Avoid these Common HVAC Mistakes in the New Year

The new year is a perfect time to start thinking about what you can do better. Whether you are developing detailed New Year’s resolutions or just thinking about your personal goals, the start of a new year presents a new beginning and a chance to get things right.

Though your HVAC system may be the last thing on your mind when setting your intentions for the new year, this important home system is vital to keeping you comfortable year-round. Why not resolve to stop making costly HVAC mistakes in 2017?

How to Avoid Common HVAC Mistakes

Now that the new year is almost here, it’s time to think about how you can be better to your HVAC system. Below, we’ll cover a few of the most common HVAC mistakes and how homeowners can avoid them:

Ignoring strange sounds or smells coming from your HVAC system.

When your heating and cooling system is operating properly, there should be no loud noises or strange odors in the air. If you notice that your furnace or air conditioner is making a great deal of noise or you start to notice stagnant smells in the air, this could be a sign that something is wrong with your HVAC system.

Though some homeowners might try to cover the smell or ignore the noises, it is important that you don’t just ignore these warning signs. Just because it is still functioning despite the noise, does not mean that there is not a problem with your AC or heater. Call an experienced HVAC technician who can evaluate your system at the first sign of trouble to avoid having to undergo more costly repairs later on.

Skipping your annual maintenance appointment.

Another common HVAC mistake that homeowners make is skipping their annual heating and cooling maintenance appointment. It may be tempting to skip on a tune-up when your heater and air conditioner appear to be working fine. However, preventative maintenance is an important part of making sure that your system continues to run efficiently throughout the year.

Your HVAC technician helps prolong the life of your unit and keep things running smoothly by cleaning, lubricating, and inspecting your system during the tune-up. Though they may not find any issues during this time, they can prevent future issues from occurring by keeping your system clean and well-oiled.

Attempting to fix your system with HVAC hacks.

In an effort to save money, some homeowners will take on home improvement projects by themselves, including HVAC repairs. The issue with this is that many homeowners do not have the knowledge, skills, or tools they need to properly diagnose and fix the issue. Not to mention some “HVAC hacks” that can be found on the internet only provide temporary fixes, or worse, can ruin your HVAC system.

If you do not have experience with heating and cooling equipment, it is best to leave any repairs beyond basic maintenance up to the experts. HVAC technicians are trained in diagnosing and fixing HVAC systems, and they have the training, tools, and time to dedicate to making sure that your AC and heater are running optimally.

If you’re ready to start being better to your HVAC system in the new year, Air Quality Heating & Air Conditioning is here to support you. Whether you need a routine maintenance visit or a more extensive repair, our team of HVAC experts is only a phone call away. Contact us now to schedule an appointment.

Introduction to Carrier: 5 Home Comfort Products from the Experts

With a history of innovation and a comprehensive line of quality home comfort products, Carrier currently leads the world in providing heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration solutions to homeowners across the globe. As a Carrier dealer, Air Quality Heating and Air Conditioning provides these top of the line products to homeowners in San Jose and beyond. Below, we’d like to introduce you to some of our favorite home comfort products from the experts at Carrier.

5 Carrier HVAC Products for San Jose Homeowners

Carrier delivers the very best in home comfort solutions, and our team has picked a few of our favorites to share with you:

Infinity® Series Air Conditioners

The Infinity® Series central air conditioners from Carrier are one of the quietest, most efficient models that Carrier offers. These cooling systems are designed to provide total home comfort while also offering a SEER rating of up to 21 for optimal energy efficiency. There are 5 different units available at different price points with differing efficiency and sound ratings. The Infinity 21 Central Air Conditioner 24ANB1 is ENERGY STAR® qualified and has been awarded Consumers Digest’s Best Buy® award.

