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Are home air quality monitors accurate?

indoor air quality monitor being used inside a home

Do I need a home air quality monitor?

When you get home from work, you’re probably thankful to be home where you can breathe easier and safer. Unfortunately, these days our homes aren’t as safe to breathe in as they once were, which is making indoor air quality services a growing need. 

Before you deny the air in your home is questionable, ask yourself, “How can I tell if my home air quality is bad? What are the symptoms of bad air quality in your home?” Here are seven indicators your home could use indoor air quality services

1. Breathing Problems, Coughing

A common poor indoor air quality symptom is breathing problems and consistent coughing. Today, we seal our homes up for energy efficiency, but that creates a lack of ventilation which is a cause of respiratory issues. Without indoor ventilation, the concentration of particles we’re breathing is increased and the fresh oxygen is decreased. 

2. Allergies and Sneezing 

Along with breathing difficulties and consistent coughing, sneezing is another symptom that is often misdiagnosed and misjudged. Sneezing is usually accompanied by watery eyes and an irritated nose and throat. While this can be from season hay fever and allergies, it can also be from contaminants inside your home. These contaminants can be removed with indoor air quality services to make your allergy symptoms lessen, or even disappear.

3. Dry and Irritated Skin

Does anyone in your home suffer from dry skin, rashes, or redness? If you haven’t been able to pinpoint possible causes, like detergent or bath soap, it could be the indoor air quality. The pollutants in the air become concentrated inside our home then latch onto our skin, blocking nutrients flowing as needed, creating dry skin. 

4. Headaches or Nausea

Lingering headaches that can be diagnosed are not normal, so if you’re thinking there is something in the air, you’re right.  Even in your own home, there are chemicals and other contaminants that are affecting indoor air quality. These are causing issues with your health causing you to feel dizzy, have nausea, and have frequent or even constant headaches. 

5. Sleeping Issues

One thing that indoor air quality services have found with testing is that sleep is severely affected for about 60% of us. That lack of sleep affects other areas of your life too, even impairing your other senses. Setting the thermostat at a cooler temperature helps. It is recommended to keep it between 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing your brain and body to match temperatures. 

6. Dust Buildup

Keeping air filters changed every 30 days and keeping your home dusted on a regular basis is the key to better and easier breathing. Experts in indoor air quality services recommend upgrading your air filter to a hyper-allergenic style, having the air ducts cleaned, and keeping your home dusted, all of which will help with breathing issues.

7. Cold and Hot Spots

Are you noticing cold spots along with hot spots inside your home? The air is probably not getting good flow with your HVAC system. Have the system inspected and make sure you are changing the air filter every 30 days or more frequently. Your HVAC technician can also advise you if your system is too small for your home’s square footage, or simply is reaching its prime and should be replaced.

What is an air quality test and what does an air quality test detect?

An indoor air quality test is the only way to find out what you’re breathing in inside your home. Indoor air quality services will measure the air in your home for three different pollutants:

  • Biological
  • Chemical or VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)
  • Combustion Pollutants

When the results of your indoor quality air tests follow the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards. Indoor air quality services focus on things that are health hazards like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and radon. 

Is there a device that measures home air quality?

Would it surprise you to know that the air quality inside your home is five times more polluted than the air quality outside? A shocking statistic for many, but many outdoor and indoor air quality services have been completed and compared, only to produce the same result. Here are some ways you can do your own indoor air quality testing: 

  • Indoor air quality monitors: These are available online and at home improvement stores in various price ranges. This device is left on constantly and will measure the IAQ, providing reports on the pollution level inside your home. Each device will vary in what it is testing, but the main things they all test are chemical pollutants, humidity, and particulate matter.
  • Mold Testing: Mold is common in most households, and the IAQ device we described above doesn’t report on mold levels. There are inexpensive home mold testing devices available online or t home improvement stores, but indoor quality services experts will tell you they are a waste of money. Mold is everywhere, so the readings will be inaccurate. The best way to test for mold is with a professional service. 
  • Carbon monoxide alarms: CO (carbon monoxide) is the silent killer. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Exposure to large amounts for a long period is deadly. If your home has any gas-powered appliances, you should have a CO alarm in your home. 
  • Radon testing: Another colorless, odorless, and tasteless concern. Having a detection device installed in your home is the only way you’ll know your home has radon. 

Can phones detect air quality?

Technology!  What would we do without it, right? Yes, cell phones can download a free app now that will measure the AQI for your country. It will alert you about air issues and pinpoint major cities with issues. All that without any advertising or in-app purchases while using the app. 

What is good indoor air quality?

Approximately 25ppm is recommended by ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists) as a threshold limit for an eight-hour workday. NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)  recommends a 35ppm exposure limit.

man changing an air filter

In Closing 

After reading this piece, you may be asking “Is an air quality test worth it?” And if it found there were issues in your home, you’ll want to know “How do I fix the air quality in my home?” – right? You probably know that we’re supposed to eat three meals a day and drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Did you know on average, we take 30,000 breaths each day?  While we can control what we eat and drink, we don’t always have the ability to control what we’re breathing in 30,000 times a day. 

An IAQ test would allow you to know what is in the air you’re breathing. With that information, you can adjust and make changes in your home that will make the IAQ in your home healthier.  Here are seven things you can do that will improve the indoor air quality of your home: 

  1. Change the HVAC filter every 30 days or sooner.
  2. Have the air ducts professionally cleaned every two years or even more frequently.
  3. Use the vent-a-hood when cooking.
  4. Keep the carpet and rugs in your home clean. 
  5. Control the humidity in your home.
  6. Buy indoor plants and place them around in your home for fresh air.

And if you need any other help with indoor air quality services, you can count on our team to be there for you. Just give us a call at 478-781-9107 if you have any questions or if you’re ready to schedule your service.

