Archive for the ‘Indoor Air Quality’ Category

Pre-Winter Checklist: What to Check With Your Heater

We may live in the Sunshine State, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to prepare for the winter season. Of all the cities in Florida, Gainesville is particularly likely to get very cold, due to its northern and inland location. With winter quickly approaching, it’s important to make sure your home is ready. Therefore, we’ve compiled a checklist of items to inspect with your heater and your house to ensure you will be comfortable throughout the winter months.

Gator Air & Energy’s Pre-Winter Heater Checklist

✓ Make Sure Your Heater Works

Since most Floridians don’t need to use their heater for a majority of the year, it’s important to make sure that your heater still turns on and churns out some heat. In order to not be too uncomfortable while testing your heater, turn on the heat after you get back home from work when it’s not so hot outside. Keep it running for 15 minutes or more to make sure that it’s still running effectively and blowing out heat. If it isn’t turning on, smells weird, or isn’t very hot, it could be due to one of the underlying problems explained below.

✓ Check Your Duct Sealing

Leaky ducts can lead to wasted heat, and wasted heat leads to wasted money. Because the holes in your air ducts are leaking into your attic instead of holding in heat and distributing it throughout your house, you’ll be paying to heat up your attic! A tell-tale sign of leaky ductwork is finding that you really have to turn up the heat just to get your house warm. You’ll also probably have a high electric bill, due to the cost of wasted heat energy. Thankfully, Gator Air & Energy offers Duct Sealing Services, where our inspectors patch and seal off holey ducts! Getting those checked and sealed before the winter will ensure a cozy house, despite the chilly weather.

✓ Make Sure Your Ducts Are Clean

Similar to holey ducts, dirty ducts also cause heating problems. As time goes on, ductwork can easily become dusty or dirty, especially if it’s left unchecked. When you start using the heater in the winter, the hot air combined with dust can become a fire hazard. The only way to ensure your ducts are clean is to have them regularly checked. However, the danger of dirty ducts can all be prevented with a duct cleaning, which can be performed by a Gator Air & Energy professional.

✓ Have Your Furnace Burner Checked

The furnace burner is the spot in your central heating unit where air and fuel are burned to produce heat. Because there’s an actual flame here, it’s very important that the burner is clean of any dirt, grime, grease, or anything else that could inadvertently catch on fire. This should be looked at by a professional, and a complete heater inspection from an HVAC professional can easily assess and clean out any issues there might be.

✓ Check For Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is especially important to be aware of if your house has a chimney and you use your fireplace. If unchecked for an extended period of time, a chimney can gather grime and soot to the point where it traps some of the fumes in the house. Amongst those fumes is carbon monoxide. Even if you don’t have a chimney, the furnace burner, electrical wiring, mechanical controls, and more can be potential causes of carbon monoxide.

This colorless, odorless gas is impossible to detect with human senses, so a carbon monoxide test is very important leading into the winter months. Basically, the inspector can ensure that your house is clean of carbon monoxide using specific instruments, and they can help prevent future issues by finding areas where the gas might get trapped in heating the house.

✓ Replace and Maintain Your Air Filter

Dirty air filters can cause dander, germs, and dirt to get transferred throughout the house when they’re not replaced. Replacing your air filter is a quick and easy task, as most air filters have a specific size that can then be bought at a home improvement retailer for a reasonable price. Just removing your vents and replacing them with a clean, new filter will allow for better airflow, cleaner air, and a fresher environment.

✓ Prevent Allergy Season With UV

Airborne germs can collect in your ductwork and then get distributed throughout the house, worsening allergies, causing lung problems, and more. In the winter, when allergies are typically stronger, immune systems can use all the help they can get! Therefore, installing UV lights in your A/C system can help kill any germs hiding in ductwork or coils. These lights can be easily installed by professionals during an inspection.

