Insulate Your Attic and Crawl Space for a Cooler Summer

Insulate Your Attic and Crawl Space for a Cooler Summer

AND CRAWL SPACE FOR A COOLER SUMMER

People often believe that home insulation only matters during the winter. No one thinks of wearing an insulated jacket in a sweltering heat wave. But people do use insulated coolers and beverage containers for cold drinks, so insulation is important for keeping your home cool, too. Here’s a quick guide to review about the summertime benefits of proper attic and crawl space insulation.

INSULATION IS AN ALLY OF YOUR AC SYSTEM

Your air conditioning (AC) system takes warm air and processes the air to blow colder air into your living spaces. A well-maintained AC system also manages humidity and particulate matter in the air.

When there are leaks in your AC system, or the AC ducts must pass through warm areas in the crawl space or attic, the heat is transferred to your AC system. The warm air may raise the temperature of forced air in the ducts. Summertime moisture from condensation, rain, and storm runoff can collect in non-insulated, non-sealed ducts and your AC system.

Excess spring and summer moisture comes from a variety of sources in the summer months, including the following:

  • Leaky pipes
  • Leaking faucets and fixtures
  • Condensation from hot days and cool nights

If condensation enters ductwork and your home in the summer months, the moisture can cause corrosion of AC equipment and mold growth in the system and the home. Insulation helps protect your AC system and your dwelling from summer corrosion and mold issues due to condensation.

INSULATION IN THE ATTIC LOWERS COOLING COSTS

The roof and exterior walls of your home make up the majority of your home’s barrier against the outside world. If left without insulation, your attic becomes a huge source of escaping warm air in winter and cold air in summer.

With all of the conditioned cool air flowing out of your home via your attic, your AC system must cycle on more frequently to keep up with the demand for cool air in the home. Over time, the constant cycling of the AC system ends up costing you more in power bills than you would pay to have your attic properly insulated against leaks.

In fact, you can cut your cooling and heating costs by up to 20 percent when you install new or improved insulation in your home. The energy savings pay for the extra security and comfort of your new attic insulation in the long run.

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.

INSULATION HELPS AC SYSTEMS LAST LONGER

When cool air escapes your attic, the AC system must work harder to meet summer cooling needs. The extra cooling cycles put a strain on AC equipment. Your AC system breaks down faster and has a lower lifespan when the system is chronically overworked in summer.

Some of the places where air leaks can happen in summer include attic spaces like the following:

  • Recessed lighting
  • Duct register
  • Plumbing vent stack
  • Dropped soffit
  • Vent fan
  • Top plate

A good way to tell if the attic floor is properly insulated is to check the level of insulation related to any uncovered attic floor joists. If the insulation doesn’t meet or extend above the top of the joists, you probably need additional insulation.

Your crawl space should also be insulated to reduce the amount of heat rising up from the unconditioned foundation space. When the attic and crawl space are properly insulated in summer, your AC system isn’t overworked. Insulation extends the useful life of your AC system by helping conserve cool air inside the home.

INSULATION AROUND DUCTWORK LOWERS PEST-RELATED AC PROBLEMS

Mice and rats often invade duct work in autumn and winter. They chew accessible materials and make nests inside or near the warm heating ducts in winter. In summer, mice and rats may continue using their cozy nests to raise more young.

Pest invasions in ducts aren’t simply nuisance infestations. When wild mammals, pets, birds, or rodents chew or tear through ductwork, the air leaks introduce bacteria and dirt into your AC system. The leaks also reduce your AC system’s efficiency in summer.

Rodents chew electrical wiring and other components. These invasive pests urinate on switches and electrical parts. A serious summertime pest infestation can cause burnout of blower motors and other parts in your AC system. Cats or other feral animals can destroy entire sections of ductwork.

Insulation secures the attic, crawl space, and ductwork from foraging and breeding animals in summer and keeps the resulting damage from pests at bay. Insulated ducts carry cool air more efficiently and keep contaminants out of your indoor air supply all summer long.

