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

What is Growing in Your Air Ducts?

Just because you can’t see mold doesn’t mean it’s not hidden behind wall or worse in your duct work. Mold thrives in dark, damp places, and can begin to grow within your ductwork undetected. If not removed quickly and carefully, this fast-growing fungus has the potential to take over your entire ductwork system.

So how harmful is mold? Not only can mold present serious health hazards, it can contaminate your ductwork and eventually break down the structure of your property. When mold levels begin to increase, those who are more sensitive to the fungus will experience greater effects. If left untreated, mold can present complications with both the respiratory and nervous system.

Our NADCA certified team has been providing quality duct cleaning services throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire since 2005. Contact our team of professionals today to have your ductwork inspected for mold.

  • Mold Symptoms

If ingested or inhaled, mold spores can cause a variety of unpleasant and dangerous symptoms for everyone in the home. Some symptoms of mold exposure include:

  • Rashes
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic coughing and sneezing
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat
  • Reoccurring headaches

If you are exposed to mold for a longer period, health risks can be more dangerous. Mold poisoning can produce symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and bleeding in the lungs and nose. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect mold growth in your home, call our team right away to have your ductwork inspected. You can rely on the professionals at Aspen Air Duct Cleaning for prompt and careful mold removal.

Learn more about the dangers of mold growth from the Global Healing Center.

Preventing Mold Growth in Ductwork

Once the mold has been properly removed, you will want to prevent a future infestation. First, you should try to identify what caused the mold to grow the first time. High levels of moisture, warm temperatures, and limited lighting are factors that will make it easy for mold or mildew to spread. To prevent mold from growing in your home, we recommend you:

  • Reduce humidity levels. Elevated humidity levels will increase your risk of mold exposer. Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air or speak with your local HVAC dealer to find a less humid heating and cooling system for your home.
  • Prevent water leaks. Inspect all moisture-creating sources to be sure they are directed and vented outside your home or building. Remember, mold can grow in as little as 24 hours, so it’s important to identify and stop leaks quickly.
  • Schedule annual ductwork service. Regular maintenance will help you prevent future mold growth and increase energy efficiency. Schedule your duct sealing service today and we will send out our qualified professionals to inspect air flow and seal all ducts.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect mold growth in your home, call our team right away to have your ductwork inspected. You can rely on the professionals at Aspen Air Duct Cleaning for prompt and careful mold removal.

Original Article written by Atlantic Duct Cleaning

Can Duct Cleaning Help You Conserve Energy?

Most homeowners want to find ways to reduce living expenses, especially regarding their utility bills. The good news is that there is no shortage of ways to reduce energy consumption and lower electric bills.

Having an airtight home can help to stop energy waste through leaks around windows, doors, pipes, and vents. Homeowners will also enjoy the benefit of maintaining a set interior temperature. Using a programmable thermostat to roll back the temperature during the time you’re out of the house could significantly cut the costs for heating and cooling your home.

However, you might not realize that your ducts also play a role in the overall energy efficiency of your home. Just as a good dryer vent cleaning can ensure that your appliance operates at peak efficiency, regular residential air duct cleaning can help you to conserve energy and reduce your costs, not to mention improving interior air quality. Here are just a few ways in which air duct cleaning makes your HVAC system more efficient.

Blocked Vents

Think about what happens when you fail to dust and vacuum your home. Over time, dust, dirt, dander, and other detritus begins to build up on surfaces. You can see visible particulates gathering on surfaces in as little as just a few days.

When was the last time you had a professional clean your ducts? Never, you say? Imagine all the dust that’s been building up in them over the months and years that you’ve lived in your home.

Servicing your furnace and AC unit regularly and replacing filters can go a long way toward maintaining clean ducts. However, filters can’t catch everything. In addition, failing to check your vents could mean families of rodents may have taken up residence over time, building nests and leaving messes.

These conditions can even cause health concerns. They can also have a negative impact on energy efficiency as you place higher demand on your system to push air through and meet your heating and cooling needs. Regular vent cleaning can eliminate such concerns and improve efficiency.

