The Many Benefits of Humdifiers

Many parents worry everyday that their baby is going to get sick, especially when they are newborns. This worrisome attitude is amplified during the winter time, because the chances of getting the flu or the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are much higher during the winter months. My wife and I have a one year old child that was born last October. This was our first child so we were both very nervous about our son getting sick during the winter. One of the things that we did to prepare for our son’s birth was to buy a humidifier for his nursery. I believe that the humidifier was one of the keys that have allowed our son to avoid any significant sickness since he has been born. A home humidifier has many advantages from helping to avoid sickness to extending the life of the interior of your home.

Humidifiers adds moisture to the air either in a room, or throughout your entire house, depending on the type of humidifier that you purchase. This extra moisture in the air will help you feel better and avoid getting sick. The humidifier will help to eliminate a dry nose, itchy, cracked skin, and many allergy and asthma problems. Many viruses that cause sickness can only live in a low humidity environment, so they will die when the moisture level is raised by a humidifier. Also a low humidity environment can weaken your immune system and allow you to become more susceptible to infection.

Oklahoma City humidifiers can also help to extend the life of many different items in your house. A dry house will cause much more static to occur, which puts all of your electronic instruments in danger. Also a dry house can lead to cracked paint and plaster to occur, and also wood floors to warp. The furniture in your house will also appreciate a more humid environment, because it will allow it to last longer and remain stronger. Home humidifiers are great for your house and everyone in it, and they are also much more affordable than some people may think. Contact your local air conditioning contractor to learn more.

The Most Important Things you need to know about your Air Conditioner

If you have a conventional air conditioner or you are considering purchasing one for your Oklahoma City home, there are some important things to know about how these machines work, the operating cost, energy efficiency, cost, size, and maintenance.  Conventional air conditioners and conventional central air conditioning are the most popular cooling methods in use today in the U.S.

Oklahoma City air conditioners work by way of a very complex process with several critical parts which essentially cool the air by pushing it across coils that are cooled with a refrigerant to remove the heat from the air and re-circulate the cooled air back into the home. An evaporator inside the home draws heat from the air. The compressor pressurizes the evaporated fluid and sends it outside to the condenser. The heat is then released to the outside and the fluid is pumped back to the evaporator.

Central air conditioners are rated on the basis of a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).  The higher the number, the more efficient the unit is and the less it will cost to operate it.  Units manufactured before 1992 commonly had a SEER rating of about 6. Standards in 2008, however, require that units have a SEER rating or at least 10.  If you are buying a new central air conditioner for your Oklahoma City home, you should look for a SEER rating of 13 or more, if possible, and the unit should carry the EnergyStar seal.

Many of these new units also have additional energy-saving features, such as the ability to run the fan without activating the air conditioner, a programmable thermostat, adjustable fan speed controls and high efficiency devices. The 2008 cost for a central air conditioning system, including installation will run in the $3,000-9,000 range.

Choosing an air conditioning system of the right size is also important.  Many homes today have oversized air conditioning systems. Getting the right size unit will save both initial cost and ongoing operating cost.

There are a number of things you can do to increase the energy efficiency of your conventional central air conditioner:

1. Seal ducts in unused portions of the home.
2. Set your thermostat at 78°F
3. Change disposable filters every month
4. Keep weeds and grass away from the compressor
5. Have the system professionally serviced every year
6. Turn the temperature up or off during peak demand hours of the day
7. Install a programmable thermostat
8. Weatherize your home

With these basic facts, you should be ready to make your existing Oklahoma City air conditioning system more efficient or to select a high-efficiency new system.  If you are trying to achieve maximum efficiency, you should also investigate heat pumps.

Geothermal Heat Pumps: The Basics

As people throughout the world think and take action to preserve the natural environment, most in developed countries are taking a fresh look at how they use energy to heat and cool their homes.  Furnaces, boilers and air conditioning units are becoming more efficient. Most, however, rely on fossil fuels.  Whether an Oklahoma City homeowner looks at a more efficient air conditioner or an air-source heat pump, they will reduce their energy usage somewhat.  Whether these systems are operated by oil burners, natural gas or electricity, they still rely on fossil fuel.  The alternative, and the most energy-efficient way to heat and cool a home, is a geothermal heat pump.

