Tips to Reduce Allergens in Your Home This Spring

With spring finally approaching, those buds that promise green leaves and vibrant flowers also harbor dreaded spring allergens, primarily pollen. And “April showers” also bring the gift of mold, which many people are also sensitive to. As you stock up on OTC allergy meds, there are additional steps you can take now to prepare your home before allergy season hits hard. First, you can deep clean your home, and get rid of as much dust, dirt, and pet hair/dander as possible. You can also launder all of the bedding, soft furnishings, and window treatments and get everything as clean and sanitary as possible. Here are some ways to reduce allergens in your home.

Change the air filters in your HVAC system.

You should be doing this anyway, at least every three months. During the spring, you may need to change your furnace filter more frequently, especially if family members struggle with seasonal allergies. 

Install an air purification system.

You can also add an air purification option to your HVAC system — a HEPA filter or UV light. The HEPA filter will trap mold, pollen, dust, etc., and the UV light will kill mold spores, fungi, and bacteria. 

Reduce allergens in air ducts and vents.

You can dust the covers to your vents, but to be truly effective, the ductwork will benefit from a professional deep cleaning to get rid of mold, mildew, and pollen.

If you want to get a jump-start on spring allergies, call Atlas Butler at 614-681-2167. Schedule an appointment with one of our HVAC specialists to discuss the best options to protect your home and family, whether it’s a filtration system or duct cleaning. You’ll breathe much easier.

2023-03-21T12:55:50-04:00March 27th, 2023|HVAC Topics, Indoor Air Quality|

How Ductless Mini Splits Can Help Older Homes

Older homes have their charm, and if you’re skilled at remodeling, can be a lot of fun to update and put your personal stamp on. However, a vintage home can have its drawbacks, such as many of them don’t have central HVAC systems. This can be a problem if you live in a warm climate or a region where the temperatures fluctuate throughout the year; Central Ohio is a great example. The problem with older homes is that a lot of them don’t have the necessary ductwork for central AC, nor do they have the space in the attic or between stories and walls to install it. Doing a retrofit can be expensive and at the same time, take away from the character that drew you to the home in the first place. Fortunately, there is a solution: ductless mini splits.

Mini splits are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners whether it’s a historic fixer-upper or a new build. Mini splits are installed in rooms or zones of your home. As the name implies, these systems don’t require ductwork to function, which makes them an economical choice. The unobtrusive unit is installed on the wall and can be programmed to heat or cool a specific area; you can install a mini split in every room of your house and it still would be cheaper than retrofitting a central AC system. Mini splits are energy efficient and many models can be controlled by your smartphone. 

If you are interested in exploring the option of installing ductless mini splits in your older home, contact the ductless HVAC specialists at Atlas Butler. Call us at 614-681-2167 or use our online contact form. Our phone is answered 24/7 by a live person and in most cases, you can get a same-day appointment. Enjoy your vintage home in comfort.

2023-03-21T12:53:31-04:00March 15th, 2023|AC Installs, home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics|

Benefits of Air Flow Balancing

Do you experience areas of your home that are too hot or too cold? This can be especially annoying during summer and winter. You end up cranking the A/C or furnace, which really doesn’t solve the problem and results in increased energy bills. Instead of adjusting or replacing the thermostat, or shutting off specific areas of your home, you should look into the air balance in your home. Simply stated, air flow balancing is correcting the flow of heated or cooled hair that passes from the HVAC system through the ductwork and out the registers into your house.

An HVAC technician will test the air pressure and humidity in the duct system and look for problems that may be impacting airflow, such as blocked ducts, dirty ducts and vents, loose joints, holes in the ducts, etc. They will make the necessary adjustments including cleaning the ducts and repairing or replacing deficient infrastructure. This may sound daunting and expensive, but in the long run, you will save money as air balancing isn’t nearly as expensive as replacing your entire HVAC system.

Some other benefits of proper air balancing include increased longevity of your system, reduced energy bills, better comfort, and improved air quality. If you are dealing with uneven or fluctuating temperatures in your home, contact Atlas Butler at 614-681-2167. Our phone is answered 24/7 and in most cases, you can get a same-day appointment. One of our HVAC specialists will inspect your HVAC system and make recommendations for improvement. You and your family will breathe a lot easier. 

2023-03-21T12:53:44-04:00March 3rd, 2023|home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics, Indoor Air Quality|

New AC installation

What to Expect With a New AC Install

Summer is approaching and you’ve purchased a new AC unit. Exciting! Choosing and paying for the AC are the first and probably the hardest steps. Now comes the AC install process. When you bought or built your house, the AC was already installed when you moved in, so what can you expect during an AC installation? Here is an overview of what you can expect.

