Preventing Air Conditioner Fires

If an air conditioner is not regularly maintained and used properly, it can become a serious fire hazard. To avoid having the air conditioner start a fire, learn about the most common causes of air conditioning fires:

  1. Failure to Clean

The elements in an air conditioning unit need to be clean to work properly. If dust, dirt, and other debris accumulates in the vents, on coils, and on filters, it can obstruct the air flow. Diminished air flow can cause the unit to overheat and catch fire. Cleanliness is something Diamond Heating and Cooling looks at during their annual AC service.

  1. Faulty Parts

If the air conditioner is not clean, then it may not have been inspected in quite some time. This allows faulty parts and equipment to go unnoticed. Faulty parts can cause air conditioning fires when left until they stop working. Having Diamond Heating and Cooling come out once a year to check the air conditioner before the temperatures heat up can prevent this problem.

  1. Flammable Materials

Keeping items that are flammable near the air conditioner can put it at risk of catching fire. Keep leaves from accumulating near the air conditioner. Avoid storing gasoline and papers near the air conditioning unit too. A clear space of 3 feet around the unit is recommended.

The best way to prevent an air conditioner fire is to have Diamond Heating and Cooling inspect and service the air conditioning unit annually. We will check for faulty parts, make sure the unit is clean, in good repair and we can repair any issues that may be present.

To save on HVAC maintenance year-round, ask about becoming a Silver Club Member. For $13.50/month, Diamond Heating and Cooling comes out twice a year to perform maintenance. Silver Club Members also enjoy perks like 20% off repairs, guaranteed appointments with 24 hours, and much more.

Air Conditioning Tips for Vacation

vacation-AC

This time of year, many people head out of town on vacation. With the scorching heat that is coming the Boise area, vacationers need to prepare the AC before they leave. Deciding whether to leave it on or turn it off can depend on a few key factors, such as:

  1. Length of Vacation

For those who only plan to be gone for a couple days, it might be best to just leave the air conditioner on, but set at a higher temperature than normal. In the end, it will help save energy because residents won’t be coming home to a hot house and trying to cool it down rapidly.

For longer vacations, such as a week or more, turning the system completely off will save the most energy. However, if animals are being left in the home, it needs to remain at a comfortable temperature for them, so the AC might need to be left on at a slightly higher temperature.

  1. Weather

Checking what the local weather forecast can give homeowners an idea of what the temperature will be while away. This can help with setting the thermostat accordingly. Weather in Boise doesn’t always follow the suspected patterns, but the forecast can still be a helpful tool.

  1. Controlling Humidity

Air conditioners also help keep humidity down in the home. Turning off the air conditioner for long periods of time could lead to excess moisture building up in the home. This could cause moisture damage to the flooring, walls, and more.

Most of the time, setting the thermostat to a slightly higher temperature while away is the best bet to keeping the house cool and saving as much energy as possible. However, there are some instances when turning it off might save homeowners even more money. Just take the above factors into account when deciding.

Make sure the air conditioner is ready to go before another Boise heatwave with the help of the technicians at Diamond Heating and Cooling.

Learning About MERV Ratings

To get the most out of your HVAC system, everyone says to look at MERV ratings. What exactly is MERV and why does it matter? Here’s the rundown:

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It’s essentially measuring the effectiveness of the air filter in question. A filter can have a MERV rating ranging from 1 to 16. The higher the rating, the fewer dust particles and other contaminants can pass through it.

When filters are tested for a MERV rating, they use common particles like pollen, dust mites, carpet fibers, mold spores, pet dander, and more. Most residential systems can remove airborne contaminants like those listed above with a filter that has a MERV rating of 7-12. Filters with a rating of 13-16 are generally used in hospital-type settings.

The higher the MERV rating, the less particles that can get through the filter. This means the most efficient filter must have the highest rating, right? Not exactly. Filters with higher MERV ratings have smaller pores, which lets less air through. It can create resistance in airflow that the HVAC system can’t handle. The system will then have to work harder to pump air through the filter, lowering the efficiency and increasing the energy bill.

Every HVAC system is different. Find out what MERV rating the system can handle and still allow for maximum airflow. This will help homeowners get the most out of the HVAC system and get the cleanest air possible.

It’s also worth noting that filters with higher MERV ratings need to be changed more frequently than those with lower ratings. Because these filters are catching more contaminants, they are more likely to get clogged and restrict the airflow. Be sure to check the filters frequently and change them often for the best results.

Not sure which filter is best? Talk to the technicians at Diamond Heating and Cooling when they come out for an annual HVAC check-up. They’re happy to help and educate their customers.

Relieving AC-Caused Sinus Congestion

AC Sinus

The weather in Boise and the surrounding areas is heating up. For those who haven’t turned on the air conditioner yet, the 90+ degree weather this weekend might push that button. The cool air from the air conditioner is a sweet relief, but it can also wreak havoc on the sinuses for some people.

The first week the air conditioner is running, it might trigger runny noses or congestion. It is a common and natural reaction to the cold, dry air in the home. The cool air can trigger nervous system reflexes in the nose. These glands begin to produce mucus, causing either a runny or stuffed up nose.

The congestion should only be brief while the body is adjusting to the new temperature and humidity of the air-conditioned house. However, those who suffer from allergies might have a harder time adjusting.

If the air conditioner filter is clogged with pollen, mold spores, and other allergens, they could be getting released into the air and irritating the sinuses even further. Therefore, it is extremely important to check and replace the filter a minimum of every three months.

