How a Programmable Thermostat Can Save You Money This Summer

As we enter the warmer months of spring and summer, it’s a great time to consider installing a programmable thermostat to stay cool while keeping your cooling costs low.

Installing a programmable thermostat allows you to reduce energy usage and save money by scheduling your temperature settings based on when you’re awake, asleep, and away from home. There are additional benefits as well, including that it allows you to control your comfort by managing a more consistent temperature in your home and spending less time adjusting your temperature.

Also, installing a programmable thermostat can increase your home’s efficiency and keep your HVAC system working it’s best.

Plus, a programmable thermostat works just as well in winter to reduce your heating costs and save you money throughout the year, making it an inexpensive upgrade that can be a cost-effective investment for your home and comfort season after season.

Count on Aspen Air Duct Cleaning for all your heating, air conditioning, air duct cleaning and dryer vent cleaning needs. Our team of trained and experienced professionals provide HVAC system services to all makes and models. Aspen Air Duct Cleaning is Massachusetts and New Hampshire’s air quality cleaner choice, specializing in residential, commercial, and industrial ventilation cleanings.

By Mr. Duct

Health Benefits of a Home Humidifier

The season of dry hands and sore throats is around the corner. If you’re looking for ways to combat these inevitable winter symptoms, a whole house humidifier might be just what the doctor ordered. When you get a home humidifier, here are some health benefits that you could experience during the long winter months.

Better Sleep

One of the immediate benefits of a whole house humidifier is it may help you stay asleep. When humidity levels are low, your respiratory system dries out quickly causing snoring, sneezing, coughing, and sore throat that can disrupt a good night of sleep. Having a whole house humidifier can potentially relieve these symptoms and make it easier to breathe while you sleep, allowing less disruptions.

Alleviate Dryness

We’ve all experienced that annoying pain of dry, cracking hands. No matter the amount of moisturizer, sometimes dry skin just won’t go away. With a home humidifier, you can bring natural moisture back into the air of your home, which could improve the look and feel of your skin. Not only could a home humidifier benefit dry skin, but it can also help other forms of dryness like cracked lips, bloody noses, and itchy eyes.

Reduce Illness & Allergies

One of the worst side effects of winter is the corresponding health problems that arise with the lower humidity levels. Unfortunately, viruses and allergens thrive in climates with low humidity. When our respiratory systems are already dried out from these low humidity levels, it makes the transfer of illnesses that much easier and harder to get rid of. Additionally, if you have weather-related allergy symptoms, the side effects of low humidity can make your nose and throat feel that much worse. By adding a whole house humidifier to your home, you can restore humidity in the air that could help improve your illness and/or allergies.

Not only are home humidifiers great for your health, they also could save you money in the long run! Adding more moisture to the air in your home with a whole house humidifier can make it feel warmer so you can lower your thermostat and reduce your energy bill during winter.

By Mr. Duct

5 Risks You Face When Your Air Ducts Aren’t Cleaned Properly

Air ducts are a key component of any HVAC system. Unfortunately, they don’t receive the recognition they deserve. In fact, air ducts are often overlooked entirely. Many people either wait too long to have them cleaned or avoid the procedure altogether. Both of those practices wreak havoc on your HVAC system and your health.

Not only that, but many people fail to replace their filters on a regular basis, which adds to the dirt and debris that builds up inside the ducts. Before you go another year without cleaning your ducts, take a look at the list provided below. These are the risks you face when you don’t keep the air ducts in your home as clean as they should be.

1. Increased Carbon Monoxide Risks

Carbon monoxide is a serious threat to you and your family. Carbon monoxide exposure can cause headaches, dizziness, and vomiting. Moderate exposure to carbon monoxide, over a prolonged period of time, can be fatal.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have your ducts cleaned on a regular basis, you increase your risk for carbon monoxide exposure. That’s because the dirty ducts cause your heater and air conditioner to overheat, which leads to elevated carbon monoxide levels.

2. Decreased Air Quality

If allergies, asthma, or other breathing-related medical conditions are a problem for your family, you need to have your ducts professionally cleaned. Your ducts attract and trap dirt, allergens, and pollutants.