What is an HVAC thermostat?

Older model of thermostat being taken off the wall.

Understanding the Basics of Your HVAC Thermostat

Welllll… it looks like summer has arrived and is in full blast furnace mode here in Georgia! But already, folks are posting stuff on social media about how close Christmas is too! We’re already over the heat, and maybe your HVAC thermostat is too. You know what though? You’re going to need it working come cold weather too, so let’s talk about that today. 

What does your HVAC thermostat do?

If you’re asking, “What is an HVAC thermostat?” you must not be the one that adjusts the temperature!  A thermostat in general is a device that monitors the temperature of something. Your oven, clothes dryer, water heater – they all have a thermostat. Even your car has a thermostat. A thermostat, in general, works the same way as the thermometer you use to check your child’s temperature when they’re sick. 

An HVAC thermostat measures the temperature inside your home and is connected to the HVAC unit. It automatically adjusts the cooling or heating to the temperature you have it pre-set to, telling it to blow out warm or cool air depending on if you have the HVAC system on ‘cool’ or ‘heat’. 

How do you know if a house thermostat is bad?

So, maybe your house hasn’t been as cool as you think it should be. Of course, when the temperature is in the high 90s and the humidity is too, every HVAC in the state is working overtime, right? However, if your HVAC thermostat isn’t working properly, then your HVAC system isn’t going to be running efficiently. Every part of the HVAC system needs to be in the correct working order or you’re spending money on electricity and not getting the full benefit.

So, how to tell if your HVAC thermostat is bad – the following are six ways.

1. The System Turns Off and On 

Remember, the HVAC thermostat has to communicate with the HVAC system, and it does this by sending signals back and forth. If the HVAC thermostat isn’t getting or sending the right signals to the HVAC system it will keep turning the system off and on, repeatedly. This could be a wiring issue or, if your HVAC thermostat is older than five years, you may need a new one. 

2. Faulty HVAC Thermostat Readings

When the HVAC thermostat readings are right, your home should be comfortable and cozy. If the HVAC thermostat is incorrectly registering the indoor temperatures, it is time to replace it. 

3. Questionable Energy Bills

Okay, it is summer and the electric bill is going to go up, but if it seems to have gone up more than expected, you might need to have the HVAC thermostat replaced. 

4. Temperature Shifts Constantly

A faulty HVAC thermostat is able to maintain the settings you have in place and will continuously change settings without you doing anything. Lower the setting and see if the HVAC system turns on and stays on or goes back up then down again and up again. 

5. Thermostat Is Old

As we mentioned earlier, the HVAC system has a lifespan of about 10 years, but if you’re having problems with it at five years, switch it out for a new programmable HVAC thermostat. It’ll work better and actually save you money each month. 

6. Fails to Respond to Changes

If the HVAC thermostat doesn’t respond as soon as you make an adjustment, indicated by clicking sounds, then you need to replace the HVAC thermostat. 

When should I replace my home thermostat?

Well, we just gave you six ways to tell that your HVAC thermostat isn’t working, and if you notice any of these problems it would be time to replace it. Another time would be if it is 10 years old or older, at which point we suggest you upgrade to a programmable unit. You can set a time for it to cut on and off, so your home is cooled off by the time you get home.

How much does it cost to replace an HVAC thermostat?

It can all depend on how fancy an HVAC thermostat you choose and if you install it yourself or have it installed. The thermostat itself can cost as little as $20 and up to $300 or more, with most homeowners spending around $100. If you have it installed by a professional electrician the cost will depend on their hourly rate or if they have a flat rate for this type of job – always ask! The hourly average is around $60, and some go as high as $100 per hour. You can expect them to bill you for a minimum of two hours. 

Programmable thermostat being adjusted.

In Conclusion 

So, you’re thinking that it may be time for a new HVAC thermostat. Other questions to consider include what is the best HVAC thermostat? We recommend getting an HVAC thermostat with humidity control, it will do a lot of good for your home year-round to control that humidity. This is along with keeping your filter changed every 30 days and your air ducts professionally cleaned once a year. If you do that, your home will be comfortable temperature-wise – and healthier too! If you need professional HVAC service in Macon, GA, give Total Comfort Cooling & Heating, LLC a call at 478-781-9107 to set up an appointment.

How does solar air conditioning work?

ac outside

What is solar air conditioning system?

Like everywhere else in the country today, homeowners in Georgia are taking a serious look at going solar power. The idea you’re paid for generating your own electricity and getting paid for it sounds too good to be true, but it is true! However, when it comes to keeping  your home cool in the deep south summers like Macon Georgia, is solar air conditioning going to work? 

We’re going to answer some concerns and questions about solar air conditioners and air conditioning and solar panels. What about those cloudy days, will your solar air conditioner still keep your home comfortable? On those really hot and humid days, when the UV rays are their strongest, will the solar panels melt? 

There are a lot of questions about solar power, understandably so, right? After all, can solar panels support air conditioning? The main issue to powering air conditioning is the amount of electricity it takes. On average, an air conditioner uses over 1kw of power and a solar panel system ranges as little as 2kw and up to 4kw. This means that your air conditioner will use up most of the solar energy your panels create. 

This is a variable-speed heat pump style cooling system that operates directly from current that sun powered photovoltaic panels produce. In straight terms,  it is  using DC power – directly – and doesn’t have any of the associated power loss as you with an AC-DC inverter. 

What is there to know about solar driven air conditioning system? 

The hot summer sun adds to your energy bill, right? It doesn’t have to though with solar air conditioner. Instead of the sun heating up the outside and causing your current air conditioner to work harder, about it make an air conditioner cool better? That would be pretty awesome wouldn’t it? 

