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Air Quality

15
May

One of the easiest and most beneficial maintenance steps to keep your A/C running smoothly all summer long is to change the filter regularly. But just how often is “regularly?” And how do you remember the next time you should change the filter?

When to Change Your Air Conditioner’s Filter

The most recognized rule of thumb is to check the filter once a month and change it when it appears dirty, letting no more than 90 days pass between changes. This is good advice, but your needs may vary based on a few factors including:

  • The type of filter you use: 1- to 3-inch filters fit within the rule of thumb to change the filter every 30 to 90 days, but high-efficiency filters may have different requirements. Check with the manufacturer for more details if this applies to you.
  • Your sensitivity to airborne pollutants: If you have allergies, you could benefit from changing the filter every month without fail.
  • The presence of pets in your home: If you have one or more pets, the A/C filter is likely to fill up faster than one found in a home without animals. That means you need to change the filter closer to the 30-day mark to prevent airflow from becoming restricted.
  • Level of pollution inside and around the home: If you live near a construction zone or you have a generally dusty or polluted home for another reason, cleaning the filter monthly could help keep the indoor air cleaner.
  • Occupancy of the home: The more people who live in your home, the more airborne pollutants you can expect to have. This means monthly filter replacement is recommended. On the other hand, if you have a vacation home where you only spend half the year, you can easily get away with changing the filter every 6 to 12 months.

Remembering to Change the Filter

You probably don’t think about the A/C filter every day. Use these tips to help you remember when to change the filter:

  • Write the replacement date on the edge of the filter.
  • Make a note on the calendar to check the filter one month after you replace it.
  • Set a reminder on your phone.
  • Sign up for email alerts from your HVAC contractor.

For more tips about changing your A/C filter, please contact the professionals at GAC Cooling & Heating (Gaithersburg Air Conditioning & Heating), meeting all your HVAC needs since 1970. If you need a new replacement air filter, we offer them as single filters or by the case (depending on the filter) at our office at:

227 E. Deer Park Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Category : Air Conditioning | Air Quality | Maintenance Agreements | Blog
10
Mar

It’s somehow both easy to explain and hard to explain what an air handler does. That’s because it, quite literally, handles your air. But I think we can do better than that!

Most HVAC systems have an outdoor unit and an indoor unit (a “split” system). The indoor unit is the air handler. Without an air handler, you would likely experience poor air circulation in your home as well as poor indoor air quality. Consisting of an air filter, coil, and blower, when an air handler is properly installed, it will help increase your home’s comfort by ensuring that warm and cool air from your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner reaches every area of your home.

To put it simply, it’s a pretty damn important part of your HVAC equipment.

Types of Air Handlers

Single speed air handler – This type of air handler has a fan motor that operates at one fixed speed.

Five speed air handler – A five speed air handler will offer more precision than a single speed one. Ultimately, the more speeds your air handle offers, the more effective your air circulation will be the more efficiently and quietly your system will operate.

Variable speed air handlers – A variable speed handler comes equipped with a variable speed blower motor to vary the speed of your fan based on your home’s comfort requirements (determined by you—the homeowner). This can be helpful when it comes to controlling humidity levels, improving your indoor air quality, and achieving a consistent temperature in your home.

Insulated air handler – If you’re interested in super-quiet operation, look for an insulated air handler.

Hydronic air handler – These air handlers are designed to work with boilers.

Air Handler Repair

Like the rest of your HVAC equipment, your air handler can become run down and require repairs. So if you need air handler repair or any other HVAC repairs in the Frederick or Gaithersburg, MD areas, contact GAC Cooling & Heating. We offer up-front pricing and 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed. Call us today!

Category : Air Quality | Blog
11
Dec

Did your mom or dad ever scold you to shut the door because “we’re not paying to heat the outdoors”? Even if you’ve got all your doors and windows shut and locked, chances are you still are paying to heat the outdoors. About 1/3 of all the air you pay to heat or cool will wind up escaping through your duct system into your walls, your attic, your basement, your crawlspace and other uninhabited areas. In return, your HVAC system is also drawing fresh air in through those same gaps and chinks in your ducts. Think about it: do you want to be breathing air from your attic or crawlspace? It’s dirty, which is unpleasant for you and makes your HVAC system work harder. Bottom line: leaky ducts mean more expensive heating and cooling bills and less comfort overall.

The solution, in most cases, is surprisingly simple. You don’t need to replace your ducts or go to any drastic extremes. We work with Montgomery County homeowners to protect their ducts using a product called Aeroseal. This duct sealer is an aerosol spray which is injected into your ducts. As tiny holes in your duct draw air toward it, the Aeroseal particles smack right into them, sealing them up tight. Now, air moves through your ducts the way it’s supposed to, and into the areas of your home where you most need comfort. The whole process takes just a few hours and can reduce leaks by up to 98%.

