5 Benefits of an Annual AC Inspection

By and large, people hate spending money on insurance, even though insurance comes in many different forms.  The problem with the traditional kind, however – take auto insurance, for example – is that you can’t touch, see or feel it, but it still costs an arm and a leg.  And the only time it does you any good?  Right: when something goes wrong.

Then there are other kinds of insurance, such as preventative maintenance for your central air conditioning system.  At its core, its purpose is to prevent costly repair problems.  But unlike an extended warranty or traditional insurance policy, AC preventative maintenance is a process undertaken inside and outside your home by the skilled, experienced, and licensed HVAC technicians here at Absolute Air.

In addition to preventing repair problems, our preventative maintenance service can deliver these key benefits:

  • Longer system lifespan
  • Cleaner indoor air
  • Reduced indoor humidity
  • Added safety for your family

That’s a lot of value for a very affordable service. Come to think of it, we see it as the most value-rich AC service we offer.

Still not convinced?  Well, let’s say you recently purchased a new AC system, one that’s still under warranty.  Failure to have preventative maintenance performed by a qualified HVAC technician could nullify that warranty, an important type of insurance in its own right.

So, for all the right reasons, we invite you to contact Absolute Air today to schedule our AC preventative maintenance service.  It’s the best you to – you guessed it – ensure a summer’s worth of cool, comfortable indoor conditions.

The Negative Health Effects of New Carpet Odors

“New” can be a wonderful scent. A new car with leather interior, a fresh coat of paint, new wood furniture – there’s nothing quite like it.

Then again, some household odors, however new they might be, aren’t nearly as inviting. Take new carpet and carpet padding, for example. That familiar smell can last for weeks or months after installation, and usually is caused by the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and other air pollutants that are used in the manufacturing process.

That familiar smell can last for weeks or months after installation, and usually is caused by the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and other air pollutants that are used in the manufacturing process.

Carpet odors are also known as “off gassing” which can trigger asthma and other allergic reactions. That’s from the fire-retardant neurotoxins used in the manufacture of some carpet products, the likes of which can cause fatigue, skin rashes or breathing problems in addition to asthma.
What protection do you, as a consumer have? First and foremost, do your research and always read the labels before making your purchase. Since 1993, for example, the carpet industry has required manufacturers to label carpets with a health advisory warning that reads as follows: “Some people experience allergic or flu-like symptoms, headaches, or respiratory problems, which are associated with the installation, cleaning or removal of carpeting.”

Here’s what else you can do to minimize or eliminate any health risks from new carpeting:

• Ask the installer to air out the new carpet for a day or two before installation.

• Leave windows open and a fan going for a few days, too.

• Make sure the installer seals seams with a non-toxic adhesive. Glue is another potential source of indoor air pollution.

• Vacuum frequently and deep clean annually to avoid triggering other allergic reactions.

At Absolute Air, we are indoor air quality specialists who can help you maintain clean and healthy living environment all year long. Contact us today to learn about our whole-house air filtration solutions or to schedule a free in-home consultation and proposal.

How to Choose a Heating & Cooling Company

When something goes wrong with your home heating or cooling system, what are you most likely to do?

Well, if you don’t already have a reliable service provider, chances are you’re going to ask a friend or neighbor for a recommendation, OR conduct a Google search, check out some reviews, and hope for the best.

Still, when people go searching on the internet, they’re inclined to type in exactly what they’re looking for, instead of thinking about the bigger picture.  Our point is, instead of searching for “heating repairs services” “AC repair services”, you’ll do yourself a giant favor by searching for a heating and cooling company at the same time with a search phrase like “HVAC repair services,” “heating and cooling companies,” “heating and cooling repairs,” and so on.

Just to clarify, HVAC stands for “Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning.”  By using that phrase or something similar while you search online, you’re bound to come up with a list of companies that are equally strong in heating AND cooling services, vs. one or the other.  Which further means that if you like the service you get and the value you receive on the AC side, you’ll already know who to call for any type of work on your heating system.

Also, let’s not neglect the “V” part of the HVAC equation.  Why?  Because an experienced HVAC company also can provide healthier and more comfortable living conditions by ensuring proper airflow, the right amount of humidity, and cleaner indoor air.

Or, perhaps you’re already searching for a local service provider and found this blog along the way.  If so, we invite you to contact Absolute Air for any indoor comfort need: heating, cooling, and ventilation alike.  It will be our pleasure to serve you.

