HOME SERVICE PROVIDERS THAT PROVIDE MULTIPLE SERVICES
Today’s homeowners are busier than ever, but there is also more than ever that should be done to keep your home environment in its best condition throughout the year. One of the best ways to accomplish this without adding to the stress of your life is to hire service providers that can provide a larger range of services through one company.
Business owners often know the value of using fewer vendors for better results, but many homeowners don’t use the same philosophy as they run their residential homes. What can you gain when you focus on home services that can do more? Here are five key ways you can benefit.
1. BUNDLING SAVES MONEY
You have likely encountered the idea that if you ‘bundle’ more services under one umbrella, you often get a discount for the whole package. Many homeowners already do this when they choose one provider for things like home wireless internet, television, landline, and cellphone services.
Extend this idea to other home maintenance services and experience more package pricing and added incentives. If you can schedule one service call for both your air conditioner tune-up and duct cleaning, for instance, you’ll pay less in trip fees and may be able to integrate other costs.
2. YOUR INFORMATION IS SAFER
Everyone today must be more aware of where their personal information is and how it’s being used — or misused. Each time you must use a new service provider, interact with a retail home improvement store, or give your information over the phone, your data becomes easier to access. Simply put, the fewer people you give your information to, the less you have to worry about leaks, hacks, and theft.
3. YOU GET TO KNOW THE PROVIDERS
Are you uncomfortable having strangers in your home to do various tasks? Most homeowners prefer to work with people they know, but often get different technicians and providers each time they call a company for services. If you use fewer vendors, you get more opportunities to familiarize yourself with the individuals who work in your home.
As you call fewer companies more often, you will be able to learn who their technicians are, recognize them, and know that you can rely on their work. And you don’t have to wonder what sort of work quality or guarantees you get from their company.
4. TECHNICIANS ARE FAMILIAR WITH YOU
As you become familiar with technicians, they also become familiar with your property. They will have records of what systems are in place and what each system has had serviced, repaired, or replaced. Rather than have to guess at what air conditioning unit you have or locate the warranty for it, an interconnected vendor will know what to expect and can make quicker maintenance and repair visits.
If the vendor works on multiple systems in the home, they also look at problems more holistically. If you ask for service on a furnace that doesn’t appear to provide enough heat, a technician that has also serviced the air ducts may be able to more easily identify a problem with cold air leakage instead of poring over the furnace itself.
5. YOU KNOW WHO TO CALL
When there is an emergency, you often don’t have the time or desire to call around to different companies looking for someone to handle the work. What you need is to be able to pick up the phone, find the right person in your contact list, and have them dispatched as quickly as possible.
Establishing a prior relationship with a vendor who works on multiple systems — from insulation to pest control — means you know exactly who to call when your furnace goes out during the middle of a Pacific Northwest snowstorm.
Find high-quality service providers that can handle a range of tasks and reap the benefits. Start with a call to AirGanic today. With a broad range of HVAC and other home services available, we can help you reduce costs and stress while keeping your home comfortable and healthy.
MISTAKES THAT INCREASE FIRE RISKS
As temperatures drop outside, Seattle area homeowners are increasingly reliant on furnaces and other home heating equipment to stay comfortable. You need to heat your home with care to prevent fire hazards from posing a danger to your household this winter.
The following are seven home heating mistakes that you should avoid.
1. STORING FLAMMABLE ITEMS NEAR A FURNACE
Keep any flammable items a good distance away from your furnace. According to the National Fire Protection Association, flammable materials should be kept at last three feet away from a furnace.
In fact, you need to keep flammable items away from any heat source. This includes ovens, space heaters, fireplaces, dryers, and more. Take a look around your home and do some reorganizing to be sure that storage of your items is both safe and practical.
2. NEGLECTING A FURNACE TUNE-UP
The only way to be completely sure your furnace is safe and efficient is by scheduling a furnace tune-up. A furnace that’s in poor condition is more likely to overheat and spark a fire. During a furnace tune-up and inspection, your HVAC service provider looks out for developing problems and recommends necessary repairs.
Typical furnace tune-ups include replacing filters, checking electrical switches, monitoring gas pressure and refrigerant levels, and verifying proper functioning of moving parts like motors and belts.
3. LEAVING AN OLD FILTER IN PLACE
One of the most basic and important maintenance tasks for a furnace is putting a new air filter in place when necessary.
The air filter is important for ensuring air quality on the interior of a home. However, air filters collect residue and become blocked up over time. This restricts air flow and requires the furnace to work harder than normal. Clogged air filters are a possible cause of overheating and furnace fires.
