Month: July 2020

Are Home Generators Actually Worth the Cost?

The wind is howling outside, you can hear the rain beating against your roof and windows and then, *click*, the power shuts off. No lights, no refrigeration, no hot water, no heat. What’s your plan? How long can you last before you need help or electricity? Hurricane activity and winter storms can wreak havoc on the DC area’s power grid, despite our city planners’ best efforts. A home generator can alleviate concerns like these and allow homeowners to sit out a storm in relative comfort.

If you’re in the market for this emergency power source, we’re here to give you the scoop on home generators.

home generators


Reasons to Buy a Generator

If you’re here, then you’re probably wondering, “Should I buy a generator?” The top reason to have a home generator at the ready is to keep your refrigerator and freezer running smoothly. In areas that suffer from frequent power loss, having a generator keeps food spoilage to a minimum.

When you’re shopping for a home generator, consider the situations that you are buying it for. If you want preparedness for a hurricane, how many days would you expect the power to be out? What are the necessities you need power for and for how many days? Thinking about what is truly necessary and what can you do without will determine which type of home generator to get.

If you’re still wondering, “Why do I need a generator?” then here are 5 specific reasons to consider:

1.) Powering Your Sump Pump

So why buy a generator? One reason is for your sump pump. Sump pumps work to help prevent flooding in your home. They gather excess water collecting into a sump pit. If water rises to a predetermined level, the sump pump automatically disposes of the water by transferring it out and into a local sewage drain. Without power, however, a dump pump isn’t able to work. A generator would help keep your sump pump running, even if bad storms and rain have caused an outage, thereby protecting your home from flooding.

2.) Powering Your Home Business

Many people have some sort of home business that runs on wifi and power. If you’re in this group of people, then you probably shouldn’t be wondering, “Why do I need a generator” since your business needs one. A power outage throws an obvious wrench in the workings of such a business. A generator can keep your power steady so you don’t need to worry about hiccups in your business’s success.

3.) Powering Electric Medical Devices

If you or anyone in your home relies on electric medical devices to survive or live comfortably, then a generator could very well be a necessity for you. Any type of medical device that requires electricity to operate is at risk in the case of a power outage. Having a generator, however, will keep these devices working smoothly regardless.

4.) Powering Your Well Water

If your home’s water is supplied by well water, then you might already know that the water stops flowing when the power is out. It might even get brown and rusty. To make sure you always have running water that’s drinkable (and flushable!), try getting a generator.

5.) Use for Camping/Boating Equipment

Why buy a generator if you don’t need it for your home? Because they’re incredibly useful in so many other scenarios. A generator can be the perfect solution if you have a boathouse, camper, or any other equipment you need power but don’t want to power all day, every day. With a generator, you can control when a machine or appliance gets power and when it doesn’t, meaning you could use it just for your camping trips and save power all other times.

Need generator repairs today? Schedule service with John C. Flood.

Permanent Standby Generators

Costing in the thousands and requiring installation by a licensed electrician, standby generators are a permanent upgrade to your home. The idea of getting one can cause many homeowners to question, “Should I buy a generator?” Located outside of the home, these appliances are similar in look and size to a central AC condenser. If your home regularly loses power, you may find life running smoother with this backup power option.

Immediate Power Restoration

Are home generators worth it? Well, if your home is equipped with a permanent standby generator, you might not even notice when the power goes out. Usually plugged directly into a natural gas line (or else a propane tank), these home generators work with your home’s existing transfer switch and will activate mere seconds after detecting a power outage. Once installed, you won’t need to lift a finger to activate this appliance, whether you’re home or not!

Fuss-Free Fuel

Standby home generators don’t require fresh fuel or any external fuel storage at all. Because most options will connect to your natural gas line, you don’t have to worry about keeping fresh fuel around or the dangers that come with it.

Predictable Performance

Another advantage of a permanent standby generator is that they turn on and do a test run every 30 days and will alert you to any issues. If you never get an alert from your generator, you know that it will be ready to go when your household needs it. Permanent generators are also obviously not portable and are quite complicated to disconnect, thus are not a common target of theft.

Powered by a Furnace

With a permanent standby generator, a licensed electrician can easily choose the furnace as one of your appliances to receive generator power when your electricity fails. For a gas or diesel-powered portable generator, using it to power a gas furnace is a riskier proposition. It is possible and indeed one of the primary uses of portable generators during the winter months, but it has a high-risk factor for carbon monoxide poisoning if you don’t take every safety precaution.

Portable Generators

With prices beginning near $100 and up, portable generators are the appliances flying off hardware store shelves when a huge storm is headed to the Mid-Atlantic. Equipped with rubber tires and literally ready to roll, these home generators are powered by gasoline or diesel, which should be stored separately. You don’t need to be an expert of any kind to get these machines to work.

Carbon Monoxide Dangers

The Achilles heel of portable generators is that they must be run outdoors, which makes them vulnerable to theft and risk of electrocution in the event of a big storm or natural disaster. The temptation to run them indoors is a strong one for too many owners, making carbon monoxide poisoning a very dangerous and fast reality. Even when run properly outdoors with the connection feeding through a window or door, you should always have a carbon monoxide detector nearby so you know if this odorless gas is leeching into your home.

