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The Benefits of a Late-Season AC Inspection

With summer slowly fading away, how would you rate the performance of your central AC system to date?

If the grade you assign is a “C” or lower, we’re guessing that you did not have annual preventative maintenance performed this year. Those who do generally experience much better results along with reduced energy costs and fewer if any repair problems.

So, while there’s still plenty of warm weather left before Fall arrives, it would make perfect sense to schedule an AC system cleaning and inspection from Air Professionals now instead of waiting until next spring. Why? Because it’s never too early or too late in the air conditioning season to ensure that your system is running as efficiently and safely as possible. 

These are just some of the steps employed during our cleaning and inspection service: 

  • Check thermostat operation
  • Clean or replace filter
  • Inspect fuses & wiring
  • Tighten electrical connections
  • Inspect contactors, relays and pressure controls
  • Inspect electrical safety circuits 
  • Inspect indoor blower and motor for dirt buildup
  • Inspect bearings and lubricate all moving parts as needed
  • Inspect condensate drain
  • Inspect outdoor coil
  • Run and test system

Annual service of this nature also helps ensure a longer lifespan for your system, and that’s another great way to help keep your costs in check. So, if it’s been a year or longer since your AC system received preventative maintenance the way Air Profs delivers it, contact us today for service. 

Common AC System Mistakes

No matter how many fans you run or how much lemonade you drink, nothing cools you off on a hot summer day quite like air conditioning. It’s no wonder that over 90 percent of homes and nearly all businesses in the U.S. use air conditioning to help beat the heat.

Still, many homeowners fall victim to some very common mistakes that leave them with higher utility bills, wasted energy, and systems that simply don’t last for as long as they should or could. So, to help ensure you’re getting the most out of your AC system, here are 6 common mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

Under or Over-Sizing – If you notice that your air conditioning system is constantly cycling on and off, it’s probably too big for your space. This makes it harder to maintain an even temperature throughout your home and makes the system ineffective at removing humidity. On the other hand, if your system never or rarely cycles off, it’s probably too small which means it’s working overtime. This not only wastes energy, but can greatly reduce your system’s expected lifespan.

Not Programming Your Thermostat – We all know that cooling an empty house wastes both energy and money, but no one wants to come home to an “oven”. By replacing one or more of your standard thermostats with programmable models, you’re able to raise or lower the temperature based on your schedule, day or night. You also can program your thermostats to keep your home at 78 degrees while you’re at work but a nice cool 72 by the time you get home.

Setting Your Thermostat Too Low – You may set your thermostat to 68 degrees out of habit, thinking that’s the ideal temp on a hot day. Chances are, however, you’d fee just as comfortable at 70 and save some energy dollars at the same time. In fact, for every degree you raise the temp, you can cut about 3 percent off your bill.

Not Using Ceiling Fans – Run your ceilings fans counter clockwise in conjunction with your AC system to help circulate cool air throughout your home and push that air down where you need it most. In the winter months, run fans in reverse to help circulate warm air and reduce your heating costs.

Neglecting the Filter – During cooling season, clean or replace your air conditioning filter every month or more often if it appears excessively clogged. A clean filter not only helps your air conditioning run more efficiently, but improves indoor air quality as well.

Not Calling a Professional – If your air conditioning system is making unusual noises or just isn’t keeping your home as cool as it once did, contact a trusted HVAC technician to diagnose and remedy the problem.

At Air Professionals, we are that “trusted professional” for thousands of home and business owners throughout Putnam, Westchester, Fairfield, and other area counties. Today, we invite you to contact us for a thorough cleaning and inspection of your AC system. With annual preventative maintenance, you can look forward to fewer repairs, lower energy costs, added safety, and a longer system lifespan.  Air Professionals:  the only heating and cooling company you’ll ever need.

New Carpet Odors Can Make You Sick

“New” can be a wonderful scent.  A new car with leather interior, a fresh coat of paint, new wood furniture, and so much more.

Even new carpeting can emit pleasing odors. Not that you’d want to bottle that scent and market it, mind you, but once you inhale the odor, it reminds you of a positive purchase and you’re happy to be embraced by it. Until, that is, it starts to make you and other family members sick.

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.

