Monthly Archives: August 2016

Repair or Replace? – The Secret Financial Formula

Repair or Replace AC Formula PicIt’s the middle of summer and your air conditioner is getting plenty of use. But, you’ve noticed that it’s just not running as well as it used to. Maybe your energy bill has been higher than normal, or the AC runs longer than it used to. Now comes a decision that’s always difficult to make when it comes to appliances: should you repair your air conditioner, or replace it entirely? The team at Getzschman Heating and Air Conditioning knows that this is one of the biggest homeowner struggles. Which one makes the most financial sense? Well, wonder no more! Use this simple formula to help you make the smartest decision.

Related Read: 5 Unusual Noises Your AC Can Make & What Causes Them

The $5,000 Rule

We here at Getzschman Heating & Air Conditioning we have a simple method that we use to determine what the best course of action is in this situation. We call it the $5,000 rule. Take the age of your AC unit and multiply it by the cost of repair. If the final figure is more than $5,000, then it’s a better value to just buy a new one. Otherwise, repair is a great option for a poorly functioning unit.

Putting the Rule to Action

For example, if you’ve had your air conditioner for five years and repair costs around $600, 5 x $600 = $3,000. That’s well below $5,000, and therefore a repair is in order. On the other hand, if you’ve had your AC unit for 15 years and repair costs $450, your resulting total is $6,750 and you should probably just buy a replacement.

Related Read: The EPA’s Ban on Freon

Getzschman Heating & Air Conditioning Can Help

If you’ve noticed higher energy bills, more indoor humidity than normal, an AC that never stops running, or have had to schedule repairs or Freon replenishment annually for the past three years, it’s time for you to decide to repair or replace. Contact us at Getzschman Heating & Air Conditioning for a free quote on the cost of service and try the $5,000 test for yourself.

 

Want Cleaner Air? Go the Natural Route

Does the air in your home or office seem a little stuffy? Do you experience more allergies indoors than you do outdoors? Odds are your home or business’s air quality is poor. If you want to make your indoor air cleaner, you likely want to do it as naturally as possible.

In our previous blog, “7 Houseplants That Can Help You Breathe Easier,” we listed several common plants you can add to your home to improve the air quality. However, there are several other ways you can make your inside air cleaner. As a result, you can breathe better and experience fewer allergies. Read on to discover other natural methods for purifying your indoor air.

1. Salt Lamps

You’ll usually find salt lamps made from Himalayan pink salt. You plug the lamp in to heat up the salt, and the mineral draws moisture in the air to it. The heat of the lamp causes the moisture to evaporate, and this process releases negative ions into the air.

These negative ions find particles in the air with positive charges and neutralize them. Dirt, pollen, dust, and allergens all have positive charges that keep them suspended in the air. Once they’re neutralized, they won’t stay airborne. You’ll be able to vacuum or sweep everything away and remove these offending particles from your home or office to further improve the indoor air quality.

2. Beeswax Candles

If you burn candles, you likely pick some of your favorite scents from a local candle shop. You may even like to make your own unique-smelling candles. Either way, the candles you burn can worsen your air quality while improving how your interior smells.

Most candles are made from waxes that release petroleum byproducts. Those byproducts, including benzene and toluene, make your air much more polluted.

Instead, burn candles made from beeswax. This kind of wax burns without producing scents or smoke, and it also releases negative ions into the air. As an added plus, beeswax candles burn at a much slower rate, so one candle can last a lot longer than other candle types.

If you do make your own candles, use pure beeswax to form them. If you prefer to have some kind of scent in your home, you can add natural oils like lavender, citrus, or eucalyptus. Not only will you have a natural, succulent candle, but you’ll also further combat allergies as the candle burns.

3. Bamboo Charcoal

Another natural way to purify your air is to use activated charcoals, specifically bamboo charcoal. The product is incredibly porous, so it can absorb many kinds of pollutants and odors in the air. Additionally, you can use bamboo charcoal in water.

Essentially, bamboo is heated to a certain temperature. The heat chars the bamboo without eliminating its oxygen supply. What’s left behind is a material that attracts moisture, pollutants, debris, and microbes in the air and causes these particles to cling to it. Without these particles in the air, you air quality improves.

4. Plant Air Purifiers

As we noted in our previous blog, plants do a wonderful job of purifying air. However, you’d likely have to incorporate dozens of plants into your home or office space for them to clean your air effectively.