Contact Gator Air & Energy For a Heater Inspection

Our professional team knows exactly what to do to prepare your home or office for cold weather. With services like duct cleaning, sealing, UV installation, carbon monoxide tests, and more, we can ensure that you are ready to heat your house all winter. Contact us today for a consultation!

5 Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Summer

If you notice that your allergies become more severe in the summer months, it may be because you are spending more time indoors to avoid the Florida heat. But did you know that, according to the EPA, indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air? While this statistic is alarming, you can still improve your indoor air quality in the summer with these five tips.

5 Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Summer

Use a Dehumidifier

If you don’t have one already, it may be time to invest in a dehumidifier. During the hot and humid Florida summer months, pests and allergens thrive in the humidity. Dust mites are a common trigger for allergies and asthma, and they love the humidity. However, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, most dust mites die off in low humidity levels or extreme temperatures. Investing in a dehumidifier can help control dust mites and other allergens like mold from forming. Combating the humidity in Florida is difficult, but not impossible!

Have Your Pets Groomed Regularly

Pets shed more in the summer months to keep their bodies cool as well as prepare for their winter coats. Pet dander can negatively impact your indoor air quality and clog your filter faster. furry friends groomed regularly in the summer can help reduce the amount that they shed as well as keep them comfortable. Ask your groomer how short they can safely cut the hair, and try to keep it as short as possible in the summer months. You can also talk to your veterinarian about alternative methods to reduce pet dander in your home.

Change Your Air Filter Every Month

Your air filter is a crucial barrier between you and exposure to indoor air pollutants. Having a filter that is rated at least an 11 on the MERV scale can protect your home from numerous allergens. Equally important is to replace your air filter every month. You would be surprised how quickly an air filter can become ineffective when exposed to numerous allergens, especially in the summer months.

Summer Indoor Air Quality MERV Ratings Gator Air & Energy Gainesville FL

Consider UV Lighting

The inherent problem with AC units is that the ductwork stays cool and collects moisture almost constantly. By installing UV lighting to the interior ductwork, you can kill the mold and bacteria that thrive in those cool, dark environments. UV lighting is a simple and effective solution to reducing allergens in your home not just for the summer but all year round.

Contact Gator Air & Energy to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Gator Air & Energy has extensive experience dealing with indoor air quality. We offer many services that specifically target improving the quality of air in your home, including UV lighting, air filter replacement, and coil and pan cleaning. If you need help improving the air quality in your home, give us a call today.

Remedies For a Dusty Home

Do you catch yourself frequently cleaning your dusty home? Have you ever wondered where the dust comes from and how to prevent it from building up? Over the years, research has proven that the air inside of our homes can sometimes be a lot worse than the air outside. However, with some careful planning and a little elbow grease, we have some tips to help guide you to a cleaner and healthier home. (more…)

Five Tips to Avoid Costly Commercial HVAC Repairs

Commercial HVAC isn’t something you think about day-to-day. It’s designed to run in the background, take as little active maintenance from you as possible, and let you and your team work comfortably.

Until it doesn’t work. Then, it’s all that’s on your mind.

Nobody ever wants to get to that point. It’s an uncomfortable and frustrating interruption. Luckily, just a little forethought can prevent all that.

Preventative Maintenance

You’ve got two options when it comes to commercial HVAC maintenance: a reactionary approach, where you fix it when it breaks. The issue with that approach is that it involves your system breaking.

The other option is proactive and very low effort. Not only does it avoid the interruption of an HVAC system not running well, but it avoids the costs associated with repairs, and keeps your system running well. It involves your system running at peak efficiency.

Scheduling routine maintenance keeps you, your team, and your system happy.

Change Your Filters

You know that chore on your list every few months at home? The one that takes little time to actually accomplish, but keeps your AC running smoothly?

Yes, your commercial HVAC unit runs the same way. Find out what your manufacturer recommends, and take the simple step of changing out your filter when it’s time.

