Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

HVAC Maintenance Spring Checklist

While it is still a little chilly outside, every indication is that we will have an early Spring. That is mostly good news for Texans. After all, we had several harsh winters in a row, and an early spring is welcome news. We will comfortably enjoy being outdoors earlier and more often. It also means that the cooling season will begin earlier for indoor spaces. Is your air conditioner system ready? Is it time for a preventative HVAC maintenance visit?

All Cool recommends an annual HVAC maintenance visit to ensure your cooling system is ready for the long cooling season. This visit will include:

A Thorough Cleaning

  • Start with a new air filter. The air filter collects airborne particles with every heating and cooling cycle, but when the collected particles become too thick, the clog restricts airflow. Your air conditioner depends on huge amounts of air passing through the evaporator chamber to remove humidity and cool the air. A new filter ensures clean air and unrestricted airflow.
  • Rinsing the evaporator coil. This coil stays wet all summer long since moisture from the air hits the cold evaporator metal. Any dust that makes it past the filter tends to collect on the coil. The buildup of dust particles inhibits the transfer of heat, making your system work harder.
  • Flush away any debris from the drain pan. The moisture from the evaporator coil drains into a pan below and empties into a drain line. Any dust or debris can result in a clogged drain line and water leaking onto the floor in the surrounding area.
  • Clean the outdoor condenser unit. All winter long, the wind has been blowing leaves and debris around and even inside the condenser unit. These will need to be cleaned away. The condenser also needs substantial airflow for heat transfer, so lawn clippings and dirt will need to be washed off the condenser coil and fins. Often, any bent condenser fins can be carefully straightened to enhance the efficiency of the unit.

Electrical Testing

  • All things thermostats. The thermostat is the ON/OFF switch for the air conditioner, responding to sensors that call for cooling when the place warms up. They run on battery power, so the batteries will be changed, and the settings adjusted as needed.
  • The whole system functions on a series of sensors and control components. Electrical testing equipment can uncover failures and weaknesses; replacing or repairing these parts can prevent stress and failure over a long cooling season.
  • The technician will be looking for common problems or a repetition of electrical failures.

Gas Pressure Testing

  • Freon pressure tests. Residential air conditioners use one of several refrigerant gases, commonly called freon. The cooling process requires a range of gas pressures; a loss of pressure often causes catastrophic system failure. Gas will be added to bring the pressure within the appropriate range.
  • Leak detection. If the closed system is losing gas, the system is leaking. Any leaks will come with a recommendation—for obvious reasons—for a leak repair.

Function Testing

After all the components are cleaned and tested, the cooling function of the system will be tested to ensure it works properly. The goal is for the air conditioner to cool efficiently all summer long and for many seasons to come.

Call the HVAC Maintenance Experts at All Cool AC!

Schedule your HVAC Maintenance consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified HVAC Maintenance technicians put their experience to work for you.




6 Ways to Prep Your HVAC System for Winter

6 Ways to Prep Your HVAC System for Winter

Prep Your HVAC System for Winter in Six Easy Steps

The tough part of winter is now upon us. Fall gives us a sense of “easing” into cooler weather, but for the next few months, we expect temps to drop to their lowest all year long. However, the difference between outdoor cold and indoor warmth allows you to investigate potential problems and find solutions to make your home more comfortable. Take a casual walk around the “castle grounds” and discover ways to make changes for the better.

  1. Bend down and check your HVAC System air filter. Can you remember the last time you changed it? An air filter so coated with dust that it restricts airflow hinders HVAC System function in the summer and winter. Reduced airflow will result in a colder home in the winter and a warmer home in the summer. Clogged air filters created tremendous stress on the entire system.

Solution: change the air filter and develop a prompt to remind you to change the filter every three months.

  1. Check your thermostat view panel. Unless you have an old, analog thermostat, this switch operates on battery power and, just like alarm clocks and smoke detectors, the batteries will need to be changed annually to prevent thermostat failure. According to Murphy’s Law, that thermostat will die at the most inopportune time—during the middle of a rare snowstorm when the junk drawer battery supplies have run dry.

Solution: your thermostat may have a “low battery” indicator; if so, change the battery now. Then, add the thermostat to the list of other batteries you change annually.