Well it is happening in homes more and more every year. Solar energy is a harnessed source of power. This can actually help lower your cooling and heating cost. The sun  has an abundance of sustainable energy that can be converted into energy for your home for free. Why not take advantage of it?  If you’re not sure about solar air conditioner, read these six facts that will probably surprise you: 

  1. You may not have to have a completely new HVAC system installed to use solar air conditioner. You may be able to have your current HVAC system modified with a solar powered air conditioning kit. .
  2. In addition to the savings on your monthly energy bills, solar air conditioner may have federal and state tax credits available to offset the installation costs. 
  3. Your home’s value will increase with updated energy efficient cooling and heating system. 
  4. When the sun’s energy isn’t power the HVAC system,  it is used to power other appliances like the refrigerator.
  5. Some utility companies allow you to sell back extra energy when your system is tied into the grid. Watch your utility meter run in reverse.
  6. Many solar air conditioner systems have monitor performance that shows you each day how much money you’re saving.  

Does solar air conditioning work?

If you, like so many other homeowners are wondering “Are solar air conditioners any good?”, the answer is yes! Solar air conditioners work just as good as conventional ones, but better when you consider the amount of money you’re saving on your monthly energy bill. In fact, many homeowners say their energy bills are cut in half with solar air conditioners.  

On the average Americans spend over $15 billion annual to cool their homes. That much cooling releases as much as 140 million tons of carbon dioxide into the environment. That makes our climate warmer, then we run the air conditioner more. 

Additionally, carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is a contribution to our climate change, which has been increasing 100 parts per million since 1950. Solar air conditioner can curb the use of those systems and processes.

If you had to choose one, solar powered air conditioner or a refrigerator, which would be the better choice? Being that refrigerated food can spoil, and if you have a solar power system that doesn’t have a battery backup, go with solar power air conditioner.  

ac unit

Is solar air conditioning worth it?

Solar air conditioners work just like traditional split air conditioning systems, but they don’t use power from the grid. You’ll want to get the right number of solar panels to match the size of the solar air conditioner system, which is typically between 2 to 6 solar panels. Call 478-781-9107 today for your solar air conditioner in Macon, GA.

AC maintenance checklist

ac in need of maintenance

What is AC maintenance?

Spring has just arrived here in the south, but before you know it, you’ll be cranking on that air conditioning! Maintenance before you turn it on and throughout the summer is important, and that is what our focus will be about today. Here in Georgia, we use the air conditioning as much as they do the heat in Connecticut, so ac maintenance for summer is essential if you want it to last the summer. 

Air conditioning maintenance is how you keep the equipment in good condition so that it doesn’t break down on you on the hottest day of the year. Air conditioning maintenance also helps your utility bill every month by keeping the unit in perfect running condition, it uses less power to work. 

An air conditioning maintenance examination will include the following:

  • Thermostat assessment –  The technician will check the settings making sure they are keeping your home comfortable. 
  • Electrical connections – The technician will check all the electrical connections to make sure they are snuggly connected, and the voltage is reading correctly. 
  • Lubricate –  The technician will lubricate all moving parts to assure there isn’t any resistance. Resistance in air conditioning means the system is working harder and that is costing you in utilities. 
  • Condensation Drain – The technician will check the condensation drain to make sure it is clear of any clogs or other obstruction.
  • General operation – The technician will make sure the system is starting, running, and cutting off as it should. 
  • Outdoor unit – The technician will check the outdoor unit to make sure there isn’t any debris or dirt sucked up on the coils. They will check for any leaks of coolant or oil at the connections.  
  • The Fan – The technician will check the fan blades and motor for any damage. 
  • Air filter  –  The technician will change or clean the air filter if needed to keep a good air flow quality. 
  • Clean coils – The technician will clean the condenser and evaporator coils. This step in air condition maintenance ensures your unit to work as efficient as possible.
  • Check refrigerant – The technician will check to make sure the proper level of refrigerant is in the unit, adding if needed. This step of air condition maintenance is a safeguard in proper operation of your unit. 

Is it necessary to service AC every year?

inspection and annual heating maintenance and inspection. Is it really necessary? Probably not until your system reaches its 10th anniversary. By that point, you may need to consider the twice a year appointment to make sure your system is in top condition. 

How often should you have your air conditioner serviced?

As we just mentioned, when it comes to your ac maintenance, how often is really up to you, but experts and manufacturers recommend at least one a year for air conditioning maintenance and inspection in the spring and heater maintenance and inspection in the fall.  

How much does AC maintenance cost?

Our immediate answer could be, “Cheaper than replacing the unit.”, but we’ll advise you that typically, a regular air conditioning maintenance service will cost as little as $75 and up to $200. This would give you a basic inspection and tune up. 

What if you skip getting the annual inspection and your system quits working one hot summer night? You can expect to pay as much as $150 per hour for the technician service all plus the expense of what they do and any parts needed. 

maintained AC system

How much is a new AC system?

Maybe that doesn’t sound awfully expensive to you, so what would a new air conditioning system cost?  The cost of a new air conditioning unit will start around $1,200 and can go as high as $2,000.  The cost varies based on the size of unit you purchase, any new ductwork to be installed, and the labor costs. 

Still not convinced why ac maintenance is important?  Let’s review the ac maintenance benefits you will gain by having an air conditioning maintenance and inspection once a year: :

1. Improved Air Quality
With the skills of a trained technician, they will remove any debris and dirt particles that have collected within the unit. If left untouched, that accumulated particle gets into the duct system and spreads through your home, cutting the air quality of your home down. 

2. Energy Efficiency
Part of the air conditioning maintenance process includes inspecting the entire system and cleaning the blades, cooling coils, and other key components. When these areas are clean, the system works easier and pulls less electricity.

3. Better Comfort
With a preventative air conditioning maintenance visit, the skilled technicians inspects all components carefully and advises the customer of any issues or problems that need repair or replacing. When all the components are in proper working order, the home is more comfortable all around.

