When the weather heats up, high humidity levels are often close behind. Seasonal humidity can affect indoor home comfort. Managing the humidity in your home during all seasons can make the time you spend there much more enjoyable.
People often describe summer to be heavy, sticky and muggy. While winter air can feel dry, crisp and bitter. These descriptions are related to the feel of the air due to the differing amounts of moisture present at different times of the year.
What is Humidity?
The amount of water vapor in the air around you. The optimum humidityin your home depends on your personal preferences, clothing, and level of physical activity.
How Does Humidity Change With the Seasons?
Summer Air: Warm, summer air “holds” more moisture, so the humidity is higher.
Winter Air: Cold, winter air contains less water, so the humidity is lower.
Extreme Humidity Creates Problems
Too much or too little moisture in the air can cause a variety of health threats and illnesses.
The optimum relative humidity range is 45% – 55%. At higher and lower levels of humidity, health threats and illnesses can increase. These include: bacteria, viruses, fungi, mites, respiratory infections, allergic rhinitis and asthma, chemical interactions, and ozone production.
Issues Caused by High or Low Humidity
Dry & itchy skin
Susceptibility to colds and infection
Damage to wood furniture and floors
How Can You Achieve the Ideal Home Humidity Levels for All Seasons?
When you start to have issues with the heating system in your home, how do you know whether or not you should repair or replace your system? If you are having issues with your system that cannot be resolved, you may have no choice but to replace it. But if our Grogg’s heating repair technician tells you that you have a choice, you’ll have to make a decision. Let’s look at some of the benefits of both options:
Benefits Repairing Your Heating System
Heating Repair should cost you less then replacement, so you won’t have to pay out a large chunk of money over time. Keep in mind, though, that as your system starts to wear out you might start paying out more in repairs over time than you’d pay to replace the system entirely. However, with the right repairs and maintenance, you could extend the life of your heating system for years.
Benefits of Replacing Your Heating System
Older furnaces often lose efficiency as they age, especially if they haven’t been getting annual maintenance. With wear and tear, some parts stop working the way they should, and can put more strain on others nearby. New furnace models are much more efficient now, which means it requires less money to stay warm.
Not only will a new furnace save you money on your energy bill, but because they’re now so much smaller, they might actually save you some square footage.
So which one is right for you? Let our heating repair team help you decide. We won’t pressure you into paying for a system that you don’t need or that isn’t right for you. Instead, we’ll make sure you have a heating system that meets your needs and your budget, whether that is repairing your existing system or replacing it with something new. Give us a call today!
Gas Furnace Safety – If you have a gas furnace, it is important to know that it may produce some carbon monoxide that is released outside your home through the furnace’s vent. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that can cause flu-like symptoms, disorientation, confusion, and even death.
A clean, efficiently burning gas furnace produces very small amounts of carbon monoxide. While a dirty, inefficiently burning one can produce deadly amounts. Newer gas furnaces are equipped with many features that shut the furnace off when a problem is detected. Older furnaces may not have these safety devices.
Schedule your annual tune-up. One of the most important aspects of an annual furnace tune-up is that we check to make sure that your gas furnace running safely. We’ll look for any problems like a cracked heat exchanger or frayed wires that could lead to safety hazards in your home.
Test your carbon monoxide detectors. A carbon monoxide leak is one of the biggest safety threats that a malfunctioning furnace can pose to your home. That’s why it’s important to check that all of your home’s carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Test all of the detectors in your home and install a fresh pair of batteries in each unit.
Test your smoke alarms. Certain severe furnace problems can lead to fire hazards, which is why this is the time of year that you should also be checking your home’s smoke alarms. Test all of the smoke alarms in your home and install a fresh pair of batteries in each unit.
Keep the area around your furnace clean and unobstructed. You can help minimize the chance of fire hazards from your furnace by keeping the area around your system clear.
Change your air filter when it’s dirty. A dirty air filter will restrict airflow to your furnace. It will overwork your system and can potentially increase the risk of a carbon monoxide leak. A dirty filter will allow dirt to build up on your furnace’s components and cause a number of safety issues.