Infinity® Series Heat Pump with Greenspeed™ Intelligence

As a testament to Carrier’s quality engineering and innovation, the Infinity Series Heat Pump with Greenspeed intelligence allows homeowners to more precisely heat and cool their homes. With this model, homeowners enjoy consistent, year-round comfort with quiet performance and impressive energy efficiency. When used as part of a complete Infinity system, this unit works to adapt its output to the needs of the home, helping the system operate longer and at lower capacities, which saves energy and enhanced temperature control.

Infinity ® 98 Furnace with Greenspeed™ Intelligence

This is quite possibly the most advanced furnace offered by Carrier. With a unique design that includes a modulating gas valve, this unit works to adapt its output to the needs of the home when managed as part of an Infinity system. Overall, this can help prolong the life of your HVAC system while lowering capacities for increased energy efficiency. This system also provides quiet operation and enhanced temperature control.

Performance™ Series Humidifiers

The Performance Series Humidifiers include steam, fan-powered, and bypass humidifiers that all work to provide homeowners with increased humidity control. Each model is quiet and works to help homeowners combat the effects of dry air.

Infinity® Series Air Purifier

This award-winning air purifier helps capture and kill airborne pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and mold that can enter your home and make your family ill. The whole-house air cleaner also re-purifies indoor air as it circulates your home up to 8 times an hour, allowing you and your family to breathe easier knowing that your home air is healthy and clean.

If you’re interested in other Carrier home comfort products, visit our Carrier products page today and feel free to call us with any questions you make have at (408) 899-8878.

Why Fall is the Best Time to Replace Your HVAC System

After a hotter summer, many San Jose residents are enjoying the moderate temperatures this fall. Not only is fall the ideal time to enjoy the great outdoors with family and friends, but it is also the best time to replace or upgrade your HVAC system. If you have been thinking about getting a new air conditioner or heater, now may be the best time to do so. Below, we’ll discuss the benefits of replacing your heating and cooling system and why now is the time to do it.

Benefits of Replacing Your Heating and Cooling System

How old is your HVAC unit? If you have an older system, there is a good chance that your air conditioner or heater is not as energy efficient as you would like it to be. Not to mention, HVAC technology is always advancing, offering more and better home comfort options for homeowners. Here are just a few of the benefits you can enjoy when you replace your heating and cooling system:

  • Increased Energy Efficiency – If you have noticed that your energy bills are creeping up, it could mean that your older system is not as energy efficient as it once was. A newer model may be able to offer increased energy efficiency, which means more energy savings for you.
  • More Convenient Features – As HVAC technology gets better and better, so do the types of features new systems can provide. Whether you are looking for better humidity control or a quieter system, new systems may have just what you’re looking for.
  • Better Home Comfort Control – The older and more worn out your HVAC system is, the less predictable it may become. With a newer system, you have the peace of mind in knowing that you have better control over your home comfort.

Why Fall is the Best Time to Replace Your HVAC System

Fall weather is more moderate, and many homeowners find themselves using their air conditioner or heater less during this time. That is why this is the best season for HVAC replacement. Not only can homeowners enjoy more comfortable weather during installation, but this also gives them more time to research their options and find the best home comfort system to meet their needs.

Another reason why fall is the best time to replace or update your HVAC system is that this is often a great time for HVAC deals. Right now, you can take advantage of the opportunity to save up to $1650 with Carrier Cool Cash factory rebates when you purchase eligible Carrier equipment or a new Carrier system from Air Quality Heating and Air Conditioning. However, this promotion ends on November 15, 2016, so you need to act quickly if you would like the opportunity to receive these factory rebates.

If you are ready to explore your HVAC upgrade options or you are ready to replace your home comfort system, you can trust the experts at Air Quality Heating and Air Conditioning to help you find the right system for your home and provide expert installation. Contact us today to find out more about replacing your home heating and cooling systems.

How to Recognize and Avoid HVAC Scams

Unfortunately, every industry has their share of scam artists and dishonest individuals who want to take honest homeowners’ money without doing quality work. The HVAC industry is no stranger to scams. The key to avoiding getting caught up in one of these tricks is to recognize what the most common HVAC scams are and work to avoid them.