Volatile Fuel Storage

When preparing for the potential use of your portable generator, you’ll need to stock up on fresh gas or diesel. Because these fuels rely on volatile particles to get the engine firing, and these particles are the first to evaporate, having non-stale fuel on hand for emergencies can be a challenge. Follow government-approved guidelines for safe fuel storage and backup generator use.

What To Look for in Buying a Generator


If you’re questioning, “Should I get a generator?” then you should look first into what purpose you’d need it to serve. To find the appropriate generator for you and your home, you must first figure out what you need the generator to do. Must it only serve emergency loads or do you need it to power the entire house? This information changes what size generator you need and can also have an effect on where the switch should be located. It affects how the generator should be installed and more.

Installation Requirements

When it comes to buying a generator, you not only want to make sure there’s enough space for installation but it should also be installed in an accessible area while being out of reach from any water. There are some code requirements for generators with minimum distances from walls and buildings when installed outside since most generators need ventilation. Talk with a licensed HVAC professional to understand the best place for your generator installation and to see what size unit you’ll be able to install.


It goes without saying that the generator you purchase needs to fit within your budget. When purchasing a generator, it’s important to be clear on the details and duration of the warranty that comes with your unit. Some generators may appear to have a better price but have a far inferior warranty, or have some other issue with the unit.

It’s possible to find a reasonably priced residential generator with a five-year warranty that will last you many years. Determine what needs your generator needs to fulfill and don’t just go with the cheapest option. Otherwise, you may end up spending more in the long run.

home generators


Which Generator Should You Buy?

So, are home generators worth it? It honestly comes down to your own needs. Convenience comes at a premium (we’re looking at you, standby generators!), but is often worth the price for safe and simple operation if you can afford it. In terms of safety, ease of use, and convenience, the standby generator wins in all categories. However, while fuel storage, proper ventilation, and risk of theft all work against the portable generator, but it will usually win out on price.

If you’re still asking yourself, “Should I get a generator?” then it’s probably time to consult a professional for more specific details. If you need a standby generator installed or repaired on your property, call the licensed electrician experts at John C. Flood to schedule service. Our courteous professionals will get your generator in tip-top condition, so you’re never left in the dark. Schedule service today!

The post Are Home Generators Actually Worth the Cost? appeared first on John C. Flood.

Air Conditioning Service in Mission Viejo

Air Conditioning Service in Mission Viejo

Which Whole House Water Filter is the Best?

July 24, 2020

Service Champions Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning is the only Diamond Certified HVAC provider for Orange County. We deliver the absolute best AC service for the homeowners of Mission Viejo. Plus, we lead in customer service.

Each Service Champions expert:

  • Passed drug tests and background checks
  • Trains every year for 150 hours with a master technician
  • Arrives on time to your appointment
  • Is friendly and courteous
  • Arrives in a fully stocked company van
  • Completes your service in one visit

Our goal is to make air conditioning service in Mission Viejo completely easy for you. For the best result from the top technicians, work with Service Champions. We guarantee your total satisfaction.

When Do You Need A Replacement Unit?

The average air conditioning unit lasts between 10 and 15 years. As it reaches it maximum age, the unit will decline in health, efficiency and reliability. Consequently, you may need more repairs and emergency calls from unexpected problems. It becomes more cost efficient to replace the unit altogether.

This is also a wise choice if you:

  • Experience expensive cooling
  • Are generally unhappy with your unit
  • Have renovated to enlarge your home
  • Have developed new needs from your AC unit

The current air conditioning unit in your home has been measured to work for your specific home. Subsequently, renovations that enlarge the space of the home do impact the energy efficiency of the AC unit. Consult your Service Champions technicians to see if your current unit will suffice. Otherwise, cooling is likely to cost more while falling short of your expectations.

What Do You Want From Your Air Conditioning Service in Mission Viejo?

At Service Champions, we have our own approach to installation air conditioning service in Mission Viejo.

First, we work with you to determine your preferences, needs and wants. At minimum, we take into consideration the size, build and location of your home.

Then, we figure out what you want from your new air conditioning service in Mission Viejo. To do this, think back to what you didn’t like about your previous AC unit. Today’s HVAC technology allows homeowners more features and more control over air conditioning service in Mission Viejo.

Think about:

  • Cooling quality
  • Indoor air quality
  • Home comfort
  • Energy efficiency
  • Economy
  • Humidity

Don’t hold back! The more you know what you want from your AC unit, the more your technician can do to find it for you. It’s the best way to get personalized air conditioning service in Mission Viejo.

Elevate Your Air Conditioning Service in Mission Viejo

AC units can also feature attachments and additional systems that improve other areas of living. For example, if you need or want pristine indoor air quality, you can use add-on systems such as:

  • AirScrubber Plus
  • UV lights
  • BioCide Chamber
  • Super filters

These work alongside the air conditioner and require little to no additional maintenance. Best of all, these solutions completely destroy up to 99.9 percent of all airborne particles and germs.

