AC Repair Lakeland: How Humidity Affects Your HVAC System (and Your Health!)
Lakeland and Florida residents are intimately familiar with humidity and how much trouble it can bring. It makes it harder to breathe. It makes everything sticky. You never feel entirely dry. It can be brutal – and it can follow us into our homes. Florida is driest in the spring, but even on reasonable days, humidity hovers around 70%, and it tops out well over 90% in August. Even in best case scenarios, the Sunshine State is more humid than most other regions in the US. So how does that impact your home? Perhaps you’re here because you’re wondering if the humidity in your home is having some kind of effect your bills. You may also wonder if there is some connection between humidity and how well your equipment works, and how comfortable your home is on hot days. Here’s a hint: it does, and there is. In fact, it could be doing even more harm than you think. Your Home’s Ideal Humidity Level Should Be … According to the EPA, the ideal balance between a “wet” feeling and a “dry” feeling, in terms of humidity, is about 45 percent. Anything between 30 and 50 percent is considered acceptable. How do I know what my home’s humidity level is? Totally fair question, and we’ve got you covered. If you want a specific number, there is a tool called a hygrometer that can tell you. Many modern thermostats are already equipped with one of these – if yours is, congratulations! If it isn’t, and you aren’t up to going out to buy one (they’re only a few dollars), there are still other ways you can get a handle on your home’s humidity. Signs of High Humidity There are a few signs your home may display to let you know that you’ve got a humidity issue. They include: Increased allergy symptoms among dwellers in the home.Mold and mildew growth in damp spaces, particularly kitchens and bathrooms.Wet stains or water dripping from walls or ceilings.Condensation on windows and mirrors.Some of those signs could also indicate water damage (we’ll cover that in another article), but let’s focus on the humidity issue and how it affects your home. Air Repair Lakeland: What Humidity Does To Your Home The first thing humidity does is make things smell a little funny. Let’s face it, that’s NOT a small thing. Your home is your castle, and no one likes a stinky castle. Furthermore, humidity can cause condensation. Think of your home as a coffee table. Got it? Now think of humidity as a house-sized glass of cold water, sweating over the rim of the coaster. Humidity can cause water staining, paint blistering or peeling, and warping of wooden surfaces. Over time, this could lead to far more serious issues – including structural ones. Let’s pile on a little more, too. High humidity is rough on your wallet. It eats up energy b y making your air conditioner work harder. How does humidity do that? Your HVAC equipment removes humidity from your home as a matter of course. The amount of dehumidification varies from system to system, but as air moves over the evaporator coil it is dehumidified. That’s why water drips into your condensate drain. High humidity makes your system work harder to pull moisture out of heavy, soggy air. It can, and will, reduce the efficiency of your system by a measurable amount, and you’ll see an equally measurable uptick in your monthly electric bill. Additionally, your system will undergo greater wear and tear. That will lead to more frequent and more expensive calls to your favorite Lakeland AC Repair company. Lakeland, Florida Air Conditioning: High Humidity and Your Health Alright, folks: Let’s get into the serious stuff. High humidity can adversely impact your health. We’re not doctors, and we don’t claim to be; nope, we fix machines, not people. With that said, we know enough and have studied enough to know what we’re talking about on this score. If you don’t believe us, ask your doctor about mold and mildew and how they relate to your respiratory health. The Environmental Protection Agency has done multiple studies which have found that high humidity in the home leads to rapid growth of mold and mildew. Those, in turn, provide a perfect habitat for a wide variety of bacteria to grow in your home. Combined, they reduce your indoor air quality over time, which can worsen or even cause respiratory illnesses. How High Humidity Can Really “BUG” You It isn’t just mold and mildew, either. It’s also dust mites. Dust mites are arachnids, like spiders, scorpions, and ticks. They’re basically too small to see with the human eye, and thank god, because you really don’t need to see that. Unfortunately, even though they’re only two-tenths of a millimeter long and have see-through bodies, they’re also rampant in moist environments. A female can live for 60-70 days and lay 100 eggs in your home. Each mite in your home – and where there is one, there are many – produces 2,000 fecal particles and even more dust particles during their life cycle. Bug poop. Seriously. (Yes, I know arachnids aren’t insects. But arthropod poop doesn’t have the same ring to it.) Would you like to guess where mites prefer to live? Yeah. Most of them prefer to sleep right in your bed with you. They feed on dead human skin cells, which makes your mattress a never-ending buffet. In high humidity environments, a dust mite population can number in the millions or tens of millions, eating, pooping, and shedding their allergenic skins all over yourformerly clean sheets. In addition to being completely gross, dust mites are allergenic, and can trigger severe allergy symptoms and asthma attacks. About 10 percent of us are allergic to them, a number that jumps to 45 percent among asthma sufferers. Itchy just thinking about it? Sorry. Air Repair Lakeland Has the High Humidity Fix You