Schedule installation or inspection of attic and crawl space insulation for your home in the Edmonds, Washington region by contacting AirGanic today. We offer professional installation of home insulation as well as thorough AC duct cleaning to give you a summer full of cool comfort.

Make Your Home Safer for Your New Baby

Make Your Home Safer for Your New Baby

SAFER FOR YOUR NEW BABY

Expectant parents can take baby preparations to the next level by scheduling inspection and cleanup of their crawl spaces and attics. Here’s a guide to a few problems found in crawl spaces and attics and how your all-in-one HVAC pro can help.

MOLD AND MILDEW IN INSULATION

Some types of insulation are prone to mold and mildew. Typically, the insulation has exposure to leaks and/or high humidity, which provide a moist surface on which mold and mildew thrive.

Moisture penetrates crawl space and attic insulation due to the following conditions:

  • Roof or crawl space leak
  • Excess humidity in home
  • Poor ventilation
  • Flooding or plumbing leaks
  • Condensation from windows or sheathing

When mold and mildew develop in your crawl space or attic, the spores can easily enter nearby HVAC ducts and equipment. The spores then enter into your home with warm or cool air from your HVAC system.

Mold can cause the following health issues:

  • Upper respiratory tract issues
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
  • Shortness of breath

People who have asthma or allergies often have more serious health issues when they’re exposed to mold and spore-laden air. Address the issues causing moisture problems in your attic or crawl space before the issues get worse.

After roof leaks and other problems are repaired, schedule removal of moldy insulation and cleanup of your crawl space or attic by your HVAC professional. Schedule replacement of mold- and mildew-ridden insulation to create a place where your baby can breathe easy.

RODENT INFESTATION

Mammals that seek shelter in crawl spaces and attics can create health issues. Rats and mice can burrow through insulation in attics and crawl spaces. The rodents then urinate and defecate on insulation, wood joists, and anywhere else the rodents happen to travel.

Aside from their incessant chewing damage and nasty elimination habits, rats, mice, squirrels, and other rodents are vectors for serious human diseases.

Rodents can directly transmit diseases including the following:

  • Hantavirus
  • Hemorrhagic fever with Renal Syndrome
  • Lassa fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Plague
  • Rat-bite fever

Rodents directly and indirectly transmit the above diseases and more when people inhale dust contaminated with rodent urine or fecal matter, touch an infected rodent, or suffer a bite from an infected rodent. Fleas can also transmit diseases like Lyme disease from an infected rodent to a human when the fleas bite.

If you hear mice in the attic, or you’ve found evidence of rodents in your crawl space, hire a pest control company to eradicate the invasive animals. Then, schedule your HVAC pros to replace dirty, urine-soaked insulation with clean, new insulation.

LOOSE OR DAMAGED DUCTS

Various issues can cause duct connections to come loose. People working or exploring in a crawl space or attic may inadvertently disconnect part of your ductwork. House settling, earthquakes, and pets can jar ducts loose.

Ducts can corrode and develop holes. Feral cats or other small animals sometimes rip through flexible ducts to get warm in winter.

Disconnected and damaged HVAC duct segments allow contaminants from your crawl space and attic into your home’s air circulation. Dust, spores, gasses, and debris can enter the ductwork and make your indoor air unclean. Loose ductwork makes your HVAC system work harder to deliver the interior temperatures you desire. Some vents near damaged ductwork may deliver conditioned air that’s mixed with exterior air.

Before you bring your newborn home, schedule a thorough inspection of all of your crawl space and/or attic ductwork. Your HVAC professional can find any problems in the spaces, then repair and replace damaged ductwork to keep your air fresh and your HVAC bills from increasing.

INSECT DAMAGE AND COLONIES

People stay away from attics and crawl spaces for the most part. The absence of human traffic makes these areas perfect spots for insects and other bugs to take cover. Add any nearby pooled water, cardboard, and wood, and you’ve got ideal conditions for bugs including termites, cockroaches, and carpenter ants to invade.

Structural pests, including termites and carpenter ants, can hide under insulation and do grave damage to your home. Pests, including cockroaches, spread diseases and leave nasty stains and smells in your home.

