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Put your HVAC system at the top of your spring cleaning to-do list.

Spring Cleaning your HVAC system may not be at the top of your priority list.  But, it has several advantages, including extending the life of your equipment, cheaper energy bills, increased home comfort, and improved indoor air quality.  When the seasons change, it is time to start your spring cleaning!  Why not include your Central AC system as a part of that?

Contact your HVAC contractor for routine maintenance, which should include:

Woman with basket of spring cleaning materials
Woman holding a basket with cleaning equipment.

Examine the electrical systems and record the amp draw. Vibration, age, and corrosion can all weaken or damage electrical connections, which should be maintained, cleaned, and tightened on a regular basis. Qualified professionals can also test the amp draw to discover excessive power consumption and the proper operation of the auxiliary heating system (when present).

Examine the outdoor unit. Have your external system’s components been looked at by a licensed professional to prevent any disruption later?  They can ensure that rodents haven’t chewed on wires during this time.

Clean the outside and inside units. Keep your outside unit clear of shrubs, leaves, and other debris to guarantee optimal airflow. The coil in the indoor unit can cause indoor air quality issues or prevent proper airflow. Regular maintenance might detect minor issues before they become major ones.

Routine Maintenance for Your AC System

Check for the safety of combustion. Combustion gases are produced by propane, gas, and oil furnaces (or water heaters!). Carbon monoxide and other harmful contaminants are frequently included in these gases, especially when there is an incomplete burn. Systems that do not have proper exhaust can allow these gases to enter your home rather than exit through the vent.

Examine Ducts. Dirty ducts contribute to poor indoor air quality, which can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms. While Haley Mechanical doesn’t clean duct, we can recommend some legitimate companies.

Maintaining your AC System

Measure the airflow through the system. Did you know that the majority of HVAC systems do not provide adequate airflow? That implies the rooms in your house aren’t getting the cooler air they need to keep you comfortable. A trained HVAC contractor will measure the entire airflow of your system (at the unit).  This will help determine issues that might be causing restricted airflow.

Replace your system’s filter with one that is suited for your system. You may be tempted to do this work yourself.  But unsuitable filters might impede your system’s airflow.  This could result in increased energy consumption and possibly lasting damage to your system. Consult with an HVAC professional to determine the best filter for your system.

Purchase a maintenance plan from your HVAC contractor that includes a system service every 6 months. Regular maintenance reduces expenses by preventing the components of the system from deteriorating.

Don’t wait until summer arrives and your system fails when you need it the most. By taking the time to have proper maintenance, you won’t have to worry about it failing in the hot summer heat.

Most HVAC contractors have more scheduling flexibility.  In some cases, they offer savings in the spring before excessive demand overwhelms them on those hot summer days.

Women in the HVAC Industry

Mirror in a nice home

Regardless of where you live in the country, you know that our heating and cooling systems are important to everyday life. We use them almost daily, just about everywhere, from our homes to businesses and office settings. Because of this, there is a huge demand for HVAC specialists. The demand is high and the earnings for such a position are very good. However, a surprisingly low number of women are getting into this industry. In fact, the women in this industry make up about 1.4-9% of the population. This is a unique opportunity for women. There is a need for more women to become involved in HVAC systems, repair and maintenance of these systems, and better understand the systems overall. Let’s look at what is entailed in becoming an HVAC technician.

What is HVAC?

Let’s start by understanding what HVAC stands for and what the system actually is. The acronym HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It’s the system that keeps your home or office cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Your system is also responsible for providing you with clean air by filtering out harmful particles and gases.

The Importance of Properly Maintaining Your HVAC Equipment

It is important to maintain your HVAC equipment properly in order to protect your home from the dangers of extreme temperatures. The following are some things you should do to keep your HVAC system running smoothly.

1) Keep the filters clean.

2) Change filters regularly.

3) Have a professional inspect and tune up your system every year.

4) Clean or replace coils as needed, usually every two years.

5) Clean ducts and registers as needed, usually every five years.

Your HVAC systems are very complex systems for many people to understand and maintain on their own. This is why it is so important for us to have licensed and trained technicians that can do these jobs. Our furnace and AC units are very important in maintaining a healthy environment, and when they are down, people are frantic to get them back working again. That’s when they call out an HVAC technician for help.

