Monthly Archives: February 2014

5 Furnace Troubleshooting Tips To Try Before Getting Help

air filter replacement handAs a homeowner, knowing a few furnace troubleshooting tips can help you when the system stops working. These could save you the discomfort you could experience waiting for an HVAC technician to repair it. Most of the time furnaces operate seamlessly, but issues with the thermostat, gas supply or electrical components can interfere with its operation.

  • Check the thermostat. The thermostat controls when yourfurnace turns on and off. If it’s malfunctioning or set to “off” or “cool,” that could be your problem. It could also be set too low. Listen for a click and shortly thereafter, the gas entering the burner.
  • Look at the air filter for the furnace. Some have switches that shut the furnace off if there’s inadequate airflow through the system. You’ll increase the life of your furnace by keeping the filter clean.
  • Check the power supply. Look inside the circuit breaker box and verify that the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. If it has, turn it off completely, and then turn it back on. You can also check the switch inside the furnace, which may be a switch or a button. Push or trip it. Most of the time a furnace won’t shut itself down. If this happens again shortly after turning the furnace on, contact an HVAC contractor to handle this aspect of furnace troubleshooting, and turn the system off.
  • Check the gas valve. Verify that the gas valve to the furnace or your home is on.
  • Inspect the pilot if your furnace uses one. Furnaces have a thermocouple that will shut the gas supply off when the pilot stops burning. The pilot or thermocouple may be dirty or need replacing. If you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you may be able to clean it. If you’re uncertain, let a pro do it for you. If your system is pilotless, the flame sensor may be dirty. If you’re confident of your ability, you may be able to clean it. Both the thermocouple and flame sensor are critical safety features.

To learn more about furnace troubleshooting and avoid problems with its operation, contact Keith Air Conditioning, providing HVAC services for Baldwin County homeowners since 1964.

Indoor Air Quality Is Good for You and Your Budget

Over the years, homeowners have perfected sealing and weatherizing their homes to keep the climate-controlled air inside the house. Sealed homes conserve energy and save the owners money by retaining conditioned air. Homes can be so sealed, in fact, that the indoor air quality is adversely affected. Once a contamOinant enters the home, the substance or particulates circulate and recirculate throughout with no escape. Occupants continually breathe the trapped contaminants, many of which are known to contribute to health problems. Once indoor air becomes polluted, the atmosphere inside the house may be 10 times more contaminated than the outdoor air. Some pollutants, such as tobacco smoke, can cause the indoor pollution rate to rise to 100 times over the outdoor pollution rate.

Indoor Air Pollutants

In addition to tobacco smoke, you home’s air quality may be negatively affected by dust, mold, bacteria, VOCs, cleaning fluid fumes, cooking fumes, aerosol sprays and household chemicals. You may have pollen and allergens in the air, as well. If your home has a musty smell while running the heating or air conditioning unit, you may have mold and dust in your ductwork system. If you believe that your ductwork is contaminating the air in your home, call your local HVAC company to perform an inspection. Your home’s air quality may benefit from a professional duct cleaning. Your HVAC professional can also perform an air quality test to determine your home’s pollution levels.

HVAC System

Your home heating and air conditioning systems can also contribute to poor air quality. Your home heating and air conditioning systems should be properly maintained, inspected and cleaned. Your HVAC filters should be cleaned or changed every 30 days. A clogged air filter caked with debris greatly reduces the quality of the air you breathe inside the house. Have your HVAC system inspected and maintained each year to ensure that the system is in optimal form and is not contributing to poor air quality.

Duct System

Your duct system could also be contributing to poor air quality. If your duct system is excessively dirty or leaking in spots, your home will tend to get dusty. If you see particles of dust in the air, your duct system may need some attention. Your local HVAC company will inspect your ductwork for leaks and advise you regarding a professional duct cleaning service.

