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How to Maintain and Modify Your HVAC System for a More Allergy-Free Home

For most, dust and pet dander isn’t that big of a deal, and the spring is the perfect time to admire flowering blossoms and green tree leaves. But when you suffer from allergies, eliminating airborne irritants can seem almost impossible, even in your own home. You’ve probably learned to deal with your allergies most of the time, but you shouldn’t have to struggle in the comfort of your home. One of the best ways to minimize the amount of allergens in the air is to properly filter the air that is entering your HVAC system. For a more allergy-free home, take note of the following tips for keeping your HVAC system in good condition.

6 Benefits of a Ductless HVAC System

As the temperature outside slowly rises, you revel in the idea of basking in the coolness of your airconditioned home. However, you know that with the soaring temperatures comes soaring energy bills. You’d like to limit your energy usage and save money, but you don’t want to sacrifice having a comfortable interior. You may have heard about ductless HVAC systems and how these appliances can keep your home cool and your energy bills low. Though these appliances may cost more than you’d like to spend, you wonder what benefits ductless systems offer-and if you can reap these benefits year-round. Here, we discuss six benefits ductless HVAC systems offer so you can upgrade to a system that best serves your needs.
  1. Saves You Money
Above, we mentioned that the more you use your home’s HVAC system, the higher your utility bills get. And since energy costs have increased significantly over the last few years, you need a way to stay cool without paying a fortune. When you upgrade to a ductless HVAC system, you can keep your home as cold as you want-without having to pay a higher price. Ductless systems use less power than traditional systems, so your energy bills will likely drop over time. The systems also offer zoned cooling (which we discuss later on), so you only have to use the system whenever you’re in a certain room. If you aren’t using a room, you don’t have to unnecessarily use the air conditioner to cool down your home.
  1. Lowers Your Environmental Impact
Because ductless systems run on less power, your overall energy usage decreases. When you use less energy, you contribute less to the high demand for nonrenewable resources required to power your house. Additionally, most ductless systems adhere to Energy Star guidelines, so they give you added energy efficiency. These systems also use R410A refrigerant, a chemical compound best known for its zero ozone depletion potential. The fewer toxins and pollutants you add to the atmosphere, the lower your carbon footprint becomes.
  1. Installs Easily and Quickly
Traditional HVAC systems require you to hire a professional to properly install the appliance. And because these experts can have packed schedules, you may not be able to use your HVAC system for a few weeks. But when you invest in a ductless system, you can more easily and quickly take advantage of its cooling and heating capabilities. Though you likely still need a professional to help you install the device, the install is fast-so you can use the system much sooner.
  1. Offers More Flexibility Than Traditional Systems
Larger HVAC systems need to stay secured in place to run properly. Typically, they need to hook up to a power or fuel source of some kind, so you likely have to keep a traditional system outside your home or tucked into your basement. Traditional systems, then, force air throughout ducts in your home to cool or heat the interior. On the contrary, ductless systems are smaller and easier to move around and install. If you don’t like how the system blows air in a certain room, you can move it to another location. With this flexible feature, you can truly customize how your system cools and heats your home.
  1. Provides Zoned Cooling Options
Another reason ductless systems are so beneficial is because they offer zoned cooling. Essentially, ductless systems allow you to install a few devices in various rooms in your home. The system only cools or heats that room or zone to your set preference. If you and your family members prefer different temperatures in certain areas, each person can use the ductless system in his or her room to stay perfectly comfortable-regardless of everyone else’s likes.
  1. Improves Inside Air Quality and Your Health
Several reports and studies recently found that inside air can be more polluted than outside air. If you use a traditional HVAC system, you have to replace the filters frequently. If you don’t change out the filters, you allow more dust, allergens, and particles to float through your home’s inside air. On the other hand, ductless systems use multi-stage filtration to reduce the amount of pollen, bacteria, and dust in the air. This feature greatly reduces your exposure to illness-inducing particles, so your overall health increases.   As you consider whether or not to upgrade to a ductless HVAC system, keep the above-listed benefits in mind. Talk to an HVAC professional for more tips and information about these system types and how they can improve your home-and lower your energy bill. You can also ask these experts to help you find a ductless system that works best for your needs and budget. Once you’ve had your new system installed, be sure to schedule regular maintenance services to keep the system up-to-date. For more information and advice about your home’s HVAC system, read through our other blog posts.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Home Automation