Leaks

Ductwork is built to last, but over time fittings can deteriorate, this breakdown can lead to spots where your air leaks into the walls and crawl spaces in your home instead of making it to your living spaces. This will cause you to crank up the air in order to maintain your desired temperature, wasting energy and air in the process.

Other Issues

When you hire professional technicians to clean your ducts regularly, they may notice issues like moisture or mold. These signs may indicate your ducts have inadequate insulation. With properly insulated ducts you can greatly reduce energy needs and lower utility bills in the process.

Written by Fresh Aire

Common Misconception about the HVAC System in Newer Homes

With most all newly constructed homes comes freshly installed flooring, crisp cabinets and high expectations. But what about the air handling system of the home—the largest source of energy? Despite popular belief, the duct work and HVAC system of a newly constructed house may not be in top-notch condition and immaculate, like the rest of the home.

Since a common misconception among homeowners is that the HVAC system of a new build is clean, NADCA urges homeowners of new-construction builds to hire a company with a NADCA certified technician on staff to inspect ductwork and the air handling system of the home. HVAC ductwork is sometimes one of the first systems to be installed in a home and construction dust and drywall dust can make its way into a system during the building process.

Homes undergoing renovations can be exposed to similar amounts of dust and debris, which can impact the functionality of the air conveyance system. NADCA urges homeowners who are renovating their living space to consider the following:

  • Install high-efficiency disposable filters before beginning the renovation process and change them frequently.
  • If you hire a contractor, ask that the return vent, supply registers, and diffusers be sealed and the HVAC system is shut off during renovations that include demo work or other dust-contributing activities.
  • Discuss with your contractor ways to minimize the amount of airborne dust within your home.
  • Ask that poly-plastic barriers be installed and HEPA-filtered negative air scrubbers be used in the work area to “scrub” clean the air and keep dust from migrating to other areas of the house.

After the work in your home has been completed have a NADCA certified air duct cleaning company come in and evaluate the condition of your ductwork, it may still need cleaning.

What Is In Your Duct Work?

If you have duct work in your home, you have probably not given much thought to what is inside them. The average American home is about 35 years old, that is a lot of time for things to accumulate inside the duct work. While cleaning we often find small toys and food that has fallen down into the vents, here are some stories from fellow duct cleaners of the crazy things they have found.

                A few years ago, during a cleaning job, we found a box behind a register that contained $400 of Confederate money. We gave it to the homeowner, and she gave it to her children, who cashed it out. That $400 of Confederate money ended up being worth $100,000!

We got a call from a customer saying they had a mysterious odor in the home. Our technicians went into the home and they definitely smelled something very strong but couldn’t find anything obvious at the start. Finally, they took off the vent covers and found a dead skunk!

We were cleaning ductwork and in the basement of the establishment, there was a kitchen with a grill. Right above that was the bulkhead with an air duct blowing right over the grill, which we were cleaning. We took off the supply duct, shined a light in there and, low and behold, there was a giant, dead rat. In the course of cleaning, the gentleman befriended us and offered to make us lunch on the grill. We politely declined the offer.

We had posted a video of a cleaning job to our social media account and someone commented on it, “Wow, did you see the dollar bill get sucked in there?” The trunk line was really full of all kinds of junk, so I thought “Well, I’m not surprised that there was a dollar bill in that mess.” Later on, someone commented, “That wasn’t a dollar bill, that was a $100 bill!” I went into the truck and sifted through all the garbage to try to find it, but no luck.

We did a cleaning on an old rail car and found a pre-Civil War whiskey bottle stashed away in the ducts of the rail car. The bottle is now sitting in a museum somewhere.

All these stories and more can be found on NADCA’s website.

Give Your Home a Good Deep Clean

In the spring we start opening the blinds and the windows to let in all that fresh air and light but with that light streaming in you can now see the dust floating through the air in your home.  Having your air ducts cleaned can be like a breath of fresh air, cleaning out all that dust. Below are a few facts you should know when it comes time to have the ducts in your home cleaned.

