Summer Routine Checks for Your HVAC and Plumbing

We all love summer for those long lazy days and summer vacations. But with the kids home from school and extra showers, laundry, and dishes not to mention your air conditioning working overtime, summertime can put a strain on your air conditioning and plumbing systems. As we move into the hottest part of the summer, there are some things you should be prepared for. With some simple routine checks, you won’t be caught off guard this summer.

Air Conditioning Drain

When was the last time you checked your air conditioning drain? If you are like most homeowners, your answer may be “never”. With warm, moist weather, a build-up of mold and mildew can occur and clog your AC drain. Clogs can also occur due to mineral deposits over time. A block can not only cause backup into your home but can also cause mold growth inside your home. Clean your drain with a simple bleach technique or call a Philadelphia AC repair professional to make sure your air conditioner drain is free of blocks.

Water Pressure

Did you know that winter isn’t the only time that water pipes can break? Hot weather can cause this as well. One of the first symptoms that your pipes may be in jeopardy is the water pressure in your home. Low water pressure can point to other larger problems as well. These can be leaks, corrosion, or other malfunctions in your water supply. This is something you will want to leave to your Philadelphia plumber.

Foundational Shifts

Large fluctuations in weather and moisture over time can cause shifts in the foundation of your home. Foundational shifts and cracking can cause problems with your plumbing, shifting the pipes and, at times, causing them to burst. If you are noticing cracks in walls and around the outside of your home, chances are that your foundation has shifted over time.

Keep watchful of any ways your plumbing may show issues if this is the case before you experience bursts and floods. Philadelphia plumbers also suggest the planting of foliage around your home to help moderate temperature around the foundation.

Gas, Water or Sewer Line Disturbances

When planting, make sure to get professionals from your utility companies to come out and mark where their lines are in your yard. Unfortunately, these lines can be disturbed by homeowners planting gardens or trees. Know where your lines are before you begin to dig.

Outdoor Plumbing and Irrigation

During the off months, your outdoor plumbing may have developed leaks that can go undetected for quite a while. If you are seeing standing water in your yard or are seeing warped floors and cabinets, you may have a leak. You can check this by monitoring your water meter while the water to your home is turned off. If the water meter is still running while the home’s water has been turned off, you have a leak. Call your local Philadelphia plumber.

Whether your problem is an HVAC problem or your plumbing needs an experienced professional, trust the experts at Affordable Fixes LLC to have your back.

How to Keep Your Indoor Air Clean and Pollutant-Free

If you’re like most homeowners, unless you have a family member who suffers from respiratory issues, you probably give little thought to your indoor air quality. Many of us feel strongly about the environment but give very little thought to the indoor environment we live in daily.

Indoor Pollution

According to the people at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there is a growing body of evidence that air inside our home and buildings are more polluted than the outdoor air. This is quite concerning for most of us, especially since we spend nearly 90 percent of our time indoors.

Bring Nature Inside

One way you can clean your indoor air is by bringing houseplants in. As they rely on carbon dioxide to live and expel oxygen, it is a perfect indoor filtering option.

Open Windows

During good weather, keep windows open as much as possible. Newer homes, in particular, get very little outdoor air circulation and tend to re-circulate air over and over. Keeping floors clean will also lessen particles that may end up being circulated in your indoor space.

Change Your Air Filter

By changing your air filters regularly, you reduce the particles that get caught and often clog your system. A clogged filter can actually do more harm than good by re-circulating allergens and particles back into your home.

The typical HVAC system will circulate over 1,000 cubic feet of air each minute through its filter. Philadelphia HVAC repair professionals suggest you change your filter every 2 to 6 months depending on the number of occupants and whether you have pets.

Cut Down on Mold and Mildew

Humidity trapped inside your home can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew. The EPA suggests that indoor humidity levels should be between 30 and 60 percent. By utilizing dehumidifiers and exhaust fans, you can manage the humidity levels inside your home to a healthy level and cut down on the possibility of mold taking up residence there.

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

We hear each year about families who have succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, often because of badly maintained or fitted heaters or clogged fireplaces. Because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, your best line of defense is an installed carbon monoxide detector inside your home.

Keep Your Air Well Ventilated

Because we tend to re-circulate stale air during certain times of the year, it’s important to balance this with clean, fresh air. Many homeowners are choosing to install heat recovery ventilators in their homes.

These use a dedicated duct in order to remove stale air while circulating the same volume of fresh air indoors. There is a heat exchange core inside the controller that keeps incoming fresh air consistent with the temperature of the indoor air.