  1. Check your records to determine the last time a professional serviced your HVAC system. Even when the entire system functions perfectly, the heating and ventilation processes create problems that work to bring the system to a standstill. The byproducts of burning natural gas produce water and soot—both work against the system for proper functioning. The electrical components wear with use, just like every other electrical device you use. Airborne particles get trapped and reduce efficiency along every process step.

Solution: schedule a maintenance visit and create a prompt to remind you each year.

  1. Use your hand and feel for drafts around windows and doors. Glass is a poor insulator and a great conductor of heat, so expect the glass to absorb heat from the room and feel cold. Drafts are different: cold air coming around windowpanes or frames happens because of openings in the building envelope. These openings tend to be very small and a minor concern individually. However, combining the sum of the openings around the home can be the equivalent of an open window.

Solution: caulk and weatherstripping are very inexpensive solutions to fill the gaps and close the “opening” in your building envelope.

  1. Use this same principle and, with your hand, discover any leaks along exposed ductwork. Most ducts will be covered up, but any leak allows warm air to escape directly outdoors. In this case, every minor gap is a problem since conditioned air is under pressure as it travels through the network of ducts.
  2. Poke your head into the attic. It’s probably been a while since you’ve done that! The entire attic should be covered by 10 to 12 inches of insulation. Check it with a ruler or measuring tape. The ceiling joists should be covered by insulation. This insulation acts as a barrier, keeping the heat from escaping during the winter.

Solution: add insulation to a depth of 12 inches to ensure comfort and warmth.

Let us help you winterize your HVAC System

Schedule your HVAC System consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified HVAC System technicians put their experience to work for you.

3 HVAC Maintenance Tips to Improve Efficiency

3 HVAC Maintenance Tips to Improve Efficiency

3 HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Air conditioning is such a comfort during the long, hot summertime. All winter long, we look forward to summer fun in the sun. However, since the heat and humidity are so relentless, we seek relief whenever we go inside. Air conditioning has become so essential to our summer. It would be nice to find ways to enhance the air conditioning experience. Here are a few suggestions to enhance your HVAC Maintenance experience.

1 Keep the Heat Outside and the Cool Inside

This seems like a no-brainer, but to do it well it takes intentional actions.

  • The quality of insulation will become very evident during times of extreme temperatures—both hot and cold temperatures. Getting into the attic to add insulation during triple-digit or single-digit temperatures is not a wise decision. However, preparing for extreme temps while the temps are mild is a wise decision.
  • Windows transfer a tremendous amount of energy in the form of heat into the home. Sunlight is not the problem; it is the accompanying infrared energy that creates the heat. Floor and furniture surfaces are heated and retain the heat. Additionally, heat passes through glass readily, heating the inside air. Keep blinds and drapes closed during the midday period, opening them in the mornings and evenings to enjoy the natural light.

2 Keep the Thermostat Steady

It is tempting to use the thermostat inside like the fan switch on our car’s air conditioner, turning it up when you enter and down when the temperature drops. That might work in the small confines of a car, but it doesn’t work for a home air conditioner.

  • When the thermostat is set at 740 and the temperature rises to 750, the thermostat instructs the air conditioner to begin cooling the air. The cooling cycle may last for 5 to 10 minutes if it is functioning normally. Dropping the thermostat to 640 will also instruct the air conditioner to begin cooling the air. It will also take 5 to 10 minutes or so—not a minute less. Dropping the thermostat setting does not cool the space faster, but it does put tremendous stress on the air conditioner.
  • A better approach is to schedule the temperature setting, including any changes you might desire, and let the air conditioner do its job. If your family has a steady summertime schedule—leaving and returning at regular intervals—temperature changes can be programmed to coincide with the schedule. Program temperatures change and do not alter the schedule.

3 Schedule Filter Changes and HVAC Maintenance

Homeowners can enhance their air conditioner system by keeping it clean. Change the air filter regularly to keep indoor air clean and ensure a free flow of air. Scheduling annual preventative maintenance increases the performance of air conditioners and uncovers small problems before they become big problems.

We Specialize in HVAC Maintenance to Reduce Your Utility Bills

Schedule your free HVAC Maintenance consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified HVAC Maintenance technicians put their experience to work for you.

