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.

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.

Dealing with Fluctuating Temperatures

Idaho experiences a significant amount of fluctuating weather and temperatures around this time of year. This can be hard for the HVAC system to keep up with. Keep your home comfortable during temperature fluctuations and save energy by following these tips:

  1. Smart Thermostat

These thermostats are one of the best ways homeowners can save energy and money. They help to gain control over comfort, and have many benefits. Smart thermostats allow for automation of heating and cooling, optimizing efficiency. Often they come with a phone app too so homeowners can adjust the temperature from anywhere. Use it to analyze energy usage to figure out how to decrease it and more.

  1. Window Treatments

Having the right window treatments can help minimize warm or cold air loss during times of fluctuation. They keep the home more comfortable without using any energy in the process.

  1. Fans

Not everyone is ready to turn on the air conditioner yet, but with 80 degree days, the house can get a little unbearable. Delay turning on the AC with the help of fans. They might not actually cool the room down, but they can make it feel cooler in whichever room they are used.

  1. Check the Weather Reports

It can be useful each morning to check what the weather is expected to be that day. This gives homeowners a heads up on how to program the thermostat and if they need to adjust it later on. Remember to turn the temperature up while away so the AC doesn’t run unnecessarily.

  1. Open the Windows

Open the windows for a few hours at night or in the morning during cooler hours instead of using the AC. Then shut them before leaving for the day and turning the AC on. The naturally cool air means the air conditioner won’t have to run as often until later when the day heats up.

Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about getting the air conditioner serviced or a new one installed before summer hits Boise and the Treasure Valley.

Causes of an Overflowing Drip Pan

An overflowing AC drip pan can lead to mold and mildew inside the home. While some amount of water in the drip pan is normal, it should not be overflowing. If this is happening, there are three issues that could be causing the overflow:

  1. Clogged Drain Line

Algae, calcium, or other minerals could begin to build up in the drain line. If the buildup becomes too large, it will begin to restrict water flow, causing the water to back up and overflow in the drip pan. To prevent this, schedule annual air conditioner maintenance with Diamond Heating and Cooling. During servicing, they check the condensate drain line and even clean the drip pan to get rid of any mold or mildew that has developed.

2. Broken Condensate Pump

When the HVAC system is functioning properly, the condensate pump automatically turns on when it comes into contact with water. The water in the drip pan rises, triggering the pump when it reaches a certain point. However, a broken condensate pump will allow water to continuously build up in the drip pan until it begins overflowing. A broken condensate pump is a fairly easy and inexpensive fix, especially for those with a Silver Club Membership.

3. Excessive Flow

If the water in the system is flowing at a rate that is more than the line can handle, over flow will happen. Excessive water is generally a byproduct of low refrigerant levels. They create ice on the evaporator coils, and when it begins to melt it creates more water than the system can handle.

An overflowing drip pan is an alarming problem that should be taken care of as soon as possible. Many homeowners don’t notice an overflowing drip pan until it has caused rot or mold. Check on the drip pan regularly to prevent this from happening. An annual AC maintenance check can also prevent the problem.

Air Conditioners Could Disrupt Sleep

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Air conditioners keep everyone comfortable during the warm weather months, but they might be disrupting restful sleep. A study conducted by Professor Kazuyo Tsuzuki at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has found that some settings on air conditioners could be affecting sleep quality.

The study was mainly focused on the timing of the airflow of the air conditioner and body movement. The settings found in the study could make people change positions while sleeping. They discovered that with greater airflow, there is an increase in body movement, heart rate, and a frequency in people waking.

During the study, they had two people sleep in two different rooms. The air conditioner was set to the same temperature in each room, but at different airflow velocities. One airflow was 0.4m/s and the other was 0.14 m/s, which is what the general AC is set at.

The person sleeping in the room with the general 0.14 m/s had greater body movements, increased heart rate and higher frequency of waking. They also discovered that the person rolled over or their sleep depth changed the moment the cool air blew out. The subjects used for the study were adult males, meaning cold airflow might have a greater impact on other people with a greater sensitivity to cold.

Staying cool at night is important for sleeping, but the general setting on the air conditioner could be making that sleep more restless. Turning down the velocity of the airflow could be the key to solving this issue according to the study’s findings.

For those who notice they have trouble sleeping with the AC on this summer, consider turning the air conditioner off at night, opening the windows, and putting a fan in the bedroom. While the fan doesn’t blow cool air, it creates a steady airflow that makes whoever is in the room feel cooler.

Is It Time to Replace the AC?

The people in Boise and the Treasure Valley probably won’t need to turn on the air conditioner for a couple more months, which means now is the perfect time to replace an air conditioner that might be past its prime. Not sure if it is in need of a replacement? Check for these five signs:

  1. Increasing Energy Bills

Were the energy bills last summer higher than usual? It could be a sign that the air conditioner isn’t running as efficiently as it should. As the unit gets older, it will continue to lose efficiency even with proper, routine maintenance.

  1. Age

Air conditioners are not designed to last forever. More specifically they are designed to last about 10 years. If the air conditioner is older than that, it will continue to go downhill, being less efficient each year.

  1. Inconsistent Temperatures or Humidity

Air conditioners don’t just control temperature, they also control humidity. If homeowners notice moisture accumulation around the windows the AC unit might not be properly dehumidifying the house.

  1. Noise

Some noise is expected, but rattling, buzzing, or ticking noises coming from the air conditioner are cause for concern. They could indicate a problem within the unit that needs to be addressed.

  1. Frequent Repairs

Has the team at Diamond Heating and Cooling had to come out and make repeated repairs to the air conditioner? It might be time to replace it with a newer, more efficient model. It will cost more up front, but will save money in the long run with fewer repairs and lower energy bills.

Schedule spring air conditioner maintenance with Diamond Heating and Cooling or have one of our service technicians come out and evaluate the condition of the current unit. We can help homeowners determine if the air conditioner needs replaced and if so, install the new one.

Leave HVAC Repairs to the Pros

There are a lot of things homeowners can fix by themselves around the house, but repairing the HVAC system should not be one of them. Repairing HVAC systems can be dangerous for those who have not gone through proper training, and if something goes wrong it could have an expensive consequence.

Here are five reasons homeowners should Call Diamond Heating and Cooling for HVAC repairs:

  1. High Voltage Electricity

HVAC systems use high voltage electricity, which can be very dangerous and even fatal. Technicians go through training to learn how to deal with electricity to avoid injuries. Any amount of money a homeowner might save on a DIY repair is not worth the potential risks.

  1. Chemicals

Mishandled refrigerant chemicals can affect everyone in the home, not just the person doing the repair. By law, HVAC technicians need an EPA 608 certification to work on air conditioning systems. During this training they learn how to handle refrigerant and how to properly dispose of it.

  1. Wrong Tools

Technicians have special tools related to HVAC problems such as a refrigerant leak. For a homeowner to buy all of the necessary HVAC tools, it would cost much more than a service call for an HVAC professional.

  1. Complex Interworking

Each brand of HVAC system is unique. Homeowners who watch a video on repairing a system might not realize that their system is completely different than the one in the video. Diamond Heating and Cooling’s technicians are familiar with many different HVAC brands and their complex parts.

  1. Expensive Mistakes

If the system or any of its fragile parts become damage in a DIY repair attempt, it will cost the homeowner even more to get the problem fixed after calling in a professional. Save money by calling Diamond Heating and Cooling the first time.

If something goes wrong with the HVAC system, Diamond Heating and Cooling is just a call away. Save time, money and stay safe by letting our technicians take care of the problem.