If you’re like most Pensacola homeowners, your family depends on your air conditioning unit for comfort, especially during the Florida summer as most things do, your AC is going to become less effective over the years until it eventually breaks down altogether. Thousands of people every year push their units to the breaking point and end up sitting in the heat on the phone trying to get an emergency visit. When this happens and you need a new unit, you could end up shelling out thousands of dollars unexpectedly. The warning signs that your system is nearing replacement age are easy to look for and can help you prepare ahead for the replacement both on a comfort level as well as financial. We have put together a list of things to look for.
How old is your system?
If a unit is properly maintained, most air conditioning systems have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. However, if you haven’t kept up with maintenance in that time or you just purchased the home and the previous owners didn’t maintain it well, your system may fail sooner. If your unit is over the age of 10, and you notice that more and more things seem to be going wrong with it, it may be cost-effective to replace it with a newer more energy-efficient one. This could save you from many sleepless nights of sweating and actually lower your energy bill.
If you have to call an HVAC repair company once a quarter, that can add up and take a toll on your bank account. Nothing is worse on summer vacation than sitting in a hot house waiting for the repairman. Some repairs are relatively cheap but even the cheaper repairs can add up to thousands over a few years which ends up being more than the new unit or a monthly maintenance plan. When you start noticing these issues, it may be time for a replacement estimate.
It’s normal for energy bills to rise during the summer while your air conditioning system is trying to cool your home, but if your home’s energy bills seem to be getting higher and higher each month while your usage isn’t changing, it is a sign that your system needs replacement. What does that mean? Well, your AC used to be able to run 4 hours out of the day and keep your home at a comfortable 70 degrees but if it seems to be running all day long now, that is what we mean by inefficient. This type of thing can really spike that power bill.
If you aren’t sure how old your unit is or you are seeing signs like these, give Air Design a call at 202-COOL. We can come out and evaluate your individual situation and give you an honest, fair estimate and suggestions on what to have done.
Everyone loves walking into their home and smelling the fresh scents of vanilla, lavender, or citrus. Most people use plug-ins that emit the scent of their choice, but these can be polluting to your air. We have several ways for you to get that sweet-smelling air without polluting your lungs.
When you dab a few drops of essential oils on your filter it helps circulate that scent throughout the entire home.
On your stove bring a pot of water to a boil and add in cut-up oranges or lemons along with cinnamon sticks and herbs of your choosing. As these simmer on the stove, they will release all of those scents into the air and circulate throughout your home. Turning on a fan in a nearby room can help this make its way through the entire home.
If your goal is to make your home smell like the comforting smell of baked cookies, then adding a few drops of vanilla extract to a bowl and placing in the oven on a low temp will achieve this.
To remove bad smells from your home
There are many ways to remove bad odors before refreshing your home with the good smells above.
A bowl of white vinegar
Without using chemicals, you can also remove bad smells from your home such as pet odor or a burnt smell that is lingering by adding a bowl of white vinegar to the room. Let it sit overnight and it will absorb much of the smell from the air.
Add 1 part alcohol, 1 part fabric softener to 3 parts hot water and add a few drops of essential oils to bottle. Then spray down curtains and couches with this mixture to naturalize the odors.
Smaller stand-alone air purifiers work very well especially if they are using HEPA-rated filters. These work great in smaller rooms such as a child’s room who has allergies.
If you are looking for a deeper clean give Air Design a call at 202-cool and we can do a full duct cleaning and get your air quality under control.
You walk into your laundry room to move the clothes over from the washer to the dryer and immediately feel the cold wet water seeping into your socks. When this happens there are many things you should check before resorting to replacing your appliances. It can be hard to pinpoint what is wrong especially if your water heater is in the same space as well.
The first thing to check is your drainpipe
Behind your washer, there is a place where your drain hose runs into the wall. This pipe can become clogged causing water to back up and drip back down the hose and onto the floor. To fix this you will want to run a small snake down the pipe to clear any clogs.
Another issue that can relate to this pipe is if your vent is clogged above the pipe. Every main pipe in your home has a vent that allows air to escape for the water to drain properly. Check that vent to make sure it is also clear.
If it has recently dropped below freezing and your laundry room is against an exterior wall then the pipe inside of the wall may have become cracked and be leaking down and through the baseboards.
Next, check your water heater
Inspect the pan that the water heater sits in and see if there is any water. If there is then the leak could be coming from your water heater. Run your finger under the drain spout and if it feels dry then it’s not coming from there, run your finger or a dry paper towel down all the pipes around your water heater, if any of them are wet then you have found your leak. If they remain dry and the pan is still full of water then most likely there is a crack in your tank.
Hoses can get old
Another thing to check is the hot and cold water hoses that run from your water source into the washer. These can get tattered and cracked. The best replacement option for these is stainless ones that will last much longer.
