The Most Hazardous Contaminants Found in Ducts

January 15th, 2015

Just as you wouldn’t want your family to wear unwashed clothes, eat from dirty dishes, or sleep in unclean linens, you wouldn’t want them to breathe in polluted air either. But it surprises many homeowners to hear that the air inside of the home may actually be more polluted than the outside air. And regardless of whether your heating and air conditioning system has a quality filter installed along with it, there may still be any of these harmful contaminants positioned in the duct lining.

  • Dust: For household members with allergies or asthma, dust can be particularly problematic. It can remain in the ducts for long periods of time, building up until it is forced into your home through the vents and repeatedly cycling through your HVAC system.
  • Fiberglass: If your ducts have any holes or cracks, it’s possible that insulation material gets sucked into the ducts. This can cause serious lung irritation, and is especially dangerous with older building materials, in which asbestos may be present.
  • Bacteria/Viruses: Some bacteria and viruses thrive in the conditions in the ducts, potentially leading to illness and causing trouble for those with immune disorders.
  • Mold Spores: Mold develops in the damp, dark areas of the ducts, sending spores into the home as the blower fan forces air into the room.

Schedule Duct Cleaning with a Professional

It is difficult and potentially unsafe for amateurs to attempt to perform standard duct cleaning on their own. The following list contains some of the reasons to trust trained contractors with the job.

  • Professionals provide a thorough inspection of your ductwork before and after duct cleaning to better target the specific contaminants that exist in your air ducts.
  • Contractors are equipped with industrial vacuums which are strong enough to create negative pressure in the ducts.
  • A professional may point out areas of the ducts that need sealing or replacement for better efficiency in the future.
  • Your technician is trained to use the safest cleaning agents only and to clean gently enough that the ductwork remains intact and unscathed.
  • Professional duct cleaning can improve the performance of your HVAC system, reducing friction and allowing air to flow into a room more efficiently.

Get peace of mind with your next Louisville duct cleaning service when you call the experts at AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning,

How a Faulty Thermostat Affects Your Heating

January 8th, 2015

Although the heating system in your home contains lots of parts that must all work together to keep your home warm, it’s unlikely that you’ve dealt with any of the components in a hands on way—except for the thermostat. The thermostat is generally the only part of a furnace or heat pump that a homeowner deals with in a hands-on manner, but you may not expect that it can contribute to some common heating issues. In some drastic cases, the problems that occur as a result of thermostat trouble can lead you to call for premature heating installation in the Highlands.

Modern thermostats are far more effective than older thermostats. This is because older thermostats had dials and switches that were tough to read, making it difficult to tell whether you have set your heater to turn on at 67, 66, or 68 degrees, for example. And even a couple of degrees of difference can mean a lot for your heating bills or your comfort. If you set the thermostat higher than intended due to incorrect calibration or a thermostat that’s tough to navigate, the unit will have to work harder, meaning you’ll pay more on your monthly bills.

However, even with a newer thermostat, you can run into a number of different heating issues if it isn’t working properly. Often, you’ll be able to tell that something is wrong when your heater no longer gives off any heat. While this could be due to a faulty ignition system, electrical trouble, or one of many heating issues, it may also mean that the thermostat is failing. If something interferes with the thermostat wiring, your thermostat may be unable to communicate to your unit when it is time to run.

Another common problem resulting from defective thermostat wiring is short cycling. Short cycling is when a heating system is unable to complete the necessary cycle. It will run for a short period of time and then shut off before running again shortly afterwards. This is greatly detrimental to efficiency and can force components to wear down quickly.

The friendly technicians at AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning are trained for any sort of heating repairs or heating installation in the Highlands.

If you need a new thermostat or if you suspect any other heating issue, give us a call as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.

Signs that Your Heat Pump Needs Replacement

January 5th, 2015

Heat pumps are great options for heating your home. They’re energy efficient, safe, and with proper maintenance can last a good long time. Unfortunately, all things must pass eventually and your heat pump is no exception. Let’s take a look at the signs that it’s time to replace your heat pump.

Rise in Heating Costs

Heat pumps are remarkably energy efficient, owing to their ability to move heat from one place to another instead of relying on combustion to create it. That’s why it should be a warning sign when your heating bills start rising month after month. Sure, your heating bill is going to fluctuate a little anyway, according to your heating needs. However, a consistent upswing indicates that it’s time to replace your heat pump.

