread damage to your unit. In addition, it could cost more on your electric bill also (ouch!). Certain problems, if not dealt with, could cause permanent damage to your a/c unit. Like I mentioned before, no one want to replace their a/c unit. A new unit can run from $4,000 – $12,000.
  4. honeywell thermostatProper thermostat use – What does the thermostat do?  It controls the temperature inside your home, right?  Yes.  You are correct, but it also does more than that! The thermostat plays an important part in protecting your HVAC system. With a digital thermostat, a 3 minute delay can be set to protect your compressor.  If you a/c doesn’t seem to be cooling, lowering the thermostat will not help. Call Arctic Air (843-821-0937). If you are continually “adjusting” your thermostat while your unit is on, you cause the system to not run properly. Set your thermostat to a comfortable setting, and leave it set there.
  5. Make duct work repairs – The a/c is a two part system.  You have the equipment, then you have the duct work. The duct work is a MAJOR component of the entire system. If there are leaks in the duct work, this can lead to extreme inefficiencies. Not only do you loose the cool air that you just paid to get the right temperature, but it could also cause problems with the equipment. You definitely don’t want to cool unused areas of your home; ie, your attic, the basement, crawl spaces or walls.

Having a tune-up done on your a/c unit is not very expensive.  I would say it is the best deal in the HVAC industry.  Give us a call to schedule yours! Keep your a/c in tip-top shape!

It’s FRIDAYYYYYY!! and it’s “Filter Change Time”!!!

TGIF!!!  It’s Fridayyyyyy!!! and it’s “Filter Change Time” Too!!

Yaabaadabadoo!  It is Friday, and almost quitin’ time! Once again, we have had a very busy week, and we are very thankful for it!  We were able to help a lot of people get their air conditioner running.  When it is this hot and humid, you certainly begin to appreciate that ac.

air filter air conditioning heating charleston scI know that this is a few days early, but next weekend is the 4th of July weekend, and I know that no one is going to want to do this.  So, take care of it this weekend.  Change that filter!  It is so important to the efficiency and life of your ac unit.energy bill rising

 

 

If your ac is not working and your house is getting hotter by the minute, give us a call.  We have a technician on call throughout the entire weekend! 843-821-0937.

Well, I am going to keep this short.  So, we hope that everyone has a great weekend.

A Cheap A/C!

A cheap a/c!

Ok, this is not an original idea by any means or stretch of the imagination.  I saw this idea on either Facebook or Youtube.  It was such an interesting (and easy) project, that I decided to try it.

This is what happened.  I was planning to do a simple 5 gallon bucket with a fan and pvc pipe.  Well I went to Lowe’s to get my supplies.  I picked up the first item on my list… a 5 gallon bucket.  Easy pee-zee.  Then I move on to my next item… a styro-foam bucket to go inside.  This was supposed to provide insulation.  Ugh!  No luck!

(By the way, if you want to do the 5 gallon bucket cheap a/c, go to HomeDepot.com.  You can order most everything there…including the styrofoam bucket.)

Then, I decided that I would try to improvise. I looked at all kinds of foam insulation to fit inside my 5 gallon buck.  Nothing seemed to be flexible enough.  Plus, I had to remember that I needed to cut holes in the side of the bucket and whatever insulation that I chose. As I pondered and wandered the aisles, nothing was going to work.

I thought to myself… Wally-world will have it!  They have everything!  So, I put back my bucket and headed to Wal-mart.  When I got to Wal-mart, I started walking the aisles.  And, to no avail, they didn’t have what I needed. What am I going to do.  I thought to myself, I am going to make this thing tonight.

I then picked up my phone and started watching Youtube.  After I watched the video on how to make my home made a/c unit, other variations started popping up.  OK, change in plans.  I am going to just by a cheap plastic cooler, a fan and a 3″ 90° pvc elbow.

Staci text (or texted, I guess) me, and asked what I was doing.  I let her know that I was on my way home.  I was out of the house and looking for parts for about 2 hours. But, now, I have everything I need.

Troy, my co-worker, let me borrow a really cool tool for cutting holes.  In addition to that, I had my Dremel.

As soon as I got home, I started my project.  I put the pvc pipe on the top of the cooler and traced around it.  Then, I did the same thing with my fan. I grabbed the tool that Troy let me borrow, and I attached it to my drill and started cutting.  I cut as much as I could with this handy hole cutter, and then I broke out my Dremel tool for the final cuts.