If the sinus congestion becomes too much too handle, try these tips:

  • Salt Water

Flushing out the nose and sinuses with lukewarm salt water can decrease sinus infections, or relieve symptoms related to the air conditioner. This can be done with a nasal spray, irrigation kit, or a neti pot.

  • Humidifier

Since the sinuses are reacting to the dry air, investing in a humidifier can help. The humidifier creates moisture in the room that can relieve sinus congestion. Humidity in the home should be kept between 30 and 50 percent for comfort.

  • Drink Water

While it sounds so simple, water is key to sinus health. To keep mucus flowing smoothly, drink enough water. During warmer days, people usually need more water than normal to stay hydrated.

When the filter on air conditioner is clean, it can reduce sinus issues and allergies. However, the temporary runny nose and congestion that comes from turning the AC on might be unavoidable. Just keep some tissues nearby for the time being and try the tips outlined above.

For any air conditioner or indoor air quality issues this summer, call the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling.

Trust Your Senses with HVAC Issues

Air conditioner

When people sense something wrong, they are using one or more of their senses. Those senses can help homeowners determine if their HVAC system is in trouble. Read on to find out which three of your senses to use when it comes to the HVAC system.

  1. Smell

The HVAC system can put out a lot of different smells especially when first turned on in the spring or summer. If something doesn’t smell right, the best thing to do is turn off the system and call Diamond Heating and Cooling right away. Over 10 percent of home fires reported annually are related to the HVAC system.

  1. Hearing

Most air conditioners make a bit of noise when starting, which is normal. However, any unusual sounds like grinding, squealing, or clicking could indicate a serious problem. Be aware of what the air conditioner usually sounds like, and listen for any new noises when it is running this year.

  1. Touch

Air conditioners are geared toward the sense of touch or feeling. Their entire goal is to make the home feel more comfortable and cool. It’s fairly easy to tell when it isn’t doing its job by this sense. One room may be not getting as cool as the rest of the house, or the temperature isn’t matching the thermostat. Either way, call Diamond Heating and Cooling for help.

Use your senses to help determine if there’s an issue with the HVAC system when the air conditioner is in use this spring or summer. If any issues arise, Diamond Heating and Cooling can run diagnostics to figure out the problem.

To save money on AC services and maintenance, consider becoming a Silver Club Member. For only $13.50 a month, homeowners can receive many benefits, such as free maintenance and filters, as well as discounts on services.

5 Common HVAC Questions

HVAC Repair

Over the years, Diamond Heating and Cooling has answered many questions from homeowners regarding HVAC systems. Helping them learn more about their HVAC system and how to keep it running well is something Diamond’s technicians strive to do. Here are five of the most common questions homeowners have and the answers to them:

  1. What size of system do I need?

The answer to this question depends on factors like the size of the home. A system that’s too big or too small can increase energy bills, and decrease the lifetime of the system. Having Diamond Heating and Cooling measure the home to determine the proper HVAC system will ensure the perfect fit.

  1. How can I increase efficiency?

To keep an HVAC system running at peak efficiency, homeowners should replace the filter regularly and schedule annual maintenance with Diamond Heating and Cooling. The filter can have a huge impact on how well the HVAC system runs and maintenance catches any potential problems.

  1. How often should an HVAC system be serviced?

At Diamond Heating and Cooling, we recommended having the system serviced twice a year. The furnace should be serviced in the fall before cold weather hits and the air conditioner should be serviced in the spring. Seasons can be harsh in Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley, which can put a strain on the system, so twice a year maintenance is encouraged.

  1. How often should the filter be changed?

At the very least, the filter needs to be changed every three months. During the months when it works harder, like the middle of summer or winter, changing it every month might be needed.

  1. How much does HVAC replacement cost?

Again, no two houses are the same, which means system replacement costs will differ. Diamond Heating and Cooling offers many brands of HVAC systems at a straightforward price.

For further questions, contact Diamond Heating and Cooling.

Creating Humidity Indoors

IndoorHumidityAir conditioners keep the house at a comfortable temperature, but what about humidity? Often as the air conditioner absorbs heat, through its evaporation process it can also absorb moisture from the air. Humidity plays a very important role in comfort and if it is too low, it can cause issues such as respiratory issues, dry skin, and more.

It’s recommended to keep indoor humidity at 35-50% so that the air isn’t dry, but it isn’t so humid that mold and mildew start to grow. Here are a few ways humidity can be increased to a comfortable level:

  1. Plants

Plants produce moisture that is absorbed into the air, creating humidity. Having several potted plants around the house is a very effective way to increase humidity. As a bonus, some types of plants can purify the air, making it easier for everyone to breathe.

  1. Humidifiers

One of the most common ways to increase humidity is with a humidifier. Whether it is a single room or whole house humidifier, it will help add the necessary moisture.

  1. Standing Water

Place bowls or vases of water throughout the home. The water evaporates into the air adding to the humidity. These should be placed on high surfaces so children or pets can’t knock them over. Create a cute display with rocks and floating flowers to make them decorative.

  1. Boil Water

Boiling water on the stove adds humidity as the water vaporizes. To help it circulate around the house, keep fans on low and turn the AC fan on as well.

  1. Water Fountain

Decorative water fountains are aesthetically pleasing and create a soothing sound. They can also help introduce humidity into a room.

Diamond Heating and Cooling wants everyone to be comfortable while inside this summer. Homeowners who experience air conditioner problems should call Diamond Heating and Cooling to get the problem evaluated and fixed in an efficient manner.