3 Most Common HVAC Scams

There are a number of common scams that shady HVAC companies will try to run on unsuspecting homeowners. Don’t become a victim. Get to know the 3 of the most common HVAC scams and how to avoid them:

Scam #1: A salesperson pressures you into buying things without explaining their use or benefits.

How to Avoid: Some HVAC salespeople will try to throw around lingo and specialized terminology in an attempt to confuse the homeowner and get them to buy things that they don’t need. This often happens when companies try to push large, oversized units on homes that do not need a large unit to meet their cooling needs. The best way to avoid this scam is by doing your homework. First, research the HVAC company you are working to make sure they are reputable. You can start by looking at their Better Business Bureau rating and online reviews from previous customers. Then, once an HVAC specialist has recommended heating and cooling equipment and products for your home, take the time to research the products before handing over your credit card.

Scam #2: The HVAC technician charges you for parts that were not actually replaced.

How to Avoid: Sometimes dishonest technicians or scammers will say that you need parts replaced when you do not. They will pretend to replace the part and then take your money for the replacement. Other times, they will say that they have replaced a part without replacing it, leaving you to need more costly repairs just a short while later. The best way to avoid this scam is to ask for the old part ahead of time. By providing you with the old part that they have replaced you can ensure that the technician has done the work they say they have as well as get a second opinion on the part if necessary.

Scam #3: The HVAC service person tells you that you need an HVAC tune-up once a month.

How to Avoid: HVAC tune-ups help you keep your HVAC system running smoothly and efficiently. By making sure that your system is clean and well-lubricated, the HVAC technician can prevent unnecessary repairs during a tune-up. Though it is important to regularly maintain your heating and cooling system, it is not common or recommended to get a tune-up once a month. You only need to get a tune-up once a year, though some homeowners like to get them once before every season, especially if their system is older or it has been used more than often during a particular season.

Here at Air Quality Heating and Air Conditioning we have worked hard to earn the trust of our community. Through quality service and an emphasis on customer service, we have earned a positive reputation as one of the best HVAC companies in the area. If you want to avoid HVAC scams, contact us to work with a qualified and trusted HVAC expert.

Celebrate the End of Summer by Preparing Your HVAC Unit for the Next One

Fall is here, and a changing of the seasons means a change in demands on your HVAC unit. As you start celebrating the end of summer, it’s time to show your air conditioner a little TLC. Though you may think it’s too soon to start thinking about next summer already, there are ways that you can make sure your HVAC system is running efficiently and ready to keep working hard year-round. Get ready for the months ahead and be prepared for next summer by taking some basic HVAC maintenance measures.

How to Prepare Your HVAC Unit for the Year Ahead

Now that your HVAC system has worked hard all summer, here’s how to prepare it for the year ahead:

Replace your air filters.

Pollen and dust levels are high in the summer. If you have not replaced or cleaned your HVAC filter recently, change your filter before you head into fall. Dirty and clogged filters cause your unit to work harder than necessary, which can increase energy usage and put additional strain on the unit. Changing your filter routinely helps you prevent maintenance issues while also helping your unit run more efficiently. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, regularly replacing your air filter can lower your AC’s energy consumption by about 5 to 15%. Make sure that you use a filter that is designed for your HVAC system and keep up with filter changes throughout the year to maintain efficiency.

Remove debris from outdoor unit.

If you have an outside unit, there is a chance that twigs, leaves, and other debris may have accumulated in and round the space over the summer. Check for and clear any debris on the tops or sides of the system to remove any obstructions. This is also a great time to monitor outdoor landscaping and trim any grass, trees, or shrubs that may be blocking the unit after summer growth. Any foliage around or hiding the unit should be at least one foot away from the outdoor unit. By maintaining the landscaping and removing any debris from around the unit, you are removing any blockages that might keep the system from functioning efficiently.

