Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth’

Pittsburgh HVAC Tip: How to Maintain High Efficiency Filters to Reduce Stress on Your Heat Pump

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

The filter on your Pittsburgh heat pump is an integral part of your home’s comfort system. Without that filter, the device will quickly be subjected to an influx of debris and contaminants that can get into the machinery and the air being filtered into your home. As a result, you need to make sure you properly maintain the filters to reduce stress on your heat pump.

 Change Your Filters

High efficiency filters are designed to remove as much of the airborne contaminants in the air as possible. This is fantastic for keeping your indoor air clean. But if you don’t properly maintain the filter, air quality can worsen and your heat pump is put under unnecessary stress. Specifically, the extremely tight knit filter, designed to stop nearly anything from getting through, gets clogged.

Now your heat pump is forced to work much harder to draw the air it needs from outside and heat or cool your home. On top of that, the filter is filled with contaminants that can start to leak back into the air supply, actually making your indoor air quality worse than it would be otherwise. That’s why it is so important to clean your filters on a regular basis (for permanent filters) and replace them if they are one time use.

 Recommended Filters

You have options as to which types of filters you use for your heat pump. Filters come in multiple options, from super high MERV rated filters that trap up to 99% of all contaminants as small as 0.3 microns.

Electrostatic filters are especially efficient because they extract contaminants of all types – from dust and mold to smoke and gas fumes. A good filtration system should effectively remove anything from the air without needing replacement too often.

Permanent filters tend to offer the best protection against airborne contaminants and generally need to be cleaned once a month. HEPA filters are often permanent and while each filter is different, these are often extremely effective at minimizing contaminants in the air without putting stress on your heat pump.

We all know that high efficiency filters are great to have in your home because they remove contaminants from the air. This keeps your indoor air clean and healthy by preventing pollutants from circulating throughout your forced air system. But what most people don’t know is that if you don’t maintain your air filters, they can actually cause your heat pump to work much harder. When high-efficiency filters get clogged, they can restrict airflow and cause stress to your heat pump. Not to mention making your indoor air quality worse! The contaminants that were caught by the air filter might now start getting back into the air supply, acutally making your indoor air quality worse. It is easy to see why it is so important to change your Pittsburgh heat pump’s air filter regularly, especially if they are high efficiency.

To schedule any maintenance you need for your home’s heat pump, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call!

 

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Pittsburgh AC Tip: Why Are Cleans Filters So Important to AC Efficiency?

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Air conditioners cost money to operate – even more when they don’t work at 100% efficiency. So, it is important to perform the various regular maintenance tasks on your Pittsburgh AC that ensure the system uses as little electricity as possible. The first thing on your list (and the easiest) is cleaning those filters.

Keeping Filters Clean

The Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website states that you can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by as much as 15% simply by keeping the air filters clean. Why do they matter so much? Consider the nature of a filter.

The filter on your AC unit is designed to capture any dust, debris and sediment in the air supply. If that dust and sediment was allowed in, not only would it gum up the mechanical workings of the device, it would get into your ductwork and reduce the air quality of your home. So, filters are used to capture such things. However, when a filter gets clogged, the system must work harder to draw the air in. As it works harder, the motor turns faster and more electricity is used.

It takes very little to clog the filter of an AC unit, especially if it is running 24 hours a day for two or three months out of the year. So, it’s best to check your filters once every 30 days regardless of what type of filter you are using.

Which Filters to Check

The main filter on your AC unit should be checked along with any air handler filters and any air cleaner filters you have installed in your system. Another thing to consider is the condition of your home and the area around your outdoor condenser. If you have pets, lots of plants or your condenser is located in a dusty area, you may need to check and change those filters even more often.

Most filters are located along the return length of the ductwork – sometimes in ceiling ducts and walls, though they may also be located in your furnace’s air handler or inside the air conditioning unit. If you have window units or mini splits, the filters are frequently in the unit.

Clean air filters are important for your health, your wallet and the longevity of your Pittsburgh AC system. Stay on top of them and you will save money in more ways than you might expect. To schedule your annual maintenance visit today, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling a call!