Once the ducts are clogged with those particles, your air will no longer be clean, which means you and your family will breathe in more of the contaminants. If you have dirty filters, the problem will be exacerbated. That’s because dirty filters increase the amount of dirt and allergens that flow through your ducts.

3. Diminished Air Flow

Whether you want to stay cool during the summer, or warm during the winter, maximum air flow through the vents is crucial. After all, you can’t keep your home a comfortable temperature when air flow is down to a trickle.

Unfortunately, you won’t get peak airflow through the vents when the ducts are clogged with dirt and other particles. The best way to ensure maximum airflow is to have your ducts professionally cleaned at least once a year.

4. Damage to Limit Switch

Your furnace contains a variety of essential components. One of those components is the limit switch. The limit switch serves two functions. First, the limit switch helps the blower remove excess heat from the heat exchanger.

Second, the limit switch shuts down the system if the heat exchanger does get too hot. A clean air duct system protects the limit switch, and prevents malfunctions. However, if your air ducts are clogged, your limit switch and your heat exchanger are at risk.

5. Increased Energy Bills

If you’re like most people, you look for effective ways to reduce your energy bills. One simple way that is often overlooked, is to have your air ducts cleaned whenever you see dirt on the walls around your air vents. In most cases, that’s once every one or two years.

If you live in a particularly dusty environment, or you deal with high pollen counts on a regular basis, you should stick to the once a year schedule. A clean air duct system helps your HVAC system operate more efficiently, which reduces those monthly energy bills.

If you’ve encountered problems with your HVAC system, the problems could lie with your air ducts. Dirty ducts pose a variety of problems for you. If you haven’t had your ducts cleaned in several years, and you live in Massachusetts or New Hampshire, contact us at 978-681-5023. We’ll come out and remove the dirt that’s got your ducts clogged up.

By Carolina Ductmasters

3 Types of Duct-Related Maintenance to Keep Your AC Running Smoothly

Your AC system needs more than a yearly coolant top-off to stay healthy and function optimally. It requires great airflow, a functioning duct system, protection from pests, and more. Here are three types of duct-related maintenance you need in order to keep your unit at the top of its game.

1. Duct Cleaning and Testing

In addition to losing cooled or heated air, duct leaks can also allow polluted air into the system. So, if you discover that your ducts have been leaking, that could mean it’s time to have them cleaned out. If your HVAC system has recently been operating with clogged air filters or even without air filters, that could also allow dust and dirt in, meaning a cleaning is a good idea.

Other reasons for duct cleanings include a mold problem or simply needing better indoor air quality. This could be because someone in your home has allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues affected by air particulates. Your indoor air may be especially high in contaminants if, for example, you have a lot of pets or you don’t open your windows often.

Duct cleaning can be helpful for many allergy sufferers. When used in conjunction with a high-quality AC filter, regular duct cleaning could reduce the severity of allergy symptoms experienced in the home by reducing the amount of pollutants in the air your ducts pump through the house. If you find duct cleaning helps your allergies, consider making it a yearly event.

2. Pest Control

You may be under the impression that you don’t have to worry about pest control if you don’t have a pest problem at the moment. However, thinking ahead can help you avoid a smelly, expensive, and even hazardous infestation.

An HVAC professional or a pest-control expert can help you to check your ductwork and air vents for vulnerabilities. Pests such as cockroaches, mice and rats, ants, and even bats are more common in HVAC ducts than you might expect.

Close up any gaps, place better screens on vents, and use preventive traps to help avoid problems. An HVAC or pest-control expert can help you come up with a detailed and customized plan to avoid housing critters in your HVAC ducts.

3. Duct Sealing and Insulation

Many homes lose a lot of their cool air through ductwork leaks and uninsulated ducts, meaning only some of the cool air produced is actually used. If you haven’t had your ducts sealed and insulated recently, your home could fall into this group.

Problems such as leaky ducts and insulation damage are more common than you might think. Sometimes a more drastic problem, like disconnected ducts, is also present. If you have one room in your house that doesn’t get as cool as it should, this could be why.