As a kid, did you watch “The Jetsons”? The patriarch of the family, George Jetson, woke up every morning and requested his preferred breakfast from an in-wall unit that behaves like a 3D food printer and microwave. While he enjoyed his breakfast, he caught up on the news using either a wall-mounted or a handheld flatscreen. In many ways, the world of the Jetsons isn’t too different from contemporary life. Sure, you may not drive a flying car, but you can access virtually everything on your smartphone or tablet. And if you have a home automation system, that device also lets you control nearly every system in your home with a few taps. Before you invest in home automation, get to know the features and benefits these systems offer. The blog below discusses the essential facts you should know about home automation. What Elements Can Home Automation Control? Technology companies have devised ways to connect nearly every element of your house to a home automation system. If you can plug it in, turn it on, or adjust its settings, you can probably connect it to your home automation system. Of course, you don’t have to spring for the most expensive, tricked-out home automation system. Even basic, reasonably priced home automation packages will include controls for some or all of the following home features. Your Heating and Cooling System Imagine all the features of a programmable thermostat, and then make them accessible from anywhere. You enjoy that convenience with a home automation setup. Home automation allows you to adjust your furnace and air conditioner from your bedroom upstairs, your office across town, or your hotel room across the country. Any Additional HVAC Features If your HVAC system includes other appliances like a humidifier, a dehumidifier, or an air purifier, you may be able to connect them to your home automation system. You can read data collected by their sensors so you know the air conditions inside each room and the amount of energy the units use daily. Your Smoke Detectors Instantly check the status of smoke detectors in your home. Some systems also let you receive smartphone notifications any time a detector gets triggered. Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors Check the status of your home’s carbon monoxide detectors and receive automatic notifications, just like you do with smoke detectors. Many systems also collect data about how much carbon monoxide has been detected in your house over time. Your Lights Connect every light in your house to your home automation system. Then you can turn off the porch light while you’re brushing your teeth before bed or dim the lights before watching a movie without getting up from the couch. Your Security System and Door Locks Link up any element of your home security system to your home automation software. You can view live security camera footage, double-check that you locked the front door, or close your garage from the airport before you head on vacation. What Benefits Does Home Automation Offer? Home automation offers more than the convenience of controlling and checking on your house from anywhere. You can also take advantage of the benefits listed below.
  1. Track Energy Use
Energy use tracking comes standard with many home automation systems. After your system has collected data for a short time, you can analyze the results and pinpoint ways to lower your energy use. In this way, home automation helps your home become more ecofriendly and energy efficient.
  1. Save Money on Utility Bills
When you track your energy use and adjust your habits, saving money is a natural result. You’ll notice lower charges on your gas and electricity bills because your furnace, air conditioner, and lights will run less. And because you can program and control these systems whenever you want, you’ll experience the same level of comfort you enjoy now.
  1. Simplify Your Daily Routine
A home automation system lets you set up a schedule for your house, meaning you have fewer tasks to perform during your daily routine. For example, you can program your furnace to turn on at 6:30 every morning along with the lights in your bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. Then you can have them turn off right at 8:00 when you leave the house and have the door lock automatically behind you.
  1. Enjoy Greater Peace of Mind
You can’t really measure the emotional effects of a home automation system, but these benefits are hard to deny. Many people just feel more secure knowing they can monitor and control important features in their home from anywhere. You’ll say goodbye to nagging, annoying thoughts about whether you forgot to lock the door or turn off the lights. Home automation sounds like a feature from the future, but a smart and connected house is within your reach today. Talk to an HVAC professional about installing a home automation system at your residence.