Clean Floors Lead to Clean Indoor Air

If you struggle with allergies or asthma, there’s a good chance you have an indoor air quality issue on your hands.  While that’s not great news, it’s a problem that you can do a great deal on your own to correct.

Take your floors, for example.  By cleaning them often enough and in the right ways, you can reduce the amount of airborne pollutants confronting you and other family members.  Here’s how:

  • Chemicals and allergens can get trapped and remain attached to household dust for literally decades.  By cleaning your floors regularly with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter, you can cut way back on existing concentrations of lead, brominated fire-retardant chemicals (PBDEs), as well as allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites.  The HEPA filter prevents the contaminants from getting blown back into your living spaces.  While you’re vacuuming, don’t forget to include walls, carpet edges, and upholstered furniture – anywhere, in fact, where dust can accumulate. For best results, vacuum two or more times each week and clean your filter regularly.
  • Mop. Mopping picks up the dust that vacuuming leaves behind. You can skip the soaps and cleaners and just use plain water to capture any lingering dust or allergens. Microfiber mops (and dust cloths) typically capture more dust and dirt than traditional fibers and don’t require any cleaning solutions to get the job done.
  • Keep pollutants out. Put a large floor mat inside and outside every exit/entrance door.  People track in all sorts of chemicals via the dirt on their shoes. A door mat reduces the amount of dirt, pesticides, and other pollutants that follow you home. It’s also a good idea to take your shoes off upon entering your home, and don’t be shy about asking guests to do the same.  And, of course, you’ll want to clean your exit and entry door mats often so they continue to remove rather than add to incoming allergens.

Here at Absolute Air, we can help in your fight against indoor air pollution, and in a growing number of ways.  Contact us today to learn more or schedule a free in-home consultation and proposal.

How to Increase Indoor Humidity During the Winter Months

If your furnace is robbing your home of much needed the moisture during the winter, it’s likely you and other family members are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms of dry house syndrome:

  • Frequent bloody noses
  • Dry skin
  • Dry throat
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Static electrical shock
  • Frizzy, unmanageable hair
  • A worsening of allergy and asthma problems

You know what else overly dry air can do?  It can shrink your wooden floors, doors, and furniture, potentially causing them to crack or warp. The same goes for musical instruments. Dry air also can cause electronic equipment to fail from the same static electricity that can easily prompt one too many “ouch” moments.

The Perfect Cure for Dry Indoor Air

While there are numerous self-help remedies available to moisturize your air, none are as effective as a whole-house humidifier from Absolute Air – one that will provide just the right amount of relative humidity throughout your home, working in tandem with your furnace to create ideal levels of comfort.

Besides putting a stop to bloody noses, dry skin and hair, and all the rest, a whole-house humidifier will help decrease your home heating costs by about 4%.  That’s because, with added moisture in the air, you’ll feel perfectly comfortable at lower thermostat settings.  It’s the same principle that makes you feel warmer outdoors when humidity levels are high.

Plus, we can integrate humidifier control with your programmable thermostat.

Ready to put an end to the bone-dry air you’ve grown to know and loathe?  Contact Absolute Air today request a free in-home quote on a new whole-house humidifier.

It’s just one more way we can enhance your family’s year-round indoor comfort.

Common Furnace Odors and What They Mean

In a “perfect” home, there are zero odors emanating from your furnace.  All you feel is the comfort and calm that comes along with it.  But when things suddenly aren’t so perfect and you detect a strange odor you’re pretty sure stems from your furnace, you’ll want to know the probable cause, what it means, and what to do about it.

Heated Dust Odor

This odor is one pretty much confined to the start of the heating season.  After sitting idle throughout the summer, dust collects inside your furnace.  Later, when it’s first turned on for the heating season, it could take two hours or so for the dust to burn off.  If the odor persists, however, contact your home heating professionals at Absolute Air.

It Just Stinks

If you pick up an unpleasant odor that you can’t quite put your finger on, but don’t like it whatever the cause might be, it’s worth checking the furnace filter to see if it’s caked with dust or dirt.  If so, clean or replace it as appropriate.

Must in the Air

Your air ducts represent a hospitable environment to mold and mold spores.  Should you detect a musty odor, regardless of the sources, it’s one you want to act on right away as it could have a negative impact on your health.

Smoke, But No Fire

Smelling smoke can be a scary experience.  The first you want to do is make sure nothing’s on fire.  Once that’s been ascertained, check your heating registers.  If more than 20% of them are closed, that’s probably what explains the smoky odor, caused by heat resistance and build-up in your furnace.