Schedule an HVAC tune-up.

The best way to prolong the life of your HVAC unit is by scheduling regular maintenance. As summer comes to an end, it is time to check your furnace and tune up your air conditioner. During the tune-up, an HVAC professional can check the system’s parts to make sure there is no damage and everything is running efficiently. The technician can also change refrigerant and replace the air filter if necessary. This little pre-fall tune-up will not only help you prepare for the months ahead, but it can also help identify any maintenance issues before they cause a bigger problem.

Air Quality Heating & Air is ready to help you make sure your system gets you through fall, winter, and beyond. We offer maintenance agreements that help keep your system running smoothly year-round, improving efficiency and reducing the number of breakdowns. Call us today for more information.

Breathe Easy: 4 DIY Tips to Improve Your Air Quality

Keeping the air inside your home clean and free of allergens is an important part of creating a comfortable home environment and protecting your family’s health. Though you may think that you are safe inside your home from air pollutants like mold, pollen, and chemicals, the truth is that this pollution can make its way into your house and impact your air quality, making allergies and asthma symptoms worse and even leading to respiratory problems.

DIY Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality

The good news is that there are a variety of things that you can do yourself within the home to help improve air quality and breathe easier:

  1. Install a high-quality air filter.

Not all air filters are created equal. Though you do have the option of buying the cheapest HVAC filter available, keep in mind that this may not be the best filter for capturing all of the dust, pollen, and other pollutants that make their way into your home. An electrostatic filter is a bit more expensive, but it works to filter out tiny particles as well as large debris. A high-efficiency HEPA filter is another option for households with infants, elderly family members, people with allergies, and others with compromised immune systems.

  1. Use low-emitting materials in your home.

It’s not just outdoor pollutants that can impact your indoor air quality. The paint, carpet, and furniture in your home can also emit harmful fumes. You can make home improvements yourself using low-emitting materials to decrease the amount of these pollutants in your home. When you re-paint, replace your carpet, or buy new furniture, look for certified products that are made with low-emitting materials.

  1. Keep things clean with natural cleaning products.

Another way to reduce these pollutants in your home is by cleaning regularly. Use a damp cloth or dust mop to dust surfaces throughout your home. Thoroughly vacuum furniture, drapes, rugs, and carpets once a week using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. This helps reduce dust and other allergens. Wash your bedding in hot water and dry thoroughly once a week. Also, if you have pets, make sure that you bathe them regularly to reduce pet dander throughout the home. While cleaning other areas of your home like the kitchen and bathroom, make sure that you are using natural cleaning products that don’t introduce new chemicals into the air.

  1. Purchase an air purifier.

An air purifier helps remove contaminants from the room and can be beneficial for those with asthma or allergies. You can purchase a stand-alone unit to use in your home to help further reduce pollutants and improve indoor air quality. There are also larger units that can be attached to the HVAC unit. You may want to consult with an HVAC professional to see which type of air purifier is right for you.

Your HVAC system plays an important part in maintaining healthy indoor air quality. If the system breaks down or is not running at full capacity, this can impact the air quality inside your home. If you are experiencing issues or just want to make sure that your HVAC unit is running efficiently, give us a call today for a tune-up.

HVAC Review: the Benefits of Variable Speed Technology

Whether the calendar indicates intense August heat or an approaching winter chill, your HVAC system needs to provide as much comfort as possible. It must also work efficiently, saving you the time and money it would take to repair or replace the system. There are several ways to ensure your HVAC system works optimally, and one of the best is the variable speed motor.

What Is A Variable Speed Motor?

As its name implies, a variable speed motor can run at any level between zero RPM and maximum speed. This allows you to heat or cool your home as much as you want, rather than relying on a single speed motor that starts or shuts down arbitrarily. Additionally, variable speed motors have an advantage over multi-speed ones. While multi-speed motors only operate on levels 1, 2, or 3 (low, medium, or high), a variable speed motor will operate to your exact specifications. The speed, temperature, and volume of the air is more dependent on what you want it to be.