Use of geothermal heat pumps to heat and cool residential homes is a relatively new phenomenon.  For many, these systems remain too expensive to consider for their homes.  Geothermal units are being installed in an increasing number of homes. Because of their amazing energy-efficiency, geothermal units are worth understanding and considering.  To help you understand these heating/cooling units, here are some of the basic facts.

  • Oklahoma City Geothermal Heat Pump use the heat in the ground to heat or cool water or a liquid coolant. The temperature of the ground is 55°F year round.
  • Geothermal heat pumps handle both heating and air conditioning.
  • Most geothermal heat pumps also provide hot water, eliminating the need for a separate water heater for the home
  • There are three main parts of a geothermal heat pump system: the geothermal heat pump which moves heat between the building and the fluid in the earth connection; the earth connection which transfers heat between the earth and the fluid inside it; and a distribution system which delivers heating and cooling to the building.
  • Geothermal heat pumps use underground pipes filled with either a heat transfer fluid or with water. This fluid carries heat from inside the house and releases it into the ground in summer to cool your home; in winter it draws heat from the ground to heat your home.
  • The exceptional efficiency of the geothermal heat pump is due to the fact that the system must only heat or cool the fluid in the pipes by 15 to 20 degrees. Compare this to a conventional air conditioner which must cool or heat outside air as much as 40-50 degrees in some climates.
  • Oklahoma City Geothermal Heat Pump use 23-44% less energy than the most popular air-source heat pump.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that a Geothermal heat pump can save a typical family 30 – 70% on heating costs and 20 – 50% on cooling costs.
  • Water in the pipes can be drawn from a well or heat transfer fluid.
  • The cost to install a geothermal heat pump system is usually in the $7,500 – $15,000 range. This seems staggering when compared to the $1,500 – $5,000 for installation of a air-source heat pump. But geothermal units pay for themselves quickly in extremely low operating cost.
  • The U.S. Government offers some tax credits and special financing options for purchase and installation of geothermal units.
  • Many utility companies offer rebates on the purchase price of a geothermal system.
  • Many state and local governments offer tax credits and/or rebates on geothermal systems.

Contact your heating contractor for more details about heat pumps.

How Roof and Attic Insulation Can be Part of an Energy Saving Plan

It gets cold and damp in season and homeowners need to keep warm. Many of the homes are older without heating systems and insulation that meet today’s energy saving standards. If the home is poorly insulated using an insufficient heating system, winter heating bills can be very high. There are many simple projects that can reduce the heating bills in every home helping to reduce CO2 gas in the atmosphere.

First, a summation of home defects leading to energy waste. Much of the energy loss comes from poorly designed homes, insufficient insulation, poor, old or insufficient heating systems, older, inefficient appliances, outdated home lighting and finally, poor homeowner energy use habits. Many Oklahoma City homeowners don’t know what is causing the high energy bills, or how to fix it. Public education is of vital importance in saving energy and reducing CO2 gas emissions to the atmosphere.

The homeowner must have all the work done first, then get awarded the grant. A BER assessment is recommended, but optional, before and after the work is done. This used to be required. Work to be done for this grant is:

1. Insulation in attic up to 12 inches
2. Drought proofing in and around windows, doors, walls and roofs.
3. Jacketing hot water cylinders with kits or pink glass wool and kraft paper vapor barrier.
4. Switching to low energy light bulbs like CFL.
5. Cavity wall insulation with blown in glass wool, foam or plastic beads.
6. Energy advice on energy use habits and other ways to save on energy use.

This grant scheme is a good start, but will not cover the homeowner, on a small budget, who wants to do only part of the things needed at a time. A plan still needed, is one that is very attractive to all homeowners and is simple and easy to use. It should have grants for smaller projects, since any change for the better helps the environment.

* Check into roof insulation at the local home goods store. If it is possible for the home owner to install the roof insulation on their own, this is an inexpensive project that will pay for itself in energy savings over the next few years. Roof insulation can be done by local contractors or handy men if the homeowner is not able.

* Attic insulation should be up to 12in thick. It is laid between ceiling joists and over them. Pink glass sheets with paper vapor barrier, come in rolls, and can be used with little mess. Plastic beads, blown in glass wool or sprayed on foam insulation can be used. Heat rises, so attic insulation will stop the heat from being wasted. Lack of attic insulation is one of the biggest energy wasters. It doesn’t make much sense to pay huge heat bills for energy that is going through the roof.

Clogged Pipes? Here’s how to Fix it!