4. Fewer Service Calls, Fewer Repairs
Regular air conditioning maintenance allow a technician the opportunity to find small issues and repair them before they become expense problems. 

5. Longer Lifespan
Preventative air conditioning maintenance will keep your system in top working order correctly so that it can last longer.

Need help with AC maintenance in Macon, GA? Call 478-781-9107 today.

How do I make my cold floor warmer?

little fan and heater on the ground to warm the ground

Keeping your feet and home warm

Bbbbrrrr … nothing like getting out of a toasty warm bed and your feet hit those cold floors! That’ll wake you up before you get that first cup of coffee!  Cold floors in houses isn’t anything new for those who live in older homes where wood floors were normal. For those who have lived with carpeting though and upgrade to hardwood flooring, cold floors can be a shock. 

So, why is my floor so cold? There could be a couple of reasons why you have cold floors, and the flooring material could be a big reason. Ceramic tile and marble flooring materials are naturally going to be cold. However, when you have cold floors and walls, especially persistently cold floors, it may be time to do something, but what? 

First, you need to determine what and why you have cold floors, then you can determine what to do about them. The most common causes for cold floors: 

  • Insulation: The insulation on the ground floor of a home are usually the coldest. This is because heat rises, and the floor is on top of the basement or crawl space. Basements and crawl spaces are rarely insulated sufficiently, most aren’t even insulated at all, resulting in cold floors. 
  • Air Leaking and Drafts: As the hot air rises, a vacuum is created that pulls the cold air up, and if there are air leaks or drafts, that cold air seeps through and hangs around the floor, the basement, the foundation, and windowsills, which radiates to the walls. 

Can you heat a whole house with radiant floor heating?

Absolutely! The thought that radiant floor heating is just keep your tootsies warm in the winter is misguided, although it does feel good in the winter. When you compare radiant floor heating  to other heating systems, you don’t have the dusty ductwork, noisy vents, or rattling radiator. What you do have is an even distribution of quiet  heat. 

The heating system is heated by electricity or water, goes into the floor, and can be used room-specific, bathrooms and bedrooms are often the first choice, or it can be used as an effective, energy efficient, viable way to heat your entire home. 

Energy efficient you say. Yes, a radiant floor heating is and energy efficient way to heat because it works on demand. If you don’t need heat, you don’t use and no waste! Because heat rises, it starts at the floor and rises up through the house. Thus, it is generating more heat and using less energy to do so! 

Do heated floors use a lot of electricity?

Surprisingly for most people considering radiant heat flooring, no, they do not use more electricity. A normal electric floor heating element produces fifteen watts per square foot and when used in a 35 square foot bathroom, set to run eight hours a day, it uses just over 4.0 kWh. That comes out to less than $7 per month based on the nation’s average of .12 kWh.  A window air conditioning unit cost almost $37 per day.

How long does radiant floor heating last?

One hundred years!  Yes, you read that right. A radiant floor heating system is made from high tech materials and with proper care and maintenance, you can expect that radiant heating to be preventing cold floors 100 years from now. This is 4 to 5 times longer than the average lifespan of a conventional HVAC system. 

In addition to proper care and maintenance adding to the longevity, proper installation is key. A radiant floor heating is not a DIY project and must be installed by a certified and licensed contractor. If you desire cold floors to be a thing of the past in your home, choose a technician that is experienced, certified, licensed, and insured. The right contractor will know how to help you choose the system best for your home based on your budget and needs. 

Is radiant floor heating worth it?

You can’t deny that no more cold floors sounds wonderful, right? You can however, wonder if it is worth the investment, because it is expensive, like a new roof. The roof you need, cold floors you can deal with carpeting or rugs.  For now, let’s look at the pros that radiant heated flooring can offer: 

  • Energy Efficient: Radiant floor heating can be installed using electricity or a water-based system. Both provide consistent, efficient warmth. The traditional radiator heating has to reach a 149 to 167 degrees to be effective versus a radiant heated floor only needs to reach 84 degrees to be effective. A radiator heater heats the nearest area first and then radiates out. It takes a while for the other rooms to benefit from the heat, so you have cold air between floors and rooms. A radiant heated floor will warmth the floor ad that heat rises up throughout the rooms.  
  • Effortless Operation: Once a radiant heat floor is installed, there is little to no maintenance. The heating controllers ensure that the heat runs in and efficient manner automatically or you can connect with a smart thermostat. 
  • More Design Options and More Space: A radiant floor heating system allows you to decorate the entire room without having to working around the radiator or vents. 
  • Works with Any Floor Covering: Underfloor radiant heating works with any floor covering. 
  • Comfort & Safety: With underfloor radiant heating, there isn’t the hot surfaces of a radiator to worry about with children or pets. The air quality is better because the air is kept fresh and oxygen-rich. 
radiant flooring

Why should you go to the expense of radiant heated floors?

Are cold floors bad for you? Medical science has studied cold floor and have found that they do cause health issues, among them are bladder and kidney diseases. Then there are studies that prove it is healthy to walk around with your feet moderately cold. Most people decide to do what is comfortable for them, so it is pretty much your personal choice. Call 478-781-9107 today for radiant flooring heat installation in Macon, GA.

What is a Zone Control System?

zone control system

What is a Zone Control System?

A zone control system installation can certainly improve the overall functionality of your home. But how is this possible? And what exactly is a zone control system? To discover more, let’s turn to the facts. A zone control system enables thermostats that are connected to a central control panel to open and shut dampers that are allocated throughout your duct work. This process blocks or enables hot or cold air by turns and as appropriate. As a homeowner, you will set the temperature of each desired zone through each thermostat. After you have set all the prerequisites according to your standards, the technology of your zone control system will work for you.

