Advice From the Pros

air filter

Common Air Filter Questions

Seasonal allergies are picking up again, time to change your air filters!air filter

Why should I change my air filter? 

Longevity, performance, and efficiency all start at the air filter, so it is important to make sure that it is in good condition. The other main purpose of the filter is to keep particles, dust, allergens and other things in the air from circulating into your home, thus improving your indoor air quality. Just remember, everything caught by the filter stays there until you replace it! An air conditioning system with constantly dirty filters inevitably has larger problems down the line (think if you never changed the oil in your car).

How often?

There a lot of opinions on how often to change your air filter. The industry standard is that you should change it every 30 days, but this isn’t the case for everyone. Our advice is to check it every 30 days. If you can see the dust particles on the filter then its time to change it. If it still looks brand new, put it back in and check again in 30 days. Why throw away a clean filter? Generally, homes with kids, pets, and lots of in/out traffic will see their filters get dirty very quickly. We see homes with less activity easily go 60-90 days before needing to change the filter. More runtime on your unit equals more air passing through the filter, so it will get dirty quicker during times of high use.

Filter Types

If you have been to the hardware store or searched for air filters online, you know there are many options with varying prices. We are going to let you in a little secret here, you don’t need the $35 air filter. The best filter for quality and value is a simple pleated filter with reinforced cardboard around the edges. Make sure it is appropriately sized for your filter housing so that it filters the air properly. Most of us are stuck with 1″ thick filters, but many new AC and furnaces can use a 1″ thick or a 4″ thick filter. The 4″ filters cost more, but they filter the air better with increased surface area and tend to last longer.

As for the expensive premium allergen and mold fighting filters, the benefits over the standard filter are minimal. If you have asthma, allergies, or other breathing related issues, you may need to look at an electronic air cleaner or UV filter.

Keeping your air filter clean is both the easiest and most effective way to keep your unit in good shape!

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How Is Your Ductwork?

hvac ductwork

New construction

Does it feel like your AC isn’t cooling or heating? Sometimes your HVAC ductwork is the problem, something you may not have thought about and may not expect to be the reason.

If you feel your air conditioning units are not doing the work they used to do or are otherwise not bringing you the results you expect, then ductwork leakage or damage over time may be the cause. Ductwork damage, such as corrosion, holes, or gaps, can cause a very noticeable change in the efficiency of your cooling system.

Keeping the system sealed and clean, and inspecting it periodically can make a huge difference in the quality of work your unit is doing for your home. If your ducts don’t have mastic sealing, they could be drawing in attic air that is 150+ degrees or they could be leaking out your good cold air into the attic.

Dirty or failing ducts may be costing you a good chunk of money in energy costs, as it causes your air conditioning units to work harder to reach the settings you have set the temperature at.

According to the National Comfort Institute, the average duct system in U.S. is only 57% efficient due to several problems. An inadequate duct system is the single greatest problem. An improperly designed and maintained duct system cannot meet the required airflow to heat and cool your house efficiently even if your equipment is sized correctly and functioning properly.

Making sure your air is not escaping from improperly sealed registers, grills or duct leaks is critical for the system to work as intended. Seals throughout the system makes sure you will lose less air, which allows your rooms to be brought to a comfortable temperature with less work.

Testing ductwork quickly

Run your hands around the ducts while the unit is running and you can feel the air if you have a leak.
Most units are designed to leak specific amount of air, but the ducts should never leak.

Visibly inspect the insulation on the ducts
– Large, visible tears are an early warning sign
– Exposed inner liner is something that needs to be corrected ASAP

10% duct leakage is a 20% loss of cooling capacity. 50% duct leakage means ZERO cooling capacity. R4 duct insulation (1 inch) means about 20% loss of cooling capacity. R8 duct insulation (2 inches) means about 10% loss of cooling capacity.

Most older flex has the old grey skin on it and is inefficient and has been outlawed eventually per code.If you have metal duct and and there is a lot of leaks, you will want to have the work replaced with appropriate flexible duct work, and we would be glad to discuss your options with you.

Winter is a great time to get your HVAC ductwork revamped – Give us a call

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Commercial HVAC Services

R-22 Refrigerant: What You Need To Know

r-22 freon

Photo courtesy of Daniel Kennectz

What’s the problem?

The problem with R-22 is that is contains CFCs that deplete the ozone layer when released into the air.
R410a refrigerant has become the industry standard and is more environmentally friendly than R-22.

Montreal Protocol and the R-22 Phaseout Schedule

The Montreal Protocol mandates an annual reduction of R-22 production and a complete phase out by 2020 to help protect the ozone layer

In October 2014, the EPA announced its final phase-down schedule of HCFC-22 (R-22) over the next 6 years. The decision called for immediate drop from 51 million pounds allowed in 2014 to 22 million pounds in 2015, 18 million pounds in 2016, 13 million pounds in 2017, 9 million pounds in 2018, and 4 million pounds in 2019.

No new or imported R-22 will be allowed in the U.S. on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

You can still buy it, right?

Steady demand, coupled with shortened supply has caused prices to skyrocket from $15 per pound a few years ago, to $75 per pound and more today – annual allowances have decreased faster than the market demand for R-22, which has depleted inventory across the supply chain. Service demands for R-22 in the U.S. are still estimated to be in the tens of millions of pounds per year, and many R-22 users will need to transition to an ozone-safe alternative. By 2020, the market prices for what supply is left will cause prices to be painful.

Staying ahead of the phaseout is our solution to our customers to avoid the volatility of the pricing of R-22 for your servicing needs.

How do I know if I have R-22 refrigerant?

– The best way is to check the data information plate on your outdoor unit
– If your AC was installed before 2005, it most likely has R-22 Refrigerant
– If you still can’t tell, call us out for unit checkup and we can verify it for you

Who needs to be concerned?

Everyone with an R-22 system? No

However, people who have a slow refrigerant leak needing 1-2lbs per year would want to get ahead of this issue. A refrigerant leak is like a leak in your tire. It gradually gets larger with time and at some point you will have to get a repair. Start planning to replace you AC system now to avoid these cost concerns in the next few years.
How about people needing more than 2lbs annually? You need to get ahead of this to avoid volatile prices and we suggest scheduling a meeting with us to discuss your options.

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