Those emissions are also known as “off gassing,” a serious health hazard that can trigger asthma and other allergic reactions. These chemicals are neurotoxins as well as allergens. To compound matters, some new carpeting and padding are made of plastic or other synthetic fibers, and many of these are treated with fire-retardant chemicals which can cause fatigue, skin rashes or other breathing problems.

Since 1993 the carpet industry has required carpet manufacturers to label carpets with a health advisory warning that “some people experience allergic or flu-like symptoms, headaches, or respiratory problems, which are associated with the installation, cleaning or removal of carpeting.”

So, to help eliminate or minimize the potential effects of off gassing the next time you buy carpeting, here are a few pointers:

  • Look for the green label to show that the carpet meets industry standards.
  • 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 following installation.
  • Make sure the installer seals seams with 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 Air Professionals, we are indoor air quality specialists who can help you maintain a pollutant-free indoor living environment all year longContact us today for more information or to schedule a free in-home air quality consultation. With UV lamps, whole-house air filters, and other indoor air quality products, we can rid your home of the pollutants that may be adversely affecting your health.

“Should I Replace My AC System?”

Here’s how to tell if your family and home would be better served with a new and higher efficiency central air conditioning system:

  • Age of your system. The average lifespan of your AC system is 12 – 15 years. Once it reaches roughly 8 years old, it’s energy efficiency is about 60% of what it was when new. That means, of course, you’re paying considerably to cool your home, and there’s no repair that can change that.
  • Frequent repairs. Just like with a car, the older the AC system, the more likely it is to break down. At some point, however, you’ll just know that it’s not worth fixing even one more time.
  • Poor air distribution. If some of the rooms in your home are either too hot or too cold, the likely cause is either a faulty thermostat or restricted airflow. Your attic insulation also could be lacking in one or more spots.
  • High indoor humidity. The older an AC system, the less effectively it removes excess indoor humidity. You can correct for that with a whole-house dehumidifier, but sooner or later you’re going to have to replace your AC system anyway.
  • Loud noises. If your AC system is making noises you can’t account for – noises you’ve seldom or never heard before – get it checked out before things get any worse. Remember: and AC system should be felt, not heard.

Not all of these symptoms necessitate replacing your AC system, but each is worth more though or further investigating. For a prompt and accurate diagnosis of what’s going on with your system, contact Air Professionals today. You’ll received a guaranteed upfront price quote along with our 100% customer satisfaction guarantee, regardless of the work we perform on your behalf.

Is Your AC System Correctly Sized?

When the time comes to purchase a new AC system, many home owners tend to think that bigger is better, even though that’s not always true.

At the same time, there’s a very good reason for such a popular misconception. By the time you’re ready to replace your AC system, it’s lost a good deal of its efficiency and most likely can no longer adequately cool your home. Well, if you’ve been putting up with that reduced indoor comfort for any length of time, you may have forgotten how efficient it once was. All you know is that it’s lacking in cooling capacity now; hence, you might reason, it probably will take a bigger system to do the job correctly the next time. 

We’re here to put that misconception to bed and advise you that both over-sized and under-sized AC systems are going to cause you trouble. That’s what makes correct sizing so important.

An over-sized system will cycle on and off too frequently for its own good, thus causing added wear and tear, higher energy bills, and a shorter system lifespan. An under-sized system also is trouble waiting to happen since it has to work over-time to reach the desired temperature setting. 

Here at Air Professionals, we take all factors into account to ensure your system is properly sized. These include: 

  • Typical outdoor summer temperatures and relative humidity
  • Size, shape, and orientation of your house
  • Amount and placement of insulation 
  • The type, size, and total square footage of your windows
  • Air infiltration rates
  • The number and ages of occupants
  • Occupant comfort preferences
  • And more

When all is said and done, Air Professionals will recommend and install the right size AC system for your home – one you can count on for many years to come. Contact us today to learn more or to request a free in-home estimate. Qualified applicants also can enjoy the added convenience of new system financing.

House Plants that Provide Cleaner Air

It probably sounds a little crazy, but at least in one important way, you’re better off living in an old, drafty house than one that’s sealed up tight as a button.

Why?  Because airtight buildings typically have poor or little circulation of fresh air, and that’s not good since, on average, indoor air as twice as polluted as outdoor air. Tightly sealed, well insulated buildings gave rise to the term “Sick Building Syndrome,” and yet airtight homes can make you just as sick as a well-sealed office building or industrial facility.