Even if you have had your ducts sealed in the past, it could be time to have it done again. Consider getting your ducts inspected and checked for leaks anytime you’re having them cleaned; rodent damage, thermal expansion and contraction, and other factors can cause leaks to appear in ductwork over time.

These three types of maintenance can act as ancillary factors to your yearly professional maintenance visit. With regular professional maintenance for your AC and ductwork and complementary home maintenance, such as changing the filter regularly, you’ll be able to keep your AC unit in top form where efficiency and effectiveness are concerned.

By Carolina Ductmasters

Signs of Dryer Lint Accumulation and What to Do About It

Most people don’t consider their clothes dryer to be anything but an ordinary appliance. However, the reality is that clothes dryers are a source of considerable danger in many homes, as they are responsible for numerous fires in the United States.

In fact, clothes dryers cause around 15 thousand fires per year, and the most common identifiable factor in those fires is dryer lint ignition. Dryer lint is extremely flammable, and it can be easily ignited by the heat of a clothes dryer.

Below are the warning signs of dryer lint accumulation as well as what can be done to minimize the threat through prevention and cleaning.

Warning Signs of a Potential Dryer Lint Fire Hazard

It is crucial for homeowners to understand the warning signs that lint may be building inside their clothes dryers. Ignoring these signs can lead to catastrophe, as a deadly fire may be the end result. Here are four signs that lint is becoming a hazard inside your dryer and will need to be removed before a fire occurs.

Clothing Is Still Wet After Cycle Is Finished

If you notice that clothes are damp when the cycle finishes, then there is a strong possibility of lint accumulation inside the dryer or vent. Lint prevents the moisture from exiting the dryer through the vent and prolongs the time necessary to dry a given item of clothing.

The Lint Screen Has Not Been Regularly Cleaned

While the lint screen doesn’t prevent the need to have a dryer cleaned on a somewhat regular basis, it does capture a significant amount of lint during a cycle. Failing to clean the screen can allow lint to escape into the system and may cause damage or overheating.

If you know the lint screen hasn’t been cleaned in a long time, you can safely assume that lint has infiltrated the vent network in large amounts and will need to be removed.

Dryer Exhaust Is Restricted

                Another warning sign of excessive lint accumulation is airflow restriction at the exhaust vent. While other things can clog dryer vents, such as pests and mechanical damage, there is a high likelihood the decreased exhaust flow is due to lint blockage.

The Dryer’s Cabinet Is Noticeably Warmer

Lint accumulation inside the dryer will interfere with heat leaving the dryer, and the cabinet will become noticeably warmer as a result. As the cabinet becomes hotter, you should recognize the increasing probability of a fire.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Lint-Related Fires

If you own a clothes dryer, the good news is that you can often prevent lint-related fires. Below are a couple of strategies that will help keep your dryer, home and its occupants safer.

Clean the Lint Screen Before Every Use

As mentioned, a dirty lint screen can lead to a possible fire, so cleaning the lint screen is an important part of the clothes drying process. Take a few seconds to remove the screen and pick off any accumulated lint.

If the lint screen develops a rip or hole, immediately look for a replacement screen, as a ripped one can allow lots of lint to pass through into the dryer. Be sure to never run the dryer without its lint screen, as its use is critical to keeping lint levels low.

Have Your Clothes Dryer Professionally Cleaned

While homeowners can and should clean the lint screen prior to every use, a clothes dryer and its related vent system can be tricky to clean. That’s why it’s important to find a reliable company that can deep clean the interior of your dryer. If done correctly, professional cleaning will restore the interior of a dryer to its nearly original condition in many cases.

Proper HVAC Care and Your Allergies

With pollen polluting the air in the Northeast, it’s common to hear those around you complain about their allergy symptoms. However, did you know that your symptoms could be stemming from more than just the outdoors? Your heating and air conditioning filters could be playing a big role in how your allergies are making you feel.

Since we spend so much time indoors, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that dirty filters can make your allergies symptoms worse. Indoor air is actually four to five times more polluted than the air outside. To make things worse, dirty filters and ductwork can hold onto pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and mold, all of which can trigger allergy attacks.

