Landscaping for the Outdoor AC Unit

For the inside part of the air conditioner to work properly, the outside unit needs to be in good shape. The area around the outside unit can have a huge impact on how well it works. Here are some landscaping tips to help it run better:

  • Make Room

The outside unit needs at least two feet of space on each side. When planting bushes or other foliage, keep that in mind. If they grow too close, keep them trimmed back. This allows for optimal breathing room and enough space for technicians to easily work on the AC unit.

  • Cover the Ground

A layer of gravel in landscaped areas near the unit can help prevent debris from getting into the unit when there’s wind and rain. It keeps the dirt and sand from flying around.

  • Shade

Make life a little easier for the outside AC unit by proving some shade for it. This keeps the condenser cooler, which means it doesn’t have to work as hard. Add some surrounding plants that are tall enough to provide some shade coverage.

  • Shedding

Many plants shed their leaves, needles, berries, or nuts, which can pose a problem for the outside unit. Choose the plants in that area carefully, and clean up after them on a regular basis.

  • Storm Protection

When deciding where to place the outside air conditioning unit, look at where most of the wind comes from and if it can be shielded. If the house is no help being a windbreak, a short fence might be ideal to protect it from debris. That way there’s less of a chance of harmful dirt and debris getting lodged inside.

If the outside AC unit is experiencing an issue, give Diamond Heating and Cooling a call. 24/7 service with no afterhours fees means fast and friendly service for Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley.

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.

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.

Air Conditioners Could Disrupt Sleep

cat

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.

Installing a High Efficiency System

Homes with HVAC systems that are more than 10 years old should consider an upgrade. This is especially true for those that have experienced frequent repairs and uneven heating or cooling throughout the house. Replacing the current system with an Energy Star-rated model before it fails can bring a lot of benefits.

  1. Lowered Utility Bills

Replacing an old system that is inefficient, with a new high efficiency model could save homeowners at least $115-$200 annually according to Energy Star. Homeowners could also qualify for tax credits for investing in energy efficiency.

  1. Less Maintenance

Older HVAC systems tend to have more problems that can lead to costly repairs even with regular maintenance. Investing in a newer model will cut down on repairs and maintenance costs.

  1. Comfort

Higher efficiency systems heat and cool a home and with less effort. Homeowners will experience evenly distributed heating, more consistent temperatures, and steady air flow throughout the entire house. Comfort is important, especially during the winter and summer months.

  1. Environmentally Better

Models with high efficiency have a minimal impact on the environment compared to their older counterparts. They use less fuel to operate, which helps to conserve energy.

  1. Increased Value

Buyers are starting to take more notice of the HVAC systems in houses they are considering for purchase. They tend to be willing to pay more for a home with a high efficiency system, correctly programmed thermostat, proper insulation, and sealed ductwork. When homeowners are thinking about selling, a high efficiency heating and cooling system will help bring a better price for the home.

Diamond Heating and Cooling wants everyone to be warm this winter and not have to deal with a system that’s breaking down. Talk to them today about finding and installing a high efficiency system to start experiencing the benefits above.