With all the talk about the COVID-19 Coronavirus and practicing good personal hygiene (wash your hands, don’t touch your face, don’t shake hands, keep your social distance), we thought it would be appropriate to talk about good hygiene for your home’s heating and cooling system.
We recommend the following practices to keep your HVAC system running at optimal levels:
- Change HVAC Filters as Needed
- Spring AC Tune-Up and Check-Out
- Fall Furnace Tune-Up and Safety Check
- Duct Cleaning Every Other Year (at least)
- Optimize Indoor Air Quality with Air Filtration, UV-C Light Installation
In the HVAC industry, there’s no real consensus on how often you should change your HVAC filters, but here are some general guidelines.
Every household has a unique amount of dirt, dust, allergens and pet dander in the air. All of these determine how long a filter lasts.
A good rule of thumb is to change 1 to 2-inch thick filters about every two months; 4-inch and 5-inch filters about every four months. Certainly, if the filter is visibly dirty, the system is running more frequently than normal, your home is dustier than normal, you open windows and door frequently, you have furry pets (we used to have a German “Shedder” dog), you smoke indoors, you have family members with breathing challenges (allergies or asthma), or you notice strange smells coming from your air vents, change the filter more often.
Spring Air Conditioning Tune-Up
We usually wait until the outdoor temperatures are hovering around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit regularly to perform this task, but we can certainly do it earlier. Especially after having such a mild winter – chances are we’re in store for a warmer than normal spring. It’s a good idea to get this service performed well before the system is loaded down with the task of keeping your home cool daily. We’ll check both the outdoor and indoor portions of your AC system, checking for mechanical and electrical issues, as well as coolant leaks, and nip those problems in the bud early. This service is an absolute must and should be performed annually.
Fall Furnace Tune-Up and Safety Check
Another “must-perform annually” service, one of our highly-trained HVAC technicians will check to ensure your system is starting, manifold pressure is correct, and electrical and mechanical systems are working as they should. Most importantly, he/she will check for carbon monoxide leaks and natural gas leaks.
HVAC Duct Cleaning
The obvious reasons to clean your HVAC system’s ductwork is to eliminate dirt, dust and other pollutants from the system, allowing your family to breathe easier. Here’s a short list of additional reasons to get the ductwork professionally cleaned:
- MOVE-IN If you’re moving into a new (to you) home, it’s a great idea to get the system serviced and the ductwork cleaned to eliminate traces of the previous occupants (and their bad habits and pets), particularly if they were smokers or had unusual taste in cooking.
- NEW HOME If you’re the first occupants of a spanking new structure, you’ll want to start off right by getting the ductwork cleaned. The HVAC system is new and shouldn’t need servicing, but construction dust and debris sometimes finds its way into the ductwork.
- DORMANT HVAC Any time your home has been vacant for a while, and the air conditioning or heat has not been turned on, dust and dirt can settle in the ducts and wreak havoc when you first turn it on.
- DAMAGE If your structure has suffered water damage, mold and mildew can grow in the ductwork. Likewise, if it’s had smoke damage, particulates and debris can be waiting to be blown out into the air for your family to breathe.
- ALLERGY SEASON If you suffer from allergies, nobody has to remind you in the spring and fall of all the excess lint and pollen in the air. That material can be tracked in on your clothing, scalp, pets, and shoes and end up in your HVAC system.
- INFESTATION Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with a rodent, squirrel, or raccoon infestation. Once you get the critters removed, don’t forget to clean the system to remove any trace of their waste.
When we perform a duct cleaning, we take the time to do it right. We always start by capturing photos of the system pre-cleaning; then, after it’s completed, we’ll capture additional photos so you can see the improvement.
We recommend getting your furnace serviced at the same time as the air ducts. Cleaning the ducts allows your system to breathe easier, but there is usually a build-up of common dust and dirt inside the system and on the evaporator coil (if you have central air conditioning). When we service the furnace, we’ll get deep inside to clean the heat exchanger, the blower motor, the blower housing, and the plenum.
Indoor Air Quality
We frequently preach the importance of maintaining the air quality of your home’s HVAC system. Performing many (or all) of the tasks listed above will keep your system running in tip-top form and will go a long way to making the air in your home very safe and breathable. But there is more you can do.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the indoor air in our homes and offices is often much more polluted, and much more dangerous to breathe, than the outside air. Many of the things we mentioned earlier in this article – dust, mold, pollen, pet dander – can accumulate in your HVAC system and spew out into your home. In addition, viruses and bacteria can grow and multiply in the confines of your heating and cooling equipment and ductwork.
There are several solutions to optimize the air quality inside your home, including an air filtration system, and an ultraviolet germicidal light system.
AIR FILTRATION – These systems work electrostatically, by capturing and removing particulates that gather in your system. Kinda like an air filter on steroids!
ULTRAVIOLET-C LIGHT – UV-C light works by killing bacteria’s DNA and RNA, preventing it from reproducing and spreading. It’s been very effective in preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria within medical facilities through HVAC ductwork.
In a one-two combo punch, the UV-C light kills the viruses and bacteria, and the air filtration system removes the dead particulates.
WE ARE HEATING & COOLING EXPERTS
In continuous operation since 1962, our expertise goes beyond just the mechanicals of your HVAC system. We’re pretty handy when it comes to ductwork and system-wide maintenance as well. For top-notch service keeping your home’s heating and cooling system clean and your family breathing clean, filtered air, contact Dor-Mar today.
To determine if installing an affordable Ultraviolet-C lighting system is right for you, contact our friendly customer service team and we’ll arrange for a free evaluation and price quote.
Our team offers a wide array of routine maintenance and emergency services for your heating and cooling system, allowing your family to breathe fresh, safe, clean air and be comfortable year-round. We also offer a number of add-ons to your HVAC equipment that can improve your home’s IAQ, such as electrostatic air filters, whole-house humidifiers, duct cleaning, Ultraviolet-C lighting systems, and more.
Schedule an appointment for HVAC system troubleshooting or maintenance with us today by using our online contact form, or call one of our seven neighborhood offices listed below. We pride ourselves on our customer-focused service, and our reviews show it.
Dor-Mar…Your Climate Hero!
Please note: neither the Centers for Disease Control(CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO), nor the manufacturer of our UV-C Devices have officially announced whether UV-C kills the current strain of Corona Virus (COVID-19)., we urge you to err on the side of caution until we have a definitive answer, and take other measures to prevent the acquisition or spread of this virus.