Make sure your air filter is not clogged before you start using your furnace in the later fall and early winter.
4. RUNNING A FURNACE WITH BLOCKED DUCTS/VENTS
Another thing that restricts airflow and possibly causes overheating is blocked ducts and vents. Along with an inspection of your furnace, your HVAC provider should also perform and inspection of your ducts and vents.
Vacuum your vents regularly to remove any dust and prevent clogs from blocking the flow of conditioned air throughout your home heating system.
5. HAVING INADEQUATE INSULATION
Poor insulation leaves a household more reliant on the furnace. This increases the chances that a furnace overheats as it works extra hard to maintain a warm temperature while conditioned air escapes to the outside.
Discuss your home’s insulation needs with your HVAC services provider. Your furnace will be more effective while expending less energy when your home is adequately insulated. Not only does insulation reduce demands on your furnace and thereby prevent overheating, but it also increases home efficiency.
6. LEAVING A SPACE HEATER RUN UNOBSERVED
Space heaters complement your furnace to make your home as warm and cozy as possible. However, you need to ensure safe space heater use by never leaving a space heater unattended.
The surface of space heater and the immediate surroundings get very hot, so make sure you’re standing by to shut the unit down if necessary.
7. ALLOWING CLUTTER BUILDUP AROUND YOUR FURNACE
Staying organized around your furnace is important. Don’t get into the bad habit of using the area around your furnace for storage. Ideally, you should have several feet of empty space around your furnace at all times.
Airflow around your furnace is essential. Your furnace needs a constant supply of air to heat up and then channel throughout your home via your ducts. Inadequate air supply causes your furnace to work harder. Also, empty space around your furnace diffuses some of the heat the furnace produces to prevent overheating and resulting fire risks.
Contact us at AirGanic to schedule a furnace inspection, duct cleaning, or learn more about home heating safety.
YOUR AIR DUCTS CLEANED
HVAC ductwork consists of a system of trunks, pipes, and flues. The ductwork distributes airflow throughout your house. Air gets sucked into your heater or cooler, properly conditioned, and then blown back out into your home all through the system of ductwork.
With so much exchange of air taking place, the system of ductwork can potentially send contaminants into your home. Said contaminants can make you sick or your home dirty. Below are five signs that you have dirty air ducts that necessitate cleaning.
1. YOU NOTICE THE AIR FLOW IS IMPEDED
One danger of dirty air ducts is that the flow of air will become impeded. In this case, debris in the ductwork will prevent the air from flowing freely. As such, your HVAC unit will have to work harder because the conditioned air isn’t moving as efficiently through the air ducts as was designed to happen.
You can test if the air is being impeded yourself. Turn on your air conditioner and observe the vents in every room. Notice if the flow of air is different in any of them, indicating that the duct has a blockage. You may also hear a whistling or otherwise noisy airflow, which is another sign of air duct blockage.
2. YOU SEE SIGNS OF ANIMAL INFESTATION
Your air ducts aren’t completely enclosed. Obviously, they have vents out into the house. Well, they also have vents to the outdoors. Unfortunately, pests such as cockroaches and rodents can easily invade your ductwork through these vents or through faulty seals where duct pipes are supposed to be joined.
You can look inside your ducts by opening some of your vent covers. Look for the obvious signs such as carcasses, skeletons, or the pests themselves. You may even see full droppings. However, be aware that even “dust” might be composed of rodent and cockroach droppings. If you spy any of these signs, you may need to call an exterminator and then have your ducts cleaned.
3. YOU SEE SIGNS OF MOLD
Mold can grow anywhere that has too much moisture, including your air ducts. What’s more, when your HVAC system sucks air into the ductwork, it can inadvertently pick up mold from other areas and transfer it into the air duct system.
If you smell mold whenever you turn your HVAC system on, you likely have mold in your ductwork or even in your air conditioner. You might also see the mold itself. It can look like a black or brown powdery substance. Examine your vents or just inside your duct for such a sign. You might also notice damp areas around your ductwork, which may be the origins of the mold.
4. YOU REMODELED YOUR HOME RECENTLY
Modifying your ductwork is an important part of any remodel job if you’re adding livable space. However, even if you’re not having an addition installed, your air ducts can be impacted by the remodel job. Contractors are supposed to seal them off during the renovation, but the protection isn’t always adequate.
If you’ve had a comprehensive remodel job completed recently, considering having your air ducts cleaned just to make sure there’s no lingering dust or debris. If you’ve had asbestos abated or lead paint removed, air duct cleaning should be an automatic add-on for the job.
