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.
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.
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.Read More
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.
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.
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
You may not realize it but when it comes to your heating and cooling systems, the most important component is your simple air filter. The filter cleans incoming air before it is temperature controlled and distributed throughout the house. Because your filter is the first line of defense in protecting your Philadelphia HVAC system, filters should be changed once a month.
Two Important Functions
Your air filter has two important functions. One is to protect your system from dust or other particles that can cause wear and reduce efficiency. The second purpose is to keep any dust, allergens, pollutants, or even pet dander from being distributed inside your home. In this way, it not only helps your system condition the temperature of the air but also protects your interior air quality. There are filters that are designed to do one better than the other.
Air Filter Classifications
Air filters are classified by their type and their minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating. The MERV rating specifically deals with the filter’s ability to remove particles and pollutants from the air. The higher the rating, the better it performs in keeping air quality at its best.
Disposable filters are the most inexpensive filters. They utilize fine fiberglass or polyester mesh to remove particles that are coming in from the air. These will typically have the lowest MERV rating of between 1 and 4 and are specifically designed to protect your system.
Although these types offer about the same MERV rating as disposable filters, there is a cost savings associated with these because they can be cleaned and reused. Like the disposable filters, these filters are designed to primarily protect your system.
Pleated filters use fiberglass, polyester or some other synthetic folded into pleats. This serves to increase the surface area of the filter in order to remove more particulates. The MERV rating on these is between 5 and 13. These provide a bit more air quality filtering capability than typical disposable filters.
Electrostatic filters utilize an electric charge in order to attract airborne particles as they pass through. With this added feature, they have a higher MERV rating at about 15. But electrostatic filters are not compatible with all HVAC systems.
HEPA filters are the most effective for air quality. With a MERV rating of between 17 and 20, these filters have been shown to remove over 99 percent of air contaminants. But these are typically too restrictive for normal home HVAC use. They are much more expensive and require a far greater amount of air pressure in order to force air through.
Which is the Best One for You?
For the typical homeowner, an air filter with a MERV rating of 8 to 10 should be sufficient for a home system. Although more high-efficiency filters remove larger quantities of airborne particles, the typical household HVAC system is not compatible and may be taxed when using these. The best way to determine which filter is best for your system is to check your owner’s manual or consult with a Philadelphia HVAC repair technician.Read More
Smart technology is all the rage. And smart thermostats are one of the ways that smart technology has made its way into our homes. Could your family benefit from a smart thermostat? Let’s take a look.
What is a Smart Thermostat?
A thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature in your home. Many homes already have programmable thermostats that allow you to set your thermostat to allow that temperature to adjust for given times of the day or days of the week. Smart thermostats are now one of the leading smart home applications today and Philadelphia AC repair technicians are installing more of them than ever before. So, what can a smart thermostat offer that your basic programmable thermostat can’t?
What is the Difference?
Basically, a smart thermostat connects to your WiFi and can be controlled by your smartphone app. But not only can you control your home’s thermostat anywhere and at any time, but some smart thermostats learn your patterns and behaviors. It can also let you see your home’s energy consumption and can even adjust things like the humidity in your home. Some models even have Alexa service built into the unit. Having your thermostat order groceries takes the “smart” even one step further.
Real Time Information
Most smart thermostats enable you to see how long it will take to make the temperature change you’ve requested and allows you to understand how effective your system really is. It will also discourage those family members who may always adjust the thermostat excessively whenever they are feeling particularly hot or cold. The ease of controlling your temperature remotely is very convenient when on vacation and need to adjust the temperature for your return.
For the average consumer, smart thermostats can offer:
- Energy savings
- Peace of mind
Having a smart thermostat can save energy. Recent tests show that smart thermostats can realize a savings of about $50 annually or more.
Peace of Mind
With your ability to monitor the energy usage in your home, you will have an idea of what is going on at all times. This can be a great tool for parents and frequent travelers.
The ability to control your home’s temperature at any time from your smartphone enables you to come home to comfort no matter when that is.
Some thermostats are designed for the DIY enthusiast including all the necessary tools and access to installation videos, but research indicates that those who try to install a smart thermostat themselves usually end up calling a Philadelphia HVAC contractor.