Never operate the furnace without the front-panel door properly in place. Doing so may create the risk of CO poisoning. Most forced-air furnaces have a safety switch that prevents furnace operation when the door to the blower compartment is not in place.
Do not close off more than 20 percent of the registers in your house. This can cause high resistance and unnecessary heat build-up in the furnace. In addition, vacuum dust, lint and animal hair from all registers.
Call Grogg’s Home Services if you suspect any problems. You don’t want to take any chances with a fuel-burning appliance like your furnace. That’s why it’s always best to be on the safe side and contact Grogg’s if you suspect that anything’s wrong with your system.
Today, smart home HVAC products are all the rage. They boast easy installation, seamless integration, and desirable energy efficiency. Despite their advertising claims, some smart vents or zoning methods go against expert advice.
The “Smart Vents” Zoning Method
So-called smart vents promote a simple and supposedly effective way for homeowners to cut heating and cooling in unused areas of the home. Products such as Keen Home’s Smart Vents offer Nest Learning Thermostat connectivity. They use the Nest app and interface to zone a home. Each vent’s sensors communicate with one another. This detects if an area is in use and will redirect airflow as necessary.
The Myth of Closed Vents as a Zoning Method
While the idea sounds logical, closing vents to unused areas is not advised. Many homeowners think an obvious energy saver would be to close vents in unused areas.
The problem with closing vents is that each home’s heating and air system is designed with those vents and rooms in mind. The system in your home is created to efficiently heat and cool the total square footage of your home. This means when you cut off a room or more, your furnace and air conditioner won’t operate as efficiently.
Shutting vents to restrict heating and cooling in certain areas of the home can cause major problems. Conditioned air held in the ducts, unable to exit into interior rooms, can cause furnaces to overheat and air conditioners to freeze up.
Approved Zoning Methods
Instead of closing vents in the home, installing a whole-home zoning system from Aprilaire or Honeywell is recommended. A zoning system works with your home’s heating and cooling equipment, rather than against it by closing vents. Zoning methods use a network of dampers and thermostats, along with a zoning panel. Zoning allows independent control of temperatures throughout the home.
Why is this method preferred?
Grogg’s prefer whole-home zoning systems over closing vents in a room because this strategy works with your home’s heating and cooling systems. Zone dampers installed within the home’s ductwork control airflow into a zone. The zone dampers channel conditioned air into the right areas. Bypass dampers eliminate the buildup of pressure which can occur with closing vents to prevent system damage.
Customized Zoning for Your Home
Traditional heating and cooling zoning methods can be customized to the needs of your family and your home. Grogg’s can design a zoning system which addresses the specific comfort and energy efficiency challenges faced by your household. These may be due to usage, construction type, or another cause.
Smart vents do not address the specific causes that can throw off balanced comfort within a home. The vent has the capacity to close off rooms and areas, rather than adjust heating and cooling system use.
Smart Zoning Methods
For those attracted to the “smart” element of certain comfort system products, you don’t have to sacrifice innovative technology when utilizing traditional zoning methods in your home. Today’s zoning systems include of a variety of smart products, from automated zone dampers, wireless panels and components, and even smart thermostats in each zone. Gain the technological advances you seek while still creating a practical and functional zoning system for your home.
Traditional Zoning Methods Save Energy
In addition to improving comfort, one of the main objectives homeowners have when installing zoning is to save money and conserve heating and cooling energy. Traditional zoning methods can save homeowners an average of 30 percent on annual heating and cooling energy usage. Homeowners can improve the efficiency of their zoning systems by using programmable thermostats effectively, programming accurate setback schedules, and being diligent about addressing seasonal changes.
MERV Ratings: What to Know When You Shop for Air Filter Replacements
Whether the HVAC systems in your Parkersburg or Clarksburg area home include a furnace, air conditioner or heat pump, regular air filter changes are essential for keeping your system clean and operating efficiently, and to keep your energy bills in check. A dirty air filter is one of the most common causes of HVAC problems, and can lead to system failure. Understanding MERV ratings can help you choose the best filter for your system.