Likewise, for optimal energy efficiency, you can ask for solutions such as:

  • Zoning
  • Air duct insulation
  • Attic insulation
  • Humidifiers

Talk to your technician about your worries, and he or she can find you a practical solution that delivers the results you want most.

Choose Service Champions for Superior Air Conditioning Service in Mission Viejo

Service Champions Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning is committed to delivering superior service to all homeowners of Mission Viejo. We want to improve your home comfort and indoor air quality through excellent cooling services.

To schedule an appointment, please complete the form linked here. You can also speak to our friendly call center representatives.

Leland Smith

Why and How to Change an AC Filter

how to change an ac filter

Why change your AC filter?

The air filter’s job is to keep dust and debris out of your HVAC equipment. You’d be amazed how much debris builds up on there in a very short time.

Recently, AC filters have gotten a lot of attention due to the pandemic. With the uncertainty about airborne transmission of the virus, some experts are recommending the use of higher-efficiency filters to trap virus particles. If that’s why you’re looking to change your AC filter, read this first.

In this article, we’ll cover more reasons why air conditioner filter replacement is so important, and how to take care of it safely.

When your AC filter gets clogged, dust and dirt start getting into the air conditioner itself, causing wear and tear on the parts. You probably know what that means: the more wear and tear on the parts, the sooner they wear out and you’re dealing with a breakdown. The clogged filter also prevents enough air from flowing through the system to keep it working properly.

Watch this quick video to learn what happens when you don’t change the AC filter:

It’s helpful to know when to change your air conditioner filter. According to ENERGY STAR, you should check and change the AC filter every month during peak season. That’s probably more often than you want to call your trusty HVAC service guy. We love to see you, of course, but this is a job that you can probably handle on your own if you choose to do so. It’s helpful if you know how to change the AC filter yourself.

How to change an AC filter

Follow these easy steps to change the AC unit filter and keep your system running reliably.

How to change the AC filter: LOCATE THE FILTER

AC air filter replacement is a quick and easy task. Before you can do it, though, you need to know where the AC filter is located. That can be the tricky part, because there are several places it could be.

In some systems, the filters are located in the return air duct. This is the one that pulls air from your space back into the air conditioner’s air handler system. If you have a large system with multiple air handlers and return ducts, finding the filters can be a challenge.

If both your heating and air conditioning systems share the same ducts, it’s also possible that the air filter for both systems is located in or near the blower system for the furnace. If so, it’s usually in the front of the furnace near the bottom. You may be able to see and access the filter without opening anything, or you might have to open a metal panel (marked FILTER) on the front or the top of the blower. The panel may be attached with hooks or screws.

Your best bet is to ask your HVAC service tech. Just let him know that you want to learn how to change the AC filter, and he’ll be able to show you where the filter is located, how to remove the old one and insert the new one, and how to get the right filters for your system.


The other potentially tricky part is making sure you use the right filters. The filter size is usually printed on the side of the filter. When in doubt, the easiest solution is to ask your HVAC tech to get you a supply of the right filters, or show you the size information on the filter so you can order them yourself.

Also, keep in mind that you might want filters that do more than just keep dust out of your air conditioner. If you want to improve air quality in your space by removing pollen, mold and other harmful contaminants, you need to invest in HEPA filters with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

IMPORTANT: Consult with an HVAC expert before purchasing higher efficiency filters for your system! In some cases, the decreased air flow can lead to a decline in performance, and even repair issues. Also, your system might not be able to accommodate the size of the filter.

Related article: Alleviate Spring Allergies: Air Filters and MERV Filter Ratings.

How to change the AC filter: STEPS TO REPLACE

FIRST OF ALL: If there’s any chance coronavirus particles might be present within your space, they could end up trapped in your AC filter. So when changing the filter, wear a mask and gloves.

1. TURN OFF THE POWER. This is important for two reasons. First, there’s your safety. Don’t risk touching live voltage! The second reason is the safety of your equipment. If the unit is still running while you’re removing the clogged filter, dust and debris can get sucked into the unit. It’s important that you switch off power at the unit itself, and also at the circuit breaker.

2. Remove the old filter. Simply slide it out of the slot that holds it in place.

3. Check the condition. Once you’ve taken out the AC filter, check the condition. Does it look clogged with dirt and dust? If you hold it up to the light, you probably can’t see much light coming through. This filter needs to be replaced or cleaned, depending on the type of filter you are using. Even if it’s been in use less than the time recommended by the manufacturer, replace it anyway. Many factors can impact how fast your filters get clogged. If you’re in New York City, the smog alone can shorten the life of an air filter.

4. Dispose of the old filters safely. In case there may be contaminants on the filter, place it inside a plastic bag and throw it away in a trash receptacle outside your space.

5. Grab a new filter (or clean a reusable one). Are you using disposable filters or reusable ones? A disposable filter typically has a cardboard frame and a paper or fiber mesh surface. A permanent, reusable filter is made of a more sturdy material with a metal frame and a special coating to make it washable. If you’re cleaning a reusable one, check the manufacturer’s instructions for washing. You’ll probably just need to rinse with water and let dry completely. Or in some cases, you can just vacuum away the dust.