I put the pvc pipe in the smaller hole… perfect fit! I put the fan in the second hole… perfect (or, at least, close enough).  I went to the freezer and broke out some ice packs and threw them into the cooler. I plugged in the fan, and turned it on.

homemade acHoly cow!  It worked! So, for about $50, I now have a portable, a/c unit.

I am going to freeze gallon jugs of water to put inside my cooler.  Instant a/c, and a fun little project.

UPDATE

A couple of days ago, I brought this in and showed everyone what I made.  Troy, decided to take it with him and make some improvements.  (That being said, this will work fine in a home environment with a regular fan.  We are planning to use it in an attic with temperatures around 120°-140°F.)

So, Troy added this mac-daddy fan to it that he had at his house.  He also reinforced the top with a little sheet metal.  This cooler (1/3 full of ice) is putting out 55°F air!  It is sooooo cool! Here is what the Island Breeze looks like now.

super homemade ac

 

If you have any a/c problems, feel free to give us a call at 843-821-0937.

 

Energy Savings Tips … part 5

Energy Savings Tips … part 5!

What happened to spring?  Summer is in full effect!

I cannot remember the day (this week) that this video was taken, however, the “light show” was fantastic!  Staci had just taken the dogs out. She came back in and said that I had to see this. I got out of the recliner, and I didn’t notice anything different at the front of the house.  She then directed me to the back of our home.  I have seen “heat lightning” before, but this was special.  The lightning was behind some really dark clouds.  Take a look at this video.

 

I think this went on for about an hour… maybe more! What an amazing light show!

 

moneyNow, on with the Energy Savings tips … part 5.

I guess you could say that the main gist of these tips is to avoid heating your home with lighting and appliances. Here is how you can unintentionally heat up your home without realizing it.

 

  • Try to not use the oven on hot days. When you are ready to cook, use the stove top, use a microwave, or (my favorite) break out the grill!
  • hot thermometersInstall those weird looking bulbs in your lighting fixtures. Those bulbs, in most cases, use less electricity and produce less heat! Energy efficient bulbs also use about 10 – 15% of the electricity that incandescent (regular) bulbs use.
  • Use the daylight instead of artificial lighting. Just be sure to avoid the direct sunlight.
  • When washing clothing and dishes, only wash full loads. Air drying both will help reduce heat and save on your electric bill.
  • Try to minimize activities that produce heat.  For example, using computers, burning candles (or other open flame items), running the dishwasher, clothes dryer, hair dryer, or curling irons.  Televisions and stereos can also add to the heat load of your home.

TGIF! The weekend is here.  Father’s Day is Sunday… I cannot wait to have my dad and father-in-law over for a feast. I hope those whose father have passed on, can look back with fond memories and remember the good things about your dads!

Enjoy the weekend!

Mike

Energy Savings Tips …. Part 4

heat warningAnother week has almost past, and it looks like 90° weather is in our forecast. As the spring fades into summer, everyone is going to be looking for a cool place to relax.

I should mention… As the temperatures begin to increase, do not leave children or pets unattended in your car.  Temperatures can skyrocket quickly!

A test conducted by the University of San Francisco showed that in 10 minutes a closed-up car reached 99 degrees when the outside temperature was 80 degrees. In 20 minutes, the inside of the car had reached 109 degrees.  dog-car-01These temperatures can cause heat stroke, and in some cases, death.

Energy Savings Tips …. Part 4

moneyTo get the best performance and efficiency out of your air conditioning equipment, it is important to follow these guidelines.

  • Schedule a tune-up (aka, preventive maintenance, summer start-up, planned maintenance)- Your air conditioning and heating system runs most of the year.  Just like your car, your ac needs to have a tune-up.  We recommend at least twice a year.  One time before the summer season, and once before the winter season.
  • Keep lamps, lights, tvs or other heat producing items away from your thermostat. Your thermostat senses heat from these items, which can cause your air conditioning to run longer than necessary.
  • Keep any dust from building up on your registers by vacuuming them. This will help keep the flow of air moving freely and without restriction.
  • Be sure that your furniture and other objects are not impeding the flow of air from the registers.
  • Keep doors open throughout the house. This will keep the airflow at the proper levels.

If you find that your ac unit is not working, please feel free to contact us.

