Don’t Close Air Vents

In an effort to save more money by using less energy, many people close their air vents in rooms that get little or no use. However, instead of saving money, it could cause some serious issues. Read on to learn why closing vents does not have the desired effect on air distribution.

The blower in the HVAC system pulls air from the house through the return ducts, cools it, and pushes it back out through the supply ducts. The blower in high-efficiency HVAC systems is powered by an electronically commutated motor, also referred to as an ECM. This type of motor can adjust its speed. Those that are not high-efficiency are permanent split capacitor or PSC powered, which cannot adjust speeds.

Both systems are designed so that the blower pushes against some maximum pressure difference. If the filter is dirty or the supply ducts are restricted, the blower has to push against a higher pressure.

In the ECM system, this will make the motor increase in intensity to maintain proper air flow. As it works against the higher pressure, all efficiency is lost. A PSC motor will keep spinning, but its speed will decrease as the pressure increases.

When air ducts are closed in some rooms, the system becomes more restrictive. A higher pressure in the system will either ramp up the ECM blower, or move less air with a PSC blower, while also creating duct leakage.

This can also have an impact on the coil or heat exchanger. Lower airflow means a lower rate of heat exchange will occur. This will cause less heat to flow over the coil, making it colder, and possibly freezing. The refrigerant may not properly evaporate either, meaning it would come back into the compressor,  possibly ruining it.

In summary, here are 5 problems that can come from closing air vents:

  • Duct Leakage
  • Lower Air Flow/Increased Energy Use
  • Comfort Issues
  • Frozen Coil
  • Dead Compressor

Don’t close vents to save money. Instead, use an adjustable thermostat and be mindful of the energy being used.

3 Common Allergens to Worry About

Allergens

People worry about the outside air they breathe, but actually their main focus should be the air inside their home. With indoor air carrying 2 to 5 times more pollutants than outdoor air, poor indoor air quality is a concerning problem that should be addressed.

There are many allergens floating around both inside and outside, but some can be more troubling than others. Here are three of the most common allergens found in homes, and how to get rid of them:

  1. Dust Mites

Dust mites feed on human skin flakes and thrive in rooms with 40% humidity and above, and temperatures around 70 degrees. While they are commonly found in the bedroom, they can thrive anywhere in the house if it matches these conditions.

To eliminate as many dust mites as possible, wash all sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and bed covers in hot water. The water should be at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the dust mites. Use dust-proof covers on mattresses, box springs, and pillows to prevent their return.

  1. Mold

Mold loves wet, dark places in homes. The easiest way to keep mold spores from entering the air is to eliminate their chance of growing. Keep a fan on in the bathroom during and after showers, fix leaky appliances and faucets immediately, and use a dehumidifier when necessary.

If mold is found, call someone right away to get it looked at. Some mold can be toxic, causing even more serious health problems than an asthma attack or allergy flare-up.

  1. Pollen

While pollen has a huge impact outdoors, it can also have an impact indoors. Pollen can travel inside by clinging to clothing and shoes. Wiping down pets, keeping the windows closed, and using a media air cleaner can combat the issue of pollen inside the home.

Those with allergies or asthma shouldn’t have to suffer inside too. Take precautions to eliminate these three common indoor allergens and make breathing a little easier. Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about what they can do to help improve indoor air quality.

 

5 Reasons the AC Isn’t Producing Air

It’s been hot in Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley and everyone is turning to air conditioning for relief. For some, the AC might not be working properly, making it hard to stay cool. If the air conditioner isn’t moving much air, there are a few issues that could causing the problem:

  1. Dirty Air Filter

With the temperature staying steadily in the upper 90’s and low 100’s, the air conditioner is having to work even harder than usual. This can mean an excess of debris being caught in the air filter. Check the filter more often in extreme temperatures and change it out as needed.

  1. Dirty Evaporator Coil

If dirt and debris has found its way inside the air conditioning system, it can prevent the coil from removing the warm air from the house. No matter how much the air conditioner runs, the house won’t get cool. During annual AC maintenance checks Diamond Heating and Cooling checks for this issue to prevent blocked air flow later.

  1. Frozen Evaporator Coil

If the coil gets too cold, the condensation will freeze it, rendering it useless. Low airflow from a dirty filter or a refrigerant leak can cause the coil to freeze.

  1. Air Ducts

Air ducts carry the air throughout the house. If there’s an issue with them such as a leak, loose or disconnected ductwork, or kinks if it is flex ductwork, the air might not be flowing through them properly.

  1. Blower Issues

The blower forcefully moves the air into the ducts to be dispersed. If it isn’t working properly, it won’t be able to move the air into the home. The blower can be dirty, have a loose or worn fan belt, or be faulty.

If the air conditioner isn’t blowing cold air or any air, call Diamond Heating and Cooling right away. The team will get the system back up and running as soon as possible to make sure everyone stays cool this summer.

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.

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.