6. Insert the new or cleaned filter. Now you just need to put it back in the right way. An arrow on the filter’s frame shows you the direction that air should flow through the filter, which is always away from the return air duct and toward the air handler mechanism. When you insert the filter back in the housing, make sure that arrow points away from the return and toward the air handler.

See, wasn’t that easy? Now that you know how to change an AC filter, set a reminder for yourself so you remember to do it every month. And, don’t forget about your furnace if its filters are separate from your air conditioner: Fall Furnace Maintenance: How to Change Your Air Filter.

Step up your HVAC maintenance

If, by any chance you don’t have a regular HVAC service tech to ask about how to change an AC filter, it’s likely that you’ve been neglecting other important maintenance tasks besides changing AC filters. Regular maintenance keeps your equipment in top working condition so the parts last longer and work more efficiently. That means the system uses less electricity, needs fewer costly repairs, and has an extended life span.

The best way to get the most from your HVAC equipment is to get a preventative maintenance agreement. It’s a relatively small investment that pays off in lower operating costs and more reliable comfort. Plus, you can get an agreement that’s customized to your specific needs, your equipment, and your budget. If you’re in the NYC metro area, let’s talk.


The post Why and How to Change an AC Filter appeared first on Arista.

Ways to Beat the Heat Without Breaking the Bank

When it comes to beating the searing summer heat, you want to find effective ways to cool your home without breaking your bank account. So whether you’re looking to install a new air conditioner or repair the existing sustem in your Spring Hill, FL home, it is crucial to find professional and experienced technicians to help you make a wise decision. if your existing system is fine, you can use the following simple ways to keep your home cool.

Cover Your Windows

This might sound basic, but covering your windows can help prevent sunlight and heat from coming in. If you leave your windows uncovered, it will allow the sun to come in, which will make the house even warmer. Ensure you find window covers and other products that are fit for the purpose, such as the blackout curtain.

Insulate Your Home

Insulation can help keep your windows, walls, and roof as tight as possible to help prevent the heating and sun rays from entering the house. A window or any other opening without shutters, blinds, protective film, or curtains can become a source of heat. So ensure you improve airtightness in your home, and shade screens.

Focus on Your Body Temperature

Controlling the heat within your body can help you feel better. You can do this by wearing appropriate clothes that repel heat, sipping cold drinks, and using a cold cloth to cool highly-pulsed areas such as the wrists and neck. Dipping your legs in cold water can also work to keep you cool.

Managing the summer heat can be a daunting task, especially if you’re working on a budget. Following the tips mentioned above can help keep your home cool during the summer season. However, if it’s time to install a more efficient AC system, don’t hesitate to call the team of experts at Senica Air Conditioning for quality, convenient, and professional services.

Image provided by iStock

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4 Benefits of Having Your Ducts Sealed in Houston, TX

One of the biggest costs in your household is your energy bill. Therefore, it makes sense to take any necessary steps to reduce that big monthly expenditure. One of the simplest ways to reduce your Houston, TX home’s energy costs is to have your ducts sealed. Here are four of the other big benefits of having your HVAC ducts sealed.

1. Better Heating and Cooling

When your ducts are not well-sealed, you have leaks. These leaks can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system. During the coldest winters and hottest months, you can end up experiencing a large amount of conditioned air leaking out of the ductwork before it reaches your rooms.

2. Cleaner Air

When you have separations in your ductwork, this increases the chances that dust, dirt and other airborne particles will enter your system. Additionally, you could have fumes from household and garden pesticides enter your ductwork system. If someone in your home has respiratory issues, good air quality is important. A sealed air duct system will greatly increase the air quality throughout your home.

3. Lengthen the Lifespan of Your HVAC System

When you have well-sealed ductwork, your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard to warm and cool your home. That’s means that you will not be stressing the system and the HVAC hardware will last longer.

4. Discovery of Other Ductwork Problems

When you have your ductwork sealed, the HVAC technician will be able to detect other issues with your ductwork. The detection of small issues before they become major problems could end up saving you from a big repair bill in Houston.

Get Professional Ductwork Sealing

With sealed ductwork, you will have a heating and cooling system that will run better and last longer. If you are interested in using professional ductwork sealing services, contact Davis AC today.

Image provided by iStock

Which Whole House Water Filter is the Best?

Which Whole House Water Filter is the Best?

Size Matters, Especially When It Comes to HVAC

July 22, 2020

When it comes to whole house water filters, we receive many questions from homeowners. The most common one being, “which whole house water filter is the best?” In the spectrum of water filters, homeowners are faced with a plethora of options. Some require no maintenance, some require lots; other need additives like salt or softeners added to them; others don’t. When it comes to which whole house water filter is the best, at Service Champions, we base that decision on a few factors. To see our favorite option and how we reached that conclusion, read on!

Which Whole House Filter is the Best?

We know your options are endless when it comes to water filters, but our favorite is the HALO 5. Many filtration systems on the market rely on added salts or softeners to clean your water. These additives require homeowners to do more work, which can include lifting and handling heavy bags of salt. One of our favorite things about the HALO 5 is that you can essentially set it and forget it. The HALO 5 purifies every drop of water that goes into your home without any extra work. To make it work, all you need to do is run your appliances or tun on a faucet.

