Tips to Have a Mold Free HVAC System in Your Home

How to Have a Mold-Free HVAC System

How to Have a Mold Free HVAC System

If the problem of mold keeps reoccurring, please consult with a mold remediation professional.

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) are designed to heat and cool, freshen, clean, and dehumidify the air in your home for your protection and comfort. When the system ceases to provide one or more of these functions it can lead to a mold infestation.

A serious mold infestation is hard to eradicate and can be very harmful to your family; do not wait—call a professional.

Since it is so serious, let’s consider some ways to make sure mold does not become a problem inside your home. Let’s start with your HVAC system.

Humidity Regulation is the Key to a Mold Free HVAC System

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission determines the ideal humidity for indoor air is between 30 and 50% humidity; expect between 30-40% in the winter and between 40 and 50% in the summer months.

Mold needs three things to grow: moisture, organic matter (it’s not picky), and a dark place, with little to no sunlight. Keeping the humidity low throughout the house restricts the places mold can grow. The indoor air should not feel “sticky,” even on summer days with high humidity outdoors. Use bathroom exhaust fans when showering. If it does feel “sticky,” call your HVAC professional.

Preventative Maintenance Promotes a Mold Free HVAC System

The second thing mold needs are organic material. Mold can bloom on wall paint, chalk, or wooden doors, but it can also feast on collected dust and dander. Matter of fact, the mold pollen will most likely travel together with dust, just waiting for moisture to activate it.

Make sure that you change air filters regularly, every three months at a minimum. Have an HVAC professional service your unit regularly, annually is recommended. Make sure your ductwork is cleaned as needed.

A preventative maintenance inspection can remove dust and repair components that contribute to water leaks. Prevention is much more effective—and safer than remediation.

Mold Removal

Even with these measures, it is not uncommon to find small quantities of mold. So how can you safely remove it?

  • If the affected area is larger than 9 square feet, the problem is large enough to call a mold remediation professional. Smaller areas can be cleaned with proper preparation and technique.
  • Mold spores can be harmful to your respiratory system; be very aware of the danger. Take the precaution of wearing a mask and gloves before cleaning or scrapping mold away.

Find the right cleaning supplies to keep a Mold Free HVAC System

Mold elimination products are readily available. They generally consist of harsh chemicals, so make sure you wear a mask and have good ventilation for the fumes.

If you are looking for an environmentally friendly cleaning solution, start with soap and water; sometimes that is all that is needed. Another easy remedy is baking soda and water; it kills even black mold and acts as a bleaching agent. Since you are near the mold, always wear a mask.

If you have asthma, allergies, or other breathing issues, it is best for you to stay away and let someone else take care of the problem.

Throw Out Food Items

As mold grows on food, it is reproducing well beyond what you see. Some molds produce a toxin, known as mycotoxins, which will make you very ill. If you see mold on a food item, consider it lost and dispose of it; it is not worth the risk.

Interested in a Mold Free HVAC System? 

Let us know how we can help with your indoor air quality concerns and creating a Mold Free HVAC System, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

How to Have a Mold-Free HVAC System

Indoor Air Quality Tips for Immunocompromised People

Indoor Air Quality Tips for Immunocompromised People

Safer Indoor Air for Immunocompromised Families

When this viral pandemic began in 2020, cleaning methods and indoor air quality became hot topics. Hand washing methods, buying runs on cleaning supplies, and questions about wearing masks inside your home were real issues. While things seem to be slowly changing, everyone is more cautious and stays alert to the latest updates.

But many families were dealing with airborne threats from common situations before 2020. When a family member faces severe allergies, suppressed immune systems, or medical treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy for cancer, making your home a safe environment was a daily challenge.

If you need to keep your home as sterile as possible, here are some helpful tips to consider.

Change Your Cleaning Supplies

Harsh chemicals are not the only solution to keeping a home clean and safe, and they often contribute to poor indoor air quality. Common household items, including vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, can be safe alternative cleansers, without adding harmful aerosols to the indoor air. You might also find it quite satisfying, natural air fresheners, soaps, and lotions will make your home a safer environment.

Is your vacuum cleaner enough?

Vacuum cleaners become necessary tools in homes with health concerns; removing dust, pollen, and dander from soft surfaces is essential. However, vacuum cleaners can contribute to poor air quality if the vacuum filter is not fine enough to trap small particles rather than recirculating them. Do some research and find the right vacuum cleaner, but make sure it has a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. A HEPA filter will collect the vast majority of airborne particles before they settle on surfaces again.

Watch out for Mold!

Mold and mildew are common fungi in every part of the world. Airborne microscopic spores, similar to plant seeds, are carried on the wind and they will make their way into your home. A few spores are not a problem. Cleaning surfaces and vacuuming regularly will take care of most spores.

However, spores are looking for wet, warm surfaces and your home has a few of these. If ignored, mold and mildew can rapidly reproduce and this is a problem. A lot of mold or mildew spores will cause breathing issues in humans and pets, whether healthy or compromised.