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How Can You Improve Your Home’s Air Quality? A Tip from Pittsburgh

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

One of the easiest ways to protect the health of your family is by maintaining high air quality in your Pittsburgh home. Without good air quality, you run the risk of contracting Sick Building Syndrome or making other problems like allergies or asthma worse. Depending on what type of air quality system you already have in place, there are many things you can do to improve your air quality.

Filter Changes

The easiest way to improve air quality is to maintain the equipment you already have. Specifically, change your filters regularly. Filters each have a specified period of time for which they will last. However, if your home has high levels of larger contaminants like pollen and dander, you may need to change your filter more often.

Beyond filter changes, make sure your filtration device uses high quality HEPA filters, capable of stopping debris as small as 0.3 microns.

New Equipment

Finally, you can buy new equipment that does a better job of removing contaminants from your indoor air. If you have only a simple air filter, consider getting a purifier as well to remove other contaminants like smoke and gas. If you have a smaller piece of equipment that works well but longer keeps up with the entire house, there are larger purifiers on the market that can handle a bigger space. Additionally, proper ventilation can help with your indoor air quality if you don’t currently have enough fresh air circulating through your home.

No matter what your problem, there is a solution you can work toward to keep the indoor air quality of your home high.

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IAQ – To Zone or Not to Zone my Home Comfort: Some Pointers From Elizabeth

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

There are a lot of decisions to make related to your Elizabeth home’s comfort system. You must decide what type of heating you want, how you’ll implement air conditioning, and then how to keep all of that heated and cooled air clean and healthy in your home.

On top of everything else, you have the option to implement zone control in your house to provide multiple comfort levels for each member of your family. Zone control systems are growing rapidly in popularity because they allow home owners to enjoy an enhanced level of comfort throughout the day, while not negatively impacting any one person.

For example, if it’s chilly outside and you need to turn your heater on, that doesn’t mean everyone in the house wants the thermostat set to 72°F. There are a few reasons for this. You may be in the kitchen, working over the stove or doing dishes where there is plenty of heat to keep you warm. More warm air coming through vents or radiators isn’t going to make you comfortable.

The second floor of a home traditionally needs less heat because warm air on the first floor rises and fills that space. The same is true in the summer when cool air settles in lower floors. Having a zone control system allows you to set specific temperatures in each room which are then controlled by your home heating system. You can even turn off the heating and cooling in a specific room like your office or the attic if it will be empty for long periods of time.

Other Considerations

A zone control system is good for comfort, but also for the overall air quality of your home. Too much conditioned air moving through your ducts carries more allergens and contaminants into your home and causes your air quality system to work harder. Your ventilation system will be asked to work harder as well.

Ideally, a good home air quality system is designed to use as little conditioned air as possible to keep everyone comfortable. A zone control system does this very effectively. When talking to a professional about a new installation, check to find out about programmable thermostats as well. These can make it easier to set and forget the temperature in rooms that are only used for a few hours each day.

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How to Judge the Quality of a Ceiling Fan? A Question From Murrysville

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Like just about anything else on the market these days, there are good ceiling fans and there are low quality ones, even in Murrysville. With such a seemingly simple piece of equipment, it can be tempting to just grab the cheapest one you can find. After all, how much of a difference can it really make? In fact, the quality of the ceiling fan you buy can have a significant impact on its performance level and how long it lasts.

Of course, you do not necessarily want to go out and buy the most expensive thing you can find either. There are many good quality ceiling fans that will not cost you an arm and a leg, but you need to know how to find them and separate them from the rest of the pack.

One of the first things to look for when you are evaluating your ceiling fan options is how much of an angle the blades have. This angle usually ranges from eight to 15 degrees and the bigger the angle, the more air the fan can move at once.

However, cheaper fans with a less powerful motor cannot handle the resistance that a higher volume of air generates. What that usually means is that the units with the smaller blade angle are less powerful and will be less effective at circulating air throughout your room. Even when they are running at the same speeds, the blades with the smaller angle will move less air, and so they will not keep you as cool.