How Does the HALO 5 Work?

The HALO 5 gets its name from the number of filters it has. The first filter—made of granular activated carbon—removes general impurities from the water. These can include dyes fuels, heavy metals, disinfectants, pesticides, odors, and other biological material. The second filter removes any chlorine from your water. Filter number three captures dust sized particles that can contaminate your water. After this, filter number four removes even smaller particles. When water reaches the fifth filter its structure is altered to turn hard water into soft water. This is done by positively and negatively charging naturally occurring ions.

Why is the HALO 5 the Best Whole House Filter?

As we usher in an age of smart technology, nearly everything in our home is equipped with new and innovative advancements. The same can be said for the HALO 5. While other water filters require salts or other additives, the HALO 5 does not. Simply install it and forget it. After installation, it requires little to no maintenance; a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with heavy bags of softeners or salts. Also, as we mentioned above, the HALO 5 softens your water, so you don’t need to deal with spots on your glassware or damage to your home’s plumbing system.

Want to Learn More About Water Filtration? Call Service Champions

At Service Champions, we understand every home is different and unique to the people living in it. We work to create specific solutions for your individual home. We are the only Diamond Certified HVAC and plumbing provider in Southern California and happily serve parts of Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties. To schedule an appointment, click here, or reach out to our friendly call center representatives today.

Leland Smith

How To Tell If Your Thermostat Is Broken

If you feel a chill inside your home this winter, you might have a problem with your furnace — or it just may be your thermostat. Your thermostat is what tells your furnace to turn on and regulates the indoor temperature. Oftentimes homeowners who fear they have a furnace on the fritz just need to fix their thermostat.

How To Tell If My Thermostat Is Not Working

Why is my thermostat not working? It’s a frustrating situation but often has simple answers. Before diving into examining the thermostat, make sure your furnace is functioning. Check your circuit breaker to make sure power to the furnace is on. There may also be a wall switch near the unit that needs to be engaged. Change the air filter if it’s been more than three months.

To see if the thermostat is communicating with the furnace, set the temperature five degrees higher than your normal temperature and see if the heat kicks on — that should help you determine whether the device is prompting the furnace to engage. Obviously, if the system is set to “cool” and you want heat, switch the setting.

Now, to tell if your thermostat is not working, go through a quick DIY checklist before calling a pro. Depending on what you observe, you may be able to troubleshoot your thermostat problem yourself.

First, familiarize yourself with some common signs of a possible thermostat problem:

A Difference Between the Device Setting and Actual Temperature

If you check your thermostat and are surprised by the temperature it’s showing (perhaps it feels way warmer or colder in your home then the thermostat portrays), that is a sign that your thermostat is facing issues. Improperly detecting or displaying the temperature means something in your thermostat is broken and needs to be fixed. So if the air inside your home isn’t possibly equal to the temperature your thermostat is displaying, consult an HVAC professional to determine the cause of your thermostat issue.

Unit Shows “Cool” Setting Instead of “Heat” (or Vice Versa)

If you’ve ever turned your AC on to cool your home during a summer heatwave, then you may have noticed a “cool” setting showing up on your thermostat. If, however, you set your unit to cool your home and the “heat” sign comes on (or vice versa, the cool setting turns on when you set it to heat), then clearly your thermostat is not working and requires some attention.

Flashing, Faded or Otherwise Irregular Digital Display

Usually, a thermostat isn’t likely a very large screen, but that doesn’t mean it should ever be difficult to read. If it is, that likely means your thermostat is not working. The letters and numbers on your thermostat’s digital display should be clear and easy to read, never blurred, faded, or flashing in any irregular way. If something irregular is happening with your digital display, then something needs to be fixed within your thermostat since the thermostat is not working properly.

Dirt and Dust Buildup Apparent on or Inside the Device

While having to dust the top and outside of your thermostat is perfectly normal, there should never be a build-up of dirt on the inside of your thermostat or any kind of hard-to-remove debris on the exterior. If you notice dirt and dust in unusual places, it could result in your thermostat not working properly. If this is the case, your thermostat may need to be cleaned. If that cleaning is necessary inside your thermostat, consider calling in a professional HVAC technician so you ensure the job is done well and your thermostat isn’t damaged as it’s interior is cleaned.

The Furnace Kicks on or off at Unexpected Times

You may notice that your HVAC unit turns on and off as it heats or cools your home. It does this to keep your home at the temperature you determined, which often entails some on-and-off switching. However, if your furnace turns on in the middle of the summer when you’ve set your thermostat to cool your home, you may wonder what’s wrong with your furnace when you should be asking, “Why is my thermostat not working?” Additionally, if the furnace turns off randomly and your HVAC unit starts blowing cold air in the summer, you’ll need to get your thermostat and HVAC system checked.

Indoor Temperature too Hot or too Cold

The thermostat is there to allow you to adjust the temperature to your own liking. If you turn it too cold or too hot, then obviously the indoor temperature is going to be uncomfortable. However, if you set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature and yet for some reason, the temperature inside your home remains too hot or too cold, then it’s possible that your thermostat is not working.