5. YOU HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER SUFFERING FROM PERSISTENT ALLERGIES
Dust, especially in an enclosed space like HVAC ductwork, can be composed of some disgusting materials. As noted above, rodent and cockroach droppings can crumble down to the dust level. Mold can mix with dust. Even human and pet dander can be sucked into the system and settle into the dust.
Besides being disgusting, such contaminants can cause upper respiratory distress. If you or a family member has been suffering from lingering allergy symptoms, dust in the air ducts is a likely culprit.
If you notice any of the above signs that you have dirty ducts, call the HVAC experts in to clean your ductwork. AirGanic can solve any of your HVAC issues.
SAFER, MORE EFFICIENT CLOTHES DRYER
Your home clothes dryer is a practical appliance that makes your life easier. When neglected, your clothes dryer can become the source of high energy bills and even a home fire. Here are three ways to ensure your clothes dryer is efficient and safe.
1. REPLACE THE FLEXIBLE DRYER EXHAUST DUCT
Your dryer’s exhaust duct is the only way out for all of the heated, wet air created by the drying action of the appliance and your heated, tumbled clothes. The terminal end of dryer duct expels the moist air to the exterior of your home.
In some cases, the exhaust duct must be bent or curved to reach an exterior wall or roof. The bends and curves in a dryer duct are prime spots for dust, moisture, and lint to take hold as the dryer air flows through the duct. Heavy buildup of lint and debris in a dryer duct is a fire risk in the event the dryer is overheated and sends sparks through the dryer duct.
In the past, dryer exhaust ducts were made of spiral-ribbed plastic or Mylar. The ridges in plastic and flexible Mylar exhaust ducts collect dust, humidity, and debris in the same way any bends and curves in the duct collect lint and debris.
If your dryer duct is made of a soft, flexible ribbed material, get a rigid metal dryer duct with a smooth internal surface to replace a ridged duct. The dryer duct should be at least 4 inches in diameter and made of galvanized steel or aluminum. Ensure that the joints in the dryer duct run in the same direction as the dryer exhaust flow.
2. KEEP YOUR DRYER DUCT LENGTH REASONABLE
Extremely long dryer ducts are sometimes necessary when laundry rooms are located in the middle of the home. However, a dryer duct over 35 feet in length is difficult to clean and monitor. Unless your dryer manufacturer approves use of a longer dryer duct, keep your dryer duct under 35 feet in total length.
Bends and curves in extra-long dryer vents restrict airflow, so attempt to run a new dryer duct in as straight a line from the appliance to the external vent as you can. In addition:
- Reduce the maximum length of your dryer duct by 2.5 feet for every 45-degree bend in the duct.
- Reduce the maximum length of the dryer duct by 5 feet for every 90-degree bend in the duct.
If your dryer duct is exceptionally long, you can run transition ducts made of flexible material in some portions of the exhaust duct. Transitional ducts are safest when they’re less than 8 feet in length.
At the end of the dryer duct, ensure that a back draft damper is installed. The damper keeps lint and humid exhaust from flowing back into your home. The damper also prevents small pests and pets from climbing into the dryer duct. Never put screens on the end of your dryer duct, since screens collect lint.
3. KNOW THE SIGNS OF A CLOGGED DRYER DUCT
As noted above, a clogged dryer duct is a fire hazard. Since hot air is not expelled from your dryer when the exhaust vent is clogged, your dryer is prone to overheat. When the dryer overheats, it can catch fire under the appliance. Sparks from mechanical failure or an appliance fire flow out of the dryer exhaust duct and may ignite lint and debris trapped in the clogged dryer vent.
In many cases, your dryer gives you clear warning signs when the exhaust vent is clogged. Since a clogged exhaust vent restricts airflow throughout the appliance’s operation, your clothes take longer to dry when the exhaust vent is blocked by lint and dust buildup.
Additional signs of a clogged dryer vent include the following:
- Clothes feel hotter than normal at the dryer cycle’s end.
- Outside surfaces of the dryer are extra hot to the touch.
- Laundry room air is hotter and moister than usual.
- Burnt, odd, or smoky smell is in laundry area.
- Damper dryer duct end that barely opens or won’t open during dryer operation.
- Moisture stains near areas where dryer exhaust duct runs.
When your dryer shows any of the above signs, schedule an inspection and cleaning of your dryer duct along with an HVAC-duct inspection and cleaning to be doubly safe in the colder months.
A clean dryer duct is safer and lowers your total energy costs. When your dryer doesn’t have to work as hard to handle your laundry demands, the appliance doesn’t consume as much electricity and/or gas.