Rotten Egg Odor

Have you already figured out what causes this odor?  That’s right, a natural gas leak, and it’s one that requires prompt and decisive action for your own protection.  Leave your house immediately and call your gas company or fire department from a safe distance.  If possible, leave at least one door or window open before exiting so the gas can vent itself.

What do these and other furnace-related odors have in common?  Absolute Air has experienced, diagnosed, and taken the proper corrective action for all of them.  So, if your furnace is raising a stink, contact Absolute Air today, your local home heating professionals.

The Right Insulation Can Help Reduce Your Home Energy Costs

Insulation is one of the easiest ways to save on your heating and cooling costs. Depending on where you place it, it also cuts back on noise.  Here just a few of the ways you can accomplish both:

Outlets & Switches

Foam padding under an outlet cover greatly reduces heat loss. Outlets and switches are a significant source of energy loss and for just pennies you can fix the problem.

Garage Door

Adding a layer of insulation to the back of the garage door will keep your garage warmer in the winter, and your home along with it. The added layer of insulation also minimizes noise.

Doors and Windows

Adding weather stripping and caulk to all your windows and doors keep drafts out and warm air in. If you already have weather stripping in place, be sure to check it yearly as it can crack or detach over time.

Attics

Insulation can breakdown over time or perhaps wasn’t installed properly in the first place.  Check your attic and crawl spaces to be sure there is enough insulation to prevent warm air from sailing through the attic and right outdoors.  The right amount is 6” deep with no gaps anywhere.  Keeping your attic well insulated also helps prevent ice dams from forming on the roof.

Ducts and Pipes

Insulating any air ducts and pipes located in unheated spaces can help minimize energy loss over time. Adding a layer around pipes, especially those on exterior walls, not only prevents heat loss but can prevent those pipes from freezing, cracking, and bursting while winter batters away outdoors.

Here’s another way to keep your energy costs to a bare minimum this winter:  contact Absolute Air to request our heating system cleaning and inspection service.  A well-maintained system is more likely to operate at peak efficiency while reducing repair frequency and costs.

5 Home Organizing Tips

blogLet’s say you’re a teacher and report cards are due but, in this case, you’re the only pupil and you’re being graded on only one task:  creating order out of chaos. With that in mind, what grade would you enter in the computer on your own report card?  If it’s one you wouldn’t be proud of, you’re a candidate for the following 5 home organizing tips.

Trust us:  they work.

Bins: Storage bins come in many different sizes and colors. Most are stackable, which allows you to make the most of an unused space. Use the height of a shelf and build up! Storage bins can be used to store spices and keep them separated, or to make packets of soup, dip mix, or hot cocoa more easily accessible.

Hanging shoe bag: Utilizing the back of a door – any door! – is a great way to organize and make use of previously unutilized space.  Other than help you organize shoes, hanging shoe bags can serve virtually any other purpose you have in mind.  How about as a space to house snacks for your kids, each child with their own pouch?  Or how about better organizing and storing cleaning supplies, a doll collection, school supplies, or scarves and gloves!  So many possibilities.

Lazy Susans: A Lazy Susan not only helps you organize under-cabinet items, but help you get to the stuff in back a lot quicker than might otherwise be possible.  So, the only question is, do you have enough of them for things like spices, baking supplies, cooking oils, and more.

Stepped shelving:  Stepped shelving is another convenient way to more easily reach items in the back spaces on pantry, closet and even cabinet shelves.  That way you can turn one shelf into two or more and organize the contents by how frequently you use them and by height.  Just one more way to save you time digging through the same stuff you just dug through yesterday.

Peg Boards: A peg board is a great addition to any pantry.  With a few S hooks on the board, you can hang kitchen utensils and cookware and, in the process, gain more drawer or shelf space. Colorful clothes pins can be affixed to the board and hold opened bags of snacks, pasta, or beans. You also can add shelves to a peg board for such items such as flour, sugar, and tea canisters.

If you get ambitious in creating more and better ways to organize your household, just be sure not to cover up your heating and cooling vents with new shelving or storage items.  That’s because part of the effectiveness of your home comfort systems depends on unrestricted air flow.

If you have any questions at all before undertaking your next home improvement project about how it might impact your heating and cooling systems, just give us a call:  Absolute Air.  Your complete home heating and cooling resource.

