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Archive for HVAC Tips

Why Should You Clean Your Air Vents and Change Your Air Filter

Posted by Empire Blog at 10:21 am on November 17, 2016

filters atlantaYour HVAC system helps keep your home cool in the hot summers and warm during the cold winters. It is also complex and made up of vents that bring air to various parts of your home as well as the air filter. It is important to follow a regular service for these components. Replacing the air filters and cleaning the air vents will help keep your unit working as efficiently as possible and your home at the appropriate temperature.

Replacing Air Filters

A major component of any HVAC system includes air filters. The air filters are responsible for preventing allergens and other pollutants from coming into your home and improve air flow.

When an air filter becomes dirty, its performance degrades causing more pollutants to come into the home. The excess material that gets trapped within the filter reduces effectiveness and cause even more pollutants to escape. It also restricts air flow causing your HVAC unit to suffer from poor performance.

How often you replace your air filters depends on many different factors. These include how frequently the home is used, how many pets are present, and how many people live in the home. For example, if you rarely use your home, you may just need to replace your air filters once every 6 to 12 months. On the other hand, if you have pets or suffer from severe allergies, you may need to replace it more often.

Cleaning Vents

air ventThe air inside your home is circulated through a series of vents. Since the air filters do not trap all pollutants, dust may get trapped inside the vents.

The trapped particles inside the vents restrict air flow and reduce operating efficiency. Cleaning vents not only helps increase efficiency, it also helps improve air quality when excess dust and particles are removed.

Sometimes cleaning vents can be done by yourself. This involves simply removing the vent cover and cleaning the area around it. Primarily the return vents are the dirt catchers, seldom do supply vents need to be cleaned. Other times, you may need a deeper cleaning that targets the entire duct system which may require the help of a professional. Though government agencies such as the EPA are skeptical about benefits from air duct cleaning, many allergy sufferers have seen major improvements as a result of it.

How often you clean your vents and air ducts depends on several factors including the level of allergies you have and the number of pets. Cleaning is highly recommended if insects or other pests are present in the duct system or if you notice mold growth. It is especially important to get rid of mold at the first chance since it will be much more costly to remove later on.

Conclusion

Two of the most important things you can do for your HVAC system is to clean the air vents and change out air filters. These simple steps can be done with a help of an HVAC professional or on your own. Taking these easy steps will improve your HVAC system’s performance and help your family breathe easier!

Need help? Give Empire HVAC a call today: 404-596-6161

What is Your Emergency Plan When the Power Goes Out?

Posted by Empire Blog at 5:07 pm on January 11, 2016

After several weeks of warmer-than-usual weather, a cold front has finally arrived here in Atlanta. With the temperature below freezing, the only thing we’re missing is a little bit of precipitation before it’s time to start thinking about the chances that an ice storm might strike your area.  Our city does have an effective early warning system and regional utility companies usually do a great job of preparing for the worst. In spite of these local preparation measures, there are many things that individual homeowners can do to prepare for the chances of a power outage. Now is a good time to reconsider your emergency plan for staying safe, warm and comfortable when the lights go out.

The Benefits of Installing A Backup Generator

One of the best courses of action is to install a backup generator on your home. These high-energy devices will automatically keep the power running when a home’s usual power source goes out. These generators are usually installed in late autumn, in preparation of cold weather, but it is never too late to recognize the risk that cold weather could pose. Product guides also recommend that homeowners schedule service checks at least once a year to ensure that the machine is properly functioning. While a backup generator is certainly not a device that you use on a daily basis, it is well worth the investment when your home’s heating system stops working in the middle of January!

The Risks of Other Heating Methods

Contrary to safety standards, many homeowners use a portable generator with extension cords running throughout the house to power the refrigerator, television, and other electronic units.  Some homeowners even use a portable generator to power their heating furnace. While this might seem like a short-term fix, there are many homeowner risks that apply:

  • You have to make sure that there is no back feed to the generator when the power comes on.
  • Cords must be secure so you don’t trip over them, which can pull televisions from the shelf or break metal plugs inside the socket.
  • Extension cords must be the proper gauge and thickness (as measured by AWG). If not, they may not provide sufficient power to the appliances or can cause electrical damage.
  • Generators can never come inside! Carbon monoxide is dangerous so keep them outside and well away from doors and windows. Having a low-level carbon monoxide detector is a good idea whenever using a generator.

Fireplaces are also a good idea for many homeowners, as long as you have a steady supply of firewood to stoke the flames. Huddling around the fireplace can be a great family experience – just remember to follow good safety practices and to keep an eye on the fireplace whenever there are hot coals.

Using a gas oven for supplemental heating can also be risky. Gas ovens are designed to perform only when they are exposed to proper ventilation. Combustible materials near a gas oven can result in indoor fires – a risk that every homeowner should try to avoid. These gas ovens can also release harmful airborne chemicals like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and even formaldehyde. Fire departments across the country have issued homeowner advisories against using a gas oven for heat (which often leads to carbon monoxide injuries).

When the ice finally hits, your family needs an emergency heating plan and the safest, most effective method is backup generator installation. Let the professionals handle the warmth and comfort of your family. Call Empire HVAC today for a product estimate and to learn more about our backup generators!