AC Maintenance: Best Air Filter for Your HVAC System

AC Maintenance

AC Maintenance: Best Air Filter for Your HVAC System

AC Maintenance: HEPA Filters vs Merv Filters

We all acknowledge the importance of air filters since they successfully remove dust, pollen, dander, and mold spores. They clean indoor air but also keep dust from interfering with the function of HVAC systems. Filters are not composed of solid sheets, but are fibrous, with gaps to allow airflow. The size of the gaps determines the size of particles that are captured and thus, their efficiency.

Since filters collect airborne particles with each cycle, the filter eventually clogs and needs to be replaced. The Environmental Protection Agency and all manufacturers of HVAC equipment recommend changing air filters AT LEAST every three months. Fortunately, air filters are commonly available in a variety of home improvement and hardware stores. However, due to the size of the openings in the fiber, not all filters are manufactured equally—neither do they claim to be equal. Packaging for filters from various sources often touts various ratings with different acronyms and numbers; some explanations may be in order.

FPR Rating

Home Depot developed the Filter Performance Rating for their own brand of air filters; ratings are identified as Good, Better, Best, and Premium. The FPR rating for Good range between 4-5, Better have a range of 6-7, Best has a range of 8-9, and Premium filters have a rating of 10. With each upgrade, more particles are removed. While not exact, the ratings describe the size of the particles each rating collects and helps consumers understand their products.

MPR Rating

3M has also developed a rating for its Filtrete brand of filters. Filtrete filters are manufactured and marketed to remove specific airborne particulates. Some filters target dust and allergens, others target odors, and others seek to trap bacteria and viruses. MPR ratings use four digits—the higher the number, the smaller the opening. Consumer packaging denotes the percentage of the targeted particulate that will be removed.

MERV Rating

In 1987, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) developed a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV rating. Since they do not manufacture filters, the rating can be applied to all filters, including Filtrete and Hope Depot brand filters. The MERV rating is based on the gaps in the fibrous filter material. Since some particles are too large to enter the small gaps 100% of those particles are removed. With small gaps, some particles larger than the gap will be collected. MERV rating seeks to measure the amount of small particles trapped.

  • MERV ratings range between 1 and 20; the higher the number the smaller the gap and the higher the efficiency of the filter.
  • MERV-rated filters below 8 filter particles 10 and 3 microns.
  • MERV-rated filters between 8 and 14 are used in commercial and residential HVAC systems. They remove particles between 3 and 1 micron.
  • MERV-rated filters between 15 and 20 are designed for hospital and laboratory use. They remove particles as small as 0.3 microns—smaller than most bacteria and some viruses.

For comparison, human hairs are between 60 and 70 microns in diameter, common pollen is between 7 and 10 microns in diameter, spider silk is about 5 microns in diameter, and mold spores and bacteria are approximately 1 micron in diameter.

HEPA Filters

High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter is a designation by the Environmental Protection Agency for filters with gaps 0.3 microns or smaller. These filters collect and trap 99.97% of all airborne particles, including bacteria and viruses. HEPA filter applications include hospitals and laboratories but also are used in products that avoid allergic reactions.

It might seem appropriate to use the most efficient filter for health and safety. However, air filters with a MERV rating above MERV 14 are not appropriate for residential and commercial HVAC systems. Normal blower motors do not have adequate strength to push air through the extremely small gaps in highly efficient air filters. Consult with your HVAC professional before installing filters rated above MERV 14.

AC Maintenance Tips to Help with AC Filter Replacement are Just a Phone Call Away

Schedule your free AC Replacement consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified HVAC technicians put their experience to work for you.

5 Essential AC Maintenance Tips

5 Essential AC Maintenance Tips

AC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Heat and humidity seem to be our constant companions during the summer months. Your air conditioner is a critical key to keeping your family comfortable during the long Texas cooling system. We often share tips with homeowners for maintaining air conditioners, but it may be good to know there are more steps you can take to help keep your house cool beyond your air conditioner. While these steps cannot take the place of AC, they certainly can help. Let’s take a look at some of these AC Maintenance steps.