What is Zoning System?

Are you wondering what a zoning system is? If you have ever heard this phrasing in terms of an HVAC installation, it will be essential to clarify the facts. A zoning system is understood to be a professionally installed control system that consists of a damper and a thermostat that is allocated for each room or zone of a household. This control system will be wired into a central control panel that sequences each thermostat’s call with the zone dampers in the ducts and the HVAC system.

Is Zoned HVAC Worth It?

If you invest in a zoned HVAC system, it will be important for there to be associated benefits. A good cost-benefit analysis diagram will display whether indeed a zone HVAC system is worth it. Here is a list of advantages to keep in mind. 

  • Zoned HVAC systems have thermostats that individuals can control in their space.
  • You will increase the energy efficiency of your household determined by your needs.
  • Your zoned HVAC system will exhibit a longer HVAC lifetime than other units.
  • Zones HVAC systems are very convenient.
  • Your qualified HVAC repairman will be able to install it with relative ease.
  • A ductless zoning system will combine the heating and cooling services into one unit. This will cut down on maintenance costs.

In order to discover more, please be certain to consult with your verified HVAC company. The more credentials and experience a company has, generally speaking, the better. 

Does a 2 Story House Need 2 AC Units?

If you have a two-story house, it will be essential for you to have the indoor climate needs of your household managed. With two units, you can expect a better outcome when it coems to balancing the desired temperature in your home. Due to the laws of thermodynamics, heat rises, which is why your upstairs rooms will typically be warmer than your downstairs rooms. If you invest in two AC units for your home, you will be able to balance out the temperature of your household far more efficiently.

Does HVAC Zoning Save Money?

When you have a zoned HVAC system, you can stand to benefit in a number of ways. While it is true that zoned HVAC systems seem luk they are complex, they can indeed regulate your energy use and inevitably save you money. There is evidence to back up this statement. The United States Department of Energy estimates that an HVAC system with zoning can save households up to thirty percent on a usual heating and cooling bill. 

What Zone Control System

A zone control system, as mentioned previously, has the ability to utilize strategically placed thermostats that are connected to a central control panel. This central control panel will open and shut dampers distributed through your ductwork. That means that hot or cold air can be released as necessary.

What Does the Zone Control System Do

The zone control system takes a lot of the guesswork out of controlling your HVAC system. The thermostats which are strategically placed throughout your household will control dampers that both release and block hot air and cold air from entering the space.

Zone Control Systems

One of the important things to remember about zone control systems is that they consist of three basic components. These components include multiple thermostats, a control panel, and electronic dampers. Your home will be divided up into different rooms or “zones” which can then be heated according to the specifications of the individuals living in your home. 

zone control system

Zone Control System Steps

If you have a newly installed zone control system then it will be easy for you to get started on the steps to controlling your indoor atmosphere. For example, if you are exercising in a certain “zone” in your household, you can change the thermostat based upon the temperature that you desire. Once you are done with the prevailing temperature, you can change it as needed.

When you need a high-quality zone control system in Macon, GA, you can give our team a call. Our friendly and capable staff is available to set up an appointment once you contact us at 478-781-9107. We look forward to serving you.

How do you cool a wine cellar?

wine on a rack

Keep your wine cool

A typical appliance in any kitchens today, whether they are new or remodeled, is a wine fridge or wine cellar. Cooling wine beforehand is key in proper entertainment as well as convenience for yourself. The average house likely will have a wine cooler, whereas wine cellar coolers for homes of stature, multi-million dollar estates, country homes, or vacation homes. 

For those of us who enjoy chilled wine but can’t afford an estate with a wine cellar, cooling our bottles of grapes may take more initiative and thinking outside of the box. You may be wondering, “Can I store wine in my basement?”, which is underground and typically damp and cool. 

Most of us keep our wine in the kitchen, but the basement would be better. The worst place you can store wine is the kitchen. Why?  It gets too hot in the kitchen and a kitchen is typically one of the well-lit rooms in the house. Hence why more homeowners are buying wine fridges. 

Wine needs to be stored where the temperature is constantly cool, even if aging it isn’t a concern for you. When wine has been stored properly, you’ll get more enjoyment and pleasure when you do pop that cork. So, where can you store wine if a wine cellar cooling situation isn’t possible? A few rules you need to know: 

  • In the Dark: Sunlight UV rays are the worst for wine. It causes it to prematurely age. What if your home is full of windows? Keep it in boxes and cover the box with a sheet or towel.  Think about a wine cellar, cooling, and darkness rule! 
  • Keep It Boxed: Today, more of us are ordering our wine online and it arrives boxed up. Unless you’re planning on drinking it all upon arrival, keep it in the box, and if it arrives in a Styrofoam box, even better! 
  • Even Temp: Wine should never be stored in temperatures warmer than 18 degrees Celsius. Nor should it be stored where the temperature fluctuates. So, the bathroom, broiler room, laundry room, and kitchen are not make-shift wine cellar cooling approved. Neither is the garage, storage shed, or workshop. 
  • Keep It Inside: When choosing a place to keep your wine as close to wine cellar cooling equivalent as possible, exterior walls of any room is a no-no. Choose cabinetry and closets that are on inside walls of your home, or the space under the stairs can make a great make-shift wine cellar cooling storage. 
  • Keep It Still: When we’re talking about storing wine, there aren’t good vibrations, especially if it is going to be stored for a long while. The chemicals in wine will become imbalanced, disturbing the sediments, and that quality red wine you have will lose its taste.  
  • Cork It Sideways: Now that you have determined where your make-shift wine cooling storage is, leave them alone. A corked bottle of wine should be placed on its side to keep the cork moist. Your screw cap wine can be stored standing up. Then leave them alone until you’re ready to pop the cork or remove the cap. 
  • Ventilate: During the depressions, many families that canned their own vegetables would store them in a cellar or under the house. While this could seem a bit gross, it is really a great place if the area has ventilation. Without ventilation, your wine could smell moldy.
  • Humidity: Corked wine and humidity go hand in hand when the humidity is no less than 50% and no more than 80%. You don’t want it too moldy, and a dehumidifier can balance that for you. 