The insects in attics and crawl spaces attract predators like spiders, snakes, and lizards that feast on the abundant pests. Your attic or crawl space can become a den of shed insect shells, larvae, and spider webs.

Hire a crawl space and attic cleanup team to remove bugs, debris, and dust from the areas where your ducts run. Ask the cleanup crew to disinfect the crawl space and/or attic to remove any lingering germs or waste from pests.

Schedule cleaning, disinfection, pest control, and removal of old insulation from your Edmonds-area crawl space or attic by contacting AirGanic today. We install new insulation, repair ductwork, and do HVAC repairs to get your Seattle, Washington, home all ready for your new little one.

Components Technicians Look at During Spring

Components Technicians Look at During Spring

TECHNICIANS LOOK AT DURING A SPRING AC INSPECTION

If you want to get maximum performance and efficiency from your air conditioning unit this summer, schedule a spring tune-up of your AC system. Depending on the type of AC system you own, your spring tune-up includes inspection and maintenance of the following five parts.

1. MECHANICAL COMPONENTS

Your AC system contains moving parts in the blower motor, compressor, and other areas. During an AC tune-up, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) specialist will lubricate some of the parts to keep them from breaking down due to friction. They will also replace or repair any worn, damaged, or missing parts.

Some of the parts the technician will look at include the AC belts, bolts, screws, nuts, fans, and blowers. Your technician will look for corrosion, rust, and other problems with these parts.

The HVAC specialist will also look at your AC compressor during a spring tune-up to check for proper operation. They’ll check the drainage pan and plug, clean them, and put them back in place. All drainage and condensate lines are also checked for blockages, mold, and wear.

2. ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS

HVAC specialists will start, run, and stop your AC system during the spring tune-up to ensure the electrical control sequences operate as intended. The specialist will check to make sure the heating and AC systems can’t run simultaneously.

Your HVAC pro will inspect wiring and electrical connections for shorts, detachment, and other issues that could affect the performance of your AC system. Loose and corroded terminals are cleaned and/or refastened.

The specialist will also tighten up all loose electrical connections and replace any frayed or worn electrical wires. During the electrical part of the AC inspection and tune-up, the specialist measures the voltage and current running to motors to ensure the AC unit receives the right amount of power to run efficiently and safely.

3. CONDENSER AND EVAPORATOR COILS

Your AC unit contains both indoor evaporator and outdoor condenser coils that must be kept clean of dust, insects, and debris. If you change your HVAC filter on schedule, you protect the coils from excess dirt and dust.

Even with routine filter changes, condenser and evaporator coils in AC systems get dirty. During an AC tuneup, your HVAC specialist will dust and clean out the coils to help your AC unit run efficiently. After cleaning, the specialist checks the airflow through the coils.

Coil fins can be compressed by foreign objects and rodents. Compression of coil fins lowers the coils’ ability to work effectively. The HVAC specialist will check coil fins for compression and restore the coils to working condition using a tool called a fin comb.

During a spring AC tuneup, the HVAC specialist checks both the interior and exterior AC units for dirty coils and coil compression. External coils may be damaged by falling limbs or clogged with leaves. Any dirty or damaged fins will be cleaned and restored.

If the area around your exterior AC unit must be cleared of adjacent foliage growth or clutter to increase the unit’s efficiency, your HVAC specialist will let you know.

4. AIR CONDITIONING REFRIGERANT

When your AC system requires refrigerant for cooling, your HVAC specialist will bring the type needed by your system to your tune-up just in case you need a refrigerant refill. The HVAC specialist knows that you must have the manufacturer’s specified refrigerant product and refrigerant charge for your AC system to work the most efficiently.

The HVAC specialist checks for leaks in the system and then checks the level of refrigerant remaining in the AC refrigerant lines. The specialist may need to flush or repair the refrigerant lines and connections before adding more product to your AC unit.

Refrigerant should never be overcharged into your AC system. Too much refrigerant can damage your AC system and cause leaks. If you don’t need refrigerant at your spring AC tune-up date, your HVAC specialist can give you an estimate of your expected recharge date in the future.