“Use” Sunlight Wisely

Everyone loves natural light flowing into their home. However, summertime sunlight equates to an increase in indoor temperature. Closing blinds and/or drapes during the day will reduce sunlight and keep your home cooler during the hottest part of the day. Tree shade and directional facing will be different for each home; know how to keep your home cooler.

Plan Meals

Oven-cooked meals might be perfect during cooler months, but they put stress on your AC and warm your kitchen significantly. There are several options available to keep your kitchen cooler.

  • Set one day aside to cool meals for the week. This reduces the number of hot days in the kitchen
  • Plan to cook outdoors.
  • Use energy-saving appliances, such as air fryers and electric pressure cookers

Schedule Cleaning

Clothes dryers and dishwashers contribute a little bit of heat and humidity to your home and impact comfort. If you plan to run these devices in the evening hours, during the coolest part of the day, they should have a minimal impact on your comfort and help with energy conservation.

Redirect Your Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans will not lower the air temperature but moving air speeds evaporation and therefore the air feels cooler. On the core of each ceiling fan is a small toggle switch that changes the direction of the fan. When the fan turns in the counterclockwise direction, it pushes air down and creates a cool breeze. Make sure each fan is turning counterclockwise during the summer to keep your home at peak comfort.

Address Problem Areas

If one or more rooms are consistently warmer than the rest of the house, don’t ignore the fact and research the root cause. Inspect every surface:

  • Check the attic for poor insulation
  • Check the windows and doors for leaks
  • Check the ducts to make sure they are intact and not leaking.

Of course, taking care of your air conditioner goes a long way toward keeping your home comfortable. Every mechanical system needs maintenance, and your air conditioner is no different. Cleaning the condenser coil, and ducts, and changing air filters are a few maintenance tasks that help your AC run efficiently. A regular preventative AC Maintenance inspection is recommended by your AC manufacturer.

Give All Cool AC a call to schedule an annual preventative AC maintenance visit with an HVAC professional.

Let us help with your AC Maintenance

Schedule your AC Maintenance assessment by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

5 Essential AC Maintenance Tips

6 Tips HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

6 Tips HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

6 Tips HVAC Maintenance Tips to Better Energy Efficiency

Air conditioning is such a comfort during the summertime; stepping out of oppressive heat and humidity into a cool, dry environment is both welcoming and relaxing. The converse is also true.

Stepping into a home and expecting air conditioning but being disappointed is very stressful and troubling. Wise homeowners don’t just assume their AC will work but take the HVAC Maintenance extra steps to ensure it is kept in good working order.

Change Your Air Filter Regularly

A dirty, clogged air filter leads to two major problems for air conditioners. First, it causes your blower motor to work harder than it should. While the blower fan moves large volumes of air—the entire volume of your home every 2 or 3 minutes—a clogged filter reduces the airflow, and the blower motor must work harder to complete its task.

Second, the evaporator coils bring very cold refrigerant gas into the evaporator chamber. Warm air from the house is being drawn through the filter and exchanged the heat for cold.

Reduced airflow causes humidity to freeze on the coils and this reduces the exchange of heat and cold. Expect warmer air from the air conditioner with an extremely clogged filter.

 Clean Your Evaporator Coils and Drain Pan

In addition to exchanging heat with cold, the evaporator removes humidity from the air when it condenses on the coils. By tripping the circuit breaker-marked AC and removing a few bolts, you can access the evaporator chamber and do a little maintenance. First, observe the coils—often a V-shape—and vacuum away any accumulated dust.

Second, observe the drain pan, looking for debris or algae buildup. Carefully pour a cup of bleach or vinegar into the drain pan as a deterrent to algae growth. You may need a wet/dry shop vacuum to clean out algae buildup in the drain lines. After you have returned the chamber cover and flip the circuit breaker back to the ON position.

Clean Your Condenser Unit

Stepping outside, locate the air conditioner condenser unit, a small, boxy component with a prominent fan on the top. The refrigerant gas has collected heat from your home in the evaporator chamber and brings it outdoors for release. The entire box is composed of a network of tubes with very small fins.

Airflow through this network transfers the heat to the moving air and cools down quickly. Quickly, unless the airflow is restricted by the accumulation of dirt, grass clippings, and debris. Use a garden hose—not a power washer—to gently clean the spaces between the tubes and promote good airflow. Trim any hedges and remove any debris within about 3 feet of the condenser.