What Exactly Does an HVAC Technician Do?

HVAC technicians are responsible for repairing, maintaining, and installing heating and cooling systems in homes and businesses. They can also install or maintain equipment that controls airflow in buildings.

An HVAC technician will usually work in a team with other technicians who specialize in different aspects of the industry. Some will specialize in electrical work, while others will install ductwork. The team may also include a project manager who coordinates all the different parts of the job.

What skills do you need to become an HVAC technician?

HVAC technicians are the backbone of any heating and cooling system. They install, repair, and maintain these systems with an eye for accuracy and efficiency. This career requires a lot of training, but the payoff is a stable employment opportunity with good pay–in some cases, six-figure salaries are possible.

What Are Some Current HVAC Industry Trends?

As with all the construction industry, current trends are up and coming in the HVAC industry. These trends are simple things to things that are more complex. We are now seeing more and more smart home technology enter the HVAC world. This can be simple things such as a new thermostat to more complex overall systems that can transfer more heat or cooling to various areas of the home as needed. These units have the ability to be controlled from a simple app on your phone from just about anywhere. 

Solar HVAC systems turn the sun’s solar energy into usable power for your AC units and furnaces. There are also Geothermal HVAC options as well. These systems use the ground’s temperature to help heat and cool the systems. As the trends grow, the HVAC technicians will become more educated on the different systems and installing, maintaining, and repairing them. 

History of Women Working Trade Jobs

Women can do ANYTHING!  

Yes, that’s right, we believe that women can do anything they put their minds to. However, throughout history, women were more notorious for doing domesticated jobs such as cleaning, cooking, and taking care of the home. It wasn’t until WWII, when there was a shortage of workers, that the women stepped it up and started working outside of the home to keep the country going. During this time, many men were overseas at war, and it was up to the women to take charge of the future of this country. They started out busting down the stereotypes and traditions and learning new trades and skills.

Women HVAC Trailblazers

The four trailbralzer women in the HVAC industry were Samantha Lott, Telese Williams, Karen Lamy DeSousa and Gerri Domenikos. These women saw an opportunity and went for it, despite the challenges. 

The biggest challenge in being a female in the male-dominated HVAC industry is that those they work with and for might not look to them as less than experts. However, for most women, this is a simple challenge that can quickly be overruled by their knowledge of the systems and industry. There is also a challenge in finding role models and support networks for these women as well.

However, an entire organization is devoted to women in the HVAC field. It is called the Women in HVACR that offers support to those in the industry. HVACR stands for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration. 

Women in HVAC can do everything that men can do. Some HVAC positions are:

  • Associate – You simply need a GED or high school diploma to become an associate. These are the people that assist the technicians in repairs and installations of residential and commercial units.
  • Technician – They hand in the repairs and installation of the AC and heating systems. Each technician typically will have a specialty of AC, REfrigeration, or Ventilation, depending on their skillset and preference.
  • Engineer – Responsible for the framework of the systems and the inspection.
  • Installer-Strictly installed new systems.
  • Manager-Assigned jobs and checks on activities. Coordinate the employees, hire, and interview.
  • Business Owner 

If you are a woman and feel you have what it takes to become an HVAC expert, don’t let anything stop you. You are just as much qualified to complete the training and exercise your knowledge within the field. This is a great opportunity for both men and women that offers very stable work at a great wage.  

Learn more: https://www.womeninhvacr.org

Tips to Conserve Heat This Winter

Every year it seems the costs for heating your home go up and up.  And every year, we find ourselves looking for ways to conserve heat and lower our heating bills. After all, heating our home adds up to about half of our monthly energy bills.  

This year the forecast predicts a colder than average winter, along with rising energy costs, which means you can expect your heating bills to increase by hundreds of dollars.

  • Natural Gas – People heating with natural gas can expect their heating costs to rise 30% (on average) due to the increase in gas prices
  • Electricity – People who use electric heat can expect their heating costs to rise 6% (on average)
  • Propane – People who use propane for heating can expect their heating cost to rise 46% (on average)

Now, it is more important than ever to look for ways to conserve heat this winter to reduce these expected rising costs.   Thankfully there are several tips to help; many are low cost or no cost to you.