Part of remodel planning for any room in your Oklahoma City home that has pipes and faucets is to determine whether you have clogged pipes that need to be cleaned or replaced.  Pipes can collect mineral build-up or rust over time. In some cases, this corrosion or mineral build-up can reduce the interior size of the pipe by half, restricting water flow.  If this is the case, you probably should replace these pipes as part of your remodeling project. It will cost less to do all of the needed work on a room at once. It also makes a world of sense to fix the pipes before you install new Oklahoma City plumbing fixtures, cabinets and flooring.

So how do you know if you have clogged pipes?  The best way to make a preliminary decision is to evaluate the flow of water through your pipes and out the faucets.  It is not unusual for homeowners to confuse water pressure and water flow.  The water pressure should be consistent in all parts of your house.  Water pressure should also be the same in your home as in other homes around you.  Water pressure should also be the same at all times of the day and night.  It is the flow of water through the pipes that is affected by corrosion or mineral build-up inside the pipes.

Check the flow of water – the amount of water coming out of the faucets – in several parts of the house.  This should be the same, for example, in all faucets in the house.  If you find that the flow of water from a specific faucet is less than other faucets, you need to do some further investigation.  If you have noticed that the flow of water through faucets in your neighbors’ homes is much greater than yours, you should do further investigation on your Oklahoma City plumbing system.

Without adequate water flow – no matter what the water pressure – whirlpool tubs, spa showers, and even toilets will not work properly.  It is important then to check the pipes before your install new plumbing fixtures.

If you will replace pipes, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Plastic pipe is usually easier to work with than metal pipe
  • PVC pipe can only be used for cold water. Be sure the PVC pipe you choose is approved for drinking water, if appropriate
  • ABS pipe can be connected to several kinds of metal pipe, but is used mainly in bathrooms for waste removal and drains.
  • PEX can carry both hot and cold water, and is a good choice for interiors
  • CPVC is mainly used for hot water; it is a good substitute for copper pipe.
  • Galvanized steel was used for water supply lines, but it is susceptible to corrosion and mineral deposits. This might be what you are replacing

Clogged pipes cause reduced flow of water into and through faucets, shower heads, etc. Replacing old, clogged pipes will increase water flow in general. It will also improve the working of dishwashers, washing machines, spa showers, whirlpool tubs, and more. The most cost efficient time to replace clogged pipes is during a remodel.

Top 7 Reasons For Heating Repairs

Winters in Oklahoma can be fairly cold, and no one wants to find themselves needing heating repairs in midwinter. Unfortunately, as with all things, heaters can have their share of problems, which can be difficult to predict. Oklahoma City homeowners may find themselves needing heating repairs for any of a number of reasons. However, there are some problems that occur with heaters which are actually fairly commonplace. These are some of the most common problems that can result in a call to your trusted HVAC specialists.

  • A malfunctioning thermostat. Believe it or not, many calls for heating repairs in Oklahoma City don’t turn out to involve the heater itself, but the thermostat. A thermostat that’s gone haywire can make it look like your furnace isn’t giving off any heat at all, or like its temperatures are fluctuating wildly for no apparent reason. A qualified HVAC technician will be able to tell if the problem is actually the thermostat, and if so, they can repair it easily.
  • Air flow limitations can also cause a need for heating repairs. Air flow is an important aspect of your heating system.
  • Faulty ductwork. Problems can easily arise within air ducts. Holes, cracks, damaged seals, or obstructions can impair your heater’s ability to work properly. If your heating bill has been increasing for no apparent reason, this might indicate that there could be a leak in the ductwork.
  • Clogged air filters are, in fact, among the most common causes for Oklahoma City heating repairs. These filters are designed to screen out dust and other small debris, preventing it from damaging fans and other parts of the heating system itself. It’s important to replace the filters regularly, especially during the season when you’re using the heater the most.
  • Ignition problems. When it comes to combustible heating systems, it won’t work if it won’t ignite. Several issues could cause this problem, including a damaged thermocouple, malfunctioning igniter, or even dust and dirt in the burner area.
  • A blown fuse or tripped breaker is simple for an HVAC specialist to fix, but can result in the whole heating system refusing to work.
  • An extinguished pilot light is another reason you might find yourself needing heater repairs. Pilot lights are small gas flames that serve as ignition sources in central heating systems.