Rise in Frequency of Repairs

Every heating system is going to need repairs once in a while, including heat pumps. However, if you’re taking proper care of your heat pump you shouldn’t need to be having it serviced more than once or twice a year. As the heat pump gets older, the wear and tear from regular use will begin to build up on the various parts of the heating system. As each parts wears down at a slightly different rate, this will eventually cause different parts to start failing in rapid succession. If you have to call an HVAC technician every few weeks, your heat pump has probably gotten to the point where it’s cheaper to replace it than to keep repairing it.

Age

Age, when taken in conjunction with the other two signs, is another way to confirm that your heat pump has reached the end of its life. If your heat pump is older than ten years old, and has other problems like the ones listed above, then it’s a good time to replace it. If your heat pump is younger than ten years old, or doesn’t have anything else wrong with it, then you can probably get a few more good years out of it before replacing it.

If you’d like to know more about heat pumps, call AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning. We service heat pumps throughout the Jefferson area.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

January 1st, 2015

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning hope you have a great start to the year and a fruitful 2015.

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.” This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at AccuTemp Heating & Air Conditioning, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!

Does a Heat Pump Provide Sufficient Heating?

December 17th, 2014

When you’re looking into replacing an air conditioner and heating system around the same time, you may have someone tell you that a new heat pump can replace both systems at once. A heat pump works much like an air conditioner, with an indoor unit and outdoor unit through which refrigerant, a chemical blend, continuously cycles. But a couple of questions often come up when homeowners hear about this relatively new type of unit. How can the same technology used for air conditioning also provide heat? Will a heat pump be sufficient for heating installation in Middletown?

An air conditioner works by subjecting refrigerant to a couple of conversions that allow it to effectively absorb and release heat. First, refrigerant gains pressure at the compressor. It condenses at an outdoor coil where it simultaneously gives off heat to the surrounding air. Then, refrigerant travels into the house where the fan blows warm air over a coil so that it can evaporate and absorb heat. Therefore, an air conditioner doesn’t actually create any cool air at all; it moves heat out of the house.

A heat pump contains some additional components, but the key feature is the reversing valve. The reversing valve allows refrigerant to flow in the opposite direction, carrying heat into the home from the outside. This is effective even when temperatures drop very low, and in our area a heat pump won’t run into trouble operating throughout the year.

In most cases, a heat pump should provide just as much heating as a furnace, so long as it’s well cared-for and professionally maintained. But this is true for any heating system, and annual or twice annual professional maintenance is vital in ensuring year-round comfort and efficiency. A unit will run at its best when all the parts are cleaned and adjusted properly, which a technician can do at any maintenance visit. Besides that, a heat pump (or any other heating system) must be properly sized for your home in order to offer sufficient heating, a job which requires careful calculations and precision installation.

Call AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning to find out why a heat pump may be the best choice for air conditioning and heating installation in Middletown. Our licensed technicians can help you understand your options and also provide quality repairs and maintenance.

A Guide to Preventing Repairs for Your Ductless Heating System

December 12th, 2014

A ductless mini split heat pump is an excellent way to receive quality heating and cooling for a home without the problems that ductwork can create, like air leaks and dust and dirt contamination. But although the ductless heat pump installed in your home won’t give you headaches because of duct issues, you may still run into repair problems that will require heating and cooling professionals to fix. We have some tips for caring for your ductless mini split so you should need fewer repairs over the winter seasons (as well as during the summer when the heat pump switches over to cooling mode).

AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning provides full services for ductless mini split heat pumps. If you need ductless heating repair in Middletown, KY, give us a call no matter the problem. We’ll fix it right—or it’s free!

Ways you can prevent ductless heating system repair needs

  • Make sure the outside cabinet is clear of debris: The outside cabinet of a heat pump runs whether it’s in heating or cooling mode, and it needs to have at least a foot clear on all sides for it to properly absorb heat from the air during the winter and prevent dirt, sticks, rocks, and other obstructions from entering it. When snow is on the ground, make sure it is shoveled away from the cabinet.
  • Remember to give the indoor units a break: Because ductless systems use multiple blowers throughout the house, you can adjust them for different heating levels. Be cautious, however, not to allow these air handlers to run needlessly. This places a large strain on the units that could lead to them wearing down and needing repairs—and it will also waste money. Do a periodic check on the different air handlers around the house to make sure that you are only running the ones you need. Remember to turn off the local air handler when you plan to leave a room for a while, and remind everyone in the household to do the same. You will save on energy bills and have a system that will last longer.
  • Schedule regular maintenance: This is the most crucial step. If you did not have a technician come to your home to inspect your heat pump in the fall, schedule the work now. This inspection and tune-up is vital to see that a heat pump doesn’t have any impending repair issues and to perform cleaning and adjustments that will prevent malfunctions from developing. Around 80% of the repairs a home heating system may need can be prevented with regular maintenance, so make certain that you don’t miss a year.