 

 

How to Get the Most from Your Furnace

Have you given your furnace a little pep talk lately, exhorting it to “keep in truckin’” for the good of your entire family?  Probably not, and for a few very good reasons:  it can’t hear, comprehend, or answer back.  And yet it does respond favorably when you take proper care of it.

Here, for example, are four important things you can do to help keep your furnace in top working order:

  • blogClean or replace the air filter. Such a simple step, and yet one so often ignored. In fact, you’d be amazed at how many heating repairs we perform all caused by a clogged and dirty filter.  To avoid unnecessary repair work and get the most from your furnace, start by cleaning or replacing it monthly, as needed.  If it’s not dirty the first time, check back again in a couple of weeks.  And before long, you’ll have figured out the correct cleaning or replacement cycle for your furnace make and model.
  • Keep all air vents open. It’s a popular misconception that closing one or more air vents will help reduce your heating costs.  Instead, doing so lessens your system’s efficiency over time and creates inconsistent temperatures in the rooms where your vents are open.  If saving money is your goal, there are far better ways to go about it, including adding one or more zones where you can control indoor temperatures one zone at a time.
  • Keep the furnace area clean. Any item kept near your furnace during the winter becomes a potential fire hazard.  So, if you use your furnace room or area for storage, keep it well organized and all objects -especially flammable ones – out of harm’s way.
  • Reset your programmable thermostats.  If you haven’t already, reset the time and temperature settings to reflect your winter schedule and desired comfort levels. Looking to save money on your energy costs?  In that case, we recommend program settings of 68 to 70 degrees during home occupancy hours and 60 to 62 degrees while your home or certain zones are empty.

Here at Absolute Air, we can do a great deal to add to your family’s winter time comfort, and it all starts with our heating system preventative maintenance service.  It’s your number one assurance of problem-free performance, reduced heating costs, fewer if any repair bills, and a longer system lifespan.  Call to schedule service today, and enjoy the added peace of mind knowing your furnace is receiving the best possible care.

“Is it Time to Replace My Furnace?”

blogIf your furnace 15-20 years old, it’s already reached its average lifespan.  If it’s even older and still working fine, consider yourself among the fortunate few.

But here’s the thing:  no matter how new or old it might be, it won’t last forever.  So, is now the time to consider replacing it?  It could be if you notice one or more of these symptoms of an aging furnace, or at least one in need of professional troubleshooting:

Gas & Electric Bills Going Up?
Rising gas and electric prices are not the only reason for high bills. Furnaces often lose their efficiency as they age, especially if they have not been properly maintained.

Any Furnace Repairs in the last 2 years?
Furnaces are like cars – the more your repair them, the more they need to be repaired. And once all that starts, it doesn’t take long before you’re spending $500 or more just to buy yourself a little more time.  At some time, it’s a good idea to take a step back and reevaluate whether you’re throwing good money after bad.

How’s your thermostat working?
If you raise your thermostat from 66 to 72 degrees, and your house doesn’t warm up, what are you most likely to assume?  Right – that something is wrong with your thermostat.  Well, that’s not always the case, and that’s precisely why Absolute Air heating professionals always check the thermostat while diagnosing a home heating problem.

Is your furnace making strange noises?
An old furnace can sound like a one-person band, just not as melodious.  The point is, furnaces are designed to run quietly.  If yours isn’t, it behooves you to find out why before the problem – whatever it might be – gets any worse.

Not feeling feel?
The older the furnace and its air duct system, the greater the potential for cracks in heat exchanger and in your ductwork.  A cracked heat exchanger is the more serious of the two problems as it can lead to a poisonous carbon monoxide leak.  Cracked and leaking ducts, on the other hand, cause your furnace to work harder which, in turn, puts more wear and tear on it.  Holes in your air ducts also allow dirt and other pollutants inside the ducts which then get pushed into your living spaces where you’re all too likely to breathe them in.  So, if any family member is complaining of chronic flu-like symptoms or having an especially difficult time with their allergies or asthma, it’s a good idea to contact Absolute Air to see if your heating system is contributing to or causing the problem

Remember:  a loss of heat isn’t the only reason to consider replacing your furnace.  High utility bills you can’t control, chronic flu-like symptoms, greater dust accumulation, and a noisy furnace that keeps you up at night might also be your furnace’s way of saying “enough is enough.”  Looking for answers you can live with, comfortably and affordably?  Contact Absolute Air today and give you the full benefit of our training and expertise.