These and other common malfunctions could leave you in need of heating repairs in Oklahoma City. Although the source of the problem is rarely apparent to the untrained eye, the qualified HVAC specialists at Advanced Air Specialist can easily figure out what’s wrong. Fortunately, most of these issues are easily fixable by a professional.

How to Keep Your Plumbing In-tact and Your Wallet Full

It’s late at night, right before bed, and you spot a problem with your plumbing. Do you know who to call the next morning? Are you stuck? Moore plumbing repairs are important to have done by professional plumbers because they get done right, on time, and on budget.

Plumbers have the necessary equipment to get jobs done. They can do everything from drain cleaning to finding slab leaks. Most companies also use specialized video equipment to locate drain blockages. This is just one example of how technology savvy plumbers are these days.

Plumbers are more advanced now then ever before. Most have been trained to the highest extent and are able to showcase their skills in many homes across the Oklahoma region. If you have a leak, here’s how to contact a plumber:

  • Ensure they are local
  • Find out about the types of work they do
  • Ask for referrals
  • Inquire about experience

Asking questions about your plumbing repairs will eventually get you the right plumbers for the job you need done. Many just call a plumber up without thinking about the consequences. This often leads to poor work being done.

There are several ways to find a plumber. Most hardware and home improvement stores have a contractor bulletin board where licensed contractors hang their business cards. Take several of them and call for estimates.

The Internet is a good place to find a contractor. Local plumbers are everywhere. Picking out the best one is the hard part. Find out about their work ethic as most sites will have a comment section or on Facebook.

Newspapers are great places to look as well. Most local plumbing companies will take out ads. Get at least three estimates and narrow down your choices from there. It all depends on what you’re looking for on how to hire one.

Plumbers do all type of work from repairs to installations. Most are general plumbers who are able to work with your needs. But there are also specialized ones too who can do work that isn’t generalized.

For most of us, we don’t have the training or education that professional plumbers do. At best we have minimal education and know how to unclog a toilet here and there. This is why it’s important to hire professionals.

Remember, you get what you pay for in life. If you hire someone that you met on the street who promised you quality plumbing work cheap, you may want to re-think that. Only a licensed Moore plumber should be working in your home.

The Most Common Heating Problems Homeowners Encounter

During the colder parts of the year, your home’s heating unit is put under a tremendous amount of pressure, and one of your biggest priorities is keeping it in excellent condition. When the weather reaches its lowest temperatures, you need to know that you can rely on your heating system, and when you do encounter any problems with it, you need prompt and professional repairs. At Advanced Air Specialist, our professional Oklahoma City heating contractors are always able ready and eager to provide you with any heating repairs you need, and we can completely eliminate any problems that your encounter with the system.

Your heating system could need repairs or any number of reason, but some problems are more common than others. If you’ve noticed that your heating system isn’t functioning well, or that your heating costs have been higher than normal, consider whether it’s suffering from some of these common problems:

Lack of Maintenance

Your furnace requires frequent maintenance and prompt repairs. You need your heating system to be in the best condition possible so that it can keep your Oklahoma City home warm throughout the winter months, and having regular maintenance performed on it is the best way to do that. Without regular maintenance, you’ll see significant and unexpected problems crop up.

Our professionals recommend you have a heating tune-up performed at least once a year to prevent any unexpected breakdowns, ensure excellent performance, and keep your energy costs low.

Dirty of Clogged Filters

During the fall and winter, you should replace or clean your air filters about once each month. This is one of the most important things you can do for your heating system. It will extend the life of your furnace and enhance its efficiency. Dirty filters restrict air flow, which means that your heating unit will need to work harder to distribute heated air throughout your home.

Wear and Tear

Your furnace is made up of many smaller mechanical parts. When any of these experience wear-and-tear, it can cause major issues with your heater’s performance. You should have your belts and bearings, fan motors, and heating elements checked during an annual heating inspection.

Pilot or Ignition Control Problems

If your furnace is only providing heat intermittently, or it’s not producing heat at all, you may have a problem with your furnace’s ignition control. Your furnace probably uses one of two types of ignition systems:

  • Hot Surface Ignition, or
  • Intermittent Pilot

Hot surface ignition systems use “resistance heating” elements, which are controlled electronically to ignite the gas burner. The intermittent pilot system is also electronically controlled, but it uses a high voltage electrical spark to ignite the gas pilot, then the main burners, whenever the thermostat calls for heat. When you have problems with your ignition control, it will prevent your heating unit from providing your Oklahoma City home with heat.

