HVAC Topics

Tips For Managing Air Quality During COVID-19

 

If you are like most Americans, the COVID-19 pandemic has you concerned about the health of your family, and if you are practicing social distancing, you are probably in your home more than usual. Given that COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, managing the air quality in your home is one way to keep the virus from spreading. Here are some tips for maintaining good air quality in your home.

Change your air filter on your furnace

If its been a while since you’ve changed your air filter, now is a great time to add a new furnace filter to your essential shopping list. To fight airborne pollutants, upgrade to a filter with a MERV rating of at least 13. This will help filter out allergens and some viruses to minimize your risk of exposure.

Vacuum often

Dust and particles that are trapped in carpet fibers can cause respiratory issues and walking on carpets stirs up those irritants. A good vacuum with a hepa filter will help remove the pollutants while minimizing the dust particles that can cause respiratory issues.

Spring Cleaning

With winter build-up, and the fact that we’ve been home bound for an extended period of time, pollutants may be lying in wait throughout your home. A deep cleaning will help remove those particles, and with the right cleaner, disinfect the areas of your home that may have been neglected over the winter.

Open Your Windows

When the weather warms up, there is nothing like opening your windows and letting the fresh spring air refresh your home. Getting good air flow and ventilation exchanges the stale air in your home with fresh air, which can improve air quality.

Air Circulation

Having a functioning HVAC system is a critical piece in the air quality in your home. Your furnace and air conditioner play a vital role in circulating the air in your home, as well as filtering the cold air return. Set your thermostat to circulate the air constantly to keep the air flowing.

Install an Air Filtration System

A clean air filtration system can help to reduce the pollutants, virus and toxic compounds that can lead to respiratory problems.

If you are experiencing any issues with your HVAC system, call Atlas Butler today. Because we help customers with furnace, air conditioning and plumbing issues, we are an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are following the guidelines outlined by the CDC to ensure the safety of our customers and our employees. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

April 26th, 2020|air quality, HVAC Topics, Improve Your Indoor Air Quality|

Getting Your Air Conditioner Ready For Summer

Before you know it, summer will be here and the temperatures will start to heat up. If there is one thing that is certain in Central Ohio, the summer months will be hot and having a functional air conditioner is very important. We recommend getting your A/C unit checked out before the temperatures rise and make sure that it is ready to go when you flip the switch. Here are a few things we look at when we perform maintenance on an air conditioning unit.

Clean out any debris

Over the course of fall and winter, leaves, twigs and other debris can get trapped in your air conditioner. We remove this debris to avoid any clogs or issues when the A/C unit kicks on.

Inspect the fan blade

The blade is a major component of your air conditioner. The blade turns and acts as a fan and draws the heat out of the refrigerant that is moving through the outdoor coil.  The fan blade inspection ensures that the blade is free of debris, rust, and corrosion that would impact the performance of the blade.

Inspect electrical connections

The electrical connections to your air conditioner are protected by rubber coatings, which over time will wear thin and crumble. We make sure that the electrical connection to your A/C unit is safe and secure.

Check refrigerant levels

Refrigerant is what cools the air as it passes through your A/C unit. We check to make sure you have enough refrigerant, or we replace old equipment that houses the refrigerant.

Inspect the coils

The evaporator coil and condenser coils are also major components of your air conditioner. We inspect them to ensure they are both functional in the role they play to cool the air that flows through the air conditioner.

Inspect motor components

We inspect things like the air compressor, the blower, and the parts that work to cool the air in your home.

Test the thermostat

We inspect the thermostat connection, as well as test that the AC Unit responds to the thermostat.

Evaluate airflow

Airflow is the key to having a working air conditioner. Once we have everything inspected, we’ll turn it on and check that the air is flowing properly.

Change the air filter

Some customers forget to change their filters regularly, so we’ll inspect your filter and change it if needed.

If you haven’t had your air conditioner serviced yet, contact our team and schedule an appointment. We will provide an inspection and maintenance to get your unit up and running for summer. If your air conditioner has a major mechanical issue, our technicians can also work with you to replace your existing air conditioner.

April 21st, 2020|air conditioner maintenance, HVAC Topics|

The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon Monoxide is a gas that, when concentrated in your home, can cause serious medical issues. The gas is generated by many of the gas-powered appliances in your home but proper venting ensures that the gas is moved out of the home. The CDC reports that nearly 20,000 Americans visit the emergency room each year with signs of CO poisoning. Having a working carbon monoxide detector in your home will help detect this colorless, odorless gas before it is too late. Here are a few ways that carbon monoxide can creep its way into your home.

Gas Heating Systems

Your furnace consumes gas to heat your home, and when the burn process takes place, carbon monoxide is produced. Part of a routine furnace inspection is to make sure the furnace is venting properly. If the venting becomes blocked or clogged, the gases cannot escape.