The final option could be your washing machine itself
Check your drain hose that runs from the washer to the wall, sometimes they can become brittle and crack over time. Another option could be your drain pump it can spring a leak for a variety of reasons, and you will want to get that fixed before it gets the motor wet and you need an entirely new machine.
If after checking all these things, you still are not sure where your leak is coming from give us a call at 202-cool and one of our very experienced technicians will come out and solve your problem for you.
From time to time, you will catch a whiff of a bad odor in your home. We are going to walk you through a few things that it could be.
If your shower drain smells like sewage, it could mean that your P-trap isn’t effectively keeping sewer gases from seeping up into your bathroom. If you’re dealing with a musty odor and your P-trap is clogged then it needs to be cleaned.
A P-trap is an extra drain fitting that comes with you pipes. The trap itself contains water that creates a seal that prevents the gasses from coming back up into the home. If the water isn’t in the P-trap, then odors will easily waft up into the bathroom through the shower drain and around your feet as you shower. This makes inspecting it easy, just shine a flashlight at it and see if it looks dry or free of water. To fix it, check around for any debris in its trap. If it looks like something is stuck inside, get a paper towel to scoop out anything blocking it.
If you smell rotting eggs while in the shower, it’s usually a sign that there’s a leak in the drain lines under your house. Smelly shower drains like this can include faulty valves, corroded pipes and dripping faucet joints. To get rid of these type of shower smells, you’ll need to tighten all corroded joints and replace sections of pipe that could be rusted. This can be a daunting task but if you call Air Design we can take care of it for you.
If you have a clog that you can’t clear with a plunger, then it may be that biofilm has built up inside the bowl and is preventing water from draining through. Biofilm is a film that forms on the insides of drain pipes when hair and other debris begin to decay and decompose. To break down the biofilm, you will use a special enzyme-based product that targets bacteria and germs.
Drain Pipe Clogs
If there’s a clog in your shower drain line from hair or other debris, then you’ll have to address this right away before the smell becomes any worse. Common causes of smelly shower drains can include drain clogs as well as leaks because when water sits for too long under the house, it begins to rot and decay at a much faster rate.
What Causes Clogs in the Shower or Sink?
The most common causes of clogs in your shower:
These are just some of the most common reasons you could be smelling something in the wet areas of your home. We offer the knowledge for those DIYers but if that isn’t you, we are always available just call 850-202-cool.
You go to the hardware store and stand in front of 25 different silver, brass, tall and short faucets trying to pick which version will best suit your space but do you really know what the difference is between them? Let us explain the types to you so you can make an informed decision next time.
A Compression Faucet
These are the longest-running type of faucet which uses a washer to create a watertight seal. Compression faucets are the ones with two knobs to differentiate hot and cold water. When you want to turn the water on you simply turn the knob which untightens the compression releasing the water. To stop the flow of water, simply tighten the knobs back down.
Each knob connects to a stem assembly which is a long screw that has a washer at the end. When you tighten the faucet, the stem assembly is moved down to the valve seat where water flows out from. As the stem assembly is lowered, it forces the washer to compress, which creates a seal that prevents the water from continuing.
A Cartridge Faucet
To turn it on and off you move a single-handle cartridge faucet up and down. You move them from side to side to control temperature, just like disc faucets. These faucets are unique. They can have one or two handles and they don’t have any washers or balls. They contain a hollow metal cartridge inside the faucet that controls the flow of water.
A Ball Faucet
Ball faucets are like compression faucets, except they don’t use washers, they use a rotating ball that rolls into a hole to control the flow of water. This setup is called the lever ball assembly and it is housed inside the faucet’s body. These faucets have a single handle that controls both hot and cold water by turning it in specific directions. The ball has small chambers and slots in it that are connected to the water line. These slots align with different grooves, allowing water to flow through when not aligned or blocking it when they are aligned. These are the most common type of faucets for kitchen sinks.
A Disc Faucet
Disc faucets are the newest type of faucet on the market. These are different from the other types we have talked about. They do not have washers and are wider than compression and ball faucet. They have one handle that moves up, down and side to side. You can identify them by their single-lever design, which is very sleek and stylish.
There are two ceramic discs inside the faucet, the lower disc is locked in place while the upper disc moves with the handle. The upper disc turns away from the lower disc creating a space between them to allow water to flow when turned on. When you turn the handle in the other direction, the discs close, and water isn’t allowed to pass through.
If you’re having trouble installing your new faucet, give Air Design a call and we can have it sorted out for you in just one day. Our plumbers are always waiting to help you with any of your home’s needs.