5. THERMOSTAT

uring a spring AC tune-up, the HVAC specialist checks your thermostat for issues including where the thermostat is located. If your thermostat is located in an area that interferes with the operation or efficiency of your AC system, the HVAC specialist may suggest ways to remedy the issue.

For example, if direct sunlight hits the thermostat, it may kick on more often. However, you may be able to block the sunlight from the thermostat with drapes or a plant, so you don’t need to pay to relocate the thermostat.

The controls, wiring, and calibration of your thermostat will be checked during a spring tune-up. The precise services included with the thermostat checkup depend on the type of thermostat that’s installed with your AC system. Your HVAC specialist can also recommend thermostat settings that keep you cool and reduce energy costs.

Beat the summer rush for AC services in the Greater Seattle, Washington, area by contacting the HVAC experts at AirGanic today. Schedule your spring air conditioning tune-up, and enjoy a cool, comfortable summer knowing your system is in tip-top shape.

Potential Health Consequences of Dirty Air Ducts

Potential Health Consequences of Dirty Air Ducts

CONSEQUENCES OF DIRTY AIR DUCTS

Indoor pollution is a health hazard for everyone, but especially for those with allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, or compromised immune systems.

If you have dirty air ducts, understand that mold spores, dust, pet dander, pollen, and other dangerous microorganisms can infiltrate your living space every time you turn on your heating and cooling system. Here are some potential health consequence of dirty air ducts and how your heating and cooling professional can help keep you and your family from getting sick.

FUNGAL INFECTIONS

Mold is a fungus, and when mold spores infiltrate your indoor air, inhalation exposure risk is high. Inhaling mold spores may predispose you to fungal infections of the lungs and nasal cavity, which, unlike bacterial infections, are not responsive to antibiotics.

Antifungal medications are the treatment of choice for a mold-related infection. However, fungal infections are sometimes resistant to treatment. Also, antifungal medications can produce serious side effects such as abdominal cramping, diarrhea, headache, alterations in blood pressure, and taste alterations.

Hire a heating and cooling professional to clean the components of your unit with special tools and duct-cleaning vacuum cleaner. Once your air ducts have been cleaned, the air quality in your home will help you and your family stay healthy.

URTICARIA AND SKIN RASHES

Mold and mildew that has collected in your ductwork can also cause urticaria. Also known as hives, urticaria causes severe itching and welts, and in some cases may predispose you severe swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat.

If your home had a leak because of a structural problem or broken pipes, your air ducts may be more likely to harbor mold and mildew because these microorganisms tend to proliferate in areas where standing water and condensation have accumulated.

If you or anyone in your family suddenly breaks out in hives or develops an itchy rash, make an appointment with your doctor. In the meantime, call a heating and cooling professional to inspect your air ducts for signs of mold and mildew infestation.

Not only are humans susceptible to the health consequences of mold and mildew exposure, but pets are too. If your dog or cat is suffering from extreme itching, or if you notice round, red circles on its body, the animal may have ringworm, a fungal infection of the skin.

SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION

Mold spore exposure may also raise histamine levels in your body, triggering systemic inflammation. If systemic inflammation is not suppressed, it can cause difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal problems, blood pressure problems, and even a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease, renal problems, and autoimmune disorders.

Mold exposure from dirty air ducts can also lead to histamine intolerance, a condition where you can develop watery eyes, runny nose, diarrhea, breathing problems, hives, and chronic itching. Once your air ducts have been cleaned, systemic inflammation and histamine overload symptoms may resolve.

It is important to note that although having your air ducts cleaned will improve the air quality of your home, your physical symptoms may take weeks before they completely resolve.

In addition to cleaning your dirty air ducts, your heating and cooling professional will also inspect your cool air return registers to make sure they are not clogged with dust and debris. If the register grates are dirty, the technician will vacuum them or remove them and wash them so that all traces of debris are removed.