Couple sitting on couch in warm home

Keep the heat inside your home

One of the best ways to save on your heating bills this winter is to make sure your home is not leaking heat outside. 

An excellent place to start is with our windows and doors.  Both of these places let out close to 30% of our homes heat.  Caulking and using weather stripping can help seal any gaps at your windows and doors, reducing heat loss.  

Sealing around electrical outlets, attic hatches, baseboard heaters, etc., can reduce drafts and save you up to 10 or 20 percent on your heating bill.

Windows

You can do more than just sealing your windows to help with rising heat costs.  

Use a quality window film to seal your windows to minimize the amount of draft coming thru your windows.  

On sunny days, open the curtains and allow the sunshine to help boost the temp inside your home.  Then, at night, be sure you close the curtains to help hold heat inside. 

Turning the thermostat down

We hear turning the thermostat down helps, and it does. For example, if you lower your thermostat by 10 degrees when you are sleeping and are gone during the day, you may save 10% on your overall heating costs.  This can significantly impact the overall costs of heating your home this winter. 

Look up your chimney

Using a fireplace is a great way to help provide heat in your home.  However, it is vital to double-check that the chimney flue is closed when not in use.  An open flue allows warm air to leave your home right up the chimney.  If you have an older chimney that does not have a flue, you can install vents/doors to help seal the airway.  

Another vent to make sure you keep closed when not in use is exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom. 

Tune-up your furnace

Keeping your furnace in tip-top shape is another great way to ensure it is heating your home efficiently.   Schedule an annual furnace tune-up every spring.  The technician will give it a thorough going over, ensuring that it is operating at max efficiency.  The more efficient your furnace is working, the lower your heating costs will be. 

Try these tips

Try any of these handy tips to help keep you warm this winter.

What Is Google Nest and How Is It So Useful?

What is Google Nest

Nearly three-quarters of US homes had at least one smart home device in 2019. Since the pandemic forced so many peoples to stay home, that number has almost certainly only increased. As time goes on, more and more households are joining the 21st century.

And Google Nest is one of the most popular ways to do it.

So, what is Google Nest? What sets it apart from other smart home solutions? And how could it help you out in your home?

Let’s find out.

What Is Google Nest? It’s the ‘Smart’ in ‘Smart Home’

Google Nest is a network of smart home products from (you guessed it) Google. Rather than a singular item, Google Nest encompasses everything from speakers, to WiFi extenders, to doorbells.

Because they all come straight from Google, Nest products work fluidly to create a seamless smart home experience. For example, your Nest Audio devices combine easily to double, triple, or quadruple your listening experience.

Plenty of people ask, ‘What is the Google Nest Hub? Is it necessary to take advantage of other Google Nest products?’ The answer is no, but the Hub can act as a convenient central device to base your other Nest products around.

For instance, the Hub can be used to check on your Nest cameras, control your thermostat, adjust Google Nest Mini volumes, and more. It’s a great way to build a home ‘command center.’

What Are the Benefits of Google Nest?

The key benefit of Google Nest is the ‘anywhere, anytime’ control it gives you over your home. Imagine heading home from work and being able to set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature on the way. Or imagine a truly house-wide audio system so your music keeps playing in every room.

There are also several potential security benefits. You can use the Nest Video Doorbell and cameras to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. It’s even possible to see when doors in your home open and close using the powerful Nest Secure device range.

All in all, the key benefit of a Google Nest smart home system is that it reduces the burden on homeowners and tenants. Being able to control so many aspects of your home from a single Hub (or your phone) is transformational. Even better, so much of the Nest range takes care of itself that you barely have to think about it at all.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, you can even get the whole system installed for you. Now that’s convenient!

At Home With Google

So, what is Google Nest? It’s the ultimate in unified home convenience and security. By installing Nest devices in your home, you can extend your ability to control your house while reducing the burden of home-care your experience. 

Everyone knows caring for a home is a big responsibility; with Google Nest, you don’t have to shoulder it alone.

Liked this article? Check out our blog for more!

Warning Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Servicing

Air conditioner maintenance needed - warm lady

Do you live in a home with an air conditioner, but you’re not sure how to tell when it’s breaking down? Is there something wrong with your air conditioner, but you’re not sure if it needs a professional?

Air conditioner maintenance is an essential part of keeping your machine running without fail.