Check Vents and Registers

In order for air conditioning to work properly, air must flow in large volumes. A normal 15-minute cooling cycle will move the entire volume of your home 7 or 8 times, maybe more. It moves that volume of air unless, of course, the vents and registers in the home are covered. Check each room and find one or more registers on or along the floor.

Rooms with more square footage will have more than one register. Make sure they are not covered by furniture or drapes. Each level of the home will have one or more return air vents.

Observe the vents about ¾ of the way up walls, perhaps in hallways or open spaces. Make sure that furniture and drapes do not cover your vents and reduce air movement.

Program The Thermostat for Summertime

Many homes have programmable or Smart thermostats. This allows homeowners to customize the temperature settings to match the family schedule and comfort levels. Summertime schedules change, so make sure to keep the settings adjusted to the season.

Consider adjusting the setting while the family is sleeping or away, reducing the demand for energy. Create a 30-minute buffer right before the alarm clock sounds or the first family member returns.

Plan an Annual HVAC Maintenance Tune-up

Scheduling a visit from an HVAC Maintenance professional to clean, inspect, and test the system is a sure way to keep your system running for as long as possible. The additional HVAC Maintenance care ensures that components function properly, gas levels are appropriate, and connections are maintained. This HVAC Maintenance TLC lengthens the serviceable life of your entire system.

Time for HVAC Maintenance?

Schedule your upcoming HVAC maintenance appointment by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

6 Tips HVAC Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

5 Steps HVAC Systems Can Ease Allergies

5 Steps HVAC Systems Can Ease Allergies

Easing Your Allergies in 5 Easy HVAC System Steps

The trigger for allergies happens when a normally harmless substance is considered by the body as foreign; the body creates antibodies to attack the substance and works to remove it from the body. Five of the ten most common allergies are caused by airborne particles—pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold, and perfumes/household chemicals. These allergens cause itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing, and wheezing.

Your HVAC system was designed to help reduce airborne particles, including most of these allergens, from homes and businesses. When you reduce the number of particles, you reduce the allergic response. If you or your family suffer from seasonal allergies, there are a few things you can do to enhance the normal filtration function and remove more allergens. Here are five easy steps to take to remove allergens using your HVAC system.

  1. Remove Existing Allergens.
    1. Stop new allergens from getting in by keeping windows and doors closed during allergy season. Weatherproof your doors and windows; it will make your home more energy-efficient, more comfortable, and will reduce drafts that bring in pollen and mold spores.
    2. Take your shoes off at the door to prevent depositing pollen throughout the house.
    3. Diligently clean hard and soft surfaces often during allergy season. Airborne particles, including pet dander, get deposited around the house and can be removed with a dust cloth or a vacuum cleaner.
  2. Upgrade Your Air Filter.
    1. Every HVAC system will have an air filter, designed to pull dust, dirt, and dander from the circulating air. Generally, air filters are made from paper or fiber with very small holes to let air through, but small enough holes to capture airborne particles.
    2. Air filters are rated by the size of the opening, with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV rating. Common air filters have a 6 MERV rating, but your HVAC system can handle an air filter with an 11 to 13 MERV rating. If seasonal allergies are a problem, an 11 MERV-rated filter or higher will take out dust and pet hair like other filters, but it will also collect microscopic pollen and mold spores.
    3. Air filters need to be changed to work efficiently. The collected particles will clog the filter and reduce the air flowing through the entire system. The rule of thumb is to change your air filter every three months, but each home is unique, and you will need to inspect it periodically to see if that is enough. Set a schedule with reminders to change your air filter on time.
  3. Consider Air Purification Additions.
    1. Ultraviolet light will neutralize living, organic matter, including pollen, mold, bacteria, and viruses. The lights are installed in the ductwork to kill off these allergens and prevent growth. The air filter picks them up more readily when they are inert.
    2. Ionization filters use static electricity to attract particles that the air filter might miss.
    3. Consult with your HVAC professional to explore whole house and portable room air purifier options.
  4. Keep Allergens Out of Ductwork.
    1. The powerful HVAC blower motor keeps most dust and airborne particles moving; even particles that might be deposited in ducts will be picked up and circulated during the next cycle.
    2. The Environmental Protection Agency does not recommend regular duct cleaning, since so little is deposited inside of ducts.
    3. There are a few reasons to have ducts inspected and cleaned. These reasons include:
      1. Discovering mold growth. If mold is growing in one area of the house, the spores are being carried through the ducts. As part of the mold mitigation, the ducts will need to be cleaned.
      2. If mice, rats, squirrels, or other pests have made a home in the ductwork, the mess they make will need to be cleaned as part of the removal process.
    • If an unusual amount of dust is collecting on surfaces, it may indicate a buildup that needs to be cleaned.
  1. Mold Will Follow Humidity.
    1. Mold can grow when organic material, including dust, and moisture is abundant.
    2. Areas where moisture can accumulate unnoticed include bathrooms, kitchens, laundry areas, basements, and leaky attics. Mold can also grow in areas that have previously experienced flooding.
    3. Inefficient or failing air conditioners can also lead to moisture and mold growth.
    4. Moisture accumulation normally requires repair and potential mold mitigation. If moisture continues to be a problem, portable room dehumidifiers are available to remove excess moisture from the air.