If you are concerned about mold and mildew infestation inside your air ducts, contact AirGanic today to schedule an appointment for an inspection. Maintaining your heating and cooling system saves your money, improves your air quality, and keeps your system running at peak performance.

Insulation In A Nutshell

Insulation In A Nutshell

NUTSHELL

Homeowners across the world are putting more effort and money into insulation. Why? Because insulation technology has grown immensely since the 1900’s! Upgraded insulation not only saves money but also ensures a home environment that is inviting and clean and healthy!

We all know that when it comes to heating, cooling, and energy costs, we save with efficiency. And what affects efficiency the most? You guessed it, it’s insulation.

Here’s why it works that way:

Air Flow is always moving from cold areas to warm areas. Your house receives cold air all the time from your attic, crawl space, and walls. While this is happening your HVAC system is constantly trying to heat the house and because the cold air keeps coming in, your system struggles to maintain the temperature. While this all may seem simple enough, the system that loses efficiency the most is that of the thermostat sending signals to the furnace. On normal systems, the communication between the two is just not fast enough or accurate enough to do anything but using a ton of energy, which in turn costs you a ton of money. Efficiency is literally being thrown out of the window!

There is a right way and a wrong way…

By insulating your house with the right R value (the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow) you will make sure that no cold air is penetrating your house and no cold air is leaving your house on the hot days of the year.

Here are some tips to help you before you set up an inspection appointment:

  • Keep track of your energy bills. If you see an increase in the last few years it is time to get an inspection.
  • Look for any gaps/holes in your house sidings. Rodents use crawl spaces as warm places to stay. While they live there they destroy the insulation. If you suspect that this is the case, book an inspection asap.
  • Determine if you even have insulation. It is easy to check it. Simply look up in the Attic or Crawlspace and you should see blown-in or batted insulation between the joists in the Attic or in the Crawlspace ceiling. (see picture below)

Blown-in Insualtion

Batted Insulation

Get started. Get inspected. Save money. Beautify your home!

Take the first step towards better insulation. Book a free inspection with us today!

See you soon!

5 Things You Can Do to Drastically Reduce your Energy Bill

5 Things You Can Do to Drastically Reduce your Energy Bill

DO TO DRASTICALLY REDUCE YOUR ENERGY BILL

The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, and nearly half of that comes from heating and cooling costs.

Here are 5 things that you can do today that will reduce your energy bills and keep your system maintained and efficient.

 1. Clean/change the air filter:

If you only make one tune-up this season, clean your air filter. Doing so will lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15%.

In the summertime, wash your reusable filter or replace your disposable one once every 3 months.

2. Clean the outdoor and indoor units:

This is a job for a licensed HVAC technician. The technician will keep the outdoor condenser fan running efficiently by cleaning the fan blades, and will maintain the unit’s ability to cool the air moving through it by removing dust and build up from the indoor evaporator coil.

3. Order a Tune-up Service:

Tune up/maintenance service is another job best performed by a licensed HVAC technician. This service helps to make sure that your system is working on max efficiency and that none of the components in your system is failing, a tune up service will reduce the risk of system breakdown and loss of efficiency.

4. Insulate your house:

Insulating your home properly will save you up to 20% on energy costs throughout the year, Crawlspace, Attic, and Walls are the “shell” of your home, insulate it properly with the right R value will keep the house at a comfortable temperature and by that reduce the usage of the HVAC system, this will save up to 20% on your energy bills.

5. Make sure your thermostat is set properly:

Research shows that using a programmable thermostat can save up to 10% on your energy bills, keeping the thermostat at one temperature can cost extra on your energy bill by making the system work overtime to maintain the temperature in the house, get yourself a programmable thermostat and choose temperatures for specific time frames and by that save another 10% on your energy bill.

At AirGanic, we understand how important your home is to you and your family, and we make it our mission to give you the best service possible. Our team will make you and your household our highest priority. We guarantee 100% satisfaction on every job.

Scheduling an appointment online is our smart and easy solution to help you get service quickly. It’s free, easy, accurate, and an extension of our commitment to provide you with the best experience possible.

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