In Northwest Florida, our HVAC systems work hard to keep up with the sweltering summer weather. This is why most homeowners prioritize getting their air conditioners checked before the summer heat. This means it’s easier to forget about your preventative maintenance for the winter months. However, temperatures during our cool months can dip surprisingly low, so it’s important to maintain your heater before you have to rely on it during our first cold snap. It is important to know that “winter” maintenance doesn’t actually mean you should wait until the weather gets cold to do it. You want to do it in the fall, around October so that when the temperature drops to the 30’s suddenly the day after a 80-degree day, you will be prepared and not be calling for emergency service.
Your Florida Winter HVAC Maintenance Checklist:
Check Your Furnace Filter
Depending on your home’s air quality, whether you have pets, and if you have allergies or lung conditions, you’ll need to replace the filter anywhere from every 45 days to every 3 months.
You will want a medium- to high-efficiency filter with a good MERV rating, but not to high if its not needed as it can restrict airflow.
Clean Your Outside Unit
With fall leaves coming down and building up in your yard, your external unit may have gathered debris around it. Sweep this away, cut back any nearby bushes, and rinse the unit off with a hose.
Clean Your Internal Unit
Poke your head under the unit and inspect your heating elements for any signs of wear, and clear off any dust that has built up on it. Clear your drain lines by pouring a bit or bleach combined with hot water down the drain lines. Make sure fans or blowers move without issue.
Check Your Unit Electronics
Now is the time to change any batteries in your thermostat, and to update the programming to make sure it still meets your family’s needs. If you have an efficiency schedule set for AC then now set one for heating. Also, check the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors.
Add Extra Insulation If Needed
To prevent any frozen wires and fluid in the pipes of your system, add any necessary insulation around the pipes that are running outside of your home.
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start preparing your HVAC system for the coming cold weather. This HVAC maintenance checklist is a great place to start, if you would prefer to have a professional handle it we take calls 24/7. Let Air Design, prepare you for the colder months to come.
Whether winter lasts for several months like our friends out in the north, or just a mild month or two here in northwest Florida, our homes need to be equipped for winter heating for us to be comfortable. We want everyone to be safe this winter so here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe.
1. Space Heaters
They’re so small and efficient, as soon as you turn it on, you feel some instant relief. However, with effectiveness that strong, they also come with a few hazards.
The first thing to pay attention to about a space heater is its location. You will want to make sure there are three feet of space on every side of the heater. Anything that could potentially go up in flames may do just that. Never place a space heater on the carpet. You also want to purchase the ones with the tilt shut off. Meaning if it falls over or gets knocked over it will shut off automatically to prevent catching fire.
2. Open Ovens
Some people like to heat up their oven and leave it open to warm the house. While this seems like a great theoretical idea it’s a bad practice. First, it’s highly inefficient. It may heat the surrounding area in your kitchen, but it won’t be able to heat your entire home. Also, it poses another safety risk to children or pets who may be passing by and get burned on it.
If you do this regularly and your gas flame isn’t working correctly, you could be leaking and causing carbon monoxide poisoning to you and others in your home.
Candles are not specific to winter but no matter what time of year it is there are rules to follow when burning a candle. Let’s start with one of the lesser-known hazards. If you’re not buying candles made with natural products, then you could be breathing countless harmful chemicals into your lungs? Consider beeswax candles or ones scented with essential oils and not factory scents. There are also hazards that are akin to space heaters. You never want to place your candles near paper, curtains, or blankets. This could instantly start a fire and get out of hand very quickly. You also don’t want to position them in places where they can easily be knocked over.
4. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Risk
The Center for Disease Control reports that nearly 50,000 people succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning each year in the US. Unfortunately, the winter months are the biggest culprits because home heating systems can run for hours at a time. The best ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to have a detector in your home similar to a smoke alarm. Also, Getting your heating system serviced by a qualified professional will prevent leaks from happening.
You will also want to check for blockages in your vents that could prevent proper air flow.
5. Fireplace Fires
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, Nothing beats the ambiance it creates and the winter heater temp it sets. However, you have to be very careful to handle it with care and maintain it well. You will want to clean out all the burned ashes after each usage and place them in a metal container at least ten feet away from the house. You will also want to have a screen standing in front of the fire to prevent any ongoing ashes from jumping out and possible setting your rub or curtains on fire. This is also the time to make sure your chimney is in order.
We care about your safety. In Florida, we have a huge range of heating needs and Air Design is here for homeowners throughout the Pensacola area. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to improve your unit’s performance. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.
In today’s times, we are all looking for ways to save money, without missing out. The following three tips are essential if you’re looking to limit your heating bills, repairs, and keep your system running smoothly this winter. While our team is always here to support you, this blog is a great starting point for Pensacola homeowners that are wanting to improve the efficiency of their homes’ HVAC system.