3 Smells, Sounds, and Sights That Indicate an HVAC Issue

The human body relies on the senses to make decisions and navigate the world. Certain smells, sounds, and sights immediately notify you when something is wrong. When you notice one of the following smells, sounds, or sights in your home, how will¬†you¬†react? Smells Some people might consider a bad odor to be a simple inconvenience. Sometimes a strange smell might not mean anything, especially if your heating or cooling system just barely booted up. But one of these three odors might indicate larger-and even potentially dangerous-issues. Moldy Smell If you smell something musty or moldy coming from your heating or air conditioning vents, you likely have a mold issue. Air conditioning units in particular end up with a lot of moisture in the system, and moisture creates an environment for mold. If you suspect mold, you should look into the problem right away, since breathing in mold might lead to a respiratory infection. Electrical or Burning Smell If you smell a heavy electrical odor, or if it smells like something is burning, you might have an issue with your HVAC system. Occasionally, these smells might be expected. If your heating system is starting up for the first time this season, or if you just installed a new furnace, a burning odor should cause no alarm. If this smell continues, however, you might have an electrical issue or an oil leak. Depending on the issue, an electrician or a heating specialist can fix the problem and remove the danger of a fire. While rare, HVAC-induced fires can cause serious damage when they do happen. Gas Smell Often described as a rotten-eggs smell, you should address a gas odor quickly. Natural gas is odorless, but most utility companies add chemicals like mercaptan to the gas so you can smell the gas if it leaks. A gas leak means combustible gas floating around your home or apartment and represents a serious explosion risk. Natural gas is generally very safe, and gas explosions are rare. Still, if you smell a pervasive gas odor you should carefully open a few windows, leave the building, and then call the gas company. Sounds Most machines will make some type of sound. Modern HVAC appliances run much quieter than previous iterations, but you can still expect a whir or the occasional popping sound. However, obtrusive and jarring sounds usually indicate that something isn’t quite right with your furnace or air conditioning unit. Squeals and Shrieks A squealing sound usually indicates a bad belt. The belt is essential for your HVAC’s motor system to run properly. While a bad belt won’t cause too many problems on its own, you want to replace it before it breaks. A broken belt will shut down the motor completely. Rattling If you hear rattling around the house, you might think you’re just hearing things. But the rattling sounds could actually be items in your ducts-especially if you have vents in the floor. If a small toy, like a Lego, falls through the vents, you can imagine where those noises come from. If the items causing the noise are still close to the vent, you might be able to grab them yourself. Otherwise, you can call a professional to clear out the noisy objects. Scraping Scraping indicates metal rubbing against metal, and this sound usually means there’s a loose part in your unit. The harsh noise might convince you to get the problem fixed quickly, but it’s good for your HVAC system if a professional checks out scraping sounds before the issue gets worse. For example, if part of the blower system becomes completely detached, your problems will only multiply. Sights Your heating and cooling systems are nearly always out of sight, so you’re more likely to encounter a strange smell or sound. Still, there are a few things to look out for. Puddles As mentioned before, air conditioning systems tend to build up moisture. That moisture should generally stay inside the system. If you notice puddles collecting near your A/C unit, you likely have a leak somewhere. The puddle is a slip hazard and increases the risk of mold, but water leaks could also be the sign of more serious internal problems in your air conditioning system. Yellow Flame Your gas heater should generally run with a blue flame. A yellow flame could indicate that other materials are burning alongside the methane. Depending on what those materials are, you could have a problem. Flame coloring can vary a bit, so don’t panic. Just have a professional check out your heater. High Energy Bill If you see a big spike in your energy bill, you might curse your luck, sign the check, and forget about the issue. But a sharp change in your bill could indicate another issue. Perhaps a part of your HVAC system isn’t functioning properly, and the system needs to work overtime to compensate. If a high energy bill or any of these other sights, sounds, or smells has you worried, seek the help of an HVAC technician. A professional opinion will give you peace of mind, and a professional’s touch can fix any issues your heating or cooling system faces.