Call AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning today to arrange for a maintenance visit if you haven’t already taken care of it. In case of repair needs, our team is also available to take care of whatever problems you may have, done fast and done right.

For ductless heating repair in Middletown, KY—or any kind of heating repair—make AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning your first call.

Problems You May Miss If You Attempt to Clean the Ducts on Your Own

December 4th, 2014

Every once in a while, you probably take the time to make sure you do a full-scale cleaning of your home, taking care to reach some of the nooks and crannies that are often neglected during a routine cleaning session. But one of the places that homeowners tend to neglect is the ducts. While you may be able to take a vacuum or a brush to the vent and a small area of the duct opening, you won’t be able to reach the portion of the ducts where some of the most potentially hazardous threats to your respiratory health may lurk.

Duct cleaning is vital not only to the quality of the air you breathe but also for the operation of your heating and air conditioning system. In order for your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) unit to be able to run at peak efficiency, it must receive and distribute a certain amount of airflow from and to your home. Without duct cleaning, the efficiency and performance of your unit suffers, as can your health, but this is a job you shouldn’t attempt on your own.

Why It’s a Job Best Left to Professionals

Simply put, your home vacuum is incapable of reaching most of the contaminants that pose a threat to the indoor air quality in your home. The ducts may contain particles such as dust, pet dander, and pollen. Or, moisture inside the ductwork or on the indoor air handler may have led to the development of mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Professionals have tools to safely scrub the lining of ducts to remove stuck-on contaminants that most homeowners miss when they attempt air duct cleaning on their own. Generally, technicians employ the use of a powerful vacuum which creates negative pressure in the ducts so that debris is rattled away from the lining and sucked into the hose. They will perform an inspection of the ducts and use a delicate brush to ensure the inside is completely clean and clear. And if you attempt to clean the ducts on your own, you may miss a major problem that is often found during inspection—duct leaks that could cause homeowners to lose up to 30% of energy efficiency every month.

Contact the team at AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning and be sure you’ve chosen industry experts for a thorough duct cleaning in Louisville. Give us a call today!

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2014

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at Accutemp Heating & Air Conditioning, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Some of Your Options for Air Filtration in Jeffersontown

November 17th, 2014

Is the air in your home really as clean as it could be? Even if you change the filter of your HVAC system regularly, you may not be getting the air filtration you need to keep everyone in your home healthy and comfortable. If you call on indoor air quality experts, like the friendly people at AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning, you may find out about new air filtration options that can help improve your living conditions and give you peace of mind.

Mechanical Filters

Your HVAC system came with a mechanical air filter to trap particles and prevent them from entering through the ducts and recirculating through the home. If you continue to rely on the same type of standard air filter you were given initially, you may be missing out on an opportunity to clean the air every time you run your heater or air conditioner. Look for the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) on a new filter, and try choosing a filter with a MERV of 12 or greater. These are effective at removing smaller particles than a standard filter, and can eliminate mold spores, dusting aids, pollen, and lead dust.

Electronic Air Cleaners

For advanced protection in the home, try installing an electronic air cleaner as well. These are recommended for people with respiratory problems like allergies and asthma, as they remove very fine particles from the air. There are two types of electronic air cleaner: an electrostatic precipitator and an ion generator. The former sucks in air to charge particles so that they stick to metal plates with an opposite charge, which must be cleaned every few months. An ion generator charges particles in the air instead so they cling to surfaces like the walls and drapes rather than circulating in the air.

UV Germicidal Lights

People who are at risk for illness due to immune system disorders might also consider UV germicidal lights as an option for filtration. These are installed in the ducts and can sterilize and kill bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms so they no longer pose a threat to your health.

Call AccuTemp Heating and Air Conditioning to learn more about the best options for your indoor air quality in Jeffersontown today.