Need The solution for high humidity is so obvious. It’s dehumidification. Once you know you need to dehumidify, though, you have to figure out how to do it right. Portable dehumidifiers are an option, as are whole-house models that tie directly into your ductwork. They work by drawing humid air over a freezing coil, and collecting the resultant moisture either in a tub (portables) or a condensate drain (house systems) and blowing the dry air back through the home. The Portable vs. the Whole-House Dehumidifier: Which Do You Need? Portable dehumidifiers are cheap and easy. You can plug them in and turn them on, place them in the dampest spaces, and in just a few hours you can grab that tub of water that’s been pulled from your air and use it to water house plants. On the other hand, they’re noisy and unattractive, particularly in comparison to integrated systems, which are out of sight and silent. They also require more attention, since you have to empty a bucket once or twice a day. Whole-house dehumidifiers are more energy efficient, and will do a better job for less money, and they don’t require any regular attention. They can be cleaned and serviced during your regular annual AC tune-up, often at no additional cost. Of course, whole-house system is a larger up-front investment, but they’re significantly more effective, and they can ease the burden on your HVAC system and reduce your bills. Over time, they can pay for themselves in savings. If you aren’t sure which dehumidifier you need, the experts at Lakeland AC Repair are at your service. Give us a call, and we’ll help you navigate your humidity problem. Ready To Go? Why Wait? Dehumidification will increase your comfort and your savings. If you’ve got a moisture problem in your home, why wait on solving it? Our unmatched experts can work within any budget, whether it’s installing a whole-house system or simply helping you purchase and place portable dehumidifiers. We are certified in the installation and maintenance of any kind of HVAC systems, from heat pumps to split systems to whole-house dehumidifiers. We can help you select the equipment that will get it done, at the price you need and the speed you deserve. The Air Repair Lakeland Way We offer 24-hour access by telephone or email, and we never charge for a consultation. Our technicians will get out to you to provide answers right away, and you won’t pay a dime until you’re ready. We also back up all of our work with a Worry-Free Guarantee – if you aren’t happy, we’ll make it right, with no additional charges. Air Repair Lakeland has served Swan City for years, and we are also available for the rest of Polk County and the Tampa Bay Area, including Polk City, Haines City, Mulberry, Bartow, Fort Meade, Crystal Springs, and more. Give us a call today, and find out why our reviews consistently rate us the #1 HVAC repair and installation service in the area.
Air Repair Lakeland: Tips on Staying Cool Without Overspending
Lakeland is known for a few things – outrageously amazing turn-of-the-century architecture, the best antiquing for miles in any direction, and being hot, hot, HOT! Like anywhere else in Florida, whether you’re in the Bay Area or not, summer brings high temperatures, high humidity, and alligators in all sorts of unexpected places. We may not be able to help you deal with scaly, many-toothed reptile issues, but we can certainly chip in with the rest. At Air Repair Lakeland, we’ve learned a thing or two about what matters to our customers. We’ve learned how to keep your home cool. We’ve learned how to keep your bills under control. We’ve learned how to keep your equipment running better, longer, and more efficiently. Best of all? We’ve learned how to do it smiling. So if you want award-winning service that suits your budget, we urge you to give us a call. In the meantime, we’re going to give you some actionable tips you can use to get those crazy air conditioning bills under control. Summer can overwork your A/C and lead to costly repairs and higher energy bills. Yep. No doubt about it, the sun feels a little closer in Florida than most places in the USA. Don’t worry, though. We’ve got solutions, and they have everybody’s favorite price tag on them: FREE. Here’s what you do: Keep your HVAC Equipment clean and well-maintained. Now, without a doubt, we’re going to do a deep dive into this one in future articles, because AC repair, Lakeland, is a pretty big topic, and maintenance takes up the lion’s share of our time. Typically, we’ll only recommend a fresh AC installation when your old system is more trouble than it’s worth. But on the topic of clean and well-maintained systems, we can definitely give you the bullet points. Clean your air filters often. Most of the time, manufacturer’s guidelines will give you advice on this, but if you’re not sure, the professionals at Air Repair Lakeland have got your back. Typically, you should be doing this once a month or so. You might even want to consider cleaning or changing them every 2-3 weeks if you’ve got furry pets or an old, dusty home. This will help prevent maintenance issues related to overwork or poor airflow. It will also keep your system from working at below-peak efficiency levels and costing you extra money every month Fix crushed or bent fins.The fins on your AC unit aren’t for show, they’re doing a very important job. If yours are misaligned, you can gently straighten them with a tool called a fin comb, or, in a pinch, a butter knife. Be sure not to go further than ¼”-1/2” in. Keep your eyes out for leaks and clogs.Clogged condensate drain tubes, leaks in your system, and other similar issues can really damage your system’s ability to cool your home and lead to costly AC repair. You can watch for these by noting puddling