Ask your local Philadelphia HVAC contractor how a heat recovery ventilator can help your indoor air quality. The HVAC professionals at Affordable Fixes LLC would be happy to answer any indoor air quality questions you may have. Call us today.

Is A Zoned HVAC System Right For Your Family?

Summer is in full swing here and you are relying on your air conditioner to keep you cool on a daily basis. But you may be noticing that your air conditioning struggles to keep certain areas of your home cool. Particularly if you have a large or several story home, you may find that temperature regulation is spotty and uneven. Even if temperature regulation is not a problem, heating and cooling areas of your home that aren’t used often or only used at certain times of the day is a waste of hard earned money.

If you are considering a new system in the near future, Philadelphia HVAC contractors are suggesting that you may want to think about a zoned cooling system for your home.

Are You Sacrificing Your Comfort?

With a zoned HVAC system, you won’t have to sacrifice comfort for savings. Not only is a tired old system not working efficiently but replacing it with a zoned one will allow you to only heat and cool those areas you need.

Your Current System is a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

If you consider your current system, you can make a simple analogy. Would you turn on all the lights in your home with one switch, regardless of whether you were using that area or not? Of course not. It’s simply not an efficient way of lighting your home. Yet, this is exactly what you are doing with your heating and cooling.

Closing Vents is Not an Answer

Most homeowners don’t realize that simply closing vents will not provide the effect of regulating specific room temperatures. In fact, closing or blocking vents can even make your system work harder. Your system relies on that balanced airflow to work properly. Cutting off proper airflow to certain areas of the home by closing vents may cause your system to work inefficiently. So, you are left heating and cooling all areas of your home regardless of whether you are using that area.

Customized Temperature Control

If you also consider that members of your household are not all comfortable at the same temperature, it just makes sense to be able to maintain different temperatures for specific zones in order for your family to be comfortable.

How Does It Work?

A zoned system uses strategically places dampers within the ductwork of your heating and cooling system. Thermostats are set to control each zone to its own particular temperature. A zoned system will not need to work as hard to cool or heat the entire home and will be able to keep each area to its own specified temperature.

If you would like more information about zoned systems, call the Philadelphia HVAC contractors at Affordable Fixes LLC. We will explain how a zoned system may work beautifully for custom temperature regulation in your home and save you money on energy bills.

Save Energy While You Keep Your Cool This Summer

In the middle of summer, you may be feeling frustrated with regulating temperatures to keep you comfortable. Too hot. Too cold. You may find your thermostat getting a real workout and it is sure to show in your monthly energy bills. But our Philadelphia AC repair pros are here to offer some simple tips to allow you to be comfortable while still saving on those high electric bills this summer.

The Battle Between Outside and Inside Air

Your air conditioning is waging a constant battle with the outside air temperature. The larger the difference between the outdoor air and the desired inside air temperature, the harder it must work. And the harder your air conditioner works, the more you spend on energy. When considering the outdoor air temperature, you must make a decision what your temperature comfort level will be as close to possible as that outside temperature and set your thermostat accordingly.

So, what does that mean? If you are coming in from a hot outdoor temperature, you may immediately go for your thermostat and set it down to a temperature that is unreasonably cold. Your thinking is that it will cool your home down faster but it’s flawed thinking. Your air conditioning is limited in its capability to cool hot air down quickly and it is a matter of patience on your part. If it is hot outside, set your thermostat at your reasonably comfortable temperature. And wait.

Programmable and Smart Thermostats

If your thermostat is programmable, use this feature to ensure that your home cools down at a certain time of the day before you come home. In this way, you will not be cooling your home needlessly while no one is at home and coming home to a hot and uncomfortable house. New smart thermostats allow you to control temperature settings from your smartphone and change them in real time. This is a great advantage for a busy family that keeps inconsistent schedules.

Maintenance and Filter Replacement

Maintaining your system is key to keeping air moving efficiently and effectively. Make sure that any air filters are replaced regularly. A clogged and dirty air filter is by far the biggest reason that air conditioners struggle to circulate air and maintain proper temperatures during the summer and cause breakdowns to occur.

Add Some Fans

Ceiling or box fans offer added relief during the summer months. Although fans do nothing to regulate the temperature, the movement of circulated air makes the air feel cooler and less stagnant. In many cases, homeowners can keep their air conditioning set a few degrees higher just by incorporating a few fans in the home to move air around. And fans take far less energy than your air conditioning system.

If you find your air conditioning is still struggling to keep you cool this summer, call the Philadelphia air conditioning repair experts at Affordable Fixes LLC. There is no need to get hot under the collar with an experienced professional to the rescue.