Have Questions About Easing Your Allergies in 5 Easy Steps?

Let us know how we can help with reducing allergens with proper HVAC system maintenance, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

5 Steps HVAC Systems Can Ease Allergies

3 Seasonal Care for Your HVAC System Tips

3 Seasonal Care for Your HVAC System Tips

Seasonal Care for Your HVAC System

Routine appointments are so important but so easy to neglect. Over the years, we have developed better ways to remind ourselves about routine things; refrigerators have indicator lights to remind you to change filters and new cars have oil change messages.

Labor Day has been designated as an indicator to change smoke alarm batteries; All Cool AC would like to suggest the transition from summer cooling to Fall heat be a reminder to care for your HVAC system. It is routine and can be easily forgotten, so put a reminder on your phone app to schedule a visit.

Your HVAC has been providing fresh air at just the right temperature faithfully for years. If you want it to continue providing that service, give it some regular TLC.

  • Honestly, when was the last time you cleaned the vents? Air circulates every time the system cycles, but when the blower stops, so does the air. Airborne particles, such as dust and pollen, get deposited inside the ductwork. Over the years, the accumulation can be significant, and you don’t need to breathe that in.

    It may be the reason you see more dust on surfaces. Since your arms are not long enough and you don’t have the proper equipment to clean them properly, this is a job for a professional. A thorough cleaning will remove the dust, dander, and pollen, greatly improving indoor air quality.

  • While you are in the cleaning mood, we can’t forget to replace your HVAC filters. Your AC filter prevents dust particles from entering the air of your home. A dirty HVAC filter will reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning and reduce the indoor air quality.

    A dirty AC filter can be dangerous to those family members with allergies or compromised immune systems. Regular replacement of your HVAC air filter will reduce your energy consumption and improve indoor air quality.

  • A seasonal maintenance visit can be very beneficial in several ways. First, you know your system is prepared for the heating season ahead. Second, you might have to avoid a cascade of problems. The furnace tends to fail when it is under stress—you guessed it, right as the temperature drops at nightfall.

    There is nothing quite like waking up in the cold. Instead of a seasonal maintenance visit, you are asking for an emergency visit. They tend to be very inconvenient for you and more expensive in the long run.

So, use the change from the cooling season to the heating season as a reminder to schedule a preventative maintenance visit.

Need Help Seasonal Care for Your HVAC System?

Let us know how we can help with your HVAC System Seasonal Care and HVAC maintenance, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

3 Seasonal Care for Your HVAC System Tips

How Your HVAC System Alleviate Allergies in Your Home

HVAC System Alleviate Allergies-1

Alleviating Allergies at Home with a High Performing HVAC System

Seasonal allergies, the reaction of our bodies to (mostly) airborne irritants, are unique to each individual sufferer. For instance, Spring tree pollen, mown grass, or mold spores do not seem to faze me; but there is a particular yellow weed that blooms in the Fall that gets me every time. Oh yeah, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and body aches.

No matter what time of year your allergies come, your home can be an oasis from the irritants that aggravate seasonal allergies. Your home has several systems to help; a little knowledge will help you use them best for your unique allergies. We will also suggest improvements that can enhance existing systems if you need further help.