Is A Variable Speed Motor Environmentally Friendly?

Yes; in fact, this is one reason variable speed motors are so popular. Despite our four distinct seasons, the weather can change incrementally every day. For example, the calendar might say it’s mid-September, but your house may feel slightly warm. If you run the air conditioning, you’ll only need to remove a small amount of heat from your house. A variable speed motor can remove the heat without wasting electricity and increasing your energy bills.

The circuitry in a variable speed motor is some of the most environmentally friendly available. With a variable speed motor, your HVAC system’s circuit board constantly communicates with compressors, blowers, and coils. Even after the motor is turned off, the circuit board will tell the blower to blow a little more air across your house until every bit of heat or cold has been used. Thus, your house will remain at the perfect temperature for longer. You won’t have to adjust the system as much, thereby saving energy.

How does VST Affect Air Quality?

Air quality is a big concern for most home and business owners. A variable speed motor is more likely to keep your indoor air clean and breathable. The fan on a variable speed motor continually “washes” the air, filtering out allergens like dust or pollen. As long as your HVAC system has a high quality filter, it won’t circulate these harmful substances back into the air.

Additionally, an HVAC system with a variable speed motor is able to clean more cubic feet of air more quickly than many standalone air cleaners. Standalone air cleaners are fine, but some of them only clean about 25-50 cubic feet of air per minute. In contrast, an HVAC system with a variable speed motor could clean about 1200 cubic feet per minute. Even with the motor on low, the air can be cleaned at a rate of 250 cubic feet per minute. That’s more than ten times the capability of some standalone air cleaners.

If you’d like to learn more about the variable speed motor or have other HVAC questions, contact Air Quality Heating and Air Conditioning online or via phone. We look forward to working with you.

Chinese Drywall Syndrome and what You Need to Know

Chinese Drywall Syndrome is an issue that occurred with certain imported drywall from China beginning in 2001 going through 2009 and was first investigated by the CPSC and identified as a problem in 2008. During this time there was a huge increase in demand for drywall not only from the housing boom of the mid 2000’s but from all the hurricanes that rattled the Gulf Coast during that time. Rebuilding efforts diminished domestic supplies even further and home builders, contractors and suppliers began to import drywall from China by the millions of sheets.

What’s the Problem with Chinese Drywall?

It wasn’t long after the drywall began to be used that problems in the home began to arise. The first thing most homeowners noticed was a strong smell of what was described as being like rotten eggs or like when matches flare up. Namely, a sulfurous smell. Many times there is no noticeable smell. Often, home-owners are unaware they have a Chinese drywall problem until they go to sell and it is uncovered during the buyer’s inspection. Sometimes sellers are aware and attempt to cover up by cleaning evaporator coils and exposed copper wires, etc…

And these homeowners were onto something. Sometimes within just a few short months of moving in and running their AC units, the systems would fail. As the techs came in to fix the problem they noticed that the coils had become completely corroded with a black color. Sulfurous compounds are the only thing that can corrode copper to black like that.

At first, people could not figure out where the sulfur was coming from. Was it in the water? Was there a gas leak? Some natural source? Soon, it was discovered that the drywall was the culprit. The drywall cores contained large amounts of hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide, carbon disulfide, and strontium. This drywall would offgass these sulfurous compounds into the atmosphere of the home, giving it its characteristic smell, and corroding any exposed copper, and some other metals.

Homeowners had appliance failures, corroded electrical wiring, smoke alarm failures, and HVAC system trouble. Even if the coil in the HVAC system was replaced, it would quickly fail again. Word quickly spread and the problem became well-known.