Prepare. When you purchased your new AC, there might have been discussions with your technician about replacing insulation in areas such as your attic or crawl space, we well as resealing any windows or doors where air could leak out. On the day of the install, make sure any valuable items are moved out of the way so they don’t get damaged during the process. It’s also a good idea to cover your furniture with dust cloths and make sure kids and pets are safely out of the way.

Remove the old unit. The technicians will cut the power to your old AC and drain any remaining refrigerant. The old unit will be disassembled and prepared to be hauled away.

Install new AC unit. During the installation, the technicians might need to get into your attic, basement, and crawl spaces so they have access to your ductwork, so make sure they are clear and accessible. The parts to be installed include (but not limited to): the AC unit, evaporator, outside compressor, condensing unit, refrigerant supply lines, thermostat, condensate drain lines, and condensate pump.

Testing. Once the basic installation is completed, the technicians will test the pressure and vacuum, charge the system with new refrigerant, and inspect everything. They will also turn the AC on to make sure it is running properly. Finally, they will go over everything with you to make sure you know how to operate your new AC.

How long does this take? In most cases, a complete AC install can be completed in one day; in some instances, the installation may be more complex and may stretch into two.

If you need a new Air Conditioner system, contact the HVAC specialists at Atlas Butler by calling 614-681-2167. Schedule a consultation with us to choose the right AC for your home, and we’ll also walk you through the installation so you’ll know what to expect. You can depend on Atlas Butler for your heating and cooling needs and to keep that AC running in top form, consider joining our Comfort Club where you’ll receive discounts on season maintenance, parts, and service.

2023-03-21T12:54:20-04:00February 27th, 2023|AC Installs, home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics|

How BTU and SEER Affect Efficiency

An AC system is a huge investment, so it’s important to get it right the first time. Ongoing maintenance and repairs because the AC isn’t getting the job down can add up to frustration and high costs, so before you start researching systems, there are two acronyms you need to be aware of: SEER and BTU. You might already be familiar with the Energy Star stamp of approval, which means the AC unit meets EPA requirements for energy efficiency. However, SEER and BTU are equally, if not more, important.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which as the name implies, is a seasonal reading. The cooling output is divided by total energy input to come to an average. The minimum SEER is 13, although for older ACs, it could be as low as 10. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the AC is. This number is also a good measure of comparison when looking at overall AC systems.

BTU stands for British Thermal Units and is used to measure the size of the AC unit. BTU was derived by an old-time formula of how much heat 1 ton of ice could remove in 24 hours. Fast-forwarding to today, BTU is used to select the right-sized AC for your home and if you’re into data, 1 ton = 12,000/BTU. If your AC is too small, then it won’t cool your house properly; too large, and you’re wasting a lot of energy. When planning the correct size AC, you need to also consider the size of your home, type of insulation, where the sun hits your house during the hottest part of the day, number of windows, etc.

If you need to install a new Air Conditioner, whether it’s an upgrade or for a new built, contact Atlas Butler at 614-681-2167 to schedule a consultation with one of our heating and cooling specialists. They will gather basic information about your home and make the best recommendations to help you stay comfortable, save money, and conserve energy.

2023-02-27T15:58:32-05:00February 19th, 2023|AC Installs, home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics|

Duct Work and Efficiency

How duct work affects HVAC efficiency

You might be doing everything possible to conserve energy in your home, like using a smart thermostat and installing thermal drapes, but it still feels cool in the winter and warm in the summer. Or maybe members of your household are experiencing worsening allergy symptoms or lingering colds and other upper respiratory disorders. What you may not know, is that the problems don’t lie within your heating or cooling system but in the duct system. In simplest terms, ducts are what carry warm or cool air through your house. If your ducts are dirty, it impedes airflow. In addition, dust, dirt, pollen, and other allergens can linger in the ducts and are dispersed whenever the AC or furnace kicks on. This can cause your home to become dustier than usual and can exacerbate existing allergies or make colds and coughs tougher to beat. 

Other indoor air quality problems include leaking ducts or overall air imbalance. When air ducts are damaged or not properly sealed, it causes cool or warm air to “leak” out, which decreases efficiency, resulting in higher energy bills. Air balance is when the air that flows between the supply and return ducts is circulating at the correct pressure. If the air balance is out of sync, that’s where you’ll find cold and hot spots in areas of your home.