Not only can your HVAC system inside of your home hold onto these allergens, but they can also spread them throughout your entire house. It’s important that you change your filters about once every two months. Aspen Air Duct Cleaning can give you a variety of filter options to best suit your home and allergies.

If you suspect that mold may be growing in your air conditioning system, Aspen Air Duct Cleaning can help with that as well. Our air conditioning service professionals can help to get your vents cleaned or replaced to give your allergy symptoms some relief.

By Mr. Duct

Keep Out Rodents and Pests in Your Home with Duct Sealing

BY AGENCY-IT

A top concern for most homeowners is to keep rodents and pests out of their homes. As much as you may keep your home clean, use pesticides, or set out traps, rodents can still penetrate the property via vents in your HVAC system. A small gap in your vents is an entryway for mice, insects, cockroaches, and other annoying pests. When they enter your home, they get a perfect hiding spot and breeding ground where pesticides will not be able to reach them.

Air duct sealing is an effective way of keeping these annoying rodents and pests out of your home. During the sealing process, air ducts are insulated from the inside, covering up holes, leaks, and other vulnerable areas of your home.

The process of duct sealing

Duct sealing mainly involves identifying gaps, cracks, and other spaces in your vents so they can be sealed. At Aspen Air Duct, our contractors will typically begin by temporarily shutting off your HVAC unit and removing vent covers. They will then carefully inspect the vent and air duct system to identify any gaps and leaks.

Vulnerable areas will be appropriately sealed from the inside to prevent any entryways that pests can use to gain access to the home.

How duct sealing keeps pests out

Your air duct system is a comfortable and convenient channel for rodents and insects to enter the home. They can sneak into gaps that are present in the air ducts and form nests and breeding grounds within these areas. Rodents such as mice also reproduce very quickly, and an infestation can begin within your walls.

Methods such as pesticides and traps have limited potential for eliminating an infestation. Using poison can cause rodents to die in your vents and spread foul odors throughout the home. Air duct sealing controls pest populations by preventing them from accessing your vents from the outside. After air duct sealing, a series of traps can be laid out within the vents to capture any existing rodents that had already penetrated your property.

Additional advantages of duct sealing

In addition to keeping rodents and pests out, air duct sealing benefits are widespread. It ensures comfort in the home through better air circulation, air quality, and efficiency of your HVAC unit.

Is it Time to Upgrade Your Heating and Cooling?

Are you having trouble choosing the most suitable heating and cooling option for your home? If you own a home, you might have faced this question. When you start to question which system would be most beneficial for your home, then it’s definitely time for a change. Here are a few reasons why you should consider central air conditioning and heating!

Fighting Off Humidity with Proper Cooling

Depending on where you reside, central air cooling is the most efficient way to regulate humidity within your home with expert performance. The central air conditioning system will help eliminate allergens and pollutants, in order to control the humidity that may accumulate inside your home. Humidity introduces a few issues if you are considering a window air conditioning unit. This system tends to create more humidity, due to the moisture it creates. You won’t be the only one sweating!

Even Your Cooling System Deserves a Hug (From Insulation)

Is your home insulated well enough to handle a window air conditioning unit? Believe it or not, this is a very important aspect when deciding which system to implement into your home. During the summer months, a poorly insulated home can cause damage and discomfort. Central air conditioning creates the perfect balance between the temperatures inside and outside of your home. Insulation creates the base for proper cooling processes. Not only is insulation vital inside your walls, but attic as well. If you don’t possess proper insulation, then your unit will cause your attic to heat up drastically. No matter your insulation a central air unit will be most effective.

Cost Effective Way to Maintain Heat

If you are questioning the effectiveness of the current cooling system in your home, then you should be equally worried about heating. You aren’t the only one worrying about this vital aspect of your home. The classical baseboard heater may not be the right solution for you. Unfortunately, this approach may hurt your wallet more than improve your home’s heating. This is due to the amount of energy it utilizes to run throughout your home. With the issue of high cost, follows the inconsistency in temperature levels. Often times, baseboard heaters have a difficult time regulating and staying put at a certain temperature. A central air unit will maintain heat in your home without a hassle.