The Purpose of Your HVAC Air Filter
Your air filter serves two critical functions for your HVAC system:
It protects your system from dust, which can overheat the system and damage the essential components, leading to costly repairs.
It cleans your home’s air to improve your indoor air quality. Your air contains numerous particles, including mold, pollen and dust mites.
A dirty air filter allows dust to build up inside your system, leaves more contaminants in your home’s air, and restricts airflow to your furnace which can cause the equipment to overheat and fail.
How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?
The air filter may need to be replaced every month or every two or three months, depending on where you live, the size of your household and whether you have pets. It can also depend on the following:
the type of air filter you are using
the overall indoor air quality
how many pets are in the home
the number of people occupying the home, and
the level of air pollution and construction around the home
For basic 1″-3″ air filters, manufacturers usually direct you to change them every 30-60 days. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you could upgrade the air filter or change them even more often. Or, if you’re in a more remote area or less occupied home (vacation home) and there are fewer cars around, annually may be enough.
Here are averages that might help you know how often you should change the air filter at home:
Vacation home or single occupant and no pets or allergies: every 6-12 months
“Average” suburban home without pets: every 90 days
Add a dog or cat: every 60 days
Add more than one pet or anyone has allergies: 20-45 days
Air Filter Choices: MERV Ratings
Air filters vary considerably in quality. The MERV scale is a standard measure of the ability of a filter to remove particles from your home’s air. MERV ratings range from 1 to 20, with lower ratings denoting a lower-quality filter.
MERV 1-4 Filters: Filters with a MERV rating of 1 to 4 do little to trap harmful particles in your home’s air. They are flat instead of pleated, which means there’s less area for trapping a larger number of particles. Additionally, they only trap particles larger than 10 microns, such as pollen, dust mites and carpet fibers.
MERV 5-8 Filters: MERV ratings of 5 to 8 indicate a medium-quality filter that’s sufficient for most homes. They trap particles as small as 3 microns, which include mold spores, animal dander, and the highly allergenic droppings of dust mites.
MERV 9-12 Filters: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advises that filters with MERV ratings of 9 to 12 are almost as effective as true high-efficiency particulate absorption, or HEPA, filters when it comes to removing particles from indoor air that are hazardous to your health, which makes them ideal for homes with occupants who have COPD, allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions. These high-quality filters trap particles as small as one micron, including Legionella and humidifier dust. MERV 9 to 12 filters are the best filters that a residential HVAC system will accommodate without serious system modifications.
MERV 13-20 Filters: These exceptional filters, which can trap viruses, bacteria and carbon dust. A residential system will not accommodate filters with MERV ratings above 12 without modifications (unless it’s previously been retrofitted for a higher-efficiency filter). Grogg’s Home Services installs Merv 13 Aprilaire Filters almost 90% of the time when new equipment is purchased.
Balancing Air Cleaning With Air Flow
A dirty filter can damage your system by restricting the flow of air, but so can a clean filter that’s too dense for your system. It’s essential to check the specifications of your system before upgrading your filter to a higher MERV rating. You can also ask your HVAC technician for recommendations during your annual preventive maintenance call.
How to Replace Your Air Filter
In most systems, the air filter is housed in the blower compartment, between the air return and the furnace or air handler itself. Have a plastic bag handy to put the dirty filter in, since the particles it contains are very small and can become airborne quickly. Open the compartment door and slowly remove the dirty filter. Insert the clean filter with the arrows printed on the frame pointing in the direction that the air flows, which is away from the air return and toward the main unit.
For more advice about how to choose the best air filter for your Parkersburg or Clarksburg area home, please contact us at Grogg’s Home Services.
As August and summer quickly come to a close, September is right around the corner. This is the perfect time to schedule a Furnace Tune-up from Grogg’s Home Services.
How will a Furnace tune-up benefit me?
