Ambient Comfort LLC Blog

How Often Do Commercial HVAC Systems Need Tune-Ups?

October 15th, 2018

rooftop hvac unit on top of commercial buildingThe short answer to this is “once a year.” But the fact of the matter is, every business and commercial space is different and has varying needs.

To truly determine how often your commercial space requires commercial HVAC maintenance, we urge you to give us a call. In the meantime, read on to learn the benefits of being set up with a maintenance plan for your commercial space.

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Managing Your Indoor Air Quality: Dry Air Isn’t Your Only Threat This Winter

October 1st, 2018

Rear view of a young woman opening the curtains in the morningHow often do you think about the IAQ of your home? That is—the indoor air quality.

The thing is, according to sources such as WebMD, the quality of your indoor air can be worse than that of outdoors. The reason for this is because homes today have been constructed to be highly energy efficient. They are built with “tight” construction to prevent air loss from your HVAC systems and to prevent drafts inside the home. This is fantastic for homeowners as it helps you save money on your utility bills each month. However, it’s not great for that indoor air quality.

So what can you do about it?

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What Are the Steps Technicians Take During HVAC Maintenance?

September 17th, 2018

An air conditioning technician welds a connection prior to installing AC unit.In our previous post, we spoke a little about how important HVAC maintenance is. And with the official start of fall just a few short days away, the time to schedule heating maintenance is definitely now, if you haven’t already had this service done for the season.

Or maybe you are proactive, and have maintenance done like clockwork, in the fall for your heating system and in the spring for your air conditioner. This routine preventive maintenance keeps your HVAC system running well and can even extend the lifespan of the system.

But what actually happens during maintenance. What are our technicians actually doing? What are they looking for?

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Don’t Ignore the Benefits of HVAC Maintenance

September 3rd, 2018

technician working on outside unit of an air conditionerWhen was your last Gloucester County, NJ AC maintenance appointment? Have you ever scheduled maintenance? We get it—you might have a newer air conditioner. Or perhaps you’re a new homeowner and haven’t heard that this is a service that is required (versus being a “luxury” service) for one of your most expensive home appliance investments.

There are a couple of maintenance tasks you can, and should, do on your own when it comes to keeping your cooling system in good shape. But full, professional maintenance should definitely be handled by a trained and experienced HVAC technician, since we know how to handle any AC task that comes our way. This includes inspecting electrical connections and thoroughly cleaning the system—tasks that can be dangerous and cause injury in the wrong hands.

Still not convinced? Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of AC maintenance.

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Need to Replace Your HVAC System? Consider a Heat Pump

August 20th, 2018

heat-pump-floor-mounted-unitDid your air conditioner show signs of old age and wear this summer? Is your furnace on its last legs, leading you to wonder if it’s time for a new one? Have you been struggling to decide what you need to replace first, your air conditioner or your heating system?

If your answer to any or all of these questions was “yes,” then we have good news. There is one Gloucester County, NJ HVAC system that will serve all of your needs—the heat pump.

“But wait,” you might be thinking, “it’s called a heat pump, doesn’t that mean it’s only used for heating?”

Read on!

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How To Keep Your Home Evenly Heated

March 18th, 2018

Optimal comfort during the cold winter months is achieved when your home maintains consistent temperatures throughout every room. You’ll know you’ve got it right when you don’t have to put on or take off a sweater or adjust the thermostat when you move from one room to the next.

Many factors influence the heat throughout your house. Part of it is the design of the house itself. Another part is how the home is finished and equipped. A third part is how the home is maintained.

Working with Your Layout

Rooms with more exterior walls and more windows lose heat to the outside more quickly than rooms with fewer exterior walls and fewer windows. While changing the layout of a home is not a practical way to equalize the heating, there are some measures you can take to minimize this effect:

  • insulate exterior walls as heavily as possible
  • install high-quality, insulated windows
  • install insulating draperies or shades

Keeping Air Moving

If some rooms are getting more hot air than others, poor circulation may be the problem. Make sure that registers to the too-cool rooms are open, that they are not obstructed by furniture or other items, and that they are clean. Leave the doors to colder rooms open if possible, so that heat from the rest of the home can enter.