6 Signs Your Home Needs a Humidifier

As a Raleigh resident, you’ve become all too familiar with summer humidity. When you walk outside, you can often feel the moisture in the air collect on your skin. And if you straightened your hair, you can count on curls a few hours later. Understandably, you’d assume that you want less humidity inside your home, not more. However, maintaining a comfortable environment may be more difficult than you think. Just as extremely high humidity levels wreak havoc on your home, so do equally low humidity levels. As the cold weather months creep closer, you may find that a humidifier can solve a surprising number of problems, including some of the following.
  1. You Suffer From Frequent Nosebleeds
Nosebleeds occur for a variety of reasons, from physical trauma to chronic illness. However, dry air remains one of the greatest contributors to nosebleeds. Every time you inhale, the dry air pulls moisture from your nasal membranes or the soft tissues in your nose. As they dry out, the membranes start to crust, which leads to itchiness and irritation. If you scratch or pick at these tender areas, your nose may bleed as a result. With a whole-house humidifier, you can adjust the moisture content in the air so your nose stays comfortable.
  1. You Have Warped Wood Flooring
During the summer, wood pulls moisture from the air, and the more it absorbs, the more it expands. Several days of high humidity or a few weeks of moderate humidity make your flooring bulge and cup. In contrast, the air pulls moisture from wood flooring in winter. And the more water it loses, the more your flooring contracts. Exposure to low humidity leaves the wood with thin gaps between the planks, and in severe cases, the wood splits and cracks. Although a professional contractor can design wood flooring to accommodate natural expansion and contraction, you can extend the lifespan of your flooring when you regulate the humidity levels in your home.
  1. You Frequently Experience Static Shocks
During the summer, you may have intentionally rubbed your feet against the carpet. After a few seconds of friction, you could easily give your friends a small shock of static electricity. But during the winter, you might not have to try hard to pass that shock along. The dry air in your home allows the negative charges to transfer freely between surfaces, so you are more likely to dissipate static electricity whenever you touch a doorknob or a metal chair. When you have humidity in air, however, the water molecules have an easier time collecting on various surfaces throughout your house. The water then inhibits electrical buildup, so you can touch your pals without giving them that extra jolt.
  1. You Can’t Seem to Stay Warm in Winter
Water has a high heat capacity, which enables it to absorb a great deal of energy before the hydrogen bonds break. As a result, water absorbs and retains heat better than many substances. Dry air, in contrast, has a difficult time retaining heat. Though your furnace works hard to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, the air molecules won’t absorb the heat for long. After a while, the heat dissipates and leaves your home, leaving you cold despite your current thermostat settings. To efficiently absorb and retain heat, the air in your home needs some water molecules in it, which means you need to keep humidity levels stable. With a humidifier, you can ensure your home has adequate humidity, which in turn allows your furnace to effectively heat your home.
  1. You Have Sleep Apnea
As mentioned above, dry air pulls moisture from your nasal membranes, leaving your nose sore, dry, and uncomfortable. If left untreated, your nasal passages may restrict, inhibiting your ability to breathe. To compensate for lack of air flow, you may try to breathe through your mouth in addition to breathing through your nose. As your tongue relaxes during sleep, it naturally falls to the back of your throat, partially blocking your airways and increasing the likelihood of snoring. Many doctors recommend using humidifiers in conjunction with sleep apnea devices to improve comfort and minimize congestion.
  1. You Unsuccessfully Grow Indoor Plants
How many times have you purchased a houseplant, watered it regularly, and then watched it wither and die anyway? Many commercial indoor plants grow up in a humid greenhouse conducive to their growth. And many plants originate from tropical environments, so they require high humidity levels to thrive. Dry air pulls water from the pores of your plant’s leaves, and in some cases, the air pulls more water than the plant can absorb through its roots. If your plants have thin, delicate leaves, they likely need extra humidity from your humidifier to grow and remain healthy. Talk to a Technician About Your Next Install As you can see, humidifiers offer a lot of benefits, and you’ll likely see several more when you install one in your home. Talk to a professional about humidifiers for your home and discuss which option would work best for you and your family.
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Two Locations to Better Serve You

Raleigh:
9400-7 Ransdell Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27603

(919) 322-2000

Fayetteville:
1139 Robeson St.
Fayetteville, NC 28305

(910) 483-8790