Easy Is Better with Your Central Air System

Central Air is not only easy to control with a click of a button, but it is much more compact and visually pleasing. While window air conditioning units and baseboard heaters may get the job done, they come with their share of unforeseeable issues. They have to be placed separately in many rooms of your home to have any effect on the cooling and heating instead of having the ability to control them in one, convenient space. Additionally, when using baseboard heaters, you must always be careful what you place in front or above, as they can be a fire hazard.

By Mr. Duct

DUCT LEAKAGE 101: WHAT IS DUCT LEAKAGE?

Heating & Cooling

You cannot talk about ductwork or duct work without talking about duct leakage. It’s a significant and often overlooked aspect of homes and buildings that causes issues associated with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Duct leakage is when conditioned air gets distributed from a SEER AC unit or AFUE furnace and leaks through holes/cracks/seams in the ductwork (a.k.a. air ducts) before it reaches the desired rooms/spaces in a home or building. According to ASHRAE (industry authority for HVAC stuff), 75% of buildings have duct leakage. Furthermore, the majority of homes leak on average 10-25% conditioned air!

There is also different types of duct leakage. The Journal for Light Construction (JLC) outlines them in a nice article:

  • Supply Leakage: When supply air ducts leak, airflow from the AC unit or furnace to the desired rooms/spaces is decreased.
  • Equipment Leakage: This leakage can often be the most overlooked. HVAC equipment components like coil cabinets and furnace cabinets all have “seams” that either suck or blow air. If those small pieces of the equipment are not sealed, then airflow is also decreased.
  • Return Leakage: When return air ducts leak, unconditioned air from unconditioned spaces like attics and wall cavities gets sucked into the ventilation system and distributed back to the equipment. This added load creates more work for your HVAC equipment. Instead of simply reconditioning air, it’s conditioning air from unconditioned spaces.

For more information about these different types of duct leakage, read the full JLC article. https://www.jlconline.com/how-to/hvac/quality-control-for-ductwork_o

Duct Leakage Causes Common HVAC Issues

Since air is obviously invisible, many homeowners and building owners don’t realize duct leakage causes common HVAC issues:

  • Hot/cold spots in rooms
  • Excessive dust, dirt, and airborne allergens
  • High energy/utility bills for heating and cooling

To identify duct leakage, HVAC contractors can use infrared technology to make invisible air visible. Then you can actually see duct leakage!

By Aeroseal

Getting Your House Ready for Winter

No matter what climate you live in, your home needs some TLC when the seasons change. Northern climates brace for bone-chilling cold and winter storms, while Southern climates may still enjoy warm, sunny days, but cooler nights. When the temps start dropping outside, it’s time to look at what you can do inside to help your home get ready for winter. Having a winter preparation plan for your house not only helps keep an eye on your home’s energy efficiency, but also on your health.

Energy Efficiency Matters

According to the United States Department of Energy, heating and air conditioning systems account for most of the energy use in a typical home.  Whether you’re firing up the furnace or just cranking down the air conditioning, winter is prime time to think about how you can save some money—and help the planet—with a more energy efficient home. There are many factors that impact the cost to heat your home over the winter. Two top considerations affecting your energy expenses related to your furnace are the type of fuel used to power your furnace (electricity, natural gas, oil or another type of fuel), and the size of your home. A large home will require more power to heat, driving up costs.

One way to keep heating costs under control is to maximize your system’s efficiency. Help your furnace run better by replacing the filter and cleaning the ductwork. Removing built-up dirt and dust helps air move through the system easier, requiring less energy to operate.

Breathing Better Air

In addition to controlling energy costs, a clean heating and air conditioning system improves the overall quality of the air you breathe inside your home. Dirty systems can contribute to poor indoor air quality and health issues, especially in people with respiratory conditions, autoimmune disorders or certain allergies. Dirt and dust are pulled into the heating and air conditioning system and recirculated through the home up to six times a day. The buildup in the ductwork creates continuous exposure that only duct cleaning can address.

While you’re gearing up for winter, don’t forget to prepare your home by maintaining your home’s heating and air conditioning system. It can save you money and help keep you and your family healthy!

By NADCA