Many homeowners rely on their air conditioners to keep them safe and comfortable during those searing hot summer months. Without a working AC, you’re putting your family and yourself at risk for things like heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

To stop this from happening, check out the warning signs below that indicate when you need AC maintenance!

Blows Hot Air

If you notice that your AC is blowing out hot air instead of cold, then it’s time to think about an air conditioner maintenance service. This makes your machine work harder since it’s increasing your home’s temperature but thinks it still needs to cool everything down. It’ll get caught in a constant loop trying to do its job.

This excessive hot air also damages the inner workings of the machine, which results in more significant repairs in the future.

Sometimes it’s as easy as changing the filter or refilling the refrigerant. Other times, it requires an experienced hand to find the underlying problem.

Leaks Water

Leaks are never a good sign, and an air conditioner is no exception to this rule and should be at the top of your air conditioner maintenance checklist.

Leaking indicates that there’s a clog in the drain line or condensation pipes and could cause further damage. If the leaking is bad enough, it could even cause water damage to other parts of your home. Left unattended, this water damage might turn into a mold problem that puts your family in a health-risk situation.

Trying to take your machine apart and fix it by yourself is never a good idea. Instead, call your local professionals to ensure that nothing is damaged further!

Blocked Air Flow

Do you have your air conditioner turned on all the time but never notice a dip in temperature? Are there a few rooms that get cooled down but not others?

This indicates that something is blocking the cool air from getting into the home.

Over time, dust and debris build up in your vents, making it more difficult for the air conditioner to push out the cold air it’s producing. This is why some rooms might cool down more than others. Make sure to note down which rooms still get the cool air so that you can tell your local service company where to look within the vents.

Another cause behind poor airflow is the compressor. It might be breaking down and will need a professional to look at it for repairs.

Continuous Cycling

An AC that constantly churns and cycles is never a good sign for any homeowner. It means that the machine is working overtime without doing much of anything.

Short-cycling is often a warning that there’s a problem with the thermostat, but it could be more serious such as air leaks letting the cold air escape the system.

Either way, these are issues that a professional AC maintenance company can fix for you right away.

Foul Odor

Is there a weird smell in the air? Have you looked throughout your home but still can’t find the culprit behind the odor? The chances are good that it’s coming from your air conditioner.

As soon as you notice this problem, it’s essential to turn off the air conditioner right away and call for maintenance. Sometimes trapped moisture sits in a machine and starts to mold, which is a health hazard to you and your family.

It could also be due to a dirty filter blowing out contaminated air that smells like old wet socks. It’s an unpleasant way to enjoy an air conditioner!

Call for maintenance and let the professionals figure out the problem to get your AC smelling new again.

Strange Noises

It’s not uncommon for an AC to make a few noises, mainly when it cycles, but it should be silent for the most part. Besides the sound of blowing air, you shouldn’t even notice it running most of the time.

If there’s a loud bang or screeching sound, there’s something wrong with the machine, and it needs maintenance as soon as possible.

Banging indicates that there might be a loose part inside the AC and is moving around, causing damage to other parts of the system. Screeching occurs when there’s a moving part that’s stuck or obstructed and grinds against the obstruction.

Both situations are never good for homeowners and will require professional help to fix. If ignored, those noises will create more significant problems in the future that’ll end up costing you even more money. Make sure to call for AC maintenance to get your machine working again!

Higher Energy Costs

Most air conditioner maintenance warning signs are easy to spot if you know what to look for in your home. Sometimes, however, problems occur that don’t have an easy way to notice.

This is when your bills come in handy. If there’s a massive spike in your energy bill, that indicates that there’s something wrong with your air conditioner system.

The cost of running a broken machine over a long time is more than the air conditioner maintenance cost. It’s essential to call for service as soon as you notice the increase in your bills.

Stay Comfortable All Year Long With Regular Air Conditioner Maintenance

With thousands of homes using ACs in America, everyone should know the air conditioner maintenance warning signs. It keeps people safe and also helps to cut down on overall costs.

Make sure to share this list with your friends and family so that they can keep their AC in working order all year long as well!

Do you need central air conditioner maintenance right now? Contact us right away, and we’ll help you through the process!