If you are interested in having a smart thermostat installed, call the experts at Affordable Fixes LLC to ensure that it is done right. Old or new technology, we are the choice of most Philadelphia homeowners when it come to their HVAC.Read More
Summer is nearly here and that means long, hot, humid days in the Philadelphia area. And when you run your air conditioning system, you want to be sure that your cool air stays inside your home and the hot air stays outside. What you may not be aware of is the hundreds of little ways your home may be sabotaging that endeavor and wasting hard earned cash on energy leaks.
A Leaking Home is Losing Energy Dollars
Your heating and cooling costs account for more than 50 percent of your household energy costs. Don’t allow small areas of air intrusion and leakage to put a larger dent in your wallet than necessary. Check your home for areas that may be leaking air — and your money!
Small Cracks and Holes
Philadelphia HVAC contractors know that small cracks and holes can account for nearly 25 percent of energy loss. Before the dog days of summer are upon us, make sure your home is sealed and insulated. Your local HVAC technician can conduct an evaluation to help you detect areas that may be allowing your home to leak air. Or you can do a simple DIY check.
DIY Ways to Check for Leaks
Checking for leaks can be as simple as using an incense stick around openings. Seal your home by closing all doors and windows and close all the vents in your home. Make sure you turn on all exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms. Pressurizing your home this way will help you detect air leaks easier.
Then pass a burning incense stick around all the openings in your home. Not only can air leak in from obvious places such as doors and windows but also outlets, skylights, and fireplaces. The smoke from the incense stick will show where you may have leakages.
Check Your Seals
When it comes to windows and doors, air can leak around improperly sealed areas, particularly if the windows or doors in your home are older. Usually, these are simple fixes with a little caulk. Check all weather stripping around your doors and make sure the doors fit securely and hinges are tight. If there are areas where you can see daylight around the doors or windows, make sure to seal these areas.
Insulate Your Attic
One of the ways that homes typically leak air is through the attic. One of the best ways to insulate your home is to make sure your attic is properly insulated. This will save you loads on energy bills, primarily in the winter when your heated air is leaking outside.
Call a Professional
When you are looking for a professional HVAC contractor in Philadelphia, call the experts at Affordable Fixes, LLC. For over 30 years, we have provided trustworthy and dependable heating, cooling, and plumbing services to our clients in the greater Philadelphia area. Call us today if you need air conditioning or heating services you can trust.Read More
If you are like most people, summertime means vacation time. But should you leave your air conditioning on while you’re gone, or should you shut it down to save on energy costs? The answer is: it depends.
Considering Some Factors
Managing your cooling system while you are away depends on a few different factors. Turning off your AC will save money in the short term but there are other things you should consider before you take that approach.
Turn Up the Thermostat, if Possible
Most Philadelphia air conditioning repair professionals recommend turning your thermostat up while you are gone instead of shutting it entirely off. If your vacation is a relatively short one, it’s far better to just set the thermostat up a few degrees. It’s true that cooling an empty house while you’re not home is wasteful. But it can put unnecessary strain on a system to cool it down completely when you return if it is only for a short duration.
Insulate Your Home
One thing you may consider is closing all curtains and blinds while you are gone. This will cut out the amount of sun and heat that will infiltrate your home while you’re away. You may want to check the forecast to see what the weather will be like while you’re gone. Mild weather may justify a higher setting inside the home. But a very hot forecast may mean you want to keep the inside temperature in your home a bit cooler.
Remember that your air conditioning system helps remove moisture and humidity from your home. If your vacation will be a relatively lengthy one, you have a few more considerations.
If you turn off your air conditioning entirely, the humidity level in your house will build. If you have important belongings that don’t fare well in a humid environment, you should not turn your AC off entirely. Also, a hot home will make things such as your refrigerator work harder.
Your Home’s Efficiency
How energy efficient is your home? Homes that are well insulated are far more resistant to heat buildup. Window films, attic insulation, and thermal window coverings help to make your home more efficient and less likely to build up heat and humidity while you are away.
Today, we have the availability of smart thermostats. In the case where you are gone for any extended period, you can make adjustments from your phone or electronic device. These will also enable you to cool your home before you return.
Call a Professional
If you are looking for expert air conditioning repair in Philadelphia, call the professionals at Affordable Fixes, LLC. For over three decades, we have been the ones to turn to for dependable heating, cooling and plumbing services in the Philadelphia area. Call us today for affordable and trustworthy air conditioning or heating services.Read More