A properly performed furnace tune-up will ensure that your heating system is operating at its peak efficiency. The best time to do this is before the heating season starts. Your furnace tune-up will also ensure that all of your safety connections and limits are in working order.
Air flow is very important.
Your air flow will also be looked at to ensure that air is travelling through your system well and that there are no issues with the amount or air moving through your system. Improper air flow is one of the primary causes of system failure or shut down. Finally, a furnace tune-up may help you avoid costly repairs in the winter when your home will get very cold without a functioning heating system.
Peace of mind
There is simply no substitute for routine maintenance on a piece of equipment like a furnace. You would not run your car for a couple to a few years without changing the oil and having it looked at. A furnace is no different. There are many working parts in a furnace and keeping them in working order and clean with Grogg’s is the best thing you can do to ensure that your system will perform when it needs to and to maximize the longevity of the system.
A Furnace tune-up delivers all of the above and something more: Peace of Mind. Wouldn’t you like to know that your furnace is ready to go for winter? Don’t delay – call Grogg’s today and inquire about our specials. Grogg’s will perform your furnace tune-up correctly. You needn’t worry whether or not you are getting reliable, professional service when you book an appointment with Grogg’s.
There are many factors to consider when choosing an HVAC company to handle your AC repair. Choosing the wrong company can end up being be a very expensive mistake. Here is what you should look for in any company that you are considering for AC repair.
Is the company licensed and bonded? This is critical because you will be covered if something happens to go wrong during the AC repair at your home in business.
Does the company have a brick and mortar physical location or does it operate out of the owner’s home? We are not suggesting that you can’t get good AC repair service from people who are operating out of their homes, but the odds are much higher that you will have a better experience dealing with an AC repair company that is serious enough and big enough to have a dedicated location for its business.
Is the company big enough to properly serve you? While there is such a thing as too big, you also want to make sure that the company has the resources to perform your AC repair. If a company has 1 employee, what is the likelihood that it will be able to perform your AC repair when you need it. Can one employee work all day and then be available to you in the middle of the night when you need an AC repair most? What about on Sunday? What about on Christmas day? Companies with more resources are able to schedule in such a way that they can always be there for you no matter when.
Reviews! The beauty of the internet is that you can quickly find out what the general population thinks of any company whether it is an air conditioning company or not. Make sure you read up on any company before selecting who will perform your AC repair. Here is a link that you can use to check out Grogg’s Home Services.
Warranties and Guarantees. Some companies offer none, others offer excellent warranties. Before you pay for service, please make sure that you are well covered.
Financing. If your unexpected repair bill ends up causing a financial hardship for you, there are a few companies who offer financing on AC repairs. Grogg’s Home Services is one of them!
Energy Saving Tip: Attic Insulation – If you’re looking for your next home improvement project and want to do something sensible that has immediate returns on your investment, consider installing or upgrading your insulation. More than any other place in the home, quality insulation in the attic promises to give you the most benefits. Studies show that most homes will pay for the cost of installing attic insulation within 3-6 years. It may not sound sexy, but attic insulation is one of best functional home improvement projects out there.
Insulating an Attic from the Heat and the Cold
More heat is lost through poor attic insulation than from any other place in your home. If you think about it, it makes sense. Heat rises and when it rises through your home, it ends up leaking through the attic. On the other hand, many attics are the farthest place in the home from the central air conditioning and can be the hottest room in the house. Thus, attics need to be insulated from the heat and the cold. Whether you’re trying to improve the energy-efficiency of your home or make your attic space comfortable, attic insulation is almost universally a great idea.
Attic Insulation Installation
Blown cellulose or fiberglass insulation tend to be the insulating materials of choice in most areas of the home, and the attic is no different. This especially holds true when laying new insulation over the old. If you have an older home, you’ll need to make sure there’s no asbestos in your old attic insulation. (If in doubt about asbestos, consult with an insulation contractor for advice.)