In addition to these issues, dirty ducts can impact your wallet, in terms of higher energy bills. A small amount of dust that sits in your duct work can reduce efficiency by 20%, which means your furnace or air conditioner has to work harder to push the air through your home. 

If you question the indoor air quality of your house, whether it’s inconsistent temperature, health concerns, or rising energy costs, schedule a duct cleaning appointment with an HVAC specialist from Atlas Butler by calling 614-681-2167. Our specialists can clean your air ducts or inspect, repair, and reseal them. They can also rebalance your duct work to establish proper airflow. We also offer air quality products that will filter the air in your home, reduce allergens and improve air quality. With clean, balanced air ducts, your HVAC system will perform more efficiently, and your family will experience better comfort, a cleaner home, and improved respiratory health.  

2023-02-27T15:50:42-05:00February 6th, 2023|Furnace Maintenance, home energy efficiency, Indoor Air Quality|

Changing Furnace Filters

Cold weather has arrived and that means it’s time to turn on the furnace for the year. That doesn’t mean you can just set it and forget it. It’s important that you regularly change your furnace filters to make sure the unit operates efficiently during the winter; this will reduce the amount of dust that’s released into your home and keep your energy bills as low as possible. The good news is that changing furnace filters is an easy DIY project and rarely needs a professional assist.

You should follow your furnace manufacturer’s recommendations for how often to change your furnace filters, but a general guideline is to check the filter every 30 days and change it every three months. This is going to vary depending on the type of filter you use, its composition, and its thickness. Other factors can affect how often you need to change the furnace filter, such as if you have pets, smoke, cook a lot, or frequently burn candles. 

Here are some signs that your furnace filters need a change:

  1. You and your family suffer from more colds and other respiratory illnesses, coughs, sinus problems, and allergies. Dust and other debris get trapped by the furnace filter, and if allowed to build up, will be released through the ducts to circulate through your house.
  2. Your house seems a lot dustier. This is related to the problem mentioned above. Not only do dirty furnace filters lead to illness, but you’ll probably find yourself cleaning the house more because it gets dusty a lot faster.
  3. The furnace is running longer and longer cycles, but you don’t notice your house getting or staying very warm. Trying to force air through dirty filters makes your furnace work much harder, which can put a strain on other parts of the unit.
  4. You are seeing higher utility bills. It’s natural to see higher bills during the winter, but if they seem excessive, dirty furnace filters may be to blame. Try changing them and see if you notice a reduction in your monthly bills.
  5. Your smart thermostat or other device notifies you. Some smart thermostats and devices such as Google Nest can be programmed to let you know when it’s time to change the furnace filters. If you have the technology, let it prompt you.

If you are experiencing furnace problems and changing the filter hasn’t made any difference, give the service pros at Atlas Butler a call at 614-681-2167, or schedule online. A live person answers our phones 24/7, and we can usually get there the same day.


2023-02-27T15:38:20-05:00January 23rd, 2023|Furnace Maintenance, home energy efficiency, Indoor Air Quality|

Geo-Thermal Heat Pumps

With improving energy efficiency and weaning off reliance on fossil fuels top of mind, there are more advances in heating and cooling to achieve these goals than ever. One new technology is geothermal heat pumps. While the concept of a heat pump isn’t new, the geothermal heat pump is gaining in popularity, especially with new home builds. (It’s also possible to retrofit a geothermal heat pump to an existing home, but it can be more expensive.) Neither prospect is cheap, but you will eventually see major decreases in your energy bills, and geothermal heat pumps have longevity on their side. 

While a heat pump as we know it draws heat in from the outside, a geothermal heat pump uses the heat from the earth. In both models, the warmth enters your home from the outside and passes through refrigerant coils, and is then dispersed throughout your house as warm air; the process is reversed for cooling. The indoor component of the system runs on electricity, but other than that, no other energy is expended.

Underground coils deliver heat from the earth to the heat pump and they are placed beneath the frost line on your property, where the temperature is a steady 50 degrees year-round. This means that a geothermal heat pump can be used in practically every region of the country. The downsides are the cost and damage to your yard. It’s expensive to install a geothermal heat pump and it requires major excavation of your property. And it’s worth restating that retrofitting a geothermal heat pump can be more expensive than if it’s installed during a new build.

The good news is that once the geothermal heat pump has been installed, the only maintenance needed is changing the indoor air filter regularly, otherwise, the system only needs inspection and other maintenance about every five years. In addition, you can receive a federal tax credit for installing a geothermal heat pump (you may also be eligible for state and local tax benefits.)