If your dryer takes a long time to dry your clothes, contact our team at AirGanic for a complete dryer duct inspection and cleaning. We service dryer ducts for homeowners in the Seattle area including customers throughout the Edmonds, Washington region.
The compressor inside your air conditioning (AC) unit is arguably the hardest working part of your home cooling system. Here’s a quick guide to your AC compressor and how to keep the important part running smoothly.
AC COMPRESSORS HEAT UP REFRIGERANT
When your AC system cycles on, refrigerant gas flows into the AC compressor, which compresses the gas. The compression of the gas heats the refrigerant. Then, the refrigerant flows into the condenser to start cooling your home.
Compressors are designed to press against the refrigerant gas and reduce its volume. Most home AC systems in the recent past came with reciprocating compressors. As many as eight pistons pump up and down inside the AC compressor cylinders to compress the refrigerant gas.
Reciprocating compressors are efficient. However, reciprocating compressors have a lot of moving parts.
Scroll-type AC compressors compress refrigerant gas in a different way. A fixed scroll (coil) is in the center of the compressor. A second outer scroll rotates around the inner scroll. The refrigerant gas that enters the unit is compressed in the center of the scroll-type compressor by the rotating action rather than by pumping movement.
Because the scroll-type compressors require fewer moving parts than reciprocating AC compressors, the scroll-type compressors have become more popular. Fewer parts in the scroll-type compressors make them less likely to break down or need service.
Other AC compressor types include screw-type, rotary, and centrifugal compressors. Screw-type, rotary, and centrifugal compressors are most often on heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) systems for large commercial, medical, and industrial buildings.
AC COMPRESSORS OFFER MODERN OPTIONS
AC systems cool your home and remove summer humidity from the air. As compressed refrigerant gas leaves the AC compressor, heat releases through the evaporative coils. Moisture from the air and the AC operation are both removed when the compressor and condenser run.
Single-stage compressors only remain running as long as it takes to cool your home. If your home only requires a small amount of cooling, your AC system’s compressor may not run long enough to remove enough moisture from the air.
Modern residential AC compressors are available in standard single-stage compressors, but more homeowners choose to install AC units with two-stage or variable-capacity compressors. Both two-stage and variable-capacity compressors help eliminate the problem of too-short compressor cycles and inadequate dehumidification.
The two-stage compressor can run at the standard rate or at a second, lower cooling temperature. The second-stage option lets the AC compressor run for longer periods. The increased compressor operation periods ensure that the correct amount of moisture is removed by a two-stage AC system. In most cases, a two-stage AC compressor is more energy-efficient than a single-stage AC compressor.
Variable-capacity compressors offer the most customization of home cooling and humidity control. The variable-capacity AC compressor self-modulates throughout the day to respond to the indoor temperature. When less cooling is needed inside your home, the variable-capacity compressor goes into efficiency mode all on its own.
The variable-capacity AC compressor effectively removes excess humidity from your home, since the variable-phase compressor runs for longer periods during times when less cooling is needed. The variable-capacity AC compressor doesn’t start and stop for brief periods like a single-stage AC compressor does.
AC COMPRESSORS NEED SPECIAL CARE
Your AC compressor will last longer and offer more reliable service when your AC system has proper maintenance. Change your air filters as your HVAC repair professional recommends to keep debris, dust, and pollen out of your AC components.
Schedule annual maintenance of your AC system. Your HVAC pro performs a thorough check for any problems that could affect your AC compressor. Your HVAC professional tightens up electrical connections, checks the compressor motor, and fixes small problems with your AC system before your compressor is adversely affected.
Some of the issues that can affect your AC compressor include:
- Too-high pressure of refrigerant
- Too-low suction of refrigerant
- Failed bearing in compressor
- Inadequate airflow around coils
Don’t allow vegetation to clog the area around your exterior AC unit. Remove weeds and debris from all sides of the exterior AC unit so air circulates freely around the evaporator and condenser coils.
AC compressors are very sensitive to variations in electrical voltage. If your home has fluctuations in line voltage, expect a shorter useful life for your AC compressor. Too-low voltage makes the AC compressor motor draw excess current, which can lead to an overheated compressor motor. Too-high voltage can lead to motor failure over time.
Your HVAC professional has tools to check for refrigerant leaks, voltage issues, and other problems that may plague your AC compressor. Rely on the experts’ knowledge and skills to keep your AC compressor in top running order this summer.
Take care of your AC compressor this summer in the Seattle, Washington, area by contacting AirGanic Seattle today. We install new AC systems and service existing AC systems for optimal AC compressor performance.