Why Radiant Floor Heating is a Great Idea for Any Home

Radiant In-Floor Heating Being Installed

Odds are good that your home has a forced air heating system. It’s the most common type of heating in the US. Yet, despite their common use, forced air systems leave a lot of people unhappy.

These systems become progressively more troublesome as they age, which means ever-rising repair costs. They also do a poor job of heating floors. That can make getting up and walking around in the winter an uncomfortable experience.

One alternative is radiant floor heating. Not familiar with those? Keep reading for some key reasons why radiant floor heating systems are a great idea for any home.

Efficient

Forced air systems are inefficient. The systems heat and move air around. While that’s fine for a quick boost in temperature, air does an extremely poor job of holding heat.

The warmth in the air dissipates very fast. That means the system must run more often to maintain temperatures, which drives up your utility costs.

Radiant floor heating and hydronic radiant floor heating systems, in particular, are much more efficient. Rather than heating the air, the heat the floor.

The materials of your floor do much a much better job of holding heat. That means the system runs less often and uses up less electricity.

Makes Interior Design Easier

Standard systems use floor vents or radiators to distribute heat in your home. The problem with these is that you must keep them unobstructed.

Put a couch over a floor vent and heat doesn’t get into the room. Put furniture or wall hangings too close to a radiator and it’s a fire hazard. That means your interior design efforts must work around your heating system.

With radiant systems, you don’t have vents or radiators to worry about. The floor itself is your heating system. That leaves you free to design and decorate your home as you see fit.

Safe

Anyone who ever caught a toe on a floor vent or desperately yanked a child away from a hot radiator knows that heating systems come with certain perils. Even a single moment of inattention can leave you with a nasty burn from a radiator.

Plus, there is always the potential that someone will leave or drop something too close to a radiator and start a fire.

Radiant floor heating offers a gentle heat. Under normal circumstances, the floor should never grow hot enough to pose a risk of burns or fire. That lets you put at least one safety concern out of mind when it comes to your home.

Relatively Simple Installation

Installing radiant floor heating is a relatively simple matter when compared with installing other kinds of heating systems. The hydronic systems typically use PEX piping or a similar product to move the hot water around. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you can probably install the piping yourself.

If you decide on radiant heating as a whole home heating solution, though, you will probably want the services of an HVAC professional. Radiant systems for entire house heating work best when set up in zones. You need someone knowledgeable about radiant heating to design the zone system.

Hydronic systems also need a heated water supply. That typically means bringing in a plumber to install a hot water heater or tankless water heater and connect it to your piping. This proves especially true for zone systems that may need water supply at different times.

Electric radiant heating works best as a one-room solution. You often see them in tile floor rooms like bathrooms and kitchens. Electric radiant installation is a very DIY-friendly project and you can find kits online.

Health Benefits

Like it or not, forced air systems can harbor allergens, mildew, or even mold. Once you get allergens into the ductwork, the system itself spreads them every time it kicks on. That could happen a dozen times or more each day during the cold winter weather.

Even worse, it’s a very difficult task to fully clean allergens or fungi out of your ductwork once it takes hold. That constant spread of allergens can make any respiratory condition worse.

You don’t face any of those problems with radiant systems. They don’t move air, so they can’t spread allergens.

Little to No Noise

Traditional forced air systems often make a lot of noise when the blower kicks on. While it’s a comparatively minor annoyance for most people, it is still an annoyance.

The loudest thing in any radiant system is the water heater. When was the last time you remember even hearing your hot water heater?

Is Radiant Floor Heating Right for You?

Radiant floor heating offers many benefits, but is it right for you?

Installation on radiant systems is easiest during a new home build since you can install the system in the foundation or in the subfloor. Installing it in an existing home takes a little more work and typically involves tearing up the floor.

If you like your current flooring, you can still get a radiant system. It just goes beneath your floor in between the joists.

Haley Mechanical offers radiant floor installation services. If radiant floor heating sounds like a good fit for your home, contact Haley Mechanical today.

HVAC Tips to Keep Your House Warm This Winter

Adorable Baby and Dad

Keeping your home cozy warm in the winter can be hard. With a proper HVAC, this should not be a problem, but most people don’t realize that their HVAC is not efficient.

In essence, HVAC must be maintained. If it’s not, it starts to perform worse. To resolve this issue, you need to know what to look out for.