Clean Condenser Coils

If you have a rooftop unit, a lot of gunk can build up. Using a pressure washer (on a light setting) will help get a lot of the excess off, which can save you up to 30% over 20 years. It will help extend the life of your unit, and your unit will run much more efficiently (saving your money on energy costs).

Repair in the Winter

If you know you’ll need an upgrade or repairs that aren’t immediately pressing, wait until the winter. Or, get them out of the way in the winter before the summer months come around. More commercial HVAC technicians will be available in off-peak months, and it’s much better than dealing with emergency maintenance in the heat of summer.

Ask Your Commercial HVAC Professionals If It’s Time To Replace

Cleaning, regular maintenance, and filter changes will go a long way towards keeping your commercial HVAC running, but units still need repairs from time to time.

If you’re noticing that the repairs are getting more frequent, or more expensive, ask your technician if it’s time to replace. It may be more cost-effective in the long run to avoid costly repairs as they build up.

 

Your HVAC unit is important to your office, even though you rarely think about it when it’s doing its job. Contact Gator Air and Energy for more information or to schedule your next maintenance appointment.

Indoor Air Quality Cheat Sheet

Think about where you spend most of your time in an average week. If you’re like most Americans, you spend at least 90 percent of your time inside. Your home is an area that you would never consider a hot bed for air pollutants, but you would be wrong. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out that indoor air is often two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, making indoor air quality an important daily consideration. Here’s the ultimate indoor air quality cheat sheet on air quality to help you breathe easier at home every day. 

Choose an Air Filter

While the primary function of an HVAC air filter is to prevent dust from settling on the equipment, an added benefit is cleaner indoor air. When you shop for an air filter replacement, look for the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). This tells you how efficient the filter is on a scale from 1 to 16. To maintain a balance between airflow and efficiency, opt for a MERV 5 to 8 filter. Unless you have severe asthma or allergies, this is plenty efficient for your needs.

Run an Air Cleaner

A small portable air cleaner is perfect for your bedroom at night while you sleep. This device collects airborne dust and debris, leaving the air cleaner than ever. If you opt for a whole-house model, it replaces the air filter. This type of installation is known to decrease asthma and allergy symptoms. To learn how to get a whole-house air cleaner in your home, contact Gator Air and Energy.

Change the Filter Regularly

Changing the HVAC filter is one of the easiest ways to help improve indoor air quality. Stock up on a few at a time, that way you can easily replace the filter when the time comes. Plan to check the filter monthly and change it after no more than three months to keep airflow and efficiency at their peak.

Dust and Vacuum Often

It’s easy to put off dusting and vacuuming, but removing dust means you get rid of one of your home’s most prevalent pollutants. Dust with a wet rag or electrostatic cloth instead of a feather duster to trap debris instead of spreading it around. When you vacuum, turn the thermostat setting to ON so the fan blows continuously, drawing up dusty air and filtering it before sending it back into the air you breathe.

Avoid Chemicals

Everything from cleaning products to air fresheners to personal care items give off harmful vapors that become trapped in your home. Avoid chemically laden products and choose non-toxic, non-aerosol, unscented products instead to promote good indoor air quality.

Make Your Pet a Priority

If you want to avoid putting your furry friend up for adoption, make it a priority to brush and bathe your pet regularly. Wash his bedding frequently and make your bedroom a no-go zone for Fido. These efforts should reduce the amount of dander floating around the air and nestling in the upholstery, especially bedding.

Increase Ventilation

Aside from keeping your windows open all the time, whole-house ventilation is the best way to replace stuffy, stale indoor air with fresh, clean outdoor air. If you’re not ready to take that step, utilize existing spot ventilation around your home. For example, run the bathroom exhaust fan when you shower and clean; flip on the kitchen range vent when you cook and clean; and turn on the laundry room exhaust vent when clothes are drying. These habits help you eliminate pollutants at the source. With our ultimate indoor air quality cheat sheet, you’ll be breathing easier in no time.