Blown insulation generally covers better in an existing house and is more economical. Naturally, the cost of installing attic insulation varies greatly depending on your situation. Current insulating values, desired insulating values, size of your home, attic accessibility, and other local factors will all influence the total cost.
It’s a good idea to hire an HVAC company to inspect and do maintenance on your system every fall and spring. They’ll do things like inspecting and clean the wiring and mechanisms of the unit, which is a bit more challenging for the average homeowner.
But you can prolong the life and increase the efficiency of your system if you follow this simple maintenance plan:
HVAC Maintenance Checklist
1. Buy a better filter if you haven’t already. The new high-efficiency pleated filters have an electrostatic charge that works like a magnet to grab the tiniest particles — even those that carry bacteria.
2. Replace the filter at least every 90 days. But check it monthly. If it looks dark and clogged, go ahead and change it. If you have pets, you’ll probably need to change every month.
3. Make sure there are at least two feet of clearance around outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps.
4. Remove debris, such as leaves, pollen, and twigs weekly during spring, summer, and fall from top and sides of outdoor air-conditioning units and heat pumps. Don’t allow the lawn mower to discharge grass clippings onto the unit.
5. Monthly, inspect insulation on refrigerant lines leading into the house. Replace if missing or damaged.
6. Make sure the unit is level. Annually, ensure that outdoor air-conditioning units and heat pumps are on firm and level ground or pads.
7. Stave off clogs. Annually, pour a cup of bleach mixed with water down the air-conditioner condensate drain to prevent the buildup of mold and algae, which can cause a clog.
8. Shut off the water supply to the furnace humidifier in summer. In fall (or when you anticipate turning on the heat), replace the humidifier wick filter, set the humidistat to between 35% and 40% relative humidity, and turn on the water supply.
9. Never close more than 20% of a home’s registers to avoid placing unnecessary strain on the HVAC system.
10. Replace the battery in your home’s carbon monoxide detector annually.
Of all the mistakes homeowners might inadvertently make when undertaking a replacement window project, trying to do the actual project as a DIY job might be the worst! No matter how handy you might be, or how much you want to save a few dollars, leaving window replacement to the professionals is worth every dollar.
Why Window Replacement Shouldn’t be DIYed
Installing windows properly is often more complex than it might seem at first glance. It is not a matter of just taking out the old window and dropping the replacement window in. For a proper replacement job, the installer has to consider many factors. This includes the way that the window fits into the casing and how it works with the existing window cutout in your home’s exterior. Oftentimes it needs to be custom adjusted to the various angles and unique structures of your home.
Think about this all too common scenario. You have realized that you need replacement windows because yours are not doing a good job of leaving moisture outside where it belongs. You take the old windows out and find serious problems with rotting frames, mold, or more. It’s a tall order for a DIYer to fix. You may end up paying more for an emergency job.
Even if your replacement job is fairly straightforward, it is still something that takes quite a bit of time. Window installers have handled many projects and have the expertise and skill to install efficiently yet effectively. They also often work in teams, so windows go up faster, smoothly and seamlessly. Your time is worth hiring out!
The windows we offer are energy efficient, with additional optional features like soundproofing. These benefits are all part of the construction of the window, and the proper installation of each window and frame. If something is not installed correctly, the window cannot be fully effective. This may entirely defeat the purpose of your replacement job.
If you are DIYing, odds are you will inevitably get something wrong. Which means ultimately you will find that your window isn’t doing what it was advertised to do. But when you have a professional installer come in to hang all of your replacement windows, you can rest assured that each and every piece is in the right place, designed to work as it should.
Your windows are an investment, and that investment comes with a warranty. To take advantage of the warranty, designed to protect the value of your window products, you have to adhere to the requirements. Oftentimes, installing one’s own windows incorrectly may void the warranty. So if something ultimately happens to impact the integrity of your replacement windows, you can’t access the warranty for help. Making the wrong move can be a lot more costly than bringing in the experts from the start.
There are many ways that a window replacement DIY project can go wrong. So, how can you get it right? It’s all about finding a great installer to make your window replacement run smoothly.