In this article, we will cover some useful winter HVAC tips, so that you can ensure that this winter, your home does not get cold. 

Whenever you’re ready to alleviate the challenges of a poorly functioning HVAC, keep reading and let’s see if we can help.

Get an HVAC Inspection

The first thing you should is to get your HVAC inspected. In general, this should be done on an annual basis before winter actually starts. Regular maintenance will ensure that your HVAC is living up to its potential longevity, but also running efficiently. 

Like anything in life, the better and more you care for something, the more likely it is to last longer. The same applies to HVAC systems.

If you are not sure if you will remember to get your inspection, you should sign-up for a maintenance agreement that will make sure you get your inspections done. 

Change Air Filter

To work properly, your HVAC system must be clean. Throughout your home, dust and dirt gather in your vents and then make their way to the furnace. These particles are caught in your filter. 

Replacing your filter every 3 months will ensure your HVAC is optimally clean. A clogged filter will depreciate heat spread throughout the home, which is something to avoid.

Furnace filters come in a variety of sizes and shapes. It can be hard to determine which is best for you. That’s why it’s best to delegate this task to your preferred company, which will send you the right filter at the right time, depending on your replacement interval.

Isn’t that a convenient and easy way to ensure your house is warmed properly throughout the winter?

Clean & Seal Air Ducts

Your air ducts are essential to warm air delivery in your home. If you have lots of dust on your flooring and furniture, this can be a sign of dirty air ducts. Having air ducts cleaned and sealed properly will ensure that your home contains a stable temperature, but also improved air quality.

During your inspection, your HVAC specialist will tell you if your ductwork is properly done. If your ducts are not sealed, you can be losing over a third of the air generated by the furnace.

A professional company should be able to seal your ductwork with a special sealant, after which you will notice less dust and a more stable temperature in each room of your home. This also leads to decreased energy bills.

Thermostat Upgrade

Advanced technologies make life more convenient, efficient, and accessible. Your HVAC system is not an exception. There have been great advances in thermostat tech that will help you save money. 

With many smart changes, you can monitor and set your temperature from your mobile devices. You can also set a schedule that will run without your intervention.

When you’re working, you can set the home heat lower, and then make it rise as you are getting back. Another one of the greatest HVAC tips is to set your temperature at 68 degrees when you’re home, but lower it when you’re not asleep or not home.

It’s approximated by the Department of Energy that you can save almost 10% each year on your energy bill by turning your thermostat by 10 degrees for 8 hours each day.

Consider A New System

Before winter starts, you should consider getting a new HVAC system. First, find out how long your system has been installed. If it’s been over 10 years, it’s probably a good idea to change.

Outdated and old systems will run at half performance almost always, whereas a new system is designed to deliver over 90% efficiency. Not only is this not optimal, but it might be costing you a fortune.

Thus, a replacement now might be costly, but it will pay off in the long-term.

Prevent Drafts

Another thing you can do is go through your home and check for any drafts. If you feel an air draft, this is probably due to poorly sealed doors and windows. This will make it very difficult for you to keep a stable temperature in the home.

This can easily be resolved with rubber seals for door frames and specialized window seals. This can be DIY, so it will only take you a couple of hours. But the pay-off is well worth it.

Energy Bill HVAC Tips

If your energy bill is running higher than usual, there’s probably some sort of issue directly related to your HVAC. Throughout the winter, keep a very keen eye on your usage of energy and then cross-compare against previous bills throughout the years.

I find something that’s unusual, check your air filter. If that’s not the problem, call over a specialist to come and take a look. It might seem like a wasted expense, but it pays off if a problem is located and resolved.

Depending on the climate that you live in, winter can be very harsh. Don’t get caught in the cold with a poorly performing heater that will spike your costs and malfunction regularly.

Show your HVAC some care and love by following these HVAC tips and it will take care of you in return during the times when it matters most.

HVAC Assistance for You

Now that you have discovered some winter HVAC tips, you are well on your way to ensure that your system is running at its best potential. As long as you care for it, it will care for you. It’s a mutually-beneficial relationship.

If you’re interested in an HVAC inspection or any other specialized HVAC service, get in touch with us and we will happily accommodate your needs.

