Simply the Best Heating and Cooling Blog

Subscribe Today for the Latest HVAC Tips

Interested in keeping up with the latest HVAC tips from a local expert? The Simply the Best heating and cooling blog offers a variety of home tips including: energy efficiency, heating and cooling, air quality, home comfort and more.
Subscribe By Clicking Here

Can Your HVAC System Help with Those Annoying Seasonal Allergies?

While much of the United States is mired in cold winter weather, springtime has officially arrived in Arizona. Trees and plants are in full bloom, and sneeze-inducing pollen is already blanketing the Phoenix metro area. For anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies, this time of year means struggling with the very uncomfortable symptoms of hay fever, which include itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing and coughing. To make matters worse, the pollen doesn’t just stay outside. It enters our homes and workplaces via open windows, doors and vents. The result can be around the clock symptoms that can make life very unpleasant.

While a trip to the allergist is always a good idea if you’re struggling with seasonal allergies, it’s good to tackle the problem from multiple fronts. This includes allergy-proofing your home’s climate control system. The following strategies can help make your HVAC system more hypoallergenic.

Schedule an AC Tune Up

Air conditioners require regular cleaning and maintenance. This includes cleaning or replacing filters to eliminate pollen, dust and mold growth. Electrostatic filters can be particularly beneficial because they can remove a high percentage of allergens. Make sure to ask your technician to turn on the recycle switch on your air conditioning system. This will recirculate clean air, as opposed to continuously pulling in pollen-loaded air from outside.

Don’t Forget Your Furnace

During the late winter and early spring, temperatures in Arizona can vary wildly. It’s not uncommon to require both air conditioning and heating in a single day. If you have forced-air heating, it’s important to clean furnace filters and vents at least twice per month to reduce pollen and dust.

If you don’t have a forced-air HVAC system, you may want to consider investing in a portable HEPA filter that can help reduce the pollen count in a single room. Place the filter off the floor in the middle of a closed room and away from dusty areas for optimal results.

Is It More Than Seasonal Allergies?

Of course, pollen is not the only allergen of concern for many individuals. Other household particulates can also cause irritating allergy symptoms. These include:

  • Dust
  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Smog
  • Environmental pollutants

If you or your loved ones are struggling with allergy symptoms year-round, consider UV (ultraviolet) lights to improve overall indoor air quality. These lights are installed in your central AC system to prevent the growth of airborne particles, such as mold, bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that can cause breathing difficulties and other allergy symptoms. UV lights also improve air flow, and reduce overall energy costs by providing greater system efficiency.

Our Expertise Is Nothing to Sneeze At

At Simply the Best Heating & Cooling, improving indoor air quality is one of our specialties. If you’re struggling with hay fever, asthma or just want cleaner air inside your home, give us a call today at 480-361-8458. Our team of experts is here to help.

 

What are the Pros and Cons to Electrostatic Filters?

Electrostatic filters

Electrostatic filters are also known as washable air filters. They are just one of the many air filters on the market today, and like others, they have pros and cons.

If an electrostatic air filter was recommended by your HVAC service in Gilbert, you probably have a lot of questions about how well they work and whether they’re right for you. If you have someone in the household with severe allergies or asthma, the air filtration system you choose is even more important.

What are Electrostatic Filters? Why Do People Like Them?

The appeal to electrostatic air filters is that they don’t need to be replaced. This is the claim, though it’s hard to believe that something that attracts dust and debris won’t need to be replaced at some point. At the very least, you can expect a much longer lasting air filter compared to conventional filters.

To keep these washable air filters cleaned and maintained, you are responsible for taking them out once a month and hosing them off. Once cleaned, the air filter can be popped back in. However, it is extremely important that the filter is washed each month. Failure to do so can result in a quickly dirtied system that leads to increased allergens and dirt coming out of the ductwork.

What are the Pros and Cons to Washable Air Filters?

Now that you know a bit more about electrostatic filters and how they work, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons and whether your household can benefit.

Pros

  • Good air filtration. Electrostatic filters do a good job of filtering out the air, though they are not as effective as pleated air filters. If you have someone in the home with asthma or allergies, the filter probably won’t be enough.
  • Efficient operation. Reusable filters have MERV ratings of around 5 or 6, which is what you will see with a pleated filter. However, cheaper brands might have a negative impact on equipment performance.
  • Cost effective. Washable air filters pay for themselves in about one year. They cost around $50-$60, which you probably already pay for conventional filters every 12 months.
  • Save time and hassle. Not only can you save on the cost of the filter, but also you don’t have to worry about going to the store, standing in line and purchasing air filters every few months.