How to Fix a Broken Thermostat

Check the Batteries

Some thermostat models have batteries that need to be changed periodically. Look for a flashing display or other indications that your unit needs fresh batteries. Be gentle when removing the face or battery housing from your thermostat — don’t force it off!

Some units run on mercury or batteries that recharge off the system and a quick battery swap won’t solve your problem.

Examine the Interior

When you remove the face of the device, check to make sure no wires have become loose inside. Reattach loose wires, if needed.

Over time, your unit may also become dirty or dusty, which can impede its function. Use a small brush to gently remove any debris, or blow it out with compressed air.

If you have an old thermostat, you may need to replace it entirely. Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat to make sure your HVAC system runs at maximum efficiency.

Consider the Position

In order to function properly, your thermostat should be placed in a central location, away from other electronics and devices that generate heat. If your thermostat doesn’t seem to activate your furnace appropriately or heat your interior thoroughly, you might have a positioning problem rather than a defect with the device. Move it yourself if you have some handyman ability and a better location in mind.

If you need the skills and advice to relocate it, call an HVAC pro.

Call an Expert Heating Professional

If you’re stuck wondering “Why my thermostat is not working” but none of your DIY efforts succeed in resolving the issue, you may need to schedule service and call a technician. Getting a furnace inspection and an HVAC system check-up every year also helps to identify problems with your thermostat preemptively. Your technician should examine the device as part of the expert-recommended annual service.

Need help? John C. Flood provides expert, timely, professional service to customers all over the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia region. If you need service to your thermostat or furnace, contact us today.

The post How To Tell If Your Thermostat Is Broken appeared first on John C. Flood.

Can You Run Your Furnace Without A Filter?

So, do you need a furnace filter for your HVAC unit? A furnace filter doesn’t just purify your air, it keeps the inner mechanisms of your HVAC system functioning properly. If you run a furnace without a filter, it can be bad for your health and indoor air quality. Keeping a clean filter in your furnace ensures the unit operates efficiently and can keep dirt, dander, and debris from circulating back through your home.

A furnace filter is critical to keep your indoor air quality pristine and maximize the lifespan of your furnace. These filters are easy to change, making this a quick, painless home maintenance task that drastically improves furnace airflow.

Do All Furnaces Have Filters?

Any running furnace without a filter won’t be able to operate as it should. If your furnace has no filter, it was not designed to operate that way and should receive a filter as soon as possible. The filter is used to help clean the air and prevent contamination from accumulating inside your heating unit’s inner mechanisms. That’s why filters are present in typically every type of furnace, including gas furnaces, oil furnaces, electric furnaces, and even air conditioners. 

A common question from homeowners when it comes to their furnace filter is, “Where is my furnace filter located?” It’s important to know the location of your furnace filter for when you need to change that filter out, but don’t worry if it’s difficult to find at first. The location of furnace filters tends to be near the fan, so if you think your furnace has no filter, you may just have to look harder to locate it.

Importance of a Furnace Filter

The air in your home is first sucked into the furnace through a blower fan. Next, air passes through the air filter before it’s heated and recirculated back into your home. The filter consists of tightly woven fiberglass, paper, or cloth elements. This creates a semipermeable blockade that traps harmful particles. 

A clogged air filter prevents air from flowing through the system which can lead to:

  • Cold indoor temperatures even with the heat turned on
  • Poor airflow
  • Expensive utility bills
  • Worn-down HVAC system
  • Overheated furnace

Is it Bad to Run a Furnace Without a Filter?

So what happens if you don’t have a filter in your furnace? Can you run a furnace without a filter? The answer to that is pretty straightforward: yes, you can, but you’ll most likely damage your unit if you do. If you’re wondering, “Do you need a furnace filter?” then just keep in mind that running a furnace without a filter temporarily, such as for one night, won’t affect your HVAC system detrimentally. However, the longer you run your heating system without an air filter, the more contaminants accumulate inside your heating unit’s inner mechanisms.

The two main reasons you shouldn’t run a furnace without a filter are that your furnace could break down suddenly and that air will be filled with contaminants that are unsafe to breathe in. If your heater goes out in the middle of winter due to a clogged air filter, call the HVAC professionals at John C. Flood immediately.

Risks of Running Your Furnace Without a Filter

The purpose of a furnace air filter is to keep your HVAC system in pristine condition, especially the blower motor and evaporator coils. If you choose to run the furnace without a filter installed, several potential problems can arise and lead to the breakdown of your heating system.

Poor Air Quality

The most prevalent issue that stems from running a furnace without a filter is poor indoor air quality. Dust is stirred in a home when the furnace continually cycles the air. Debris is sucked back up through the intake, pumped back through the air vents, and remains suspended in the air until it is inhaled or accumulates within the HVAC unit.

Contaminated Ductwork

Without a filter, pollutants and air toxins will travel throughout the ductwork. The debris will accumulate inside the ductwork, becoming trapped by the ribbed aluminum tubes. This accumulation will harbor moisture within the ductwork, creating the ideal conditions for mold to grow. Mold spores will begin to circulate throughout your home whenever the HVAC system is running and be extremely dangerous to occupants within the household.