How Your HVAC System Helps Combat Fall Allergies

Woman with fall allergies

Many people in SE Michigan are affected by fall allergies, although most of us think spring allergies are the worst. When temperatures fall, your immune system isn’t as effective at fighting allergies off. Your HVAC system can do more than you think to combat fall allergies. We want to help those in Ann Arbor and surrounding areas who suffer from fall allergies by providing the information you can use now.

Prominent Fall Allergies

Many people think of ragweed when it comes to allergies, whether during spring or fall. While ragweed is the most common cause of fall allergies, mold is another concern as temperatures drop.

Ragweed can make you feel miserable with symptoms such as lung and eye irritation, congestion, coughing, a scratchy throat, and more. You may not realize that wind currents can carry ragweed hundreds of miles, which is why many people suffer from fall allergies.

When temperatures fall, mold becomes another air pollutant that can cause severe allergy symptoms. This is especially true if you have lots of trees around your home, as an accumulation of falling leaves is the perfect breeding ground for mold. The fall season tends to be damper; when leaves hold water and temperatures don’t warm up enough to dry them out, it can result in the growth of mold.

How can you use your HVAC system to fight fall allergies?

Consider air purifiers and other products designed to improve indoor air quality. People who have asthma, allergies, or other respiratory issues benefit from air purifiers that capture particles, allergens, and pollutants as the air circulates through.

Change your air filters if needed. One of the easiest things you can do to improve the air quality in your home and reduce pollutants is to change the filters when they have a build-up of dust and debris. A new, clean filter will capture contaminants so that you enjoy a cleaner, fresher air in your home.

Enhance the efficiency of your HVAC system. Consider having your ducts cleaned by a professional as dust, dirt, and other debris can build up inside the ducts. Your southeast Michigan HVAC professional can also seal any areas that need repair, helping keep out pollutants. You should also check the outdoor AC unit to ensure dirt, leaves, dust, and other debris are cleared away.

Clean inside and outside your home. While these are everyday chores you probably already do, it’s especially important during the fall season to vacuum your floors frequently, rake up the leaves, and perform other tasks that reduce pollutants and allergens such as ragweed and mold.

Fall has arrived, and now you know how to fend off those miserable fall allergies that often come along with the season. By doing just a little work and investing in an indoor air purifier, you can breathe easier! For more information on indoor air quality or help with your HVAC system, give Haley Mechanical a call today.

What Causes a Water Heater Leak?

Illustration of a water heater leak

Water Heater Leaks & Overflowing – Causes and Prevention

Most homeowners in Ann Arbor and throughout SE Michigan know that nothing is more damaging to a home than water. What if your water heater leaks or overflows? If caught early on, the damage may be kept minimal; if it goes unnoticed, you could experience severe damage such as rotting, mold, stains, and other issues in floors, carpets, even walls.

Leak Causes

The average life span of a water heater typically ranges between eight and 15 years. The chances are that at some point, it will leak or overflow. The most important thing you can do is to avoid substantial water damage by adequately maintaining your heater’s pipes, overflow valves, and overflow pan. This will help mitigate more extensive damage that could result in costly repairs.

The valves and pipes of your water heater should be regularly checked for any drips or leaks. Also, check beneath the water heater to see if the tank’s bottom shows any presence of rust or corrosion damage. When sediment and corrosion build up inside the heater’s tank, it can result in water leaking continuously into the overflow pan. It is possible to minimize corrosion and remove the sediment by pouring out some water at the bottom of the tank from the spout occasionally. Before doing this, be sure to turn off the power (electric or gas) so that the water can cool off some. The valve for incoming water should also be turned off before this procedure; drain the water to the outside of your home or into a bucket depending on your circumstances.

Your water heater tank could potentially explode if the pressure/temperature valve is not functioning as it should. This is a safety feature designed to release water in the event the tank’s pressure or the temperature gets too high. If the valve is working as it is supposed to, hot water will come from the overflow pipe when the valve is pushed down or pulled up. The valve should be checked regularly for any problems that could result in leaking, especially considering issues are more common in old or defective water heater valves.

Preventing Leaks

It should be possible to prevent the majority of water heater floods and leaks once you begin checking for overflow pipe leaks regularly and establish a proper maintenance routine. Even then, there are steps you can take beyond these measures.