In order to diagnose your house as having the problem drywall first a threshold inspection of a smell and visible corrosion on exposed copper must be done. After that a home inspector will issue corrosion testing strips and take a look at the back of the drywall for manufacturers markings. This step is called the “Corroborating Evidence” step in the event the “Threshold inspection” is positive for possible problem drywall and when legal action by the home owner is initiated. (Note: not all problem drywall will have markings on it.) If those are positive hits then they will send off samples of the drywall cores for further testing.

For all the latest HVAC industry news follow the AirQuality Heating & Air Conditioning blog.

Installation and Maintenance of AC Coils

Your AC Coil Installation

There are two coils inside of your HVAC system, the evaporator coil and the condenser coil. The sole function of both of these devices is to move remove heat energy from the refrigerant into the air. On the evaporator coil side, refrigerant flows through an area of low pressure and expands inside the coil, chilling the coil. On the other end of the system, when the refrigerant is compressed it picks up heat energy which needs to be dissipated into the atmosphere, by way of the condenser coil and a fan. If the coil is not installed properly it will greatly affect the ability to move heat.

Maintaining Your HVAC Coils

Obviously any obstruction on the coil is going to compromise the ability for air to flow around it and in turn the heat-moving ability of the coil. The first step in coil maintenance is to clean any large-sized debris out from the coil. A hose or a brush can accomplish this with ease, as long as care is maintained to not bend the delicate fins around the coil.

The next step is to use a spray-on coil cleaner. This spray will get in the spaces in between the aluminum and dissolve any deposits, and pick up any dirt, dust or debris on the fins, and as the foam destabilizes into a liquid it will pull it with it off of the coil.

If you wish you can spray the coil down with water after that but in most cases it is not necessary. The foam spray will work to clean both the condenser and the evaporator coils equally as well.

Further Maintenance

Further maintenance of your HVAC coils more than likely means something is going afoul in the system and it needs to be inspected professionally. The number of issues possible that could prevent proper function is beyond the means of most homeowners to address practically or safely. If your coil needs maintenance give us a call to schedule a service call today!

A Home Humidifier Can Help Relieve Your Allergies

A humidifier is an important part of most HVAC systems, especially during the winter when air is naturally drier. This attachment adds moisture to the air making the indoor environment more comfortable. More humidity relieves dry skin and eyes and reduces static build up that gives you those little shocks when you touch tings. But did you know that another way humidifiers make your home more comfortable is by reducing allergy symptoms?

How Moisture in the Air Can Help You Feel Better

When air is too dry anyone will feel it in their airways. Your throat gets dry and scratchy, your nasal passages are sore, and even your sinuses may start to ache. Imagine how much worse allergy symptoms are when the air is dry.

Just a little more moisture in the air can relieve the dry itchy eyes, scratchy throat, inflammation in the nose and sinuses, and the pain and irritation that goes along with all of these common allergy symptoms.

Greater humidity won’t cure your seasonal allergies, but having a humidifier add a little extra water to your indoor air can make a huge difference to how comfortable you feel in your own home each allergy season.

Take in Fewer Allergens and Prevent Symptoms before They Happen

Minimizing symptoms isn’t the only benefit you get from installing a humidifier. By soothing your airways with more humid air, you are better able to expel the allergens you inhale both outdoors and indoors.

With moist and healthy airways, you can sneeze and cough more efficiently and expel dust, pollen, and other allergens before they cause serious symptoms. With dry and irritated airways you are less likely to cough or sneeze.

Balance Moisture and Dryness for the Best Indoor Air Quality

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, a humidifier could make your home environment significantly more comfortable, but striking the right balance is important. Too much humidity creates an environment that promotes the growth of dust mites, mold, and other allergens.

The right balance for relief, without letting allergens thrive, is a humidity level between 40 and 50 percent. Our professionals at Air Quality can help you find the right humidity for your HVAC system and will show you how to measure the humidity in the air so you can adjust it to be at just the right level.

The irritation and discomfort of seasonal allergies is something you don’t need in your own home. Let the professionals at Air Quality Heating & Air Conditioning help you figure pick out and install the humidifier that will bring you allergy relief.