Pay Attention to Your Filters
Whether you have one, two, or even three intake spaces, you will want to change the filter in them every single month. Replacing your air filter seems basic but it’s an HVAC hack that not enough people know about. Many people set it and forget it until they have an issue.
Changing your air filter regularly ensures that you get clean air, sufficient airflow, and it keeps your heater’s interior coil clear of debris and functioning at its best. Obviously, changing your air filter every week is way too often, since these components are designed to catch particles over a monthly period. However, Pet owner’s may need to replace their filters even more often, especially if you have a heavy shedding dog whose fur can cover the filter entirely and block air flow.
Schedule Seasonal Maintenance
Heating maintenance may seem like an extra cost you don’t need to pay, but think of it like insurance or an oil change. Scheduling routine maintenance every year is the best way to ensure your system continues running efficiently. The average HVAC unit will last about 10-15 years but that is only if proper maintenance is completed. An unmaintained unit will be lucky to last half of that time.
Turn on Your Ceiling Fans, Even in the Colder Months
Ceiling fans are wonderful tools to help with your HVAC system. They work in the summer because they create a circular breeze that helps cool down the temperature by a few degrees. In the winter months, when you reverse them, they create a convection current and keep warm air down where you can feel it. Make sure you run your ceiling fan correctly so it can add to the warmth of your home at a fraction of the cost. In the summer you want your fan to spin counterclockwise and in the winter you want it to spin clockwise.
To schedule heating maintenance or to have your system looked at before the colder days hit, give us a call at 202-COOL!
Short cycling is very important and any HVAC professional worth their salt should know what short cycling is and the different things that can cause it. The average homeowner won’t know these terms which is why we want to share that info with you. When your air conditioner quickly runs through cycles, turning off and on quickly, it damages the internal components of the unit. This is called short cycling.
How does Short Cycling happen?
Your HVAC system is designed to run in cycles. Every cooling cycle consists of the time it takes for refrigerant to absorb your home’s heat, travel to the outside condenser, send the heat away from your home, and recycle back to the inside unit. This cycle takes place repeatedly until your home’s temperature reaches the temp set on the thermostat. One cooling cycle should last about 15 minutes give or take, and your home should be comfortable in that time. If you notice your system runs for five or ten minutes and turns off, then it’s likely short cycling. Short cycling can cause extreme wear and tear on system components over time, and it will also cause your energy bills to spike since the highest energy use is drawn when the system kicks on.
Three Causes of Short Cycling
You could have a refrigerant leak. When your air conditioner leaks refrigerant, it needs to run in short cycles which will ultimately cause components to wear down or break completely. Eventually, your system might lose enough refrigerant that it will be unable to cool your home at all.
It could be a clogged air filter. Your AC requires consistent air flow in order to do its job efficiently. When the air filter gets clogged, it can overheat, leading to short cycles.
The system you have is too large for your home. When an air conditioner is oversized for a home, it will cool the home down too quickly causing short cycling. This can wear down a unit so much that it requires replacement.
If you feel that your HVAC system may be short cycling, give Air Design a call today. We can get it fixed for you before you end up needing to replace the entire unit.
An air purifier can provide peace of mind when you’re struggling with allergies or wanting to reduce airborne microbes in your Pensacola home. We recommend the REME HALO® air purifier. It can reduce three major types of indoor pollutants; its exclusive technology follows the natural processes of hydrogen-peroxide molecules cleaning air like in a forest.
How does it work?
The REME Halo® Air Scrubber uses the same process nature does to purify the air. In our environment, lightning, which holds a negative charge, activates hydrogen peroxide molecules. Once activated, the molecules clean the air, leaving behind a fresh, natural smell. Since the REME HALO® harnesses this same power, some homeowners report a similar pleasant scent.
It is an in-duct air purifier by RGF that can be installed into the supply plenum of your air conditioning or heating system by one of our professionals. It uses Reflective Electro Magnetic Energy (REME) to produce Hydro-Peroxide plasma, creating the same effects as found in nature. The plasma travels through the air ducts and into conditioned spaces throughout the home. Instead of filtering out air as it’s drawn into your AC system, the plasma will spread throughout your entire home/space, actively removing allergens and germs.
Why do I need cleaner air?
Besides the obvious killing of viruses, if someone in your household has respiratory issues or bad allergies, spending more time indoors can be uncomfortable and activate sinus issues. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, many air pollutants can be 2-5 times higher inside than they appear outside. Airborne irritants can worsen asthma in children and be very uncomfortable. The REME HALO® Air Scrubber can reduce all three categories of indoor air pollutants. With one small addition to your HVAC system, you can purify your house and keep your family safer.
How do I get one?
All of our techs are certified to install the REME HALO® Air Scrubber. We have been recommending them for a while now and have many happy customers currently using them. Give us a call today at 202-COOL and start breathing easier.