Sometimes, we find that people are skeptical about how much air is really escaping through their ducts. But once they’ve had Aeroseal, they’re believers. It’s not unusual to hear that after an Aeroseal treatment, homeowners are surprised to find the toilet paper fluttering in their bathroom. For the first time, their HVAC system is working to its full capacity to keep them comfortable, rather than to heat the uninhabited nooks and crannies of their home.

The duct sealing treatment comes with a 10 year warranty, and often customers see energy savings within 2-3 years that totally pay for the cost of the sealing. All in all, it’s a great solution for your wallet and for your overall comfort.

Interested in trying Aeroseal in your home? Contact GAC Cooling & Heating (Gaithersburg Air Conditioning and Heating) today. We’ll inspect your ductwork, determine if you’re a good candidate and help you understand what kinds of results you might see. Schedule your appointment now.

Category : Air Quality | Duct Sealing | Blog
4
Dec

Have you found yourself sniffling, sneezing or wheezing lately? It might not be a cold. During the winter months, the air quality in your house can become a problem. While some air from the outside is still entering and exiting through windows, seams around doors and so on, most of your air is recycled through your forced air heating system. That means the same air full of allergens, bacteria and dust just keeps re-circulating around and around. But you don”t have to live with the discomfort of all that dirty air. Here are four tips for breathing easier this winter.

  1. Change your furnace air filter. This just can”t be stressed enough. As your furnace circulates air through your home, it all passes through the air filter again and again. You might think that will help indoor air quality, and it will—provided it”s clean. Follow manufacturer”s instructions, but a good rule of thumb is to at least check your air filter once a month. If it”s visibly dirty, you need to change it. If you’re still feeling wheezy, you might consider an air purifier or air cleaner with a HEPA filter for the best protection and air filtration.
  2. Get a whole home humidifiers. Many people try to combat winter dryness with small, individual humidifier units, but that”s a Band-Aid solution. Your best bet to avoid sore throats, dry nasal passages and irritating static shocks is by getting a whole home humidifier. These work through your HVAC ducts to deliver soothing moisture throughout your home. You”ll breathe easier, feel better and not have to worry about fiddling with those small individual units.
  3. Consider an air purifier. These are especially useful for people who suffer from allergies. Most people expect that allergies will be better in the winter, since most plants are dormant, but in reality, many people suffer in the winter because of dirty indoor air re-circulating. When a simple HVAC HEPA filter isn”t doing the job, considering upgrading to an air purifier, which will remove pet dander, pollen, dust and other irritants from the air. Just like a whole home humidifier, these can work through your HVAC system to give you comfort anywhere in your home.
  4. Get a house plant. Okay, this one isn”t exactly proven to work, but there is research that indicates that owning a houseplant can help your family feel better. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide, which is what we breathe out. They, in turn, create oxygen. It”s an awesome system that benefits you and the plant, plus helps give your home a tiny burst of new air. So don”t underestimate that ficus—it might just be improving your indoor air quality.

If you”re interested in any of these solutions, contact Gaithersburg Air. We work with homeowners in Frederick and Montgomery Counties live healthier, more comfortable lives. We”d love to help you, too.

Category : Air Quality | Blog
3
Oct

Even if you have the best, finest air filter in the world, you might not be doing all you can to keep your family safe from airborne irritants like dust mites, mold and bacteria. Most filters just trap those microscopic particles, but as air continues to pass through them, those particles can escape and make their way into your house. The only way to be sure the particles are gone for sure is to make them disappear all together.

Our favorite way to get rid of almost all airborne nasties is the Bryant Evolution® Perfect Air Purifier. Just like the name implies, it purifies and improves air quality even as it filters. Here’s how it works: As the air enters the purifier, it’s given a negative ionic charge. Think of this as turning the particles into little iron fillings. The filter itself draws those particles in until they stick to the filter like filings to a magnet. This method is ultra-effective, catching 95% of particles before they ever make their way into your living space. Pretty cool, huh? But it gets better.

Like we said, it’s not enough just to trap the particles. Once they’ve stuck to the filter, an electric charge is fired at each particle. Zap! The particle disappears, like a bug smashing into a bug zapper. The Bryant Evolution® Perfect Air Purifier gets rid of 99% of particles it traps. In the short-term, you might find yourself breathing more easily as more irritants are trapped in the filter. In the long-run, you might find that you and your family are staying healthier. This purifier can screen out common viruses and bacteria, including the common cold, the flu, SARS, measles and more.

The purification process is ongoing, and air is re-purified, not just filtered, every time it passes through. Depending on how often your HVAC system is scheduled to kick on, your air may be filtered as much as eight times an hour. Now that’s some clean air! The purifier can be fitted onto any ducted system without retrofitting.

Now, how do you know if you need a purifier like this? Here are some folks who often benefit from a new air purifier:

  • Children
  • Seniors
  • People with asthma
  • People with allergies
  • People prone to illness
  • Smokers

In short? If you’re worried about the air your family is breathing, you should consider an air purifier. At GAC Cooling & Heating (Gaithersburg Air Conditioning & Heating) we work with families in Montgomery County and Frederick County. Call us today to see if you’d benefit from cleaner air.

Category : Air Quality | Blog