How do wine cellar cooling units work?

The ideal humidity range to store your wine is between 50% to 70%, a range that keeps the cork healthy, which is key to good wine. When you store corked wine in an environment that is too dry, the cork dries out, cracks, crumbles, and shrinks. Too humid thought, the cork molds and the wine becomes contaminated. 

The temperature is important when storing wine as well, with a setting between 50 degree to 59 degrees considered as optimal. Wine that gets too warm will cook and spoil. Wine that gets too col freezes and expands, pushing the cork out. 

A wine cellar cooling system maintains the humidity and temperature at a constant level. Choose a brand for your wine cellar cooling that is reputable, like Breezeaire, CellarPro, or  Wine-Mate. Each of these have a variety of features, sizes, and types, so that you can choose the one that fits your wine collection size and budget, preferably a wine cellar cooling and humidification systems all in one. This eliminates the need to worry with the addition of a portable humidifier.  

There are wine cellar cooling units that have return air grills with a temperature sensor, creating a controlled environment that quietly cools the air and keeps the moisture level ideal for the corks. There are units available with alarms, audible and visual, that can be set to alert you when the temperature isn’t right too. 

What temperature should a wine cellar be?

When it comes to storing wine, the cork is key. The cork should never be allowed to dry out, nor should it become too moist. With that in mind the ideal temperature for wine cellar cooling is no colder than 55°F and no warmer than 57°F and should be constant. The ideal relative humidity should average at 60 percent. At that humidity and temperature range, the wine will mature slowly, mold growth is minimized, and the corks won’t dry out.

Does a wine cellar need ventilation?

Yes, the heat generated by the wine cellar cooling system can reach up to 110 degrees and that needs to be vented to the outside so that the temperature inside the unit stays at an even 55 degrees and humidity no higher than 70 percent and no less than 50 percent. 

large wine cellar

How do you insulate a wine cellar?

A wine cellar cooling units, self-contained with the ceiling insulated with nothing less than R13, although R30 is recommended. For the walls, on the interior and R19 for the exterior walls. You can use blown-in, fiberglass, or foam. 

If you have determined that you have the space for building a wine cellar cooling system in your home, congratulations!  This isn’t something that the basic contractor should do though. Search for wine cellar cooling contractors on the internet or ask family and friends who built theirs.  A contractor that specializes or has experience in wine cellar cooling construction will know the importance of the humidity and temperature control. Call 478-781-9107 today for wine cellar cooling in Macon, GA.

Is Geothermal Heating Worth the Investment?

geothermal heating from underground

What is geothermal heating and cooling?

Today, we have a lot of choices for cooling and heating our homes. With everyone being budget conscious and more of us becoming environmentally conscious, we need to pay more attention to geothermal heating. If there is one constant in our lives today that we can actually count on, it is the source of geothermal heat. Yes, we’re talking about the internal temperature of the Earth. 

Just thirty feet down, there is a source of energy that can supply our homes and businesses with cooling, heating, even hot water! For over fifty years, the technology to use this natural source of energy has been keeping people cool, warm, and supplied with hot water when needed. So, today, we’re going to go over geothermal heating and answer the questions that naturally come up when there is something different. 

Geothermal heating and cooling systems, GSHP or Ground Source Heat Pumps, provides cooling and heating by swapping heat with Earth, where the temperature is ranges between 45o an  75o F, depending on the season. It is a heat source and a heat sink all in one.

How does geothermal heating and cooling work? Like any cooling and heating system, geothermal heating, or GSHP, has a few components, starting with an underground network of pipes interconnected used as heat exchangers. When the air cold during the winter, the ground is warm 30 feet below. 

A refrigerant that has been injected into this network of pipes or coils absorbs the ground heat and transfers it into a structure. During the summer, the process is reversed and transfers the heat from the structure back into the ground.

How reliable is geothermal heating?

Geothermal heating is an excellent reliable source! With few moving parts in a GSHP system, the maintenance requirements are minimal when compared to the traditional HVAC cooling and heating equipment. There are fewer breakdowns and the applications for a geothermal heating and cooling system is extremely flexible, good for the smallest home to the biggest commercial structure. 

What are the pros and cons of geothermal heating?

As with anything, there are pros and cons to geothermal heating and cooling. You should review those things, both sides of this equation, and determine what is best for your home, your budget, and your future. 

Geothermal heating disadvantages

  • Higher installation cost: This isn’t a new way to cool and heat, but it isn’t as well established and known as the traditional HVAC system. So,  installation cost are still at a premium level which can be a setback for most. Yet, with the high efficiency it offers, your ROI will be paid in full within 5 to 10 years. 
  • Suitable for new builds: Geothermal installation is great for any home, but easiest for a new build due to the excavation needed to install for an existing home. 
  • Repairs to underground components can be costly: Along with an earth full of sustainable heat for the geothermal heating systems, there are also other factors of nature: ground shifting, rodents, and tree roots. These can all cause damage to the underground loops of a geothermal heating system. The repairs can be expensive if excavation is needed. Much like the sewer pipe coming from your home, which has improved over the years and so will repair of geothermal heating! 
  • Few experienced and knowledgeable installers: Not all HVAC companies have expanded into the geothermal energy industry yet. It may take some searching to find a company, and they may not be right around the corner from you. 