Use Ventilation to Your Advantage

Most homes are sealed to a significant degree, so most irritants come through doors and windows and not through gaps in the housing envelop. Once pollen comes in through the door, they are trapped inside until removed. A good seal house can contain 3 to 5 times more contaminants than outdoor air. One solution to eliminate irritants is opening doors and windows strategically.

If Oak pollen is your Kryptonite, make sure to keep doors and windows closed as much as possible for the two weeks are so that Oak pollen is active. If you have “Hay Fever” each time the lawn is mowed, keep those irritants outdoors while mowing.

Once the particular pollen or spore has passed, exchange the indoor air with outdoor air to remove trapped contaminants. Opening a couple of windows or doors for 15 to 30 minutes is enough time to completely exchange the indoor air with outdoor air.

Balance this need with the need to keep indoor air cool or warm as the season changes.

Clean Your Home Thoroughly

While this might be stating the obvious, dusting, mopping, and vacuuming weekly, more often if necessary, is a crucial step to remove contaminants from your home. Use products that trap dust with static electricity. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter if possible.

Understand Air Filters

Year-round your HVAC system’s air filter is the most efficient tool to remove dust, pollen, mold, mildew, and pet dander from your indoor air. The more you know about how the air filter works the better you can prepare to improve indoor air quality.

Your HVAC system moves all of the air inside of your house several times per day as long as the blower is running. It pulls air through air returns, strategically placed throughout your home, filters the air, heats or cools/dehumidifies it, and sends it back through supply ducts. Filtration takes particles out of the air prior to conditioning the air, keeping sensitive electrical equipment clean.

Traditional air filters are made of composite materials (paper/fiber mix) thin enough for good airflow. Filters are rated on a MERV scale, from 1 to 16—the higher the MERV rating the better. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are a step up, considered between 17 and 20 on the scale. Use the best filter available for the cleanest air.

Make sure to change your air filter as often as needed. Change the filter at least every three months—consider changing the filter every month during your allergy season.

Maintain Proper Humidity

Your HVAC system not only cleans the air but also removes humidity to keep your home’s humidity at an ideal 30 to 50% humidity.

Air conditioners remove moisture from the air to prevent the growth of mold and mildew, common allergens.

Winter air is already drier and heated, warm, dry air can irritate sinuses. If your home or climate is very dry, consider a humidifier for the heating season. While humidifiers are useful to keep your nose and throat from drying out, overuse can lead to mold or mildew: monitor humidity to keep it between 30 to 50%. Make sure to keep the water and parts clean to prevent growth at the source.

Enhancement Options

Natural ventilation and air filtration by the HVAC system provide the first and best defense from indoor allergens, removing as much as 99% of airborne particles. But your home and family are unique and might need additional help. Here are a couple of options you might consider.

Ultraviolet lights. UV is the part of sunlight that damages your skin in a sunburn. Matter of fact, UV kills microorganisms, including pollen and mold spores, yeast, bacteria, and viruses. Typically, UV lights are installed inside return air ducts; the neutralized cells are easier to trap in the air filter.

Air purifiers. Room air purifiers are mobile devices with a multiple-stage filtration system. Often air purifier filters use activated charcoal, which pulls gases/odors from the air. They are small, quiet, and affordable. Whole-home purifiers are also available. They connect to the central HVAC system for seamless operation.

Do houseplants help?

The answer to the question is yes, but . . . not enough. You do not depend on a few houseplants to produce all of the oxygen needed in the home and the same plants cannot absorb all of the carbon dioxide produced in your home. To achieve such dependence, entire rooms would need to be filled with houseplants in a careful balance.

The same is true concerning the absorption of volatile organic compounds, harmful gaseous chemicals found in every home. Houseplants absorb 1% of the number of contaminants that the HVAC system handles. Consider houseplants to be great decorations and accessories, but they will not replace your HVAC system.

In summary, you have tools in your home to help eliminate most seasonal allergens. Contact All Cool to determine which options might best enhance your home’s system.

Interested in Learning How Your HVAC System Can Reduce Allergens in Your Home

If you are interested in learning How Your HVAC System Alleviates Allergies in Your Home, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

HVAC System Alleviate Allergies-1