or pooling water, checking the drain pan, or keeping your nose out for slimy or mildew smells which could indicate moisture issues. Don’t wait on repairs. Keeping a maintenance contract with a professional ac installation and ac repair service is highly advisable. It’s our job to respond to small issues and correct them before they cause bigger problems. Don’t push your system too hard – and invest in a great thermostat. When it comes to air conditioning, the little things matter. A difference of even one degree in the setting on your thermostat could mean a 3-6% discrepancy in energy costs. Contrary to popular belief, setting your thermostat to 60 degrees when you want it to be 68 degrees in your home won’t cool things down any faster. In fact, the typical effect is to cool at precisely the same rate, but to cost you more money doing so because the system is working overtime. The moral here is set the thermostat to the temperature at which you will actually be comfortable. And on the topic of programmable thermostats – if you live in an older home with a mercury stat or an older programmable stat without modern features like wi-fi access and learning capabilities, you’re missing out on a big money saver. Modern thermostats are incredibly sophisticated, with a host of features designed to maximize efficiency. Some features are for convenience, but most are designed to use as little energy as possible. Take, for instance, the current generation of Nest Thermostats. Here are just a few things these impressive air conditioning “brains” can do: Light up when you enter the room to show you time, temperature, weather, and other useful information.Learn your schedule and your home’s thermal “quirks,” enabling it to make recommendations to your heating and cooling programs.Connect to your phone or computer so you can control it from anywhere.Alert you immediately if it detects an issue with any of your equipment.Intelligent control of fans, enabling you to cut cooling costs even further by improving circulation of cooled air and reducing energy loss. There’s no reason not to invest in something like this – costs top out at just a couple hundred dollars for even very advanced models, and they can pay for themselves in as little as a year of drastic energy savings. 3)Got ceiling fans? Use ‘em. If you’re thrifty but hate sweating, ceiling fans are your friend. This is especially true in older homes with draft problems. They can’t do the job all by their lonesome, but they can sure help. It surprises our customers when we tell them this, but ceiling fans can save you some real money. How, when they don’t actually do any cooling? Ceiling fans cool your skin. They make the room feel cooler than it is. Remember above, where we said each degree of your thermostat can impact costs? A ceiling fan allows you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher.Best case scenario? That could spell a savings of anywhere from 3-15 percent annually. However, if you’re planning to use ceiling fans as an assist, don’t forget to raise your thermostat, otherwise you’re not getting the job done. Also (and this is important), ceiling fans aren’t miraculous money savers in every case. If your house doesn’t have fans already, the amount of money it would cost to install them in every room in your home would offset any savings. At that point, we’d say look to the other tips in this article. But if you’re lucky enough to have some already, get the dust off of the blades and put them to work! Keep things closed. If you keep forgetting to close your doors and windows, you’re basically paying to cool the neighborhood, because all of your money is floating right out the window. LITERALLY. Keep things sealed up nice and tight when your AC is running, and consider energy-efficient curtains and blinds. They can do a lot to facilitate easy cooling, particularly “black-out” or “UV” curtains that block or reflect the rays of the sun. Solar shades and energy efficient curtain panels don’t have to block all of your natural light, either. It’s the best of both worlds. Have the right HVAC equipment. Okay, so not every tip in this article is free to act upon, depending on what’s cooling off your home right now. That doesn’t mean that this tip has to cost you money, though. It’s more about having all of the information at hand. As they say, knowledge is power! Our professionally certified technicians can do lots of complex math problems that will tell them whether your system is right for your home. If it isn’t, we can tell you (with great precision) how much money we can save you each month, and how long it will take a new AC installation to pay you back for its installation costs. Check the Energy Star rating of your gear. Check how old it is, as well. If it’s 2009 or earlier, you might want to consider an upgrade. The technology behind heating and air conditioning is always evolving, and modern units are leaps and bounds ahead of the older stuff when it comes to efficiency. Air Repair Lakeland: Call us today for a FREE consultation. No one at Air Repair Lakeland is going to try to hard-sell you. That isn’t the way we work. On the other hand, if your equipment is outdated, we’d love to help you. All of these simple things can have a measurable impact on how much money it costs you to keep the heat outside where it belongs. Taking precautions to extend the life and value of your air conditioner is always a good thing. Eventually, even the best designed units will malfunction and need a great AC repair team. Fortunately for Lakeland, Polk County, and the rest of the Tampa area, Lakeland Air Repair has what it takes to keep your house comfortable for years to come. If you’d like a free consultation on your AC equipment, call us today at