  • Fix any leaking plumbing fixture immediately.
  • Use bathroom fans to remove excess humidity.
  • Check under sinks and around toilets for puddles or condensation
  • Attics, basements, crawl spaces, and garages should also be inspected
  • Attack mold growth quickly, before it can spread.

Maintain your HVAC system well promotes better indoor air quality

Your HVAC system is working hard to keep your indoor air clean, dry, and safe. Work with the system to maximize the benefits.

Use a quality air filter—HEPA filters are available for HVAC systems as well.

Make sure to change the filters as often as needed—at least every three months.

Schedule a regular preventative maintenance visit with your heating/cooling professional, to ensure the system is clean and functioning properly.

Clean your ductwork as often as needed. They become a reservoir for all kinds of particles when neglected.

Consider an air purifier

If all of your efforts to keep ahead of cleaning seem fruitless, research additional filtration, UV lights, ionic filters, and external air purifiers. Very good HEPA filters are remarkable, but if your situation requires more, pursue your options until you find what works for your family’s needs.

AllCool has the professional experience to answer questions, make suggestions and point you to the right product(s).

Do You Have an Immunocompromised Family Member Who Needs Proper Indoor Air Quality?

Let us know how we can help with your indoor air quality concerns, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Indoor Air Quality Tips for Immunocompromised People

Improving Indoor Air Quality with Ultra Violet Light

UV Light Use in Improving Indoor Air Quality

Ultra Violet/UV Light Use in Improving Indoor Air Quality

For decades, hospitals, laboratories, food processing plants, and water treatment facilities have used ultraviolet light (UV light) to disinfect biological contaminates. UV light is very effective in removing bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew spores from the air and on surfaces. With technological advances, UV light is now available for residential applications and can significantly improve the indoor air quality in your home.

How does it Work?

Ultraviolet light is a narrow band in the electromagnetic spectrum with a high energy wavelength. UV light penetrates cell walls and alters the DNA structures in cells, making it impossible for cells to reproduce.

Sunlight contains ultraviolet light, so sunlight actually disinfects our atmosphere and outside surfaces to make our world a safer place. We create indoor spaces to live and work. We seal these spaces to keep us warm and safe, but enclosed spaces trap harmful biological contaminates.

Your HVAC filtration system actively removes harmful particles from the air you breathe. Adding UV light to your HVAC system can disinfect indoor spaces; the air filter can then trap these particles and remove them before they can cause damage.

Where is UV Light Installed?

The blower motor pushes conditioned air into your home and pulls air into the ductwork. The air filter traps 99% of particles before they reach the heating and cooling components of the system. After the air is filtered, it enters the evaporator coil; the coil contains many surfaces and during the cooling season these surfaces are covered with moisture. A dark, moist surface is the ideal area for mold, bacteria, and viruses to grow.

This is the ideal location to install UV lights in the HVAC system. Three UV lights are installed strategically to shine on every surface and shine continuously. The UV light prevents the growth of biological contamination before it can re-enter your home with the conditioned air.

Installation of ultraviolet lights will only take a few hours. The lights are completely concealed—have you ever seen your evaporator coil? Since they are concealed, they cannot harm people or pets. Expect to change the bulbs every 2 or 3 years or include them on the HVAC preventative maintenance visit.

Have questions about bettering the indoor air quality in your home?

Let us know how we can help with your indoor air quality concerns, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

UV Light Use in Improving Indoor Air Quality

6 Summertime AC Efficiency Tips

AC Efficiency

Keeping Cool with AC Efficiency Tips Without Losing Comfort

Whew! It is summertime and it is hot and muggy in Houston. Living in South Texas you can always count on the cooling season lasting longer than the heating season. It doesn’t take long for the AC to push the electric bill up and up. High bills entice people to seek cost-saving measures.

So many cost-saving measures are also expensive. Everyone agrees that new, energy-efficient appliances or solar panels will pay for themselves over time, they also require a hefty capital investment upfront. For many that will not happen this year. Here are six AC Effieincy solutions that can help you save significant dollars without spending a lot of dollars.

#1 AC Efficiency Tip: Avoid solar heat

Know the layout of your house in reference to the summer midday sun. The sun will move on the south side of your home, so make sure window coverings are blocking the harsh midday sunlight. Your windows may already be Low-E rated to reflect some of the sunlight. Blackout drapes help more than sheers. Blinds or shutters will also work. Keep the summer heat outside where it belongs.

#2 AC Efficiency Tip: Reduce appliance heat

Wait to run the washer, dryer, or dishwasher until the cool of the evening. The midday heat is also peak energy use hours, so run them during off-peak hours. They also produce heat, so running them during evening hours puts less load on the AC.

Summertime also lets you be creative with cooking meals—use that creativity to save energy as well. Cooking outdoors, use a crockpot or air fryer instead of the oven. Be creative and make it fun.