What Happens if you use a Dirty Filter?

So we’ve answered the question, “Can you run a furnace without a filter,” but what about running a furnace on a dirty filter? What will happen then?

Similar to running a furnace without a filter, running your furnace on a dirty filter won’t hurt it for a day or two, but it can have hugely negative effects over the course of time. The furnace filter performs integral duties in your furnace system, and when it’s clogged with air contaminants, dust, and other debris, it prevents air from circulating properly. That means your furnace system will need to work even harder for the air to circulate, stressing the system and collecting even more contaminants in the unit’s mechanisms.

Essentially, a dirty filter will restrict airflow and make your heating system work harder, which increases your utility bill and potentially damages your unit. A furnace that is overworked can easily overheat and break down, so inserting a clean, new air filter regularly will help protect the integrity of your unit. An air filter will keep contaminants out of your furnace, helping it run easier and smoother, extending your furnace’s lifespan and keeping your energy bill at a reasonable place.

How Often Should You Replace a Furnace Air Filter?

Check your HVAC filter once a month to ensure it’s not clogged, especially during the heavy-use winter months. Whenever the filter appears dirty, it’s important to replace it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months to improve heating efficiency.

How often to replace furnace filters depends on the size of the home. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system which can lead to expensive maintenance and your system breaking down prematurely. If your furnace is not blowing hot air, it’s important to check the air filter.

How To Change Your Furnace Filter

1. Locate your filter

Shut off your furnace to be safe before opening up your furnace. The furnace filter is either inside the furnace itself or inside the return air vent. Remove the service panel to view the filter. Check the furnace manual if you cannot locate the filter.

2. Identify the replacement filter type

Disposable filters usually have a flimsy cardboard frame, whereas filters with a plastic frame are typically reusable. The frame of the old filter should display the size, which can vary depending on the unit size and model. Reference your furnace manual to determine what type, size, and thickness of the filter you need for your home’s furnace.

3. Remove the old filter

If you have a new filter, throw away your disposable filter and replace it. If your filter is reusable, wash it off and replace it. Your old filter should have arrows noting what direction the air flows. This is to help you insert the new filter the same way.

4. Secure the new filter in place

Remove packaging from the new filter so the air can flow through. Slide the filter into place, ensuring the arrows on the frame point the same direction as the previous filter. Close the service panel and turn the furnace on.

Contact John C. Flood to Breathe Better and Stay Warm.

If you choose to run a furnace without a filter, you leave your heating system susceptible to dirt and debris that will inevitably lead to expensive repairs and a premature death of your HVAC system.

It’s important to understand what heating system is best for your home in order to pick the best furnace air filter. Whether you want to know how much a furnace inspection costs or get your furnace filter replaced, contact John C. Flood for the best value and highest quality heating system maintenance.

Trust your home to the John C. Flood team to ensure your air quality is top-notch. Our HVAC professionals will take care of all your furnace filter maintenance. HVAC systems are complex and require routine inspections and annual maintenance. Schedule your HVAC inspection today!

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Guide to Saving Energy and Money on AC Bills This Summer

Your Guide to Saving Energy and Money on AC Bills

With summer fast approaching, Phoenix residents are fully prepared for the searing summer heat that their corner of the country is so well known for. However, is your budget ready for the big change? With A/C costs making up the bulk of any household’s monthly energy expenses, your energy budget is about to skyrocket alongside the heat as your A/C system struggles to keep your house cool and comfortable. Fortunately, by installing smart thermostats and taking a number of other measures as the days grow hotter, you can still mitigate the blazing heat’s impact on your wallet and save some serious cash over the coming months.

Using Your A/C to Lower Your Electric Bill

The good news is, you don’t need to turn your unit off to lower your bill. You just need to learn how to set temperatures wisely throughout the day in order to enjoy the cool air you’re paying for without wasting energy or causing undue wear and tear on your system. Fortunately, this is an easier task then you might imagine. In fact, it’s as simple as pressing a button or two on your thermostat.

The best way to get the job done is to install a set of smart thermostats in your home. These allow you to program a cooling schedule for your A/C unit, which means you have more complete, direct control over when it’s cooling. Program your thermostat to keep the house cool when you’re home and to turn off when you’re away to save some serious cash over the coming months.

How to Save Money on Your A/C During the Summer

Taking care of your air conditioning unit is also a must if you’re really looking to keep the impact of summer on your wallet as light as possible. The biggest step you can take is working with Phoenix HVAC professionals to completely replace an old, outdated central air unit. This is a big project but could mean a huge difference in the energy costs you see moving forward, especially if your current unit is over a decade old. An investment of $3,000 on a new unit with a SEER of 14.5 or above is expected to save households a minimum of $700 annually, which means the upgrade pays for itself within 5 years and you get cooler, cleaner air for less money monthly.

However, there are still options for those who don’t have the cash on hand for a full unit replacement. Maintaining your current system is a crucial move that could still save around 10 percent on your annual energy costs, which is still a significant figure when it comes to your energy usage. The most important bits of maintenance to perform before summer include:

  • Changing out air filters monthly
  • Providing shade to your outdoor unit
  • Investing in regular inspections from professionals
  • Getting your ducts professionally cleaned

By taking these steps, you’re ensuring your unit is running efficiently and that it’s able to deliver cool air throughout your home without a hassle. By reducing strain on the system you’re reducing the amount of energy your A/C uses, which in turn means you pay less on your monthly electricity bill.