You should also check the various ceiling fans you are considering to make sure they are the right size to fit your room. To be safe, a ceiling fan’s blades should be no less than seven feet above the floor. But if you have very high ceilings, you may want to add something that can extend the fan down closer to the floor so that you will still feel all of the cooling effects it produces.

The various ceiling fans on the market right now all have many different features that can influence your decision as well. For instance, you may want to opt for a fan that has programmable settings or that comes with a remote control for more convenient access. But if these are not features you care about, you can probably save quite a bit by going with a no-frills model. For more information about what is right for your home, contact your local air conditioning professional.

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How to Maximize Savings in Your Home

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

When you are thinking about different ways you might be able to save money around the house, the tendency is to think big. Maybe you need to upgrade to a more energy efficient furnace, or it could be time to install a new central air conditioning system. Maybe it is even a good idea to switch to solar or geothermal power.

But before you do any of that, you may want to try some quick and easy ways to save money around the house with the equipment you already have. Here are 10 great ways to cut your power usage and keep those energy bills down without investing a lot in new equipment.

  1. Seal Up Your House – No matter how energy efficient the heating and cooling systems are in your house, you will be using more energy than necessary if your house is not tightly sealed. Make sure there are not cracks or places where drafts can get in and you will start saving money right away.
  2. The Right Thermostat Setting – Are you really going to notice the difference between 72°F and 69°F? Probably not, but you will save about 3% off of your monthly heating bill for every degree you turn the thermostat down. The same goes in the summer too, just backwards.
  3. Programmable Thermostats – And while we are on the subject of thermostats, it is a good idea to invest in a new one with programmable settings. That way you will be able to set your house to be warm when you will be there and you do not have to pay to keep it warm all day long if it is empty.
  4. Water Heater Temperature – Most hot water heaters are set to about 140°F. However, you really only need your water to be at 120°F. So turn down the hot water heater and you will save a lot.
  5. Ceiling Fans – Ceiling fans can help keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Plus, they cost very little to run so they are a great investment.
  6. Light Bulbs – Switching to energy efficient fluorescent bulbs all over your house will save you a ton even though they cost a bit more to begin with.
  7. Lights Out – But energy efficient bulbs will only get you so far. You should also be sure to turn off the lights in any room you are not using.
  8. Insulation – Proper insulation will go a long way towards keeping in the temperature controlled air that you want and keeping out the outdoor air that you do not.
  9. Power Strips – Many home appliances draw a small amount of power even when they are not turned on. Use a power strip to easily cut the power to them completely and eliminate that drain.
  10. Sealing Windows – Plenty of air can come and go through your windows as well. Upgrading to more energy efficient windows is certainly an option, but you can also help to seal up your home inexpensively by covering your windows with plastic.

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Winter Colds and Flus – Can Your Air Quality System Help Them?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

In the thick of the winter cold and flu season, it’s hard to overcome the constant feeling of misery that illness can bring to your home. Endless sniffles, stomach aches and fever not only make you feel horrible; they can put a kink in your daily routine, making it harder to get work done or take care of your family.

But, a good indoor air quality system will help when it is properly maintained throughout the year. Here are some tips to cut into the duration of a particularly nasty cold or flu.

Humidity and Air Circulation

When the humidity gets exceptionally low, your body gets dehydrated more easily, especially in your skin. This can lead to trouble fighting off colds and flus, especially if they are very strong. A good humidifier increases humidity to a comfortable level that’s ideal for the immune system. Air circulation is equally important as it keeps fresh air coming into your home throughout the winter.

A good air circulation and ventilation system retains the heat your furnace or boiler produces so your energy bill doesn’t rise too high either.

Air Purification

The next step in purification is to reduce the number of air borne pathogens that can make your illnesses worse or spread them to other people. There are constantly bacteria and viruses floating through your home, either on people or in the debris carried by your home’s indoor air.

A good air purifier ionizes the air and removes things like dust, pollen and mold. The air purifier then destroys the bacteria and viruses with the use of UV lights. This kind of system won’t stop you from getting sick when you leave the house and interact with people on the train or at work, but it will slow the spread of illness in your home and help people recover much faster.