Geothermal heating advantages

  • Highly efficient: Because geothermal energy moves heat so the heating system in your home won’t have to create it. This enables it to operate up to 500 percent more efficiency. For  every unit of electricity that a  geothermal heat pump uses, it moves up to five units in heating. This can save the average homeowner as much as 60 percent for heating and as much as 50 percent in cooling when compared to the air conditioners and furnaces today. 
  • Minimal environmental impact: Geothermal heating is considered on of the greenest ways to heat homes and businesses today. It is virtually emission-free and doesn’t require combustion. Electricity is still needed to operate geothermal heat pumps, but pair with solar panels and you’ve got a win-win.
  • Renewable source for heating and cooling: Geothermal heating and cooling takes an energy that is extract from the earth, where the temperature is more consistent all year long. 
  • Weather independent: Solar and wind power energy requires the sun and the wind. Geothermal heating and cooling doesn’t. If there is earth, there is a renewable energy source. 
  • Low maintenance and reliability: The pumps needed for geothermal heating and cooling doesn’t have many moving parts. This minimizes breakdowns and maintenance costs.
  • Flexible: Geothermal heating and cool is workable for a small house or a large commercial structure. 
  • Operates quietly: Since the large components of a geothermal heating and cooling system are installed underground, it has a quieter operation. 

Is geothermal better than natural gas? 

A natural gas furnace uses natural gas and geothermal heating uses electricity. Natural gas prices are lower in part of the country, making it less expensive to operate a natural gas furnace than relying on electricity. Geothermal heating is often better than gas furnace heating, meaning the geothermal heating is more efficient overall. 

pumps in a basement for geothermal heat

How warm does geothermal heating get?

In 2009, it is reported by the U.S. DOE that over half of the GSHPs were shipped to 10 states from as far south as Florida and Texas, and as far north as Minnesota and New York. Why? Because Geothermal heating works any climate because it pulls from the constant temperature of the earth. There are businesses and homes using geothermal heating in all 50 states today. 

Year-round, temperatures no more than 10 feet underground stay at 55 degrees Fahrenheit on the average. Does this mean your home will stay at 55 degrees too? No,  the system will convert the geothermal heat and keep your home toasty warm no matter how cold it is outside. 

Is geothermal heating and cooling worth it?

If you are in the market or cooling and heating your home, geothermal heating is the less traditional way, but it is one to give serious consideration. Not only will you save money each month, gaining back the expense of the installation, but you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint too. Interested in geothermal heating in Macon, GA? Call 478-781-9107 today.

How often should you have your air ducts cleaned?

air duct along ceiling

How do professionals clean air ducts?

The component to your HVAC system that inside the house is important and the component outside your house is important too. However, without the air duct system, neither one is any good, so, maybe the air duct system and air duct maintenance are more crucial than we’ve given it credit?!  

In this piece today, we are going to cover the important of air duct maintenance and keeping them clean. How air duct clean effects the air your family is breathing and how it effects your unit’s efficiency. It isn’t just about you keeping a regimen of changing or cleaning the filter. It is important for the duct clean out to be done annually too, with the services of a duct clean company. 

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association has standard procedure for safe air duct cleaning and professional air duct cleaning companies that have become certified by NADCA are expected to follow these standards. Including in those standards, there is specification of chemicals and equipment to be used in air duct cleaning process. This process has been tested for the safety of the service technicians and for the safety of the customer and their home. 

The Duct Cleaning Equipment Recommended

Vacuums: Technicians should use  a powerful vacuum that is specific to duct cleaning. It can be truck mounted or portable but must meet the NADCA approved equipment list.  Professional duct cleaning services may use hand-held HEPA units and wet vacuums. 

  • Access Devices: A professional air duct cleaning technician should use tools that will gain access to the ductwork interior such as drills and saws to create entry points for imaging equipment. The imaging equipment is used to see the interior of the duct system and access the air duct condition. 
  • The Imaging Devices: There are a variety of imaging devices that can be used in accordance with the NADCA guidelines. Among those devices are CCTV cameras, still cameras, and mirrors, either mounted on wheels or work remotely to travel the ductwork. 
  • Hand Tools: Various hand tools are needed for thorough air duct inspection, cleaning, and repairing, including brushes, mirrors, direct-view periscopes, and pneumatic tools specific to air duct cleaning.
  • Chemicals: A professional air duct cleaning service will use only safe chemicals and sanitizers to rid the ductwork of any mold or other contaminants.

The Recommended Process

The NADCA instructs its members to assess the ductwork condition first. They should identify any breaks, cracks, or leaks and wherein the system the accumulation of debris, dirt, and dust are found. The technician will attach a vacuum system to the air ductwork to suck all the loose debris, dirt, and dust. The technician then uses different brushes, manual or power, and removes the debris, dirt, and dust that is stuck inside the ductwork walls. The debris can include any dead critters, insects, or rodents that have made their way into the system.

How long does air duct cleaning last?

Well, this is going to depend on the air inside your home, your air duct maintenance regimen and what is going on inside your home. If there is construction in progress (remodeling, renovating) and pets in the house, the air duct system will get dirty faster.  As a homeowner, your air duct maintenance checklist should include changing or cleaning the air filter, coils, and dusting and vacuuming of your home. Think of anything that can become airborne in your home is getting sucked into the air duct system. 

How do I know if my air ducts need to be cleaned?

Air ducts in some home get dirtier faster than others, like anything else, no two homes are identical. The NADCA recommends as part of your air duct maintenance is having the system professionally inspected every two years. Signs that your air ducts need cleaning are: 

  1. Air Filters Need Changing or Cleaning More Frequent
  2. Electric Bill Spikes
  3. Signs of Insect or Rodent Infestation
  4. Dirt or Dust Around the Registers and Vents
  5. Occupants Experiencing Respiratory Problems
  6. Mildew and Mold Growth
  7. Inconsistent Airflow from Room to Room
  8. Noises and Sounds in the Ductwork

Can dirty air ducts make you sick?