The Right A/C Temperature for Summer

For each degree you raise your thermostat, you can expect to save between 5 and 10 percent on your upcoming energy bill. Leaving your thermostat set to 78 degrees has been found to provide the best balance of coolness to expense in summer weather. Of course, this may not be as cool as you’d like, but using ceiling fans or other plug-in fans can make up the difference with ease.

Keep Your A/C On

It’s been found that A/C units work at their most efficient levels when they’ve been running steadily for long periods of time. Therefore, turning off the A/C or letting it cycle on and off while you’re away should be avoided. Instead, program your thermostat at a higher temperature when you know you’ll be away and then have it cool the house right before you head home to get the cool air you want with maximum efficiency. 

Get the A/C Care You Deserve

To save big on your summer energy bills, you need a team of professionals with the right experience and know-how on your side. Contact Howard Air to learn more about impressive maintenance specials available for A/C units in Phoenix and the surrounding area and how these certified professionals can help you reduce your energy costs this summer.

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Are Air Purifiers Effective in Controlling Indoor Air Pollution?

Do Air Purifiers Work for Pollution?

For decades, household air purifiers have been a popular way to combat the ill effects of air pollution inside the home. In any given room, pet dander, pollen, dirt, dust, and other pollutants contaminate the air and contribute to a less-than-ideal breathing experience, especially for those with allergies and asthma. Air filters are generally seen as the best way to combat this issue, but how effective are they really? Are there other means of improving home air quality? These are questions you must stop to ask if clean, clear air is your goal.

While running, air purifiers draw in air from around the room they’re stationed in, push that air through a filter to trap contaminants, and blow cleaner air back out. While this certainly does take care of certain larger contaminants such as pet hair, dust, and even pollen, the fan and filter system can’t handle every pollutant it comes across. In fact, the biggest pollutants you want to take care of as a homeowner may remain entirely unaffected by many common air purifiers in Phoenix and beyond.

Filters may catch small particles, but no mesh or fabric filter is small enough to completely stop gasses like radon and remove them from circulation in your home. In order to stop VOCs (volatile organic compounds) with a purifier, the filter must contain an absorbent like activated charcoal. While there are some models that include this crucial addition, most household filters do not, which severely limits their pollution-fighting capabilities. Because of this huge discrepancy in design, it’s not possible to say that all filters are effective when it comes to completely removing pollution from an indoor space.

However, there are purifiers that rely on interior ionizers to clean the air rather than filters, and these are generally suspected to be more effective at keeping gasses and other non-solid particles at bay. Because these don’t rely on filters than need to be changed every few months to remain effective, they may be installed in more useful places (such as your air ducts) to start their powerful work at the source. These purifiers are generally more expensive but are proven to not only zap pollutants out of the air but also to reduce the number of bacteria on your average household surface.

Does an Air Purifier Help to Improve the Air Quality in a Room?

While most air purifiers don’t eradicate indoor air pollution, they still work to increase air quality. They may not completely cut out the presence of irritants in the air inside of your home, but they help to reduce the presence of many, including:

  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Smoke
  • Chemicals from cleaning products

Note that air purifiers reduce the presence of these irritants in the air, but may not completely get rid of them. It’s generally advisable to not only use a high-end filter in your purifier but to also use it in conjunction with a heavier filtration system. This is especially true when dealing with a serious air contamination issue such as mold. In any case, by reducing the number of solid particles in the air in your home, purifiers do work to increase the air quality of a room, even if they may need assistance to eradicate threats entirely.

Does Opening Windows Improve Air Quality?

Yes, opening windows in your home can raise air quality. This allows fresh, clean air to come into your home while whisking out some of the household pollutants present within a room. However, when dealing with air quality in Arizona, you’ll already know this isn’t the greatest approach. With searing heat covering this corner of the country for a large portion of the year, open windows mean the interior of your home can become sweltering in no time. That’s why it’s best to invest in professional services and an effective air purifier instead.

How Can We Control Indoor Air Pollution?

It’s possible to help your air purifier out with its monumental task by hiring a team of professionals to take important measures to keep pollutants at a minimum inside your home. Some services that are highly effective at reducing the number of interior pollutants in a home include:

  • Duct cleaning
  • HVAC filter changes
  • General HVAC maintenance
  • Regular inspections

Each of these services is designed to keep indoor air pollution under control through preventative measures. In conjunction with a high-end air filter, investing in regular maintenance visits from your local Phoenix HVAC professionals keeps pollution to a minimum so you can breathe easier.

If your end goal is to have clean, healthy air in your home, it’s time to call in the experienced Phoenix professionals. Contact Howard Air to schedule an appointment for an air duct cleaning or more information on how we can offer you cleaner air in your home with an air purification system. With our tools, know-how, and access to superior purifying products, we’re dedicated to getting you the breath of fresh air you deserve.

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