There may be plenty of hot air available, but it’s just not reaching those rooms. Have the ducts checked by a professional for leaks or obstructions. It is also possible that the ducts are undersized or poorly routed, and that replacing them with properly designed ducts will allow more hot air to get where it needs to go.

Check the Switches

If the ducts are in good shape, the problem may just be that the room with the thermostat gets warm sooner than others. Try setting the fan switch on the thermostat from “Auto” to “On.” This will keep the fan running and help equalize the flow of warm air throughout the house.

Hot air rises, and it’s likely several degrees warmer near the ceiling than near the floor. If the room has a ceiling fan, set it to turn in the direction that will push hot air down.

In the Zone

If all of these measures don’t equalize the temperature in your home, you should consider installing one or more additional zones. Each zone is a house is controlled by its own thermostat, and each one receives its own share of heat. This is also a good approach if you want certain areas to stay warmer or cooler than others.

The team of heating professionals at Ambient Comfort can keep your family comfortable this winter with regularly scheduled maintenance, repairs, ductwork inspection and more. Call us today at 856-213-6586 to schedule service and to learn about our maintenance plan. Check us out online for special savings and promotions. We are located in Vineland, New Jersey, and serve clients throughout most of South Jersey, in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.

 

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Is Your Furnace Dangerous?

March 10th, 2018

While some have been known to last much longer, the typical lifespan of a home furnace is 15 to 20 years. Proper installation and maintenance are key to getting your money’s worth from your home heating system, but eventually, even the best cared-for furnace will have to be replaced.

A furnace in poor condition, whether because of poor maintenance, age, or both, operates inefficiently, requiring more fuel to heat a home. A bigger problem, though, is safety. A furnace that’s overdue for maintenance or replacement can put your family in danger.

The biggest issue is carbon monoxide, an invisible, odorless, toxic gas that is a byproduct of combustion. In a well-maintained furnace, the amount of carbon monoxide, or CO, produced is small, and it is vented to the outdoors where it quickly becomes harmless. But if a furnace is burning fuel inefficiently, the amount of CO produced will be higher. Should the furnace not vent the gas out of the home effectively, illness, permanent injury, or death could be the result.

This danger can be avoided by installing CO detectors in the home, and by having the furnace inspected annually by a home heating professional. At some point, however, so many parts may require replacement that it just makes more sense to replace the furnace itself. Considering that newer heating systems use new technology to operate more efficiently than old ones, the change might even pay for itself in reduced energy costs.

Furnaces are also a common cause of house fires. This occurs most often when residents carelessly leave flammable items too close to the furnace. It’s so important to keep old magazines and newspapers, boxes of clothes, flammable liquids, and other combustibles several feet away from the furnace. Aside from that, an annual checkup by a heating professional will ensure that gas or oil lines are intact, so that a fuel leak can not result in a fire.

We don’t mean to scare anyone. It’s not difficult to guard against home fires and CO poisoning caused by your furnace by following a few simple procedures:

  • install smoke and CO detectors throughout your home
  • test smoke and CO detectors monthly, and replace the batteries twice a year
  • have your furnace inspected and maintained annually by a heating professional

If your furnace is more than 20 years old, consider updating it with a new system. This may be long overdue if you added an addition to your home since the furnace was installed or finished a previously unfinished basement or attic. Your furnace was probably specified for the amount of living space you had at the time it was installed. If you’ve been making it warm more space than was originally intended, it’s probably been working overtime. A new furnace designed to heat the current size of your home will do it more efficiently.

Ambient Comfort can make sure you have the right furnace for your home and that it operates safely through regular maintenance. Call us today at 856-213-6586 to schedule service on your HVAC system or to learn more about our maintenance plan so you can rest assured knowing your family is warm and safe this winter. Check us out online for special savings and promotions. We are located in Vineland, New Jersey, and serve clients throughout most of South Jersey, in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.