How do you know if you have an indoor air quality problem?  These are the usual warning signs:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Chronic achiness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in your chest
  • Eye and throat irritation
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Onset or worsening of allergy and asthma symptoms

One way to overcome the effects of poor air circulation is surround yourself with certain varieties of house plants, each one known for its ability to rid the air of bacteria and other toxins, including:  formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene.

Many people, for example, place Aloe Vera plants on their window sills for their soothing and healing properties. Here’s a whole list of house plants capable of trapping airborne pollutants and driving them down into their soil, thus helping to nourish the plants. 

  • Arrowhead Vine
  • Boston Fern
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Croton
  • Dracaena
  • Peace Lily
  • Philodendron
  • Pothos
  • Spider Plant

At Air Professionals, we offer highly effective solutions for cleaner indoor air, including whole-house air purifiers and humidity control systems. To learn more about how to rid your home of whatever’s making you sick, contact Air Professionals today.

How to Reduce Your Air Conditioning Costs

Have you ever had a “Doh!” moment when the answer to a question you’ve just asked is so obvious, you wonder why you bothered asking it? Well, what if you were to ask a roomful of friends: “So, any ideas on how I can cut my monthly AC electricity costs?” When, no sooner are those words out of your mouth, someone answers: “Try using it less.”

Come on, admit it: probably not the answer or advice you were looking for, but a good one nonetheless. Especially since there are umpteen ways to reduce your AC costs that way without feeling all hot and miserable as a direct consequence of your desire to save a few bucks.

Here are a few you can try at home: 

  • Attic fan. Once upon a time, these were very popular, but nowadays, not so much. But they should be because one in your home can help you sleep like a baby without the AC running all night. All that’s required is for the outdoor temperature to be the same or cooler than your indoor air before turning off the AC and turning on the fan. And here in the Northeast, that happens more often than not, even during the summer. 
  • Create a Wind Tunnel: Place one fan facing inward by an open window, and a second fan at an opposite window facing outward. This creates a wind tunnel effect that constantly moves fresh air through the house and pumps stale hot air out.
  • Take a cool shower: Moisture, like wind, creates a perception of cooling and helps dissipate body heat. One way to cool off with moisture is a cool shower. You also can apply a cold compress to your wrists, arms, head, ankles and other body pulse points; this method will cool down your entire body.
  • Keep Cool Air Indoors: Once the last person leaves the house for the day, have them make sure all windows are closed, curtains drawn, and no unnecessary heat-generating appliances running to keep as much cool air as possible indoors.
  • Keep Heat Away from Your Thermostats: You don’t want any heat-generating  device, including lamps and appliances, near your thermostats. Otherwise, your AC will work longer and harder than it must to achieve the desired temperature setting. 
  • Close Off Rooms That Are Not in Use: Don’t even try to cool rooms that you don’t use. Keeping those doors closed reduces the amount of space to be cooled, thus easing the task for your AC system and saving you even more energy bucks.
  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Drink plenty of fluids during the summer months to help lower your core body temperature.

Of course, reducing your dependency on your AC system doesn’t mean stop using it completely. It’s there for all those times you just want that sensation of cool, clean air washing over you, all throughout your house. To help ensure your AC system is up to that challenge, contact Air Professionals today to schedule our preventative maintenance service. Or, if you have a repair issue you want diagnosed and fixed as needed, once again we’re the only company you need to call.     

Why Freon is Hard to Get at Any Price

f you recently had your air conditioning system checked out and it needed a charge of Freon (also known as R22 refrigerant), you might have heard yourself gasp over the price.  And that’s assuming your AC service provider even had any Freon in stock.

The Clean Air Act of 1990 formulated a plan to phase out R22 refrigerant by the year 2020 due to its harmful effects on our environment. Both the production of R22 and its release into the atmosphere cause damage to the ozone layer. But soon that problem will eliminated, and here’s how:

  • All central AC systems manufactured from 2010 and beyond come equipped with R-410A refrigerant which is environmentally safe. 
  • Freon is no longer being manufactured and, starting in 2020, will no longer be available even for recharging older systems.
  • In the meantime, the remaining supply of Freon is rapidly dwindling while the price has skyrocketed, and continues to do so.