Effects of Poor Air Quality

The quality of the air inside your home is important for your health and the health of your family. Those who are predisposed to respiratory problems are most affected by poor air quality. Small children and older adults tend to be more sensitive to poor air quality.

Poor air quality contributes to a series of symptoms, including:

  • Asthma symptoms
  • Allergic reactions
  • Problems for those with COPD and emphysema
  • Colds and flu
  • Skin and eye irritations
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Exposure to certain chemicals in polluted air could show up in future years as:

  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Sterility
  • Cancer

To further complicate the issue, those who are most vulnerable to poor air quality are also those who spend most of their time indoors. Infants and older adults may spend 100 percent of their time inside. Babies and older folks are not the only ones spending time indoors. Most people in the U.S. now spend the majority of their day inside a building. Adults and children alike spend as much as 90 percent of their time inside school, work or home. Air quality is important to maintain good health no matter where you spend your time.

How to Determine Indoor Air Quality

Air quality may be determined by a professional air quality testing battery. These tests are performed by HVAC companies and air quality specialty companies. However, you can also purchase home air quality testing kits from your home improvement store. Whether you have your air quality test by a professional or via a home testing kit, you should be aware of the quality of air that your family breathes while in the home.

Resolving Air Quality Issues

If you have determined that the air quality in your home leaves much to be desired, you can begin to plot a course of action. Your home and family may benefit from a whole-home air purification system. Portable, room-sized purifiers are also available for smaller spaces. If a member of your family is sensitive to poor air quality, an air purification system may help to alleviate breathing problems and other issues.

An air quality test may show that the air in your home is too dry. If you have static electricity in your home during the winter months, you could benefit from a humidifier. A humidifier will add moisture to the air, making the air feel warmer in the winter. A whole-house humidifier can be controlled by a device similar to the thermostat. The humidistat looks like a thermostat, but allows you to set the relative humidity levels in your home. A whole-house humidification system might also include a dehumidifier, as well. The dehumidifier removes moisture from the air and assists the central air conditioning unit in cooling your home in the summer.

To explore your options for resolving air quality issues in your Mobile AL home, call Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. We will test the air quality in your home and then recommend a clean-air solution for your home. We install and maintain humidification and purification systems. Call Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. for your Mobile AL HVAC needs.

Boost Indoor Air Quality With These 3 Tips

fresh indoor air womanWhen you think of pollution your mind likely conjures images of smokestacks and a yellowish haze looming over a large metropolitan area. While unhealthy outdoor air is a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon, the reality is that the air inside most people’s homes is far more polluted. Add to that fact that people today tend to spend much more time indoors than they did in the past and you’ve got a potential recipe for disaster. The good news is that with a few relatively simple steps you can improve your indoor air quality. Learn more about indoor air pollution and what you can do to freshen the air in your home today.

Health Effects of Poor Inside Air

You may experience the ill effects of low-quality air in your home soon after exposure, or it could take years for symptoms to appear. The severity of symptoms depends on age, duration of exposure and an individual’s sensitivity to the sources of pollution. Mild reactions can bring on flu-like symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and irritation of the skin, eyes and throat. In most cases, such reactions will disappear soon after treatment. More serious cases can become fatal, triggering health issues like cancer, heart disease or respiratory diseases.

Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

  1. Change your air filters frequently. This will help the filters effectively do their job of cleaning up pollutants from your breathing environment. Best practice is to check them once a month.
  2. Keep humidity levels in check. Humidity in your home can have a direct impact on the concentrations of certain pollutants. Humidity levels should remain between 30 and 50 percent. Use a humidifier or vaporizer to raise levels. Open windows (when possible) or turn on your A/C to lower levels.
  3. Control emissions at the source. Reduce indoor concentrations by opening windows on nice days or using your A/C with the vent open. Use your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans. When possible, remove individual sources from your home.

Do you need a contractor in the Mobile area to help you improve your indoor air quality? Please feel free to contact us at Keith Air Conditioning, Inc.