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Keeping the Home Dust-Free in Winter

February 20th, 2018

It is during the winter months, when our homes are sealed up tight against the cold, that the air indoors needs to be as clean as possible. Key to achieving healthy indoor air quality is to dust the home properly. Keeping the heating system well-maintained and functioning properly is also important. These two steps are sufficient for most families, but if your home requires the cleanest possible air, consider installing an air purification system.

Dust Effectively

The most effective tool in maintaining good indoor air quality, which is crucial to good health, is the trusty vacuum cleaner. Run it at least weekly over all your floors and rugs. At least once a month, use the attachments to remove dust and pet hair from furniture. Don’t forget to look up at walls and ceilings to clear away cobwebs.

New vacuum cleaners do a great job trapping even the smallest dust particles if you keep the filter clean and replace it when necessary. Older units that don’t filter the air so effectively may do a great job picking up the dust, but they might also blow tiny particles right back into the air. If you have an older vacuum, consider replacing it with a new one that has a HEPA filter, which will trap almost all allergens.

Keep your kitchen counters, furniture, desks, and other hard surfaces clean with microfiber dusting cloths that are designed to trap dust, not just spread it around.

HVAC Maintenance

Forced hot air heating systems draw air in, heat it, and distribute it throughout the home via the ducts. The air it draws in inevitably contains at least some dust, but the furnace’s filter traps the dust before it gets heated and blown through the ductwork to the rest of the home.

If the filter is dirty or damaged, it won’t trap dust and, instead, the furnace will blow dust all over the house, keeping it airborne, where it can be breathed in and aggravate allergies. A dirty filter also reduces the efficiency of the furnace, requiring it to use more energy and making it harder to keep the house warm.

To avoid these problems, the filter on your home’s heating system should be replaced every three months, and definitely at the start of the winter heating season. (If you didn’t do it before the furnace kicked in this fall, do it now.) This is an easy task that most homeowners can perform, but if you don’t know how or don’t like dealing with mechanical issues, a home heating professional will be glad to do it for you.

Ductwork in a home may collect dust over the years so that, no matter how often you change the furnace filter, the heating system will still blow dust throughout the home. A home heating pro can inspect your ducts, determine whether they’re dirty on the inside, and clean them if necessary. This is something that has to be done only every few years – it’s not an annual expense.

Air Purification Systems

If these measures don’t suffice, or if someone in your household is strongly allergic to dust or other allergens, you should consider installing a whole-house air filter that traps dust out of the air column before it can settle on surfaces. The HVAC professionals at Ambient Comfort can install an air filter and purification system that will maintain superior air quality in your home so you and your family can breathe easy.

Ambient Comfort has the indoor air quality experience and resources to keep your family comfortable through the winter months. Call us today at 856-213-6586 to schedule winter service on your HVAC system or for a quote on a whole-house-filter. We are located in Vineland, New Jersey, and serve clients throughout most of South Jersey.

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The Invisible Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

February 15th, 2018

It is an old adage that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. But this is blatantly false when it comes to carbon monoxide gas.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a byproduct of combustion. It is produced when any fuel burning device is used. For example, when your oil or gas furnace, boiler, gas dryer, stove, deep fryer, space heater, or other any fuel-burning device is running, CO is being created. Normally, it is produced in small amounts and vented safely out of the home. But, because it is invisible and odorless, it is also dangerous. Should the device be operating inefficiently, or if there is a failure in venting the gas out of the home, CO can build up to dangerous levels, causing illness, permanent injury or death. It happens to hundreds of people every year.

RELATED READ: Five signs your furnace needs repair

The first step in protecting your family against carbon monoxide poisoning is to have a CO monitor in your home. Check your monitor at least quarterly and replace batteries twice a year to make sure they are operating optimally. There is a difference between a CO detector, available at most home stores starting around $30, and a CO monitor. A CO detector only alarms when levels are very high for sustained periods. A detector may prevent death, but not headaches, flu symptoms, memory loss and other symptoms of even low-level prolonged CO exposure. Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible.