Should I Be Worried About My Old HVAC System?

Posted by Empire Blog at 4:19 pm on November 9, 2015

How old is the heating and cooling system in your home? Did you know that if it is older than 10 years it could actually be costing you money? This is only one of the reasons why you should consider replacing your old HVAC system. Even if you think your system is running well, here are some of the main reasons why running an old HVAC system could be a cause for worry.

Reliability

One of the major issues with an old HVAC system is reliability. You depend on it to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. That means that it sees a lot of heavy duty work in some of the most difficult conditions of the year. This kind of duty puts a lot of wear and tear on an HVAC system. Replacing an old HVAC system means peace of mind when it comes to reliability. No more worrying about it breaking down on a cold winter night. You know that it will run when you need it. New HVAC systems come with a ten year parts warranty in the box. Optional ten year labor warranties are also available.

Efficiency

One of the major advances in heating and cooling in the past 10 years has been its efficiency. Energy costs are on the rise. Since your HVAC system is one of the major energy-using devices in your home, it only stands to reason that you want one that can use that energy efficiently. Systems that have been made in the last 5-10 years are much more efficient than previous models. They are able to handle more heating and cooling while using less energy to do so. Replacing your HVAC system in this case can save you a lot of money in your energy bills.

Safety

The older your HVAC system gets, the more chances that there might be a serious problem with it. A gas furnace can develop cracks in the heat exchanger. This can lead to carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or even natural gas escaping into your home. Newer furnaces have much better safety and flame proving controls that offer a higher level of confidence.

Air Quality

A newer system has integrated control for indoor air quality devises like humidifiers, ultraviolet germicidal lights, ventilation dampers and HEPA filters that improve overall air quality inside your home.

Comfort

Newer systems have variable speed blowers that greatly enhance the overall comfort of the conditioned space. This would include a special circulation low speed operation to enhance the performance of indoor air quality components and a slow ramp up of airflow to maximize dehumidification in the cooling mode.

Replace Your Old HVAC System in Atlanta

If you are looking for an expert to install your new system, contact Empire Heating and Air Conditioning today. We can install a new system in your home in no time.

Empire HVAC Explains: Benefits and Downsides to HVAC Equipment Warranties

Posted by Empire Blog at 1:18 pm on August 27, 2015

HVAC equipment warranties

On the surface, warranties usually seem like a deal that can’t be beat. When it comes to something as important as your home’s HVAC unit, isn’t it worth having the peace of mind that you won’t be left in the lurch in the event that something goes wrong? In reality, however, equipment warranties are a much more complicated matter. Standards vary from manufacturer to manufacturer concerning what costs will be covered and what must be done in order to remain qualified for the warranty coverage. In addition, HVAC contractors will often give conflicting advice on the subject of whether or not a warranty is a worthy investment. Recently, we spoke on the matter in an Archnews story that investigated the potential benefits and downsides to HVAC equipment warranties.

Beware the Fine Print

When it comes to any warranty, thoroughly reading and understanding the terms and conditions is the most important step of the process. This is crucial for both the contractor and the homeowners, as it’s important for the two parties to be on the same page during the sale of the equipment.

The first hurdle that generally needs to be addressed is product registration. Most manufacturers will require the product to be registered within a specific timeframe in order for the warranty to be valid. This can present problems when the unit is bound for new construction, where properties frequently don’t have an owner at the time the HVAC unit is installed.

Also, most warranties will stipulate that regular maintenance on the unit is required in order for the manufacturer to honor the claim. What is considered “regular” can vary depending on the company, so once again the responsibility is on the homeowner to keep track of the warranty requirements and remain proactive when it comes to fulfilling their obligations.

The Verdict?

What it comes down to in the end, is that most warranty terms are quite limited in what they cover, and diligence is required on the part of the homeowner and contractors to ensure that the unit remains qualified for the warranty. A quality contractor, such our HVAC repair team in Atlanta, will ideally take the time to educate the owner on the particulars of the warranty prior to purchasing. This puts the owner in a position to take maximum advantage of their OEM warranty in the event that a claim is necessary.

If you need a HVAC repair specialist in Atlanta, contact us today at Empire Heating & Air. Whether you need AC repair and replacement, HVAC maintenance or ductwork renovations, our team is ready to take your call and help.

Image courtesy of: Shutterstock

Tips for Detecting a R-22 Leak

Posted by Empire Blog at 12:27 pm on August 21, 2015

 

In the hot summer months, your air conditioner might be your most valuable appliance. When your HVAC stops working, we know it can feel like the world has stopped turning. R-22 leaks are one of the most common fixes for your air conditioner. Looking for telltale signs of a R-22 leak and staying up to date on routine maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs and keep you cool all summer long. (more…)

What to Do if You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

Posted by Empire Blog at 12:30 pm on August 5, 2015

refrigerant leak

Now that the weather is getting hotter, air conditioners will be running full blast. More often than not, these air conditioners have refrigerant leaks, which can cause some damage to your air conditioner and increase your electricity bill. Low levels of refrigerant put more stress on your compressor, which can lead to damage in most parts of the compressor. This can lead to costly repair bills, which is why you should have your air conditioner checked for leaks at least once a year. (more…)

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