Stoves and Ovens

If the stove in your kitchen is fueled by natural gas, there is a risk that your stove is not efficiently handling the byproduct of burning the gas.

Gas Powered Water Heaters

Just like a furnace, a water heater that uses gas must be properly vented. Since most water heaters are located in the center of the home, the vent pipe must reach outside of the home. Always check for debris, nests and even animals to keep your vent pipes clear.

Outdoor Grills

Outdoor grills give off a tremendous amount of heat which is why you should use them away from your house. Gas or Charcoal grills both produce carbon monoxide and should be kept away from open doors or windows.

Motor Vehicles

For homes that have garages under the dwelling, carbon monoxide produced by your car can seep up through the floors. Never leave a running vehicle in the garage that is attached to or under your home.

Fireplaces

A fireplace is another potential source of carbon monoxide. Whether it is wood-burning or gas log fireplace, the emissions that are given off can accumulate.

A CO detector can help detect leaks from any of these scenarios. You can find a carbon monoxide detector at your local home improvement store near the smoke alarms. Just like smoke alarms, CO detectors should be tested regularly. If the carbon monoxide detector is battery powered, set a reminder for yourself to change the batteries every six months.

If your carbon monoxide detector goes off regularly, you may have a leak. Since the furnace is potentially the biggest producer of carbon monoxide in your home, call Atlas Butler to inspect your system and ensure that everything is venting correctly.

 

 

March 28th, 2020|HVAC Topics, Improve Your Indoor Air Quality|

Tips for Improving Your Air Conditioner’s Performance

AC Service Tips For Your Home

With warmer weather quickly approaching, it’s time to think about turning on your AC. But before you do so, it’s a good idea to have your air conditioning system checked out to make sure it’s running at its full potential. You don’t want for the hot summer months to roll around, and you’re facing a too-warm house and astronomical energy bills. The HVAC professionals at Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling can check your AC system to make sure it’s operating at peak capacity and efficiency before the temperatures outdoors soar. Staying on top of these common air conditioner problems can extend the life of your system and keep you cool during Central Ohio’s hot summer months.

  1. Low refrigerant level. Refrigerant is the substance that cools the air as it flows from the AC unit through the ducts into your house. If the refrigerant level is low and needs a recharge, you’ll definitely notice it. For starters, it won’t feel very cool inside your home and the AC will run for longer and longer cycles. This causes increased utility bills — it’s a chain reaction. Leaks are nearly always the cause of low refrigerant levels, and this is not a repair that you want to attempt yourself. Atlas Butler’s licensed technicians will find the leaks and repair them.
  2. Insulation. The pipes attached to your AC unit should be insulated. Insulation keeps pipes cooler and also protects them from the elements, as well as condensation, which can cause numerous cooling system performance. Your service professional from Atlas Butler will check the insulation around your AC’s pipes and remove or rotted sections and replace them.
  3. Leaks. We’ve touched on refrigerant leaks, but they are not something to gloss over. Low levels of refrigerant can damage your AC system, not to mention that your home isn’t being cooled properly. Refrigerant that drips your AC unit is extremely toxic and can damage the environment. There are several ways that your Atlas Butler plumber can check for leaks, but the most common is the use of an electronic leak detector, which has a high degree of accuracy. The repair will depend on the location of the leak and could range from completely replacing the coil to fixing part of a damaged pipe.
  4. Airflow imbalance. Are there rooms in your house that feel cooler (or warmer) than others? If so, it may be a symptom of unbalanced airflow. Atlas Butler can help you with that by checking the ductwork and making sure that it’s not clogged by dust and dirt or have any leaks. We use square footage to calculate how much airflow is needed for each room. Fixes could be easy as adjusting the returns and registers throughout your house by adjusting the dampers in your ductwork.

If your AC is due for its annual safety check up and cleaning, contact Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling at 614-681-2167 or schedule an appointment online.

Your call will be answered by a live voice 24/7, and with our Same-Day Comfort Pledge, we’ll be there that day. We have the largest fleet and crew in the Central Ohio area, fully stocked trucks and access to parts 24 hours a day. That means we can get the parts needed to get your AC back up and running quickly.

In the event that your AC unit is not repairable, we also provide AC installation services. Our service technicians are trained to install the new unit. All of our work is backed by a two-year, 100% money-back guarantee.

March 9th, 2020|A/C, ac maintenance, HVAC Topics|

Signs Your Air Conditioner is on Its Last Legs

Summer will be here before you know it, so it’s not too soon to start thinking about your air conditioner. Will your air conditioner make it through another hot Ohio summer? The average life of a central air conditioning system is 10-15 years – if it’s properly maintained. If you are having ongoing issues with your home not being cool enough and requiring constant service calls, it might be time to pull the plug and get a new A/C.  The service team at Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling provides AC repairs as well as complete installation of new systems. We offer same-day service calls, so you don’t have to swelter!