Why Indoor Air Quality is so Important to Take Care of

One of the most dangerous misconceptions about indoor air quality is that it is healthier than outdoor air. The reason this is so harmful is that, for one thing, it simply is not true. This leads Oklahoma City homeowners to ignore the need for improving their air quality and, instead, focusing on superficial and trivial matters like picking the right paint color for the interior walls.

Let’s face the facts, once and for all. For instance did you know, according to documented research, the air inside your home could be as much as 2-100 times more polluted than the air outside your home? When you also take into consideration that people spend more than 90% of their time indoors, it begins to make you aware of just how important this really is.

It Impacts Everyone

Anyone who suffers from allergies, asthma or other breathing related health conditions is especially sensitive to poor indoor air quality. However, it is important to understand that this affects everyone. It is as important to improve the air that you breathe the same way it is essential to address the quality of the water that you drink.
Make it a point to have a method in place to improve your air quality so that:

You and your loved ones will not suffer through unnecessary resulting ailments like headaches. Many people who suffer frequent headaches are unaware that their air quality could be the culprit causing it.

Did you know that having humidifier in place can even help reduce the risk of spreading disease to every member of the household? Airborne contaminants travel easily through dry air. Reintroduce moisture back into the air in order to help lower the risk of spreading disease, as well as many other benefits.

Too many homeowners think simply changing the filters for their HVAC system is enough to improve air quality. While that certainly helps, it is just a fraction of what you need to have healthier air to breathe. Not to mention, if you have ever seen just how dirty those filters are imagine what is still circulating in the air that you do not see or do anything about.

Calling on the Experts

If you are ready to protect your home and loved ones with improved indoor air quality, the time to call us is now. Here at Advanced Air Specialists, we are ready, willing and beyond eager to tell you what you need to know about improving indoor air quality. Don’t take chances when it comes to the health and well-being of yourself and your loved ones.

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A More Efficient Air Conditioner

In times of rising energy costs and rapidly depleting fossil fuels, making your air conditioner more efficient will reduce your energy usage, make your home more comfortable, save money, and possibly help to save the environment.  No matter what kind of air conditioning system you have, there are steps you can take to make your air conditioning system more efficient without purchasing a new system.

Here are some basic tips on how to make your air conditioner more efficient:

  • Have your air conditioner professionally serviced annually
  • Clean your air ducts
  • Install clean air filters every 3 months during the cooling season
  • Find and seal all cracks in your house. Small cracks are not uncommon around seams, corners and other areas. These can be sealed with caulk.
  • Find and seal any gaps or cracks around windows and doors. This can be accomplished with weatherizing tape or with caulk.
  • Close the flue in your fireplace chimney. A surprising amount of air exchange can occur through an open flue.
  • Use high-efficiency windows and doors or storm windows and doors. Well-insulated windows can reduce your cooling cost by 25-50%.
  • Add weather-stripping to windows and doors to create a tight seal. If you are not planning to upgrade your windows and you want to achieve better efficiency, the same weather-stripping used in winter can be used to seal and insulate these areas.
  • Use major appliances during the coolest part of the day or evening. Appliances generate heat when they are in use, particularly dishwashers, washing machines and dryers. Using these appliances during the cooler parts of the day causes less stress on the working of your air conditioner.
  • Use shades and blinds to block the heat and UV rays from the sun. Shades and blinds provide more than privacy – they also deflect heat from the sun and the UV rays that could damage your furniture and carpeting.
  • Add UV coatings or films to exterior windows. Many newer windows have low-e coatings which allow light to enter the room but block the heat and the UV rays. These coatings can be added to the windows by professionals or you can buy and apply sheets of UV deflecting film.
  • Check the insulation around windows and doors. These are the greatest opportunities for gaps and cracks that allow heat exchange.
  • Check the insulation in your attic (most heat exchange occurs through the roof). Be sure you have the right kind and amount of insulation and that your attic is properly vented.
  • Use ceiling fans to better circulate the cooled air
  • Use register/vent booster fans to better circulate the cooled air
  • Seal off any unused/unconditioned parts of the house so cooled air will not escape into these areas and heat will not enter the main part of the house
  • Use ventilation fans to carry heat and steam from the bathrooms and kitchen

These steps will make any air conditioning system more efficient. This will enable you to save energy and cost and reduce the demand on fossil fuels.