To avoid paying an exorbitant amount for a Freon charge, our best advice is to replace your Freon-consuming system now while you can still do so on your terms. If you wait too long, and there’s no Freon to be had, you’re likely to make a hasty decision on a replacement system and end up paying more than you need to.

Today, we encourage you to contact Air Professionals with any questions you may have on the availability and price cost of Freon. We’ll also be happy to provide you with a free estimate on a replacement AC system for your home, one that will come equipped with the environmentally R-410A refrigerant alternative.

How to Make the Most of Spring Cleaning

There are four kinds of people in the world:

  • Those who hate spring cleaning but do it anyway
  • Those who hate spring cleaning but hire someone else to do it for them
  • Those who love spring cleaning (the world needs more of you!)
  • Those who love or hate spring cleaning, but somehow manage to skip it

Which group you fall into isn’t the point of this blog, because there’s one trait all four have in common:  no one denies the value of a good, thorough, whole-house cleaning, no matter what time of year it might get done. But while you’re busy shooing the dust bunnies out from under your couch and making your windows sparkle, don’t forget the unseen – and often ignored – areas of your home that could also use a good cleaning this season.

Inside Dryer and Dryer Vent – Did you know that lint build-up inside dryer cabinets is responsible for over 15,000 fires each year? To prevent becoming part of this statistic, check the exhaust vent and the inside of the cabinet on a regular basis and clean as needed.

Dishwasher – You might think your dishwasher cleans itself with every cycle. But over time, small bits of food often find their way into all those little crevices. Over time, they cause unpleasant odors and make it harder to get your dishes as clean as you like them to be. Remove the racks and utensil caddy and scrub the inside with an old toothbrush or small, soft bristle brush.

Garbage Disposal – If your kitchen sink is smelling a little funky, it could be your garbage disposal. Use an old tooth brush to scrape off food waste that may have gotten trapped under the splash guard.

Exhaust Fan Grill – You may not even notice it’s dirty, but dust, humidity, and moisture can cake your exhaust fan grill with debris. Remove the grill and soak in warm soapy water, and then let it dry completely before replacing it.

Outdoor Lights – Exposed to the elements all year long, your outdoor light fixtures can get pretty grimy. Plus the heat they give off provides an ideal environment for pest nests. Inspect them at least once a year and clean off any debris as needed.

Garage Floor – Whether you use it to park your car or your kid’s ride-on toys, your garage floor gets dirty fast and often. Give it a good sweeping and then wash it to remove dirt, rocks, salt, and more.

Here’s a spring cleaning job that’s a must for anyone who wants to enjoy all the comforts of home during the summer:  contact Air Professionals to have your AC system cleaned and inspected. Think of it as preventative maintenance to help keep your system in top working order while paying less to cool your home.

Duct Sealing Provides Cleaner Indoor Air

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average home loses 10-30% of its forced air through the cracks, holes, or gaps in the duct work. That leads to a loss of comfort, problems with your indoor air quality, added wear and tear on your furnace and AC system, and higher utility bills.

Duct leaks allow pollutants such as fumes, chemical particles, dust, and mold spores to enter your living spaces and, ultimately, your lungs. That spells added misery for allergy and asthma sufferers and could even lead to the onset of upper respiratory problems.   

What’s more, combustion gases like carbon monoxide – typically released from clothes dryers, water heaters, and furnaces – can be back-drafted through cracks or holes in ducts and pushed back into your home.  And there’s nothing good about that, either. 

How can you tell if your ducts have been compromised without climbing into your attic and inspecting them?  Here are some of the more common symptoms: 

  • Stuffy, uncomfortable rooms.
  • Rooms that are hard to keep cool or warm.
  • Sudden onset of respiratory issues.
  • Unusually high heating/cooling bills.
  • Excessive amounts of dust in the air or on household surfaces.

If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, and you’re the handy type, inspect your ductwork and use duct tape or a sealant to close any cracks or pinhole leaks.  If the problems persist or you want someone to inspect them for you, contact the indoor air quality specialists at Air Professionals and we’ll inspect them for you. If we find that repair work is needed, we’ll give you on-the-spot quote and get the work done with your approval.