It’s a big decision, but if you want to discuss whether a geothermal heat pump is a good investment for your existing home or a new build in the planning stages, call Atlas Butler at 614-681-2167 to schedule a consultation with one of our installation specialists. We pride ourselves on keeping our knowledge and skills surrounding the latest HVAC advancements and can make the best recommendations based on your energy goals and budget.

2023-02-27T15:38:30-05:00January 20th, 2023|home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics|

Planning For a New AC Unit This Spring

Air conditioning is probably the last thing on your mind during the winter, but actually, winter through early spring is the ideal time to start evaluating your upcoming cooling needs. This is because it’s off-season and after the winter rush, more technicians will be available to do the installation. You also don’t want to have your AC goes out on a sweltering day in August.

If your central air conditioning system is more than 15 years old, it’s probably time to replace it. A couple of signs that your AC needs to go is if you’ve noticed increasing cooling bills that don’t justify the tepid output. Another indicator is if you need more frequent service calls. A new AC will require a greater initial outlay of cash, but you’ll save money on service calls. If you’re experiencing problems with your AC unit, contact the service pros at Atlas Butler. We can take a look at your AC and recommend either repair or replacement of your air conditioning unit.

If you need to replace your air conditioner, there are several types to choose from:

Central air conditioner. This system is still found in most homes. The outside AC unit cools air from the outside and forces it through your home via the duct system.

Heat pump. A heat pump is used for both heating and cooling. Air is drawn through the heat pump and is heated or cooled. Heat pumps are a popular option due to their energy efficiency.

Ductless mini-split. This is a small wall-mounted unit that can heat or cool single rooms or zones in your house. They are inexpensive, easy to install, and don’t need ducts.

Geothermal system. A geothermal system is a complex underground system that draws heat from the earth to heat or cool your house. Due to the cost, geothermal systems are usually installed during a new build, but can also be retrofitted to an existing system. Geothermal systems are expensive, but outlast traditional ACs and need minimal maintenance.

In addition to costs and installation requirements, you should also check the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), which will be found on the yellow tag with the Energy Star rating. The higher the SEER, the better, and in some instances, you may be eligible for federal tax credits. If you have any questions or need advice about choosing the best air conditioning system for your home, give Atlas Butler a call at 614-681-2167.

2023-02-25T16:16:12-05:00January 18th, 2023|home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics|

Using a Mini-Split System in Your Home

If you are looking for a solution to heat or cool a specific area of your home or to better regulate the temperature in a single zone, consider a mini-split. A mini-split ductless system is installed high on the wall in a room or area of your home and doesn’t require expensive ductwork. The main unit (compressor) is outside your house and is connected to the indoor component (air handler) via copper lines. It’s a great workaround if you want to transform your basement into a livable space or keep your garage comfortable year-round for tinkering with your cars or woodworking.

Atlas Butler offers and installs LG mini-split systems and one of our installation consultants can schedule a visit to your home to discuss your options.

Here are some benefits of a mini-split system:

Higher SEER ratings. A SEER rating stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and as the name implies, measures the mini-split’s energy efficiency — typically in the 100% range. You will notice a decrease in your energy bills by installing one of these systems.

Environmentally friendly. A mini-split system draws hot or cold air from outdoors and heats or cools it, similar to how a heat pump works. Because you control the temperature in a specific area with a separate thermostat, the unit isn’t running excessively and wasting energy, thus decreasing greenhouse gases.

Easy to install and maintain. Since the mini-split doesn’t require ductwork, you can install one anywhere. This versatility makes them an attractive option for remodeling projects. Maintenance is also a breeze; simply replace the air filter every 30 days or so. It is recommended that you have your mini-split serviced every year to make sure it’s operating at peak efficiency.

One question we often get is how is a mini-split a better option than a window air conditioning unit. If you only need to cool a single room, then the window until is a good choice. However, keep in mind that the mini-split offers both heating and cooling. The temperature is easier to control with the mini-split and it can heat/cool more square footage. An additional benefit is that a mini-split is much quieter, which is a plus if you’re seeking a more comfortable bedroom.

Reach out to Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling at 614-681-2167 or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment to discuss how a mini-split ductless system could work in your home. You can count on our team to put their professional expertise to work in helping you make the best decision for your home and family.

2023-01-19T11:24:01-05:00January 6th, 2023|home energy efficiency, HVAC Topics|
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