Water heater overflow pans are relatively cheap and are useful when placed under the tank for catching water should you experience leaking pipes or water heater overflows. If particleboard is the material around and beneath your water heater, you may want to consider removing it and replacing the particleboard with plywood, which is more water-resistant and less susceptible to damage. The addition of a water sealant on the floor beneath the tank mitigates potential damage even further; however, be sure to turn off the electric or gas power, so there is no danger of a fire.

Steps to take when you have a water heater overflow

If you notice a water heater overflow early on, you can take action immediately and get the problem under control with a few basic steps before calling in the professionals.

  • Put on protective gear, including gloves, rubber boots, and goggles. A raincoat or vest is also a good idea if a profuse rush of water comes from the heater.
  • Take a good look around the area. It is a bad sign if steam is thick in the room, as you need to be able to see clearly to check for electrical wires or outlets that may be beneath the water level and could shock you. Also, make sure the water is not scalding hot before taking further action.
  • Turn off the water supply to the heater. A water leak means your tank won’t fill up, so the water supply won’t shut itself off, which will lead to further flooding. The cold water pipe usually comes from the main water line and continues to the top of the heating chamber. Once you locate the pipe, find the water flow control valve and turn clockwise as far as it will go.
  • Turn off the gas or electric heating immediately. If your water heater is powered by electricity, flip the switch in the breaker box that provides the heater’s power. If gas powers the water heater, shut off the line that corresponds to the heater. This is particularly important when the thermostat malfunctions and causes the water overflow, because the heating element will not shut down on its own. This could pose a fire danger and also wastes energy. In the event, your water heater is powered by gas, remove everyone from your home if you notice a gas smell.
  • Record everything about the incident, including photos, if areas of your home or belongings/furnishings experienced damage due to the water heater overflow. Document every detail you can remember about the events to ensure you won’t have problems if you need to file an insurance claim.
  • Have professionals come in to clean up after water damage. Not only may the structure of your home and belongings be damaged, the musty smell isn’t pleasant – and your family could be susceptible to bacteria, mold, mildew, and other hazards.

If your water tank leaks or you have other issues that you prefer to leave to the professionals, give Haley Mechanical a call today. Serving all of Southeast Michigan, including Ann Arbor, Dexter, and surrounding cities.

Protect Your Ann Arbor Area Home From Lightning Damage

Lightning striking near a home

As a Southeast Michigan home or business owner, you may have heard of lightning protection systems, and wonder how they work. While these systems help prevent a lightning strike to your home/business, what else should you know?

Lightning generally follows a path to the ground, whether that path is electrical lines, gas or water lines, telephone, cable, or even a structure such as your home or business. As you know, lightning strikes are dangerous and can result in extensive damage.

What are the most common hazards of lightning strikes?

  • Damage to appliances or building materials
  • Side strikes
  • Fire

Can a lightning strike be prevented by having a lightning protection system installed? Nothing can prevent a lightning strike, but adding a protection system will keep your home or business safe from potential damage to the materials or structure.

FAQ about lightning protection systems

By having a lightning protection system installed at your home or business, could you potentially attract lightning? Absolutely not. Yet, these systems have no influence on where lightning strikes and are incapable of “directing” it to another area.

Is this a DIY project? No. Home lightning protection systems should be installed only by an electrical professional.

Can I choose the protection system I want and know it will be effective for my home or business? No. These systems are designed specifically for your home or business structure.

What can a lightning protection system protect?

These systems are designed to protect the structure and prevent or reduce lightning strikes directly to your home or business. Because of this, the risk of damage to building materials or fire during an electrical storm is lessened substantially.

Even with a system installed you should be sure that appliances, electronics, and other items are unplugged to prevent damage; also consider using surge protectors for computers, TVs, and other equipment for at least some protection when a storm occurs and you’re away from home.

Home lightning protection systems in Ann Arbor Michigan

Whether you live in Ann Arbor or any other area it’s impossible to predict when a lightning strike will occur; it is best to protect your home or business by having a lightning protection system installed by a professional. Having a system installed not only protects the structure from damage to the building or fire but could also result in lower insurance rates not to mention the money saved on damage caused by a strike.

The professional, licensed electricians at Haley Mechanical are dedicated to outstanding service, quality, and customer satisfaction. Protect your Southeast Michigan home during electrical storms – call Haley Mechanical today!