A CO monitor, available from professional HVAC companies, indicates the current level of CO in your home, down to the lowest levels. On a heavy cooking day, for example, the monitor may show 16 parts per million, letting you know that cracking window might be a good idea.

Also important is to have your home’s heating system checked annually by an HVAC professional. Regular maintenance can ensure that your devices are burning fuel efficiently and venting it properly outside of the home.

Heating professionals can test the air quality in your home to make sure your family is breathing air that is safe. They also can check for leaks around your furnace, chimney, gas heaters, hot water heaters and stoves.

RELATED READ: Improving your home’s air quality

 

More Tips to Stay Safe from Carbon Monoxide

  1. Never use portable heaters that burn fuel (such as kerosene or propane) inside the home.
  2. Have wood stoves and fireplaces inspected and cleaned annually to ensure proper venting.
  3. Never start or run a motor vehicle with the garage door closed or with a door open to the living areas of the house. After starting the car, drive it out of the garage as soon as possible.

The physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, blurred vision, confusion, dizziness, physical weakness or nausea or vomiting that sometimes come on quickly. Should you experience these, you may be experiencing CO poisoning. Go outside immediately and do not reenter the home even if you feel better. CO builds up in the human body and does not leave with a quick trip outside. Call for emergency support using a mobile phone or a neighbor’s phone. Get a professional to check your furnace and other appliances.

Contact the professionals at Home Comfort Experts today to find out how we can improve your home’s air quality so you can breathe easily and safely. We serve Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan from our twelve locations. Give us a call at (574) 255-4600 to find out how we can help.

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Five Efficiency Tips for Commercial Heating Systems

February 5th, 2018

Heating costs can be a big business expenditure, but keeping costs under control should not mean turning down the thermostat. If your employees are uncomfortable, they won’t work efficiently or happily. And if your customers or clients are cold, they’ll make their visits to your establishment as short as possible – if they visit at all.

The key to controlling commercial heating costs is to make sure your HVAC system is running efficiently. This isn’t difficult with the attention of a committed facilities manager and the assistance of a professional HVAC services contractor. Here are five tips to guide your procedures and keep your employees and customers comfortable, economically.

  1. Stay up to date. If your HVAC system is more than 10 years old, it lacks the latest technology. If your facilities have expanded in size but your HVAC system hasn’t, it’s likely being overburdened and running beyond its limits of efficiency. Replacement might be a shortcut to achieving quick payback. At the very least, have your older system inspected and upgraded or repaired as needed.
  2. Have it maintained regularly. Most HVAC contractors offers annual maintenance plans to keep your heating and cooling systems running as efficiently as possible, and to identify and solve potential problems before they become actual problems that could cause expensive downtime.
  3. Maintain the duct system. Check your sheet metal! Leaky ducts waste hot air, sometimes draw cold air into the facility, and may distribute dust and dirt throughout your place of business.
  4. Ensure that air dampers and heating/cooling valves are working. This is definitely a job for the professionals. Dampers should be opening and closing fully. Heating and cooling valves that are malfunctioning can result in simultaneous heating and cooling, which in turn can result in a very high utility bill and uncomfortable or uncontrollable temperatures.
  5. Upgrade your thermostats. Programmable thermostats have improved significantly in recent years. New ones are relatively inexpensive and they do a better job maintaining constant temperature. They also allow for great flexibility in conserving energy when your building is not occupied on weekends or in the evening hours.

Your facility’s HVAC system is a large investment and one you want to protect by having it regularly and professionally maintained. The team of heating professionals at Ambient Comfort have the experience to keep your employees and customers comfortable throughout the winter months and all year long. Call us today at 856-213-6586 to schedule service or to learn about our maintenance plans. We are located in Vineland, New Jersey, and serve clients throughout most of South Jersey.

 

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