Contact Gator Air & Energy for Indoor Air Quality Services

If you’re in the Gainesville, Florida area and are looking to improve the air quality in your home, call Gator Air and Energy. Our technicians care about the comfort of your home and wish to help you live a healthier lifestyle through indoor air quality. Call us today to learn more.

How to Ensure Maximum AC Efficiency

As the dog days of summer are upon us, lets take a look at your AC efficiency. Are you receiving maximum cooling when you need it most? Are you overexerting your unit? Are there any preventative measures that can be taken to avoid maintenance issues?

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Low Cost, Maximum Cooling

During the summer months, it can be especially tempting to lower your thermostat to 65 degrees and set your fans to the highest settings in order to combat the heat. Meanwhile, proper AC efficiency requires a little bit of restraint. Setting your thermostat at a lower temperature than the room itself won’t actually cool the room any faster. In addition to placing undo stress on your AC unit, it could also dramatically increase your electricity bill.

Can Outdoor Heat Effect AC Efficiency?

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Have you ever noticed how your air conditioning unit can take especially long to cool you off your home when the temperature is hot outside? That’s because before your AC unit can disperse cool air, it must first convert liquid refrigerant into a gas, a process that occurs at a high temperature. When it’s hot outside, the combined heat from the sun and the conversion of refrigerant can delay the process of cooling the air.

Dirty air filters and coils can also effect your AC efficiency, causing your unit to overheat. Preventing these issues could be as simple as checking your coils and filters once a month. Keeping an eye on your AC unit can go a long way in ensuring reliable AC efficiency and extending the lifespan of your unit. In addition to doing it yourself, we also recommend calling your AC vendor to schedule routine maintenance.

For even more AC efficiency tips and tricks, head over to the energy.gov and download their Home Cooling Energy Saver Infographic!

Indoor Air Quality: 4 Allergens That May Be In Your Home

Indoor Air Quality Allergens

Spring is here, and for some people that means warmer weather, blooming flowers and chirping birds. But for millions of Americans, the advent of the spring season also means runny noses, sneezing, and watery eyes.

Allergens are not limited to the outdoors. There are a number of allergens that could be hiding in your home, increasing your risk of seasonal allergies and affecting air quality.

Understanding what’s causing your allergies is the first step in combating the season of scratchy throats, congestion, and sniffles. These four allergens are common culprits when it comes to indoor air quality:

1. Pollen
Pollen can make its way indoors through open windows or doors, clothing or pet fur. It’s one of the most common allergy triggers that millions of Americans suffer from each spring as pollen-producing plants start to bloom. Pollen can travel far through the wind.

2. Dust
Dust can be made up of dead skin cells, fabric fibers, dust mites and their waste, pet dander and more. Dust is another common cause for allergies inside the home and is a major allergy source for people year-round.

3. Dust mites
Dust mites thrive on dust and their waste causes allergy symptoms in the home. These microscopic insects are concentrated in areas with more dust, dander and humidity.

4. Pet dander
Pet hair can collect dander, a protein found in fluids secreted from the animal. Dander is another common indoor allergy source. Pet dander is found in pet hair and can also be carried in through clothing.

Other common springtime allergens may also be carried in from outside on clothing, skin or shoes. To reduce the number of allergens in your home, take extra steps to ensure your home’s health this spring. Vacuuming and dusting regularly lessens the amount of dust that settles in your carpet and on surfaces. Keeping windows and doors closed will prevent pollen and other airborne allergens from entering your home uninvited. Dry all your laundry indoors during the spring to prevent clothing from attracting pollen or other allergens.

There is no cure to make pesky spring allergies go away for good, but these tips can help you combat allergens in your home or business and improve overall air quality. Gator Air and Energy has several different services that enable us to ensure that the air in your home or business is pure, and each of these services will leave you with safer, cleaner, fresher air to breathe. Contact us for more details – we want to make you more comfortable this spring!

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