Yes, that is one factor that it is recommend having your air duct maintenance include professional cleaning every two years.  The other factor is that the cleaner the system is, the more efficient it will work and make it easier for the system, which is easier on your utilities. 

If a member of your household is suffering from an unexplained allergy or respiratory illness, and all other efforts to make this better haven’t worked, consider adding a professional air duct cleaning to your air duct maintenance regimen

dirty air conditioner filter

Is air duct cleaning really worth it?

Air duct cleaning has gain popularity in recent years with more people concerned with the indoor air quality of their homes. Is this a worthwhile service or a scam? Research hasn’t proven that routine air duct cleaning will improve your home’s indoor air quality, nor does it reduce the dust. However, as we just stated above, clean air duct service that includes the cooling and heating coils, motors, and air handler will make your HVAC system more efficient. 

When air ducts are cleaned properly, it can be good for the HVAC system, your indoor air quality, and your utilities. No, you don’t need to put a professional duct cleaning on a monthly routine, but every two years is recommended.  In between times, part of your duct maintenance should include cleaning the vent covers along with changing or cleaning the air filter. Call 478-781-9107 today for your air duct cleaning needs.

How Often Should My Air Conditioner be Serviced?

installed HVAC system

In the southern part of the country, we already had our air conditioners running on full blast by early June this year. Macon, Georgia along with the whole southern region is a prime humidity area and feels like summer by mid-spring and we may have it on until early October.  So, having an HVAC maintenance schedule is important. To learn more about HVAC maintenance in Macon, GA, dial 478-781-9107.

If you don’t know it when you buy your first home, you learn quickly that proper HVAC maintenance and routine scheduled HVAC tune up will keep you from having expensive air conditioner service calls. What is HVAC maintenance? The two most important things in HVAC maintenance that will keep your HVAC system in top condition: 

1). Keep your HVAC filter clean or changed every 30 days year round

2). Schedule your HVAC maintenance with a professional HVAC service tech in early spring and late fall 

Okay, so we have made it clear the importance of HVAC maintenance and how often you should have professional HVAC maintenance and tune up done. Is HVAC Maintenance necessary? Is this a law you must have HVAC maintenance performed? No, but is it necessary to keep your HVAC system in good working order so that it doesn’t let you down on the hottest day or the coldest night of year?  Absolutely! 

Another important benefit of having annual HVAC maintenance is that your HVAC system will always have maximum efficiency and performance. Utilities are expensive today and they are only getting more expensive each year. With annual HVAC maintenance, you’ll get the most for your utility dollar, and even keep your utility cost down. 

Exactly What is HVAC Maintenance? A Routine preventive maintenance by a professional HVAC technician will do three things: 

1). Save you money.

2). Catch problems early and prevent serious malfunction

3). Extend your HVAC system lifespan

HVAC maintenance equipment

What happens during HVAC maintenance?

HVAC is the acronym for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. An HVAC maintenancewalk-through by an experiencedHVAC technician will include the following for your air conditioner: 

#1. Check and clean the condenser coil

#2. Check the thermostat to make sure it reaches the expected operating pressure

#3. Take a wet bulb reading

#4. Make sure the air conditioning system is charged, add refrigerant if needed

#5. Check the motor amperage is at the manufacturer’s specifications

#6. If they find any problems, they will discuss them with you and make repair you approve 

How often does HVAC need maintenance? 

Before you need the air conditioning or heating is the recommended time by professionals in the business.  So, for the air condition part of your HVAC maintenance, early spring is the best time and you’ll want to schedule your appointment early because most good HVAC maintenance companies get booked up fast.  HVAC maintenance checkup for the heating part of your system, it is recommended to have it the early fall at the latest, again, schedule early so you can beat the rush. 

Besides these professional HVAC maintenance service checks and tune-ups, you need to do your own maintenance too. The primary thing is to either change or clean the air filter every 30 days no matter the weather.  Keep the exterior of the air handler clean and unblocked by furniture and keep the exterior part of your HVAC system free of tall grass and trash that may get sucked up to it. 

Are HVAC tune ups worth it? 

If you want to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, yes. If you want to get the most from your HVAC system, then yes, HVAC maintenance and HVAC tune ups are worth the expense.  Otherwise, you could be spending more money on frequent service calls and higher utilities. 

In Closing – What Are Some Signs You Need HVAC Maintenance? 

The following are warning signs that you need HVAC maintenance or repair: 

  • Air Is Blowing Warm: Your air conditioner should never blow warm air from the vents. Make sure the thermostat is in the cool mode and the thermostat is at a cool temperature. If you’re still feeling warm air blowing out of the vents, all your HVAC service company. 
  • Airflow is Insufficient: Poor airflow is a sign that your HVAC system has a blockage in the ductwork, clogged air filter, or it could be the fan motor. Check your air filter, change it, or clean it, and if that doesn’t improve the airflow, call your HVAC technician. 
  • Cycles Frequently: The HVAC air conditioner will have routine cycling, even the heater will have routine cycling. However, if it is cycling every few minutes or constantly, then it could be your HVAC system is on its last legs.  A service call by a professional HVAC technician can assess the situation and advise you accordingly. 
  • Humidity is High: If your HVAC air conditioner is working but the humidity is still high inside, your HVAC system may need the refrigerant recharged. 
  • Leaking Water: An HVAC air conditioner has refrigerant inside to make it cool your home and this often creates condensation. However, it should never be pooled up around the unit. If you are finding water around your HVAC system, all for an HVAC service tech. 
  • Noises or Odors: If your HVAC system is making louder and unusual noises like buzzing, grinding, or rattling, or if there is an unusual odor coming from it, call a service technician for professional HVAC maintenance or repair.