Cons

  • Monthly maintenance. In order to be effective, electrostatic filters must be removed and cleaned monthly. If they’re not, they can stop working efficiently and put allergens and dirt into the air.
  • Less effective than HEPA filters. Electrostatic filters rely on static electricity, which is enough to filter out small, lightweight particles but not enough for larger dust particles or mold spores. They are not as good as HEPA filters or even a 1200 MPR filter.
  • Not a good choice for asthma sufferers. Since washable filters are not as efficient at removing particles and mold spores from the air, they are not ideal for people with allergies or asthma.

What’s the Verdict?

Is a washable air filter right for you? It could be. As long as you don’t mind doing the work each month, and there’s no one in your home with severe allergies or asthma, an electrostatic filter is a good choice for air filtration. However, if you’re not prepared to be diligent with monthly cleanings, or you need more efficient filtration, it’s best to go with a higher quality conventional filter.

If you have questions on the best air filters for your home, give Simply The Best AC a call and we’ll be happy to help you select an option for air filtration.

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/ToriCampbell

Should You Be Concerned About the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home?

Indoor Air Quality

The effects of indoor air quality have been well documented. The complications of breathing in contaminated air range from short term effects – sneezing, coughing, headaches – to more severe, longer term effects – chronic fatigue, respiratory conditions and cancer. The biggest time of concern is during the winter when homes are sealed from the cold. Although here in AZ, summer can be an even greater concern because it’s too hot to open the windows.

How Much of a Concern is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a major concern, and federal scientists have ranked it as being one of the most important environmental issues in the country. EPA studies have shown that indoor air pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor pollutants. There are many reasons for this, including poor ventilation, the use of air fresheners, candles and cleaners that contain chemicals and more.

Believe it or not, one of the biggest culprits of indoor air pollution is funiture. Before 2006, furniture contained PBDEs, a type of flame retardant. However, even furniture purchased today might have other flame retardants that can be released into the air. These chemicals are sometimes used in children’s pajamas!

Small Steps to Improving Indoor Air Quality

In the end, IAQ is something that we should all be more aware of. We can’t avoid chemicals and pollutants entirely, but there are ways to make your home safer and healthier. Below are a few suggestions to start with.

  • Replace candles and air fresheners with essential oils. You can diffuse these oils for emotional and physical benefits, and they smell great, too.
  • Choose cleaners made from natural ingredients. They should be nontoxic, hypoallergenic, environmentally friendly and low on VOCs. Or, consider making your own household cleaners using basic ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar.
  • Change your air filters on time. Dirty air filters blow dirty air back into your home. Stock up on air filters so that you have them available to switch out, or ask our AC repair company in Gilbert about washable electrostatic air filters.
  • Open your windows daily. Fresh air acts as a filter for your indoor air. Better yet, get outdoors regularly and soak in the sun. This isn’t hard to do in sunny Arizona!
  • Be a smart shopper. Pay attention to the purchases that you make. Many laundry detergents, dish soaps and household cleaners are made in “clear & free” versions. Also be mindful of furniture, clothing and linens that you add to the home.

Consider UV Light Installation

If you are concerned that IAQ is affecting your family’s health, there’s another step that you can take. Ultraviolet lights can help you maintain a safer environment, and once installed, you don’t have to do anything extra. Our AC service in Gilbert offers ultraviolet light installation.

Here’s how the process works. UV lights are installed into your central air conditioning system, preventing the growth of harmful airborne particles such as mold, bacteria and viruses. Since these are stopped from being released into the air you breathe, your home’s IAQ is significantly improved. Also, the efficiency of your HVAC equipment is enhanced, resulting in better performance and a longer lifespan.

Let’s sum up the benefits to installing UV lights in your heating and cooling system.

  • Improve indoor air quality
  • Create optimal airflow
  • Destroy mold and bacterial on coils
  • Improve efficiency of HVAC equipment

If you have questions about how to improve IAQ in your home through UV light installation, better air filters or other measures, call Simply The Best AC. Our experienced techs will be happy to make suggestions and get you on the right track to a healthier home!

Photo Credit: Jack Moreh

How to Get the Most From Your Heat Pump

You’ve decided to install a heat pump! Good for you! Heat pumps are an excellent choice for Arizona residents because our winters are relatively mild. This means that you don’t need the power of a furnace unless you prefer a warmer home in the winter rather than the more mild temperatures that a heat pump creates. Aside from your personal preferences, a heat pump is a suitable heating system for homes and businesses in the Greater Phoenix area.

Even though heat pumps are great heating systems, not all are created equal. To get the most from this investment, you need to buy smart and use smart.

Choose the Right Heat Pump

When buying a heat pump, do your research and get a recommendation from your local HVAC service in Gilbert. HVAC techs see all types of issues with heating systems and are familiar with the best manufacturers and models.

For instance, at Simply The Best AC, we recommend Daikin heat pumps to our customers. We feel that they offer exceptional heating and cooling efficiency throughout the year, plus have lower operating costs compared to other models.