Cleanliness Breeds Healthiness

The key to staying healthy in the winter is to stay active and keep your home clean. With the help of a good home air quality system, you can remove the unwanted contaminants and debris that clog up indoor air and ensure everyone in your family is safe and comfortable all winter. It’s a great first step in the process of finally stopping the endless winter cold and flu cycle once and for all.

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How a Thermostat Works

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Your thermostat is designed to closely monitor and maintain the temperature in your home. When you flip the switch, you want your furnace or air conditioner to respond immediately. So, it’s a good idea to learn how it works so that if there is a problem, not only will you know better what needs to be fixed – you can decide whether to call a professional in for help.

Thermostats shouldn’t need input from you other than to set the initial temperature. From there, they are automatic switches. A thermometer inside the thermostat measures the indoor air temperature. When it gets above or below the limit you’ve specified, it triggers the thermostat to send a message to your home comfort system and keep things nice and comfortable.

Types of Thermostat

Thermostats come in two forms –electromechanical and electronic. An electromechanical thermostat is the simplest and has been used for decades to regulate temperature in homes. It has a simple strip or coil of metal that expands as the temperature rises and contract as it lowers. A mercury thermometer is placed on top of the strip. The coil’s movements cause the vial to tip as the temperature changes. There is a pair of electrical contacts on either end of the vial. The mercury can absorb that electrical current when the electrical contacts touch the thermometer. The mercury then acts as a switch to turn on your comfort system.

An electronic thermostat simply has an electronic sensor that measures the indoor air temperature. You set a temperature for your room and when it changes significantly, the switch inside your electronic thermostat is triggered, causing it to turn on your comfort system.

Ways to Upgrade Your Thermostat

Most homes only need the bare minimum in their thermostats. However, there is some very exciting technology on the market these days that can add quite a bit of value to your system. Not only can you install a programmable thermostat, you can opt for zone control systems that allow multiple thermostats in different rooms of your home.

Programming allows you to set temperatures for certain times of the day. This is especially great if you are gone from the house for long periods of time each day. Why heat or cool a home when it is empty? And if you have multiple people with different temperature needs, zone control temperature control allows you to set specific temperatures for specific rooms in your home – a very enticing option for large families or multi-story homes.

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Maintenance: Cleaning Your Conditioner Coil Will Save You Headaches Later

Monday, April 25th, 2011

You have plenty of things to clean all over your house. But do you really have to clean your air conditioner too? Well, if you want it to keep working well, you do. In fact, cleaning the coil of your air conditioner is a quick and easy process, especially if you do it on a regular basis, and it can save you a great deal of frustration later on.

Like any machine, your air conditioner needs a tune up from time to time in order to continue to function properly. While a lot of this is taken care of if you have an annual maintenance service performed by a professional, your air conditioning coil will benefit greatly by being cleaned more often than that.

In fact, during your annual maintenance visit, your air conditioning technician can easily demonstrate for you how to get to the coil and clean it. This is a relatively easy task that you can carry out every month or so when your system is in use to help ensure optimal health and functioning for your system.

Of course, your air conditioning system will still run whether you clean the coils on a regular basis or not. For now, that is. Allowing more and more debris to build up on the coil, however, can have a big impact on the overall energy efficiency of your unit. An air conditioner with a dirty coil will have to work harder to keep your house cool, and that will be reflected by an increase in energy consumption.

Also, an air conditioner with a dirty coil that is having to work harder to keep your house cool will wear out more quickly than one that is working properly without added impediments. The added wear and tear that this causes to various other parts within your air conditioner can cause them to malfunction and need to be replaced sooner than they should.

This means more costly repairs, even if they are minor ones. It also means that your entire air conditioning system will probably not last as long as it may have with proper care. You will have to replace it sooner, adding even more to the cost of having and running the equipment.

Cleaning your air conditioner coil regularly is a simple and effective way of helping to keep the entire system running smoothly and efficiently for many years to come.

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