Also, I am still running a “Preseason Sale” on complete air conditioning units. Up to $1500 off York and Goodman units!  This sale will end soon, so don’t wait until the Dog Days of Summer.

Since the weekend is almost here, I hope that you have a great weekend!

Energy Savings Tips … Part 3

One More Thank You!

memorial day messageI hope everyone was able to enjoy Memorial Day. Spending time with family, friends and loved ones is so important. Hopefully, you had a chance to remember those who served our country and lost their lives.

Last night, Staci and I watched a Nation Geographic Special on World War II.  I have watched other war movies, however this one really hit home.  Watching the actual footage from that time was worse than anything that Hollywood could put out.

 Many veterans won’t even talk about the things that they went through.  They saw more death than should be allowed. They had to kill or be killed. Many didn’t make it.  This is the same for every war before and after WWII. 

Again we say thank you … To all that have served!


 

Energy Saving Tips start here

Here is the next installment of Energy Savings Tips! These tips will help you use strategies to cool your home with Fans and Ventilation.ceiling fan

  • When you are using your a/c in combination with a ceiling fan, you will be able to raise your thermostat about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.
  • Most homeowners leave fans running throughout the day. This actually wastes electricity. Turn those fans off when you leave the room.  Remember, fans do not cool rooms, they cool people by creating a wind chill effect.
  • To remove heat and humidity, be sure to turn on the bathroom fan. You may also want to consider adding a fan to the laundry room. It is important to mention that bathroom and kitchen fans should be vented to the outside of your home (not to the attic).

In my next blog, I will share some tips on how to keep your air conditioning system running efficiently.

Energy Savings Tips … Part 2

new goodman unitWow, we have had another pretty busy week at Arctic Air.  Last week, we did 2 residential unit change outs, 1 commercial unit change out and lots of repairs! All of that, and we were down a man.  This week, we have installed 3 residential units.

(I started working on this blog at the end of last week.  The only thing that I can say is that we are blessed and thankful for the work.)

This week, Craig has made it back to work after being out for a couple of weeks. We are so thankful that he is!  In addition, we were able to add an additional service technician. We would like to welcome Anthony Randolph to our team.

Now, on with the Energy Savings Tips!…

moneyI will say that Staci and I have benefited from the following! Our first month of putting in a programmable thermostat saved us almost $50!  These energy savings tips really work! Your thermostat plays a BIG role in helping with your air conditioner’s efficiency.  By setting your thermostat as directed, you can achieve significant energy savings.honeywell thermostat

  1. Your thermostat should be set as high as comfortably possible in the summer.  Because there will be a smaller difference between the inside and outside temperatures, you will effectively lower your electric usage.  The less you use in electricity, the better (for you, that is).
  2. Set your thermostat a little higher when you are away. Experts recommend setting your thermostat at 78°F only when you are at home. Several new programmable thermostats on the market have made it really easy to set up a schedule.
  3. When you do arrive at home, don’t set the thermostat at a colder setting than normal. Doing this does not cool your house faster, and if you forget, you will end up spending more on unnecessary cooling.

And, speaking of thermostats, there are many new model out that are very tech savvy, yet easy to use and program.  For example, Honeywell has touch screen models, and they even have a model where you actually just speak the commands. There are even models that will learn your behavior.  If you need help with choosing a thermostat, please feel free to give us a call (843-821-0937)

ceiling fanThe next blog will be on how to use fans and ventilation stratagies to help cool your home.

If your a/c quits working, please feel free to contact us.  For those of you on our Discount Club, remember that you are not charged overtime on the weekend… membership does have its privileges!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Mike

Ding, Ding, Ding… It’s time to check your filters!

Time to check your filters!

raisinI just wanted to post a quick reminder… “Ding, Ding, Ding….It is time to check your filters in your a/c unit”.

Air flow is very important to your a/c system as a whole.  Without the air flow moving properly in your system, you can damage your unit, cause it to draw more electricity, and make it necessary to replace your unit before its time. Your filters can be causing a lack of air flow if they are clogged and dirty.

Air flow can be improved in your home by not shutting off rooms. For example, I have a room that is currently not being used in my home.  It is very tempting to close the door and keep that room shut off from the rest of the house.  The problem is that it messes up the air flow in the home.  Resist the temptation to close all the doors. If you want some privacy, keep the door slightly ajar.

air filter air conditioning heating charleston scSo, just to keep things simple… It is time to inspect your a/c air filter.  If it is dirty, replace it.