Air ducts are going to get dirty.

Pet dander, dust, chemicals, and other contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system, where they can build up and possibly contribute to health problems. This is especially true for people with respiratory conditions, autoimmune disorders, or allergies.

Clean air ducts can save you money.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25% to 40% of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. A clean HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard, so it uses less energy.

There’s a wrong way to clean air ducts.

When you hire a professional cleaner, ask if they’re a member of NADCA, a trade association of the HVAC inspection, cleaning, and restoration industry. NADCA members have signed a Code of Ethics and invested time and resources into industry-related training and education. They also have general liability insurance.

Beware of air duct cleaning scams.

You should be aware that some non-NADCA companies use scare tactics and bait-and-switch methods to squeeze money out of their clients or don’t clean the HVAC system at all, let alone to the industry’s standards.

How to Tell You’re Getting A Professional Air Duct Cleaner:

Is the company able to show proof of NADCA membership and certification? Is the contractor willing to conduct a thorough inspection of the HVAC system prior to performing any work and disclose any problems discovered? Will the contractor clean the supply and return air ductwork, the air-stream side of the heat exchanger and the secondary heat exchanger? After cleaning, are access panels properly sealed; blower blades and compartment clean and free of oil, dust, and debris? Point a flashlight into the cooling coil. Does light shine through? It should if the coil is clean. Check to make sure the coil fins are straight and evenly spaced, and the coil drain pan is clean and draining properly. After cleaning, do the filters fit properly and are they the proper efficiency recommended by the manufacturer?

For the original article visit NADCA.

What is a High-Velocity System?

As the temperatures rise, homeowners across most of the country face the same dilemma: whether to turn on the noisy air conditioning and suffer the skyrocketing energy bills or sit through a sticky, uncomfortable summer. There doesn’t seem to be much of a compromise, given that conventional forced-air systems dominate the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) landscape in the United States; and for owners of historic, architecturally sensitive, or aesthetically challenging houses, these systems may not even be a viable option due to lack of space or the need for extensive renovation. Even window units—though they offer some reprieve—aren’t necessarily any more ideal: They block views, use energy inefficiently, generate unbearable noise, and can pose security risks if stationed in unlocked windows.

                However, there is an alternative! High-velocity or “small-duct” HVAC systems comprise flexible mini ducts that can be easily routed through existing space within walls, floors, and ceilings. Moreover, the uniquely small size of their parts plays a role in ensuring operational efficiency and lower monthly bills—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what the system’s smart design can offer.

                High-velocity systems work similarly to older HVAC systems, hot or cool air comes from a heating or cooling source. That’s usually a heat pump or compressor outside the home, then it travels through the house and enters the rooms through vents. For a high-velocity systems instead of the metal duct work uses small 2” flex duct tubing and small 5” round vents.

The hot or cool air then moves from the compressor or heat pump to a high-velocity air handler, this pushes the air through your home with more pressure than duct-and-vent HVAC systems. Because of this, the air circulates very quickly through the area it’s treating once it comes through the vents. This means the room gets to the temperature you want faster than with other systems. This makes for better climate control.  It also saves you money! Since it works quickly, the system doesn’t need to stay on as long, therefore, it uses fewer resources, or energy, to run and less the less energy it uses, the less you’re charged on your energy bills.

                Another great savings factor is the professional installation of a high-velocity HVAC system is so quick and simple that homeowners can start reaping its benefits almost immediately. Whereas the bulky ducts in most conventional cooling and heating systems require a fair amount of renovation—from the opening of drywall to the construction of soffits and drop ceilings—to incorporate them, a high-velocity system has the upper hand because of the compact size of its components. The flexible ducts can snake between beams and joists throughout existing cavities in ceilings, walls, or floors, while the modular air handlers and coils fit in any opening that’s just a couple of feet tall and wide in, for example, an attic or crawl space.

                If you are looking for a permanent heating and cooling solution in your home that doesn’t require tearing out walls, a high-velocity system might be the right choice for you.