If you don’t want to purchase an Daikin model, at least look for an Energy Star qualified heat pump. These models are energy efficient and will save money on operating costs. To qualify as an Energy Star model, the unit must have a baseline rating of 8.2 HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor).

Additionally, an Energy Star qualified model is tested to work well in cold environments, providing that it’s the right size. This might not make a huge difference living here in Phoenix, but it’s something to think about. You are buying a heat pump to keep warm, after all.

Install the Heat Pump Correctly

When it comes time for installation, be aware of what’s going on. Hiring a trusted HVAC repair company in Gilbert is important because the tech will make sure that the heat pump is the right size and properly installed. Here are some things to look for.

  • Insulation. If you insulate your home prior to installing a heat pump, your home will be cheaper to heat, and you can buy a smaller system.
  • Brand Name. Always choose a quality brand that you can count on. The product should also come with a warranty.
  • Correct Size. The heat pump should be the right size – not too big, not too small. A system that’s overly large will generate more heat than needed, and a system that’s too small will have to work overtime.
  • Proper Installation. Correct location and installation is key to optimal performance. Again, hiring a trusted professional will ensure proper installation.
  • Climate Considerations. When The temperatures drop, the performance of your heat pump will, too. Temps don’t dip too low in AZ, but you still want to know that your heat pump is right for our desert climate.

Smart Use of Your Heat Pump

Let’s talk about how you can see the most from your heat pump. First thing’s first: Only use heat when you need it. There is no reason to keep your heat pump on when you’re at work all day. Second, only heat the rooms that you’re in. You can keep the rest of the rooms warm by closing windows and shutting curtains.

Also make sure that you keep on top of the thermostat. If you buy a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperatures for when you leave, return home and go to sleep. Lastly, take care of your heat pump just as you do your AC unit (providing that you do a good job!). Change the air filter regularly and schedule maintenance checks with an HVAC service in Gilbert.

Whether you’re in the market for a new heat pump or you’re still unsure of whether a furnace or heat pump is right for you, give Simply The Best AC a call. We’ll be happy to come out for a consultation and determine what is best for your needs.

Photo Credit: Ed Gregory

6 Signs Your AC Unit is on its Last Leg

On average, air conditioning units last between 10-15 years. When you first make the investment, a decade or longer feels like a long time. It goes by fast, though, and some AC units won’t make it much longer than the 10 years.

In many cases, air conditioning units start showing signs of wear and tear before they need to be replaced. There are those unfortunate homeowners who wake up one day to no air, but usually, there are things that start happening. By recognizing what these signs are, you can prepare yourself for the purchase of a new AC system.

Let’s explore six signs that your air conditioning is on its last leg.

1. No Cold Air

At some point, your air conditioning might stop blowing out cold air. If your AC system isn’t old, it could be an issue with the thermostat or a failed compressor. If you’re just coming off the winter and turning on your central air for the first time, your system might need Freon. But it’s also possible that you could need a new AC installation in Gilbert.

2. Weak Air Flow

If there is little air flow coming through your vents, this is a cause for concern. A common reason for this is a failing compressor. Though compressors are expensive, they are worth fixing if your AC unit is newer.

If you notice that some rooms are receiving cold air while others are not, it’s probably something with your ductwork. Over time, debris can get stuck in your ducts and obstruct airflow. If this is the case, a good ductwork cleaning should do the trick. Plus, you and your family can enjoy better health.

3. Thermostat Problems

The thermostat controls the temperature in the home, so if your rooms aren’t being adequately cooled, it could be with the thermostat rather than the unit itself. One way to tell if this is the case is if some rooms are cold while others have the same temperature. Don’t forget to replace the batteries, too!

4. Moisture in Unusual Places

Moisture or water leaks around your AC unit is can indicate a potential problem. It might be refrigerant leaking, which can cause serious health effects to you and your family. Small pools of water may indicate that the drain tube is clogged or broken. While this isn’t a serious, urgent issue, it should be addressed by an AC service in Gilbert sooner than later.

5. Strange Noises

Air conditioning units have to work hard in Arizona, so you might hear some unusual sounds from this increased production. However, sounds like squealing, grating or grinding may indicate that something is wrong inside the unit.

Fortunately, not all noises are necessarily a sign of something serious. Squealing, for instance, may just be telling you that a part in your AC unit needs more lubrication. This can be taken care of quickly and affordably.

6. Odd Smells

A foul smell coming from your air conditioning vents may mean that the unit’s wire insulation has gone bad. A musty smell usually means that there is mold inside the ductwork. Since mold can have adverse health effects, it’s important to call an HVAC service in Gilbert to clean out your ducts. The smell will be gone, and you can enjoy a cleaner home.

For quality, dependable air conditioning care for your home, call Simply The Best AC. We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee and NO weekend or evening charges!

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/AnnaFernandez