A plant air purifier, on the other hand, uses hydrocultured house plants to clean air. The plants are grown without soil in a small container that resembles a plain and mostly empty terrarium. A fan in the purifier pulls air from your interior into the device. The air then circulates through it, getting cleaned in the process. The purified air is then expelled from another side of the device.  

5. HEPA Filters

Your home’s HVAC system uses filters to keep the air quality as high as possible. Sometimes, though, the filters can be so dirty that dust and debris still move through your vents and pollutes your air.

While you can use regular filters to keep pollutants out of your air, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are mechanical filters made of a fine mesh. The air is pushed through the mesh while dust, mites, dander, pollen, and other particulates get trapped in the filter.

Just remember to change the filters every three months (or sooner if you have pets), to keep the system working properly.

The Most Effective Solution

While using these natural methods to purify your air can be effective, the best and most powerful solution is to invest in air quality appliances. These devices can quickly and more thoroughly remove toxins, allergens, and microbes in the air, providing you with much cleaner air to breathe.

For example, air cleaners, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and UV germicide lamps all function to create cleaner, more breathable air indoors. If you need help deciding which device best works for your space and your budget, call Getzchman Heating and Air Conditioning.

We’ll work with you to discover your needs and find an appliance that works perfectly for your specific situation. We can also assist you with any other HVAC issues that may contribute to poor indoor air quality.

Houdini-Like Ways Cool Air Is Escaping from Your Home

Man Caulking Windows PictureIt can be tough to stay cool during summer – and it’s even more difficult when your house is leaking cold air. Unfortunately, finding and fixing cold air leaks can be tricky. Our technicians at Getzschman see these problems all the time, so they put together this list of common escape routes for air so you’ll know where to look. If your home feels too warm, make sure you check these places and make a plan to fix them.

Common Locations of Air Leaks

  • Insulation

Your house’s insulation is designed to keep the temperature stable inside your living space. Over time, though, insulation can develop leaks and weak spots that let cold air out and hot air in. Common places for insulation leaks include cracks around doors and windows, ceiling-mounted and wall-mounted light fixtures, and any opening that leads into your attic.

  • Ductwork

Your home’s air ducts are another common site for air leaks. Leaky ducts could let cool air into parts of your home you don’t want or need to cool, such as your attic or the interior of your walls. It’s important to keep your ducts properly sealed and insulated for your A/C system to work efficiently.

  • Doors and Windows

One of the most common and noticeable sources of air leaks are loose fittings around doors and windows. Small air gaps can easily allow cool air to escape your home and raise your energy bills. Finding and fixing these gaps isn’t too complicated, but can bring you big savings and help you stay cool.

  • Chimneys

Another common spot for air leaks is the chimney. If your chimney flue isn’t properly closed when not in use, it can allow air exchange with the outdoors, especially on windy days. Unfortunately, many houses have old or poorly maintained flues, making it difficult or impossible to prevent them from leaking without repair.

Related Read: 4 Quick AC Tricks to Save Money While Away on Vacay

How to Find Air Leaks in Your Home

If you think your home is leaking cool air, there are a few methods you can use to find the locations of the leaks:

  • Use Your Senses – Feel around doors, windows, light fixtures, wall outlets, and any other openings where materials meet using your hand. You can also wet your fingers with water to make drafts stand out more clearly.
  • DIY Depressurization Test – Depressurize your house and perform an inspection using a lit candle or a stick of incense. For a detailed walkthrough of performing a depressurization test, visit this page on Energy.gov.
  • Blower Test – Have an experienced contractor perform a blower test. Blower tests are basically advanced depressurization tests using specialized equipment to find leaks.

Fixing Cool Air Leaks

Once you’ve located air leaks in your home, you’ll need to fix them. The exact method you’ll use to fix leaks depends on the type and location, but there are a few common methods you can use for most leaks:

  • Caulk or Sealant: Use strong waterproof caulk or spray foam sealant on leaks around door or window frames, on leaky ductwork, or on cracks on your home’s exterior. You can also use weather-stripping to make an air barrier around loose doors or windows.
  • New Insulation: If your insulation is leaking, it may be time to add to it or replace it entirely. The cost for new insulation can vary widely depending on the type and amount you need.
  • Storm Windows and Air Barriers: If your home is losing cold air because of old construction methods like single-pane windows or open vent fans, you can use storm windows, storm shutters, or plastic air barriers to slow leaks and keep your cooling bills in check.

Want to learn more about keeping your house cool this summer? Call Getzschman Heating & Air Conditioning at (402) 554-1110 or contact us online.