Here are five signs that your A/C needs to be replaced.

  1. The system is not cooling. This symptom is fairly obvious. If your A/C is simply not cooling your home, no matter how many times it’s been repaired, then it’s time to consider replacing it. There could be many reasons why the A/C isn’t working properly. There could be a refrigerant leak, or blocked air ducts or major components, like the compressor, on the brink of failure. The unit may also be the wrong size for your house or is simply at the end of its lifecycle.
  2. Increasing utility bills. If your house doesn’t feel cool, the natural reaction is to lower the thermostat. This causes the AC to run more to try to keep up with demand. Aging units simply can’t keep up. This can result in the lines “freezing” or the compressor burning out. In the long run, your energy bills will keep increasing as your A/C unit continues to age. If you suspect that your bills are higher, review your electric bill and compare usage to last year. If the temperatures were similar and your usage is higher, chances are your A/C unit is starting to decline.
  3. Unpleasant smells. Ideally, your AC unit should be emitting cool air with no noticeable odor. If you smell a burning, smoky odor, then that indicates that a part may be burning out. A musty smell is a sign of mold and is most likely caused by a leak, probably water. Leaking refrigerant has a pungent odor. The substance itself is toxic and any suspected leaks should be checked out as soon as possible.
  4. Strange sounds. Ideally, your air conditioner should sound like ambient noise, just a quiet hum in the background. If you hear unusual sounds like grinding, banging, popping or squealing, those are signs that something isn’t right. These sounds could indicate problems with the coil, compressor or blower. They could also mean there is a leak.
  5. Weak/poor airflow. Your air conditioner should force a strong flow of cold air through your vents. If the air coming from the vents feels warm, there may be a problem with the compressor.  In some cases, replacing the compressor is expensive and depending on the age of the unit, that money may be better spent on a new A/C unit.  If the airflow is weak, any number of things could be happening including a dirty filter, obstructions in the air ducts or an issue with the furnace blower. Poor airflow and ventilation can also aggravate conditions like allergies and asthma.

The professionals at Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling can help you put that tired old A/C unit out of its misery by replacing it with a newer, energy-efficient model. We offer full-service AC installation and can help you make that important decision to replace your central air conditioner. We understand that it’s a major investment and not something to be taken lightly. After installation, we’ll consult with you about a preventive maintenance schedule to keep your AC humming along smoothly and keeping your home cool and comfortable. Call us at 614-681-2167 or schedule an appointment.

February 29th, 2020|A/C, A/C installation, HVAC Topics|

How Clean Air Ducts Affect Your HVAC’s Performance

Since it’s hidden from view, many people tend to overlook their air ducts. The ductwork in your home distributes hot or cold air throughout your home and when properly maintained, helps your system maintain the correct temperature, promote circulation and ventilation, and improve healthy air quality throughout your house. Dirty or leaking ducts waste energy and can trigger medical conditions such as allergies and asthma.  The HVAC professionals at Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling can inspect your ductwork, make any necessary repairs, and give them a thorough cleaning.

Here are some signs that your ductwork needs attention:

  1. Higher energy bills. If your heating and cooling bills are inching (or jumping) up, leaking air ducts could be the cause. Dirt and debris can clog registers and returns that restrict airflow. Also, build-up around mechanical parts of the HVAC system can hinder its performance.
  2. Dust emits from the registers. That’s a sure sign that your air ducts need a thorough cleaning. If you notice a more frequent and heavier build-up of dust on surfaces around your home than usual, you probably need your ducts cleaned. Or, at the minimum, have the air filters replaced.
  3. Worsening upper respiratory conditions. If anybody in your household suffers from allergies, asthma or other conditions, poor indoor air quality definitely isn’t helping. Your air ducts can harbor dust mites, dirt, pollen, pet dander, and even mold. All of these can contaminate the air, which can cause coughing and breathing problems.

Check out our Duct Cleaning video to learn more about the benefits of having your ductwork cleaned.

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends getting your air ducts cleaned every three-to-five years. This timeframe might be shorter for you if you live in an area where there is a lot of dust, if you have indoor pets, household members smoke, or if anybody in the family has a chronic respiratory condition such as asthma.  A study by the NADCA also revealed that air duct cleaning of heavily-soiled systems can reduce energy bills by 11%.

Atlas Butler’s team of experienced HVAC professionals can do an inspection of your ducts to see if they need to be cleaned and give you an estimate. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and provide service for your HVAC systems. We have the largest crew and fleet in the Central Ohio area and the only one to offer our Same Day Comfort Pledge. Call us at 614-681-2167 or visit scheduling page to book an appointment. While you’re at it, ask us about our Comfort Club, where you can save on routine maintenance, repairs, and annual tune-ups.

February 15th, 2020|air ducts, air quality, HVAC Topics|