#3 AC Efficiency Tip: Move the air

Moving air inside your house makes the air seem cooler; it is the wind chill factor you hear about during Winter weather forecasts. It makes enough difference that the U. S. Energy Department says running a ceiling fan can allow you to raise the thermostat 40 without feeling a difference in comfort. S. Energy Department

Ceiling fan blades should run counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. Running a ceiling fan cost about 2 cents/hour, significantly lower than running the AC for an hour. Ceiling fans are not the only option: wall or floor fans, tabletop or window fans work as well. Remember to use the bathroom exhaust fans while bathing or showering to remove heat and humidity.

#4 AC Efficiency Tip: Program the thermostat

If your thermostat is still a round dial on the wall, it is time to replace it with either a programmable or a smart thermostat. Both versions allow you to schedule changes in heating/cooling throughout the day and throughout the week. Smart thermostats also have a phone app that allows you to make changes on the fly.

How much can you save? The U. S. Energy Department says setting the thermostat back 70—100 for 8 hours/day can save around 10% on heating or cooling. Consider reducing HVAC use during sleeping hours or during the day, while the house is vacant. Schedule a transition 30 minutes before the family awakes in the morning or arrives home from school or work.

The key to cost savings is to find times when you can reduce HVAC use for 6 to 8 consecutive hours. Do some research, since there are several manufacturers; find a new thermostat with the features that fit your family’s needs.

#5 AC Efficiency Tip: Find air leaks

If your home seems drafty, is unusually humid, or has hot/cold spaces, look for gaps around doors, windows, and utility openings where outside air is moving inside.

    1. Do a visual inspection, looking for obvious cracks and holes.
    2. Use an incense or smoke stick. Light the stick, bring it in the proximity of windows and doors, watching for drafts in the smoke movement. You can also use very thin tissue paper to detect drafts.
    3. An energy audit with a certified technician. An audit employs inspection equipment, such as thermographic scans or infrared photography to locate thermal breaks causing energy loss. It will also use a blower door test that increases the indoor air pressure to locate gaps in walls and ceilings.
    4. Air leaks in common around windows and doors, around electrical outlets and switches, in the attic, basement, or garage. Caulk or seal gaps that you find with weather stripping.

#6 AC Efficiency Tip: HVAC TLC

If you take care of your HVAC system, it will take care of you. Schedule an air filter change on your calendar; change the air filter every 3 months minimum, more if needed. Remove leaves, debris, and trash from around your outdoor compressor unit. Use a garden hose (not a power washer) to thoroughly clean the compressor.

Wind and rain deposit sediment between the fins, which reduces cooling efficiency. Make sure the return air and supply vents are uncovered to provide good airflow. Call your HVAC professional and schedule an annual PM visit to ensure your system is clean and in good repair.

Need Help With AC Efficiency?

If your home’s air conditioning needs its AC efficiency rebooted, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

AC Efficiency

Proper Care and Cleaning HVAC Condenser Coils

Proper Care and Cleaning HVAC Condenser Coils

Cleaning HVAC Condenser Coils

Summer is here and your whole family is in full appreciation mode, cheering every time the air conditioner comes on.  Ohs and ahs abound every time you walk indoors. What would you do without the AC? Wait, what would you do without your air conditioning?!

In this article, we will talk about caring for a component of your air conditioner to make sure it is keeping you cool this summer and hopefully for many summers to come. The condenser coils are the portion of your AC located outdoors.

If it is running properly, you probably mow around it and have not considered what, if anything, you should do with it.

Cleaning HVAC Condenser Coils: Accumulated Dirt 

The condenser coil is either square or rectangular, hollow with a fan in the middle that draws air through the coils to cool them. Very small fins direct the air and increase the surface space available for cooling.

Since the space between fins is very small, moisture from the cooling process causes dirt, dust, and debris from the air moving through to collect. When the dirt builds up, it reduces the condenser’s ability to pull air through the coils and therefore reduces cooling.

This results in a less comfortable home, a rise in utility bills (the system must work harder), and a shortened life for the condenser (an expensive component). Cleaning the coils will turn all these things around.

Cleaning HVAC Condenser Coils: Getting it Cleaned

Condenser coils should be cleaned on a regular basis as a preventative maintenance procedure. Since the coils are in use during the Summer months, coil cleaning is best scheduled in the Spring, before the cooling season, or in the Fall afterward.

Because condenser coils are vital to your comfort, getting them cleaned properly is very important. Since the fins are very delicate in nature, they are easily damaged. Using the wrong tool or the wrong pressure can damage the coils We recommend hiring a professional technician to clean condenser coils.

Experienced technicians will have the supplies and equipment to clean them efficiently, testing the coolant system on the same visit. Coil cleaning will extend the life of this vital AC component.

Want more information about Proper Care and Cleaning HVAC Condenser Coils ? We Can Help!

If you are interested in Cleaning HVAC Condenser Coils, call us at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

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Proper Care and Cleaning HVAC Condenser Coils